Mat Enders, Tony Bemus, and Mary Tomich
Intro Sound bite by Mike Tanner
Kernel News: Mat
Distro Talk: Tony
Mary Distro Review
Is it Alive? – Mary
Kernel News: Mat
On Sun, 6 May 2012 15:34:14 Linus Torvalds released kernel 3.4-rc6
This is what Linus had to say about it:
“There still are more commits here than I’d like, so it would be nice
if things would calm down even further, but things on the whole have
been pretty smalll and simple.
But all of the commits look pretty damn trivial, so on the whole I
feel good about things.
Go forth and test,”
Approximately half of the changes in this rc are drivers (with networking taking up about half of those), With most of the rest being architecture, filesystems, and non-driver networking.
On Mon, 7 May 2012 09:33:46 PDT Greg Kroah-Hartman released kernel 3.0.31
There were 53 files changed, 584 inserted, and 164 deleted.
On Mon, 7 May 2012 09:34:21 PDT Greg Kroah-Hartman released kernel 3.3.5
There were 93 files changed, 1176 inserted, and 355 deleted.
On Sat, 12 May 2012 00:44:25 London Time Ben Hutchings released kernel 3.2.17
There were 174 files changed, 1551 inserted, and 700 deleted
Kernel Developer Quote:
Last week, I had the best conversation I’ve ever had at a Linux conference:
Him: “What operating system are you using on your laptop, why aren’t you using OS-X, that seems much easier to use these days.”
Me: “Um, this is Linux”
Him: “But why use it? Isn’t it really complex?”
Me: “This is my code, why wouldn’t I use it?”
Things degenerated from there.
And note, this was an invite-only Linux conference…
Distro Talk: Tony
- 5-9 – SolusOS 1 – based on Debian’s “stable” branch featuring the GNOME 2 desktop, but also an updated kernel and applications
- 5-10 – Salix OS 13.37 “MATE” – “MATE” edition, a Slackware-based distribution featuring the increasingly popular fork of the GNOME 2 desktop:
- 5-10 – Rocks Cluster Distribution 5.5, 6.0 – CentOS-based open-source toolkit for real and virtual clusters
- 5-12 – Liberté Linux 2012.1 – a Gentoo-based security live CD with the primary purpose of enabling anyone to communicate safely and covertly in hostile environments
Distro of the Week: Tony
- Fedora – 1577
- Mageia – 2090
- Ubuntu – 2298
- SolusOS – 2654
- Mint – 3677
Mary Distro Review
Each week SMLR lists the newest Linux distro updates, so when Salix appeared on the list for the week of May 7, I decided to give it a try.
Salix is a GNU/Linux distribution based on Slackware that is simple, fast and easy to use. Salix is also fully backwards compatible with Slackware, so Slackware users can benefit from Salix repositories, which they can use as an “extra” quality source of software for their favorite distribution. Like a bonsai, Salix is small, light & the product of infinite care.
Going to the web site I was presented with a choice of Salix with several well-known desktops: KDE, XFCE, LXDE, Mate, FluxBox, and a less well-known, minimalist window manager, RatPoison. RatPoison? I had never heard of it. Ah yes, a slackware-based distributation with a minimalist windows manager. Life on the edge… Inquiring minds wanted to know …and so did I.
Salix, itself, says this about the RatPoison release:
“This is probably the first ever linux distribution release featuring Ratpoison as the main window manager. The aim of the Ratpoison edition is to create a system that is fully usable with the keyboard only, no mouse required! For everyone that is not familiar with Ratpoison, Ratpoison is a window manager for X “with no fat library dependencies, no fancy graphics, no window decorations, and no rodent dependence.”
Naturally, like a moth attracted to light, I decided to download the RatPoison version of Salix. And I didn’t need no stinkin’ LiveCD, either. I downloaded the direct to install version.
Salix installed easily enough using a ncurses installer. It’s perfect for the retro 1990s look that I like. I did not have to manually compile a kernel which was good because I wanted to finish this project before I retired. Those of you who listened to my earlier challenges trying to get Crux to boot after I compiled the kernel will understand.
However, it took three installs of Salix before I could successfully boot the system. The first two failed with a kernel panic: The root file system could not be found. What? It was there the last time I looked! But, as they say, the third time is the charm and I successfully booted into the RatPoison desktop/window manager after the third install.
To say RatPoison was spartan and minimalist doesn’t really do it justice, but what can you say when the only thing appearing on your monitor is wallpaper? That’s right…no panel, no icons, no clock…nothing. Just pixels after pixels of desktop wallpaper, albeit a very attractive airy style wallpaper with lots of overlapping, slightly out-of-focus rectangles.
To navigate RatPoison, you must use arcane keystroke combinations It reminded me of Emacs…and why I never much cared for emacs. Vi was much easier to use. (Oh–I hope I haven’t reignited the emacs versus vi wars of old.) Control C – t is the core of most keyboard computer interactions. For example to display the menu of available programs, you type Control C-t r. You also can bind certain
I set several modest goals for the keyboard-centric RatPoison:
- Open two or more apps and tile them using RatPoison’s keyboard machinations.
- Connect to my wireless network (which uses WPA2)
- install a software package, using the slapt package manager and the CLI tool.
- Open multiple programs/apps and tile them ala RatPoison.
- Use the terminal for some miscellaneous stuff.
- Do all this stuff by using only the keyboard.
- I was able to open a couple of different apps but at first it was slightly maddening to try to control them using combinations of keys before I realized that CTRL C plus two more keys just to open the applications menu.
- Yes, success was achieved. Surprisingly, it was relatively easy to connect to my home network. RatPoison uses the wicd network manager.
- install a software package. – Yes. I selected Koffice, naturally, plus Handbrake and a music player, Whaaw! However no non-free codecs were available so no mp3s or commercial DVDs could be played. I was devastated.
- Yes, I tiled three applications: a browser, a terminal window and a third app, the name of which escapes me at the moment. Oh yeah, it was Whaaw!
- Use the terminal for some miscellaneous stuff – Yes…changed directories, created directories, etc. Never has the command line felt so comfortable!
- I regret to report that I cheated as far as achieving goal #6. When I was in the browser, I was presented with a cursor that I took full advantage of.
Salix with Ratpoison – Not my cup of tea…but it could be yours if you like a minimalist desktop.
5% Of PCs Shipped Next Year Will Have Ubuntu Preinstalled
At the Ubuntu 12.10 developer summit Chris Kenyon, VP of sales and business development, Canonicals relationship with OEMs and ODMs. In the process he threw out some numbers about Ubuntus’ adoption.
The big number that grabbed my attention was this one:
“Next year they expect… 18 million units world-wide, or what Chris says would be 5% of PCs shipping world-wide would be with Ubuntu Linux.”
I also tend to agree with Jef Spaleta, of the Fedora project and his comments on this statement:
“Ship does not mean sold…generally speaking. And I have pretty much no information on China and India and other emerging markets. They could really have an upward trend there..but its not exactly easy to try to verify even in a ballpark sense.
The real question I have is: If they did ship as many as they say last year… why isn’t that enough revenue to be self-sustaining? And if they get to 5% next year… will that be enough revenue to be self-sustaining at present expense levels? There OEM partners are going to throw them under the bus as soon as Canonical needs to start passing costs on to OEMs instead of eating them.
I fear they continue to focus on the wrong metrics. Hitting 5% and not having a sustainable business model to service that growth is classic boom/bust business. Do OEMs value Ubuntu enough to pay an equitable share of the cost of its development? So far its not clear that the answer to that is yes. And until its clearly yes… this is not a clear win. The bigger Canonical gets and the longer this drags on, while servicing red ink there ledger, the harder it will be for them to steer the ship off the rocks.”
Let’s travel back in time for a minute. At UDS in Budapest last year Mark Shuttleworth talked about having 200 million Ubuntu users by 2015. Even if they double the their preinstalled PC sales they are going to need a truckload of new customers to reach this goal.
Another topic is where are these preloads going to be sold. Well according to industry statistics they are going to be sold in Asia. Now the generally accepted thought on this is that they are going to be purchased over a Windows PC as a cost savings. Then they are going to be wiped and a bootleg copy of Windows installed.
Ubuntu is already sold at more than 200 Dell stores in China. They have knowledgeable employees on hand to help consumers with questions.
FBI Wants Back Door Into Social Media Sites And VOIP
The FBI is quietly asking Internet companies to not oppose a new regulation that would require companies like Microsoft, Facebook, Yahoo, and Google to create backdoors to ease government surveillance. The White House, U.S. senators, and senior FBI officials met with industry representatives in order to discuss the dramatic change that the Internet has made in communications over the old telephone system, and the need to be able to surveil these new technologies.
The FBI is basically asking for an expansion of the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA). Currently CALEA only applies to telecommunications companies, and they want to expand it to cover social-networking Web sites and providers of VoIP, instant messaging, and Web e-mail. The Federal Communications Commission extended CALEA in 2004 to apply to broadband networks. Apple is currently lobbying against the CALEA expansion, according to disclosure documents filed with Congress. Microsoft says its lobbyists are following the topic because it’s “an area of ongoing interest to us.” Google, Yahoo, and Facebook have yet to comment.
Not only is the FBI making a legislative proposal, the FCC is considering a reinterpretation of CALEA to demand that products for video or voice chat over the Internet e.g. Skype, Google Hangouts, and Xbox Live create surveillance backdoors to help the FBI. They also want to make CALEA apply to technologies that are a “substantial replacement” for the telephone system.
Apache Announces OpenOffice™ 3.4
This is the first release since Apache took over development. In the press release they call themselves “the leading open source office productivity suite”. OO is available in 15 languages with a complete productivity suite including spreadsheet, word processing, presentation, database, and drawing. There is also a large third party development community providing over 2300 templates and over 800 extensions.
Since donation to the Apache Foundation OO is developed by an entirely volunteer group of developers, testers, translators, and other contributors. Apache OpenOffice source code, downloads, documentation, mailing lists, and related resources are available at http://incubator.apache.org/openofficeorg/. As an Apache Incubator project they first had to remove then reimplement all code that was incompatable with the Apache Software Foundation license policy.
This is all well and good but can Apache ever catch up with LibreOffice. LibreOffice has over a one year head start and the feature difference is huge. If you look at the side by side comparison between the two projects the difference is dramatic. The only part of the project where OO leads LO is in the drawing tool. You can see a graphic illustrating this here .
Microsoft Up To Their Old Tricks
Both Mozilla and Google have come out publicly to protest Microsoft’s Windows RT, which is the name for Windows on ARM, policy. Microsoft has announced that Windows RT will only allow IE as a browser. What happened here? Have we gone back to the early ’90s? What about the US and EU antitrust and anticompetitive practices trials?
Harvey Anderson, Mozilla general counsel, and Asa Dotzler, Mozilla Firefox director, claimed the this move violates a 2006 statement of principles by Microsoft.
Google had this to say about this Microsoft restrictive policy:
“We’ve always welcomed innovation in the browser space across all platforms and strongly believe that having great competitors makes us all work harder. In the end, consumers and developers benefit the most from robust competition.
Microsoft’s decision to lock down Win RT is not news: introduced as WOA in February, Windows chief Steven Sinofsky said WOA would only support a small number of existing Microsoft apps – Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote with Internet Explorer 10. x86 apps would not run on WOA. WOA would be populated with apps via the Windows Store.”
This appears to be an illegal return to Microsoft’s monopolistic practices of the past. Was anybody really surprised. They will continue these practices until they are finally broken up like should have happened the last time. At the time of this writing there was no comment from MS.
Open Source Under Assault By Yahoo And Their Patent Portfolio
Yahoo’s assault on open source with their patent portfolio, in an effort to regain profitability, draws huge criticism from the tech world. It comes down to Scott Thompson, Yahoo CEO, claiming that “they own the web” due to their large patent portfolio. they are even claiming to own patents on some open source technologies as well.
Facebook had to disclose a letter from Yahoo in their S-1 filing for their IPO. In this letter Yahoo claims 16 patents that Facebook is violating. Face claims that all 16 of these patents relate to open source technology that they use in their data centers. One of the claimed technologies that violate Yahoo’s patents is memcached. This could prove disastrous as this technology is used by numerous big data and database projects.
Is Yahoo’s new business model to become a patent troll. It would most likely be a death knell for Yahoo if they give into the short sited cries from investors to start wielding their patent portfolio as a club. The only road for long term success for Yahoo is to get back to it’s roots of innovating and creating aw some products.
RMS Falls Ill At Conference In Spain
During his presentation, at the North Campus of the Polytechnic University of Cataluna, 59 year old Richard Stallman fell ill. Contrary to some reports on social media he did not suffer a heart attack. About half way through his presentation he signalled event organizers to call an ambulance. He was reportedly suffering from an attack of acute high blood pressure.
He continued his speech while he waited for the ambulance to arrive. He did keep his composure and sense of humor. After having waited 20 minutes for the ambulance he made a joke about Spanish President Mariano Rajoy Brey wanting to kill them all with his new austerity measures. After the ambulance arrived he was treated off stage in a different room. The audience was then informed that the conference was going to be suspended indefinitely. It was reported the RMS left the building at a later time under his own power.
Some units of Nokia’s flagship Windows Phone, the Lumia 900, are experiencing a glitch that causes the screen to display a purple tint.
When iPhone 4S owners ask Siri which smartphone is the best ever made, the obviously disgruntled virtual personal assistant responds saying it’s the Nokia Lumia 900 4G running on AT&T’s network…
Visualising the Free Software / Open Source operating system users around the world !
A map on which you can register your Linux distribution.
OSHackers is a website that aims to count GNU/Linux users and place them geographically using their Linux distribution as the marker. You can visit OSHackers and put yourself on the map, and you can search for people that use Linux around your area.
Ubuntu will hit the big time on Amazon: Here’s how
Open … and Shut The cloud is the new operating system, and Amazon owns the cloud. Big iron vendors like IBM and HP are feeling the heat as workloads itch to move off expensive mainframes into Amazon’s public cloud. Even Microsoft, the once undisputed king of the operating system, is under siege as its Seattle neighbor embraces and extends .NET and SQL Server, making Amazon, not Microsoft, the one-stop shop for enterprise computing needs…..
…Indeed, while Red Hat dominates the data centre, every survey I’ve seen suggests that Ubuntu is still the dominant cloud OS, above RHEL, CentOS, and even Windows. This is the case for AWS, Rackspace, and other public cloud infrastructure. It’s also true of the market for public websites where Ubuntu also surpasses Red Hat….
Is it Alive?
The quiz show segment where Mary challenges Mat and Tony to identify whether if a Linux Distro is alive or dead? The distros for the May 12 show:
Bluewall GNU/Linux was a Debian-based Linux distribution with a twist – instead of apt, it used NetBSD’s pkgsrc as its preferred package management software. Perhaps that is why it only had two releases according to Distrowatch.
Bonzai Linux (formerly miniwoody)
Bonzai Linux was a kde-centric distribution based on the Debian stable branch. Also called Debian on a diet.
Extra credit: From what country did the Bonzai project originate? (Germany)
Kurumin Linux is a new Brazilian project based on Knoppix.
Kurumin Linux was a Brazilian run-from-CD Linux distribution based on Knoppix. Its main features were excellent hardware auto-detection, support for Brazilian Portuguese and small size.
a small, self-contained, bootable Linux CD distribution for system administrators, based on Debian’s testing brancH
A Xubuntu-based distribution for very young children.
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