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Archive for August, 2008

LXer Article

This week we have Anti-Linux sites to follow, old flame wars, scientific software for Linux, Microsoft and Novell renew their pact, Microsoft attempts to save face with Vista advertising campaign, Linux myths debunked and I wrap it all up with a really bad patch cable and a nice nugget of FUD.

5 Anti-Linux Sites You Must Follow!: Ever since I read Jeremy Allison’s blog post about why we need to hear criticisms from people who dislikes Linux, I have been thinking a lot about what he said and how it hits very close to my own philosophy about life: In order to improve, you need to be open to criticisms; even from your enemies. One of the (many) things that most people dislike about Microsoft is that they don’t have any real communication between the developers and the users; so when you discover a bug or have opinions about a feature that can be improved or added, there is no real easy way to directly (or indirectly) communicate with a developer. However, recently they have showed some improvement by opening up blogs for IE8 beta and Windows 7, where product developers actively communicate with users. So why should we turn a blind eye towards Linux critics?

The top 4 internet flame wars about free software: Everyone knows about the infamous internet wars. Ranging from operating systems to text editors to code indentation style, these wars have wreaked havoc on the web for years. The topics range from serious topics like religion to serious geek topics like operating systems to just plain stupid topics like code indentation style. So today, I’m going to go through a list of some of the most famous topics and remind you of a few of the more, er, “famous” battles.

Powerful graphical tools for Ubuntu Linux:
If you want to know how much disk space you have on a Windows machine, what do you do? There’s a number of different ways of getting that information, but the way that I usually use is to go to Windows Explorer and right click on the drive letter and select Properties. This opens up a window which looks at the drive and tells me how many folders and items there are, how big it is and how much space is left. In Linux, how can I see how I get the same information?

Why Vista is Universally Hated and Other Training Truths: Microsoft products have always presented a paradox for organizations. On one hand they seem to be universally derided. On the other, they remain the corporate standard. Open source, SaaS/online and other alternatives have had a hard time gaining widespread traction in large organizations. That’s partly because companies would likely rather deal with the devil they know, a de facto standard, rather than something else, and partly due to institutional inertia.

10 Total Commander Alternatives for Linux: Although we all remember that everything started with legendary Norton Commander, somehow lots of TC users religiously believe that every other, two pane file manager, is a not worthy clone. They all share the same roots, but TC with its rich Plugin library managed to capture the largest user base. In this article I will try to cover the most popular alternatives for both TC and NC. It is not a review though, so you won’t find any particular recommendation at the end. Everyone chooses the set of features that is relevant for his or her needs.

Torvalds: No picnic to become major Linux coder: In an e-mail interview with ZDNet Asia’s sister site ZDNet UK on Friday, Torvalds said that, while it is relatively easy for coders and organizations to contribute small patches, the contribution of large patches, developed in isolation, could lead to both new and established contributors becoming frustrated.

Is the “killer app” argument dead?: The other day I was talking with a bunch of other tech heads about the ongoing Windows vs. Mac vs. Linux market share war and why, from a stats point of view, that Mac and Linux were still trailing far behind Windows. “It all revolves around killer apps,” pipes up one of the tech heads. “The problem with both Apple and Linux is that neither OS has a compelling killer app driving the user base.” The conversation then went off on to discuss apps such as Photoshop and AutoCAD and how with Windows you have a single unified platform that’ll run almost any professional grade package that you can think of, while with Mac and Linux your choices are restricted. Bull.

42 of the Best Free Linux Scientific Software: Science is the effort of trying to understand how the physical world works. From observation and experimentation, science uses physical evidence of natural phenomena to compile data and analyze the collated information. Science really prospers and advances when individuals share the results of their experiments with others in the scientific community. There is a certain logic that scientific software should therefore be released in a freely distributable environment.

9 Linux Myths Debunked: When it comes to Linux there are 3 kinds of people, those who never heard of it, those who are afraid of it, and those who hate it and spread falsities about it. I don’t really care about the first, they probably aren’t really technologically literate anyways, as long as they have E-mail they are content. While the second group is the result of the actions of the third. Let’s hit two birds with one stone shall we?

Fedora 10 Takes Shape: What does the future hold for Linux development at Red Hat? A look at some of the new features coming in the Fedora 10 Linux distribution release might yield some clues. Currently in early development with a feature freeze scheduled for the end of August, Fedora 10 includes a host of improvements that aim to improve audio, packaging, networking and security features.

Microsoft, Novell Expand Interoperability Partnership: Microsoft and Novell expand their interoperability partnership with Microsoft buying up to $100 million in SUSE Linux certificates. The partnership helps enable SUSE Linux Enterprise Server and Windows Server to work together in the datacenter. Moreover, the companies will continue to work collaboratively on virtual-ization, systems management, directory and identity federation, document format compatibility, acces-sibility technology, and the Moonlight multimedia framework.

Microsoft is profiting from Linux: Microsoft isn’t just buying Linux subscriptions from Novell to give away…it’s buying them so they can sell them. So that means for the past 18 months, Microsoft has been selling Linux. How much Microsoft is actually making by selling Linux is difficult to determine but it could be as much a $99 million.

Linux popularity across the globe: The Linux landscape is constantly changing and has a strong community of both developers and users. But where is Linux the most popular, and where are the different Linux distributions the most popular? To try to answer these questions, we have looked at data from Google with the highly useful Insights for Search, which gave us a number of interesting and often surprising results. Aside from just looking at Linux itself, we have included eight common Linux distributions in this survey: Ubuntu, OpenSUSE, Fedora, Debian, Red Hat, Mandriva, Slackware and Gentoo.

Microsoft Seinfeld Strategy to Save Vista is Pathetic: Microsoft has announced a $300M dollar ad campaign, featuring 90s TV star Jerry Seinfeld, which according to multiple reports has been designed to save Vista and salvage Microsoft’s battered reputation. There is so much wrong with this strategy, it’s really hard to know where to start.

5 Least Popular Desktop Environments for Linux: KDE, GNOME, and Xfce are without doubt the most well-known desktop environments for Linux at the moment. They are utilized by majority of Linux Distributions simply because they are very much stable and usable. But did you know that there are other capable Free and Open-source desktop environments that you probably haven’t heard of?

IT needs to retool tech workers for Linux growth: Are there enough Linux experts to go around? Here’s an interesting article in ComputerWorld from this week: “Linux unchained.” Author Mary Pratt investigates the claim that Linux growth is outstripping the supply of actual Linux-proficient techs.

Why my email no work?: This isn’t necessarily Linux related. But some things are just too good to keep to yourself.

Why would anyone choose Linux when they already have Windows?: I know there is a great debate taking place about which operating system is better. Jack Wallen, host of the Linux and Open Source blog, started a lengthy discussion asking the question: Why would you choose Windows over Linux? I thought that was kind of funny, because recently I have been asking myself the opposite question: Who would choose to switch to Linux?

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LXer Article

This week we have Akademy 2008 reviews, Windows gives a BSOD during the Olympics opening ceremonies, Linus doesn’t like monkeys, Derek Knowlton journeys to Sin City to experience DefCon 16, Lawyers who should stay away from Linux and 10 of this, 5 of those, 11% of that..its numbers numbers everywhere!

Why Microsoft and Intel tried to kill the XO$100 laptop: Microsoft, makers of most of the computer software in the world, tried to kill it with words, and Intel, maker of most computer chips, tried to kill it with dirty tricks. Of course, they don’t admit to being attempted murderers. And when I introduce you to Intel’s lovely spokesperson, Agnes Kwan, you’ll realise how far their denials go. But the truth is the two mightiest high-tech companies in the world looked on Negroponte’s philanthropic scheme and decided it had to die. Yet, 3½ years later, the laptop is clinging on to life.

Linux World 2008 Photos: Here is the collection of photos taken by Scott Dowdle during the LinuxWorld Conference and Expo 2008.

Akademy 2008 – Day 1: Akademy 2008, the annual KDE desktop summit, officially kicked off on Saturday, 9th July in Sint-Katelijne-Waver, Belgium, with a schedule packed full of talks, discussions, and development. Here are links to Day 2 and Integration as well.

10 Coolest Devices Running Linux: As you all probably know Linux is not limited to just desktops. It’s far reaching, actually. Not that you’d have a Terminal app on it or anything, but you could. Some of you may have a mobile phone running Linux and you probably don’t even know it. The most popular phone in the world runs Unix. That’s right. The iPhone runs on Unix. Are there any other cool devices out there running on Linux or Unix?

An Introduction to Linux CLI: A tutorial intended for beginners explaining how Linux CLI works and the basic concepts and commands of Bash.

Canonical Tells VARs: 11 Percent of U.S. Businesses Running Ubuntu: In an effort to rally solutions providers around Ubuntu Linux, Canonical is telling resellers that 11 percent of U.S. businesses already run Ubuntu. That’s impressive, but when will VARs truly jump on the Ubuntu bandwagon?

Make OpenOffice Work For You: OpenOffice is much more than a simple alternative to Microsoft Office… Here, we’ll show you some simple tips and tricks so that you can use OpenOffice in the easiest and most efficient way possible

Windows Crashes During Olympic Ceremony: Microsoft Windows never lets us down when it comes to BSOD amusement and at the 2008 Summer Olympic Opening Ceremonies it struck again. Here is a link to the pic they mention.

10 Essential Linux Applications for Daily Use: Instead of an introduction, I’ll answer the question ‘Why did you left out wonderful applications like Scribus, Inkscape, Cinelerra, Wine, QCAD etc?’. Well, because the article is about applications which I consider essential for daily use. Of course, some work with those every day, but not the majority. Secondly, if you ask why Amarok and not Banshee, or why KTorrent and not Deluge, well that’s a personal preference.

Comcast Gives Cold-Shoulder To Non-Profit School Running Linux: New Generation is a non-profit private school running Ubuntu Linux. During a recent Internet outage, Comcast refused to give tech support, due to their use of Linux.

Wine-Doors for Linux Reviewed: I have been using Wine (WINE) or various implementations of it (Crossover Office and Cedega) for a few years now. What is funny is that I often had more success with Wine proper than I did with the various offshoot products. Go figure! So when I learned this issue…

A Big Day in Court for the FOSS Community: Today those who believe in free content and free and open source software won a major victory in court. The underlying facts, and counsel, were hardly major figures on the commercial landscape: the open source software at issue had been developed for model train buffs under an infrequently used free and open source license, and the attorney was young and inexperienced.

Torvalds on Linux Security, Masturbating Monkeys, Whores and Idiots: Linus Torvalds is a Finnish born software engineer best known for two things: kick starting the development of the Linux kernel, and owning the Linux trademark. Actually, make that three things. Torvalds has recently become very well known for speaking his mind…

DefCon 16: Hackers and a Gag Order in Sin City: In many ways the virtues that have brought Linux from a Unix look alike pet project to a competitive operating system are the same as the ideals behind DefCon. The community stood on each other’s shoulders and developed piece after piece of software to fill in the gaps that were found through use. Programmer’s built on the ideas of others creating tighter and tighter code to support an increasingly complex framework. Originally that was the theme of this article when I had begun thinking about writing it. The things that I saw at DefCon were every bit of the ideals I went up there to find and more…

10 Best-designed Linux Distribution Websites: Most Linux Distribution websites have been redesigned to sport a Web 2.0 look. To give credit to their talented web designers/developers, I’ll pick 10 Linux Distribution websites that I think stand out from the rest. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so you don’t have to agree with me. Anyway, you can always comment later on and share your views.

5 Anti-Linux Sites You Must Follow!: Ever since I read Jeremy Allison’s blog post about why we need to hear criticisms from people who dislikes Linux, I have been thinking a lot about what he said and how it hits very close to my own philosophy about life: In order to improve, you need to be open to criticisms; even from your enemies. One of the (many) things that most people dislike about Microsoft is that they don’t have any real communication between the developers and the users; so when you discover a bug or have opinions about a feature that can be improved or added, there is no real easy way to directly (or indirectly) communicate with a developer.

Why lawyers don’t like Linux: Professionals who work on the basis of billable hours rarely take the time out to write an article for publication unless they have a valid reason for doing so. That’s why I’m generally a bit sceptical when lawyers come out with articles that attempt to make a case against the use of free and open source sofware. No lawyer would ever be paid the same rates for a third-rate article about FOSS as he/she is paid for listening to a client – hence my scepticism. But, surprisingly, over the past three months two members of the legal profession have taken the time to pen what they, no doubt, consider to be serious objections to the use of FOSS.

Commentary: The Penguin Doesn’t Fly, Avoid Linux: This Law.com Legal Technology piece on how awful Linux is for law firms strikes me as the funniest piece of FUD I’ve read in a long time. If you loved Rob Enderle, you don’t want to miss it. Here’s just one sentence to give you an idea: “Meanwhile, a Linux DIY installation like a DIY auto repair, is extremely complex, convoluted, time consuming and often dicey, something a lawyer may not want to bet his or her practice on.” Legal Technology should really be ashamed to publish such biased inaccuracies. Perhaps they don’t know. Lawyers do tend to be Windows users and in my experience not so cutting edge in the tech department.

Lawyer’s Funny AntiLinux FUD Turns Out to be Not So Funny: I put this article from Law.com’s Legal Technology page, “Commentary: The Penguin Doesn’t Fly, Avoid Linux” (http://legaltech.law.com/commentary-the-penguin-do.html) in News Picks because I found it hilarious, in the Rob Enderle kind of way. But then I thought I’d look up the author on Google, and lo and behold, I find he said something that appears to be not exactly true. I’m not talking about the FUD stuff. I’m talking about his assertion that he couldn’t get any answers to a request for help from Mandriva Forum:

Windows broken … I’m surprised it took this long: So, in a stroke, two security researchers (Mark Dowd of IBM and Alexander Sotirov or VMware) at Black Hat have set browser security back 10 years and rendered Vista’s security next to useless (PDF of paper here – site currently Slashdotted …).

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LXer Article

The Roundup this week should really be called the LinuxWorld 2008 Roundup for how many articles are related to it but we have plenty of other things of note. Like, Five things Linus Torvalds has learned about managing software projects, How to remove Mono (M$) from Ubuntu Hardy Heron, The death of a filesystem, A trip down memory lane with some photos of the infamous CalderaLinux disks and packaging and to end things on a lighter note I finish things up with 10 Linux T-shirt that will make you smile.

20 Most Nimble and Simple X Window Managers for Linux: One of the best ways to speed up your Linux desktop is to utilize an ultra-lightweight window manager. To all speed-conscious techies, minimalist lovers, and to those who are still hoping to revive their ageing computer hardware, let me introduce you to the 20 most nimble and simple X window managers for Linux.

Hi BIOS! My Name Is “Linux”, Or Is It?: A couple of days ago, I read this on Matthew Garrette’s blog, where he tells us about a vendor’s BIOS trying to figure out the OS type/version and setting things around on deciding the OS it is running. The call in question was _OSI(“Linux”). He goes on to say that the action the firmware takes, on finding out if the OS is linux, was probably inaccurate and it was good that linux kernel DOES NOT identify itself as “Linux” and returns false for the _OSI(“Linux”) and instead returns true when probed for Windows. That got me thinking, the first thought being that isn’t this a BIG flaw in the kernel. But “Never make judgements straightaway”, I have learnt in the past. So, thought about reading it a bit more. After some googling around, I came to know the sound reasoning behind the decision.

Five Things Linus Torvalds Has Learned About Managing Software Projects: It’s hard enough for managers to motivate and track employees whose livelihood depends on doing a good job. Imagine the project management task for Linux, the free software operating system. Linus Torvalds explains how he keeps the people and software on-track, with the software quality the operating system demands.

LinuxWorld 2008: Thoughts and Pictures: Here are a few thoughts and a quick roundup of what I have seen at LinuxWorld 2008 in San Francisco so far.

IBM, Linux and the Microsoft-Free PC: After 10 years of supporting Linux, IBM (NYSE: IBM) continues to challenge Microsoft on multiple fronts and aims to push Linux even further into the enterprise. While IBM has competed and partnered with Microsoft over the last two decades, the Microsoft-free PC effort is perhaps its most direct assault yet.

How to remove Mono (M$) from Ubuntu Hardy Heron: The nasty taste which has always ‘ever-so-slightly’ tainted my use of Ubuntu is that Mono is there only to support applications written in languages and for platforms which are basically Microsoft’s. It encourages software development using systems that are based on technologies almost certainly encumbered by a whole raft of M$ patents. To my mind, there are many great non M$ languages and architectures out there which are almost part-and-parcel of Linux programming and I see no need to bring .NET, ASP or even Visual Basic to my desktop. If I want to write an application, I could use PHP, Python, PERL, C, C++, Java and, of course, many others. Why do I need to endorse and encourage the proliferation of non-free software by relying on M$’s IP and the smell of their stinky patents? Well, I figured I don’t. So, I thought I’d see what happened if I removed Mono from Ubuntu.

LinuxWorld 2008: News, Notes and a Rant: More news, notes and a well deserved rant from LinuxWorld 08′, the .org Pavillion booths, installfest and proof of my actual physical presence at the show. 🙂

IBM teams with Linux firms for Microsoft-free PCs: IBM has launched its latest attack on Microsoft in the enterprise, forming an alliance with three top Linux distributors to promote Microsoft-free PCs around the world. The deal with Canonical (the commercial sponsor of Ubuntu), Novell and Red Hat is designed to promote PCs running Linux alongside IBM business software, such as Lotus Notes, Lotus Symphony and Lotus Sametime. IBM made the announcement at the Linux World Conference & Expo in San Francisco on Tuesday.

What chance the Microsoft-free desktop in the real world?: According to various online sources, the fourth largest maker of computers is looking to get involved. The Chinese-based company that acquired the IBM laptop business some years back, Lenovo, is apparently involved in ‘active discussions’ with regard to bringing out a series of systems with a Microsoft-free desktop running the Linux/Lotus combination.

Lightweight GNOME alternative emerges: A fast, fast-booting, implementation of GNOME aimed at netbooks and older hardware has emerged, and shows “a lot of promise.” LXDE has already stacked up a heap of distribution partners. The LXDE project has released its lightweight Linux desktop for general use. Built into the latest gOS 3 Gadget distro, LXDE is touted as being fast, fast-booting, compatible with old computers, and designed so that “every component can be used without LXDE,” say the developers.

Death of a filesystem(?): “Over the last months there were repeating news about the murder on Nina Reiser by her husband Hans Reiser, known in the community for his work on his filesystems ReiserFS and Reiser4.” “What I want to deal with here are the consequences of this “story” that may be in store for Reiser’s filesystems.”

Tiny, 6-chip ‘open’ computer runs Linux: Embedded designer Paul Thomas is showcasing a tiny, open-sourced computer at LinuxWorld in San Francisco this week. Would-be “Linuxstamp” enthusiasts can obtain pre-built boards for the hefty sum of $120 directly from Thomas, or they can download the design for free and build it themselves. The Linuxstamp is an extremely simple hardware design, consisting of six integrated circuits (processor, flash, RAM, serial-to-USB, ethernet PHY, and power conversion) plus a bunch of passives.

Portrait: Michelle Murrain lives the open source lifestyle: Michelle Murrain is a great example of what the FOSS community is all about. She’s complicated: she calls herself a “scientist turned technologist turned theologian turned writer,” all blended into one person. She’s also an active supporter of and contributor to open source software projects. She’s not a developer, however, and Murrain would really like to see more space for people like her, with different gifts to share, in the open source community.

LWCE 2008 Day Two – Report from inside the .org Pavilion: No one showed up to man the Debian booth which was actually one booth over from us. I have no idea why… although there was a hand written sign that said many of the Debian folks were in Argentina at some Debian specific conference. Ok?!? Oddly enough no one showed up to man the Gentoo booth either. It was in the next isle over from us. There wasn’t any explanation as to why their booth was empty. Eventually someone took the Gentoo sign down.

Is Microsoft trying to kill Apache?: When the story about Microsoft shelling out $100,000 to Apache for ASF sponsorship broke across my radar it rather tickled my funny bone and my curiosity. When ASF Chairman Jim Jagielski declared that “Microsoft’s sponsorship makes it clear that Microsoft “gets it” regarding the ASF” I had a fit of the giggles—and then, like many others, I started to ponder on the reasons why and what it actually meant.

Some Pictures Worth a Thousand Words – Caldera OpenLinux Lite: I have some screenshots from an old Caldera OpenLinux Lite CD that a member still had in his possession to show you. They disprove certain allegations SCO has made regarding Linux, I think, in the IBM litigation. For example, SCO claimed that it never released anything under the GPL. And it tried to allege that some headers and other features were their property and that Linux infringes them. I will show you differently.

Analyst: Ubuntu, community distros ready for the enterprise: At the LinuxWorld expo in San Francisco, analyst Jay Lyman of the 451 Group spoke about the potential for enterprise adoption of Ubuntu and the impact that community-driven Linux distributions will have on the market. Companies are increasingly choosing free community-driven Linux distributions instead of commercial offerings with conventional support options. Several factors are driving this trend, particularly dissatisfaction with the cost of support services from the major distributors. Companies that use and deploy Linux internally increasingly have enough in-house expertise to handle all of their technical needs and no longer have to rely on Red Hat or Novell, according to Lyman.

10 Linux T-shirt that will make you smile: There are time when I want to let my geekiness out and I want the world to know about it. I decided to share with you my favorite collection of Linux t-shirts that you also might like. Please share you ideas for healthy geeking in the comments.

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LXer Article

I got in early today because I wanted to help out with installing Linux onto computers for some local schools here in the bay area and to take a long slow walk through the .org pavillion, meet some people I had made arrangements to meet and also to get the scoop on things before the crowds hit. I was successful at installing Linux on two out of three machines, those old Dell machines are a bear to do anything with.

I got to talk to Sachin Bansal from Tetra a Linux and Open Source consulting firm based out of New Delhi India. I thought it very cool that they would make the effort to have a booth at LinuxWorld in San Francisco. I also got to meet Scott Dowdle of OpenVZ and montanalinux.org fame. I stopped by the Autotest booth, got to watch several computers being put through their paces and found out that Goole uses this to test the server farms.

I came across this car called “Junior” that is computer driven. I don’t mean to be a stickler but the video showing the car driving around a controlled course and such being shown on the huge monitor to one side of the car, is being played in Windows Media Player of all things which means that the laptop the video is coming from is running Windows. I’m sorry, but if I was an exhibitor at a Linux Expo (say LinuxWorld for example) I would at least take the time to get the video about my product to be shown in something, anything other than WMP. I try not to be easily offended by such things but come on! I am at LinuxWorld, at least show me the video in Kaffeine, VLC, Xine or any other of a dozen video players that are accessible in Linux! Sorry for the rant.

OpenSuSE was there and showing off OpenSuSE 11.0 on a few machines. The Linux Foundation was giving away free t-shirts when singing up to join. The OPLC people that were at SCaLE in February were there. The Free Software Foundation was giving away stickers and selling t-shirts for fund raising. I got a chance to talk to Robert of The Open Source Census who told me about there software program that can scan your systems and show you what FOSS software is on them.

I stopped by the gOS booth and got to play with the newest version of gOS on a bunch of different tiny laptops. I got to see it run on one of those Everex mini laptops too. There were people from the University of California, Santa Cruz Extension campus there talking about the Linux Programming and Administration classes they now offer as a part of their Software Development Certificates program.

I got a chance to listen to a presentation on Lotus Symphony by an IBM representative at the Canonical booth area. Very cool stuff. It seems that IBM is really serious about it. Symphony is automatically included with Lotus Notes 8 and they are actively working on extensions and plugins for Symphony as well. I learned something I didn’t know, Lotus Symphony is based on OpenOffice.org 1.0 and forked from there, interesting no? I also found out that IBM will be supporting Symphony under Ubuntu as of the end of August and that a Mac version is in the works for release sometime in October. That being said, Cononical was also pushing their support offerings and options for Ubuntu in a big way.

Oh, and to all you LXer’s who had the gall to insinuate that I would say I attended and not actually show up at LinuxWorld, I give you irrefutable proof. LOL!! http://i55.photobucket.com/albums/g154/sharkscott/100_0190.jpg

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LXer Article

This week we have Linus Torvalds on Linux Distributions, A Quick Look at OpenOffice.org Writer 3.0, It’s not a clone, but it can run Mac OS X, Insanely Securing Your Unix or Linux Systems and several articles on KDE 4.1.

Linus Torvalds on Linux Distributions: “And when it comes to distributions, ease of installation has actually been one of my main issues – I’m a technical person, but I have a very specific area of interest, and I don’t want to fight the rest.”

Lindependence 2008 – In the Books and Out of The Blocks: It would seem that some of the premiere Linux News sources didn’t think this effort was “newsworthy”. Even though they said they would support the effort early on…they didn’t. We didn’t ask them for money…just ink and bytes. Even after saying they would cover it, they didn’t… Now let’s take a look at who did and didn’t keep their word.

42 of the Best Free Linux Email Software: Email is arguably one of the most popular and useful functions of a Linux system. Fortunately, there is a wide selection of free email software available on the Linux platform which is stable, feature laden, and ideal for personal and business environments. Send and receive emails, run a mail server, filter spam, administer a mailing list are just some of the options explored in this article.

A Quick Look at OpenOffice.org Writer 3.0 Beta 2: OpenOffice.org 3.0 beta 2 is available in preparation for an official September release. Here are some quick first impressions of the Writer word-processor program. While I was hoping that Writer 3 would adopt a Word-like interface, with its tabbed menus, but this is not the case. Although the icons have been updated, the overall look and feel of OO.org is not radically different from its predecessor. Nevertheless, you can now import Word 2007 documents into OO.org 3, which is critical to its continued success and relevance.

In search of the best OS for a 9-year-old laptop: Part I – Puppy or Damn Small Linux: In the battle for which operating system runs best on the $15 Laptop, Puppy Linux has pulled out front as the fastest system with the most features I need and best functionality on this 1999-era Compaq Armada 7770dmt.

Open Source Diva: Stop Whining, Start Doing: Don’t complain about your situation; do something about it. That’s the gist of what Danese Cooper, senior director of open-source strategies at Intel, said in her keynote at the O’Reilly Open Source Convention here. Cooper said her talk, titled “Why Whinging Doesn’t Work,” was initially written for women, and she gave a version of it at a women’s conference recently. Cooper said she came up with the idea for the talk after receiving an e-mail from Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Canonical, saying, “Can you girls please stop whinging about this?'”

It’s not a clone, but it can run Mac OS X: RSOL PC (that company name seems an unfortunate choice to anyone with a British or Australian ear, even if it doesn’t have the same connotations in its US home) has announced a series of computers based on generic components but is playing up the potential for running a variety of operating systems. The specs are pretty typical – 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo, 500G hard drive, DVD burner, 2G RAM, nVidia GeForce 7300GS video card, Gigabit Ethernet and so on – and the only operating systems the company is actually selling are Windows XP and Vista. Fedora or Ubuntu Linux are available as factory options as a service to customers.

KDE 4.1 delivers a next-gen desktop Linux experience: The KDE development community announced today the official release of version 4.1, the first major update of the new 4.x series. This release finally delivers on the promise of a next-generation desktop environment and resolves most of the problems that afflicted the original 4.0 release. The new version includes a huge number of interface enhancements, application improvements, bug fixes, new software, and new infrastructure components; according to statistics released by the KDE developers, over 20,803 separate changes have been committed to the version control system since the 4.0 release.

What Do Small Open Source Projects Do With Money? Not Much.: What would your favorite small open source project do with a sudden influx of money? Imagine you donated $5000 to a project, where would the money go? Less scrupulous developers might spend the money on Mountain Dew and Twinkies, but more likely the money would just sit, doing nothing. Why? Because it takes time to spend money, and in the open source world time is in short supply.

Insanely Securing Your Unix or Linux Systems: Since this week has been all over the map, I thought we’d spend today going back and dipping into the over-the-top-security well 😉 You may recall a post from last year that we did on making generic user accounts su-only and, maybe even more so, a post we just recently did on using mkfifo and script to keep tabs on user account usage. Both of these were aimed at providing relatively decent security for the Unix or Linux admin, while allowing the user the freedom to do his or her job without too much of a hassle.

Intuit Takes More Steps Towards Open-Source: Intuit, maker of Quicken, TurboTax, and other software, seems to be inching closer to the open-source world. Most recently, Intuit has launched the Linux Business Resource Center.

Tutorial: Buck DNS Monoculture with BIND Alternatives: DNS is fundamental to network operations, but rather surprisingly, given the usual free/open source software community’s habit of having multiple versions of everything, it has evolved into a DNS server monoculture dominated by ISC BIND (Berkeley Internet Name Domain). All other issues aside, such as security and performance, monoculture is not healthy. There’s a whole world outside of BIND; a pleasant world full of DNS servers that are simple to configure, and reliable and secure to use.

KDE 4.1.0 disappoints: Learning that KDE 4.1.0 had been released by the KDE Community, I hastened to download and install this latest, greatest Linux desktop on the Ubuntu-powered Black Tower. Put generously, the results were highly disappointing!

Break bad UNIX habits with 10 good ones: 10 UNIX command-line habits worth picking up — good habits that help you break the bad habits you’ve developed over the years.

Microsoft has serious plans to do away with Windows: It’s one thing to have a skunkworks operating system project, Midori, that could conceivably replace Windows. It’s another to actually have plans on how to switch users from Windows to Midori. Guess what? Microsoft actually does have such plans.

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Linux User Here: Color me surprised. Dana Blankenhorn, a well-known writer about Linux and open source recently asked for “someone anyone” to send him a loaner Linux laptop to replace his now dead Windows laptop. What, he didn’t already have one?

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LXer Article

LinuxWorld 2008 is being held at the Moscone Center in downtown San Francisco. After getting inside and getting my badge, it was time to go down the escalator and get this party started.

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Main Entrance

There are a ton of exhibitors and they were making themselves known to any who walked by. Now I know that LinuxWorld is really for business people and such but for being a “Businesses connecting to businesses” event it sure seemed to be a little more like a Bazaar where people make as much noise as possible in order to sell you something. Maybe its just me, but I thought it kinda weird.

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Oracle area

Inside 3

To one side of the expo floor they have a “.org pavillion” where a lot of the community booths are. A ton of people were there and the traffic never seemed to really die down until closing time.

.org pavillion

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