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LXer Feature: 19-Aug-2007
Another big week in Open Source news including, 50 reasons to dump Windows, MySQL defends paid tarball decision, Part 3 of Carla Schroder's "Adventures in Digital Photography With Linux", Debian turns 14, The LXer Interview: Bob Sutor of IBM and Rob Enderle can't decide where Open Source is headed in the LXer Weekly Roundup.
The main concept the computer industry has tried to push on the public over the last few years is of the connected home, where all our PCs, TVs and other devices can talk to each other and share music, pictures and other documents. Sadly, it hasn't been borne out, largely because the industry can't agree on how exactly it should all fit together. That, and the fact that in order to watch downloaded films on a TV, for instance, it's necessary to have a computer on all the time. Which is where the Linux-powered Bubba home server comes in.
Sometimes, a little reminiscing is called for. Think back to March 7, 2003, when the SCO Group, once a Linux distributor named Caldera, filed its initial complaint against IBM:
"Prior to IBM's involvement, Linux was the software equivalent of a bicycle. UNIX was the software equivalent of a luxury car. To make Linux of necessary quality for use by enterprise customers, it must be re-designed so that Linux also becomes the software equivalent of a luxury car. This re-design is not technologically feasible or even possible at the enterprise level without (1) a high degree of design coordination, (2) access to expensive and sophisticated design and testing equipment; (3) access to UNIX code, methods and concepts; (4) UNIX architectural experience; and (5) a very significant financial investment."
Something I often hear from people that talk about Linux on the desktop is this: people want to be able to go to the store, buy hardware, and be confident that it will Just Work. I would like to point out that things are rarely this simple on Windows. And, in fact, things are often simpler on Linux these days. Here's the example that prompted this post.
How to install Tor with Vidalia GUI on Ubuntu
A little humor for the weekend.
I'm feeling confused so maybe Inquirer readers will be able to help me. In a week where much ink was expended over tumbling international markets and the parlous state of private equity, two funny things happened. One company, VMware reached a valuation of almost $20 billion within hours of it floating. Another, Xen Source, agreed a deal to sell out to Citrix for $500 million, despite being a minnow in commercial terms.
Sometimes events transpire in the software industry that, when tied with other events, take on a much bigger meaning. Such is the case with three different announcements in the last ten days. The first two got a good bit of press; IBM and Novell announced a new partnership on the desktop and in relation to IBM's Websphere Community Edition. And The Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council sent out their invite for upcoming events this week. One of those events is entitled: Microsoft & Novell - Building Bridges. Let's see how they connect.
Microsoft has seemed to be flying high in the Peoples Republic of China lately. One story I've been following in China for some time is the development of China's own home-grown open document format standard, called UOF (for Unified Office Format). Now, two stories involving UOF, OOXML and ODF have appeared in the last ten days in the English language version of the state-owned Xinhua news service that provide an interesting temperature reading on the warmth of the Redmond-Beijing relationship.
Frustrated by the exorbitant cost of computer software and the painfully slow (not to mention expensive) bandwidth in South Africa? Fear not, for the Shuttleworth Foundation's Freedom Toaster is coming to your rescue. Conceptualised by Jason Hudson — the Technical Project Manager for the Shuttleworth Foundation — the Freedom Toasters are open source software 'vending machines'. More importantly, the merchandise is free. The self-contained 'bring and burn' facilities, which can be found in 16 major cities/towns around South Africa, are preloaded to dispense free digital products. These products range from Linux operating systems to open source software and free literature, photography or music.
The desktop Linux market got a big boost earlier this month at LinuxWorld, where Lenovo unveiled plans to soon begin selling ThinkPads preloaded with Novell's SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop. The deal makes Novell the second major vendor to support Linux on its consumer PCs, following the trail Dell blazed in May with its decision to offer machines loaded with Ubuntu Linux.
This will be an ongoing series of articles highlighting lesser known applications for Linux. These articles will be a bit Ubuntu-centric, but these applications should run nicely on your distribution of choice. Also, some of these applications may be a bit more than “lesser” known, but they are not part of the standard core of applications you see upon a few install of a desktop Linux distribution. This installment will review applications that serve as learning and hobby tools. It will range from beneath the surface of the Earth to orbiting the Earth: Happydigger, Alexandria, Tellico and GPredict.
Norway opened a national center for competence in Free Software in Drammen, near Oslo, on Wednesday. I gave a keynote speech, after the Minister of Government Reform and a local politician. I got to discuss OpenDocument vs. MS Office Open XML with the minister, she was up-to-speed on the issue and Norway casts its ISO vote on Monday . I don't think we have any worries there. I also got to talk with the ICT director from the ministry and other officials, and had a number of meetings with officials in Oslo on the previous day.
People Behind KDE releases the second of in its series of four interviews with students who are working on KDE as part of the Google Summer of Code 2007 - meet Bertjan Broeksema, Carlos Licea, Pierre Ducroquet and Gavin Beatty!
MEPIS founder Warren Woodford today launched "the first official beta" of the upcoming v7.0 release of SimplyMEPIS Linux. According to Woodford, "version 6.9.60beta1" is based on a Debian Etch core combined with up-to-date user applications that are recompiled by MEPIS from upstream Debian and Ubuntu sources. Although this Beta 1 release is based on the KDE 3.5.7 desktop environment, Woodford plans to eventually incorporate KDE 4.0 into MEPIS 7, and released test ISOs for a KDE 4.0-based MEPIS 7 on Aug. 10.
Microsoft is pushing for other developers to use its Windows Live ID system in the hopes of making Live ID a single sign on for multiple Web sites. To that end, it published a software development kit for Windows Live ID. The SDK is available for programming in an assortment of languages, includes sample programs. The resulting code and the SDK runs on Linux, in addition to various flavors of Windows.
[So, Microsoft is giving up on platform lock-in and aiming for SaaS lock-in?—Sander]
For the past couple of weeks, I have been setting up my new laptop. It’s a challenge, since a number of items – the wireless card, the LightScribe capacity on the DVD drive, the webcam and the modem – are not supported straight off the CD with GNU/Linux. I’m frustrated that I don’t have the time to sit down and focus on each of these puzzles. However, I find that after eight years of using GNU/Linux, my attitude to these puzzles has changed.
Dave Gutteridge just wrote a rather nerdy, rambling but interesting article called Windows Is Free in which he explains that the choice between Linux and Windows is effectively a choice between two free products. I have noticed the same thing with other software companies. There is a phase in the life of any piece of software where piracy threatens its existence. It’s not during the earlier stages when a program needs, above all, to be taken up by as many people as possible. Once a program is dominating the market, piracy helps again; this time it works to suppress any competition. It’s in the middle stages, when a company needs extra revenue to grow and develop its product and support new users, that piracy can do the most damage.
Prospective speakers and presenters at the first-ever Consumer Electronics Linux Forum (CELF) European Conference now have until Aug. 31 to submit proposals. Set for Nov. 2-3 in Linz, Austria, the event will be held in conjunction with the 9th Real-Time Linux Workshop. The deadline for proposing presentations, demos, and birds-of-a-feather (BOF) sessions is Aug. 31.
Every time I boot the $15 Laptop, I want to party like it's 1999, because that's the year it reverts to each and every time. I could set the system clock at the command line every session, but who wants to do that? I'd replace the battery, if I only knew how. I'd be $10 poorer, too. But there's really no need: Enter the Network Time Protocol.
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