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Building an Relationship Economy

Is there something new that open source development methods and values can bring to the economy? How about something old? I think the answer may come from the developing world, where pre-industrial methods and values persist and offer some helpful models and lessons for a networked world that's less post-industrial than industrial in a new and less impersonal way.This began to become apparent to me a few years ago I had a Socratic exchange with a Nigerian pastor named Sayo, whom I was lucky to find sitting next to me on a long airplane trip.

Zero Install: An executable critique of native package systems

Zero Install is one of the more promising alternatives to native package systems for Linux distributions, such as RPM and Debian's dpkg. Originally developed by Thomas Leonard, a professor in the Department of Electronics and Computing at the University of Southampton, it begins with a criticism of existing package systems the difficulties of using them, and is built to provide an answer to the problems raised by the critique. However, like other alternative package systems, it faces the problems of winning acceptance from the major distributions and fine-tuning its features.

Multi-core Intel platform combines Linux, OS-9

RadiSys is shipping a toolkit that lets developers combine Linux with its OS-9 RTOS (real-time OS), in embedded systems based on RadiSys boards and Intel Core 2 Duo processors. The MultiCore Development Kit includes the VLX-NI platform virtualization product from VirtualLogix.

The right way to read files with PHP

Review basic file functions, such as fopen, fclose, and feof; learn reading functions, such as fgets, fgetss, and fscanf. And discover functions that process entire files in one or two lines of code.

OpenBSD: NDAs Versus Free Drivers

Greg Kroah-Hartman's announcement for free Linux driver development [story] included the necesssary legal framework to honor NDAs when creating GPL'd drivers. This allowance was discussed on the OpenBSD -misc mailing list. In a public exchange with Greg KH, Stephan Rickauer said, "now these companies have a great excuse to keep specs locked up tight under NDA, while pretending to be 'open.' The OpenBSD project has made clear more than once how this will hurt Free Software in the long run. Signing NDA's ensures that Linux gets a working driver, sure, but the internals are indistinguishable from magic. It is a source code version of a blob." OpenBSD founder Theo de Raadt [interview] called the free driver effort a farce, "you are trying to make sure that maintainers of code -- ie. any random joe who wants to improve the code in the future -- has LESS ACCESS to docs later on because someone signed an NDA to write it in the first place. You are making a very big mistake."

Linux: Syslets, Generic Asynchronous System Call Support

Ingo Molnar [interview] posted a set of 11 patches introducing "the first release of the 'Syslet' kernel feature and kernel subsystem, which provides generic asynchrous system call support". Ingo explains:

Designing and Implementing Linux Firewalls and QoS using netfilter, iproute2, NAT, and L7-filter

As is reminiscent of many of the books written by authors for Packt Publishing, the first chapter begins with descriptions and re-introductions to many of the basic networking concepts. These include the OSI model, subnetting, supernetting, and a brief overview of the routing protocols. Chapter 2 discusses the need for network security and how it applies to each of the layers of the OSI model.

Debian developers seek new leader

Nominations for the unpaid position of Debian Project Leader (DPL) opened last week. The successful candidate will take over from current incumbent Anthony Towns in April.

IBM releases Informix beta, preps Linux bundle

IBM has opened the public beta program for the next version of its Informix database server and announced plans for a bundled Linux package for smaller businesses. The upgrade to IBM's Informix Dynamic Server (IDS) is code-named Cheetah. The final version is due out sometime later this year and will offer new features for application developers, better support for hierarchical data structures and improved query capabilities across multiple instances of the database, IBM announced Thursday.

My sysadmin toolbox

My working day includes a variety of tasks, and most of them take place on the command line, because that approach enables me to do things in the most efficient way. But you can also waste a lot of time on the command line if you don't know what utilities will give you what you need quickly. Here's an introduction to the most important tools I use every day.

World's first prisoners to write OpenICDL

Thirteen female inmates at the Pollsmoor and Malmesbury correctional centres yesterday wrote their OpenICDL examinations. A first ever, this was part of a programme to provide inmates with marketable skills that will help them integrate into society.

Immature software leads Ubuntu eschew built-in video bling

The Ubuntu technical board has decided to forgo the inclusion of a compositing window manager and proprietary video drivers in the default installation of the upcoming Ubuntu release. Instead, the technical board plans to incorporate new system configuration components that will allow users to trivially install, enable, and configure compositing support and the requisite video drivers. The board's decision was largely made based on the compositing software's lack of maturity, not criticism of proprietary driver inclusion. Compositing window managers like Beryl and Compiz, which leverage the 3D hardware acceleration features provided by proprietary graphics drivers, bring rich visual interfaces to the Linux desktop and provide users with sumptuous eye-candy.

Firefox's new add-on site delayed, set to launch tonight

Mozilla Corp., which postponed the expected Monday launch of its revamped Firefox add-on Web site, said it now plans to fire up the redesign tonight. The new add-on site will sport enhanced user-to-user discussion tools and will be available in multiple languages, a Mozilla executive said last week. Most important, however, is that the site will cull the number of supported browser extensions from more than 2,000 to a couple of hundred.

Novell vows to keep fighting Microsoft 'juggernaut'

Despite an alliance with Microsoft, Novell's chief says he's "excited by the muted reaction to Vista."

FOSDEM interviews: software patents, security, JBoss jBPM and Firebug

As FOSDEM is about to start next week, a new set of interviews has been released. This time the project leaders of FSFE, FFII JBoss jBPM and Firebug talk about their projects in anticipation of their talk.
Joe Hewitt of Firebug won't be able to present at FOSDEM, and ,will be replaced by Drupal creator Dries Buytaert. Who is, ironically enough, an avid Firebug user himself.

EBS implements Novell SUSE Linux as foundation for major server consolidation project

In an effort to decrease IT costs and provide centralised management, EBS Building Society in Ireland has deployed Novell's SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) within the company's mainframe environment to host IBM's WebSphere applications. SUSE Linux Enterprise Server will support more than 1,000 users within EBS in 2007.

uBuntu security distro Protech beta released

Protech has just been released in its beta form. Based on uBuntu, it has been designed to be a very light weight security distribution for professional security technicians and programmers

Microsoft's Love Letter to IBM and the Shape of Things to Come

Perhaps the most significant news this week in the battle between OOXML and ODF was Micorosoft's decision to escalate the air wars by sending IBM an open letter "valentine" yesterday, posted at the Microsoft Interoperability Web page.

Has open-source lost its halo?

Is open-source still a grassroots social movement made up of idealistic underdogs trying to revolutionize an amoral industry? Or has it become a cloak used by IT vendors large and small to disguise ruthless and self-serving behavior?

Flash for Linux -- It's Not for Designers.

Adobe has made great strides in making Flash available on Linux lately, but it still has some work to do. In a well attended session at the LinuxWorld Open Solutions Summit currently underway in New York, Emmy Huang, flash product manager for Linux and James Ward technical evangelist at Adobe, described in great detail the efforts that Adobe is making with Flash for Linux.

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