Fedora 9 is now available - http://get.fedoraproject.org/ As someone thats been working with it for months already I’m quite pleased with this release.
Fedora 9 is now available - http://get.fedoraproject.org/ As someone thats been working with it for months already I’m quite pleased with this release.
Just over a year ago, Greg Kroah-Hartman announced the Linux Driver Project, which combined education and mentoring with the promise to write Linux drivers for any hardware manufacturer willing to work with the project.
Greg has just released the Linux Driver Project Status Report as of April 2008. LWN has comments at A Linux Driver Project status report.
Greg’s comments are particularly interesting:
The Linux Driver Project (LDP) is alive and well, with over 300 developers wanting to participate, many drivers already written and accepted into the Linux kernel tree, and many more being currently developed. The main problem is a lack of projects. It turns out that there really isn’t much hardware that Linux doesn’t already support. Almost all new hardware produced is coming with a Linux driver already written by the company, or by the community with help from the company.
After much cajoling and harassment on my part, I’m happy to say that the Linux Foundation’s Vendor Advisory board’s top 10 list of things that need to be worked on with Linux doesn’t mention drivers at all.
So let’s put this myth to rest once and for all please.
Of course, the quality of support of certain devices is still an issue — in particular certain wireless cards and, as always, 3D devices.
O’Reilly has a brand-new feature, book forums at http://forums.oreilly.com/category/13/Book-Forums/. Gab with your favorite authors and other readers. I’ll be posting tips and cool hacks that didn’t make it into the Linux Networking Cookbook. Come on down and join the fun!
The energetic, never-sleeping Ken Starks, of Tux 500 fame, has launched a new project that involves the town of Felton, California. As Ken’s blog says:
On July 4th, 2008; a significant percentage of Felton, California, will go Microsoft-free for one week…maybe an entire month.
How does a person pull off an event of this size?
Since August of 2007, Larry Cafiero of HeliOS Solutions West has established a base and has been discussing the project with residents, business owners and community leaders. Businesses and home users alike are interested in learning a better way to operate their computers. For a week…maybe a month…maybe for good. As Larry meets with other residents and business owners, the number of people who want to participate is growing daily.
I’m always amazed by Ken’s energy and ingenuity. Read all about it here: http://linuxlock.blogspot.com/2008/02/linependence-2008.html
If you’re not familiar with TBB — it’s an open source C++ template library that simplifies multithreading of applications to take advantage of modern multicore computers. TBB was originally an Intel commercial product; it was turned into an open source project at OSCON 2007.
I’m happy to be able to say that I played a small role in TBB’s inclusion in Ubuntu Hardy Heron release. I’m the open source community manager for the Threading Building Blocks project — which in part means that I get to spend lots of time on the #tbb channel (on FreeNode.net) talking to people who are working on TBB in various aspects.
In January, we had conversations about TBB’s packaging into Debian (which was funded by Athena Capital Research — I plan to write more about that in a future post, but you can see my original posts about this if you’re interested). Our conversations inspired one of the “regulars” on the channel to take the initiative and create Ubuntu Bug #181137, requesting inclusion of TBB in Hardy Heron.
A few days later, we found out that, despite the fact that the Hardy Heron import freeze had already occurred, the Ubuntu team was going to sync Hardy Heron with the Debian TBB packages (see my announcement post).
This is great news given Ubuntu’s position as one of the leading Linux distributions for desktop applications. As more people have high-powered multicore systems at home and in the office, the necessity to be able to develop multithreaded applications without having to deal with the complexity of low-level thread management becomes ever more critical. It’s excellent to watch the growing embrace of Threading Building Blocks by the Linux community.
I just ran across a weblog called The Daily Ubuntu. It’s not deeply technical, nor is it only for Ubuntu users, but it does feature a new application available on Ubuntu every day. This looks like a good resource for users of free desktops — it’s a great way to find out what software is available, for free.
I’m at the KDE 4.0 release event, and Haavard Nord from Trolltech just announced they’ll license Qt 4.0 under the GPL v3 in addition to GPL v2. The KDE folks in the room gave that announcement a standing ovation. Apparently they’ve worked recently on being able to relicense parts of KDE under the GPL v3 as well.
The Fedora Project is looking for a new Fedora Project Leader. Skill set includes being able to juggle a community of around 1500 members, mostly volunteers with the needs of the Fedora Projects flagship product: Fedora the operating system. Must be smart, calm, cool and collected under stress and have an attention span that can be spread in many directions at once. Must have vision of the current landscape of Linux and Open Source in general as well as where it can / should be headed.
Well here we go with book #2, the Linux Networking Cookbook. Hot off the presses, fresh from the oven, the baby is born!
Linux comes with a powerhouse networking stack and bales of great troubleshooting and monitoring tools. This book covers most of the fundamental Linux networking chores- firewalls, secure remote access, routing, building a Linux wireless access point (my personal favorite), serial console administration, network monitoring, hands-free installations, some OpenLDAP, running an Asterisk VoIP server, and using your specialized network administrator laptop for diagnosis and repairs.
No endless windy theorizing, just nice step-by-step recipes for getting things done. Bon appetit!
Helloooo out there- in case anyone was wondering why years-old entries are suddenly the Top 25, it’s because they’re all getting spammed all to heck.
What’s with Movable Type- isn’t there some way to set it to filter spam, especially when the same spam is posted a few hundred times?
I still think spammers should be rounded up and “volunteered” for one-way missions to Pluto.
Since her posts here on O’ReillyNet, Carla Schroder has tried in vain to get some sort of response from Linux Journal after offensive ads were run and articles were published. The same is true for Linux Journal’s sister magazine, Tux Magazine. Carla has gone ahead and chronicled the whole sordid mess in an article for LXer.com.
“I have to wonder- where on Earth did Ms. Fairchild get the idea that alienating her customers is a good business practice? So what if she finds sexist, demeaning humor funny? It doesn’t belong in Linux Journal. I paid my subscription money in good faith for many years, trusting to receive good Linux articles. If I want to read about blowjobs or read about how helpless and stupid women are, I don’t expect to find it in Linux Journal. There are abundant sources for that elsewhere.”
As far as I am concerned the whole article is a must read.
Justas Ingelevičius wrote in about an Autodesk international user group poll about non-Windows ports. Specifically, users want Autodesk Revit (engineering design software) to run on Mac OS X and GNU/Linux. As Justas writes:
We have to handle projects sometimes ~1GB of size (whole districts with 20 levels buildings completely 3D) in Autodesk Revit Architecture and let edit that project for many users on network. Work speed depends on effective management of computer and network resources. It definitely will run better on Linux, then on Vista or Xp. We invest much in good hardware and high speed LAN and it’s ridiculous, that we have to run windows…
In other words, the interesting question is not “Would you pay for proprietary software?” or “Can proprietary software exist with free operating systems?” but “Your software is the only thing keeping us on Windows; can you sell us what we really want to buy?” It’s easy to predict that this conversation will happen more frequently and with greater volume. (I imagine something similar happened when Windows NT was worth using and much, much cheaper than high-end UNIX workstations.)
The first public Pseudo (alpha) release of Vector Linux 5.9 is now available. Normally a release like this wouldn’t be worth blogging about. It’s early development code. If you’re used to Ubuntu then think Tribe 1. It’s at that level. OK, it seems to be usable at this point but it’s not something I’d recommend for a system that has to do real work.
The point? There’s a 64-bit version. There has never been a 64-bit version of Vector Linux before. To me this is one more essential step towards Vector Linux being taken seriously as a major distribution.
In the past year we’ve seen Vector Linux offer commercial support for the first time, we’ve seen it offered preloaded on systems for the first time, we’ve seen huge steps forward on internationalization and localization, and now it seems likely that Vector Linux 6.0 will be available in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions. After trying a bunch of other smaller distros, some based on Slackware, some not, and being disappointed by most of them I’m excited about the prospect of 64-bit Vector.
This press release might be of interest to some folks:
“LPI exams to be offered at half-price at Linuxworld Conference and Expo 2007. Industry exams are half price to all conference delegates and show attendees.”
I dropped my subscription to Linux Journal a couple of years ago because I got tired of their stubborn refusal to admit women into their gearhead club. Sure, you’ll find the very occasional women author, but not many. What I did see a lot of was pages of ads that insulted women in every stereotyped way- brainless ornamental boy toys. God forbid we should ever be portrayed as IT professionals and actual humans.
Fast-forward a year or two, and what happens? Does LJ wise up? Why, no! Not at all! Instead they take a huge step backwards and run a full-page ad that insults both women and men:
Way to go, Linux Journal! When can we expect your sincere, very public apology? When are you going to wise up?
Linux Journal contacts page: http://www.linuxjournal.com/xstatic/staff/index
Part 2 “Dear Linux Journal: News Flash- Women Are People”
I changed the title from “Idiot-Boy’s Club” because it was unfair and mean.
It is two days after VMWare had one of the most successful IPOs on recent years, and one day after XenSource announces that it is being acquired by Citrix. Now that money is flowing into the two major virtualization players at a rate we haven’t yet seen, what are your feelings about using Xen or VMWare on Linux? Which are you considering running on your next production network?
Update 8/16 2:28 PM (Central): From the comments: Xen: 1 vs. VMWare: 0 vs. Neither (libvirt): 1
It appears that Vector Linux is moving to a faster release schedule. Vector Linux SOHO 5.8 is only a few months old but the first release candidate of Vector Linux SOHO 5.8.6 has been announced:
VectorLinux is pleased to announce the availability of the rc-1 release of 5.8.6 for the VectorLinux SOHO product. This RC release includes the following improvements: upgrade to Xorg-7.2 from the previous 6.9 series which adds many gui improvements and 3D enhancements: rebuilt many core packages so they install properly in new Xorg-7.2 file structure: rebuilt the core font subsystem to take advantage of the new Xorg release: Updated many packages such as pidgin (including spellcheck) and Xscreensaver…, general bug fixing and driver updates. Beryl is an installable option for those wishing the ultimate 3D desktop experience. There are many other enhancements to numerous to mention.
I think this is the first time they’ve had a release of the KDE-based SOHO without a Standard or Deluxe release. This appears to be part of a general change in direction for Vector that’s been happening for the last year. They seem to have moved well away from being a specialty distro for older hardware to being a full featured, general purpose distro. The recent move to begin selling commercial support echoes that transition as does their recent appeal for volunteer testers and developers for a future 64-bit version. I see this shift as entirely positive provided the lightweight Standard version continues to be developed and supported.
In recent comments to my review of Vector Linux 5.8 SOHO keyfitter wrote:
There is a reason why they are using Win 98 in 2007. I think it’s called, being cheap!.
I wonder if these people realize they can buy a brand new computer for $139. Granted the hardware is a bit dated by today’s standards but it’s probably light years ahead of what they are running Windows ‘98 on. Of course these computers come preloaded with Linux: Vector Linux 5.8 Standard to be precise. That’s fine. Without having to worry about installation or hardware compatibility someone who buys this system gets a nice, ready to go, user friendly Linux system with a warranty. The return policy is listed as “no matter what” short of physical abuse. What they don’t get are Windows virii and malware. They do, of course, have to learn a new OS.
Why not offer the same system with Windows? It would nearly double the price. People forget that they pay an average of around $100 for the privilege of having Windows on their new computer. Of course Windows Vista wouldn’t run on a 1.5GHZ system with only 256MB of RAM, would it? Vector Linux 5.8 Standard will run quite nicely, though. A memory upgrade wouldn’t hurt particularly if you’re interested in a lot of multimedia applications (an extra $39 for 512MB) but it isn’t strictly necessary.
On July 22nd a new set of kernel packages was released for Vector Linux, my chosen primary and current favorite distribution. This was the second build of the 2.6.21 kernel with Con Kolivas’ CK2 patchset, replacing a test build released on July 8. In the past the only reason I’ve recommended upgrading a kernel is to close security vulnerabilities or to add support for new hardware. Recently, though, there is another very good reason: noticeably improved performance, particularly if you are currently using kernel 2.6.19 or earlier.
Hi! I’m Kevin Farnham, a career software developer, and sometimes editor and writer. Most of my software development work has been on Unix/Linux platforms, but I also have significant experience on Windows (especially on the server side). My core experience is in the areas of complex scientific programing (mathematical modeling and simulation) and high volume data processing and data access. I’ve worked with multiprocessor systems, and developed multithreaded applications, for a very long time.
As you can see from the articles I’ve published on the O’Reilly Network (click the Articles tab on my O’Reilly Network profile page to see the articles list), I’ve worked with quite a few Linux distributions. My current favorite is Gentoo — because it lets me have exactly what I want to have in my system, and nothing more. I use XFCE as my desktop environment. Again, it gives me what I need, without extraneous clutter.
I’ve just started working on a new project involving Intel’s Threading Building Blocks, a C++ template library that simplifies development of multithreaded software for use on Linux, Windows, and Mac operating systems. With multicore processors quickly becoming the norm, software development is going to have to change — otherwise, applications will utilize only a small portion of the available processing power on modern PCs. I’ll be posting quite a lot about that specific topic area in my blog on the Intel Software Network Blogs site.
As for other interests: I often find myself “overly” fascinated by subjects that would appear to many to be obscure, such as how bootloaders work, the poetry of the Middle English author known as “the Pearl Poet”, the significance of quantum mechanics, algorithms, and Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s philosophy of Nature. Right now, in addition to my studies of Threading Building Blocks, I’m reading “Causality and Chance in Modern Physics” by David Bohm, and I’m rereading John Milton’s “Paradise Lost”. All quite good brain exercise, I think!
What’s up next for me is: OSCON! I’ll be attending next week for the first time. It will also be my first visit to Portland, Oregon. When I’m not attending tutorials or sessions, you’ll probably be able to find me hanging out at the Intel and O’Reilly booths, or somewhere nearby. Let me know if you’d like to connect.
And I’ll be sure to post here, from there.
A complete set of GNOME 2.18 packages have been added to the Vector Linux Extra repository. This means that users of Vector Linux 5.8 Standard or SOHO can add GNOME easily in addition to Xfce or KDE. From the command line a simple
slapt-get --update slapt-get --install gnomemeta
will add or upgrade roughly 100 packages on your system. Oh, and no, it doesn’t break KDE or Xfce. For those who are a bit command line phobic you can also find the gnomemeta package in gslapt, the graphical package management tool. Previously GNOME was only offfered with the Deluxe (paid for) versions of Vector Linux.
Fair warning: if you don’t have any GNOME bits on your system already doing this install can consume over 900MB in hard disk space. Installing GNOME online is definitely not recommended for those who still have only dial-up internet access.
I’m still not a huge fan of GNOME but I do think choice is good and making it easy to choose from a variety of Linux desktops is a very good thing for Vector Linux.
Probably their first use with Linux not least their first look at a real computer. While these young African children will be interfacing with the computer using Sugar (pictured above) and applications such as Etoys, the underlying OS is Linux. Jessica Dolcourt posted a great article on the One Laptop Per Child initiative in Nigeria on CNET news. We are finally seeing the beginning of the first deployments of the laptop.
More about the Sugar Interface:
Qwaq announced a secure virtual workspace product, called Qwaq Forums, yesterday. It runs on recent Linux, Windows and Mac computers. The product signifies an important milestone for the open-source Croquet project and Squeak. Although Squeak is already the foundation for many great applications (Etoys, Etoys on OLPC, Seaside web server, the Sophie multimedia document creator, to name a few), this announcement catapults Croquet quickly into the business realm.
What is a Qwaq Forum? Unfortunately, I can't give you first hand report on Qwaq Forums. Hopefully, someone will place a video demo online for us to view. I can tell you about Croquet, though. It’s an open source 3D development environment to create distributed multi-user virtual 3D applications. It's quite a freeing feeling walking, talking and collaborating with others and directly with applications floating in air. Anyone can download Croquet and try it out. Please do, you'll have fun.
Back to Qwaq Forums. The site says that Qwaq Forums are "virtual spaces for real work." I imagine a room where the Forum owner can maintain the security level of the room and of each person entering (or not) - from individual rights all the way to anonymous users. Picture a secure office that can be locked up at night with a security card reader on the door - but you don't have to physically travel to use the room! Being a user of Croquet, I can easily see how the room would work. Besides what I mentioned previously, you can also write code and change your environment in Croquet - it's a totally open platform.
An important feature that Qwaq cites is persistence: "all users can see all previous changes and additions" in the Forums and teams can maintain their work and the progress made. From the datasheet: "Setting up a Qwaq Forum is simple: start by simply dragging and dropping content into a workspace in Qwaq Forums. All otgher users present will see the content immediately and will be able to start working with it right away." I don't know what could be easier.
I won't know more about the Forums until I get my hands on it. If a video becomes available, let me know. In the meantime, check out Croquet and Squeak and see what you can do with it - your application in this 3D space could literally change the world. The field, uh.. virtual space, is wide open!
It’s important to understand volunteer motivation to encourage further altruistic and mutually beneficial behavior. O’Reilly Editor Andy Oram has created a short survey for people to contribute to community documentation:
“Do you answer questions on mailing lists about how to use a software tool or language? Do you write documentation, put up web pages, or contribute to wikis about software? If so, please take the following survey to help O’Reilly do research that will help us understand why people contribute to documentation (versus software projects themselves.) The results will be published on the O’Reilly web site, and may help software projects and communities get more such contributions. We’re only interested in hearing from people who do this for non-monetary reasons.
From the Xfce website, dated 17 January 2007:
This pledge drive does not have the official support of the nouveau developers, but what a wonderful idea to be able to present them with $10,000 to support their work!
If you would like to use the hardware you’ve already paid for under terms that respect your freedom and choice, consider pledging $10 to this effort. (I’ll discuss the pragmatics and politics of free drivers more in a subsequent weblog soon.)
LWN’s Jonathan Corbet attended Novell’s Special Meeting about the Novell/Microsoft deal. LWN has a transcript of the Novell IRC meeting. Of particular interest is Jonathan’s question itself:
Novell claims to have not acknowledged any patent infringements by Linux. But Novell is now paying a tax to Microsoft on the Linux distributions it ships. What, exactly, is Novell paying for?
Novell’s answer is fairly unsatisfying. If anyone can sue anyone at any time for any reason (and this is true in the US, though you may have to deal with the consequences of an angry judge who rules that you sued for a very stupid reason), why not make such agreements with everyone?
Novell’s Mono 1.2 Press Release mentions that the project adds support for Windows Forms.
That was fast. I’m neither a Microsoft nor a Novell customer. Now I’m curious, though; does this software infringe Patents #6,920,461 and #6,959,294? (Note that, at least per my reading of the former, Microsoft has only patented the interface.)
(Note two: if you might work on Mono or a similar project in the future, and if U.S. patent laws apply to you, erase the fact that I mentioned those patents from your head entirely. Then contact your representative legislators to complain that a single sentence I wrote here may make you liable for treble damages someday.)
Last week, The One Laptop Per Child initiative put a name on their first laptop device. The new name is “Children’s Machine” or CM1, apparently taken from the title of Seymour Papert’s book of the same name (published in the early 90s.) There isn’t a signficant amount of technical update. I should mention, though, that the team has brought up Forth on the laptop recently. I used Forth at Atari Coin-op and I can attest to its ease of debugging hardware. Redhat is still slated to deliver a “skinny” version of Fedora Core to be shipped on the laptop.
The laptop boasts energy savings and out-of-the-box networking capabilities. The display can operate in two modes; the transmissive mode consumes just one watt, and the reflective mode consumes only 0.2 watts. The mesh networking capability allows users to talk to one another and to the Internet with no configuration. Another energy-saving trick is that since the laptop nominally consumes a mere 2 watts it can be charged by human elbow-grease.
The laptop is a “… flexible, ultra low-cost, power-efficient, responsive, and durable machine with which nations of the emerging world can leapfrog decades of development–immediately transforming the content and quality of their children’s learning.”, according to their website.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadenijad now has his very own blog. That’s fine. The content is entirely what you might expect with one notable exception. Several Israeli bloggers, including Yael K.’s Step By Step, which I read regularly, report that if you access the Ahmadenijad blog from an Israeli IP address the site sends you a little gift, a cyberattack in the form of a virus or trojan (reports vary) designed to exploit an Internet Explorer vulnerability.
To quote Yael:
Does Iran now use the Internet to harass Israeli citizens? To take advantage of the increasing Iranian-Israeli dialog online?
In a word: yep. The attack is smart enough to mostly ignore IP addresses from anywhere other than Israel, though it has been reported to have been triggered from Spain as well.
My one little piece of advice for friends and readers in Israel: Ehad Linux, an Israeli Linux distribution based on Mandriva 2006, is really quite easy to install and use. (Yes, I plan to write a review.) Those of us who run Linux have been blissfully immune to all the security nonsense which routinely plagues Windows users. Indeed, security has been one of the issues which has helped propel Linux adoption in corporate and government data centers in recent years.
No, installing Linux is not a security panacea. You still need to patch regularly and become educated about keeping your system secure. It is, however, a very good start.
On 30 May 2006 TurboLinux announced the release of version 11, also called Fuji. While TurboLinux remains very popular in Asia, particularly Japan, this announcement generated little attention or enthusiasm in the United States or Europe. The fact that TurboLinux Fuji 11 Desktop is doing something revolutionary almost went unnoticed.
What has TurboLinux done? They’ve partnered with Cyberlink to offer a fully legal, licensed, DMCA compliant DVD player for Linux. OK, I can hear the open source
zealots advocates groaning and gnashing their teeth from here. Yes, we’re talking closed source and proprietary. This is still revolutionary and still very important.
First, like it or not, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is the law of the land in the United States. There are a handful of other countries with similar laws. You can consider it unjust and stupid all you like but so far it has been thoroughly resistant to court challenges. You can break the law all you like and call it “civil disobedience” but you still leave yourself open to legal action if caught. I sure as heck am not going to walk into a client’s office proudly displaying illegal software on my desktop. Thanks, but no thanks.
The lack of legal multimedia software comparable to what is available for Windows users has been a major stumbling block to getting preloaded Linux systems on store shelves and taken seriously by consumers. Say all you will about the virtues of Open Source but the average Joe or Jane user isn’t interested and really doesn’t want to take the time to be educated. They want their computer to just work. Save them money, speed up their systems, make them more reliable, make them more secure… it’s all great but if the system doesn’t do what they want they won’t buy it. The average Joe or Jane user also can’t load their own OS: not Linux, not Windows, not anything.
On the 12th of this month Google released version 4 of the Google Earth software with support for Linux. It can now be downloaded from here:
The minimum requirements to get it running are pretty reasonable:
* Kernel: 2.4 or later
* glibc: 2.3.2 w/ NPTL or later
* XFree86-4.0 or x.org R6.7 or later
* CPU: Pentium 3, 500Mhz
* System Memory (RAM): 128MB
* Hard Disk: 400MB free space
* Network Speed: 128 Kbits/sec
* Screen: 1024×768, 16 bit color
But you might want to get closer to the recommended specs if you want to run it well:
* Kernel 2.6 or later
* glibc 2.3.5 w/ NPTL or later
* x.org R6.7 or later
* System Memory (RAM): 512MB
* Hard Disk: 2GB free space
* Network Speed: 768 Kbits/sec
* Graphics Card: 3D-capable with 32MB of VRAM
* Screen: 1280×1024, 32 bit color
And they’ve tested it with Ubuntu 5.10, Suse 10.1, Fedora Core 5, Linspire 5.1, Gentoo 2006.0, Debian 3.1 and Red Hat 9.
Install was a breeze, just download the GoogleEarthLinux.bin, chmod +x it to make it executable and run it. By default it installs to ~/google-earth/ but you have the option to change this during the install.
On my Debian Etch system (2 ghz Pentium 4, 2 gigs RDRAM, 64meg GeForce3 (w/ 3d acceleration), 384/1.5 DSL) it runs flawlessly. Kudos to Google for finally making a Google Earth that I can use.
In the growing tradition of -women groups, Ubuntu-Women now joins the ranks with the annoucement of the launch of their official website this week.
Officially founded by Vid Ayer, the group has similar aims to other F/OSS -women projects, with perhaps a greater weight put on getting more women using linux (specifically Ubuntu) and feeling more comfortable in the F/OSS world in general.
Here’s a tip for Pacific Northwest free software fans; Linuxfest Northwest is this weekend. This is a free, community-organized showcase for open source in the area. The insider tip (from Brian Aker) is that you shouldn’t miss it.
There’s a Linuxfest Northwest talks schedule online, with plenty of subjects and several good speakers — including George Dyson, Dee-Ann LeBlanc, Danny O’Brien, Eric Wilhelm, Peter Scott, Keith Lofstrom, Chris Dawson, Tim Maher, Tim Bray, Eric Harrison.
If you’re in the area this Saturday, grab a friend or colleague you want to introduce to Linux and F/LOSS and go.