Mat Enders, Tony Bemus, and Mary Tomich
Intro Sound bite by Mike Tanner
Kernel News: Mat
On Sun, 19 Feb 2012 00:27:09 UTC Linus Torvalds released kernel 3.3-rc4
He said it was delayed by a couple of days because they were trying to track dow a nasty floating point state corruption.
On Sat, 25 Feb 2012 20:34:20 UTC Linus Torvalds released kernel 3.3-rc5
Linus said that there was nothing really odd going on. Maybe things are finally calming down.
On Mon, 20 Feb 2012 22:13:17 UTC Greg Kroah-Hartman released kernel 3.2.7
29 files changed, 268 files inserted, 168 files deleted
On Mon, 20 Feb 2012 22:13:51 UTC Greg Kroah-Hartman released kernel 3.0.22
15 files changed, 108 files inserted, 57 files deleted
“Sure, we’ll backport the patches to -stable too for the boring people who don’t want to help test development kernels. But wouldn’t it be nice to have the bug fixed *and* feel like you are helping development by testing shiny new -rc kernels?
You know you want to.”
Sorry I could not find a relevant kernel quote this week.
Distro Talk: Tony
- 2-24 – Dream Studio 11.10 – an Ubuntu-based distribution with focus on multimedia and creative work
- 2-22 – DragonFly BSD 3.0.1 – a major new version of the BSD operating system forked from FreeBSD in 2003
- 2-22 – ConnochaetOS 0.9.1 – rch-based Linux distribution for old computers (from i486 to Pentium MMX 166), built exclusively with “libre” software
- 2-21 – SystemRescueCd 2.5.0 – Gentoo-based live rescue disk for administrating or repairing a system and data after a crash
- 2-21 – Parted Magic 2012_2_19 – ive CD designed for data rescue and disk partitioning tasks
- 2-20 – PCLinuxOS 2012-02 “Phoenix Xfce” – featuring the Xfce desktop environment, has been updated to version 2012-02
Distro of the Week: Tony
- openSUSE – 1586
- Fedora – 1628
- Mageia – 1648
- Ubuntu – 2200
- Mint – 3848
BusyBox? ToyBox? My Head Hurts
This was originally going to be an in depth look at this controversy. However after spending about 15 hours over 3 days my head hurts. I determined that in this format it could not be done justice so here we go with my CliffsNotes version. A few of the links referenced here go back to LWN articles. I am a subscriber so I can read them, I believe that they are also all available to the general public but if they are not I am sorry.
On with the synopsis. The main part of the controversy involves Rob Landley, a former maintainer for BusyBox now lead developer for ToyBox, wanting to rewrite BusyBox from scratch under a BSD style license to give vendors a non-GPL licensed alternative. The controversy heated up after Tim Bird, a Senior Software Engineer for Sony Corporation, where he helps Sony put Linux into their products, joined the ToyBox development team.
READER ADDED CORRECTION
Rob had already written ToyBox long ago, under GPL. He relicensed as BSD license after Tim Bird asked him for help writing a permissively licensed BusyBox replacement.
This all then prompted Matthew Garret, A Red Hat developer and Kernel hacker, to make a blog post calling out other kernel developers to grant the Software Freedom Conservancy the right to pursue GPL violators in their stead. This all has produced quite the dust storm in the comments sections of these various websites. There has been some name calling and shouting that is just not good for any of us.
The main focus of the dilemma is that currently Conservancy really only has BusyBox to use as a sledgehammer against non-compliers. When they go after these non-compliers they use BusyBox which is explicitly licensed under the GPL 2 only. This allows them to force them to release all of their GPL code before they re-grant license to distribute BusyBox. This is a good thing in my opinion, I do however agree with Matthew Garrett that more people need to let Conservancy enforce the GPLness of their code.
READER ADDED CORRECTION
“historically only has used BusyBox”.
Tim Bird has taken quite a bit of undeserved heat over this issue. It has been said in several of the comments that he is just looking for away to help Sony avoid compliance. This is a ridiculous statement on its face as Sony is one of the most conscientious observers of the GPL. I can understand Tim’s point, he states that they need a BusyBox replacement not to avoid compliance but to avoid having their entire product line held up by a single component suppliers non-compliance.
The tempest in a ToyBox seems to be settling down lately after a meeting between Bradley Kuhn, Executive Director of the Software Freedom Conservancy, and Tim Bird. Bradley lays out the details of this meeting in a posting to the BusyBox mailing list.
What this boils down to in my opinion is that at least one major kernel developer if not more need to assign Conservancy as their GPL enforcer. If I have gotten any of these facts wrong I am sure that our listeners will let me know. What do you all think on this?
Source Links Below.
Good article that explains everything up to the pointy it was written February first.
The complete thread from the BusyBox mailing list http://lists.busybox.net/pipermail/busybox/2012-February/thread.html#77293
Matthew Garrett blog post along with comments http://mjg59.dreamwidth.org/10437.html
Matthew Garrett LWN post and comments http://lwn.net/Articles/478249/
Bradley Kuhn, the Software Freedom Conservancy Executive Director. from LWN’s repost of his post to the BusyBox mailing list http://lwn.net/Articles/483016/
Scientific Publications Asking For Source Code In Order To Reproduce Experiments
More and more scientific communication is relying on evidence that can not be published. Although everyone realizes that data needs to be made available upon request, there is no consistency in requiring the researcher to provide the source code for the computational software used. In todays environment where researchers are relying more on software it is becoming intolerable that the researcher would not include the source code where their results depend on computation. With all of the other barriers to reproduction of the results with holding the source code just compounds that.
Computers and computer hardware have advanced so much in recent years that the scientific community can now do things unheard of ten years ago. Previously intractable theories are now able to be investigated. Previously inaccessible environments are now access able to data collection. As more varied and complex data is collected an increasingly complex and rich set of software tools have been created to analyze this computer generated data.
Many scientific journals are now requiring the source code for the software used when making a submission. These publications include Science, Geoscientific Model Development, Biostatistics, and several others.
However some publications like Nature are not requiring the code just a description of the code as they make clear in this statement:
“Nature does not require authors to make code available, but we do expect a description detailed enough to allow others to write their own code to do similar analysis.” Their broader policy states that “…authors are required to make materials, data and associated protocols promptly available to readers…”
They do say that editors and referees can demand the source code if they feel it is necessary.
When source code is not made available it makes the reproduction of the experiments in question practically impossible. A simple description is insufficient one programmer my describe it one way and another totally differently. The scientific communities faith in computational analysis than is justified. Ambiguity in its many forms and numerical errors render natural language descriptions insufficient and, in many cases, unintentionally misleading.
Cooking With Linux
(No Not That Old Linux Journal Column By Marcel Gagne A Linux Tablet As A dedicated Cook Book)
Bring on the QOOQ. It is a new tablet completly dedicated to being a cook book. It has some great features that make it a wonderful addition to any kitchen. It has stand off feet on each corner with an angled picture frame type prop on the back. This makes it an easy to use free standing appliance. It has also been rugggedized for use in the kitchen. According to the manufacture you can spill a glass of wine on it or splash hot tomato sauce on it with no ill effects. It has a 10″ capacitive touch screen, a 1GHz Cortex A9 processor, Stereo speakers, high speed wireless and wired internet connections, a USB port, an SD/SDHC card slot, and 8 GB of internal storage. You have access to 3,500 recipes, 500 come with the device and you have the ability to buy more content. At the current asking price of $399 it is a little pricey but you do have the ability to interact with it while yor fingers are covered in gravy. Try that with your Kindle Fire. It also runs full Linux not Android and works as a fully functional tablet. It currently is only available in France but coming soon to the U.S.
Commerce Business Apps Challenge
The U.S. government has announced a competition for Open Source applications. The Department Of Commerce (DOC) is challenging developers to look for innovative ways to utilize DOC and other publicly available data to help businesses identify opportunities, grow, enhance productivity and create jobs.
A key mission of both the Department of Commerce (DOC) and the newl BusinessUSA initiative (www.Business.USA.gov) is to help U.S. businesses grow and create jobs. We’re looking for innovative ways to utilize DOC and other federal and publicly accessible data and program information to help businesses:
- Learn about and evaluate opportunities, both here in the U.S. and internationally;
- Access useful government services, data, and market information;
- Fund business activities;
- Support education and training, and Facilitate or accelerate the pursuit of operating and growing their business.
- The challenge is to utilize at least one DOC data set in creating an application that assists businesses and/or improves the service delivery of Business.USA.gov to the business community.
You pick the technology…
- the web
- a personal computer
- a mobile handheld device, or
- any platform broadly accessible to the open Internet
…they provide the data (or at least some of it).
DOC offers a wealth of economic, demographic, environmental, weather, international trade, scientific research and program data and in this challenge, we require that you use at least one of our datasets in your application. This data can be layered and/or combined with any other federal, state, local or publicly available information or datasets that you wish.
The time-line for the contest is submissions must be recieved between February 22 and April 30. The judging will take place between May 1 and May 31 with the winners announced on June 1. The prizes will be $5,000 for first place, $3,000 for second, and $2,000 for third.
Head on over to their website to check it out. http://docbusinessapps.challenge.gov
New Hampshire Passes Open Source Bill
The New Hampshire state legislature has passed a bill the requires state departments to consider open source software when making any software acquisitions. Not only do they have to consider opne source software if they choose a proprietary solution they need to explain why they chose it over an open source alternative. Here is the pertinent portion of the bill:
“This bill requires state agencies, in consultation with the Department of Information Technology; to consider acquiring open source software products and services as an alternative to proprietary software products and services; acquire software products primarily on a value for money basis; provide justification whenever a proprietary software product is acquired rather than open source software; avoid the acquisition of products that do not comply with open standards for interoperability or data storage; and to avoid the acquisition of products that are known to make unauthorized transfers of information to, or permit unauthorized control or modification to state government’s computer systems by outside parties. The Department of Information Technology assumes that all software procurement will be reviewed by the Department to determine if there is a viable open source software alternative. The Department states proprietary solutions will require agency justification to the Department and approval of the proprietary solution by the Department’s Chief Information Officer.”
Not only is open source going to be the preferred software. Any software that leaves a back-door for the vendor to come in and make changes is specifically prohibited. I say good onya New Hampshire and I have to ask Michigan when are you going to step up?
Widget of the Week:
To install the Lancelot launcher, # apt-get install kde-plasma-addons (The launcher is included as part of a set of plasma addons)
Linux Journal: To get the e-subscription (which costs the same as the print version), go to
Canada’s Warrantless Internet Spying:
Internet Speed Test: To check the speed of your Internet connection: http://speedtest.net
Chrome only future for Flash on Linux
After the 11.2 flash player release Adobe will only release Flash Player for linux in the Chrome API. The netscape plugin API is being replaced and called PPAPI or Pepper.
Pepper is designed to be a single modern API for plugins within the browser with an effective abstraction layer hiding the different types of browser and API.
It would appear that this change would freeze Mozilla Firefox’s Flash support on Linux at Flash Player 11.2. Mozilla has previously said it is “not interested in or working on Pepper at this time”.
“The way we are doing it at RIM is like that [pragmatic approach]. The way Jonathan Schwartz was doing it at Sun; I think it was intended to be like that but because of trying to simplify the story too much – well, this is a different story.”
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