LXer Weekly Roundup for 16-Mar-2008

Posted by Scott_Ruecker on Mar 16, 2008 8:55 AM
LXer Linux News; By Scott Ruecker (Phoenix, U.S.)


LXer Feature: 16-Mar-2008

In this week's Roundup we have several Microsoft related articles, how to back up Linux with ease, a petition for open standards in the European Parliament, 10 Linux commands you’ve never used, OLPC: one virus per child and the future belongs to Linux. Ken Starks tells us "You only know good when you've seen bad..." and our own Carla Schroder replies with the "Care and Feeding of Baby Linux Users" and we have a couple of FUD articles for your enjoyment as well.

In this week's Roundup we have several Microsoft related articles, how to back up Linux with ease, a petition for open standards in the European Parliament, 10 Linux commands you’ve never used, OLPC: one virus per child and the future belongs to Linux. Ken Starks tells us "You only know good when you've seen bad..." and our own Carla Schroder replies with the "Care and Feeding of Baby Linux Users" and we have a couple of FUD articles for your enjoyment as well.

Lessons Learned? One Can Only Hope: Yet, when it comes down to it...CompUSA is gone. I personally will shed no tears. I am convinced that their blindness to consumer needs played some part in their demise if not a large one, whether it was Linux or any other non-microsoft product that caused it, well...maybe. You want to argue it? Look at this first.

First Gnash beta released: Free software Flash replacement, Gnash, has just released a beta version. Gnash, for those not in the know, is a GPL-licensed SWF movie player and browser plugin for Firefox, Mozilla, and Konqueror. Gnash supports many SWF v7 features and ActionScript 2 classes. with growing support for SWF v8 and v9.

Back up Linux with ease: I’m not particularly fond of backing up my data. I know I should do it and I feel pretty smug when it is done, but it is a time-consuming and frustrating process. Mainly because it requires a whole lot of thinking on my part: which files do I want to back up? where should I store them? What format? And to date I haven’t really found the one tool that makes baking up truly simple.

Conflict of interest: I wish I knew how to fix it but I don’t. What I do know however is that the ISO/IEC process is severally broken in that it is riddled with room for game play. I guess ISO/IEC managed to get away with it for a long time but things have changed now that Microsoft has shown how to use every loophole in the process to get to its end. Hopefully, justice will prevail and OOXML will rightly get voted down at the end of the month but the process shouldn’t have allowed to go that far into this sad farce in the first place.

New petition calls for open standards in the European Parliament: At a time when the EU Commission investigates the anti-competitive behaviour of a market-dominant player, the European Parliament (EP) still imposes that same specific software choice on both the European Union's citizens and its own MEPs. OpenForum Europe, The European Software Market Association, and the Free Software Foundation Europe today launched a petition to call on the EP to use open standards so that all citizens can participate in the democratic process.

Why I will not by a Linksys product ever again: I'm going to take a pause from my usual blog topics and discuss something very dear to everyone's heart, wifi. This weekend I stopped by wal-mart to look around. My wife and I have been wanting to move the computer upstairs for some time but have been prevented by the need to be physically connected to the router. While I was at wal-mart I saw a 802.11n wireless PCI network card made by Linksys. I bought the card, went home, installed it and fired up Ubuntu 7.04. iwconfig showed nothing. but lspci showed something that would send me into shock "02:07.0 Network controller: Broadcom Corporation BCM43XG (rev 01)". Yes, the infamous broadcom chip.

9-inch EeePC named EeePC 900 and gets detailed specs: And it came to pass. Asus saw the EeePC and it was good; it’s even better with a 9-inch display. Asus has officially named the 9-inch EeePC the EeePC 900 and has released some detailed specs about the low-cost laptop. The EeePC 900 will be available with either Windows XP or Xandros Linux. Instead of using flash memory, Asus will be using SSD (solid state drives) for storage this time. The Windows XP equipped model will ship with an 8GB drive with the Linux models having either 12GB or 20GB capacities.

The Debian server -- a non-expert tries to roll his own: I decided to start from scratch with my Debian server project. Last time I was too hasty in adding the open-source version of Movable Type to my installation and intermingling files before I was ready. This time I'm going to be a lot more methodical and make sure that Apache and MySQL are working properly -- meaning I can run CGI scripts and have a directory dedicated to same -- before I start with Movable Type. I could've removed Apache, done some cleanup and gone from there, but since I didn't have much "invested" in the install, I wiped the drive and started over.

10 Linux commands you’ve never used: It takes years maybe decades to master the commands available to you at the Linux shell prompt. Here are 10 that you will have never heard of or used. They are in no particular order. My favorite is mkfifo.

OLPC: one virus per child: It's taken a remarkably short time for the One Laptop Per Child project to change from positioning itself as the saviour of children in developing countries to becoming a toady for Microsoft. In an interview with Business Week recently, Nicholas Negroponte, the founder of the project, is quoted as saying that the organisation now needs to be managed "more like Microsoft."

You only know good when you've seen bad...: I am weighing that possibility now against consuming copious amounts of alcohol on a regular basis...I don't know, maybe even a venture into the darker side of pharmaceuticals. Realizing any of the choices can be destructive, I am now calculating which will be the most numbing venture.

Why Wal-Mart won't have Linux desktops on its store shelves: The other day, Wal-Mart let it slip that it would no longer be selling Linux-powered computers in its stores. The retail giant will, however, continue to sell Linux desktop and laptop systems via its online store. On March 10, Wal-Mart spokesperson Melissa O'Brien told the Associated Press that Wal-Mart had decided not to restock its in-store gOS Linux-powered Everex Green gPC TC2502. "This really wasn't what our customers were looking for," O'Brien said.

What’s This “Linux” Thing and Why Should I Try It?: Lately, Linux has been receiving quite a bit of notice. Between the ASUS EeePC, the One Laptop Per Child project, Dell’s new Ubuntu line, Intel’s Classmate PC, and Everex’s Green PC, Linux has been getting a lot of attention from computer manufacturers. It seems every new computer in the last year has had Linux, but to most people that doesn’t mean anything. It probably leaves you wondering, “what’s this Linux thing everyone’s talking about?”

The future belongs to Linux: The rising generation of programmers isn't being fed .Net and Windows. It's growing strong on Linux and its associated LAMP stack, as Robert Guth of the Wall Street Journal notes. Microsoft thinks it has an answer to this trend toward Linux. It is very telling how far from reality Microsoft is by its response:

The REAL reason we use Linux: We tell people we use Linux because it's secure. Or because it's free, because it's customizable, because it has excellent community support... But all of that is just marketing bullshit. We tell that to non-Linuxers because they wouldn't understand the REAL reason.

Care and Feeding of Baby Linux Users: This brand-new Linux user, this refugee from the Redmond wastelands, was stretching her wings and trying to fly. She edited xorg.conf all by herself, though not quite the right way. She exposed a bug in Ken's customer support (don't use writable CDs for recovery disks). Now how many new Linux users can even find xorg.conf, let alone have the boldness to muck with it? Or even experienced users? The Ubuntu forums are cram-full of command-line fear and loathing; the very sight of a text file drives them into seizures. I think Paula's eagerness to explore and try new things should be rewarded.

10 Linux commands you’ve never used: It takes years maybe decades to master the commands available to you at the Linux shell prompt. Here are 10 that you will have never heard of or used. They are in no particular order. My favorite is mkfifo.

The unholy quad: Miguel, Mono, Moonlight and Microsoft: Does GNOME co-founder Miguel de Icaza's backflip over the Novell-Microsoft deal a few days ago mean that he has finally been convinced that he is on a one-way path to nowhere? Has he realised that his own project, Mono, is actually putting GNOME on a development track that can leave it open to patent claims one day? And has he realised that creating Moonlight, a clone of Microsoft's Silverlight, (with which the company hopes to trump Adobe's Flash) is not going to advance the cause of free software one iota?

Microsoft promises ODF, OOXML interoperability: In the wake of the ISO rejecting Microsoft's OOXML document format as an international standard, Microsoft has launched its Document Interoperability Initiative pledging to work with industry to ensure its document formats remain interchangeable with industry standards.

Windows better off closed, says Microsoft: Open sourcing Windows is more hassle than it's worth and Microsoft sees little gain in releasing code, according to the man leading Microsoft's server marketing and platform strategy. Microsoft general manager Bill Hilf has said the Windows source code is "irrelevant for what people want".

FUD Alert! Wal-Mart, Everex & Linux: Press enforces FUD with misleading teaser headlines of story reporting Wal-Mart's decision to discontinue in-store sales of the gPCs.

One-third of Asus Eee PC users to run Linux: It's funny how some people are so stuck on the idea that Windows, and only Windows, is the one true operating system that they can't even hear their own words. That's the case with a recent news story with the headline, "Windows XP Will Fill Two-Thirds of Asustek Eee PCs." (This article will only be online until April 13.)

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