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LXer Weekly Roundup for 05-Aug-2007

LXer Feature: 05-Aug-2007

Some of the big news this week includes Mepis going back to Debian, Linus speaks out on the desktop, Microsoft finally got the result they wanted in Mass, An LXer settles the Mandriva - PCLinuxOS debate, some KDE 4.0 screenshots and Matt Hartley goes two for two in the FUD section of the LXer Weekly Roundup.

Linux to power Google GPhone?

Google's first mobile phone will run a Linux operating system on a Texas Instruments "Edge" chipset, and will likely ship to T-Mobile and Orange customers in the Spring of 2008, according to unconfirmed reports. "GPhone" call minutes and text messages reportedly will be funded by mobile advertising. News of the so-called "GPhone" or "G-Phone" broke quietly about two weeks ago in the island nation of Singapore, where Jennifer Tan of Reuters subsidiary Anian Research filed a report on July 12.

How Many People Really Use Linux -- And Stick With It?

I am growing infernally curious about what the end-of-the-year sales figures for Dell’s Ubuntu machines will be. Not just how many bought those machines or in what proportion to Windows users, but how their long-term experiences shape up against others (as well as whether or not they elected to buy support). What if Linux has its big day in the sun, and simply doesn’t achieve more than a small percentage of the market?

How To Harden PHP5 With Suhosin On CentOS 5.0

  • HowtoForge; By Falko Timme (Posted by falko on Aug 5, 2007 2:03 AM EDT)
  • Story Type: Tutorial; Groups: PHP, Red Hat
This tutorial shows how to harden PHP5 with Suhosin on a CentOS 5.0 server. From the Suhosin project page: "Suhosin is an advanced protection system for PHP installations that was designed to protect servers and users from known and unknown flaws in PHP applications and the PHP core. Suhosin comes in two independent parts, that can be used separately or in combination. The first part is a small patch against the PHP core, that implements a few low-level protections against bufferoverflows or format string vulnerabilities and the second part is a powerful PHP extension that implements all the other protections."

Linux: Tuning CFS

Nick Piggin used 'git bisect' to track a lmbench regression to the main CFS commit, leading to an interesting discussion between Nick and Ingo Molnar. Ultimately the regression was tracked down to the temporary configurability of the scheduler while it is tuned for optimal performance, "one reason for the extra overhead is the current tunability of CFS, but that is not fundamental, it's caused by the many knobs that CFS has at the moment." The solution, already coded but not yet merged in the mainline kernel "changes those knobs to constants, allowing the compiler to optimize the math better and reduce code size," and as a result result, "CFS can be faster at micro-context-switching than 2.6.22."

Web 2.0 Colors CSS Template

  •; By Elmer Thomas (Posted by Scott_Ruecker on Aug 4, 2007 10:35 PM EDT)
  • Story Type: Tutorial
A style sheet that makes it easy for you to test various web 2.0 colors on your site.

Vector Linux 5.8.6rc1 Released

It appears that Vector Linux is moving to a faster release schedule. Vector Linux SOHO 5.8 is only a few months old but the first release candidate of Vector Linux SOHO 5.8.6 has been announced..

FSF prepares a new "Libre Planet" campaign

In a letter that recently came with Free Software Foundation's Bulletin Peter Brown poses an invitation to "help us build Libre planet - a base for free software activists and community" going on "your support will help launch Libre Planet by August 2007".

Linux, 2.6.23-rc2,"-rc2 is the new -rc1"

"So I tried to hold people to the merge window," Linus Torvalds began in announcing the 2.6.23-rc2 kernel, "and said no to a few pull requests, but this whole '-rc2 is the new -rc1' thing is a disease, and not only is -rc2 late, it's bigger than it should be. Oh, well."

Brainf*ck Interpreter in JavaScript. GNU GPL.

Rather fast Brainf*ck esoteric programming language interpreter written in JavaScript. Available under terms of the GNU GPL license.

Googlephonecould be powered by Linux and free of charge

Could the Linux powered Googlephone be an iPhone killer come 2008?

Black Hat USA 2007: That's a wrap

Black Hat USA 2007 was fast-paced, fun, and informative. It demonstrated that security is big business. The halls were lined with vendors, some new, some old, and the smell of money was everywhere. Still, I'm left thinking this year's show had a different tone to it than last year's.

This week at LWN: Still waiting for swap prefetch

It has been almost two years since LWN covered the swap prefetch patch. This work, done by Con Kolivas, is based on the idea that if a system is idle, and it has pushed user data out to swap, perhaps it should spend a little time speculatively fetching that swapped data back into any free memory that might be sitting around. Then, when some application wants that memory in the future, it will already be available and the time-consuming process of fetching it from disk can be avoided.

The $139 Linux PC

In recent comments to my review of Vector Linux 5.8 SOHO keyfitter wrote: There is a reason why they are using Win 98 in 2007. I think it’s called, being cheap!. I wonder if these people realize they can buy a brand new computer for $139. Granted the hardware is a bit dated by today’s standards but it’s probably light years ahead of what they are running Windows ‘98 on. Of course these computers come preloaded with Linux: Vector Linux 5.8 Standard to be precise. That’s fine. Without having to worry about installation or hardware compatibility someone who buys this system gets a nice, ready to go, user friendly Linux system with a warranty. The return policy is listed as “no matter what” short of physical abuse. What they don’t get are Windows virii and malware. They do, of course, have to learn a new OS.

What do you want to hear from Dell about its Linux plans?

  •; By Steven J. Vaughan Nichols (Posted by Scott_Ruecker on Aug 4, 2007 10:47 AM EDT)
  • Story Type: News Story; Groups: Linux
In an unusual move, Dell is asking its users what they want Dell CTO Kevin Kettler to talk about at next week's LinuxWorld trade show at San Francisco's Moscone Center. Matt Domsch, Dell's Linux technology strategist, announced the invitation in a blog (Crowd-Sourcing the Discussion@LinuxWorld) posting on Dell's Direct2Dell Wiki. Domsch wrote, "As part of our activities there, Kevin Kettler, our Chief Technology Officer will deliver a keynote on Wednesday, Aug. 8 [actually Kettler will be making his keynote on Tuesday, Aug. 7 between 1:30-2:30 p.m.] To augment his keynote, we are asking the Linux community to vote on five potential topics over on the Lightning Rod section of IdeaStorm.

Linux: Reliability, Availability. and Serviceability

A recent patch posted to the lkml aimed to make it possible to use both kdb and kdump at the same time, and instead led to an interesting discussion about RAS (Reliability, Availability, and Serviceability) tools. Vivek Goyal compared the two main philosophies, "so basically there are two kind of users. One who believes that despite the kernel [having] crashed something meaningful can be done," versus, "exec on panic, which thinks that once [the] kernel is crashed nothing meaningful can be done".

Poky Linux 3.0 Released

Poky is an embedded Linux build system, distribution and developer environment which builds upon OpenEmbedded technologies. Poky's focus is purely on building stable optimised GNOME Embedded type platforms (X11/Matchbox/GTK+) together with a streamlined system layer and cross development environment.

ZenWalk and the art of not booting

I really wanted to install ZenWalk 4.6.1, but it was not to be. Add it to the list of distros that won't boot on my test machine, the VIA C3 1 GHz thin client. I don't quite understand it, because Slackware 12 boots (with the huge.s kernel), as does Vector Linux 5.8. So I shrunk my Slackware partition just enough to squeeze Vector Standard on there again.

What could you do with fat fiber?

Two years ago, Bob Frankston wrote Why Settle for Just 1%? while in the midst of his ramp-up as a Verizon FiOS customer. The question is still on the table. I'd like us to help answer it by re-phrasing the question: What could we, as Linux developers and users, do with fiber to our homes and businesses? The answer should look like good business for the Verizons, RCNs, Comcasts and other fiber-deployers to be in. Let's help them imagine benefits to carrier incumbency other than doing the same old thing, only faster.

Pidgin 2.1.0 released with UI improvements

A new conversation window interface and a revamped formatting toolbar make Pidgin 2.1.0 a compelling upgrade for existing users, but if you want or need a multi-protocol client that supports voice or video chat, you'll still need to look elsewhere.

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