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5-year-olds repair OLPC laptops at Nigerian "hospital"

During the recent Greener Gadgets Conference in New York, former OLPC CTO (and XO challenger) Mary Lou Jepsen discussed the real-world difficulties with using the kid-friendly laptops, including the creation of an XO "hospital" used to repair broken computers. Apparently, in the crowded conditions of schools in places like Nigeria, the little green laptops have a tendency to be jostled around and even knocked on the floor from time to time. As there's typically no repair shops nearby, the kids have learned to fix the systems themselves, setting up a "laptop hospital" where they can repair what's broken using simple tools and cheap replacement parts.

Kurt Pfeifle and Simon Peter about Klik2: The future of easy Linux Package management

Kurt Pfeifle and Simon Peter are the authors of Klik, a distro-neutral complement to the existing package managers where 1 app = 1 file which includes all dependencies in that file (!) and where you can install and run software with one 'Klik' from your browser using their online package-repository . Deleting an app is as simple as deleting its file, and (IIRC) root privileges are not needed to install new apps. At the Free and Open source Software Developers' European Meeting (FOSDEM) 2008 - to be held in Bruxelles, BE the 23/24th of February, they will talk about the advantages of Klik, and the architecture of the upcoming Klik2. In this interview they talk Linux package management, Klik's future and their presence at FOSDEM.

[ Klik "version 1" already worked very well, it enabled me to use a CLI-program for which Gentoo didn't have a package and which I couldn't compile manually before some reason. It's by far the single best thing for Linux package management I saw since I use open source software, especially since it solves the dependency problem for one and all and my mother and grandmother could use it - hkwint ]

Can KDE Save a Dying Windows Platform?

  • mrcopilot.blogspot.com; By MrCopilo (Posted by hkwint on Feb 3, 2008 11:39 AM EDT)
  • Story Type: Reviews; Groups: KDE
Summary taken from KDE.news:

As a longtime KDE user forced to use Windows, is the recent announcement and availability of a port of KDE for Windows a dream come true? "KDE 4.0.0 was released and there again was much joy. More importantly an actual honest to goodness Windows port is released." Blogger MrCopilot gives us a hands on review with 50+ screenshots of KDE in action on that other operating system and tries to answer that question. KDE on Windows is not yet ready for the masses but hopes to be declared stable for KDE 4.1.

[ Take a look at this article. It won't happen often you see such nice Windows screenshots being referred to from LXer! - hkwint ]

Creating Snapshot-Backups with FlyBack On Ubuntu 7.10

  • HowtoForge; By Falko Timme (Posted by falko on Feb 3, 2008 10:42 AM EDT)
  • Story Type: Tutorial; Groups: Ubuntu
FlyBack is a tool similar to Apple's TimeMachine. It is intended to create snapshot-backups of selected directories or even your full hard drive. From the FlyBack project page: "FlyBack is a snapshot-based backup tool based on rsync. It creates successive backup directories mirroring the files you wish to backup, but hard-links unchanged files to the previous backup. This prevents wasting disk space while providing you with full access to all your files without any sort of recovery program. If your machine crashes, just move your external drive to your new machine and copy the latest backup using whatever file browser you normally use." This article shows how to install and use FlyBack on Ubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy Gibbon).

Who Fouled My Carpet...?

t only took me a few minutes to notice it. It would seem that the Freespire people have been given their marching orders and I would Like Eric Raymond to comment if he is allowed. I can understand why Linspire would have to bow to the Microsoft Collusion but why Freespire? Now I know that Linspire is expected to dance to Microsoft's tunes...If I calculate correctly, 5 top Linspire executives entered their employment with Linspire weighing 3 lbs less than they did when they left.

Typography in LaTeX

  • PolishLinux.org; By Tomasz Łuczak (Posted by michux on Feb 3, 2008 7:52 AM EDT)
  • Story Type: Tutorial; Groups: Linux
This article completes the LaTeX course on Polishlinux.org. In the previous article regarding writing a dissertation the problem of typography has been omitted. This one concentrates on things like spaces is text, enumerations, special chars, fonts, typefaces and styles.

Deliver us from Microsoft

In recent weeks I have banged on about Open Source, expending two articles on Firefox alone. Open Source applications make their code available to everyone. Disagreements and rabid balkanisation within the Open Source community aside, for our purposes the term might as well refer to free software whose licence allows you to share the source code, alter it, use it, do with it what you will.

Kernel Rate of Change

"I re-ran some statistics the other day on our kernel development rate, and changed my formula after Andrew accused me of severely undercounting the rate of change," noted Greg KH during a discussion about the stability of the Linux kernel while undergoing significant changes. He continued, "turns out that as of 2.6.24-rc8 for the 2.6.24 kernel release we did: lines added per day, 4945; lines removed per day, 2006; lines modified per day, 1702"..

MiYahoo's future rests with open source and courage

Should Microsoft's bid for Yahoo! go through, the combined company would face one very major infrastructure question - how far is it willing to go in the war against Google? According to some, Google enjoys a major cost savings advantage over its rivals through a series of bespoke data centers. The ad broker crafts its own servers, using cheap memory, cheap disk and cheap low-power chips. Such systems, destined for failure, cause little damage when they go down because Google's software spreads well across hundreds and thousands of machines. Google treats its clusters of machines as a single entity rather than worrying all much about individual boxes. Along the way, the company saves on energy and infrastructure costs by relying on components that many major companies would consider below their standards.

KDE 4 Developers: An Interview with Sebastian Kuegler

Sebastian Kuegler of KDE recently agreed to give an interview, the first in what I hope will be a series. His responses are well thought out and detailed. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

A Tour Of Sun's Project Indiana Preview 2

  • Phoronix; By Michael Larabel (Posted by phoronix on Feb 2, 2008 3:08 PM EDT)
  • Groups: Sun; Story Type: News Story
A week ago we reported that a second preview release of Project Indiana, Sun's attempt at creating an operating system for the desktop based upon OpenSolaris and led by Ian Murdock, was on track to be released in the near future. Thursday afternoon that became true with the test image surfacing for Developer Preview 2 of Project Indiana, or what will formally be called OpenSolaris. Officially, this new release is known as the OpenSolaris Developer Preview 1/08 edition. The general availability release of Project Indiana is expected in March, but today we have up a tour of this new Indiana release.

Finding the happy medium in FOSS

Last year, Dell began offering Ubuntu on non-corporate desktops and laptops, opening the door for other large computer companies to follow suit. With this offering came a lot of discussion over what Dell should include with each computer sold. In a recent iTWire article concerning Dell's inclusion of its re-worked Ubuntu 7.10 and LinDVD (a commercial Linux DVD player), comments ran the gamut from FOSS purity to legal questions to even questioning Dell's motives. Clearly the FOSS community is pulled in all directions trying to satisfy users. Is there any happy medium? Can the community balance the requests of purists and pragmatists and still release usable products?

Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron Alpha 4 Screenshots

Welcome to Hardy Heron Alpha-4, which will in time become Ubuntu 8.04. Alpha 4 includes several new features that are ready for large-scale testing. X.Org 7.3, with an emphasis on better autoconfiguration with a minimal configuration file; Linux kernel 2.6.24 brings in significant enhancements and fixes that have been merged in the last few months into the mainline kernel. Screenshots

Google Android - a sneak preview

Google invited developers to its London office for one of three workshops - the others being in Munich and Tel Aviv to spread the word and teach developers how to write for their new OS. Another event will be held in Boston on February 23rd (check at the blog for an announcement). Here's what they told us. The mantra for Android is that it’s "a complete and modern embedded OS, with a cutting edge mobile user experience, a world class software stack for building apps and open platform for developers users and industry". That of course breaks into lots of different specifics some of which are more solid than others. Computer people coming to mobile have a very different view of phone architecture to phone people adding features.

KDE Commit-Digest for 27th January 2008

In this week's KDE Commit-Digest: Heavy refactoring and work on merging translation branches in Lokalize (which is renamed from "Kaider", and moved from playground to kdesdk). Work on a question editor in KEduca. Work on real-time cloud imagery in Marble. An initial implementation of a new undo stack in KWordQuiz. The start of a KAlgebra, Rot13, KWorldClock, and Pastebin Plasma applet, with the inclusion of more functionality from KDE 3.5 (such as the multi-row taskbar panel) in Plasma. Progress in scripting support and functionality in Plasma. The "Now Playing" data engine and applet, and the fuzzy-clock Plasma applet move into kdereview. Viewports support declared "complete" on the KDE desktop.

NVIDIA Quietly Releases New Drivers, Utility

  • Phoronix; By Michael Larabel (Posted by phoronix on Feb 2, 2008 10:22 AM EDT)
  • Groups: Linux; Story Type: News Story
Last night NVIDIA quietly uploaded a new Linux display driver to their FTP server. This new driver is tagged 171.05, while the latest public driver has been 169.09. Having already three releases in the 169.xx series, this is a moderate update to 171.xx, but according to NVIDIA it's not for everyone. There is no official change-log that NVIDIA has published for the 171.05 driver, and the change-log that ships with the driver hasn't been updated (whether it be intentional or not). The only word that has come out of the NVIDIA camp on this new driver is from Christian Zander and he has said that this driver is only intended for use with the Tesla S870 GPU Computing Systems. The legacy NVIDIA Linux drivers have also been updated this week.

SCALE 6X -- An interview with publicity chairman Orv Beach

We all know that Linux is a kernel, an operating system, maybe even a socio-political movement (it depends on whom you ask), but in a sense, Linux is about people -- those who create, use and promote it. One of those people is Orv Beach, publicity chairman for SCALE 6X -- the Southern California Linux Expo -- being held Feb. 8-10 in Los Angeles.

The World According to Linux

This is an editorial on the unfair web statistics that are used against the Linux community. Often, websites will make claims that there are less than one percent of Linux users in the world, some as low as 1/2 of one percent, when their only claim to this is the people visiting their site, which is usually geared towards Windows users.

Transmission-line Characterization on Linux

IBM Broadband Transmission-line Characterization Using Short-pulse Propagation is a software toolkit with advanced 2D field solver and signal-processing facility for extracting broadband transmission line properties. In addition, this technology is suitable for sharing with university educators for the purpose of training future engineers.

Wireless in Linux: one idiot's opinion

When my Orinoco WaveLAN Silver PCMCIA card "just worked" with every single Linux distribution I tried, I was happy. When two el-cheapo cards from Airlink 101 didn't work with every single Linux distribution I tried, and still didn't work when I resorted to ndiswrapper and a console, I was unhappy.

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