LXer Weekly Roundup for 12-Apr-2009

Posted by Scott_Ruecker on Apr 14, 2009 1:42 AM
LXer Linux News; By Scott Ruecker (Phoenix, U.S.)


LXer Feature: 12-Apr-2009

20 of the Best Free Linux Books: Individuals wanting to learn about the Linux operating system have a large selection of books to choose from. There are many thousands of informative Linux books which are in-print and available to download or buy at reasonable cost. However, as many users are attracted to Linux for the very reason that it is available under a freely distributable license, some will also want this to extend to the documentation they read.

KDE Strides Ahead While Gnome Stagnates: KDE4 is a radical rewrite, and it lays the groundwork for a long and sustainable future. The long-term vision for Gnome is conservative and careful. While radical changes are upsetting, Gnome's conservatism could lead to an increasingly crufty and un-sustainable code base. Bruce Byfield gazes into his crystal ball and predicts what the future holds for both.

Google uncloaks once-secret server: Google's big surprise: each server has its own 12-volt battery to supply power if there's a problem with the main source of electricity. The company also revealed for the first time that since 2005, its data centers have been composed of standard shipping containers--each with 1,160 servers and a power consumption that can reach 250 kilowatts.

What happens at a hackathon?: Last weekend, the Birmingham Perl Mongers group hosted and was main financial sponsor of the 2009 QA Hackathon, which was held at the Birmingham City Inn. Key developers in the Perl Quality Assurance world flew in from as far afield as Sydney, Portland, OR and Birmingham itself to spend 3 days hacking on all aspects of the Perl and CPAN toolchain. If the hackathon proved anything, it's that while Internet time is fast, face time is faster.

A Cloudy Future: One of the things about getting older is that you learn to ignore things until you have to do something about them. It's a learned efficiency I suppose, rationing your increasingly precious time out to the unceasing demands upon it. I finally realized I have to do some serious thinking about cloud computing.

Microsoft, FUD and the netbook market: Canonical calls Microsoft out on "4x return rate," Windows having 96% netbook market share, peripheral support, and other pieces of MS netbook FUD.

EFF: Stand Up for Your Right To Read: Last month, a group called The Author's Guild raised loud objections to the text-to-speech feature in Amazon's new Kindle 2. They claimed that reading a book out-loud is a violation of US copyright law. We had hoped that Amazon would stand up to this legally baseless bullying and support their customers. But, instead, they caved, and allowed publishers to deactivate the Kindle's text-to-speech capabilities using the device's built-in DRM.

Is Linux dead in the netbook water?: The Windows share of the US netbook market is a staggering 96 percent. That's up from less than 10 percent of US unit sales during the first half of 2008 when the words netbook and Linux pretty much ran together. Now it seems that the netbook revolution is leaving Linux behind.

Opinion: The top 10 operating system stinkers: I love old technology as much as the next techno-geezer, but come on, it wasn't all wonder and goodness. After we're done reminiscing about the good old days of operating systems, let's reflect on the bad old days of operating systems as well. After all, the bad times are still with us -- even in 2009, there are still some wretched operating systems out there. In historical order, from oldest to newest, here's my own personal list of the top (bottom?) 10 OS stinkers.

The New Faces Of Linux - Who Do I Yell At?: Once we demonstrated a GNU/Linux live cd for him and showed him how he could run his "necessary" programs via Wine and VirtualBox, he was sold...and I mean on the spot. We used two 8 gig thumb drives to copy his music, pictures and documents then did a partition session and replaced his Windows Vista sytem with Mint Linux. After 29 minutes, I announced that his install was done and that we would now boot into his new Linux Operating System. His jaw dropped.

Anti-Linux Propaganda du Jour: Windows Owns 96% Of Netbooks: The anti-Linux propaganda du jour, being dutifully parroted by "news" publications everywhere, is that Windows now owns 96% of the netbook market, and that Linux netbooks are returned four times more than windows netbooks. Both are untrue and have been debunked repeatedly. Yet they persist-- why?

A Marvel of a Marvell: A Marvel of a Marvell - SheevaPlug Development Kit. What could you do with a headless computer system which has 512-Megs of DDR2 400-MHz RAM, a 1.2-GHz processor, a 1-Gigabit Full-Duplex Ethernet Interface, a USB-2 Host interface and a SD/SDHC port? Can you say File, Web, Music Server? How about a machine that draws less than 5-watts of power and has NO Footprint! Well - at least not on the desk or floor! Check it out! They have arrived!

Intel's laptop for kids goes to China: Intel's convertible "Classmate" PC for schoolchildren has been released in China for the first time, as the Hanvon HCQ890 (left), the chipmaker says. Separately, Computer Technology Link, one of several companies marketing the Classmate in the U.S., supplemented its offering with a standard netbook, the UW1.

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