LXer Weekly Roundup for 20-Sept-2009

Posted by Scott_Ruecker on Sep 21, 2009 9:36 PM
LXer Linux News; By Scott Ruecker (Phoenix, U.S.)


LXer Feature: 21-Sept-2009

Does Microsoft Have an Open Source Strategy Any More?: Whenever I write about Microsoft here I usually get a few comments asking me, with varying degrees of politeness, why I am wasting electrons on this subject on a site devoted to GNU/Linux. The reason I do this – and why I am about to do it again – is that whether we like it or not, Microsoft remains probably the single most important external factor in the free software world. It's useful, therefore, to try to understand what exactly the company's open source strategy is, in order to head off some of its worst aspects, and to build on any positive elements. The trouble is, I don't think Microsoft has an open source strategy any more.

Five Best Virtual-Desktop Managers: Long before multiple monitors were popular (or financially feasible), there were virtual desktops—applications that allow you to swap your entire workspace with another for easy compartmentalization of your work. Here's a look at five of the most popular virtual-desktop managers.

Botnet of Linux Servers with Dynamic IP Discovered: A Russian Web developer has found a network of a couple of hundred Linux servers that could distribute malware to Windows systems.

Linux users show their love for indie game: Indie game developer Koonsolo just revealed some surprising sales statistics on the Linux version of their game. 7 months ago they released their game 'Mystic Mine', and in that time the Linux version sold more copies than the version for Windows. Yet they get plenty more website visits from Windows users.

De-Programming Windows Refugees: Now Linux is the easiest of all operating systems to use, and yet anguish abounds in the land. Too hard! Too hard! Make it easier! What the heck happened?

FSF Publish New List Of Truly Free Linux Distributions: Whoever thought that Debian, Ubuntu or Fedora consist solely of free software would be wrong. The new list compiled by the Free Software Foundation showing truly free distributions has a mere nine entries.

Opinion: Sexism is Alive and Well in Linux/FOSS: The official mythology of FOSS states that it is a meritocracy, and that only the code matters. The reality is not nearly so happy. On September 19th, the GNOME Foundation and the Free Software Foundation will host a mini-summit on women in FOSS. Will it do any good? How much of a problem is it really?

Switching to Linux: A Windows developer’s view: A few weeks ago, I switched my development environment from Windows to Linux, on a project which was developed so far on Windows only. In this post, I want to describe the issues that brought me to this switch, a short overview how I did the actual port, and some observations on Linux for developers. This is the first post in a series of at least two, the second post will describe the tools I use on Linux right now.

10 important Security and privacy addons for Firefox: Security while surfing on the net is important, with firefox you can get more security by using security and privacy addons, here is a list of 10 security and privacy addons.

Tropic of Vector – a blog devoted to Vector Linux Light, plus the Vector Linux Cookbook of Common Tasks: A comment in one of my "backup" blogs (i.e. little used and just sitting there ... waiting) alerted me to a new blog, Tropic of Vector, which chronicles one guy's effort to find the right operating system for a Pentium III-era laptop. After trying everything from Xubuntu down to Puppy and Damn Small Linux, he settled on Vector Linux Light, which aims to make the already resource-sparing Vector Linux run even better with slower CPUs and smaller memory footprints.

Old Operating Systems Don’t Die…: Now this is good tech news in its purest form: After eight years of development, a new operating system called Haiku has been released in alpha form. It’s an open-source reconstruction of BeOS, the mean, lean, multimedia-savvy OS which I really liked when I reviewed it for PC World, um, eleven years ago. (If I recall correctly, I compared it with Windows 98 and an early version of Red Hat Linux.) It’s certainly a happier development than we’re accustomed to hearing about BeOS, a product which failed to become the next-generation Mac OS back in the 1990s and was then sold to Palm for a measly $11 million, whereupon it pretty much vanished except for the occasional legal aftershock.

Mozilla Firefox Not In Violation of U.S Government Export Rules: While the Internet may know no borders, the U.S Government does. There are a number of rules including encryption export regulations from the U.S Department of Commerce and export sanctions by the Department of Treasury that affect software vendors. But what do you do when your application is open source and freely available to anyone in the world? Do the same the rules apply? It's a question that Mozilla asked the U.S government about. The answer they received could have profound implications not just for Firefox but for all open source software vendors. "We really couldn't accept the notion that these government rules could jeopardize the participatory nature of an open source project so we sought to challenge it," Harvey Anderson VP and General Counsel of Mozilla told InternetNews.com. "We argued that First Amendment free speech rights would prevail in this scenario. The government took our filing and then we got back a no violation letter which is fantastic."

Undead COBOL celebrates (another) 50th birthday: COBOL is celebrating its 50th birthday. Or at least the name is. In May 1959, during a meeting at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., the US Department of Defense organized a committee charged with developing a "short range" approach to a common business computing language. And on September 18th of that year, the new Short Range Committee coined the name COBOL, short for Common Business-Oriented Language.

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