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Archive for September, 2009

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eyeOS: Your Own Private Linux Cloud that You Control (part 1): Cloud computing is a relativity new computing concept where resources are provided via the Internet instead of on the local computer or network. It’s virtualization over the Internet. Eric Geier introduces eyeOS, the do-it-yourself cloud that keeps control in your hands.

Why virus writers are turning to open source: Malware developers are going open source in an effort to make their malicious software more useful to fraudsters. By giving criminal coders free access to malware that steals financial and personal details, the malicious software developers are hoping to expand the capabilities of old Trojans. According to Candid Wuest, threat researcher with security firm Symantec, around 10 percent of the Trojan market is now open source.

IBM Linux chief: Chasing desktop Windows a ‘dead-end’: IBM says that battling for desktop market share against Windows is a “dead-end” for Linux. Bob Sutor, IBM’s vp of open source and Linux for IBM, opened the inaugural LinuxCon conference held in Portland, Oregon on Monday with predictions for the open source desktop, telling developers they won’t thrive unless they specialize. Given his connections to Big Blue, Sutor unsurprisingly (and justifiably) praised Linux for its cloud, mainframe, and hardware-specific ubiquity. But he opined that winning hearts in the general market is a different story altogether.

The Possible Futures of the Linux Desktop: What is the future of the Linux desktop? According to Bob Sutor, vice president of open source and Linux at IBM (NYSE: IBM), it’s not about dominating the desktop landscape or being a drop-in replacement for Microsoft Windows. In fact, during his keynote at the LinuxCon conference today, Sutor said he doesn’t see Linux ever dominating the desktop space. “I think trying to make it a complete drop-in replacement is a dead-end strategy,” Sutor said. “They’ve got a little bit more money, and even more important than that is they’ve got the market share and the mind share.”

Linus calls Linux ‘bloated and huge’: Linux creator Linus Torvalds says the open source kernel has become “bloated and huge,” with no midriff-slimming diet plan in sight. During a roundtable discussion at LinuxCon in Portland, Oregon this afternoon, moderator and Novell distinguished engineer James Bottomley asked Tovalds whether Linux kernel features were being released too fast, before the kernel is stabilized. Citing an internal Intel study that tracked kernel releases, Bottomley said Linux performance had dropped about two per centage points at every release, for a cumulative drop of about 12 per cent over the last ten releases. “Is this a problem?” he asked. “We’re getting bloated and huge. Yes, it’s a problem,” said Torvalds.

Microsoft accused of ‘ulterior motive’ in Linux patent sale: Does the troll-blocking organization that recently secured a set of supposedly Linux-related patents from Microsoft need sizing for a penguin-shaped tinfoil hat? Or was the IP sale really Redmond’s secret scheme to “create fear, uncertainty, and doubt” in the open-source community?

Mr. Torvalds, Shrink That Kernel: Linus Torvalds, creator of the Linux kernel, said at the LinuxCon in Portland yesterday that, “We are not the streamlined, small, hyper-efficient kernel I envisioned 15 years ago,” he said. “Our kernel is huge and bloated. Whenever we add a new feature, it only gets worse.” It’s time to put Linux on a diet. What we need is a very small kernel that loads support via external files. Though Linux is a modular kernel, it seems that everything gets compiled in to the central code slug but I have a solution.

Ellison: No MySQL spin off: Larry Ellison, CEO of Oracle, has made it clear that he is not prepared to spin off Sun’s MySQL business in an attempt to placate the European Commission investigation of competition issues with Oracle’s planned acquisition of Sun. The deal has already been approved by US authorities and Ellison thinks that the European Commission will follow saying “I think once they do their job, they’re going to come to the same conclusion”.

Does the Linux desktop need to be popular?: Does Linux desktop even need to be popular? There are, shall we say, differing options among the open source cognoscenti gathered in Portland, Oregon this week for the annual LinuxCon. For the last eight years, we’ve been told it’s the year of the Linux desktop. Yet penetration figures have remained somewhere in the region of 0 to 1 per cent. The top brass at the Linux Foundation don’t seem particularly interested in desktop uptake these days. They prefer to press towards successes in end-user device and mobile phone markets rather than worrying about turning hearts against Windows and OS X.

Bob Sutor – Here Are Your “Dead Ends”: Hey…slip off that 1000 dollar suit Bob and change into jeans and a t-shirt, swap out those Gucci loafers for a pair of 25 dollar sneakers and spend some time with me. I’m going to show you why Linux on the Desktop is anything but a dead end. Meet just a few of those that would call you “disconnected” for your statements.

Microsoft and Intel port Silverlight to Linux: Intel and Microsoft have announced a new port of Silverlight to Linux, specifically for the Intel-sponsored Moblin operating system running on Atom-powered devices such as netbooks. The port enables Intel to include Silverlight as a supported runtime in the Atom Developer Program, which will feed an iPhone-like App Store. Microsoft has already provided Intel with Silverlight source code and test suites. Intel will build an optimized Moblin version of Silverlight, which Microsoft will supply to OEMs. There are a couple of surprising aspects to the announcement. One is that a Linux implementation of Silverlight already exists, the open source Moonlight project. We asked Microsoft’s Brian Goldfarb, director of the Developer Platform Group, why Moonlight was not being used for Atom devices.

Microsoft: Google Chrome Frame makes IE less secure: The release of Google Chrome Frame, a new open source plugin that injects Chrome’s renderer and JavaScript engine into Microsoft’s browser, earlier this week had many web developers happily dancing long through the night. Finally, someone had found a way to get Internet Explorer users up to speed on the Web. Microsoft, on the other hand, is warning IE users that it does not recommend installing the plugin. What does the company have against the plugin? It makes Internet Explorer less secure.

Could Windows 7 Lead Us From Recession: It’s always hard to believe pre-release hype where Microsoft is concerned, but if Windows 7 is as stable as early reports suggest, it could mean more companies bent on using Microsoft anyway, will make the switch, and when they do chances are they’ll need to upgrade their hardware. And that could be an economic boost.

Flip Flops Are Evil: It’s always interesting, as well as incredibly frustrating, when a company takes a stand on an issue and then switches back and forth based on what best suits it on any particular day. There’s a word for taking a stand against something and then doing it yourself, but we’re not going to use that word. More than a few people have been using it to describe a growing feud between two of the biggest names from the old order and the new.

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Does Microsoft Have an Open Source Strategy Any More?: Whenever I write about Microsoft here I usually get a few comments asking me, with varying degrees of politeness, why I am wasting electrons on this subject on a site devoted to GNU/Linux. The reason I do this – and why I am about to do it again – is that whether we like it or not, Microsoft remains probably the single most important external factor in the free software world. It’s useful, therefore, to try to understand what exactly the company’s open source strategy is, in order to head off some of its worst aspects, and to build on any positive elements. The trouble is, I don’t think Microsoft has an open source strategy any more.

Five Best Virtual-Desktop Managers: Long before multiple monitors were popular (or financially feasible), there were virtual desktops—applications that allow you to swap your entire workspace with another for easy compartmentalization of your work. Here’s a look at five of the most popular virtual-desktop managers.

Botnet of Linux Servers with Dynamic IP Discovered: A Russian Web developer has found a network of a couple of hundred Linux servers that could distribute malware to Windows systems.

Linux users show their love for indie game: Indie game developer Koonsolo just revealed some surprising sales statistics on the Linux version of their game. 7 months ago they released their game ‘Mystic Mine’, and in that time the Linux version sold more copies than the version for Windows. Yet they get plenty more website visits from Windows users.

De-Programming Windows Refugees: Now Linux is the easiest of all operating systems to use, and yet anguish abounds in the land. Too hard! Too hard! Make it easier! What the heck happened?

FSF Publish New List Of Truly Free Linux Distributions: Whoever thought that Debian, Ubuntu or Fedora consist solely of free software would be wrong. The new list compiled by the Free Software Foundation showing truly free distributions has a mere nine entries.

Opinion: Sexism is Alive and Well in Linux/FOSS: The official mythology of FOSS states that it is a meritocracy, and that only the code matters. The reality is not nearly so happy. On September 19th, the GNOME Foundation and the Free Software Foundation will host a mini-summit on women in FOSS. Will it do any good? How much of a problem is it really?

Switching to Linux: A Windows developer’s view: A few weeks ago, I switched my development environment from Windows to Linux, on a project which was developed so far on Windows only. In this post, I want to describe the issues that brought me to this switch, a short overview how I did the actual port, and some observations on Linux for developers. This is the first post in a series of at least two, the second post will describe the tools I use on Linux right now.

10 important Security and privacy addons for Firefox: Security while surfing on the net is important, with firefox you can get more security by using security and privacy addons, here is a list of 10 security and privacy addons.

Tropic of Vector – a blog devoted to Vector Linux Light, plus the Vector Linux Cookbook of Common Tasks: A comment in one of my “backup” blogs (i.e. little used and just sitting there … waiting) alerted me to a new blog, Tropic of Vector, which chronicles one guy’s effort to find the right operating system for a Pentium III-era laptop. After trying everything from Xubuntu down to Puppy and Damn Small Linux, he settled on Vector Linux Light, which aims to make the already resource-sparing Vector Linux run even better with slower CPUs and smaller memory footprints.

Old Operating Systems Don’t Die…: Now this is good tech news in its purest form: After eight years of development, a new operating system called Haiku has been released in alpha form. It’s an open-source reconstruction of BeOS, the mean, lean, multimedia-savvy OS which I really liked when I reviewed it for PC World, um, eleven years ago. (If I recall correctly, I compared it with Windows 98 and an early version of Red Hat Linux.) It’s certainly a happier development than we’re accustomed to hearing about BeOS, a product which failed to become the next-generation Mac OS back in the 1990s and was then sold to Palm for a measly $11 million, whereupon it pretty much vanished except for the occasional legal aftershock.

Mozilla Firefox Not In Violation of U.S Government Export Rules: While the Internet may know no borders, the U.S Government does. There are a number of rules including encryption export regulations from the U.S Department of Commerce and export sanctions by the Department of Treasury that affect software vendors. But what do you do when your application is open source and freely available to anyone in the world? Do the same the rules apply? It’s a question that Mozilla asked the U.S government about. The answer they received could have profound implications not just for Firefox but for all open source software vendors. “We really couldn’t accept the notion that these government rules could jeopardize the participatory nature of an open source project so we sought to challenge it,” Harvey Anderson VP and General Counsel of Mozilla told InternetNews.com. “We argued that First Amendment free speech rights would prevail in this scenario. The government took our filing and then we got back a no violation letter which is fantastic.”

Undead COBOL celebrates (another) 50th birthday: COBOL is celebrating its 50th birthday. Or at least the name is. In May 1959, during a meeting at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., the US Department of Defense organized a committee charged with developing a “short range” approach to a common business computing language. And on September 18th of that year, the new Short Range Committee coined the name COBOL, short for Common Business-Oriented Language.

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Linux Course: Understanding the GRUB Bootloader: This course provides a basic understanding of GRUB and gives you some illustrations on how to secure it and fix several common problems. GRUB stands for Grand Unified Bootloader and was created in 1995 by Erich Boleyn as he wanted to have a multiboot option. Intel based motherboards must be started with a 16-bit operating system because of a limitation to 640 kilobytes of RAM at startup. GRUB is used to facilitate the 16-bit requirement and load the 32-bit Linux kernel. The AMD CMOS is 64-bit so it can load the 64-bit kernel for Linux. In order for GRUB to work it must use a three step process on CentOS.

New Anti-Linux Propaganda from Microsoft : Screenshots obviously conditioning PC sales personnel to lie about Linux have been discovered in a US forum hosting Windows 7 training modules.

Red Hat hypervisor tools to run on Windows only: Open-source company Red Hat will initially offer its hypervisor management tools for Windows systems only. Paul Cormier, Red Hat’s president of products and technologies, told ZDNet Asia’s sister site, ZDNet UK at a press conference last week that the hypervisor management software for desktops and servers, which is due out before the end of the year, will be available only for systems running Microsoft’s proprietary operating system.

OpenOffice.org: The Limits of Readability and Grammar Extensions: OpenOffice.org: The limits of readability and grammar extensions As a professional writer, my software needs are simple. Give me a text editor — preferrably Bluefish, but vim or OpenOffice.org Writer will do — and I have all I need. However, judging by the number of aids available for writers, I am obviously in the minority. Novel-plotting databases, daily word counters, character generators — if you can imagine the software, you can probably find at least one example. I am fascinated by all the ingenuity, but most of the time I conclude that, if you know enough to use any of these tools without them leading you into greater difficulties, you can do without them. The OpenOffice.org extensions Readability Report and Language Tool are two applications that illustrate my point perfectly.

Opinion: Is Novell Selling FUD or Linux?: Companies with inferior products are often tempted to create Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt. Paul Rubens wonder if Novell’s FUD campaign a sign of a company that is afraid of the truth.

Ingo Molnar Tests New BF Scheduler: Kernel developer Ingo Molnar has done a benchmark test to compare his Completely Fair Scheduler (CFS) with the recently released BFS from Australian Con Kolivas.

Protecting Linux from Microsoft (Yes, Microsoft Got Caught): Earlier this week, the Wall Street Journal’s Nick Wingfield broke a story on Microsoft selling a group of patents to a third party. The end result of this story is good for Linux, even though it doesn’t placate fears of ongoing attacks by Microsoft. Open Invention Network, working with its members and the Linux Foundation, pulled off a coup, managing to acquire some of the very patents that seem to have been at the heart of recent Microsoft FUD campaigns against Linux. Break out your white hats: the good guys won.

OLPC News Exclusive: XO-1.5 Laptop Debut and Speed Test vs. Overclocked XO-1 Laptop: Tonight we experienced a world premier – the XO-1.5 laptop from OLPC debuted at the OLPC Learning Club DC – and we broadcast it live via OLPC News on Twitter. This newest laptop from OLPC features the VIA C7-M a 1GHz variable speed processor, which SJ Klein of OLPC says will empower learning in several key ways..

Five Features We Want to See in Ubuntu: Ubuntu isn’t the only Linux operating system, but it’s where the dream of a usable, completely free desktop is closest to reality. If every Ubuntu developer were assembled at one place, here are five things we’d ask them to accomplish.

Microsoft Start Their Own Open Source Foundation: The CodePlex Foundation, a non-profit foundation formed with the mission of enabling the exchange of code and understanding among software companies and open source communities, launched today, September 10, 2009. Incorporated as a 501.c6 non-profit, the CodePlex Foundation was created as a forum in which open source communities and the software development community can come together with the shared goal of increasing participation in open source community projects. The CodePlex Foundation will complement existing open source foundations and organizations, providing a forum in which best practices and shared understanding can be established by a broad group of participants, both software companies and open source communities. Initial funding for the Foundation comes from Microsoft Corporation.

LifeHacker and Ubuntu: A Response: Recently LifeHacker had an article talking about five things they would like to see in Ubuntu. The article is very supportive of Ubuntu, and we appreciate that LifeHacker folks, and I wanted to follow up with a few notes about each of the five areas they focused on, particularly with relation to the recently released Alpha 5 development snapshot of the up-and-coming Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala.

IBM Throws Out Microsoft Office : 360.000 IBM workers have been told to stop using Microsoft Office and switch to the Open Office-based software Symphony.

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