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Archive for April, 2010

LXer Article

In this week’s LXWR we have Oracle charging for Sun’s ODF plug-in, Stallman reconsiders his existence, Steve Jobs tells people who want porn to buy an Android, a farewell to Songbird and much more. Enjoy!

Richard Stallman: “I Wished I Had Killed Myself” : Richard Stallman seems an unstoppable force of nature, constantly fighting for the things he believes in. And yet in a new interview he says: “I have certainly wished I had killed myself when I was born.”

Oracle start charging for Sun’s Office ODF plug-in: In 2007, Sun released the Sun ODF Plugin for Microsoft Office, as a closed source but free application which allowed Microsoft Office users to export and import documents in Open Document Format. Although the Oracle site still, at the time of writing, offers the software for free with the tagline “Get it now: FREE”, users clicking through will find that Oracle are now charging $90, per user, for a right-to-use license for the plug-in and offering support costing $19.80 per user for the first year. Oracle also requires a minimum order of 100 licenses, which means the minimum purchase is $9,000.

Steve Jobs: Folks who want porn can buy an Android: When questioned about Apple’s role as moral police in the App Store, Jobs responds that “we do believe we have a moral responsibility to keep porn off the iPhone.” Better, is what he said next: “Folks who want porn can buy and [sic] Android phone.“

Is The Linux Brand Poisoned?: I queried 109 people. People who either owned, managed or worked as Executive Assistants to those in small to medium-sized businesses. And for full disclosure, there were 144 businesses or people I approached that would not take part in this survey. Of that 109 that did, I asked each of them a few simple questions: The first one being…”What is Linux?”

Farewell Songbird, We Hardly Knew Ye: Songbird, the popular open source cross platform music player, has decided to dump support for Linux. Such a move could be fatal and here’s why.

8 of the best tiny Linux distros: There are plenty of reasons for wanting a low-resource distro running on your computer. Maybe you have some ancient hardware that you need to breathe new life into. Perhaps you want something that will fit on a modestly sized memory stick. Or it might be that you want to run 200 virtual machines simultaneously on your desktop. The important things that we’ll look at here are the amount of space needed, how much processing power is required to get the distro running at an acceptable level, and the effort required to get it to work.

A Linux Client at Work: If you didn’t already know, I am in the computer repair business. Normally, people come in with either PCs or Macs, and request repairs that are really rather simple. Occasionally, I’m called on to do large installations, or set up servers, but that’s rare. What’s even more rare is having a Linux client. I did just happen to get one though. The first I’ve ever had.

Jon ‘maddog’ Hall’s Picks for Today’s Six Best OSS Projects: You would think that writing a blog entry on “Hot New OSS Projects” would not be that difficult. All you should have to do is go to SourceForge or Freshmeat and see what projects are being downloaded, or at least accessed, and write about them. Or, hangout on Slashdot or LinuxDevices.com and see what cool things are being shown and talked about. These days you can even read the mainstream media about Linux products and projects. And of course there is the Linux.com site with its news feeds, discussion groups and projects. All of these would have been “too easy” for maddog, so of course he had to do the unthinkable and ask his eclectic group of Linux User Group (LUG) members what they thought were “Hot, New OSS Projects.” The first message that came back from the “call for thoughts” was: “What do you mean by OSS project?” followed by “What do you mean by new?” and (of course) “

10 Linux commands for beginners: Most Linux distributions include attractive graphical interfaces, but you can do a lot more from the command line interface once you know your way around. For tasks like controlling and monitoring the distro’s underlying system, the command line remains indispensable.

When Copyright Goes Bad – documentary: Ben Cato Clough and Luke Upchurch’s “When Copyright Goes Bad” (from Consumers International) is a great, 15-minute mini-documentary on what copyright can do, what it is doing, and what it needs to stop doing. Appearances by Fred Von Lohmann – Electronic Frontier Foundation; Michael Geist – University of Ottawa Law School; Jim Killock – Open Rights Group; and Hank Shocklee – Co-founder of Public Enemy.

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LXer Article

This week its all about choosing, switching, installing and migrating to Linux along with the question; Can I be a Windows, Apple, Linux, and Google guy all at once? Also, Microsoft wants to play the Open Source game, why iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad Owners should use Linux and why I Want My Daughter to be a Hacker. Enjoy!

Can I be a Windows, Apple, Linux, and Google guy all at once?: I’m having an identity crisis. Regular readers of both this blog and my Education blog will know that I border on being a Google fanboi and Linux tends to work its way into my computer passions as well. I work almost constantly in the cloud and Linux obviously provides a cheap, stable platform for whatever I want to do online. My primary desktop and exclusive web and file server platforms? Ubuntu. Google Apps makes my life easy in my day job and manages virtually all of my communication needs in and out of work. However…

How Canonical Can Do Ubuntu Right: It Isn’t a Technical Problem: I knew in advance that venting my frustrations with Ubuntu in the form of an article yesterday would stir up a hornet’s nest. […] So far, with only a very few exceptions, the comments and discussion around my criticism of Ubuntu has been respectful and on topic, even when people strongly disagreed with me. This says something very positive about the Ubuntu community. Having read all the comments I’d like to clarify my thoughts on the subject. First and foremost, with all my criticism of Ubuntu, I am not questioning the competence or the expertise of the developers at Canonical. Far from it. As I pointed out in the article the folks behind Ubuntu have proven they are capable of delivering a quality product. That isn’t at issue.

Why iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad Owners Should Use Linux: For a long time, using an iPhone with Linux was a complete no go. With a jailbroken phone, you could mount it over a wireless connection using fuse, and then sync music your music that way – but syncing an entire music collection via wifi? No thanks. However, thanks to some rather clever folk, there’s a new solution that gives you access to a whole lot of your iPhone functions on Linux “natively”.

I’m running the Ubuntu 10.04 beta: I guess it was bound to happen sooner or later. I needed to get the laptop back into usable shape, and I did that by installing Ubuntu 10.04 LTS beta 2. While trying to do an update on my FreeBSD 7.3-release installation, well into the third day of the system building everything from source, I stopped that upgrade and tried to do one from packages only. Nope, it didn’t work.

Microsoft Plays the Open Source Software Game: Microsoft has been busy these past few days reminding the world that it really is an organization of monstrous proportions and its tendrils reach from the humblest consumer desktop right up to the level of super-computing. Its message is clear: The company has no intention of giving up any of the markets in which it competes to open source operating systems like Linux — at least not without the mother of all fights.

How to switch your small or home office to Linux: With Linux and free software making a name for itself in the world of big business, many people are testing the feasibility of switching small and home office software to their open source equivalents. Regardless of how you feel about the Linux desktop, this is one area in which Linux can have a real impact, both financially and productively, and any small or home office has the potential to be transformed by just switching one application or two to their open source equivalents.

Are you ready to switch to Linux?: You’ve heard of Linux but are you ready to make the switch from Windows? Tired of Windows? Ready to look for an alternative? As a desktop user there are really only two options: Linux or Mac OS X. The second pretty much requires that you buy some Apple hardware before you can run it. Linux, on the other hand, will run on most hardware, even some of the older hardware that lurks around homes and offices. Linux is also free to download so you can try it out before having to spend any money.

Linux Foundation Head Says OS Can Be ‘Fabulous and Free’: Where is Linux headed? That’s a question the Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation, is focused on as his organization gears up for the Linux Collaboration Summit this week. In Zemlin’s view, Linux is strategically placed at the intersection of a number of major IT trends that will serve to bolster adoption of the open source operating system. With the increasing growth of the mobile web and cloud services, Zemlin thinks Linux will end up the big winner.

How to Install Google Go in Ubuntu: What do you get when you mix Python and C? According to Google, it’s Go – a new programming language developed in-house and later open sourced. Go was created by a small team inside Google, including the well known Ken Thompson, co-inventor of Unix and major influence on C. It was created out of a lack of satisfaction with existing languages, mainly the excessively (in the minds of Go’s developers) long compile times needed for other languages. With Go, even a very large and complex application can compile in a few seconds, often less. Additionally, Go has built in concurrency support, so you can code for multiple CPUs without resorting to outside libraries of unknown quality. While we don’t usually cover much programming here at MakeTechEasier, Go is such an interesting language that we just had to dip in a bit, and where better to start than by covering the system setup needed to get Go up and running on your Linux box.

Choosing Open Source Solutions: Part of my job is finding and testing open sourced solutions for already prominent commercially available software. The concept is simple: If it’s open sourced, it can be customized, be platform independent, and it can be free. In the business world, this poses two key benefits. Having software that can be customized means fewer problems and more functionality. Getting it for free means lower cost for the services we provide to our customers, and having more money to spend on employees and infrastructure. As simple as this sounds, finding the right fit can be a laborious task of trial and error. Part of my job is minimizing the trial and error.

Inside a Migration: Ms. Z. Arsenault is an IT consultant working in the depths of a large North American energy company. She’s one of those brave souls who works away in the background, keeping the servers running, making sure all the pieces fall properly into place so when the employees wander in each morning their applications run as expected. It’s often a busy job just keeping things on a steady path. But Ms. Arsenault and her team aren’t just maintaining the status quo, they’re also trying to improve performance and cut costs while maintaining a stable environment for the end user. This week I had the opportunity to talk with Ms. Arsenault about what’s she’s been up to in the depths of corporate IT.

Why I Want My Daughter to be a Hacker: “Let’s define what I mean by the term “hacker” first. There is so much FUD out there around this term. Large controlling institutions want you to fear hackers, want you to think the hacker mindset is dangerous. This could not be farther from the truth. Hackers are simply empowered individuals that want to figure things out for themselves.” … “1. Hackers are not consumer lemmings – As large institutions continue to brainwash American citizens into becoming slaves to the systems they’ve created”…

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LXer Article

This week we have Jim Zemlin and SJVN weighing in on IBM’s supposed breaking of their own pledge to open source many of their patents. Are HP and Dell giving up on netbooks? What will come after Linux? Jack Wallen sees the future, a review of Tiny Me and much more in this week’s LXWR.

Are HP and Dell giving up on netbooks?
: Faced with disappointing sales, HP and Dell are scaling back investments in 10-inch netbooks, with HP possibly quitting the format entirely, according to DigiTimes. Other motivators were said to include expectations for re-invigorated sales of larger, more expensive notebooks fueled by a recovering economy.

I have seen the future, and it is GNOME 3
: Today I finally managed to get GNOME Shell installed so I could get a preview of what is to come on the Linux desktop (at least through the eyes of GNOME). This new GNOME will arrive sometime this year (2010) and will, I promise you, change the way you use your desktop. Finally someone has looked at the current desktop metaphor and said “It’s over!” Think about it, the current paradigm has been in play since, when, Windows 95? Earlier you say? CDE? Let’s stick with Windows 95, because that really solidified the whole “taskbar, start button, icons, notification try” metaphor in the eyes of the public. Well, public, that is about to change – drastically.

IBM breaks OSS patent promise, targets mainframe emulator: IBM is threatening to pursue legal action against TurboHercules, a company that sells services relating to the open source Hercules project, an emulator that allows conventional computers with mainstream operating systems to run software that is designed for IBM System Z mainframe hardware. In a letter that IBM mainframe CTO Mark Anzani recently sent to TurboHercules, Big Blue says that it has “substantial concerns” that the Hercules project infringes on its patents. The letter is a brusque half-page, but was sent with nine additional pages that list a “non-exhaustive” selection of patents that IBM believes are infringed by the open source emulator.

Top 5 most useful commands or tools for Linux administrators: There are plenty such tools which are definitely very useful for Linux admins. Here I am just trying to figure out 5 of such useful tools which are used by a normal Linux administrator in day to day operations. A tool which I think is most useful may not fit in your usage and its definitely possible that you know some awesome tool which I forgot to include here, for such case, I am requesting hereby to please mention the tool in comments. One more thing, I am mentioning here tools which are somewhat optional and not absolutely required for everybody and excluding tool which have no viable alternative and every Linux admin have to use them.. such as SSH, SCP etc.

What will come after Linux?: Lets face it. Nothing lasts for ever. No matter how much we enjoy that perfect meal, movie, romance or whatever it will always be relegated to the past. The same with operating systems. They have come and gone. While there still may be pockets of them floating around in obscure places, such operating systems like DOS, OS/2, AmigaOS, GEOS and windows are either dead, dying or, like a turtle on its back, scrabbling around feverishly but going nowhere.

Is the Desktop Becoming Legacy?: A few years ago I wrote on OSNews several articles (1,2) about workstations. After three years I had to stop, because there were no workstations left on the market, they became legacy and were not sold any more. Now with the rise of mobile devices with touchscreen and wireless network connectivity virtually everywhere, the question becomes valid, what will happen with the desktop computers, are they still needed, or will they follow the workstations on their way to computer museums?

IBM’s Open Source Patent Pledge: For those of us that have worked for years in open source, rumors in the press of IBM “breaking its open source patent pledge” were met with a bit of dismay. IBM is one of the top contributors to the Linux kernel and dozens of critical open source projects. For more than a decade IBM has been a good citizen in the open source community. To get to the bottom of things I contacted Dan Frye, VP of Open Systems Development at IBM and member of the Linux Foundations board of directors, to “say it wasn’t so.” Fortunately all of us can breathe easy – IBM remains true to their word.

Opinion: Get Off IBM’s Back Already!: The recent attacks on IBM patent use by some in the open-source community are way out of line. First things first, I hate software patents as much as the next open-source supporter, but the recent claims that IBM has betrayed open-source with recent patent claims are way over the top. If it were just one person throwing mud at IBM I wouldn’t bother with responding to this, but with many other open-source advocates are jumping with both feet on IBM over the issue, I have to address it.

Proprietary Licenses Are Even Worse Than They Look: “There are lots of evil things that proprietary software companies might do. Companies put their own profit above the rights and freedoms of their users, and to that end, much can be done that subjugates users. Even as someone who avoids proprietary software, I still read many proprietary license agreements (mainly to see how bad they are).”

Ubuntu Is A Poor Standard Bearer For Linux: While Linux is a power to be reckoned with in the enterprise server room it continues to struggle for acceptance on the consumer desktop. On the desktop the most popular distributions, far and away, are Ubuntu and Fedora. Which one is more popular is an ongoing debate between the companies. However, when it comes to Linux media and the wider tech press there is no contest: Ubuntu has mindshare and gets the lion’s share of media coverage. For Linux on the desktop Ubuntu is the de facto standard bearer. To whatever part of the general non-geek public is even aware of Linux the names “Linux” and “Ubuntu” are all but interchangeable. Over the past few years I’ve come to the conclusion that this state of affairs is, at best, unfortunate.

TinyMe – A tiny OS for old computers: TinyMe is a lightweight linux OS, it is aimed at making the computing experience as bloat- and lag-free as possible. It is well-suited to older computers, enthusiasts devoted to small/fast systems.

Microsoft to develop own open source platform: Open source developer at Microsoft, Garrett Serack announced today plans to bring a native running open source platform to Windows. In a blog posted today, Serack announced the Common Opensource Application Publishing Platform (CoApp). The post outlines the challenges of developing open source applications in a Windows environment and the differences between developing on UNIX and Linux and Windows.

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LXer Article

Ubuntu One Music Store Now Available For All: Ubuntu One Music Store has been in closed beta for a long time, but today it finally entered the public beta so everyone can start using the new service which is available as a plugin for Rhythmbox, the default music player in Ubuntu Lucid (but soon, other music players will also support Ubuntu One Music Store).

Of WINE and Viruses: I got a call from one of my clients last night, he’s running SuperOS, SuperOS it seems comes with WINE installed by default. His complaint was that he was getting these icons appearing on his system tray, and when he clicked on them they opened a control panel – he sent me an email with a snapshot of the control panel, and the multiple icons on his system tray. Si emailed him back to say stop clicking on the icons and I’ll be there later.

GIMP 2.8 development still under control : “A while back I announced the creation of a schedule for GIMP 2.8 development. I’ve made sure to keep this schedule up to date, and after a bunch of initial adjustments such as postponing some feature and adding others, the schedule has now stabilized a bit.” … “As far as development goes I have continued working on the UI in general and single-window mode in particular. There is now only one major thing missing before single-window mode is ready for some real usage”

Dru Lavigne made me do it: I killed Debian, installed an unbootable Ubuntu, now I’m running FreeBSD 8.0 with GNOME: I began the day listening to Dru Lavigne’s BSD talk at SCALE. That same day I installed FreeBSD 8.0-release, which I’ve been running since last week.

50 Places Linux is Running That You Might Not Expect: It was not long ago when Microsoft Windows had a tight stranglehold on the operating system market. Walk into a Circuit City or Staples, it seemed, and virtually any computer you took home would be running the most current flavor of Windows. Ditto for computers ordered direct from a manufacturer. In the last decade, though, the operating system market has begun to change. Slightly more than 5% of all computers now run Mac, according to NetMarketShare.com. Linux is hovering just beneath 1% of the overall market share in operating systems. And although that might sound like a small number, Linux is far more than just a fringe OS. In fact, it’s running in quite a few more places than you probably suspect.

Install Multiple ‘Bleeding Edge’ Firefox Versions in Linux: Whether you want to run the newest and safest version of Firefox or you want to test a new Alpha, it might happen the package manager of your Linux distribution doesn’t include the version you want. In this article we’ll look at ways to install the newest version beyond the package manager, and even better: Running multiple Firefox versions on the same system – even at the same time!

Microsoft and .NET: ..The most important part is that Microsoft has shot the .NET ecosystem in the foot because of the constant thread of patent infringement that they have cast on the ecosystem. Unlike the Java world that is blossoming with dozens of vibrant Java virtual machine implementations, the .NET world has suffered by this meme spread by Ballmer that they would come after people that do not license patents from them.

Ubuntu 10.4 beta is bloody brilliant: “I’ve been playing with the Ubuntu 10.4 beta for the past two days, and it’s bloody brilliant. You’re sick of hearing it, I know. Every Ubuntu release sends fanboys scrambling for the same, old script – the one where Ubuntu cracks the mainstream, crushes Windows and convinces the ignorant public that open source can cure cancer and inspire world peace.”

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