LXer Feature: 21-Mar-2011
In this week's Roundup we have RMS and the new smartphone threat, the loss of a tech pioneer, Fedora 15 vs Ubuntu Natty Narwhal, Emery Fletcher talks about Watson's Children and Carla Schroder tells tales of Dilbert, Office Space, and Layoffs in her return to the LXer team. Enjoy!
Richard Stallman: iPhones and Androids are 'Big Brother' tracking devices: Nearly three decades into his quest to rid the world of proprietary software, Richard Stallman sees a new threat to user freedom: smartphones. "I don't have a cell phone. I won't carry a cell phone," says Stallman, founder of the free software movement and creator of the GNU operating system. "It's Stalin's dream. Cell phones are tools of Big Brother. I'm not going to carry a tracking device that records where I go all the time, and I'm not going to carry a surveillance device that can be turned on to eavesdrop."
Loss of a Pioneer: I was sad to hear that Sir Maurice Wilkes passed away in November. Sadder still to see that it didn't make nearly the news splash that some other early computer pioneer deaths have made.
Is E-Voting a solution? To which problem?: "promoting e-voting just because it can be done with Free Software continues to not make sense. If the software running the system were open it would still not solve any of the problems listed above, or give citizens any meaningful advantage. In the real world, having the source code of a voting machine would change nothing at all at the voting booth"
Dilbert, Office Space, and Layoffs: As you fine fellow LXerers know, I have been toiling since July 2008 as the estéamed Senior Managing Editor of Linux Today and Linux Planet. Not sure what "Senior" means; probably old, grumpy, and not worth a raise so I got a longer title instead. This week I was laid off, along with a number of my co-workers. Save your sympathy because while it sucks to be given the boot, it's all good. I can't say a whole lot without incurring the wrath of lawyers, so use your imagination to fill in the gaps. You'll probably be close to the truth.
I Have Installed Ubuntu…What’s Next?: Does this sound familiar to you? You have taken the plunge and install Ubuntu on your computer. The next moment, you have no idea what to do next and where to head. Now, before any doubt creeps in and you are wondering if you have make the right choice leaving the comfort zone (Windows or Mac) and venture into the unknown ground, let us show you what you can, and should do after installing Ubuntu
Registration is open for Texas Linux Fest 2011: Registration is open for Texas Linux Fest, April 2 in Austin - and the full schedule of talks is available. TXLF 2011 will be at the Hilton Austin, downtown. Saturday, April 2 will feature a full day of speakers in four tracks, plus an open expo floor where Linux and open source software companies and community projects will be on hand to give demonstrations and answer questions.
Watson's Children: IBM's Watson won the Jeopardy Challenge, but what's more important is the place his offspring will win in the not-to-distant future. When IBM's Watson triumphed at the Jeopardy challenge I cheered, along with a great many other people and a good bit of the media, but most of all I started looking forward to something nobody has yet mentioned: Watson's Children.
Fedora 15 vs Ubuntu Natty Narwhal – The Battle for Your Desktop: With the changes coming to the desktops of some major Linux distributions, it looks like we’re beginning to see some welcome differentiation between how each distro presents itself to users. Fedora and Ubuntu are of course well known as some of the most popular and user-friendly Linux systems, and while they have many similarities, their next major releases are both taking a new approach to the desktop. Ubuntu has decided to drop their Netbook spin and run their homegrown Unity desktop across the board. Fedora however has jumped on board with Gnome 3, confident that it will have all the form and function their users want. While we’ve already discussed both desktops before, Fedora and Ubuntu are both offering more than a makeover, and it’s time to dig deeper.
Tip for Diagnosing Linux Audio Failure: Linux audio is powerful and flexible, and annoying as heck. When you have no sound it can be as simple as Alsamixer resetting everything to mute when you shutdown (Why? Who the heck knows) to problems caused by device conflicts, and our ever-popular friends* Java and Adobe Flash. Java and Flash need drama in their lives, so they break things to get attention.
6 of the Best Free Linux Office Software: One of the biggest controversies in the past six months has been continuing concerns about Oracle's commitment to the OpenOffice.org open-source application suite. The fear that Oracle may decide to abandon the suite in the same way it dumped OpenSolaris on the scrapheap left many leading developers of OpenOffice.org with a dilemma. Assign copyright of their work to Oracle, or seek to go it alone. The risk was deemed so serious that many developers decided to form the Document Foundation in September 2010 to manage and develop a fork called LibreOffice.