LXer Weekly Roundup for 6-Jan-2008

Posted by Scott_Ruecker on Jan 6, 2008 9:49 PM
LXer Linux News; By Scott Ruecker (Phoenix, U.S.)

LXer Feature: 6-Jan-2008

Happy New Year and Welcome to the first LXer Weekly Roundup of 2008. This week we have a petition for the free use of codecs, our own Carla Schroder talks about how some people should not use computers, the Top 10 Open Source applications on the desktop, 355.6 million reasons the Novell-Microsoft deal is working, Hans Kwint tells us why Open Source is the way to go, who is the most hated company in the PC industry and how to destroy the GPL from the inside.

Happy New Year and Welcome to the first LXer Weekly Roundup of 2008. This week we have a petition for the free use of codecs, our own Carla Schroder talks about how some people should not use computers, the Top 10 Open Source applications on the desktop, 355.6 million reasons the Novell-Microsoft deal is working, Hans Kwint tells us why Open Source is the way to go, who is the most hated company in the PC industry and how to destroy the GPL from the inside.

Free use of codecs petition: We The People believe that anyone should have the right to play any Digital Media in the form of Music, Videos, or other content on any device in any format that we wish such as but not limited to DVD format using the libdvd codec, MP3 files with the lame codec, and Microsoft formated content using the win32 codecs..

Fedora 8: An Assault On Ubuntu: Lately, I have been looking into other distributions that, like Ubuntu, are working to make strides to attract new users. I still have Debian Etch burned to a CD, waiting for a test in our lab. Next up is going to be Fedora. In the past, I have never been too impressed with RPM-based distributions, but to be fair, most of this came from nightmare scenarios with Mandriva and SuSE. And the last time I really took Fedora for a solid run was with Fedora 5, so it has been a while since I tested the Red Hat supported distro.

And You Thought It Couldn't Get Worse...: You probably think I am writing this to form some sort of action to battle this, right? No, I've learned that is all but a futile gesture. Most Linux users cannot see past the needs of their own cpu's. or the interests of their LUGs. Aptly, readers of this blog have proven to be different. No, that's not my intention here...at least not overtly.

Unblocking Blockheads or, Some People Should Not Use Computers or, "The Marching Morons" Comes True: A sizable number of humans have devoted their lives to erecting barriers to learning anything new. You can see it when you talk to them- when something as simple as "click this button" produces a glazed expression and drool, you know you've lost them forever. Of course they'll waste hours of your time complaining about how stupid computers are. But even though it's easy money to nod and pretend to listen, and then bill them for every minute wasted on empty complaining (I never had enough nerve to charge a whining penalty, and I wish I had), it's not how I want to spend my time. Life is too short.

Flipping the Linux switch: KDE, the K desktop environment: There's one thing for certain: Now is an exciting time to be a KDE user. The much anticipated launch of KDE 4 is slated for January 11th, 2008. This is a major revamp of the look and feel of the KDE desktop, with the inclusion of a built-in compositor (think eye candy) and something called "plasmoids" (little functional widgets embedded into your desktop). It's a lot of new bling aimed at improving the desktop experience. Will it? More importantly, will it for you? What would make you choose KDE over GNOME (or vice versa)? This week we take a brief look at KDE in both its 3.5.x and 4 incarnations, and outline a few rules of thumb on choosing your desktop environment.

Opinion: 11 Predictions for Free Software in 2008: From KDE to the OOXML controversy to video drivers: a gaze into the crystal ball for free (as in free speech, not as in free beer) software.

This week at LWN: Insufficiently free?: Watching an extended flame war between Richard Stallman and Theo de Raadt is an interesting experience. The realization that one can sit back and watch without having to really care about the result brings a sense of profound tranquility and relief. Along the way, one gets to learn things like how mean Theo can be, or that Richard does not use a web browser. It all seems like good fun. Even so, when the discussion reaches levels like this:..

Steps to install gOS on Ubuntu Gutsy Gibbon: I am sure by now you have heard of the gPC loaded with gOS via various news sources. For those in the dark, gPC stands for green PC which is a sub $200 PC which comes loaded with a customized version of Ubuntu known as gOS or in popular parlance called Google OS.

Top 10 Open Source Applications on the Desktop: Every year there are many, many open-source applications released, but not all of them can be the best. These applications are the best, at least according to Softpedia.

Upgrading Debian from Etch to Lenny: After reading Wolfgang's blog entry on how easy it is to upgrade a Debian installation (and I recommend his blog, The Debian User, to any and all Debian and Ubuntu users), I decided to do it myself. I have a testing hard drive (one of three I can easily swap in and out of my Maxspeed Maxterm converted thin client) that began as a Debian Etch Xfce box and recently got GNOME added. Now I'm doing the easy upgrade from Etch (stable) to Lenny (testing).

355.6 million reasons the Novell-Microsoft deal is working: Via CRN we learn that according to Novell’s recent 10-K annual report, the Linux vendor received $355.6 million (R2.5 billion) from Microsoft in terms of the companies’ agreement on interoperability signed in 2006. No wonder Novell execs are feeling pleased with themselves.

Closed source is dead, open source is the way to innovation!: Lately, some articles appeared which stated the open-source way of development didn't bring us any innovation. Jaron Lanier even goes further by saying closed source is the better approach to innovation. However, these people miss a lot of important points and facts about innovation, and therefore the conclusions they make are false. Having read a lot about innovation myself lately, I will try to show that the open-source way of doing things leads to more innovation, and more important, I will give some real life examples showing the closed-source inventions aren't that innovative at all, and pointing to some open-source inventions the other writers missed.

Is Linux Worth the Effort?: I've spent the better part of the past 2 weeks banging away on 2 LTSP servers for our school district. I find myself lamenting to those around me, and being an otherwise cranky guy as well. This morning it dawned on me that people probably think I'm having such a hard time because I'm using Linux instead of the "norm" -- but that's just not the case.

Java is becoming the new Cobol: Great! Now that java's finally about to be freed, it's losing ground. According to Bill Snyder, Java is losing ground to Ruby on Rails, PHP, and AJAX for web development and being pushed by .Net in the enterprise.

2007: That Was a Very Good (Linux) Year: The most important thing that came to light this year is how much Linux and FOSS drive the computer industry. It's not the oldtime traditional commercial companies that are "driving innovation" as they like to say, and which makes me want to hit something every time I hear it because it's such a big fat fib, but Linux and the FOSS world. So rather than getting all violent, let's take a look at some of the ways that Linux is leaving everyone else in the dust.

Fun: Chuck Norris vs. Linus Torvalds: I'm sure everybody remembers facts on Chuck Norris, and here are Linus Torvalds facts!

At a Loss for Words: It's not often I find myself at a loss for words when I read something, but this is one of those times. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that it isn't really necessary for me to add any words to the following news, other than to characterize them with a Latin phrase lawyers use: Res ipse loquitor, which translates as "the thing speaks for itself."

The Most Hated Company In the PC Industry: Who in the hell is Asustek, and why does Microsoft hate them more than any other company in the industry? Why does Apple, Dell and Palm Computing hate them? And why does Intel love them?

gOS: A wake up call for Free Software marketing: "Think gOS. It might not be such a bad advice after all. It's been hyped up, but it sold out. And there may be lessons in its deployment and success for all of us Free Software and GNU/Linux advocates!"

Destroying the GPL from the inside: How do you destroy the GPL? Honestly I don't think it will be done, but there is a way. Simply put the GPL is a copyright license, which is it's strength and it's achillies heel. For years publishing companies, our friends at the RIAA and MPAA among others have pushed for longer and longer copyright terms so that they can reap the rewards from other people's work for a longer period of time. So why not turn things on their heads a bit? Actually, what I'm talking about has already been proposed.

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