Archive for June, 2010

LXer Article

In the LXWR this week we have a Mac devotee moving to Linux, you want Linux to run what?, Marcel Gagne talks about when Linux was fun, Phoronix does a five-way Linux distro comparison and Steven Rosenberg says goodbye to Ubuntu..sort of. Enjoy!

This Mac devotee is moving to Linux: “Seeking real freedom of choice in a technology ecosystem where vendors are exerting more and more control” … “I’m not religious about technology. My strategy is to use what works best, period. This is why, for more than a decade, I’ve been using a Mac as my primary computer (and had been using Macs for some of my work long before that). Apple’s personal computers continue to be the best combination of hardware and software on the market today.”

50 Great Open Source Apps for Education: The educational community has discovered open source tools in a big way. Analysts predict that schools will spend up to $489.9 million on support and services for open source software by 2012, and that only includes charges related to operating systems and learning management systems. Teachers, professors and home schoolers are using open source applications as part of their educational curriculum for a wide variety of subjects.

You Want Linux to Run What?: Someone left a comment on one of my posts similar to, “Linux won’t be popular on the Desktop until it runs Windows applications.” To which I silently responded, “Huh? and, “You’ve got to be kidding me.” We have WINE for running Windows applications and it works reasonably well for those who care to spend the time to work through any problems with it. I don’t think the Linux Community needs to spend time on such an undertaking. Is anyone asking Apple to run Windows applications so that it will gain popularity? No? Then, why should Linux? If you want to run Windows applications, run them on Windows.

More “Paul Murphy” Anti-Linux FUD: SCO or Son of SCO Can Still Win: Were you imagining that “Paul Murphy” was going to apologize for his attacks on Groklaw or for being so wrong in his support of SCO? Or that he’d keep his promise to stop blogging if SCO lost? Or that he’d finally admit SCO has no case Au contraire. He continues to insult, and he predicts SCO, or a new owner of Novell, will surely succeed yet in fulfilling SCO’s plot, in what he believes, if I’ve understood him, will be a legal Hail Mary pass to go down in history. The new FUD is his article, Suicide by Victory: More on SCO, in which he predicts gloom and doom for Linux because Novell won at the jury trial in Utah. I know. He’s so funny. It makes no sense. But I’ll answer him seriously anyway.

Back When Linux Was Fun: Somehow, somewhere along the way, I’m supposed to have matured and become serious about things. And so it is with Linux. It all started out in fun. I know. I’ve got Linus Torvalds’ “Just for Fun” here on my bookshelf. Says so right there on the front cover. Fun. And it was fun. But as with anyone approaching adulthood, Linux was apparently not taking itself seriously enough. If Linux was to conquer the server room, the desktop, the mobile market, the real time processing world, etc, etc, then it had better clean up its act. Add a little polish. Get serious about business. And it did.

A Five-Way Linux Distribution Comparison In 2010: With many Linux distributions receiving major updates in recent weeks and months we have carried out a five-way Linux distribution comparison of openSUSE, Ubuntu, Fedora, PCLinuxOS, and Arch Linux. We have quite a number of tests comparing the 32-bit performance of these popular Linux distributions on older PC hardware.

Red Hat CEO Predicts VMware Will Suffer Sun’s Fate: Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst has a cautionary message for VMware partners and customers. Indeed, Whitehurst claims VMware over the next few years will suffer the same fate as Sun Microsystems. Here’s what Whitehurst had to say.

Linux, the Numbers: A little over a month ago we released the Linux port of Osmos, promising statistics on our sales and downloads. We wanted to find out – from a financial perspective, for our studio – “is it worth porting games to Linux?” The short, simple answer… is “yes.” Did we get rich off it? No. But the time we invested was repaid, with room for margin of error, and possibly with a little extra at the end. Allow me to break it down..

Goodbye Ubuntu, it’s been fun — as part of my withdrawal, I’m running Xubuntu … for now anyway: Ubuntu, it’s been a nice ride, and I fully support what your doing in terms of spreading the full-custom gospel sounds of the free desktop (apologies to the Rev. Horton Heat). I’m OK with the desktop innovation — the “social from the start” initiative, the Ubuntu One integration. It’s just not for me. It’s mostly not for my hardware, but I’ll extend that to me, the user.

Moving to Linux: Several organizations have been successful in moving to Linux. I’d like to discuss this topic again. How do you move an organization to Linux? What’s the process? It’s not as simple as coming in over the weekend, re-installing everyone’s desktops with the latest Linux distro, and hoping things go for the best. You need a real transition plan, a strategy to move the organization.


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LXer Article

In this week’s Roundup we have a battle between KDE3 and KDE4,Linux versus the world: The unwinnable war?, Dell removes “Ubuntu is safer than Microsoft® Windows® ” statement from website and today marks my three year anniversary as E-i-C for LXer. You know, I think my grammar has gotten a little better.

KDE 3 vs. KDE 4: Which Linux Desktop Is Right for You?: Two and a half years after the KDE 4 series of releases began, many users are still using KDE 3. A preference for the familiar seems to motivate some; while others seem influenced by the rumors that began with the botched 4.0 release. Still others want a feature that the KDE 4 series has yet to implement — or, sometimes, a feature they have been unable to find because of reorganization.

Adobe Drops 64-bit Flash From Linux: “Making significant architectural changes” the official answer. Adobe has discontinued 64-bit Flash 10.1 development for Linux stating that significant architectural changes were being made to the plugin that would add improved security.

Linux versus the world: The unwinnable war?: The first three months of the year were defined, in the technology sector, by some very scary numbers. Just feast your eyes on some of these. Apple, we learned, pulled in profits in just three months of over $3bn. That’s not in a year – that’s just in a quarter…

Firefox Losing Foothold on Linux Distros?: When you install the Ubuntu Netbook Edition in October, don’t look for Firefox on the desktop — it won’t be there. Chromium, Chrome’s open source cousin, is going to be taking its place. After years of desktop dominance on Linux, is Firefox losing its foothold or is this an anomaly?

Linux is as secure as ever: There have been several stories proclaiming that a recent Linux infection proves Windows malware monopoly is over and that Think Linux is free from malware? Think again; it’s been hacked. Much as it pains me to disagree with the good people, they’re wrong. Here’s what really happened. UnrealIRCd, a rather obscure open-source IRC (Internet Relay Chat) server, wasn’t so much hacked as the program it was letting people download has been replaced by one with a built-in security hole. Or, as they explained on their site, “This is very embarrassing…

The Start to Finish Guide to Rooting Your Android Phone: Rooting your Android device is much like jailbreaking an iPhone. Once rooted, you can make your phone run faster, tether it to your computer, tweak hidden settings to your liking, and more. Here’s how to do it on your Motorola Droid. Rooting essentially means giving yourself root permissions on your phone. It’s the equivalent of running programs as administrators in Windows, or running a command with “sudo” in Linux. There are a number of great reasons to root your Android phone, highest among them being speed (through custom ROMs and through overclocking), tethering, and installing apps and widgets from other builds.

Why Ubuntu is harder than Windows: I use Ubuntu on all my personal computers and I even recommend it to friends. I am starting to think maybe I shouldn’t though, because it is obvious: Ubuntu is harder to use than Windows.

Dell removes “Ubuntu is safer than Microsoft® Windows® ” statement from website: According to Google cache, at 17 June 2010 05:08:28 GMT, Dell’s website stated: “Ubuntu is safer than Microsoft® Windows® The vast majority of viruses and spyware written by hackers are not designed to target and attack Linux. However, within 24 hours, it seems Dell changed its mind, and now their website states: “Ubuntu is secure — According to industry reports, Ubuntu is unaffected by the vast majority of viruses and spyware.”

Dell advertizement: Ubuntu keeps getting better!: We’re glad you found Dell’s Ubuntu website. If you’re not familiar with Ubuntu, or would like to learn more you’ve come to the right place. Quote: “Ubuntu is safer than Microsoft® Windows® The vast majority of viruses and spyware written by hackers are not designed to target and attack Linux.”

The Unity Panel Won’t Allow Any Kind Of Customizations [Ubuntu Netbook Edition 10.10]: This was something pretty much obvious, but now Mark Shuttleworth confirmed it: the Unity panel won’t allow any kind of customizations. That means not only that you won’t be able to add/edit applets like in Ubuntu Netbook Edition 10.04 (which could be easily “fixed”), but the user won’t even be able to right click the applets to move them or whatever – nothing will happen upon right-clicking.

GnoMenu – An Incredible Menu Application For Ubuntu Gnome: The default menu application in Ubuntu is functional, but it is also down to earth basic. GnoMenu tries to replicate the looks and functionality of KDE’s Menu application. And I have to say, it almost does. GnoMenu comes with a number of themes and a easy to use configuration menu.

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LXer Article

In this week’s LXWR we have Jono Bacon’s Ubuntu: meritocracy not democracy, can virtual PCs save desktop Linux? Is Android fragmentation something to fear? The four different types of Linux users and our own Hans Kwint says “Tear down this stair!”. Enjoy!

FOSS-tablet Business Report: “Tear down this stair!”: Even though all ingredients for a successful Linux tablet were ready, and the distributed software development used by FOSS is normally much quicker in replying to demands than a closed environment, Apple is already satisfying the tablet-PC market with their iPad. A viable FOSS-solution is not yet available, though Computex will ameliorate the situation. This ‘report’ – provided for free to you by LXer Linux News – will show how Apple became the leader and what the competition needs to do to have a shot at all consumers who didn’t buy a tablet yet. As an extra, at the end of the article, there’s an explanation of why ‘competition of standards’ fails, harms society and screws customers.

The “Oldest Pirate” Passes: No, I am not going to tell you her real name. She is a criminal now and I made her so. 86 years of lawful living, survived without so much as a speeding ticket. Her now-blemished essence is now the foulest of stain on my duplicitous hands.

A Good Old Dog: The Mutt MUA started in 1995 when Michael Elkins wrote the first version. It’s powerful, light-weight, made for CLI, and tends to suck less than do other email clients. It’s my MUA of choice, and if you’ve never used it (or haven’t in a while), you may want to give it a try. For the purposes of this little tutorial, I am going to assume that you use Gmail (who doesn’t these days?). Another thing, Mutt has many more configuration options than those I will present here, I encourage you to look through the reference and explore more.

Android fragmentation: something to fear?: Fragmentation is often cited as a major challenge for the Linux platform and mobile software ecosystem. The word gets thrown around a lot and tends to be used as a catch-all phrase to describe a wide range of loosely connected issues. The rapid growth of the Android ecosystem and the significant number of new Android devices that are reaching the market with heavy software customizations has raised some questions about whether Google’s Linux platform is going to succumb to the fragmentation menace. In this article, we’ll take a look at what fragmentation means for mobile Linux and how Google’s operating system addresses some of the biggest challenges.

Can virtual PCs save desktop Linux?: Desktop Linux has floundered for three main reasons: too few applications, limited desktop hardware compatibility, and too few tools (not to mention skilled people) to manage a boatload of Linux desktop systems.

Why No Billion-Dollar Open Source Companies?: If open source is so successful, why aren’t there any billion-dollar open source companies? Red Hat’s CEO, Jim Whitehurst, gives a clue: to get to $5 billion turnover, Red Hat must displace $50 billion of revenue from proprietary companies. That’s hard – and why there will be very few big open source companies.

Compatible with…(insert operating system): I don’t get it. Or maybe I am not expected to understand it. Yesterday I went to a local Best Buy retail store to pick up a USB Flash Drive. After doing a quick price comparison I ended up purchasing the Greek Squad (the Best Buy) branded product. The next day I took the device into work and just as I was about to open it I quickly glanced at the back of the package and noticed: “Compatible with Windows 2000 SP4/Windows XP/Windows Vista/ Windows 7, Mac OS 10.x and above.“

Linux could ease schools’ tech crunch: San Jose Mercury News business columnist Mike Cassidy thinks that maybe the answer for local schools facing daunting technology challenges lies with the penguins. You know, penguins — those who advocate free and open-source software, including Linux and the operating system’s mascot, a penguin named Tux.

Stewart Rules: Novell Wins! CASE CLOSED! – Updated: Here you go, munchkins. Judge Ted Stewart has ruled for Novell and against SCO. Novell’s claim for declaratory judgment is granted; SCO’s claims for specific performance and breach of the implied covenant of good fair and fair dealings are denied. Also SCO’s motion for judgment as a matter of law or for a new trial: denied. Novell is entitled to waive, at its sole discretion, claims against IBM, Sequent and other SVRX licensees. CASE CLOSED!

Ubuntu: meritocracy not democracy: “A bug was filed regarding the change, and everyone and their dog weighed in to share their opinions. Some offered genuinely thoughtful usability critiques, but many spewed forth disjointed, rambling opinions. The debate raged on before Mark threw his two cents into the well: ‘We all make Ubuntu, but we do not all make all of it. In other words, we delegate well. We have a kernel team, and they make kernel decisions…”

The Four Different Types of Linux Users: In the three years I have been using Linux as my primary operating system I’ve taken note that in general there are four different types of Linux users. Each one fits a distinct niche and it is possible to change from one type into another over time.

Linux Trojan Raises Malware Concerns: I’ve got good news and bad news for those of the misguided perception that Linux is somehow impervious to attack or compromise. The bad news is that it turns out a vast collection of Linux systems may, in fact, be pwned. The good news, at least for IT administrators and organizations that rely on Linux as a server or desktop operating system, is that the Trojan is in a game download so it should have no bearing on Linux in a business setting.

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LXer Article

Some of the big stories this week include Google switching out Windows for Linux and Mac, hackers promise a demo of Android rootkit, Linux users vs. Linux Culture, does the Internet make you smarter and a whole lot more. Enjoy!

Google staff dropping Windows for Macs, Linux PCs: Google is abandoning the use of Windows by its staff as it’s too much of a security threat, multiple staffers said Monday night. Recent concerns about Chinese hacks have the search firm requiring either a Mac or Linux for all new recruits to provide better security. Those who want Windows now often require explicit approval from executives and may not have any choice on desktops where it’s only an option for notebooks.

The biggest and best run Linux: More than 90% of the world’s largest supercomputers now run Linux – here are the fastest supercomputers in the world. The biannual Top500 report on the world’s biggest and best supercomputers has been released and shows that almost all of the top 500 now run Linux.

Hackers promise demo of Google Android rootkit: Security researchers will demonstrate a malicious “rootkit” program they’ve written for Google’s Android phone next month at the Defcon hacking conference in Las Vegas.

A Novell Auction Would Be Bad for Open Source: Once again, the buzz has grown surrounding rumors that Novell may soon be snapped up in a buyout. As many as 20 companies may have registered bids for the company, according to the Wall Street Journal. Matt Asay notes that an auction of the company could become a patent troll bonanza, and I have to agree. Let’s remember that Novell is no spring chicken. It owns lots of patents and lots of legacy applications. Overall, it would not be good to see Novell bought out, partly because it’s one of the few U.S.-based public companies focused primarily on open source.

Ubuntu Linux for Windows Users: With the 10.04 version of Ubuntu Linux, there is now a way to install Ubuntu Linux onto a Windows Computer without having to repartition the hard drive. This feature alone has the potential of increasing the Linux User Base dramatically. No longer do you have to worry about “messing up your system” or try to figure out how to get rid of the Grub Boot loader and delete Linux Partitions. With using the Ubuntu Linux Windows Installer, if you don’t like running Linux, you simply have to remove it from within Window’s Add/Remove Programs Control Panel Applet (which only takes a few seconds to uninstall).

Intel answers Microsoft’s Linux ‘noise’ with MeeGo show: Microsoft and Intel are fighting for the affections of hardware makers as the PC industry tries to answer Apple’s iPad. The world’s biggest software company used the annual Computex show in Taiwan to release a preview of Windows Embedded Compact 7 — the latest rebranded version of Windows CE, which has been promised on tablets from Asus, LG, and MSI.

Linux Users vs. Linux Culture: In my line of work I get to test, try and evaluate all kinds of new open source software and the occasional new distribution flavor of the month. Sometimes it’s a smooth process but other times I find myself casting a line in the lake of forums hoping to get a bite. In a lot of ways, this is how it was when I was first introduced to Linux in the late 90’s. When I look back and compare my experiences then with my experiences now I see the progress we’ve made in a number of areas but I am left with one conclusion: we’re not quite there yet.

If Mono innovates then I’m the King of Canada: The SD times has announced their ‘SD Times 100‘ for 2010. The SD Times recognizes top leaders and innovators of the software development industry. However upon looking at the list you’ll see two names that stick out like sore thumb: ‘Microsoft‘ and the ‘Mono Project‘.

Google’s $124.6m open codec hits Chrome dev build: Google has added the newly open-sourced VP8 video codec to the latest developer-channel build of its Chrome browser. The codec is already part of developer builds from Mozilla and Opera, and it was rolled into Chromium, the open source incarnation of Chrome, in late May. But this marks its debut in Chrome itself. Version 6.0.422.0, available in the developer channel here, also includes various bug fixes.

Does the Internet Make You Smarter?: Digital media have made creating and disseminating text, sound, and images cheap, easy and global. The bulk of publicly available media is now created by people who understand little of the professional standards and practices for media. Instead, these amateurs produce endless streams of mediocrity, eroding cultural norms about quality and acceptability, and leading to increasingly alarmed predictions of incipient chaos and intellectual collapse.

How Linux works: The main problem you face when you’re attempting to lift the lid on what makes Linux tick is knowing where to start. It’s a complicated stack of software that’s been developed by thousands of people. Following the boot sequence would be a reasonable approach, explaining what Grub actually does, before jumping into the initiation of a RAM disk and the loading of the kernel. But the problem with this is obvious. Mention Grub too early in any article and you’re likely to scare many readers away. We’d have the same problem explaining the kernel if we took a chronological approach.

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Ubuntu Lucid: I fix another problem (maybe), but questions about Canonical remain: Things in my personal world of Ubuntu Lucid 10.04 are starting to work themselves out, but it hasn’t exactly been a smooth ride on my main laptop. If you read to the bottom, you’ll find that the hacky-as-hell solution to a bug that has plagued my own desktop is followed by my thoughts (not all good) on what exactly Canonical was thinking about when deciding what goes into a long-term-support release.

Microsoft seeks business edge in wave of social consciousness: Microsoft held a “Citizenship Accelerator Summit” at its headquarters yesterday, bringing in executives (including CEO Steve Ballmer) and global nonprofit leaders to talk about how technology can tackle social challenges around the world — citing, as Exhibit A, its own business and philanthropic partnerships in areas including the environment, energy, disaster relief, worker retraining and the fight against child pornography. Invited to sit in were reporters from national newspapers, magazines and wire services, as well as some influential university professors, social entrepreneurs and philanthropic bloggers.

How to Configure an Ubuntu Linux Computer for Less Than $200: Do you need an extra computer in your family, business or nonprofit organization? You can set up a spare computer with a 23-inch LCD monitor for less than $200. Ubuntu Linux runs fine on a Pentium III desktop or laptop — and the money you save on the operating system and hardware lets you splurge on the monitor.

The best-kept secrets of UNIX power users: If you’re wondering why I’m wearing dark sunglasses, a fake moustache, and a baseball cap (featuring the logo of professional curling team, The Floating Stones), I’m on the lam. I’m dodging black remote-controlled helicopters, pasty-white systems administrators, and the combined forces of many daemons to bring you some of the best-kept secrets of UNIX power users. Don your aluminum foil hat and read on.

Sneak preview for coming KDE SC 4.5: KDE SC 4.5 is in feature freeze right now. Therefore, I decide to share some of early screenshots with you. In General there are no major changes. It is all about polishing and fixing bugs. There is a lot of under-hood changes in libs which as enduser we cannot see. KDE SC will be release in August 2010. Now I will let you enjoy the screenshots.

8 of the Best Free Linux Video Editors: Video editing is the process of editing motion video footage. In the new age of personal video, video editing is becoming a central function of the desktop, with the popularity of video editing software ever increasing.

Chromium on Ubuntu 10.04 Slower than Firefox?: Maybe I’m being unfair. After all, I have been having networking problems with my Ubuntu 10.04 (Lucid Lynx) virtual machine running in VMware Workstation 7. Seems to be tied to a DNS problem. The VM doesn’t pick up the DNS server IPs from the DHCP server on my network (though it gets an IP just fine). I thought the solution was to point to Google’s free DNS servers. Worked for awhile, but then stopped. I tried using the DNS servers on my wee home server and DSL modem device and that worked for awhile too, and then stopped.

Why are you Scared of Linux?: Most of the people I know think Linux is very difficult for a layman to understand. They fear that after installing Linux they will not be able to do the normal tasks they do with Windows and thus they prefer paying money to Microsoft instead of even trying Linux.

What You Use: On my last post, I asked people about what open source applications they use. I received 22 responses, and I was a little shocked. Until now, I had always heard people say that they really don’t have any applications in Linux that they miss in Windows/OSX. This has changed.

Spinning off from Ubuntu: Ubuntu is probably the best known desktop GNU/Linux distribution at street level, picking up new users by word of mouth and astute viral marketing. So much so that for many users new to Linux, Ubuntu has become synonymous with Linux. Linux is Ubuntu; and Ubuntu is Linux. But Linux and free software come in many different flavours, and the adventurous user goes in search of wider options, other distributions and new desktops.

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