LXer Weekly Roundup for 09-Dec-2007
In this weeks roundup we have several articles concerning the OLPC and Microsoft. Plus the MPAA is forced to take down its university toolkit, Dell may have helped boost Linux's market share, when bad things happen with your good software, a review of Mint 4.0 and the X11 Desktop Environment. I wrap things up with a couple of funny articles about 'someone' dropping support for OOXML and trusting your bartender, enjoy!
Ubuntu Hardy alpha released: Only for the brave: The Ubuntu Linux team announced the release of Hardy Heron Alpha-1 over the weekend for testing purposes.
Maximum Wait for MinWin and Windows 7.0: Microsoft, desperate to freeze a market, has started evangelizing a “new” version of Windows (called MinWin) that will correct Windows Vista's bloatware problems. But don’t blame Microsoft for the noise about MinWin and Windows 7.0. Blame the trade press. Here's why.
All about Linux swap space: When your computer needs to run programs that are bigger than your available physical memory, most modern operating systems use a technique called swapping, in which chunks of memory are temporarily stored on the hard disk while other data is moved into physical memory space. Here are some techniques that may help you better manage swapping on Linux systems and get the best performance from the Linux swapping subsystem.
Minty 4.0 Fresh: While there are some Linux users who still insist on running free software exclusively, a growing number are more than happy to mix and match open-source and proprietary software. For these latter users, Ubuntu 7.10-based Mint 4.0 is a distribution made in heaven.
Dell May Have Boosted Linux’s Share of OS Usage: Linux's market share has increased significantly in the last year. The rate of increase accelerated after Dell began selling machines with Ubuntu in May of this year.
MPAA Forced To Take Down University Toolkit: Ubuntu developer Matthew Garrett has succeeded in getting the MPAA to remove their 'University Toolkit' after claims it violated the GNU GPL. After several unsuccessful attempts to contact the MPAA directly, Garrett eventually emailed the group's ISP and the violating software was taken down.
The Laws of Open Standards Broken by Interoperability: "Interoperability" has become a weasel word. The word is regularly used to insinuate that two (or more) computer systems should work very well, but they usually work well for the wrong reasons.
NVIDIA XRender Performance Improved: Towards the middle of last month, NVIDIA had released the 169.04 Beta Linux Driver. The change-log was quite lengthy and what we had discovered while benchmarking the GeForce 8 series was that there were improvements to be found in this release and it was far more than a simple version bump. One of the reported changes for this driver release was "improved RENDER performance", and out of requests from readers and interest by the Linux desktop community at large, we have conducted XRender benchmarks using render_bench and have the NVIDIA results available today.
What I hate about Linux: A friend of mine kept going on about how amazing Ubuntu was. He showed me some YouTube videos of the Beryl/Compiz interfaces and I got really excited. He assured me that it was possible to run it on my laptop. That night I installed it (it took a week to get everything working) and I haven’t used Windows since. I’m now on my second laptop (my old one didn’t have a good enough graphics card) and have since installed Ubuntu 7.10 (fresh install). I don’t hate Ubuntu (or Linux for that matter), I just have a long list of things that I hate about it.
Birmingham Agrees to Buy 15,000 XO Laptops: The mayor of Birmingham, Alabama has agreed to purchase 15,000 of OLPC's XO laptops. The laptops will be given to children in grades one through eight. This will be the first major sale of XO laptops to a US school system.
At least 125m Firefox users estimated: Mozilla's chief operating officer, John Lilly, revealed in a recent blog posting that the company estimated the number of Firefox users as at least 125 million, double from a year ago. This figure appears to be very conservative, however, and it does not seem to account for Linux users. But the good news is that it is growing rapidly.
The Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment: A return to basics: The Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment (LXDE) resembles a classic Unix project -- it's partly constructed out of pre-existing programs, its emphasis is on speed, and its configuration requires taking time in a text editor. Even the relatively low quality of fonts on the desktop makes it feel like a vintage program. The result is a desktop environment that is short on innovation, but performs well on low-end machines, and blazingly fast on recent ones.
If the GUI is so good. Then why is Microsoft dropping it?: One of the biggest arguments for windows that everybody uses and indeed in my last rant I actually had a few comments specifically mentioning it. The basic argument is that you can do everything in windows via the GUI and you have to use the command line in Linux. I was informed in an earlier article that windows 2008 is able to be installed without the GUI so I wondered. If the GUI is so good. If all programs and system configuration can be done through the point and click interface. Then why is Microsoft giving the option of installing windows 2008 without the GUI interface? Further why are windows aficionado's touting this as a "Good Thing (TM)"?
One Laptop Per Child Gets The Green Light in India: India may have been a late starter in adopting the powerful computer-based education program One Laptop Per Child (popularly known as OLPC), a brainchild of MIT professor Nicholas Negroponte to bridge the technology divide between rich and the poor children in the developing world. But with the formation of an Indian edition -- called OLPC India -- the program, which aims to equip millions of world's school children with cheap laptops, is not only set to make an entry into India but also promises to do it with a bang.
One Laptop Per Child Doesn't Change the World: Hands Across America, Live AID, the Concert for Bangladesh, and so on. The American (and world) public has witnessed one feel-good event (and the ensuing scandals) after another. Each one manages to assuage our guilt about the world's problems, at least a little. Now these folks think that any sort of participation in these events, or even their good thoughts about world poverty and starvation, actually help. Now they can sleep at night. It doesn't matter that nothing has really changed.
When Bad Things Happen With Good Software: If you create a piece of open source software and discover that it has been put to use in a way you find personally distasteful or immoral, what would you do about it? That's a question that was raised, albeit in a somewhat oddball form, just recently. Not long ago the Motion Picture Association of America released what it calls the "University Toolkit", a custom edition of Xubuntu that comes with a number of network analysis tools, allegedly for detecting copyright-infringing network activity.
Risk gamers use free software to take over the world: How are GNU/Linux users preparing for Linus Torvalds' plan of world domination? By playing free software computer games based on the classic world conquest board game Risk. You can perfect your strategy by playing the games XFrisk, TEG, or Ksirk.
Fedora 8 — More than a Linux Distribution: One of the most popular free-as-in-freedom Linux distribution, Fedora Linux, released its latest version, Fedora 8, earlier in November. In addition to being a fantastic release, Fedora's user and development community and a clear headed approach makes Fedora 8 much more than a Linux distribution.
What Wine Goes Good With Crow?: Well, ya gotta give credit where credit is due and I need to take a minute and set the record straight on something I spoke of earlier in the week. In a recent blog, I lamented and pouted about not getting any response from RedHat when inquiring about a particular project we are planning. Maybe if I got out of this chair a bit more often and went to do some face-to-face meetings, things would be different. That would seem to be the case.
Microsoft feeling heat from Linux in budget flash PC market: Microsoft's newfound interest in this space is largely a response to growing demand for inexpensive subnotebook hardware that uses flash-based storage. Manufacturers of such devices are increasingly adopting Linux instead of Windows because Linux is free and easier to adapt for use on systems with limited computing power and storage capacity. Microsoft likely views the rising popularity of Linux-based budget mobile hardware in the developing world as a significant competitive threat.
Asus Eee PC 701 Review: This review aims to provide readers with an in-depth treatment of the Eee, using an actual retail unit, instead of a pre-production model. This is important in a number of respects. Earlier models had a different BIOS, which, for example, did not provide full speed USB2.0 ports. Hopefully, having tested an actual retail model, the review should give a true representation of what this machine can actually do.
MICROSOFT drops support for OOXML!: Multi-trade International Corporation for Research of Office Software Open Format Technologies (MICROSOFT) has announced their surprise decision, that they cease to support OOXML document format (Office Open XML), acknowledging at the same time, that the ANSI-developed & supported TXT format will be a better, universal, solution. (Got it Microsoft? Got it Jasow Matusow? Any misread acronym can make sensational headline.)
Would you trust your bartender? What if your bartender was running under Windows XP?: Comparing a list of gadgets that run Windows and a list of gadgets that run Linux I noticed that while the Linux list was populated with mobile devices, the Windows list was mostly... obscure junk, including an automated bartender that runs Windows XP. You know Windows XP is not stable enough for your desktop, so do you think it is stable enough for your bartender?
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