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Imaginative Raspberry Pi Concepts Are Still Proliferating

Thursday 10th of July 2014 03:00:06 PM

As we've noted here many times, when it comes to the top open source stories of the past couple of years, it's clear that one of the biggest is the proliferation of tiny, inexpensive Linux-based computers at some of the smallest form factors ever seen. Surely, the diminutive, credit card-sized Raspberry Pi, priced at $25 and $35, is one of the most widely followed of these miniature systems. It's been implemented for use in home security systems, synthesizers and even in a supercomputer mashup using Lego pieces to bind the parts together, as seen in the photo here.

Now, there are some far more exotic implementations of the Raspberry Pi showing up.

In some of the more exotic new applications for Raspberry Pi, it's being used in music, robotics and security scenarios. In an update online from the Raspberry Pi team, user-created synthesizers leveraging the Pi platform are seen in a video series.  The team takes note of the synthesizer-heavy song Cars, by Gary Neuman, from the 1980s, and mentions tha it was recorded using only four synth tracks. "There’s far, far more functionality available to you with a Pi than there was with an 80s synth," the post adds.

InfoWorld also has an interesting collection of Rasberry Pi hacks aimed at IT users. It includes VOIP PBX systems, NTP servers, web controlled power strips and more, all driven by Pi devices.

Our favorite Rasberry Pi concept, though, remains the  quirky supercomputer from the University of Southampton that Professor Simon Cox and his team of researchers have lashed together. It's an actual supercomputer made of 64 credit card-sized Raspberry Pis using Lego pieces as the glue for the cluster.

Professor Cox said: “As soon as we were able to source sufficient Raspberry Pi computers we wanted to see if it was possible to link them together into a supercomputer. We installed and built all of the necessary software on the Pi starting from a standard Debian Wheezy system image and we have published a guide so you can build your own supercomputer.”

You can get the guide to making your own Raspberry Pi supercomputer here, and find more information on Cox's version here.

The team from Southampton claims it built its supercomputer for under $5,000. Did you ever come up with that when you used to play with Lego blocks? Here's a look at the lashup:



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Microsoft, Docker, Red Hat and IBM Join Google's Kubernetes Project

Thursday 10th of July 2014 02:47:51 PM

A few weeks ago, I covered the news that Google has released Kubernetes under an open-source license, which is essentially a version of Borg, which harnesses computing power from data centers into a powerful virtual machine. It can make a difference for many cloud computing deployments, and optimizes usage of container technology. You can find the source code for Kubernetes on GitHub.

Now, news has arrived that some vey big contributors to the Kubernetes project, including IBM, Microsoft, Red Hat, Docker, CoreOS, Mesosphere, and SaltStack are working in tandem on open source tools and container technologies that can run on multiple computers and networks.

VentureBeat notes that Microsoft's interest in the colloboration could have to do with getting Azure clouds to work nicely with Linux and container technology:

"The new backing of Kubernetes could also be a turn away from more segmented and often proprietary hypervisor technology that sits on top of server operating systems and creates many virtual slices for running applications within each physical server. As developers and companies begin to try it, companies that sell hypervisor software, including VMware, could start to wonder how they should participate in the containerization movement."

"Microsoft makes a hypervisor, Hyper-V. But the tech giant’s participation in the Kubernetes project is 'working to ensure that Kubernetes works great in Linux environments in Azure VMs,' according to a statement Google issued today."

IBM and other companies have shown a lot of interest in integrating technology with Docker, and Docker could play a central role in the Kubernetes project. As a Google blog post explains things:

"Kubernetes is an open source manager for Docker containers, based on Google’s years of experience using containers at Internet scale...Our shared goal is to allow a broad range of developers to take advantage of container technologies. Kubernetes was built from the ground up as a lean, extensible and portable framework for managing Docker workloads. It lets customers manage their applications the way that Google manages hyper-scale applications like Search and Gmail."

"Containers offer tremendous advantages for developers. Predictable deployments and simple scalability are possible because Docker packages all of a workload’s dependencies with the application. This allows for ultimate portability; you can avoid vendor lock-in and run containers in the cloud of your choice. It is just as important that the management framework has the same properties of portability and scalability, and that is what the community will bring to Kubernetes."

Scott Guthrie, Executive Vice President of the Cloud and Enterprise group at Microsoft stated: “Microsoft will help contribute code to Kubernetes to enable customers to easily manage containers that can run anywhere. This will make it easier to build multi-cloud solutions including targeting Microsoft Azure.”

Kubernetes has some mighty collaborators, and this project will be worth watching. 


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RHEL 5.11 Beta, Gaming News, and Fedora Playground

Thursday 10th of July 2014 03:10:49 AM

In today's Linux news, Red Hat announces the "beta availability of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.11." Several gaming posts caught my attention and Ryan Lerch says try out new kernel features in the new Fedora kernel-playground. The first Linux.com Linux poetry contest winner was announced and his poem posted. And another Deepin review pops up.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.11 Beta was announced today for those still running that branch. The announcement says, "While primarily focused on improving security and stability, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.11 Beta provides additional enhancements to subscription management, debugging capabilities, and more." This is to be the final release for version 5 although security and bug fixes will continue until March 31, 2017.

The Linux.com poetry contest has seen its first winner. Alan Bruce bagged a free pass to LinuxCon and CloudOpen North America for his submission titled "btrfs." It begins, 'They call her "Butterface..."'

Ryan Lerch wrote today in Fedora Magazine that Josh Boyer yesterday announced Fedora's new kernel-playground. "Basically, this is a repo for users that want to try out some new and shiny (yet not ready for primetime) kernel features in Fedora." It will "roughly track Rawhide" and the kernels are almost guaranteed to crash, but check that out.

Linux Deepin 2014 got another review today, this time from non-techie Arindam Sen at Linuxed. He said while it's a pretty distribution, there are just too many bugs. It earned a 7.1 out of 10 from Sen, but read the entire review for specifics.

And finally today:

* Natural Selection 2 FPS Needs Linux Developers

* Grim Fandango Remake Coming To Linux

* Sid Meier’s Civilization: Beyond Earth Release Date and Price Revealed

* Raise Your Spirit: Indie Horror Game Whispering Willows Now Available

* Update Adobe Flash on your system right now

* Bring new life to an old PC with Linux Mint

* TheStreet Upgrades Red Hat to Buy

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Early Reviews of Android Wear Reflect Promise for the Platform

Wednesday 9th of July 2014 03:18:27 PM

This week, following much talk about it coming out of the Google I/O conference, there are a lot of discussions arising about Android Wear and whether it will become the next big mobile platform. Some early smartwatches running the open platform are appearing, and some reviewers are really liking them. Just as you once didn't carry a smartphone, and then did, are you on the cusp of owning an open source smartwatch?

Smartwatches are not new, and I've cited Edward Baig's concerns about them in USA Today:

"While it's surely helpful to glance at notifications that pop up on your wrist for incoming e-mails, Facebook feeds and sports scores, it's typically not that much more helpful than reaching for your phone. Too many notifications risk bordering on distraction."

The difference maker in Android Wear devices, though, is that through "OK Google" voice recognition features, users can talk to their watches to interact with them. J.R. Raphael, writing for Computerworld, has been wearing an Android Wear watch, and notes that the heart and soul of Android Wear devices may be Google Now:

"The heart and soul of Android Wear is Google Now, the intelligent virtual assistant Google has woven into Android and Chrome over the past couple of years. Google Now uses a combination of search data from your Google account, location data from your mobile device and cues from things like your Gmail messages to compile bite-sized tidbits of info -- known as "cards" -- that appear contextually throughout your day. You might get a card in the morning alerting you to traffic on your route to work, for instance, or a card with directions to a business you searched for earlier in the day. Some cards are as simple as the number of steps you've taken so far that day or the weather for your area -- or for an area you'll be traveling to in the near future."

Some reviewers are also noting that we're likely to see full blown apps developed for Android Wear. Some of these have already appeared for other smartwatches. For example, on Samsung Galaxy Gear watches, you can run an eBay app and keep track of products you're watching, selling or bidding on.

The Telegraph also notes that it could be important over time that Android Wear watches will work intelligently with Android smartphones:

"Another improvement over the Galaxy Gear, or presumably Apple’s iWatch, is that the new Wear models can connect to any fairly modern Android phone. So you can use a Samsung phone with an LG watch, for instance. This is the kind of openness that has driven the mainstream success of Android on phones as a whole."

In all likelihood, the prospects for Android Wear will come down to app development and whether Google can convince developers to create compelling apps for the new mobile platform. That may take cash incentives in the short run, but such early bets might pay off if people get excited about the new generation of smartwatches.

According to a post from Mike Elgan:

"Android Wear watches are the first smartwatches to cross the line from awkward to awesome, because they're the first to completely abandon the smartphone's icons, menus and widgets paradigm and massively leverage subtle contextual cues, images, icons and colors to present tiny nuggets of information in their most essential and quickly graspable form."


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Inbox: Announcing an Open Source Platform for Email Applications

Wednesday 9th of July 2014 02:50:49 PM

For most of us, email remains a primary way to communicate and stay organized. In fact, it's so central to most of our work and play that it is surprising that there aren't more applications designed to work with email. That's the thinking behind a new startup called Inbox, which is developing an email platform to compete with old protocols like IMAP and SMTP. It will work with Gmail, Yahoo Mail, Microsoft Exchange and other platforms, and its core engine will reportedly be open source.

You can try Inbox by signing up here.  According to the Inbox site:

"Email is the database of your life. It's the digital home for your conversations, memories, and identity. But developing with email has become more and more difficult over the years. Old protocols and formats have made it nearly impossible to add the simplest features, and the existing mail providers have all but stopped innovating. In the current email landscape, captive users are shown targeted advertisements, and interfaces are cluttered with confusing “social” services."

"Today we're excited to announce the first step toward a new email platform. A new foundation built on open source technology that gives you control of your own data, on your own terms. It's a bridge from the past to the future— a clean slate with modern APIs."

The people behind Inbox are no slouches. According to The Next Web:

"The Inbox team is comprised mostly of MIT alumni. CEO Michael Grinich worked as an engineer at Dropbox and a designer at Nest, while co-founder Christine Spang previously worked on the Linux kernel at Ksplice. The firm’s seed investors include Fuel Capital, SV Angel, CrunchFund, Data Collective, and Betaworks."

Although it remains to be seen what this team will actually produce, one has to like the concept. Most of us have been heavy email users longer than we've been web users, and yet there aren't enough good tools for managing email.

Do you ever want to remember something and email it to yourself? If so, and you're using an online mail platform, you're basically opting for a cloud storage option on the fly. Email engines could provide us with more conveniences if there was more development around them. We'll check back in soon to see what the Inbox team comes up with.

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NSA Code Faked, Desktop Linux is Dead, and Deepin Depths

Wednesday 9th of July 2014 03:41:21 AM

CentOS 7 was officially announced and Scientific Linux is pulling up the rear. There's more on the NSA targeting Linux users - someone says the NSA code was fake. Linux Deepin 2014 grabbed several headlines today and John Brandon said desktop Linux is dead in the enterprise setting. This and lots more in tonights Linux news report.

Linux Deepin 2014 was released Sunday and has grabbed more headlines today than CentOS 7. The Geekster at LinuxG.net says it looks awesome. LinuxBSDos.com says, "Deepin has always been on my list of the best desktop distributions, and Deepin 2014 just vaulted it to the top-2 of that list." He then shows users why he likes it so much with lots of screenshots. eWeek.com has a blurb on what's new and a slideshow of screenshots.

CentOS 7 was offically announced on July 7 and the release notes have some introductory information as well as known issues. I haven't seen too many articles or reviews on it so far, but Chris Haney has some screenshots. In related news, Softpedia is reporting that Scientific Linux 7, which is also based on Red Hat 7, has just released an alpha.

John Brandon over at www.cio.com says Linux on the desktop is over for the enterprise and businesses. He says try as they might, Linux distributors just could not compete and mainly because Linux "never had the apps." He quotes others saying things like, "Linux OS as a computing platform for end users is at least comatose – and probably dead" and "Linux as a client OS for PCs never really got a decent foothold in commercial markets [because] commercial and business applications, are simply not available for Linux. The opportunity has come and gone on the traditional PC." Brandon concludes, "All of experts agree – Windows won every battle for the business user."

In other Linux news, Mageia 5 Alpha 1 Available for Tests, Manjaro Linux Developers Experience A Mass Exodus, and Global Hunt Begins for #HiddenTux: Find Tux and Win.

Kyle Rankin at Linux Journal is still running with the NSA surveillance of Linux users story with his look at how innocent users and readers are being caught up in the "dragnet" and today posted part three of his Tails Above the Rest series. But after all the coverage, fear, and outrage Greg Laden is reporting that the whole thing could be a fake. The original post offers up this posted evidence of its falsehood.

In other news:

* KDE Frameworks 5.0 is out!

* 'Extreme' Computing and Other Linux-World Problems

* Ubuntu Touch our last hope for a Linux tablet

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Firefox and Chrome Hurrying to Add Virtual Reality Features

Tuesday 8th of July 2014 03:09:12 PM

There is a growing amount of excitement around virtual reality recently, with companies like Facebook expressing much interest in the space. Viewing devices like the Oculus Rift and input devices such as the Leap Motion, PrioVR, Sixense Stem and others are making high-quality VR experiences affordable.

And now, it's clear that both Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox are going to take on virtual reality features, which could fundamentally change the way we all browse.

As noted by Daily Digest News:

"Google spokesperson, Brandon James, explained how website developers could add virtual reality features to their websites, allowing users to experience featured content in a much more immersive way. Examples include checking out clothes, mapping, educational tools, and so on."

Mozilla's Vladimir Vukićević has also been posting about the promise of VR in browsing experiences:

"The opportunity for VR on the Web is particularly exciting. The Web is a vibrant, connected universe where many different types of experiences can be created and shared. People can be productive, have fun and learn all from within their browser...We are adding native support for VR devices to early experimental builds of Firefox, so that Web developers can start experimenting with adding VR interactivity to their websites and content. This is only the first of many steps that well be taking over the coming weeks and months."

On the Google front, it's worth remembering that Google's head of engineering is Ray Kurzweil, a huge proponent of virtual reality. He will no doubt drive Google to develop VR features for Chrome and other tools. Google has already affirmed that it is adding support for popular virtual reality (VR) hardware devices.

According to Google's Brandon Jones, VR could become a big part of things like ecommerce buying experiences:

 "In the case of a piece of clothing you could see it on a virtual mannequin, walk around it, lean in and examine the stitching, and so on as if it were actually sitting right in front of you. You could also imagine similar experiences with educational tools, data visualization, mapping, and so on. WebVR gives developers the tools needed to make it happen."

If you want to delve into the specifics of what is being added to browsers, check out this Mozilla-focused post, because Chrome is taking on many of the same VR features as Firefox.  By next year, you may very well be involved in immersive VR experiences within your favorite open source browser.


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Red Hat Announces Availability of its OpenStack Platform 5

Tuesday 8th of July 2014 02:51:06 PM

Red Hat has announced the general availability of Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform 5, which is the third enterprise release of the company's OpenStack offering. Aside from new features, the platform is clearly being aimed at many types of organizations, including "advanced cloud users, telecommunications companies, Internet service providers (ISPs), and public cloud hosting providers."

OpenStack Platform 5 is based on the latest OpenStack Icehouse release and provides more evidence of how very focused on cloud computing Red Hat has become.

The new release includes a three-year support lifecycle, and I've made the point before that because of its legendary support for Linux, Red Hat's OpenStack support will be a key differentiator in wooing enterprises.  There has been controversy over whether Red Hat will support OpenStack distributions other than its own, which is significant because a recent OpenStack user survey showed that  90% of OpenStack deployments today are not running on RHEL, but rather use other flavors of Linux and KVM, such as Ubuntu or CentOS.

Other features in Red Hat's new release include:

 Support for integration with VMware infrastructure, encompassing virtualization, management, networking and storage. Customers may use existing VMware vSphere resources as virtualization drivers for OpenStack Compute (Nova) nodes, managed from the OpenStack Dashboard (Horizon). Additionally, Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform 5 supports the VMware NSX plugin for OpenStack Networking (Neutron) and the VMware Virtual Machine Disk (VMDK) plugin for OpenStack Block Storage (Cinder).

 Better placement of workloads across cloud resources. "Server groups enable workloads to be spread broadly across the OpenStack cloud for enhanced resiliency of distributed applications, or located proximately for lower communications latency and better performance of complex applications."

Improved support for virtual machines, supporting new cryptographic security requirements from the United States and United Kingdom. Using the para-virtualized random number generator device added in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7, cryptographic routines in guest applications will have access to better quality encryption and experience improved performance.

Improved interoperability of networking stacks. Red Hat claims that the new modular plugin architecture for Neutron eases the addition of new networking technologies to OpenStack deployments. The new architecture provides a path for customers with heterogeneous networking environments who want to use a mix of networking solutions in their OpenStack environment.

Radhesh Balakrishnan, general manager, Virtualization and OpenStack, Red Hat, said in a statement:

“We see momentum behind OpenStack as a private cloud platform of choice from enterprise customers and service providers alike. Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform 5 not only offers a production-ready, supported version of OpenStack Icehouse, but it brings a number of features that will simplify its use, and enhance dependability for enterprise users. Alongside those new features, we’re extending our support lifecycle for Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform, giving users confidence that the solution they deploy will be supported by our global team for the next three years.”

You can bet on that last point--a three-year support plan--as a key reason why some enterprises will go with Red Hat in the increasingly competitive OpenStack race. And, clearly, Red Hat is tying its future to cloud computing and the OpenStack platform.


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Distrowatch Disappearance, RentOS 7 Coming, and OSS Lost

Tuesday 8th of July 2014 03:26:29 AM

In tonight's Linux news, Distrowatch.com went offline for much of Sunday. Serdar Yegulalp looks at the upcoming CentOS7, the first since joining hands with Red Hat officially. Bruce Byfield says Open Source has lost its way and is now wandering aimlessly with no purpose. And that's not all.

Distrowatch.com, needs no introduction, was offline Sunday July 6 for what turns out to be a snafu with the domain registrar. When I visited Distrowatch.com in the early afternoon it was down with a real ugly placeholder coming up instead. In today's Distrowatch Weekly, Ladislav Bodnar, owner/operator, explained, "the distrowatch.com domain name was suspended by the domain's registrar." He didn't feel up to relaying the entire incident, but he is back up today. In today's DDW, Jesse Smith reviews LXLE 14.04 and answers questions about home/small office Linux security. In the news section, they've introduced SimpleDE, a desktop especially for OpenBSD and a link back to an April Fool's joke in which Linux users would be looked at as "extremists and even terrorists by the authorities in certain countries." Don't miss that.

Bruce Byfield today said:

As we trudge the endless treadmill of release upon release, there's one question you don't hear much any more: where is open source heading? Or, perhaps, should it have a purpose at all?

Not too long ago, the answer to either question was obvious. The goal was to provide a free alternative to proprietary systems. But progress got stalled at a good-enough ninety percent or so, and looks likely to stay there for the foreseeable future.

The Free Software Foundation still talks about promoting user's freedoms, but, although it has a small band of adherents, most users apparently prefer convenience to principle. Nor, despite the FSF's best efforts, has anyone gathered enough resources to convince large numbers of people outside the tech-industry that their selection of software has some connection to their ideals. These days, you don't even hear much about closing the digital divide, and helping the poor get online, or developing countries to build their infrastructure.

Serdar Yegulalp at InfoWorld.com said today that CentOS 7 is right around the bend according to posts he saw on the CentOS blog. This is the first after the big Red Hat handshake. Yegulalp briefly discusses the merger before looking at CentOS and its new governance policy. He said of it:

The single largest change to CentOS as an organization -- and one of the most potentially worrisome -- has been the creation of a governing board for CentOS. The board is made up of the nine existing CentOS members, one community-nominated member, and three Red Hat-appointed members. As Donne Berkholz of RedMonk pointed out, Red Hat can make decisions on behalf of the rest of the board members if they can't agree on something, so the long-term effects of such a governing structure are unclear.

In other news:

* Linux Receives Its First Batch of Unreal Engine 4 Demos

* Build the best Linux desktop

* Open source's identity crisis

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Disagreements Arise Over the Prospects for Android Wear

Monday 7th of July 2014 03:00:47 PM

Last week, I noted that the hubbub coming out of the Google I/O conference was that Android Wear will become the next big mobile platform. Android Wear devices were all the rage at the event. Google even handed out prototype smartwatches running the platform, purportedly to encourage developers to begin creating apps for it. Mike Elgan, writing for Computerworld, has gone so far as to say that Android Wear is "the new iPad."

But not everyone is convinced. USA Today is out with a piece noting that smartwatches, in particular, remain pricey and devoid of key features.

According to Edward Baig in USA Today:

"While it's surely helpful to glance at notifications that pop up on your wrist for incoming e-mails, Facebook feeds and sports scores, it's typically not that much more helpful than reaching for your phone. Too many notifications risk bordering on distraction."

The killer feature in Android Wear devices, though, is thag through "OK Google" voice recognition features, users can talk to their watches to interact with them. 

According to Elgan and Computerworld:

"Android Wear watches are the first smartwatches to cross the line from awkward to awesome, because they're the first to completely abandon the smartphone's icons, menus and widgets paradigm and massively leverage subtle contextual cues, images, icons and colors to present tiny nuggets of information in their most essential and quickly graspable form."

As noted on the Android Wear site:

"Just say OK Google. Respond to texts, instant messages, and emails by voice. Ask questions like “Will it rain this weekend?”, “What time is it in London?”, or “How do I get to the post office?” and get straight answers....Keep track of your fitness with daily summaries showing your step count and heart rate."

 These kind of features actually sound useful, and as far as notifications go, you can customize them if you feel like you are getting too many.

 When Android itself first arrived, it took some time succeed as well, as I noted in a post on OStatic back in 2009. Then, almost no phones shown at Mobile World Congress ran the platform. Since then, Google has shown that it can create strong markets for open mobile platforms. 

In all likelihood, we'll see Google offer incentives for developers to rally around Android Wear, and incentives for buyers. There, too, Google has prior experience, as it has incentivized users and developers surrounding both Android and Chrome OS.

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Firefox's Share Falls as Chrome's Continues to Rise

Monday 7th of July 2014 02:45:53 PM

While Mozilla was mostly in the headlines during the early part of this year for news related to Brendan Eich and for the company's newfound focus on smartphones and Firefox OS,  another piece of meaningful news regarding the company is largely being ignored: In April, Google Chrome moved past Firefox to take second place in desktop browser market share, according to web traffic stats from Net Applications.

Now, according to new data from Net Applications, Firefox has hit a new low in terms of share, and Mozilla isn't finding great success with its mobile platform yet, either.

According to numbers from Net Applications, Firefox’s user share fell to 12.9 percent in June. That number includes desktop as well as mobile browsing usage. Google Chrome added 1.6 percentage points to its desktop share, averaging 19.3 percent for June. That was a record for Chrome, which is a much younger browser than Firefox.

According to Computerworld:

"Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE) continued to dominate the desktop, where its user share was 58.4% for June -- the highest since February 2011 -- but on mobile, IE remained stuck in the low single digits: 2% for the month. That put IE's combined share at 48.4%, the same as in April."

Interestingly, Opera remains a player in the race. Its desktop browser share rose from 1.8 percent to 2.2 percent in June. For Mozilla, though, the company's increased focus on Firefox OS may be costing it on the standard browser front.



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More NSA Fallout, Linux Time Warp, and the Ultimate OS

Saturday 5th of July 2014 03:12:06 AM

In tonight's news, the Linux Journal publishes more on the NSA surveillance of Linux users and the Electronic Frontier Foundation throws in their thoughts too. Wired.com has a look back at Linux including a funny video. And finally, Gary Newell asks if you want to help fund the ultimate operating system.

The Linux Journal seems to be taking in stride all this attention its been getting the last couple of days. Katherine Druckman asked today, "Are you an extremist?" If so, wear it proud and stamp your online profile picture with the "Linux Journal Extremist Reader" stamp available in white, red, or black.

In other posts at the LJ, Kyle Rankin discusses just how disturbed the leaked code has him and his. Doc Searls posted on privacy issues and Kyle Rankin has Tails howtos. On the same topic, the EFF says, "Dear NSA, Privacy is a Fundamental Right, Not Reasonable Suspicion."

The Wired online looks back at Linux and begins with the video of Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer mocking Linux "dressed as characters from The Matrix." Wired says "Linux would have the last laugh" though. Today, Wired says, Linux not only survived but has "changed the world."

The Everyday Linux User was contacted by a budding developer wanting to fund the Ultimate Fighting Operating System. "Operating System U will use Arch Linux as the base distribution and the desktop will be a customised version of MATE with less bugs and more features." It will feature Wayland instead of X and "something called Startlight." So, see his full post if interested.

In other news:

* Qualcomm DMCA Notice Takes Down 100+ Git Repositories

* Next Generation Klipper

* Debian Project News - July 3rd, 2014

* Steve Kemp Returns to Debian

* Ubuntu highlighted in IBM Systems Magazine

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On NSA Watchlist, Dream Machines, and Ten Tips

Friday 4th of July 2014 03:17:10 AM

Yikes, our top story tonight is we are all on the NSA watchlist. Jack Germain says the Novena Open Hardware laptop is a hacker's dream machine. LibreOffice 4.3.0 RC2 was released and Nick Rickert posted about the "progress toward openSUSE 13.2." And finally tonight, our old friend Jack Wallen has ten tips for a more friendly desktop.

Many sites, including ZDNet.com and The Register, are covering leaked NSA documents that indicate Tor/Tail users and Linux Journal readers are among those labeled "extremist" and put on the list for further surveillance. What a coincidence it is that Kyle Rankin published another article on Tor over at Linux Journal today. He updates his previous work instructing users how to install and use Tor. Referencing the same source as The Reg, Arstechnica.com published the smoking snippet of code.

Jack M. Germain at the LinuxInsider.com today said, "Would you buy a high-end laptop built completely around open hardware and the Linux distro of your choice? Novena offers that opportunity." He describes Novena as "an open-hardware computing platform that is flexible and powerful. It is designed for use as a desktop, laptop or standalone board." It's features a 1.2 GHz ARM processor, 64-bit DDR3, PCI-e bus, SATA-2, and HDMI. Their product line includes a $1300 all-in-one, a $2200 laptop, and $5000 Heirloom Laptop with handcrafted wood case. Germain says the Novena is a "hacker's dream machine."

Jack Wallen today published 10 tips to a "more user-friendly Linux desktop." His "simple tricks" will "make your Linux desktop experience as user-friendly as possible." These include installing a dock, learning keyboard shortcuts, and adding GNOME extentions. He concluded, "Linux is not the ubergeek-centric operating system it once was. In fact, in many ways, Linux is the most user-friendly platform available."

In other news:

* Progress toward opensuse 13.2

* Improve The Font Rendering Of Your Debian Derivative via Infinality

* LibreOffice 4.3.0 RC2 Release Notes, Download

* LibreOffice Coverity Defect Density

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Red Hat Delivers Beta of Satellite 6 Admin Toolset

Thursday 3rd of July 2014 03:20:08 PM

If you happen to manage a Red Hat Enpterprise Linux (RHEL) envronment, you may want to download Red Hat's new Satellite 6 beta version of its management solution. It's now available here. You can also find an informational video on it here.

It offers simplified system provisioning, configuration oversight, patch management and content management features.

According to Red Hat:

"Red Hat's latest beta release of its flagship Red Hat Enterprise Linux systems management solution delivers dramatic improvements across system provisioning, configuration management, content management, and overall scalability and security. Red Hat Satellite 6 is now ready to download and test, sharing your feedback with Red Hat as you work through the testing process."

The new tool can also help administrators with provisioning across bare metal, private and public clouds, and help in working with Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization, OpenStack, VMWare, and EC2.

With the deployment of Red Hat Satellite Capsule servers, Red Hat Satellite 6 beta can also enable distribution and federation of provisioning, configuration, and content delivery. This beta of Satellite integrates the popular Puppet and Foreman open source tools for configuration management and lifecycle management. And, admins can automatically correct system state with reporting, auditing, and history of changes.

Finally, Red Hat is hosting a free webcast on July 9 for those interested in a demonstration of the features in the Red Hat Satellite 6 beta.



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Microsoft Joins Powerful Internet of Things Alliance

Thursday 3rd of July 2014 02:55:37 PM

Back in April, the Future of Open Source Survey, sponsored by Black Duck and North Bridge Venture Partners, showed that The Internet of Things looms large as an emerging technology trend. And, In December of last year, The Linux Foundation announced its Allseen Alliance initiative, billed as "the broadest cross-industry consortium to date to advance adoption and innovation in the 'Internet of Everything' in homes and industry." Premier level members in the alliance include Haier, LG Electronics, Panasonic, Qualcomm, Sharp, Silicon Image and TP-LINK.

And, this week, Microsoft joined what is shaping up to be a big effort to create an open platform for the Internet of Things. Microsoft's participation in the Allseen Alliance could boost everything from Xbox connectivity to automation in homes, and its participation is no doubt driven by new CEO Satya Nadella (seen here), who is a cloud computing guru.

Gartner predicts that the Internet of Everything or the Internet of Things -- automatic communication and connectivity between a wide range of everyday devices, objects and applications – will infuse $1.9 trillion into the global economy by 2020. That's a tech revolution on par with some of the mobile achievements of the past several years.

In December, as the Allseen Alliance rolled out, it became clear just how much support the Linux Foundation had rallied behind it. It includes some of the world’s leading, consumer electronics manufacturers, home appliances manufacturers, service providers, retailers, enterprise technology companies, innovative startups, and chipset manufacturers.

The Allseen Alliance seeks to rally its members to develop open technology around Alljoyn, device communications technology which came originally from Qualcomm.

In a Microsoft blog post, officials write:

"The Internet of Things (IoT) represents an undeniable opportunity across a range of industries, a topic many of my colleagues have covered at length over the past few months. We believe that there is a critical set of work our industry must undertake in order to make sure we deliver the right set of platforms and services to realize the IoT opportunity."

"We believe the promise of IoT lies in making new and existing devices smarter by connecting them to services in the cloud. At Microsoft, we are focused both on a powerful device platform and great services through Microsoft Azure to deliver great technology to developers, partners and customers."

It remains to be seen how open Microsoft will be in its Internet of Things development, but it is good news for the Allseen Alliance to gain a powerful new partner.

Some are predicting that next year's CES show will feature many products incorporating open Allseen Alliance code, and that by then we will see if open source can form the fabric that makes The Internet of Things a reality.  




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IRS Thwarts OSS, Classic Quake, and KDE

Thursday 3rd of July 2014 03:53:13 AM

The top story in today's Linux news is the IRS denial of nonprofit status for Open Source projects. Carla Schroder show us how to easily load up the old Quakes and Jos Poortvliet posted part two of his "where KDE is going" series. And finally today, Dedoimedo isn't entirely happy with Mint 17 MATE.

Grabbing the bulk of the headlines today was the IRS's decision to deny 501(c)(3) to Yorba, the guys developing Shotwell and Geary. They were subjected to the same type of "disproportionately aggressive standard of review" as other groups meeting certain targeting criteria and five years later were denied for reasons Jim Nelson, Geary developer, described as alarming. He's afraid this recent decision could thwart Open Source development as most of their arguments directly question and conflict with the very foundational philosophy of Open Source software.

Quake and Quake II are gaming classics and are still near the top of my all time favorites list. I've been using QuakeSpasm and Yamagi to play them but Carla Schroder at Linux.com suggests darkplaces for Quake 1. She instructs readers how to install each, but she also explains how to get the music working. So check that out if you're craving some good old-school fragging action.

In other gaming news, Polygon.com says Q*bert has just got rebooted. They say Q*bert Rebooted is "a new game that will offer the original Q*bert experience in its pixelated 2D form as well as a 3D version with modern graphics and gameplay." It's coming in a few days to Steam and will have a Linux version.

In other news:

* Where KDE is going - Part 2

* OpenSSL revived with survival roadmap

* Linux Mint 17 Qiana MATE review - Uh, well

* Insider Selling: Red Hat EVP Unloads 10,000 Shares of Stock

* Thoughts on the IRS Review of Free Software Nonprofits and Why I'm Not Worried for Conservancy

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HP Delivers Reference Architecture for OpenStack Running on Ubuntu

Wednesday 2nd of July 2014 02:55:34 PM

 HP has been emerging as more and more of a partner to Canonical in the OpenStack arena. Canonical announced the opening of its Ubuntu OpenStack Interoperability Lab (OIL) late last year, and it features some really heavy-hitting tech partners, including HP.

Now, HP has vouched for Ubuntu Linux as a platform for deploying OpenStack with the release of a complete reference architecture providing detailed instructions on setting up an OpenStack cloud using Ubuntu and other tools from Canonical, including Juju and MAAS.

The reference architecture arrived this week, and is written for Ubuntu 14.04, the current  long-term support (LTS) version of the open source operating system, and Icehouse, the latest release of OpenStack.

Several user surveys have identified Ubuntu as the most popular OS to run OpenStack on. 

As The VAR Guy notes:

"The reference architecture, which Canonical's engineers wrote in conjuction with those from HP, encourages users to take advantage of the MAAS and Juju deployment tools for provisioning an OpenStack cloud and configuring cloud services. Canonical leads the development of both of those software platforms."

There is more and more good information arriving for help in deploying OpenStack. In addition to the official documentation for OpenStack, Opensource.com has a good post up about complementary reference guides. It's available here

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Serious Flaw Found in Popular WordPress Plug-in

Wednesday 2nd of July 2014 02:40:56 PM

A serious flaw in a popular WordPress plug-in has been identified by security firm Sucuri, and Daniel Cid, Sucuri's chief technology officer, has a blog post up about it. "It allows for any PHP file to be uploaded. This can allow an attacker to use your website for phishing lures, sending SPAM, hosting malware, infecting other customers (on a shared server), and so on!" writes Cid.

The flaw is found in the MailPoet Newsletters plug-in, previously known as wysija-newsletters, which has reportedly been downloaded nearly two million times.

The vulnerability has been patched in MailPoet version 2.6.7, which arrived Tuesday, so WordPress administrators should upgrade their plug-ins to the new version as soon as possible.

Cid writes:

"If you have this plugin activated on your website, the odds are not in your favor. An attacker can exploit this vulnerability without having any privileges/accounts on the target site. This is a major threat, it means every single website using it is vulnerable...Because of the nature of the vulnerability, specifically it’s severity, we will not be disclosing additional technical details. The basics of the vulnerability however is something all plugin developers should be mindful of: the vulnerability resides in the fact that the developers assumed that WordPress’s “admin_init” hooks were only called when an administrator user visited a page inside /wp-admin/."

"It is an easy mistake to make and they used that hook (admin_init) to verify if a specific user was allowed to upload files...However, any call to /wp-admin/admin-post.php also executes this hook without requiring the user to be authenticated. Thus making their theme upload functionality available to everybody."

Some platforms are favorites for hackers to unleash attacks on, and WordPress is one of them. If you have a WordPress site and use MailPoet, get the upgrade. 

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