LXer Weekly Roundup for 01-Feb-2009

Posted by Scott_Ruecker on Feb 2, 2009 10:57 AM
LXer Linux News; By Scott Ruecker (Phoenix, U.S.)


LXer Feature: 01-Feb-2009

My apologies for the return to the old format. With the big game yesterday I pretty much forgot to put this up.

Three Little Utilities That Make A Big Difference: We've all heard of Firefox and GNOME DO, but there are some little utilities you may not have noticed that make life a lot easier.

Google plans to make PCs history: Google is to launch a service that would enable users to access their personal computer from any internet connection, according to industry reports. But campaigners warn that it would give the online behemoth unprecedented control over individuals' personal data. The Google Drive, or "GDrive", could kill off the desktop computer, which relies on a powerful hard drive. Instead a user's personal files and operating system could be stored on Google's own servers and accessed via the internet.

$200 Laptops Break a Business Model: The global credit crisis may have caused the decline in consumer and business spending that is assaulting the giants of high tech. But as the dominant technology companies try to emerge from this slump, they may find themselves blaming people like David Title just as much as they blame Wall Street.

choices and punishment: So apparently Linus is using GNOME right now. He mentioned it in the middle of an interview with Computer World and then Slashdot (and I'm sure others) picked it up and ran with it. On Slashdot, the entire six page interview was boiled down to "Linus Switches From KDE To GNOME". Let me address the "Linus issue" first, because it's the simpler and less critical issue. Linus is precisely one user. For every Linus Torvalds (there's exactly one of them), we have 10s of millions of other KDE users and a few billion who don't use any F/OSS solution at all yet. I don't like losing any user, though, and such a happening can be deflating and make one second guess what they are doing (which isn't an entirely bad thing either, as long as it doesn't result in bad decision making or paralysis).

Editorial row engulfs Wikipedia: The online user-generated encyclopaedia Wikipedia is considering a radical change to how it is run. It is proposing a review of the rules, that would see revisions being approved before they were added to the site. The proposal comes after edits of the pages of Senators Robert Byrd and Edward Kennedy gave the false impression both had died. The editing change has proved controversial and sparked a row among the site's editors.

Russia to develop Linux-based alternative to Windows?: Details are scarce, unless Russian is your language of choice, but one news outlet is reporting that Russia plans to develop its own national operating system. The move is designed to reduce the country's reliance on foreign software and licensing agreements. And the alleged "open-code" solution, likely a Linux/GNU derivative, will give Russia a greater degree of customization, as well as increased control over how the potentially free operating system is used and accessed.

EU could force Microsoft to bundle Firefox with Windows: The European Commission could force Microsoft to bundle Firefox with future versions of Windows. The revelation came as part of Microsoft's quarterly filing with the Security and Exchange Commission. Among the statements is a clause outlining the penalties being considered by the European watchdog, which recently ruled that Microsoft is harming competition by bundling Internet Explorer with Windows. The most interesting situation outlined in the filing would see either Microsoft or computer manufacturers forced to install Firefox, Chrome, Opera and Safari by default alongside Internet Explorer on new Windows-based PCs.

Mozilla Goes to Bat for Open-Source Video on the Web: If Mozilla has its way, you'll soon be able to watch streaming video on sites all over the web without ever having to use a plug-in. The software maker announced Monday that native support for the open-source Threora video format will be added to Firefox 3.1, the next version of its popular web browser. Theora files can be embedded directly into web pages just like images and viewed in any browser that supports Theora playback -- no plug-in to download, so special software to install.

KDE 4.2: I'm tired of Pundits, Here's MY Take: So I am writing this rant on the eve of the release of KDE 4.2, and in the face of interviews from Linus Torvalds stating that he abandoned KDE after the 4.0 release, and partially in response to Steven Vaugh-Nichols negatively equating 4.2 to Windows 7. My bottom line: I've been using KDE since around the time version 2 came out, and while KDE 4.2 is not perfection, it is better than the 3.5 series, and as of right now 4.2 is easily my favorite Linux desktop... and this rant will address some complaints I've seen and to dissect which complaints are warranted and which are not.

Which is the best Linux OS?: Which is the best Linux OS? This is of course an unanswerable question, still many people ask themselves this question. Of course they do! They definitely have to. There's nothing as difficult as a world full of choice, especially if you don't happen to have a lot of knowledge about the subject. And when it comes to Linux it will well make a difference you'll carry with you for the rest of your life as a Linux user.

Even Microsoft's anti-Linux message isn't this bad: This anti-Linux Microsoft "ad" hit the Web a few weeks ago, but I just came across it last night and thought it was funny. It's not funny because of its content but rather because some people actually think that it's a real ad put out by Microsoft to discredit Linux, one originally placed on a page describing how to multiboot operating systems.

Did Linus Jump Too Soon?: One of the many great things about Linus is that he doesn't bottle it up: he speaks his mind on things that matter to him, without worrying overly about what others might say as a result. And when he mentioned in the course of an interview that he had switched from KDE to GNOME, others soon had plenty to say on the subject. But I don't want to revisit those arguments about which is better today: instead, I want to explore the possibility that Linus decided to jump to GNOME at precisely the time when KDE could soon leapfrog it in important ways.

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