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Samba Project to provide Windows protocol access to all open source developers

Thanks to the Samba project, documentation about Windows networking protocols is now available to free software developers who want it. With the help of the Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC) and the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE), Samba has hammered out an agreement for obtaining the documentation and has set up the new Protocol Freedom Information Foundation (PFIF) to make it accessible to other free software projects. The announcement marks the end of nearly a decade of litigation that began when Sun Microsystems requested documentation for the Microsoft Active Directory to build software interoperable with Windows. When Microsoft refused, Sun lodged a complaint with the European Commission, which launched a five year investigation into the issue.

Making an Illustrated Book

One of the things we plan to do different in the Geek Ranch (see What's New Down Here?) is build a lot of domes instead of conventional buildings. The reasoning behind this is that they are quicker to build, cost less and use mostly local materials and that which is not local (in particular, steel) is used in lower quantities than in conventional construction. Before you ask, while we will have storage buildings and other parts of the facility build as domes, if you are thinking about a trip to the Geek Ranch for your getaway, yes your casita will also be a dome. It seems like geeks are the least likely to have a problem with something non-conventional.

The Deprecated “Smoke Screen” of MS Office Open XML (OOXML)

In an effort to win quick converts to its bid to have Microsoft Open Office XML (MOOXML) accepted as an ISO standard, Microsoft is deprecating parts of its widely-criticized MOOXML. But whatever the new Microsoft OOXML file format with deprecated parts will eventually look like (if such a format ever appears in an actual application), these cosmetic changes don’t really make a difference for Microsoft or the world.

After torrents? Try Deluge!

Historians may argue whether it was Louis XV or his mistress, Madame de Pompadour, who famously said, "Après moi, le Déluge" ("After me, the deluge"), but what cannot be argued is that, today, Deluge is the name of an efficient BitTorrent client that you would do well to try. Unlike other BitTorrent clients that consume high levels of RAM and CPU usage, Deluge is lightweight and unobtrusive. To help cut down the bloat, most of its functionality is available as plugins, so you can streamline its runtime requirements. Deluge is free software licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL). Windows, Macintosh, and Linux versions are available, and you can run Deluge in KDE, Xfce, GNOME, and a number of other desktop environments.

Book Review: Windows Vista Annoyances

To read all the buzz on the Internet, there are a lot of people who are annoyed with Windows Vista just now. My son is a Marine serving in Iraq and the last day he was home, we bought him a laptop with Windows Vista installed so he could have a means of communication once he was deployed. Since then, he's been calling periodically asking what he can do to "fix" it. His latest outcry was to ask for a copy of Windows XP so he could "repair" his problems. I thought about that this morning as I picked up my review copy of Karp's book and wondered if the answer to these sorts of problems, (and my son isn't the only one complaining) could be found between the covers of Windows Vista Annoyances. Let's find out.

My Debian Adventure - Part 2

  •; By ComputerBob - Intro by H.Kwint (Posted by hkwint on Dec 27, 2007 9:45 AM EDT)
  • Story Type: Editorial; Groups: Debian, GNU

"As a former MEPIS user, ComputerBob wanted to find out what was under the hood of his GNU/Linux system. Therefore, on December 3rd he decided to try Debian out and keep a diary about his adventures. The first part, which can also be found at LXer details his adventures in the first half of December. He sets up a working Debian GNU/Linux system and tackles some problems, but several networking issues remained. In this shorter but still worthwhile 'part 2', we find out why he had to re-install Debian four times (wow!) and what else happened in the second half of December." - H.Kwint

Tutorial: Building A Linux Music Studio

This is a great time to be your own recording and sound engineer. There are all kinds of great digital recording gear, from tiny portable recorders to multi-channel mixer-recorders with CD burners, and Linux has a wealth of good-quality audio recording and editing programs.

Perl 5.10 now available

Today the Perl Foundation announces the release of Perl 5.10, the first major upgrade to the wildly popular dynamic programming language in over five years. This latest version builds on the successful 5.8.x series by adding powerful new language features and improving the Perl interpreter itself.

Firebird it is Project of the Month for December 2007 on Source Forge

Each month, a project is chosen from the many thousands on to be our Project of the Month.

Linux fanboys should feel the force, says Schneier

Feel the force, fanboy. That is the message to Linux developers from security guru and Blowfish legend Bruce Schneier in a new interview.

Power browsing with five top Firefox add-ons

At Tectonic we love Firefox (and so do most of our readers). Over the course of 2007 we reviewed many of the best Firefox extensions available and now, as the year-end closes in, we offer the top-five of these we could simply not live without.

Geeky Gift-off

LJ Gadget Guy Shawn Powers managed to keep us busy one-upping each other in the office today -- he wanted to know who got the geekiest gift this holiday season. Of course he proved to be the geekiest of all when he went as far as producing a full video review of his gift.

KDE Commit-Digest for 23rd December 2007

In this week's KDE Commit-Digest: Trolltech-sponsored development continues on Phonon backends. Support for saving to remote URL's in Gwenview. A "Now Playing" data engine and applet, and the train clock bla in Plasma. "Switch Tabs on Hover" can now be disabled, and other refinements in Kickoff for KDE 4.0. Work on a debugger (with a SpeedCrunch-inspired interface) for KHTML. Work to support the most recent release of the Flash (version 9) multimedia plugin in Konqueror...

The Plan for Kubuntu And KDE 4

The Kubuntu team has decided to break from the usual schedule and release Kubuntu 8.04 without long term support, due to the release schedule for KDE 4.

AMD 2007 Year In Review

At the end of our ATI Year in Review for 2006, we had stated, "next year will be a very interesting time for ATI/AMD Linux users." Looking back upon that statement, it has certainly turned out to be true, but perhaps an understatement for all of the AMD Linux work that has actually went on this year. The Catalyst Control Center was finally ported to Linux; there is now AIGLX support for use with Compiz, and the most substantial improvement being a brand new code-base for their proprietary Linux driver. Aside from their binary driver, they have developed a strong interest in better enabling the open-source community through releasing GPU documentation to the public (without NDAs!) and collaborating with Novell on the development of the RadeonHD driver. It has been one hell of a year for AMD, and in this article, we are going to look back at their twelve major driver releases from the year as well as re-benchmark all of these different versions.

Google OS Or Not?

  •; By Matt Hartley (Posted by gsh on Dec 26, 2007 3:55 AM EDT)
  • Story Type: Editorial; Groups: Community
How long did you think it would take for an Ubuntu-based machine to make it into Walmart, complete with Google applications scattered all over the place? Apparently it was sooner than we had expected. As I type this, I'm attempting to download a copy of the OS now so I can get a feel for just how much Google feel this Ubuntu variant is really offering.

Restricted Codecs Mess in Linux

  •; By Matt Hartley (Posted by gsh on Dec 26, 2007 2:58 AM EDT)
  • Story Type: Editorial; Groups: Linux
There are a number of newcomers who migrate to Linux and then find themselves at ends with the confusion regarding restricted formats and codecs in the US. The laws regarding usage are confusing and all over the map, thus leaving many Linux distributions forced to mark them as possibly illegal to use in some countries, despite no solid evidence to actually support this outside of MPAA and RIAA rhetoric, which is hardly a court's decision.

A visual GRUB configuration editor

If you've been running Linux long enough to have upgraded your system more than once, you probably have several Linux kernels lurking around your system. If you discover that a certain application no longer works for you, you can go back to a previous kernel to try to run your program. GRUB, the boot loader found in most Linux distributions, lets you choose among operating systems and kernels installed on your box. Many people, however, fear that messing with GRUB may ruin their system, because of its many esoteric options, and configuration file text that often contains no help comments. QGRUBEditor can help you view and edit the GRUB boot loader from a graphical user interface.

Audit your Cisco router's security with Nipper

Find out more about Nipper, an open source network devices security auditing tool, and why companies can benefit from it.

Asus Eee PC Meets and Exceeds Expectations

The Asus Eee PC has already sold more than 350,000 units, over 50,000 more than the previous goal of 300,000. These numbers are huge compared to sales of Dell Ubuntu computers.

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