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Archive for July, 2010

LXer Article

Fedora vs Ubuntu: Ubuntu is the Linux head-of-state but Fedora offers an exciting alternative. There was a time when Ubuntu was the upstart: a new Linux distribution that was more promise than substance. When it was launched in late 2004 it was up against a number of distributions that had been in development for years: Red Hat, Fedora, Suse Linux and Mandriva (then still called Mandrake). These were well-developed distributions with their own fans and unique features. Ubuntu, based on Debian, had a solid base but had a long way to go to be as user-friendly as it planned.

50 Open Source Replacements for Popular Financial Software: Whether you just want to balance your checkbook or you need to track the finances of a large global corporation, you can find open source software to do the job. For our list of open source financial tools, we cast a wide net and included applications related to enterprise resource management, point-of-sale and even employee time tracking. Not to mention traditional accounting and financial management tools.

London Stock Exchange CTO leaves during move to Linux: he London Stock Exchange, which is currently in the process of moving its trading platforms to Linux, has lost its chief technology officer, Robin Paine. Anyone trying to contact Paine via email receives the following message, “Robin Paine no longer works for the London Stock Exchange”.

Blackboard – No Linux for Online Education: Earlier this week however I was curious as to just want browsers were “supported” by the Blackboard (online education) system. It was then that I discovered what they really meant by “supported browsers” was “supported operating systems and browsers”.

Three Apps for Monitoring Performance in Linux: Most Linux users are familiar with the top command. Top shows you a list of processes on your system and provides a ton of useful information such as their CPU usage and owner. Unfortunately, this isn’t always enough data and many people don’t know where to turn next. This article covers three performance monitoring applications that show information top doesn’t tell you, and can greatly help in troubleshooting bottlenecks or just finding out more about your system. These utilities are iftop, iotop, and pv.

Five deadly sins of Android development: Committing these sins will cause you to burn in Android hell and you will have no place in the Market. Kunal Deo reveals all and he really means business…

Woah, It Looks Like Oracle Will Stand Behind OpenSolaris: Since Oracle acquired Sun Microsystems last year, the future of the Solaris and OpenSolaris operating systems have been called into question especially as the OpenSolaris 2010.1H release was missing and has been that way for months now with no official communication from Oracle. A new OpenSolaris release hasn’t come in more than a year and we still are left wondering if or when it will arrive. Even the OpenSolaris Governing Board is out of the loop and they may abandon the cause in August if Oracle doesn’t make their OpenSolaris intentions clear and appoint a liaison. This evening though is one of the first signs that Oracle may let the OpenSolaris operating system live on with their support.

Linux Desktop: Command Line vs. User Interface: In the Linux desktop world, the graphical user interface is here to stay. Old Unix hands may grumble, but the fact remains that, without all the efforts poured into GNOME, KDE, Xfce and others, Linux would not be as successful as it is today. The reason for the desktop’s success is obvious. A desktop requires much less knowledge than a command line, and is suited to maybe 80% of the most common tasks that an average user needs. If the desktop needs much larger applications, that hardly seems a problem on a modern computer.

India’s $35 PC is the Future of Computing: The government of India has unveiled a prototype of a touchscreen, tablet computer which it expects to sell for $35 initially… The Indian prototype is impressive–especially at a $35 price point. The device runs on a variation of Linux.

Resizing images with correct gamma using PHP and GD: A short while ago “Ty W” posted an interesting question on StackOverflow. Apparently, most graphics software cannot scale images the right way. Usually it’s hard to notice the flaw but the linked article does a great job of explaining the problem. PHP’s GD library suffers from the same issue, but Ty discovered that the sample PHP program provided with the article did not work on partially transparent images. After a couple of hours of fiddling I managed to get a working solution. Apparently, the imagegammacorrect() function in PHP deals badly with images that have an alpha channel. I suspect that it tries to apply the same calculation to the alpha channel that it applies to the red, green and blue channels. To work around this, my solution splits the aplha channel from the original image. The alpha channel is resampled regularly while the red, green and blue channels are resampled using gamma correction.

Free open source books: Want to learn more about open source? Download some books for free. It doesn’t matter if you’re new to open source or a long-time user, there is always more to learn about. We scoured the Web for the best open source books. All of these are free books that can be downloaded and shared.

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LXer Article

The Charge for Freedom: When we think of open source we normally think of software. We (freetards, freediots, open source fanboys) have often been described as a type of new hippie movement. In some ways this may be true. We favor open collaboration instead of top-down empiricism. This is somewhat liberal in nature. At the same time, this breeds fierce competition, this breeds explosive markets, this lowers the bar of entry into the market place, and more than anything it models the idea of a republic.

Rancid IE6 ‘more secure’ than Chrome and Opera US bank says: Microsoft’s creaking Internet Explorer 6 is more secure and popular than either Google’s Chrome or Opera US banking giant Chase has determined. The bank’s therefore decided its online baking services will continue to support aging the IE 6 but drop support for Chrome and Opera.

4 Linux Games You Probably Have Not Played: It is no secret that Linux is not a popular gaming platform. Despite that stigma, however, the open nature of Linux makes it easy, even for relatively inexperienced developers, to produce quality games. Therefore, while the number of high-rated Linux game titles may be small in comparison to Windows or gaming consoles, there are a number of quality free and commercial games out there. Most of the Linux sites that list games tend to highlight the same bunch; however, there are a few hidden gems that you may have missed but are still worth playing. In no particular order, here are four you might want to try.

Relationship Stress Test…Here Honey, Try This…: In the past, she has used a Windows XP machine to get this done. She is painfully aware of how user-unfriendly Windows Explorer can be…especially when she is dealing with hundreds of pictures to be renamed, sorted and moved to different folders. And yeah, there are third-party apps…but that only adds to the time and expense. She used to dread getting a call for contract work. Last week, we got the XP machine files transferred to the computer and I sat down with her to show her how the Linux file system works. ***hint…if you are in a troubled or stressed relationship, this might not be the time to do this….I’m just sayin…

Travels With Teo: Linux Netbook Hits the Road: I took ZaReason’s Teo netbook, running Ubuntu 10.04, on a 2500-mile road trip. How practical is a tiny netbook? Does it make sense in real life, doing real jobs? Yessirree it does. A couple of months ago the nice ZaReason people sent me their Teo Ubuntu netbook to review. I was favorably impressed and gave it a positive review. Then they let me take it on my vacation, so little Teo traveled 2500 miles with us. This was the ultimate portability, performance, and battery test. How did Teo do? Splendidly.

Five and a Half Reasons I Prefer Linux (as a power user): While we all have our own reasons for liking Linux and open source, here are my top five (and a half!) reasons why, as a power user, I prefer to use Linux. You’ll notice that these reasons are quite a bit different from why I think Ubuntu makes a great operating system for Mom, which just goes to show how versatile Linux can be.

Could Free Software Exist Without Copyright?: The GNU GPL depends on copyright to work. So what would happen if copyright were abolished? Would that mean that free software also disappears? Richard Stallman thinks not – and has a plan.

A New Era of Compiz: Compiz is a compositing window manager that enables users to enjoy clever desktop effects and transparency. Compiz is included in many distributions’ default installs and in many others’ repositories. At one time its future was in question with new major desktop environments planning to incorporate their own effects. When those effects failed to materialize as publicized, the popularity of Compiz continued to grow. But with newer systems and desktop enviroments, Compiz needed to be rewritten. So, after a long developmental period, Compiz 0.9.0 was released.

LG, Samsung big on Android: It’s a remarkable success story. Less than two years ago Nokia’s Symbian and Windows Mobile ruled the smartphone market and Google was just a search engine, albeit a very popular one. Today Google’s Android operating system is one of the most popular smartphone operating systems and has already taken a significant chunk out of Symbian’s market share.

Linux Multi-Distro Package Manager Cheatsheet: Linux is blessed with several different package managers, so using a different distribution often means learning a different way to install, update, and remove software. Use Juliet Kemp’s handy package manager cheatsheet to get going with a minimum of fuss.

Russian state-OS based on Linux: According to the publication “Kommersant”, the state enterprise “Russian Technologies” has almost completed the acquisition of shares LLC Alt Linux.

Point and click GUIs: why are we still stuck with them?: There’s a delightful story that does the rounds regarding one of the founding fathers of Linux. It’s said that during the early days of the opensource operating system’s development, this fellow took to attending conferences in complete silence. All attempts to communicate via means other than hand gestures were refused. Instead, he pointed at things. Apocryphal or not, the tale remains highly relevant today. Our hero’s beef was with the windows-based graphical interface metaphor and its knack for turning us into mouse-pointing morons.

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LXer Article

Some of the big stories this past week included Cisco creating their own tablet, SCALE moves to a larger venue, Bruce Byfield asks is KDE 3 Zombified or Resurrected?, Run Chrome the easy way and Carla Schroder sets off a nuclear weapon in the LXer forums. Ever drink a bottle of Rum all to yourself? I hope all our U.S. readers had as much fun July 4th as I apparently did. Enjoy!

Cisco To Have An Android Tablet Of Their Very Own: First came Android, the mobile OS. Then came the first Android phone, the G1. Then came the Nexus One, the first true gPhone — Google top to bottom. And it just kept going from there. Today, not yet three years into development, Android is available on dozens of devices, from phones to e-readers to netbooks and more. It’s taken the #2 spot in the mobile OS world — well ahead of the “unkillable” iPhone — and reportedly is slated to take on Apple’s other hot toy of the moment. Given the explosive growth and variety of devices sporting the OS, it comes as little surprise when a manufacturer announces they have a new Android offering in the works. Unless, that is, if the manufacturer is a networking giant and the announcement comes out of nowhere.

The Linux Chronicles, Part 1: Last Autumn I volunteered to review Windows 7. But in the following weeks, I found Linux to be preferable in many ways. This is pretty significant progress, and outside the ‘community’ has gone largely unnoticed, too – I haven’t seen all that many Ubuntu stories in the Wall Street Journal. But what comes next is going to be pretty challenging for everyone involved – and that’s what I’ll look at here. But first a bit of history, starting with a confession.

GNU HURD – Altered states and lost promise: The HURD was meant to be the true kernel at the heart of the GNU operating system. The promise behind the HURD was revolutionary – a set of daemons on top of a microkernel that was intended to surpass the performance of the monolithic kernels of traditional Unix systems and in doing so, give greater security, freedom and flexibility to the users – but it has yet to come down to earth.

Programming with Scratch: As a homeschooling parent, I’m a big fan of educational software and I’ve written quite about about various programs in the past. But, as a programmer, I’m also a big fan of any program that makes computer programming more approachable by younger children. So, when I heard about Scratch, I was pretty enthusiastic.

How to Run Chrome OS the Easy Way: A few of us here at MTE have a bit of a crush on Chrome OS. It’s not just the system itself, it’s the fact that someone is finally taking the concept of an operating system in a new direction. We wrote a brief synopsis of Chrome OS shortly after the first announcement that showed how things stood at the very beginning, then more recently did a manual build guide. Building Chrome OS from source code can take several hours, and can be a somewhat challenging process even for an experienced Linux user. To help solve that problem, some developers have begun releasing custom Chrome OS builds with included installers and software tweaks. This guide will show you where to find the images and how to get the latest Hexxeh release, Flow, on to your netbook or VM from a Linux host.

SCALE moves to larger venue starting in 2011: In order to accommodate its steady growth over the past few years, the Southern California Linux Expo (SCALE) will move to its new home, the Hilton Los Angeles Airport, starting with SCALE 9X in 2011. The new venue – larger than SCALE’s former home for the last four years at the Westin Los Angeles Airport – will allow SCALE to expand its offerings at SCALE 9X, slated for Feb. 18-20, 2011.

5 Little Linux Computers: This month we take a look at a number of small form factor PCs that either come with Linux or would make a perfect fit for your favorite Linux distro. Each of the computers mentioned takes up very little space, but all deliver plenty of computing performance to handle everything from basic web browsing to watching videos. They make nice little firewalls, basic file/web/print servers, and quiet, low-power media servers. All of these units typically consume a fraction of the power of a conventional desktop and less than many traditional laptops.

16 Gorgeous Linux Wallpapers From Pr09studio: Pr09studio guys are also actively contributing for bisigi themes project and they really do have some stunning wallpapers to showcase. Here, I have deliberately tried to avoid wallpapers with branding for most part, but some wallpapers with branding are worth mentioning. So here it goes, 16 beautiful Linux wallpapers for desktop.

Trinity KDE: KDE 3 Zombified or Resurrected?: Several weeks ago, I ended a comparison of the KDE 4 and 3 desktops by saying “Unless a project takes over KDE 3 development, sooner or later it may become unusable with the latest generation of computers.” What I had missed — free software being a large place where events move at near-light speeds — was that a project had already taken over KDE 3 development. It’s called Trinity KDE, and is organized by Timothy Pearson, who has been releasing Kubuntu releases that use KDE 3.5 for some time. According to Facebook rumor, he has been planning to revive KDE 3 for some time.

Copying is Stealing: Staying focused on one simple principle clears away any confusion: creative artists have a right to be paid. If we enjoy a piece of recorded music, a book, drawing, photo, movie, and the condition of owning a copy of that work is paying for it, then not paying for it is stealing. Legally it is copyright infringement, but I call it stealing, just like shoplifting or any petty theft.

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