LXer Weekly Roundup for 18-May-2008
This week we have MIT students showing the power of open cell phone systems, a Linux ThinkPad, W3C 'clarifies' HTML 5 v XHTML, why your internet experience is slow and reviews on 7 Desktop Distros, 5 Linux Browsers and some great Linux programs for kids. Also, Carla Schroder shows us how to become system rescue gurus, fixing Debian OpenSSL, a Asus Eee PC review, Linux gains action RPG and we have a couple of funny articles for your reading pleasure, STFUbuntu - The HOT New Linux Distro and an advert on the Novell website, Taking the Vista leap?
A Linux ThinkPad: I was gladdened yesterday when techbargains.com reported a sale on a new Lenovo ThinkPad R61 running SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop ($552, see below). It's not everyday that you run into a major PC vendor selling machines pre-loaded with Linux (excluding servers). Perhaps pre-installing Linux will become more popular, in part, due to a Vista backlash. Or, the popularity of Linux of ultra-cheap laptops (where Vista doesn't belong) such as the Asus EEE PC, will lay a foundation for its expansion. Once people see and touch and smell recent editions of Linux, they'll realize it is no more different from Windows XP than is the Mac OSX. And, as Lenovo says, Linux "Eliminates virus and spyware downtime".
MIT students show power of open cell phone systems: What do you want your cell phone to be able to do? Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Hal Abelson put that question to about 20 computer science students this semester when he gave them one assignment: Design a software program for cell phones that use Google Inc.'s upcoming Android mobile operating system. In the process, they revealed the power of an open system like Android to shake up the mobile phone industry, where wireless companies are being pressured to loosen the control they have maintained over what devices do. If the brainstorms of these MIT students are an indication, phones will soon challenge the Internet as a source of innovation.
Why your internet experience is slow: This HTML page contains the first chunk of a piece of journalism by Patrick Smith; the actual body copy runs to approximately 950 words of text. The average word in English is 5.5 characters long; add 1 character for punctuation or whitespace and we would reasonably expect this file to be on the close order of 6.5Kb in size. But it's not.
Install Applications in Ubuntu without Internet: Without an Internet connection, installing applications in Linux is a nightmare because of package dependencies. The aim of this guide is to help install applications in Ubuntu (should work with all apt based distribution with minimal modifications) when there is no Internet connection is available.
Taking the Vista leap?: This is an advertisment for Vista on the Novell website. I especially like the line "Migrating to Vista? We can help you make the leap" alongside a picture of man in suit and tie plummeting to the earth off a tall building. Equally helpful was the ominous exhortation "Prepare now, Windows Vista is coming".
OpenOffice.org obeys Moore's Law?: Wirth's Law states software becomes larger, more complex, and slower: in the end the win from Moore's Law end is washed out by the loss from Wirth's Law. Let's compare OpenOffice.org against these Laws to see which one wins.
Linux gains action RPG: Linux Game Publishing has announced a Linux port of "Sacred Gold," an action role-playing game first published for Windows three years ago. The U.K.-based game publisher plans to ship the title in August of this year, priced at 27 GBP (~ $50). Sacred Gold was created by Ascaron Entertainment, of Gutersloth, Germany. It will be the first action role-playing game carried by LGP, the company said.
Next Ubuntu LTS in 2010, unless Linuxes synchronize: Mark Shuttleworth, head of Canonical and founder of the Ubuntu project, has called on other Linux developers to synchronize releases of new versions of their distros. He also pledged to deliver the next Long Term Support (LTS) release of Ubuntu, version 10.4, in April 2010 - unless, of course, Red Hat, Novell and Debian decide to co-operate on a synchronized release at a different time.
Linux Shootout: 7 Desktop Distros Compared: In the last couple of years, desktop-friendly Linux distributions have taken enormous leaps -- they're easier to install, better maintained, and more powerful than ever before. There's also that many more of them -- which means that many more possibilities to sift through. In this roundup I've looked at seven Linux distributions, all mainly aimed at desktop users. Some ought to be household names; some are less widely sung but still worth looking at. All are meant to be top-of-the-line, "throw-and-go" distros for general use, so I paid careful attention to how they behaved on a fairly broad range of hardware -- how display, networking, or other default configurations were set to behave both out of the box and after an update (if one was available).
Asus Eee PC 900 is a ripper not a rip-off: review: To be honest, I would much rather be writing this on my desktop with its full sized keyboard and 22 inch monitor rather than a sub-notebook with half-sized keyboard and 8.9 inch screen. However, that's an unfair comparison. I would be using the Eee PC on the road instead of say my Dell Latitude or a MacBook, not in my office. Then the comparison becomes more valid and the ratios reduce. At 21 cm (8.25 inches) the Eee PC 900 keyboard is a bit more than 70% the width of my Dell notebook's and the 8.9 inch monitor is about 65% the diagonal length of my notebook's.
NPR station WBUR Boston adds support for free audio standard: The Free Software Foundation (FSF) has marked a milestone in their PlayOgg.org campaign with the announcement that National Public Radio (NPR) news station WBUR Boston has begun worldwide webcasting in the free audio format Ogg Vorbis.
STFUbuntu - The HOT New Linux Distro: Have you ever wished your computer had the balls to tell you to STFU? Have you every wished it T4LK3D L1K3 7H1S? Have you ever dreamt of saying STFU every time you tell people about your HOT new distro? Have you ever dreamt of having sex with a rodent? Yeah, yeah. Haven't we all? Well, now's your chance!
Linux offers one alternative to Microsoft's Windows: I left Windows a little over a year ago and have not regretted it. Bill Gates has plenty of money without me. I admit it was a scary step to take. I had never before tried another operating system, other than the occasional Mac that someone else owned. I have known about Linux for years but had always been fearful of trying it out. I thought you needed to be a geek to really know how to run it and that Linux was lacking a good graphic user interface - an area that Windows is known for. I was also concerned about the lack of good software because most programmers write for Windows.
Exceptional Linux programs for Kids: There’s nothing worse than hearing how an entire school district is switching operating systems from Mac to Windows (or vice versa) because that’s what the “business” world relies on or some other blather. The costs associated with the transition are enormous and the whole ‘to do’ is unnecessary, because features on applications mimic one another. Additionally, it seems one option is Linux, which is open source and free.
I've finally got my home Debian Lenny installation where I want it: It's been a year and a half since I started using Linux (or GNU/Linux, if you prefer) for much of my day-to-day computing, but the past week or so marks the first time I've had to support another user -- in this case my wife, Ilene, whose Macintosh iBook G4 is awaiting the end of the semester at California State University Northridge, where she teaches. ... It has been a lot harder than I thought. We don't think like our users. But we need to learn.
Tutorial: Become A System Rescue Guru With Linux, Part 1: One of Carla Schroder's favorite Linux features is its endless adaptability as a cross-platform rescue tool, and her favorite rescue Linux of all is the excellent Gentoo-based SystemRescueCD. In this series, you'll learn how to set things right when things on your PC go awry.
Fixing Debian OpenSSL: Debian, the popular Linux distribution, has just been shown to have made an all-time stupid security goof-up. They managed to change OpenSSL in their distribution so that it had no security to speak of. Good job guys! OpenSSL makes it possible to use SSL (Secure Socket Layer) and TLS (Transport Layer Security) in Linux, Unix, Windows and many other operating systems. It also incorporates a general purpose cryptography library. OpenSSL is used not only in operating systems, but in numerous vital applications such as security for Apache Web servers and security appliances from companies like Check Point and Cisco. Yeah, in other words, if you do anything requiring network security on Linux, chances are good, OpenSSL is being called in to help.
Essential commands for Linux network administration: In this article, Mark Rais shares a list of those essential networking commands every beginning Linux administrator needs to know.
W3C 'clarifies' HTML 5 v XHTML: Potential conflicts and overlap between the first update to HTML in a decade by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and XHTML has been addressed by the standards body. The group, meanwhile, has also acknowledged vendors are - once again - pushing their own platform-specific technologies, this time on RIA, with the standards process unable to keep up. This poses a problem on interoperability.
Comparison Between Linux Web Browsers - Review of 5 Linux Browsers: I chose to only review the GUI web browsers, since it's not exactly appropiate to compare a text-based browser like Lynx with Opera, for example. The browsers reviewed are the latest ones included in Debian Lenny, current date (May 17, 2008). The system used to review them is a Intel Core 2 Duo 1.8 GHz with 1 GB DDRAM2. The comparison includes the major five Linux browsers: Konqueror, Firefox, Opera, Epiphany and Galeon. I'm aware of others like Dillo or the older Mozilla, but decided to include only the big players at the moment.
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