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LXer Feature: 29-Dec-2007
Thanks to a friend who knew a friend who knew someone else, I was lucky enough to get my hands on a Chumby for a few days even though it is only available as a limited preview and not outside the Unites States. It's probably one of the first Chumbies in Europe. I only had it a few days as it was only lent to me by the owner, but this gave me ample opportunity to play with the device, give a thorough review and hack it a little. And what fun I have had!
When I was very young, I used to fight with my younger brother. One day, after being made to give in, he went to my mother and complained about the fact that I had been in a fight with him, and mom told him that if he didn't want to fight, he didn't have to. He could just walk away. She also told me the same thing. I drove my brother nuts by doing exactly what my mom said. I quit competing. I started working on my inner geek, while he was off trying to figure out why I didn't engage anymore. This is why Linux makes MS nuts.
Two weeks I wrote about how the XO laptop endowed a 9 year old boy with seemingly magical powers (of intellectual curoisity and competence), and I wondered aloud whether my 9 year old daughter would fare as well. On the one hand, she does like gadget gifts such as The Littlest Petshop. On the other hand, many such gadgets wind up as nothing more than a surface waiting to be decorated with stickers or glitter glue. Would her reaction to the XO validate or repudiate Negroponte's hypothesis that his project is an education project, not a laptop project? It seemed to work pretty well for Rufus...
There are a total of 21,652 packages installed on my home workstation, an AMD64 single core processor box which has been in use since March 2006. It runs the testing stream of Debian. That's a lot of code, all of it free as in beer. A vast army of developers has given decades of precious time to make it possible for people in every corner of the globe to use a computer and not have to depend on expensive software which, in more cases than not, results in more problems than solutions...
As 2007 winds to a close, the editors of LinuxDevices.com have assembled a retrospective aimed at highlighting major trends and events in the world of embedded Linux. Of the approximately 1,200 stories we published this year, these were the most important, in our opinion.
Congratulations to all the new Christmas owners of the year's hottest subnotebook, the ASUS Eee, putting Linux square in the mainstream and right in the hands of the masses. Here's a collection of tiny – but dead useful – hints and tips to help you get the most out of it.
Jeff Campbell (aka "Mr. Zonbu") has reviewed the Linux-based Zonbu Notebook. His final review score -- 8.5 out of 10 -- balances praise for thorough features, sharp display, and excellent support, with some questions over performance and design. Following up on his generally positive review of the Zonbu Desktop Mini desktop system, previously known as the Zonbox, Mr. Zonbu now takes on the laptop model, which offers the same Gentoo Linux distribution and software offerings.
The most important thing that make youngsters so attached to Windows and reject Linux distributions is running games. To solve this problem we propose these links. containing explicit tutorials on how to run games on Linux.
When the Everex gPC ($199 direct, without monitor) was announced, it received some fanfare as a bargain-subbasement "green" Linux-based PC, or the (quite unofficial) "Google PC," available at your local Wal-Mart. Everex, a firm known for producing cheap laptops for big-box stores, supposedly designed it for nontechnical yet Web-savvy users who like to go on the Web to see their friends' pages on social-networking sites or YouTube videos. Google and Google Apps are a central part of the gPC's raison d'être, but thus far the gPC is not a Google-licensed product. "G" also stands for green, since the gPC uses a low-powered VIA C7 processor. But as with the Google aspect, gPC's energy-efficient status is to some extent smoke and mirrors, as I'll explain later. The gPC does have a green-colored theme and start-up screen, so it has that much going for it. But the good news ends there.
My blogging colleague Robin Harris on Storage Bits poses an interesting question “How should Microsoft respond to very-low-cost Linux systems?” Here’s how - by trying to make cheap systems irrelevant. That’s easier that you think you know. You see, take a look at either Vista or Leopard (it doesn’t matter which) and what do you see? That’s right, a rich, media intensive platform that’s stuffed full of eye candy. It attempts to make low-end systems that can’t handle all the glitz and glamor obsolete.
[ZDNet has some pretty clueless articles at times, but this one is particularly bad. - Sander]
So called mainstream technology shows love to bash Linux.
Internationally renowned security guru, Bruce Schneier, will be encouraging technologists at linux.conf.au to take a lesson from Luke Skywalker, and "feel the force" a little more when it comes to security. Schneier, who is CTO of BT Counterpane, is one of the three keynote speakers at the 2008 Linux.conf.au. He joins Python release manager, Anthony Baxter and founding member of HP's Linux division, Stormy Peters. Dahna McConnachie speaks with Schneier about his talk, "Reconceptualising Security" and how technologists need to remember the importance of the human element. He also discusses cyber-war, what Linux has done for security, and the likelihood of another edition of Applied Cryptography.
This is a how-to use aptoncd, a great tool, to use when you have no, or limited Internet Access, take all the installed packages on your tuned Debian / Ubuntu machine with you, for new installations. You can create CD or DVD or just use it as an ISO image on your USB memory.
Let's pretend that we're OEMs. Original Equipment Manufacturers, the people who design and build the actual hardware which finds its way onto desks, into backpacks and under thumbs. We make it run a Microsoft operating system, because that's how we get to all the applications software, and we sell it as a better, cheaper (sometimes more stylish -- but mostly cheaper) way to run Microsoft. But next season is 2008. Suddenly, three things have happened...
This is the most critical step, converting a friend and not doing it right could damage your relationship with your friend, and if not it WILL damage Linux’s image. It will come off as an unfriendly, complicated, and archaic OS. Letting this happen is a disservice to Linux and it’s community and will impede it’s acceptance among others. Word of mouth could make or break any product, ask me I am a marketeer.
Apparently, the days when a computer science graduate student can invent some cool Web software and raise a few million dollars to build a company around it are not over. Brand new (less than a month old) North Andover, MA, startup Acquia announced yesterday that it’s raised $7 million to market software and services in support of the popular Web publishing system Drupal, invented by Dries Buytaert, a PhD candidate at the University of Ghent in Belgium.
One of the things that has been a strong point of Open Source Software (OSS) for years, even if it hasn't been held at the forefront of the battle, is the flexibility that OSS offers. This is something I think needs to be said more these days as our world becomes ever more dynamic, requiring software to be ever more flexible in order to keep up with our ever changing lives. One recent example of this flexibility at work is with the announcement that Linux isn't Y2K(38) compatible. As of right now this is a non-issue as 64 bit Linux will resolve this completely by the time it actually becomes an issue. However, it wasn't too long ago that simple natural software advancement was the cure for a problem.
I’m a very fussy user when it comes to my operating systems and I have managed to get by with Windows XP for a long time, but its days are numbered. Vista is looming and I refuse to install that rubbish, so I have chosen Kubuntu 7.10. Having declared myself a part of the KDE crowd in the long-running desktop environment flame war, allow me to describe how this fussy and long time Windows user upgraded from XP to Linux to avoid the impending doom of XP’s old age and the otherwise inevitability of Vista…
The creator of Linux sees his operating system project as an exemplar of the merits of the open-source development model. In an interview with APC Magazine, Linux kernel developer Linus Torvalds says, "Linux was instrumental in making the whole issue of Open Source move into the mainstream software development consciousness."
The Economist makes three technology predictions for 2008, two of which concern web surfing and the third of which concerns everyone, whether they surf the web or not. The Economist's third prediction is that the technology world will open up. What's most interesting about its analysis, however, is where it sees the biggest impact for open source (Linux) and why (Ubuntu):
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