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This week at LWN: A ten-year timeline (part 1)

LWN is about to celebrate a birthday. Picking the true anniversary of an enterprise like LWN can be a bit tricky - there are many points which could be said to mark the true birth of the organization. After some thought, we have decreed that LWN.net was born on January 30, 1998. So we have a tenth anniversary coming up. That's a long time - far longer than any of us thought we would be doing this. Life is funny that way, somehow.

Can OpenOffice.org do the job?

  • Free Software Magazine; By Ryan Cartwright (Posted by merc on Jan 19, 2008 1:56 PM EDT)
  • Story Type: Editorial; Groups: OpenOffice.org
To continue my look at how non-profits and the free software community can engage, I’ve decided to look at some popular free software products and see how well they fit the need of an average charity—namely my employer. I’ll start with OpenOffice.org.

Linux-based preboot environment turns PC into CE

DeviceVM demonstrated a Linux-powered PC preboot application environment lets users instantly run several Internet-based applications, including Web browsing and Skype messaging, at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week. 'Splashtop' integrates with the PC’s BIOS and is launched prior to operating system boot-up.

Yahoo! backs! OpenID!

Yahoo! has pledged to support OpenID from the end of the month, giving a massive boost for the online identity framework that aims to cut password headaches. Yahoo.com and sister site flickr.com will add support for OpenID 2.0, Yahoo! said on Thursday. Separately, Google's Blogger confirmed yesterday plans to become an OpenID provider.

Powerful Multimedia Command-Line Tools, Part II—Transcode

MEncoder has supported video encoding for a long time with the MPlayer Project and FFmpeg, which also now is part of MPlayer now. Transcode is a new command-line tool on the horizon for video and audio transformations. Transcode used to give me horrors, but it is much better now. It does take some time to learn its wonderfully unintuitive syntax—the author used all the lowercase and uppercase English alphabet letters for specifying the command-line options. Using longer mnemonic options common in other Linux commands might have made things easier. Anyway, let's get to the meat of the matter.

Ultumix 0.0.1.3 is comming soon to a Desktop near you!

  • nixedblog.thenixedreport.com; By Justin Breithaupt (Posted by usacomputertec on Jan 19, 2008 10:07 AM EDT)
  • Story Type: News Story; Groups: Xfce
LOOK OUT! Ultumix is running faster than ever thanks to the new XFCE interface. It’s running so fast with such a small RAM requirement that It does not even slow my PC down when I start it up in a Virtual Machine.

A high day ahead for Linux HPC

  • Computerworld; By Howard Dahdah (Posted by tuxchick on Jan 19, 2008 9:10 AM EDT)
  • Story Type: News Story; Groups: Linux
Linux and High Performance Computing go hand in hand. So to see what Australian users have been doing with Linux and HPC, this year's linux.conf.au is holding a Birds of a Feather session on the topic. Before the session kicks off we take time to speak to the BoF coordinator Anthony David. During the working day Anthony works for SGI as the onsite engineer for the Australian Partnership for Advanced Computing (APAC).

Explore Ubuntu mobile new Linux kernel approach

This tutorial teaches you how to streamline development for Linux apps on handheld and mobile devices using UME. Along the way, you learn about several tools and new approaches to Linux kernel configuration and environment construction.

Easily create CD case covers with Koverartist

Lots of open source tools can help you transfer photos and videos from your cameras to a Linux computer and burn them on to a DVD. But before you mail them to your uncles, aunts, and cousins, wouldn't it be great if you could add a customized case cover to your disks? Koverartist is a KDE application you can use to quickly put together an artistic cover for a CD case.

Predictive Self Healing on Linux on POWER

Sun frequently touts their “predictive self-healing” implementation in Solaris 10. I wonder if that bullet point would be further down the list if they were familiar with the error detection, prediction, and correction capabilities of Linux on POWER platforms. In fact, the Linux on POWER implementation precedes the Solaris 10 implementation by at least a year.

Trolltech Qt To Be Licensed Under GPLv3

Breaking from the KDE 4.0 release event right now is word that Trolltech will be releasing Qt to be released under the GPLv3 license. An official announcement will be made by Trolltech regarding this GPLv2 to GPLv3 license update on Monday, January 21, 2008. Richard Stallman is pleased by this move and had stated, "I am very pleased that Trolltech has decided to make Qt available under GPLv3." This news was delivered at the KDE 4.0 release event by Haavard Nord, Trolltech co-founder & CEO.

Automating Debian updates

I have cron-apt set up on all my machines — you can get it to install any updates automatically but that sounds like Bad News to me, so instead it’s set to download and email me. I had a script that took names-of-machines-to-upgrade as arguments and did the rest for me, but that involved typing up to 50 machine names. And I am lazy. So I finally got around to writing a script that parses a local mailbox, grabs the machine names from the subject lines, and does the rest from there.

Bill Gates Invades the Land of Linus, Uses Dumping Techniques

A visitor of this site, who goes by the name “Finland Calling”, has just dropped us a helpful tip. Quick translation of the text from “The Finnish News Agency” aka STT going rounds in web already and being published in all of the major and also most of the minor newspapers tomorrow: "In the meeting between prime minister of Finland Matti Vanhanen and Bill Gates, the software giant Microsoft promised to donate tailored tools for Finnish schools. Microsoft will offer Finnish basic education and general upper secondary schools and their students free Windows live services selection."

Microsoft Patent Deal With JVC May Cover Linux Use

Microsoft said Tuesday that it struck a patent cross-licensing deal with Japanese electronics manufacturer JVC that includes net payments from JVC to Microsoft. Under the deal, both companies will exchange patent information related to the development and manufacturing of consumer products. More specific terms of the agreement were not disclosed. Microsoft, however, did say that the deal's balance of payments tilts in its direction. "Microsoft is being compensated by JVC," Microsoft said in a statement. The statement has raised speculation that Microsoft may be charging JVC for its use of the Linux operating system in some of its products. Among other things, JVC uses Linux in its streaming video networking gear.

The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated. -Mark Twain

Yes, Gentoo has some issues concerning the Gentoo foundation. Yes, we are actively working on straightening out these issues. No, Gentoo is not dying. Developers are still coding, servers are still humming and moral among developers that I work with is high. The state of the foundation is not something that will stop the kernel team from releasing kernels, the KDE team from working their butts off so KDE 4 compiles on everyone’s machine, or the release team from creating and testing the forthcoming release.

Why I’ve stopped reporting bugs to Ubuntu

I’ve largely stopped reporting bugs to Ubuntu because of the condescending and dismissive attitude from their developers. Today I stumbled across what unfortunately seems like another typical example of what happens when you report a bug to them: aumix in Ubuntu 7.10 was compiled wrong, such that it won’t even launch. Recompiling the source package without making any changes to the source fixes the problem. Instead of just doing that, the Ubuntu developers spent far more time and effort bickering on the bug report and justifying their inaction by referring to official protocol.

Powerful Multimedia Command-Line Tools, Part II—Transcode

MEncoder has supported video encoding for a long time with the MPlayer Project and FFmpeg, which also now is part of MPlayer now. Transcode is a new command-line tool on the horizon for video and audio transformations. Transcode used to give me horrors, but it is much better now. It does take some time to learn its wonderfully unintuitive syntax—the author used all the lowercase and uppercase English alphabet letters for specifying the command-line options. Using longer mnemonic options common in other Linux commands might have made things easier. Anyway, let's get to the meat of the matter.

PackageKit

PackageKit aims to take the pain out of the package management on GNU/Linux systems and create a system that can compete with Windows and Mac. Development is proceeding at a rapid pace and it is set to be available in Fedora 9. To find out more, we talked to Richard Hughes, project creator, and Robin Norwood, the Fedora feature owner; as always, you can catch some screenshots at the end!

N. Dakota Judge rules that "host -l" command constitutes hacking

A North Dakota judge issued a ruling in Sierra Corporate Design v. Ritz that has some pretty stunning implications about the use of the "host -l" command when accessing DNS records. In the judgment (which was prepared by the plaintiff's counsel and sent to the judge), the use of the "host -l" command is tantamount to computer hijacking and hacking.

Predictions that went right and wrong

Open source support still worries Asian users, low-cost laptops took off against the odds, and India is still on top for outsourcing.

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