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Chrome Extends Lead Over Firefox, Tops 20 Percent Share

Tuesday 5th of August 2014 02:46:45 PM

Back in April, a seminal moment arrived in the browser wars as Google Chrome moved past Firefox to take second place in desktop browser market share, according to web traffic stats from Net Applications. Specifically, Chrome grabbed 17.5 percent of desktop brower traffic, while Firefox sat in third place with 17.2 percent. It was a first for Chrome, and was  possibly driven by Google's extensive advertising for Chrome and Mozilla's new focus on Firefox OS and mobile technology.

Now, proving that the event was no fluke, Chrome's browser in July has surpassed the 20 percent share markfor the first time, according to Net Applications. And, Chrome has firmly locked up a number two spot in the browser wars.

Mozilla's Firefox has been steadily losing market share, and some OStatic readers have posted that they abandoned Firefox because they were angry with Mozilla over its treatment of former CTO and CEO Brendan Eich. Other readers simply perceive Chrome to be faster and to have a robust app ecosystem surrounding it.

Firefox claimed 15.1 percent of the browser market in July, and that is its lowest share since October 2007, a year before Chrome came on the scene. Firefox's share has dropped for nine consecutive months.

This November, Mozilla is also up for renegotiation with Google for placement of Google search as the default search in Firefox and for the related subsidies that Google pays Mozilla, which reached almost $300 million last year, comprising the majority of Mozilla's income.

Here is a look at Net Applications' latest browser share numbers:


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Spotted in the Wild, Perfect Linux, and Six Cool Distros

Tuesday 5th of August 2014 03:38:20 AM

Today in Linux news, Christine Halls strolls down memory lane to a time when real men still wrote their own drivers and backups were for sissies. has six cool distributions for your older PC and a couple of favorites were spotted out in the world doing real work. One blogger writes of his year without Windows and there are several interesting gaming notes. We have all this and lots more on this Monday, August 04, 2014.

Christine Hall reminisces about the good ole' Linux days when when Linux first began inching into the "easy-to-use" category. She says she began with Mandrake 9.0. I was a junior-tester on Mandrake's free box list by then because it was beginning to have issues in 8.2ish, if I recall, and they thought more community testers would help. Mandrake 7.2 was the sweet spot for me. I had tried 7.0 and 7.1, but I didn't know how to get the graphics acceptable enough, but with 7.2 (with KDE 1.99, btw) I got 1024x768 out of the box. I never looked back. But I remember those days when modems, sound cards, and 3D graphics didn't work out of the box. In fact, my first time it took a week booting back and forth from Mandrake to Windows to hunt up documentation on the Internet, but that modem finally beep-bop-screeched to life. To me, at that time, Linux was good enough. But see Christine's story at

Alan Stainer shared his Linux story today at Mid Sussex Times. He said he went a year without Windows, instead using Ubuntu, and now loves Linux. He was interested in this challenge initially for the same reasons many of us come to Linux - tired of chasing our tails securing Windows. Stainer says he managed to find Linux equivalents for most of favorite Windows applications and a year later - he's now an advocate. today posted a list of six cool distributions to revive your older PCs. They begin with SliTaz, which is still only 45MB in download size but requires 256MB RAM (according to They mention favorites Puppy and CrunchBang, but you'll have to read their full story for the rest.

Linux was spotted and recorded out in the real world twice recently. Unsolicitedbutoffered today shared shots of Fedora running in Shanghai Honquiao airport. Not to be outdone, Fedora-challenger Ubuntu was recently spotted on a NASA mission.

In other Linux news, Zorin OS 9 is as good as Mint 17, Evolve OS is gorgeous and "MATE is awesome" Don't forget to check out this week's DistroWatch Weekly, which includes a review of Neptune 4.

In gaming news::

* Steam On Linux Now Offers 600+ Games

* Lastest Steam Numbers Show Linux Decline

* Habitat: A Thousand Generations in Orbit trailer

* This Week in Open Source Games: Verdun, ChuChu Rocket, and Duck Marines

* Subject 13 Releases First Gameplay Video

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Google Confirms That Chromebooks Are Selling Well in Schools

Monday 4th of August 2014 03:04:48 PM

While market predictions for PCs have been generally bleak, Chromebooks--portable computers based on Google's Chrome OS platform--have been doing well in sales terms. That's especially true in schools, where many districts are purchasing the low cost systems that run cloud applications for students to use.

As a matter of fact, if Chromebooks continue to sell well in school districts, a generation of students might emerge that is more comfortable running applications in the cloud than running local ones.

Low cost laptops running Chrome OS from Google have appealed primarily to consumers, but the education segment has especially favored them. As a matter of fact, Microsoft has been feeling the push, and recently announced its intentions to help deliver $199 laptops that can compete with Chromebooks, especially in schools.  

David Andrade, CIO of the Bridgeport Public Schools district in Connecticut, has discussed how well the deployment of 9,000 Chromebooks has done for his district. Westwood High School in Massachussetts is buying Chromebooks to issue to students who will return them once they graduate. The Bell-Chatham school board has approved Chromebook purchases for students, as has the Sumner School District.

According to KELO in Sioux Falls:

"Board President Doug Morrison says teachers report greater opportunities in classrooms.  He says the Chromebooks opened up a whole new world to manage classrooms with the students.  They offer many more learning options for the students. The District reports that almost 18% of the Chromebooks given to students needed repairs which is much lower that other districts according to the Sioux Falls' provider...The devices are part of the public school's Student Technology Initiative." 

Overall, schools purchased more than one million Chromebooks in the second quarter of 2014, Google recently announced. The announcement shines light on the fact that many students are going to become much more comfortable with cloud computing and working with applications in the cloud than they otherwise would be.

As reported by Mashable, noted Silicon Valley analyst Tim Bajarin, who has covered Apple for many years, said: "There are no governments or IT departments running out to buy these products — they would be underwhelmed. Instead, this growth is being driven by education."  

Many years ago, Apple Computer went after the education market, and that move may have to do with the growing popularity of Apple systems among adults, many of whom are familiar with Apple's platform and applications. Google has an opportunity to mimic those early efforts from Apple, and could even afford to subsidize Chromebook purchases in schools.  

I've made the case before for why it would be smart for Google to step up incentives for Chromebook buyers.  Google has already explored this avenue.  For example, buyers of Chromebooks have been getting 100GB of free Google Drive storage, free WiFi when flying, Google Play incentives and more.  The next step in that strategy could be supplying incentives for school systems interested in buying Chromebooks.


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Mozilla's Developer Network Site Has Leaks

Monday 4th of August 2014 02:47:47 PM

Mozilla's website dedicated to developers has suffered from a database error that has exposed email addresses and encrypted passwords of registered users for about a month, the company announced

About 76,000 Mozilla Development Network (MDN) users had their email addresses exposed, along with around 4,000 encrypted passwords, said Stormy Peters, director of development relations, and Joe Stevensen, operations security manager. Many of those affected have already been notified.

The leak was caused by what Mozilla is referring to as a failed "data sanitization process." While the company said it has not been able to detect malicious activity on its servers, Peters added that Mozilla cannot be sure there wasn’t any such access.

The post announcing the leak notes the following:

"The encrypted passwords were salted hashes and they by themselves cannot be used to authenticate with the MDN website today. Still, it is possible that some MDN users could have reused their original MDN passwords on other non-Mozilla websites or authentication systems. We’ve sent notices to the users who were affected. For those that had both email and encrypted passwords disclosed, we recommended that they change any similar passwords they may be using."

"In addition to notifying users and recommending short term fixes, we’re also taking a look at the processes and principles that are in place that may be made better to reduce the likelihood of something like this happening again. If you have questions, please reach out to"

A web developer first noticed the leak about 10 days ago and Mozilla officials say the company is "deeply sorry" about the incident.

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Text Editors, Note Takers, and Program Languages

Saturday 2nd of August 2014 02:45:28 AM

Today in Linux news, Jack Germain has a look at the perfect note taker. The Linux Voice has a comparison of text editors for programmers and the Linux Journal introduces their current issue on program languages. In other news, XBMC becomes Kodi and has 10 reasons to take the Linux Foundation's Introduction to Linux edX course.

Jack Germain posted an article today on a note taking application that so impressed him, he had to write about it. He says, "Note-taking applications in Linux are a dime a dozen. Most I have used forced me to enter plain text and leave a reference to related files. With MyNotex, I can format as I enter the information and be done with it." But that's not all. Germain continues, "This is a very unusual note-taking application. It has such a wide range of uses that it is challenging to classify it for a specific purpose. MyNotex is a free-form information manager to take notes, file documents, and manage information or research."

The Linux Foundation, and the community at large, is widely publicizing their free online introductory course on Linux. Libby Clark has information on that at In addition, the training staff put up 10 reasons to learn Linux. They're hoping to get folks hooked on Linux, or their course line-up.

If you're ready to learn some code but have no idea which language or specialty to choose, this month's Linux Journal might help. Shawn Powers has a nice little overview at He says Reuven M. Lerner tells folks how to get started with Web development and Kyle Rankin shows how to run a server with random IP addresses. "Mihalis Tsoukalos shows how to create three-dimensional graphics with OpenGL." There's lots more too, so perhaps you'll want to check that out.

Every hacker needs a good dependable text editor. Most have their favorite, but if you're still searching The Linux Voice has a nice article on five of the most inviting text editors available. They test Gedit, Kate, Sublime Text, UltraEdit, and jEdit. Spoiler alert, ....... Kate wins.

In other news, covered the name change of XBMC to Kodi today. Writer Brad Linder said

Once upon a time XBMC stood for Xbox Media Center: the earliest versions were designed to turn a first-generation Xbox game console into a media PC. It’s been a long time since that was the case, but starting with version 14 the team of developers behind the software are finally doing away with the vestigial name: Meet Kodi.

And finally, Harry Fairhead reviews Raspberry Pi For Dummies. He concludes, "If you need a book to hold your hand while starting to work with the Pi, or to just suggest the sorts of things it can do, then it might be useful - but the chapters on using LibreOffice, Gimp, Python and Pygame aren't really going to help."

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Free Introduction to Linux Course, Through edX, Is Online

Friday 1st of August 2014 02:57:47 PM

Today, the Linux Foundation "Introduction to Linux" course, which previously cost $2,400, is becoming available for free on the web. You can get the details and register here. The Linux Foundation has provided a very complete summary of what is found in the course, and it looks like an excellent offering that anyone can dive into online, without pressure. As we've noted many times, edX, which is hosting the class, has also emerged as one of the top destinations for online learning.

The online course is taught by Jerry Cooperstein, a scientist and Linux Foundation employee who has extensive experience teaching college-level courses. Participants in the class who front up $250 can also get a "Verified Certificate of Achievement" from edX, which might have some value in the job market, where Linux skills are in demand.

Here are the details on the class:

"Designed for people who have limited or no previous exposure to Linux, this hands-on four-day course explores the various tools and techniques commonly used by Linux programmers, system administrators and end users to achieve their day-to-day work in a Linux environment. Upon completion of this training you should have a good working knowledge of Linux, from both a graphical and command line perspective, allowing you to easily navigate through any of the three major Linux distributions. For more details view the Course Outline."

EdX is a non-profit online learning organization with nearly 30 global institutions under the xConsortium participating, and it has been a leader in the free online education arena for several years. The organization has also released the code for its learning platform under an open source license. The goal is to get developers to contribute to a next-generation online learning platform that can be best-of-breed. Given the success that EdX has had with institutions ranging from MIT to U.C. Berkeley to Stanford, that could be a fruitful pursuit.

Perhaps edX and its new, free online course can introduce a lot more people to Linux. Check out the details here, and note that there are about 40 to 60 hours of time required for most students to go through all course materials. 


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Cash and Development Resources are Heading Fast for Hadoop

Friday 1st of August 2014 02:43:05 PM

June and July brought lots of big news surrounding enterprise analytic data management powered by the open source Hadoop platform. Cloudera, focused on supporting enterprise Hadoop, announced in June that it raised a staggering $900 million round of financing with participation by top tier institutional and strategic investors.  It also firmed up a partnership with Dell and Intel to launch a dedicated Dell In-Memory Appliance for Cloudera Enterprise that facilitates Hadoop-driven analytics.

Hewlett-Packard is also investing  $50 in Hadoop distributor Hortonworks, and the companies will work together on sales and incorporate the Hortonworks Hadoop distribution into HP’s data processing stack, called HAVEn. Meanwhile, Pivotal is also teaming with Hortonworks to advance the Apache Ambari project, open source software used by Hortonworks to manage and monitor Hadoop clusters.

In addition to HP's investment and engineering commitment, HP Chief Technology Officer Martin Fink will also join Hortonworks' Board of Directors.

On the Pivotal deal with Hortonworks, InformationWeek has reported:

"Pivotal said its pledge to collaborate with Hortonworks on Ambari is in keeping with its open source credentials and contributions to Cloud Foundry, Redis, Spring XD, and RabbitMQ, and with its 'deep commitment' to Apache Hadoop."

As reported here yesterday, people in the Big Data and Hadoop communities are also becoming increasingly interested in Apache Spark, an open source data analytics cluster computing framework originally developed in the AMPLab at UC Berkeley.  According to Apache, Spark can run programs up to 100 times faster than Hadoop MapReduce in memory, and ten times faster on disk. Some are actually calling Apache Spark "the next big thing in Big Data." 

Cloudera has had many big Hadoop announcements recently, and is flush with $900 million of VC money to advance its efforts. As Matt Asay has noted, regarding Intel's increasing role with Cloudera:

"The big news in Cloudera's flurry of announcements is actually its partnership with Intel, which the company hopes will make Cloudera's Hadoop distribution the heart of the Big Data uprising. Intel used to have its own Hadoop distribution, but last week, Intel dumped its home-grown distribution to adopt Cloudera's. While $900 million is a lot of money, it pales in comparison to the mountains of cash both Cloudera and Intel expect to make through their partnership."

“The market opportunity for companies to gain insight and build transformative applications based on Hadoop is tremendous,” said Tom Reilly, CEO of Cloudera, in a statement. “Clearly, demand is accelerating and the market is poised for growth.”



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New Fedora Security, Linus Cartoon, and the Open Source Forest

Friday 1st of August 2014 03:34:09 AM

Today in Linux news a new Fedora security team has been announced. Matt Asay says critics of Open Source Software can't see the forest for the trees. today published a cartoon saying when Linus curses, folks listen. That and a few more tidbits are inside to close out the month.

Eric H. Christensen yesterday posted an announcement of sorts to the Fedora announce mailing list saying, "I formally announce the Security Team to Fedora and open the doors to all that are interested." He says their mission is to "assist packagers in closing security vulnerabilities." Yesterday's announcement must have stirred up some buzz because today Christensen answered some questions about the newly formed team. Their basic goal is to find fixes to vulnerabilities upstream and deliver said code to frazzled Fedora developers.

Matt Asay today said, "Critics are laying siege to open source, but their arguments both mistake what open source is and how companies benefit from it." In that post he seems to be trying to set a couple other writers straight. Apparently, they don't understand Open Source Software, saying things like "history of failure," and don't seem to realize that they use OSS everyday.

The latest addition to ITworld cartoons 2014: The year in geek humor features our own beloved Linus Torvalds. It shows Linus having breakfast in a diner and loudly questioning his service with expletives. His latest email was the immediate inspiration, but ITworld makes reference to his history of this type of message. So, be sure to check that out.

And finally today:

* Learn Linux for free from August 1

* The Witcher 3 Really is Coming to Linux

* Red Hat EVP Michael Cunningham Unloads 10,000 Shares

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Apache Spark Gets Billed as the Next Big Data Thing

Thursday 31st of July 2014 03:06:25 PM

People in the Big Data and Hadoop communities are becoming increasingly interested in Apache Spark, an open source data analytics cluster computing framework originally developed in the AMPLab at UC Berkeley.  According to Apache, Spark can run programs up to 100 times faster than Hadoop MapReduce in memory, and ten times faster on disk. When crunching large data sets, those are big performance differences.

Among vendors making moves surrounding Spark, Cloudera made a number of notable announcements recently. The company, focused on Hadoop, announced Apache Spark training "to prepare developers and software engineers to build complete, unified applications that combine batch, streaming, and interactive analytics."

"Broadly embraced by the open source community, Big Data vendors, and data-intensive enterprises for its stream processing capabilities and its support for complex, iterative algorithms, Spark offers performance gains that enable applications to run on the data in a Hadoop cluster at speeds up to 100 times faster than traditional MapReduce programs," Cloudera claims.

Cloudera has already been involved in offering commercial support for Spark as part of its Cloudera Enterprise subscription and the company recently announced a collaboration with Databricks, IBM, Intel, and MapR to broaden support for Spark as the standard data processing engine for the Hadoop ecosystem. 

"Spark offers clear benefits for realizing sophisticated analytics and is quickly becoming the future of data processing on Hadoop," said Sarah Sproehnle, vice president, Education Services, Cloudera, in a statement. "With Spark, customers can realize immediate business advantages. For example, Spark Streaming enables businesses to process live data as it arrives in the enterprise data hub, rather than having to wait to batch-process it later. The fact that the same codebase can be used for streaming data and data-at-rest significantly reduces development time for Big Data applications, speeding up time-to-insight by several orders of magnitude and decreasing the need for expensive specialized systems. This is just one case where the benefits of Spark have a direct impact on a company's bottom line." 

Some are actually calling Apache Spark "the next big thing in Big Data."  According to a post by John Furrier:

"What is the next big thing in #bigdata?  It’s called Spark. Spark is a fast data analysis engine. Think Hadoop MapReduce, but 100x faster and still fully interoperable with the wider Hadoop ecosystem. Spark has the largest open-source development community in the Big Data space, after Hadoop MapReduce, with over 90 developers from 25 companies contributing code."

You can find out more about Spark here, including release notes on a brand new version that arrived a week ago.

We also covered Cloudera's work with Intel and partners to deliver Hadoop appliances leveraging Apache Spark here.  In an announcement, Cloudera, Dell and Intel said they are launching a dedicated Dell In-Memory Appliance for Cloudera Enterprise, to be known as Dell Engineered Systems for Cloudera Enterprise. It's basically an integrated appliance solution that can make advanced Hadoop-driven analytics easy to implement in data centers, but powerful via Spark integration. 



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Android Nails Down Record Share, Still Needs to Crack the Business Market

Thursday 31st of July 2014 02:44:21 PM

Android's march to the top of the smartphone field has been much faster than many people realize. It was only back in 2008 that analysts were bemoaning the fact that nearly no Android phones were seen at Mobile World Congress. This week, Strategy Analytics researchers delivered their latest smartphone market share numbers, which show Android reaching new highs at a record 84.6 percent share of global smartphone shipments.

The news immediately follows numbers from IDC researchers showing that China and emerging markets are becoming very promising for smartphones and mobile platforms, including Android. 

Strategy Analytics reported 295.2 million smartphone shipments during the second quarter, very in line with IDC's report. Android is also extending its lead against competitors, with share for iOS reportedly falling from 13.4 percent a year ago to 11.9 percent, while Microsoft dropped from 3.8 percent to 2.7 percent. At 84.6 percent share of shipments, Android's lead in the market is more than clear.

Strategy Analytics also has a dedicated report detailing how smartphone brands performed in Q2 2014.

IDC's expectations are that the smartphone market will continue apace in the second half of the year, surpassing 300 million units shipped for the first time ever in a single quarter in this year's third quarter. 

Notably, despite Android's huge success as a mobile platform, it still is very heavily a consumer platform, and there are some businesses that still don't allow employees to use Android devices.

As evidence of this, Strategy Analytics is also out with a report on when Android users actually use their devices, which is overwhelmingly at night, not during business hours. The report notes:

"According to Strategy Analytics' AppOptix platform, US Android smartphone users spent the bulk of their on-device use between 5 pm and midnight. The total time spent between this period amounts to 39% of the daily activity. The analysis is based on over one million individual application sessions on more than 1500 Android smartphone users in the US during the first half of the year."

So Android users in the U.S. spend nearly half of their device interaction time at night. That, among other evidence, makes clear that if Andoid can finally crack the business market, it will really be off to the races.

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LibreOffice 4.3 Released, KDE Naming, and Zorin Reasons

Thursday 31st of July 2014 02:53:32 AM

Today was quite the busy news day here in Linuxville and the top story must have been the release of LibreOffice 4.3. Seems it brought significant changes and got lots of coverage. has a list of the top eight alternative operating systems and Bruce Byfield looks at KDE's continually confusing callings. We have 10 reasons to try Zorin OS and 10 easy steps to changing Manjaro back to Arch. Heartbleed is still reeking havoc and Tor issues an advisory. And even that's not all.

LibreOffice 4.3 topped the news today. The announcement says "you can't own a better office suite." I suppose that set the meme picked up by bloggers and writers such as Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols who said, "The best open-source office suite gets better," and Robert Pogson who said, "LibreOffice 4.3 [is] The Almost Perfect Office Suite."

Some of the major features and changes include improved OOXML interoperability, more intuitive spreadsheet handling, new previews in Start Center, and 3D models in Impress. But the most interesting improvement is new support for really long paragraphs exceeding 65,000 characters. I've never written a paragraph that long, so it's no wonder I didn't run into that 11 year old bug. Download your copy here.

Bruce Byfield yesterday tried to make sense out of KDE's confusing naming convention. Byfield reminds us that in 2009 "KDE announced a change in its branding. KDE would refer to the community and its common technology, KDE Plasma to the desktop, KDE Applications to the utilities and KDE-specific software, and KDE Software Compilation to the release of all together." He then says, "I wonder whether the current crop of names is more anti-branding rather than branding. That is, instead of clarifying the KDE brand, they may very well muddy it." today published a list of the "8 Best Alternative Operating Systems You Can Install." When they start their list with Haiku and ReactOS you can see where it's going. Those and most others they mention would be hard to install and even harder to run for even seasoned fiddlers. But they did include OpenBSD, which is actually possible to run. See their full story for more.

In other news:

* Tor security advisory: "relay early" traffic confirmation attack

* Heartbleed Flaw Is Still a Risk, Report Finds

* 10 easy steps to convert Manjaro Linux installation back to native Arch Linux

* Linux will not become a gaming platform, it already is one

* New Linux Foundation Members Leverage Global Linux Growth

* Looking for a technology job? Learn as much as you can about open source

* 10 reasons to try Zorin OS 9

* Review: Linux Mint 17 "Qiana" MATE

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Mozilla, Amazon and Others See Growth Ahead in India

Wednesday 30th of July 2014 03:00:13 PM

As players in the technology arena look for global regions poised for growth, they are increasingly focused on India. In fact, Mozilla officials have recently noted that India is going to have a big impact on everyone's use of digital technology.

India is one of the markets that Mozilla is targeting with its Firefox OS phones and mobile strategy. Meanwhile, is investing $2 billion of additional funds in India, as the region experiences a mobile shopping and overall online retail boom.

In a recent interview with the Press Trust of India, Mozilla Foundation Executive Director Mark Surman said:

"India is a huge force, not only in terms of people coming online, but also shaping what the digital future can be. As we figure out how do people understand the web, India absolutely has to be at the core of that. One of the things we're so excited about [in] India is that people are so aspirational. They are starting to say, How I can make life better? And the Internet is a promise to that aspiration."

Earlier this week Amazon said that it was setting up five new fulfillment centers in India, doubling its total storage capacity to over half a million square feet (over 46,500 square meters). As Computerworld reports:

"India will be Amazon's fastest country to reach one billion dollars in gross sales if current growth rates continue, Amazon said Wednesday."

Mozilla is translating its belief in India into action. Firefox OS-based phones will be available for prices of up to $50, DigiTimes has reported, quoting company COO and Mozilla Taiwan CEO Gong Li, but Mozilla has also been making noise about delivering $25 phones. 

According to DigiTimes, the first Firefox OS phones in India will be inexpensive but powerful:

"With low-cost chip solutions developed by China-based Spreadtrum Communications and cooperation with smartphone ODMs, Mozilla has succeeded in keeping production cost down to US$25 for models carrying retail prices of up to US$50, Gong indicated."

"There have been 10 hardware makers and more than 20 mobile telecom carriers supporting Firefox OS platform, Gong said. LG Electronics and China-based vendors Alcatel OneTouch, Huawei Device and ZTE have launched Firefox smartphones in 15 countries, Gong indicated."

Mozilla's goal is clearly to create new smartphone owners, and bring apps to people who have never used them. Higher cost Firefox OS phones have been selling in Hungary, Venezuela, Colombia, Brazil, India, Indonesia, and Greece, but India could be a proving ground for Mozilla's mobile strategy. Stay tuned.



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Smartphone Shipments Grow as China and Emerging Markets Do Well

Wednesday 30th of July 2014 02:44:59 PM

Judging from the latest global smartphone sales numbers, players like Mozilla who are focused on markets outside the U.S., including emerging markets, may have the wind at their backs. As just one example of why that's true, Samsung and Apple, dropped to their lowest shares of the worldwide smartphone market in years during the second quarter as Chinese smartphone vendors delivered strong growth, market research firm IDC reported.

Data from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker showed that following a strong first quarter, the global market grew 2.6 percent, fueled by ongoing demand for mobile computing and an abundance of low-cost smartphones. Expectations are that the smartphone market will continue apace in the second half of the year and surpassing 300 million units for the first time ever in a single quarter in this year's third quarter.

Mobile technology is so pervasive now that some leaders are questioning whether "mobile" should even be singled out as a descriptor for the devices we use. As smartphones continue to do well, there is also room for new competitors.

"A record second quarter proves that the smartphone market has plenty of opportunity and momentum," said Ryan Reith, Program Director at IDC. "Right now we have more than a dozen vendors that are capable of landing in the top five next quarter. A handful of these companies are currently operating in a single country, but no one should mistake that for complacency – they all recognize the opportunity that lies outside their home turf."

Despite a challenging quarter for Samsung, and to a lesser extent Apple, the strong market demand boosted results for many smaller smartphone vendors. Emerging markets supported by local vendors are continuing to act as the main catalyst for smartphone growth. A range of Chinese OEMs more than outpaced the market in the second quarter. Huawei, in particular, nearly doubled its shipments from a year ago, followed by another strong performance from Lenovo.

And, of course, Android continues to flourish on a global basis, despite the youth of the platform. Many of the phones selling in China and other hot markets are running Android.

Here is a snapshot of IDC's share numbers for trhe second quarter:


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openSUSE Rolling, New UT Video, and SteamOS Review

Wednesday 30th of July 2014 03:38:54 AM

The big news today in Linuxdom is openSUSE's announcement of moving Factory to a "rolling release" model. In other news, a new Unreal Tournament development video shows Team Deathmatch. has a review of SteamOS and LXer has a blurb about new Minimal Linux Live.

openSUSE developer Ancor Gonzalez Sosa today announced, 'We have just switched our beloved development distribution, openSUSE Factory, to be an independent distribution using the "rolling release" development model. openSUSE Factory is now a tested, reliable and bleeding edge Linux distribution!' He says the new model will allow packages to make it to the repos quicker by balancing some of the load across "packagers, testers and end users while putting more emphasis on automated quality assurance."

LXer ran a post yesterday on Minimal Linux Live. They say, "Minimal Linux Live is probably the best place to start if you are trying to build small live Linux OS entirely from sources." If you like the commandline, you'll love Minimal Live. After you run the build script "the produced ISO image file contains Linux kernel compiled with default options, BusyBox compiled with default options and very simple initramfs."

Themukt today posted a review of SteamOS "from a Linux user’s point of view." The Debian installer puts SteamOS on your disk with GRUB, GNOME, and "some basic apps." Fortunately, Swapnil Bhartiya then shows readers "how to get complete desktop experience." He concludes, "Steam OS is in beta stage things will change and get better with future releases. The gaming experience is par-excellence, which is the core feature of the OS and Gnome Shell is cherry on top."

And finally today, spotted a new Unreal Tournament developer video, this time showing the hackers playing Team Deathmatch. They quote developer Joe Wilcox saying, "The biggest thing we really zeroed in on was the movement mechanics and how we move through the world. The weapons are coming online which is really great, the sniper rifle is now somewhat useable, so it has been a good set of changes." See that full post for more and the video.

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Bright Computing Draws $14.5 Million to Expand Focus on Linux Clusters

Tuesday 29th of July 2014 02:45:21 PM

Bright Computing, a startup that works with companies that manage Linux clusters and is closely involved with Hadoop for mining Big Data, has picked up $14.5 million in Series B funding. Hadoop and other Big Data tools have been rapidly gaining popularity in enterprises and even smaller businesses, and clusters are the platforms where the large data sets reside and are processed.

Founded in 2009, Bright Computing specializes in management software for clusters and clouds used in high performance computing (HPC), storage, databases, Hadoop, and OpenStack.

According to Bright Computing's announcement:

"Bright’s integrated approach makes cluster management easy for DevOps and IT operations teams, while providing powerful and complete management capabilities for mission critical workloads. Bright Cluster Manager is used at over 400 customers, including more than 20 Fortune 500 companies, leading government labs, and research institutes. The company has partnered with Dell, Cisco, Cray, HP and other technology leaders in bringing Bright Cluster Manager to their customers."

"Bright Computing will use the financing to continue investing in its flagship cluster management technology, focusing especially on the emerging Hadoop and OpenStack ecosystems. The company expects to extend its channel by adding partners around the world, and providing higher levels of support to direct enterprise accounts."

In industries like pharmaceuticals, aerospace and financial services, large data sets on clusters are increasingly seen as fertile with insights into everything from customer behavior to solutions to business problems. Tools like Hadoop are helping to surface solutions, and managing Big Data is a hot topic in enterprises.

Bright's new $14.5 million Series B financing was co-led by DFJ and DFJ Esprit with participation from Prime Ventures and existing investor ING Corporate Investments. As part of the funding round, DFJ Partner Bill Bryant, Prime Ventures Partner Alexander Ribbink, DFJ Esprit Partner Richard Marsh, and ING CISO Rob Bening will be joining Bright’s board of directors. 

"Bright Computing is bringing to the rest of us the sophistication of Google or Amazon in how they manage their compute clusters and data centers,” said Bill Bryant, DFJ Partner, in a statement. “They deliver the same capabilities in automating and simplifying the management of clusters for any workload. Bright manages many of the world’s most complex environments in technology, pharmaceuticals, aerospace, government labs, universities and financial services. With support now for Hadoop and OpenStack, the company has an enormous opportunity.”

“From its European origins, Bright has established itself in the US and as the market leader in this important and rapidly growing sector,” said Richard Marsh, DFJ Esprit.

 Here is a shot of Bright's Cluster Manager in action:

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Chris Beard Named CEO of Mozilla

Tuesday 29th of July 2014 02:27:57 PM

Brendan Eich, formerly CTO of Mozilla and famous as the creator of JavaScript, famously stepped down from his briefly held spot as CEO of the company back in April, and Chris Beard (shown) has been serving as interim CEO ever since. Eich’s short lived period as CEO was ended after a very public kerfuffle over his political contributions to a campaign opposing gay marriage in California.

 Now, Mozilla has announced in a blog post that Beard is staying on as CEO of the company. While Beard has been at Mozilla since before the company shipped the first version of Firefox, some may be surprised that he is becoming CEO of the company as it reengineers its strategy around Firefox OS.

In a huge announcement from Mozilla in April, the nonprofit entity behind the Firefox browser and other open source tools detailed significant changes to its executive management, including the fact that CEO Gary Kovacs would step down after running the company for more than three years. The shakeup came amidst other executive changes designed to help Mozilla align strategically around its new Firefox OS mobile platform. That was immediately followed by the controversy surrounding Eich.

Mozilla previously confirmed that Mitchell Baker had expanded her role to become Executive Chair as she returns to a deeper involvement in Mozilla’s daily activities. "She will also focus on ensuring that organizations and individual contributors have the tools they need to make meaningful contributions to unlock the potential of the Web," Mozilla's announcement said. Baker is an important face of the company as it enters its new era under Chris Beard.

 Prior to joining Mozilla, Beard spent a year as Executive-in-Residence at the venture capital company Greylock Partners.

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Tor Bounty, Plasma 5 ISOs, and Best Desktops

Tuesday 29th of July 2014 01:41:58 AM

Today in Linux news, the Kubuntu team have released ISOs with the Plasma 5 desktop for all to test. Russia has offered 3.9m roubles to anyone who can crack the Tor network. And Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols has a round-up of the best in Linux desktops.

Kubuntu Plasma 5 ISOs have been made available for those wishing to test the newly released next-generation KDE desktop. Rohan Garg said these images are just meant to technical preview of a future, very future, release of Kubuntu. The "default login is blank password, just press return to login," Jonathan Riddell said. In other KDE news, The Register has a bit of a look-see at Plasma 5.

Speaking of Plasma 5, it has also been included in Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols' best Linux desktop environments. GNOME, Unity, and MATE also made the cut. He said of his favorite, "What I like about Cinnamon is that it is, in my mind, a perfect blend of the Windows XP and GNOME 2.x interface. I still think this is the best desktop interface style." is reporting that "Russia's interior ministry has offered up to 3.9m roubles (£65,000) for research on identifying the users of Tor" supposedly to insure their country's defense and security. Russia has lots of Tor users, over 210,000 currently, and many of them are using in reaction to attempts to regulate the internet and use of government intimidation to discourage certain sites and topics.

In other news:

* DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 569, 28 July 2014

* 5 Of The Best Linux Games You Can Get at GOG

* Debian 8.0 Jessie Is Settling For Linux 3.16

* Basic Guide to Linux Distributions for Newcomers

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The Innovation Ecosystem Around OpenStack is Finally Ramping Up

Monday 28th of July 2014 02:21:00 PM

OpenStack has already earned support across the IT industry from users, developers, cloud providers, and vendors, but many deployments are still new, and we have yet to see how people will innovate around the platform. Everybody from AT&T to Rackspace and the Linux Foundation to IBM, Red Hat, Oracle, and Yahoo keeps touting innovation surrounding OpenStack, but where might there be surprises for the platform over the next several years.

That topic has been on the table at some recent events and in recent interviews. Here are the details.

At the OpenStack Summit, HP officials delivered a keynote on innovation and OpenStack. You can watch a video of it here.  Like several other companies, HP is focused on OpenStack for more than just infrastructure. It sees the platform as extensible and is aware of ecosystem of tools that orbit OpenStack.

InfoWorld Editor-at-Large Paul Krill recently interviewed Jonathan Bryce, executive director of the OpenStack Foundation, and Mark Collier, the foundation's COO. Bryce spoke specifically on the topic of innovation, noting the following:

"There was an initial networking model that OpenStack had in the beginning, and there's a next-generation model that's been worked on for a couple of years. Those are both capabilities of OpenStack, and users get to choose which one they want. The Neutron project [provides] the latest and greatest of software-defined networking and network function virtualization, and those are two very advanced trends. Not everybody is ready for that yet. If you need a more traditional networking model, that's built into the system as well. But I think that's confusing sometimes to people because they go, 'Well, why are there two ways of doing it?' It's because there's a massive shift going on in networking right now."

Indeed, shifts in networking are so far reaching that they are causing telecom companies to retool their infrastructure around OpenStack. As one example, news came recently from Red Hat that it is collaborating to drive Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) and telecommunications technology into OpenStack. Red Hat is forming alliances aimed at delivering a carrier-grade telecommunications offering based on Linux, Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM), and OpenStack.

Huge telecom player Telefonica has announced that it will work with Red Hat and Intel to create a virtual infrastructure management (VIM) platform based on open source software running on Intel-based servers. Telefonica’s Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) Reference Lab will be targeted to help partners and developers build telecom-grade infrastructure and Red Hat will protect the open source focus of the effort.

Red Hat is already collaborating with eNovance, a leader in the open source cloud computing market, to drive Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) and telecommunications features into OpenStack.

And, SAP has announced that it is committing to Cloud Foundry and OpenStack, providing a clear path forward for an open cloud ecosystem. SAP is a company that can throw vast resources at developing for OpenStack. 

"The developer and open source community are key to breakthrough technology innovation," said Bjoern Goerke, executive vice president, Products and Innovation Technology, SAP SE, in a statement. "Through the CloudFoundry and OpenStack initiatives, as well as new developer tools, SAP deepens its commitment to the developer community and enables them to innovate and code in the cloud."  

According to SAP:

"The new open source partnerships are a significant step in SAP's strategy to provide an open technology platform and deepen its commitment to the developer community."

 Most major networking platforms eventually get an ecosystem of innovative tools to take shape, and it is apparent now that we're going to see vast development and lots of innovation surrounding OpenStack. The team of organizations focused on development goals has become powerful indeed.

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Power Up Your Video with VLC Media Player and Other Free Tools

Monday 28th of July 2014 01:59:48 PM

If you've got some time to add another open source application to your arsenal, getting to know VLC Media Player, available for Windows, the Mac and Linux, is one of the best choices you can make. The application is famous for handling nearly any kind of video file format for playback; you can use it as a video transcoder for converting video file formats; and you can listen to and manage podcasts with it.

Version 2.1.5 of VLC Media Player is available now. One thing that people routinely miss about this application is that it's not just a player. You can use it to stream and broadcast video and other media content, and that includes streaming content to a smartphone, iPad or other mobile device. Here is our newly updated collection of getting started guides for VLC, including guides for streaming your content.

 Broadcasting Basics. While the vast majority of VLC Media Player users use the application for watching video, it is also a fantastic video streaming server. There are many easy tutorials online that show how to do this if you're interested. This one is a particularly simple, screenshot-driven guide, as is this one, and video tutorials are also easy to follow. You can find many more non-obvious uses for VLC Media Player in this post.

A Visual Guide. FLOSSManuals, which offers many free manuals on open source applications and platforms, has a good, concise, free online guide to installing and using VLC Media Player on Windows, Mac OS X, or Linux, found here. The instructions are good for introducing you to VLC Media Player's main functions. You'll find individual "chapters" on how to perform various functions along the left rail of the guide.

Tips and Tricks. ThinkDigit has a very good collection of tips and tricks on VLC Media Player, found here. You'll find tips on how to do non-obvious things like taking snapshots of video, streaming video across a network, overlaying logos and adding effects, and using VLC as a video transcoder.


Get the Portable Edition. VLC Media Player Portable is downloadable here. It's a lightweight version of the application that you can even carry on a pocket USB flash drive for playing and working with media anywhere, on any computer.


Ripping DVDs. Many people love VLC Media Player for ripping DVDs (you can also watch them with it--which I do on airplanes). The How-To Geek has done a nice visual tour showing how to rip DVDs with VLC. For many users of the application, this is a favorite capability.

Skin It. Not everyone realizes it, but you can skin VLC Media Player to look much more slick than it typically does. Check out this tutorial for step-by-step instructions on making the application look great.

Finally, don't forget that there is ample documentation and there are tutorials available from the VLC Media Player site.

Spend a little time getting to know aspects of VLC Media Player that you may not be used to. It will be worth your while.

Are you interested in more resources for working with video and streaming content? Through a series of "course sprints," groups in partnership with FLOSS Manuals have produced an Open Video Workbook that is a really good introduction to using open video tools.  If you want to get a video ready for the web, or subtitle a video in a compatible way, or you want to stream a video, then begin with this workbook. It can even help you annotate online videos with live tweets and interactive maps. The course will also introduce you to useful sites, such as EngageMedia, a free and open online video sharing website.

Do you create and work with video files regularly?  If so, you may be interested in Jubler, a FOSS tool for creating and translating subtitles that you can use with Linux, Windows or Mac OS X. (It uses MPlayer for playback.) FLOSS Manuals has a visual guide to getting started with Jubler, available here.  

 You may also be interested in hosting your own video offerings online. There are some good open tools that can help you do so, and FLOSS Manuals has an exploration of these here. The guide provides alternatives for people who want to reduce their reliance on services like YouTube and Vimeo.

If you're working with video, it is essential to focus on good audio, and there are some good open source resources for producing good audio. We've covered Audacity on a number of occasions. Audacity is an audio production platform that compares very well with software used in professional environments, including tools for silencing ambient noise, combining, cutting, moving, and mixing tracks. Check this post for more.

Meanwhile, Sonicvisualiser has become a very popular tool for studying what's actually inside digital audio recordings. It was developed at the Centre for Digital Music, Queen Mary, University of London. It's available for Linux, OS/X, and Windows, and lets you see visualizations of your audio files, including annotations.

And finally, here at OStatic, we've compiled a guide to some of the best free video-focused applications you can get. You'll find some gems collected there.



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GOG's Mistaken Giveaway, Ubuntu 14.04.1 LTS, and Wayland in KDE

Saturday 26th of July 2014 02:14:30 AM

Today in Linux news, GOG accidently marked a lot of games as free in cost after their big Linux announcement. Ubuntu 14.04.1 LTS was released today. GCC and Patrick Volkerding win awards. And finally today, Sebastian Kügler recently blogged about getting KDE Plasma working under Wayland.

Oops, says GOG. In a thread on the forums, users reported getting as many as dozens of free games Thursday shortly after the announcement of the Linux games support. GOG quickly fixed the Website glitch and told users they could keep whatever games they'd been given. Most ended up giving back the games anyway.

In other gaming news, Jack Germain discusses the state of Linux gaming today and how we got here. Also, GamingOnLinux linked to a new video teaser of the upcoming Unreal Tournament saying that it's looking good.

Red Hatters Matt Newsome and Dan Courcy today posted that "the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) has received the Association for Computing Machinery’s (ACM) 2014 Programming Languages Software Award," recognizing 27 years of compiling excellence.

In other award news, Willy Sudiarto Raharjo reported today that Slackware founder Patrick Volkerding has won an O'Reilly Open Source Award at OSCON 2014. Volkerding was unable to attend but his lovely image accepted for him.

Ubuntu 14.04.1 LTS, as well as the rest of the family, was announced today. "These include security updates and corrections for other high-impact bugs, with a focus on maintaining stability and compatibility with Ubuntu 14.04 LTS." This release will be supported with bug and security fixes for five years according to the full announcement with download links.

In other news:

* Plasma’s Road to Wayland

* Interview with Nathan Willis, GUADEC Keynote Speaker

* CoreOS Stable Release

* A KDecoration2 Update

* The security flaws in Tails Linux are not its only problem

That's the Linux news for Friday, July 25, 2014. Have a nice weekend!

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