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Archive for December, 2008

LXer Article

Welcome to the last Weekly Roundup for 2008, but fear not my fellow news hounds for even as we continue to grow in 2009, LXer will be here to keep you up to speed on all things FOSS. At the end of the year its always about the numbers isn’t it? This week we have couple of 7’s, 10 secure one’s, 15 tips and a new 4 and 3 Debian derivatives worthy of gifts to your favorite geek.

So about all these numbers…

First is an article dying to be flamed entitled “Windows 7: The Linux killer” which then many here promptly picked to pieces. The only thing that I can see that Microsoft has in defense of Linux is XP. The porting of it to the XO once they went into production and their knee jerk reaction to the Netbook market boom is proof that, if anything XP is their Linux Novocaine. From what I have seen Windows 7 is just a repackaged Vista, and all Vista did is was make Linux look really good.

Hacking Truths put out a nice list of 15 things you can do to Improve your Linux experience. There are the 7 must have Google tools for Linux users and Brian Masinick reviews three Debian derivatives sidux, AntiX M8.0 and SimplyMEPIS 8.0 for Christmas. One of the cool new things about the 2.6.28 kernel that Linus put out just before the Holidays is the no longer experimental Ext4 filesystem that can scale up to 1EB or 1 Exabyte in size.

Akkana Peck says “Fear Not The Command Line!” in the second installment of her Linux Command Shell For Beginners series. First there was Compiz, then Beryl forked and morphed into Compiz Fusion. Well now there is Compiz++ which does all kinds of crazy things that make my eyes hurt. In some big news that broke right here on LXer, Alan Cox announced that he is moving from Red Hat to Intel which will allow him to spend more time with his family and work on the low level stuff that really interests him now.

Dave Rosenberg wrote an article about how he thinks that Open source will become paid software in 2009. He talks about how businesses that live by support contracts alone may need to add proprietary extensions to their free product in order to make up for the continued ‘belt tightening’ due to the current economy. Its not a bad idea for sure, but to say that it is “the right way to go” if your a commercial vendor is too big a blanket statement for me.

To close things out with a smile I have couple of things to tickle your funny bone. Here is a great collection of Christmas jokes for Linux and Unix geeks and I came across this picture and I just had to share it. Who among us hasn’t done a little computer cleaning with some Linux before, right? See you next year!

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LXer Article

There were several articles about Netbooks this week. One article entitled “Small is beautiful” that talks about the joys of the Netbook, another of how now that Microsoft has dumped XP on the Netbook market, that it has of course taken the majority of the share of pre-installs. Isn’t it nice to know that you can buy a little Netbook with XP installed on it without having to pay for the ‘downgrade’ (I mean upgrade) like you would have to if you did not want Vista to come pre-installed on a new desktop or laptop? I didn’t think so either.

In some cool Linux gaming news, MystOnline is to be open sourced by their creators and I came across Linux games – Lots of great choices. I’m not a big gamer, but I could be if I wanted too. 😉 Phoronix has a good comparison of Java Performance on Ubuntu Linux and Windows Vista. And for all you budding Directors out there, here is a nice list of 7 Free Open Source Video Editors For Linux.

The Debian mailing list made the news this week when a male contributor made several blatantly sexist comments about Women on a announcement list and as a result many female Debian contributors said they may leave because if it. I was glad to see Debian Project Leader Steve McIntyre withdraw the developer’s posting privileges but I do not think it is nearly enough. Sexism, along with Racism has no place and is not welcome in Open Source. Mr. Mouette is lucky I am not the Debian Project Leader because I would have kicked him out on is derrière ten seconds after I read his post.

LWN has an interview with Science Fiction Writer and longtime FOSS advocate Vernor Vinge who thinks that free software may be one of the factors that will bring about the Singularity.

In what could be called a mistake of “Thermonuclear” proportions Carla Schroder reports that The British Royal Navy is publicly boasting of their roll out of a new “next generation” installation of Windows 2000 and XP on their entire fleet of nuclear submarines in her article “Windows For Submarines: Please Tell Me This Is A Hoax“. For my part, I just don’t want a BSOD to make half the planet glow in the dark for a few thousand years or have a ticking multi-headed nuclear time bomb at the bottom of the ocean.

To wrap things up we have some LXer news for you. Our own Sander Marechal has been promoted to Senior Technology Editor. If you visit the LXer forums then you are already aware of his immense knowledge and kind demeanor. His hands on experience as a programmer and owning his own completely FOSS run business is an invaluable asset. Of the LXer staff, Sander has the most wrinkles on his brain, not by a lot though. 😉 Have a great Week!

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One of my Favorite Songs

Its the song that plays during the end credits of the first X-Files movie.

I like the drum beat..

Teotihuacan

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LXer Article

Hello everyone, It seems that in the search to bring the infections under control, the USB drive ban I told you about last week has been expanded to the entire military now. AbiWord 2.6.5 just hit the streets and it boasts better compatibility with Word 2007 and OpenOffice Writer and Amarok 2.0 with a host of cool new stuff was released earlier in the week as well.

A former programmer for Microsoft and recent convert to Linux has written a book entitled “The Software Wars” proving that Microsoft Developers can embrace the Dark Side and survive to tell the tale. I would expect a review of it from me in the near future. 😉 Symbian has announced that their open-source operating system should come out sometime in 2010.

On Monday an article came out that asked “What Are The Issues With Open Source Linux?” and to say that it was a little short on facts is being extremely kind. One of our readers wrote a response to it that takes on every point and pretty much takes it apart piece by inaccurate piece.

In something that is of interest to online only publications like LXer, The Pulitzer Prize Board announced that it will consider entries from online-only publications in addition to print outlets for the 14 journalism categories for the first time ever. Up until this year the Board had refused to consider online only entries. In the face of becoming irrelevant due to the growth of online media they decided finally give “us” the same recognition that traditional media has always enjoyed.

In some big news for web applications Google unveiled Native Client, their answer to Java and Flash. And they also announced that Chrome is already out of Beta. Already out of Beta? a google product? What about my Gmail? I have been using it for years now and its still in beta but Chrome gets out in a couple of months? How can it be out of beta already with no Linux or Mac versions even in the works?

To wrap things up we have a review by Hans Kwint entitled “A Gentoo User Gives Debian a Go Around” where Hans tells us of the fun he had in configuring Debian for the first time in years and HP has finally seen the forest for the trees and offered Linux pre-installed for the first time on some of their computers. Have a great week!

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LXer Article

Ok so first some numbers, Tech Republic has a nice list of 10 mistakes new Linux administrators should look out for. Steve Emms gives a review of 6 Lean Linux Desktop Environments of which I had only heard of two before. I also came across Cynthia Harvey’s big list of 40 Open Source Tools to help you protect your privacy online that has working links to each of their SourceForge webpages, very cool.

As of November, the percentage of browsers connecting to the Internet through a Windows machine has dropped below 90 percent for the first time ever while Mac’s share grew from 8.21 to 8.82 percent. Linux? It went up as well to 0.82 from 0.71 percent. You better lookout people because once we hit 1% its all downhill after that. 😉

In some browser news, it looks like Google developers are considering enabling extensions for Chromium even though its not exactly what they had in mind when creating Chromium’s “minimal light-weight user interface”. Now for all you Dillo users who enjoy its speed but wished it didn’t destroy the look and feel of some webpages there is the new H3v web browser.

This past month a virus hit nearly 75% of the computer systems on a U.S. military base in Afghanistan which led to a base wide ban on USB drives. I have seen this kind of story before which made me ask, why in the world is the U.S. Military using Windows when everyone knows that it has more security holes than a block of Swiss Cheese? After reading this article Carla Schroder asked a similar question, “why does Microsoft always get a free pass when this happens?

An article entitled “Ideas can be owned” sparked a lengthly philosophical debate on the nature of Intelligence and Knowledge. A team of researchers from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich Switzerland were trying to find real world evidence to support Zipf’s law. They decided to study the Debian ‘system’ (the structure of the distribution itself and the network of people that support it) and discovered that that it proved the Theory true.

A UK company has stated that its switch from Linux to Windows will save it £1 million (roughly $2.3 million). Come to find out that it is over the course of five years which equals about £200,000 a year. I still don’t see how that is possible unless Microsoft exercised some “creative” pricing again. And in what was apparently a shock to only Roy at Boycott Novell, he says he has proof that Microsoft pays companies to recommend Windows. I think that the big “This Vendor Recommends Windows XP/Vista” banner seen on just about every OEM advertisement in the last ten years kinda gave that one away good guy. 😉

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LXer Article

Early in the week there was an article about some deadly Linux commands and I have to admit I personally wouldn’t try any of them, except on a ‘practice’ machine maybe. In another article we have a nice list of advanced Linux distributions to try out. But it did not list Linux From Scratch which I know technically not a “distro” (it’s a book about building one) but still, any list of “advanced” distributions has include LFS doesn’t it?

Microsoft made a move earlier this week in court to quash ‘the Vista Capable’ case and finally bring the viewing of those tasty internal e-mails to a stop. In a BusinessWeekarticle Debra Chrapaty ,Microsoft’s VP of Global Foundation Services talked about how they are trying to catch Google in the data center race, good luck with that.

On the subject of Google, they have plans to use their Ads system to take over television as we know it according to Keval Desai, product manager for Google’s TV Ads unit. It looks like SCO may have finally really and actually have had the last nail in the coffin of their case against Novell/IBM/Linux hammered into them. Carla Schroder asks not what Linux can do for you, but what you can do for Linux in her editorial Free as in Freedom, Not Free as in Freeloader.

Sam Varghese thinks he’s got the evolution of a Linux user all figured out. For my part, I find generalizations hard to apply on an individual by individual basis. Everyone is different, I’m different, your different, Linux is different. That’s part of why Linux is as popular as it is, its different. And better of course, of course.

The Register, apparently out to save us from Ubuntu gives a very kind review of a “Rock-solid Fedora 10“. If I am not mistaken Fedora is where most new software is tested and fleshed out. For anyone wanting a “Rock-solid” Fedora, its called Red Hat.

An article asked if open source is killing developers ability to cash in or not. I can’t see how that can be true, not in the long run at least. FOSS is going to make the sale of services on the Free Software that is given away a very good job climate for developers. In the competitive market FOSS creates good developers get jobs, developers that know Free Software that is. AMD has said that it will ignore the Netbook market and now Intel is expressing its doubts too. I personally thought that VIA would have been able to make some serious headway in that area, maybe now they will have a chance.

There were a couple of articles that scratched my nostalgia itch this past week, the first one was the Honeywell Kitchen Computer which looks more like a set piece off of Buck Rogers than a recipe keeper. The other was a walk through the history of PC hardware in pictures. I don’t know about you but that mouse looks more like a grinder to me, but that’s me.

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