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Archive for November, 2009

LXer Article

Open Source Poses “Huge Risk” To Organisations: A chief information officer for engineering giant General Electric (GE) has said that open source software is only suited for internal “playground” applications and that businesses that use it for mission critical infrastructure are taking a huge risk. Responding to a question from eWEEK Europe UK on the first day of the Central and Eastern European IT Leaders Summit & Expo, in Budapest, Peter Gyorgy, chief information officer of GE’s Consumer and Industrial division in Europe, said non-proprietary code presents a significant risk to companies.

Would You Accept Google’s Free Netbook?: People seem underwhelmed by Chromium OS, but maybe Google has a bigger plan: how about producing a netbook running Chromium OS, and giving it away? The small hardware costs would be covered by advertising *in the Web apps*. Would you use one?

Microsoft and Murdoch teaming up against Google?: For months, Rupert Murdoch, chairman of global media giant News Corp, has been complaining about his publications’ content showing up in Google searches. Now Microsoft is reportedly offering to pay publishers, including News Corp, to block Google searches in favor of Bing listings.

Rupert Murdoch vs. The Web: Are the fights that matter just the ones between giant companies? Doesn’t the health of the Net and the Web matter more than any commercial battles? These questions came to mind when I read How Murdoch Can Really Hurt Google And Shift The Balance Of Power In Search in TechCrunch recently. In that piece Mike Arrington supported Jason Calacanis’ suggestion that Murdoch stick it to Google by cutting an exclusive search deal with rival search engine Bing. Even Jay Rosen took the same side. (Though perhaps in jest.)

Microsoft to get exclusive access to News Corp’s content: Microsoft and Rupert Murdoch have joined forces against a common enemy. For months Mr Murdoch has been railing against the search engine Google and Microsoft wants to transform its own puny search engine Bing into a true competitor to Google. The impetus for the discussions between Microsoft and News Corporation came from News Corp. The talks have arrived at a proposed deal that will likely attract the attention of anti-trust lawyers. Under the agreement Microsoft, with its available huge war chest to fight Google, would pay News Corporation to remove its content from the Google search index.

iPhone & HTML5 bring “streaming Silverlight content” to Linux: Microsoft worked together with Apple to bring Silverlight video to the iPhone. What this solution basically does is take a video at the server side, cut it in parts and convert the parts to separate H.264 streams. Then stream those files to end users with IIS Media services. These have .ts extensions, a format mplayer understands.

The Un-Scary Screwdriver: One early spring day as we were walking home from the bakery on the corner, we passed by a neighbor and struck up a conversation. He complained about his desktop being constantly attacked by viruses. We suggested Ubuntu. A professional man in his 50s, he said he wanted to try installing a Linux distribution on his desktop but that, “it looks too complicated. I probably couldn’t install Ubuntu. I don’t want the hassle.” My little five year old daughter had been snuggled in my arms while I was talking to this neighbor. She had been listening closely. When we got home, she said, “Mom, I can install Ubuntu. I bet I can. Can I try? Can I try?”

Transparently uploading and accessing encrypted files and directories to a Cloud Service: The idea is to store ones files on a cloud (Ubuntu One), so that they remain private, using encryption, but so that they can be transparently uploaded and downloaded and accessed, as if they are unencrypted files.

How to Fix Your Relatives’ Terrible Computer: Drop your bags, grab a drink, and grab the XP CD—it’s time for the holiday ritual of fixing up your relatives’ computer. Here are some tips and downloads to keep handy while you’re cursing all the auto-starting cr@pware. For this guide, we’re going to do a bit of assuming. We’re assuming the relative with the busted computer is running a Windows system, and has an internet connection that works when the computer does. We’re assuming all the physical pieces of the computer work—hard drive, memory, disc drives, and anything else that’s crucial. We’ll also assume the computer’s in one of two states: Failing to boot and needing an OS re-installation, laden with unnecessary system tray/startup applications and/or spy/mal/ad-ware, or just needing a little optimization.

When Open Source Meets Closed Minds: Me: “How could you tell they’d hacked it?” Caller: “Well, when it booted, it didn’t say Windows or Microsoft or anything! It said something about Deviant Linux, I think, and the main screen looked nothing like my good, legal Windows screen at home! I think they hacked that, too!”

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LXer Article

First look at openSUSE 11.2 (DistroWatch Weekly #329): When Ladislav asked me last week if I’d like to review the new release of openSUSE I jumped at the opportunity. After looking at much improved releases by Ubuntu and Mandriva over the past two weeks I had very high expectations for Novell’s community distribution. The upstream problems with common Intel video and audio drivers, which created so much grief in releases from earlier in the year, seem to be solved. In my work I support Novell’s enterprise operating system offerings, including both SUSE Linux Enterprise Server and Novell NetWare. The releases of Mandriva 2010 and Ubuntu 9.10 both installed smoothly and work nearly flawlessly on my hardware. I had no reason to expect anything less than that from openSUSE.

Lunascape – The World’s First Triple Engine Browser: Web developers know the importance of testing web sites and blogs on the different web browsers available. A site/blog can look great on one browser, but if you try to access it on another one, it can probably look garbled. It’s a hassle checking a web site/blog on Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Opera, etc. What if a browser combined the three main browser types, which removed the need to open up three separate browsers? There is one – Lunascape.

Microsoft donates .NET Micro Framework to open source: Microsoft has released part of its .NET Framework – the part for internet-connected smart devices – into the open-source community. The company said on Monday that it’s releasing source code for the .NET Micro Framework under an Apache 2.0 license. Microsoft is also creating a community of “interested and involved members to help shape the future direction of the product.” The community’s web site was still under construction at time of the announcement.

The Linux consultant: The Maytag repairman of the IT world: I was enjoying football Sunday with a few fellow IT friends over the weekend. Naturally, between plays, the topics tended to veer towards that of IT. I was the lone Linux guy in the crowd, so my opinion was not the norm (I’m used to that, of course). During the course of the day I pieced a few bits of conversation together and was able to finally draw a conclusion to that age old question, “Why don’t more consultants roll out Linux?” The answer should have been obvious to me all along as I long had all of the information I needed. But after hearing what I heard from the collective mouths of an IT group with years of experience and a metro city’s worth of clients, it became all too clear why Windows is always rolled out.

Lack of Innovation a Commonality for Microsoft, Apple: Red faces all around at Redmond last week when Microsoft got caught distributing a utility to create bootable USB drives and DVD backup media from downloaded Windows 7 ISOs. There’s nothing wrong with the company’s USB/DVD Download Tool in and of itself, apart from the awkward fact (discovered by Rafael Rivera) that it contained code borrowed from an open source project originally made available under the GPLv2. As such, Microsoft should have made the source code for its tool available, and most certainly shouldn’t have offered it under the license terms it did.

Why ‘Free as in Freedom’ is More Important Than Ever for Linux Users: Bruce Byfield wonders why isn’t “free as in freedom” more important to more Linux users? Is it all about free as in free of cost, or “free as in freeloader”?

Linux Bug #1: Bad Documentation: The Internet and Google have made FOSS developers lazy because they have made it too easy to abdicate the job of proper documentation to “The community.” Telling users and potential contributors to use Google, mailing lists, and forums is not documentation. It’s a way to guarantee having fewer users, unhappy users, and fewer contributors.

Droid by Motorola sales hit 250K: Verizon Wireless sold 250,000 units of its Droid by Motorola phone, according to eWEEK, which has also given the Droid a rave review. Meanwhile, the rumor of a Google-branded Android phone refuses to die, Palm’s CEO trash-talks the Droid, and tomorrow Google will unveil its Linux-based Chrome OS, say various reports.

Heard at the Ubuntu Developer Summit: Goodbye GIMP, hello … nothing – and why every Linux user should consider gThumb over F-Spot: The OMG!Ubuntu blog reports on the decision, however preliminary, at the Ubuntu Developer Summit in Dallas to remove the GIMP image editor from the 10.04 Lucid LTS release of the wildly popular Linux distribution. Those assembled seem to think that GIMP is not used enough and is not consumery enough. And that the F-Spot photo manager can do basic photo editing and is much better for the average user. Oh, do I have bones — plural — to pick over this one.

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LXer Article

Openoffice.org present their own mouse- OOMouse: Is not a Joke, OpenofficeMouse is available, OOMouse is the first multi-button application mouse designed for a wide variety of software applications. With a revolutionary and patented design featuring 18 buttons, an analog joystick, and support for as many as 52 key commands

Where is the Linux desktop going?: While I like the Linux desktop a lot, I don’t pretend that it’s that popular. That’s why I found it fascinating that, despite everything Microsoft has been able to throw at it, desktop Linux still managed to claim 32% of the netbook market. And Microsoft has thrown everything but the kitchen sink at desktop Linux. For example, the Redmond giant has strong-armed vendors into not selling Linux-powered netbooks; lied about Linux sales; and all but gave XP Home away to keep vendors from including Linux instead . Despite all that, it seems, according to ABI Research, that desktop Linux has actually grown in the last year.

Canonical’s Jono Bacon on the agony, ecstacy of Ubuntu Karmic – and my rant on the state of Linux today: Jono Bacon goes on at length at his blog on the contrast between the euphoria over the release of Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala) and the reports of problems by users. Read the 10 or so entries below this one and you can see the problems I’ve had. It’s time to put this in perspective. I’ve had plenty of problems with all manner of Linux and other Unix-like operating systems over the past few years. Given all the hardware that a modern OS must contend with (and I’ll include Windows in that number since it runs – or is supposed to, anyway – on a wide variety of hardware), there’s bound to be breakage.

Go: A New Programming Language from Google: Google has launched Go, a new systems programming language born with concurrency, simplicity, and performance in mind. Go is open source and its syntax is similar to C, C++ and Python. It uses an expressive language with pointer but no pointer arithmetic. It is type safe and memory safe.

Microsoft Patents Sudo?!!: Lordy, lordy, lordy. They have no shame. It appears that Microsoft has just patented sudo, a personalized version of it. Here it is, patent number7617530. Thanks, USPTO, for giving Microsoft, which is already a monopoly, a monopoly on something that’s been in use since 1980 and wasn’t invented by Microsoft. Here’s Wikipedia’s description of sudo, which you can meaningfully compare to Microsoft’s description of its “invention”. This is why what the US Supreme Court does about software patents means so much. Hopefully they will address the topic in their decision on Bilski. Sudo is an integral part of the functioning of GNU/Linux systems, and you use it in Mac OSX also. Maybe the Supreme Court doesn’t know that, and maybe the USPTO didn’t realize it. But do you believe Microsoft knows it?

Propose a name for Fedora 13: We have to wait some days to come out at last the final version of Fedora 12 Constantine and Redhat has already opened the particular name selection process for the next version (Fedora 13).

Eva’s useful guide to Ubuntu 9.10 (updated!): Finally an exhaustive guide for Ubuntu 9.10 aimed at end-users. This is the third version of Eva’s useful guide – the previous ones had a great success. Give it a look!

130 mph Linux Motorcycle : It’s big, black, fast and appeals to Linux and motorcycle fans alike: the new E-motorcycle TTX02 from Mavizen.

Study Shows Linux at 30% of Netbook Market: After Asus added Windows XP to its netbooks, euphoria in the Linux camp soon abated. However, it proved to be a misplaced hangover.

How to Play Classic Console Games in Linux: If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you grew up with classic video game consoles like the NES and Sega Genesis. For years Windows users have been enjoying high quality game emulation software, but many of the Linux options have been buggy or incomplete. It’s time to take a look at where things stand when it comes to playing console games in Linux. Here at MakeTechEasier, we’ve touched on console game emulation here and there, but never done a guide covering multiple systems. Today, we’ll show you how to run games for NES, SNES, Genesis, original Playstation, and Dreamcast. Before we begin, it’s important to note one thing right up front – many console manufacturers do not look kindly on emulation, and some emulators require proprietary software (like the game system BIOS) in order to run. Because of the legal grey area occupied by some of this software, there may be some files or programs for which MTE cannot provide links, such as the actual game files (commonly called ROMS).

Google’s Go – A new open source language: Google has announced Go, a new, experimental, open source language which it says combines the development speed of dynamic languages such as Python with the performance and safety of a compiled language like C or C++. The new language has its roots in a discussion beween Rob Pike , Ken Thompson and Robert Griesemer in 2007. Frustration with exisiting languages for systems programming drove them to consider what a new language, that addressed systems developers, would look like. By January 2008, Thompson had begun work on a compiler and since the middle of 2008, Go has become a full time project and has been taking contributions of ideas and code from within Google.

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LXer Article

Open source? No good for cost cutting, say CIOs: Because it lacks the expensive licensing that is often the hallmark of proprietary software, open source is regularly touted as a way for IT departments to make their budget stretch a little bit further and it has already enjoyed considerable success in certain areas of the enterprise, such as web servers. However, when asked if they had chosen open source software as a way of cutting their costs during the recession, just two of the 12-strong jury said yes. In contrast, several CIOs said the costs of migrating to open source and the associated expenditure on retraining staff serve as a disincentive for adoption.

Windows 7 may stop the bleeding, but won’t change the endgame: It goes almost without saying that the release of Windows 7 is important for Microsoft to stem the tide of customer dissatisfaction with Vista, which has been extremely damaging to the Microsoft brand, and has caused it to lose users to both the Macintosh and Linux.

Linux frequently asked questions for newbies: Many Linux users pride themselves on being highly technical geeks. And, while that’s great for finding people to contribute code patches to projects, it means that a lot of first-time Linux users get branded a “newbie” and are made to feel stupid when they ask fundamental questions about things we take for granted. To be blunt, that situation sucks. If people have honest questions about Linux, we need to be helping them find answers, and we need to do so without sarcastic comments, without “RTFM” and without telling people “just use Google.”

Mark Shuttleworth: 10 Thoughts On Ubuntu 9.10: During an Oct. 26 phone briefing today, Canonical CEO Mark Shuttleworth described the Ubuntu 9.10 desktop, server and cloud strategy to members of the IT media. WorksWithU tuned in and posed some key questions to Shuttleworth. Here are 10 highlights from the call.

In Industry First, Voting Machine Company to Publish Source Code: Sequoia Voting Systems plans to publicly release the source code for its new optical scan voting system, the company announced Tuesday — a remarkable reversal for a voting machine maker long criticized for resisting public examination of its proprietary systems.

Android ported to PowerPC: Freescale Semiconductor says it is now accepting orders for a hardware/software platform for developing Android applications on Power Architecture PowerQUICC and QorIQ processors. The initial MPC8536E-ADK Android platform, which combines an Android runtime developed by Mentor Graphics and a board based on the PowerQUICC III MPC8536E, appears to be the first Android port to the PowerPC.

Linux gaming: It’s not all bad: Linux users deserve gaming love too. Linux users are often given the cold shoulder by gaming companies, and have to resort to running emulators to play most titles. There are however numerous examples of successful mainstream titles that have found a happy home with Linux gamers.

F-Spot Considered Harmful: There is a good possibility that every photo you’ve imported to F-Spot has had its EXIF date tags altered without your permission and without F-Spot informing you that it has done so.

Ubuntu “Stick” Blues – or USB for short: There could be several reasons why your PC doesn’t have a CD-ROM. For example, the next scenario:

  • 1) You damaged the mobo fan while hoovering dust,
  • 2) The new fan you bought featured adhesive tape which didn’t last at 60 degrees (C), and an iron cord didn’t fix it, causing the fan to fall of,
  • 3) The northbridge burned,
  • 4) The new ‘green’ AMD780G mobo you bought could not facilitate both your CD-ROM and IDE drives,
  • 5) Given your IDE drives were part of a RAID array, you decided not to connect your CD-ROM drives.

OK, your reasons will probably be different, but these are mine. “Not a problem” I thought. “After all, it’s 2009. Who needs CD-ROMs anyway?” The answer is: Mandriva, Gentoo, Tinycore and even Windows 7 don’t, but Debian derived stuff does. It makes your life really hard, while Ubuntu is meant to make your life as a human being simple.

2009 Linux Graphics Survey: For the past two years we have hosted an annual Linux Graphics Survey in which we ask well over 20,000 users each time their video card preferences, driver information, and other questions about their view of the Linux graphics stack. This year we are hosting the survey once again to allow the development community to get a better understanding of the video hardware in use, what open-source and closed-source drivers are being used, and other relevant information that will help them and the Linux community.

Linux frequently asked questions for newbies: Many Linux users pride themselves on being highly technical geeks. And, while that’s great for finding people to contribute code patches to projects, it means that a lot of first-time Linux users get branded a “newbie” and are made to feel stupid when they ask fundamental questions about things we take for granted. To be blunt, that situation sucks. If people have honest questions about Linux, we need to be helping them find answers, and we need to do so without sarcastic comments, without “RTFM” and without telling people “just use Google.”

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