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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.

KDE Quickies

A few quickies again this week: the 4th Trophées du Libre (International Free Software Awards) contest is open. Please consider submitting your favourite KDE applications since the award is some €3000 in each category. Also new this week: Nikolaj Hald Nielsen has announced that he is being hired full time to work on Amarok, courtesy of the Magnatune music store. (Don't worry, this doesn't exclude support for other music stores). PyQt released a new version of their bindings. And every once in a while, we stumble upon an old piece of KDE history that just needs to be shared. Check out this 1998 Interview with KDE's grand-daddy: Matthias Ettrich.

People Behind KDE: Summer of Code 2007 (1/4)

The People Behind KDE series takes a temporary break, as we talk to students who are working on KDE as part of the Google Summer of Code 2007 - in the first of four interview articles, meet Aleix Pol Gonzàlez, Piyush Verma, Mike Arthur and Nick Shaforostoff!

SimplyMEPIS 7.0 prebeta has more cosmetics.

  •; By Michael Shee Choon Beng. (Posted by linuxseekers on Aug 4, 2007 4:07 AM EDT)
  • Story Type: News Story; Groups: Linux
Another beautiful creation of SimplyMEPIS from MEPIS LLC is on the way. Here is the screenshots of this SimplyMEPIS 7.0 prebeta.

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:

Xen 3.1 HVM on SLES 10 SP1

  •; By Boris Derzhavets (Posted by dba477 on Aug 4, 2007 2:32 AM EDT)
  • Story Type: Tutorial; Groups: Novell, SUSE
RPM's install procedure suggested in still causes SLES 10 GUI procedure creating Xen Windows XP VM to crash.Workaround for this issue follows bellow

Linux Powered PS3 to be used in DARPA Urban Challenge

Axion Racing was the first team to autonomously drive up to the top of Colorado's Pike Peak and now leads the way by finding cutting edge uses for the beleaguered Sony PS3. This two time DARPA Grand Challenge qualifier is the first racing team to implement Yellow Dog Linux and a Sony PlayStation game console to manage one of seven autonomous vehicle cameras.

Business Instant Messaging

  • Tom's Hardware; By Marcel Binder (Posted by jhansonxi on Aug 4, 2007 12:57 AM EDT)
  • Story Type: Reviews; Groups:
In this review several IM clients (including the open source Jabber) are compared by protocol, security, and licensing.

Collaborating with Mindquarry

If there's one thing the world doesn't lack for, besides bad movie sequels and dishonest politicians, it's collaboration software. Good collaboration software that's open source, on the other hand, is a rare thing indeed -- so I was pleased to discover that the Mindquarry GO beta service and the Mindquarry tools are well-done, if a bit limited in scope.

Twisting the Meaning of 'Free'

  • Blue GNU; By D.C. Parris (Charlotte, USA) (Posted by dcparris on Aug 3, 2007 11:09 PM EDT)
  • Story Type: Editorial; Groups: GNU
According to CESC Ltd chief information officer Subroto Das, “There is nothing called free software”. I beg to differ.

Red Hat Global Desktop delayed

Red Hat confirmed on Aug. 3 that it would be delaying the release of the newest member of its desktop Linux family, Red Hat Global Desktop, because the company is seeking to provide certain multimedia codecs. Sources close to Red Hat said obtaining some of these codecs was dependent on Red Hat coming to an agreement with Microsoft.

"Open source business model" takes on a new meaning with the Open Business Foundation

The Open Business Foundation (OBF) operates on two premises: that the open source development community makes good business sense, and that small businesses can be more successful if they band together with each other to share resources of all kinds.

Review: bash Cookbook

O'Reilly's "Cookbook" series can generally be thought of as a collection of recipes for different tech solutions. In the case of Albing's, Vossen's, and Newham's book, this applies to the bash (lower case "b" on purpose) or "bourne again shell" (hey, I don't name these things). bash is the default shell for most Linux distros and the most widely used UNIX shell. Even though many Linux distros have increasingly available and useful GUI utilities, the heart of Linux/UNIX administration still happens in the shell. There are plenty of "HOW TO" books on Linux. What makes the bash Cookbook unique?

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