LXer Feature: 01-May-2011
Among the big stories to hit the newswire this past week we have GUI isolation security issues, why patents and software need a divorce, Glyn Moody brings up the not new idea of a blanket Linux PR strategy, our own Carla Schroder learns a lesson in humility, Ken Starks talks about some simple yet big things we could fix and a review of the OpenPandora handheld gaming device. Enjoy!
Ubuntu Linux boosted by 10,000 seat PC win: Canonical has taken the wraps off a morale-boosting deal that has seen German insurance giant LVM Versicherungen convert 10,000 PCs to use Ubuntu Linux across the company's operations. The project included the conversion of 3,000 desktop and laptop computers in LVM's Muenster HQ with a further 7,000 in the company's agencies around Germany. The core software used by the company is LAS, a Java-based claims-processing application of its own design, backed by Lotus Notes, Adobe's Reader and the OpenOffice suite.
The Linux Security Circus: On GUI isolation: So, let me stress this one more time: if you have two GUI applications, e.g. an OpenOffice Word Processor, and a stupid Tetris game, both of which granted access to your screen (your X server), then there is no isolation between those two apps. Even if they run as different user accounts! Even if they are somehow sandboxed by SELinux or whatever! None, zero, null, nil!
19 things we'd change about KDE: KDE has courted controversy in recent releases. It's improved now, but it's far from being perfect. We straps on our goggles, dive into the Plasmoidal soup and dredge up some suggestions for change.
We Can Fix This Now...: I put away Eric and my Gedit scripts and began "working the streets" to get Linux onto more computers and those computers into the hands that needed them most. Six years and over 1200 computers later, I believe that HeliOS has gained some significant insight into how people react to the Linux Desktop.
Why Software and Patents Need To Get a Divorce: This article provides a detailed factual explanation of why software is mathematics, complete with the references in mathematical and computer science literature. It also includes a detailed factual explanation of why mathematics is speech, complete once again with references. My hope is that it will help patent lawyers and judges handling patent litigation understand these fundamental truths, so they can apply that technical knowledge to their field of skill.
Microsoft Windows – Promoting Mediocrity Since 1985: I am a Unix / Linux guy writing this article out of sheer frustration, so if one does not like pointed, accurate ranting about that Not A Unix OS to which one may be partial, stop here.
12 Things I did After Installing New Ubuntu 11.04: Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal beta is already here and in a few days time, the final release will happen. We have already reviewed the latest Ubuntu 11.04 beta and we think it is ready for prime time, well, almost. We did encounter some amount of instability in the new Ubuntu Unity mostly because of Compiz, but overall we believe Ubuntu 11.04 is going to be a release to look forward for. Leaving all that aside for now, let's just concentrate on things you could do after installing Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal.
Sony, Security, and Bovine Waste: Unknown dark forces penetrated Sony's Playstation network security, exposing the personal and financial information of millions, including myself. Sony apologizes, of course, But how about this for an apology . . . stop trying to punish people who have the know-how to instally a truly secure operating system on their PlayStation 3 consoles.
How to Look Like a Dunce in One Easy Lesson: Want to look like a dork with hardly any effort at all? Blame your Telco for losing Internet connectivity when it's your own fault. Well there I was working away as usual, writing fabulous how-tos and Internetting for all I was worth, when suddenly I had no Internet. It's not unusual to have brief outages on my quaint little old 768k DSL, but when thirty minutes went by and I was still offline I got bugged.
Windows still rules OS roost, but Linux and Mac growing faster, says Gartner: The worldwide market for operating system software grew nearly eight percent to $30.4 billion in 2010, led by Microsoft Windows with 78.6 percent market share, says Gartner. Yet Linux was the fastest growing server OS, and Apple's Mac OS had the fastest growth on the desktop, says the research firm.
The naming of parts: Time for “Linux Inside”?: Names matter in free software. Just think of the number of electrons that have been spilt arguing over whether it's “Linux” or “GNU/Linux”. But is “Linux” catchy? The fact that few people have heard of it outside the rather specialised world of free software suggests not. Indeed, far more people have probably come across “Ubuntu”, which has taken on the role of the public face of GNU/Linux to a certain extent. That's good, in the sense that it has done valuable work promoting free software to the general public; but it's also unfortunate in that it has pushed the “Linux” name even further into the background.
Review of OpenPandora Handheld Gaming Device: The buyer (me) acts as the investor for this project since their pre-order money will be used to fund the project. It was originally pre-ordered for $330, but after over a year of waiting for the production to take place I canceled it. Now in addition to pre-ordering, the Pandora can be bought and shipped in a week for a premium price of $500 which I took the opportunity, but is it worth the cost? Let's find out..