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Archive for July, 2009

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2009’s 10 Worst Linux Distributions: Any list of best or worst will have its opponents and proponents and I foresee that this list of worst Linux distributions will be no different. There were, at last count, almost 300 Linux distributions and they all can’t be great. But, this list of Linux distributions are, in my opinion, the worst of the lot. Beginning with the least offensive at number 10 to the least desirable at number 1, this list is a compilation of my opinions and experiences with various distributions over the past 15 years but only current distributions are included.

Another Linux Myth Killed In Broad Daylight: Now Mepis doesn’t present Network Manager on first boot. Warren has devised a pretty cool Network connection utility in Mepis so I followed the bread crumbs to the menu link and opened it. I configured the settings with a couple clicks and then started Network Manager. We were in like Flynn…pulling a fluctuating 61-73 percent signal strength for the next three hours. I couldn’t buy a wireless signal from the Windows machine.

Gone But Not Forgotten: Five Great Linux Distributions That Did Not Survive: If you looked at DistroWatch for a typical day five or six years ago you’d see a lot of familiar Linux distributions with announcements. You also would likely see some names that would be unfamiliar if you are relatively new to Linux. Currently the DistroWatch database contains 278 discontinued distributions and 36 more that are listed as dormant. Of these 314 distributions and countless others that never were listed on DistroWatch at all there are many which are probably best forgotten. There are others which were promising but for one reason or another were abandoned. A smaller number were truly exceptional but still failed to survive. This week I decided to wax nostalgic and look at five that seemed special to me at one time or another. Obviously this list is based on my personal experience. If you’ve been around Linux for a long time you might have a list of your own.

What Chrome OS has on Windows that Linux doesn’t: Google’s Chrome OS isn’t the first operating system to challenge Microsoft Windows’ commanding lead. But it’s got an advantage that other rivals such as Linux lacked: the Web. Any new operating system must attract the developers who produce the applications to make it useful. The trouble Windows challengers have had is matching the wide spectrum of software available for Windows already.

When Zeal Becomes Zealotry: A Tawdry Tale: I love zeal. Zeal is enthusiasm, it’s zest, it’s drive, it’s initiative. Zeal builds communities. Unfortunately, in some individuals, zeal turns to zealotry, and zealotry does just the opposite. This a long posting, but it provides an excellent example of what I’m talking about, and I hope you’ll take the time to read it.

The Fastest Linux Boot Yet? 1 second: The race for the fastest Linux boot has been going on for about a year at this point and now we’ve got a new winner. Embedded Linux vendor MontaVista today is announcing the demonstration of a 1 second Linux boot. In contrast the fastest production Linux releases today are in the 20-25 second range. To be fair, MontaVista’s Linux with the 1 second boot is embedded and designed specifically for the Freescale Semiconductor MPC5121e hardware built on Power Architecture technology. That’s not to say they can’t get the same performance on other architectures, it’s that is the hardware on which the first 1 second boot is being demonstrated.

File System Evangelist and Thought Leader: An Interview with Valerie Aurora: Being a special unique snowflake, I work part-time for Red Hat as a file systems developer and part-time as a science writer and Linux consultant. I love having more than one job; boredom is my greatest enemy and switching gears every week keeps me interested and entertained.

Google quietly releases open-source NX server: Amid the fanfare of last week’s Chrome OS announcement, Google quietly released an open-source NX server, dubbed Neatx, for remote desktop display. NX technology was developed by NoMachine to handle remote X Window connections and make a graphical desktop display usable over the Internet. By its own admission, Google has been looking at remote desktop technologies for “quite a while” and decided to develop Neatx because existing NX server products are either proprietary or difficult to maintain.

All About Google’s ChromeOS, by the Pundit Savant: Emery Fletcher knows just as much about Google’s ChromeOS, the reigning champion of blogware, as any other commentator in the whole world, and generously shares his baseless insightful insights with a grateful audience.

Why GNOME Do Is Built With C#: With all the recent heat generated about Mono and the C# language, it only seems appropriate to take a look at the issue from a programmer’s perspective. David Siegel talks about how he came to choose C# for writing GNOME Do.

OpenSuSE, Ubuntu, Fedora, Mandriva Benchmarks: With it being a while since we last compared many Linux distributions when it comes to their measurable desktop performance, we decided to run a new round of tests atop four of the most popular Linux distributions: OpenSuSE, Ubuntu, Fedora, and Mandriva. To see where these Linux distributions are at, we used their latest development releases and then performed all package updates as of 2009-07-15. Following that, we ran an arsenal of tests using the Phoronix Test Suite. Here are the results.

Linux Sucks: Linux is gaining momentum and people are starting to switch over to this computer operating system. I have been using GNU/Linux for years and would like to warn you about it. My consciousness wouldn’t allow me not to speak out about the OS. Linux is a free operating system that anyone can download and use.

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Microsoft to issue “Community Promise” for C# and CLI: First the big news: Microsoft will be applying the Community Promise patent licensing to both C# and the CLI. The announcement was done by Peter Galli at Microsoft over at Port25. A few months ago we approached Bob Muglia and Brian Goldfarb (@bgoldy) at Microsoft with a request to clarify the licensing situation for the ECMA standards covering C# and the CLI (also ISO standards, for the ISO loving among you). Previously Microsoft had detailed the patent license plans and today they have delivered on those plans. Astute readers will point out that Mono contains much more than the ECMA standards, and they will be correct. In the next few months we will be working towards splitting the jumbo Mono source code that includes ECMA + A lot more into two separate source code distributions. One will be ECMA, the other will contain our implementation of ASP.NET, ADO.NET, Winforms and others.

Microsoft issues patent promise, dispels Mono legal concerns: This could have significant implications for Mono, an open source implementation of .NET that is developed by Novell. Mono is being adopted by a growing number of developers and has been used to build some popular desktop Linux applications, including the Banshee music player, the Tomboy note application, the F-Spot image manager, and the GNOME-Do launcher. Several of those applications are included by default in widely-used Linux distributions, such as Ubuntu and OpenSUSE.

Netbooks Are Little Notebooks, and Linux on Netbooks Rocks: Most computer users don’t want an inflexible little Internet machine that runs only a Web browser, especially not for three or four hundred dollars or more. Something like that should come free in a box of cereal. Most want all the functionality of a full-sized notebook, only smaller, lighter, and with significantly longer battery life.

Introducing the Google Chrome [Linux – ed.] OS : It’s been an exciting nine months since we launched the Google Chrome browser. Already, over 30 million people use it regularly. We designed Google Chrome for people who live on the web — searching for information, checking email, catching up on the news, shopping or just staying in touch with friends. However, the operating systems that browsers run on were designed in an era where there was no web. So today, we’re announcing a new project that’s a natural extension of Google Chrome — the Google Chrome Operating System. It’s our attempt to re-think what operating systems should be.

Google could kneecap Microsoft with Chrome OS: It’s the announcement we’ve all be waiting for, one that Google at one point in the past said it wouldn’t make. But it did: Google will release its own PC operating system, Chrome OS, to leverage the company’s Web-based Google Apps and bypass Microsoft’s Windows operating system entirely on not just netbooks but every PC platform from the smallest ARM ultraportable to a full Intel-based desktop.

What ChromeOS is (NOT): As Devin Coldewey pointed out on a recent CrunchGear post, many people seems to be getting over-exited about the new Google ChromeOS. I think that many bloggers are making more of ChromeOS than what it actually is. Maybe it is time to sum up what Google’s new OS is and what it is not!

Review: Linux Mint 7 Is Glorious: Linux Mint 7 “Gloria” was released a little while ago, so before it became too old of news, I thought I’d take a whack at experimenting with it for the sake of netbookers everywhere (and for myself, naturally). As I type this on gedit after about two weeks’ use, let’s just say that the system on my EeePC 1000 HE is, for the most part, rather glorious– pun intended. As a bonus, I also got Google’s Chromium browser to run on it, so keep on reading to find the section on that.

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Why free software shouldn’t depend on Mono or C#: Debian’s decision to include Mono in the default installation, for the sake of Tomboy which is an application written in C#, leads the community in a risky direction. It is dangerous to depend on C#, so we need to discourage its use.

Low End Linux Netbook Prices Continue To Drop: Last month I wrote about netbooks powered by the MIPS processor, originally developed by SGI. I also pointed out that the price for the Belco Alpha 400 had dropped to $149 last December and January. That is now the regular price for the lowest of low end Linux netbooks at Geeks.com. Last week they had a special and the price dropped to $139. Believe it or not that doesn’t sound like a bargain right now. A number of vendors are closing out the much more capable Asus EeePC 900A. Geeks.com is offering it for $149, the same price as the Belco Alpha 400, and they’re throwing in an mp3 player.

What’s new in Firefox 3.5: After more than a year in development, Mozilla has finally released version 3.5 of its open source Firefox web browser. Previously intended as an incremental update, Firefox 3.5 now includes a number of welcome new features and performance improvements.

Help Me Go Mano a Mano with Microsoft: Next week, I’m taking part in a debate with a Microsoft representative about the passage of the OOXML file format through the ISO process last year. Since said Microsoftie can draw on the not inconsiderable resources of his organisation to provide him with a little back-up, I thought I’d try to even the odds by putting out a call for help to the unmatched resource that is the Linux Journal community. Here’s the background to the meeting, and the kind of info I hope people might be able to provide.

Changing the World, One Penguin at a Time: Does the idea of “advocacy” make you nervous? It does sound a bit scary, doesn’t it, like those annoying door-to-door religious people. But it’s not that way. If you’re interested in helping people learn to speak Linux, here are a few easy, non-scary tips.

London Stock Exchange to abandon failed Windows platform: Anyone who was ever fool enough to believe that Microsoft software was good enough to be used for a mission-critical operation had their face slapped this September when the LSE (London Stock Exchange)’s Windows-based TradElect system brought the market to a standstill for almost an entire day. While the LSE denied that the collapse was TradElect’s fault, they also refused to explain what the problem really wa. Sources at the LSE tell me to this day that the problem was with TradElect.

Cloned Distro’s: Why Ubuntu sucks and should be banned: To write it down clearly: I don’t like clones. There are too many distro’s out there as it is. Over the last years I have had many people ask me: I have tried Distro X, Y and Z, can you help me? Just a while back a colleague told me, I have upgraded Ubuntu and now my server won’t work, can you help me? Or constantly I get people telling me, I have tried Clone of Clone X, Y, Z, it looks nice, but then I upgraded and it hosed my system.

Why Ubuntu has become the flag bearer for Linux: It’s easy to argue that Ubuntu’s success is because there’s an unlimited supply of investment from its super-rich parent company, Canonical. But Linux isn’t like any ordinary software stack. People aren’t forced to use it, and we can all choose something else at no extra cost. Ubuntu has to be doing something right. Ubuntu’s biggest, and earliest, success has been in marketing itself. It’s become a recognisable brand, not only in the Linux community, but in the wider non-technical world. For some, the word ‘Ubuntu’ has become synonymous with Linux. And that’s a vital trick. These are people who would never have considered Linux as a viable alternative to their proprietary operating systems before the advent of Ubuntu.

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