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Friday, 24 Oct 14 - Tux Machines is a community-driven public service/news site which has been around for over a decade and primarily focuses on GNU/LinuxSubscribe now Syndicate content

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Going Dutch: the Netherlands Shares UK's Open Source Woes

Filed under
OSS

Not quite sure what that last bit means, but it's nonetheless good to have news from other countries grappling with the same issues as those in the UK. The fact that similar problems are found elsewhere suggests that maybe more could be done for those seeking to introduce open source in central government to meet up and swap their experiences - both good and bad.

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Ubuntu 14.10 (Utopic Unicorn) Review

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Reviews
Ubuntu

Ubuntu 14.10 (Utopic Unicorn), the latest operating system released by Canonical, is here right on time, six months after the previous version. We now take a closer look at the new OS and we'll try to see what has been changed and how it compares with previous iterations.

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Ubuntu GNOME 14.10 Released and Based on GNOME 3.12 – Screenshot Tour

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GNOME
Ubuntu

The GNOME flavor of Ubuntu is a newer one, although the devs have already made a few releases. It uses the stock GNOME stack and it’s had great success until now, despite the fact that it doesn't pack the latest version of the desktop environment. The developer has explained more than once why that is happening, but the good news is that people will be able to install GNOME 3.14 packages nonetheless.

The Ubuntu GNOME developers have more features to show than the Ubuntu base used, but that was to be expected, especially after the GNOME stack has been updated from the 3.10 branch to 3.12.

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Jeffrey McGuire From Acquia Explains Drupal 8, the GPL, and Much More

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Interviews
Drupal

Jeffrey McGuire

Tux Machines has run using Drupal for nearly a decade (the site is older than a decade) and we recently had the pleasure of speaking with Jeffrey A. "jam" McGuire, Open Source Evangelist at Acquia, the key company behind Drupal (which the founder of Drupal is a part of). The questions and answers below are relevant to many whose Web sites depend on Drupal.

1) What is the expected delivery date for Drupal 8 (to developers) and what will be a good point for Drupal 6 and 7 sites to advance to it?

 

Drupal 8.0.0 beta 1 came out on October 1, 2014, during DrupalCon Amsterdam. It’s a little early for designers to port their themes, good documentation to be written, or translators to finalise the Drupal interface in their language – some things are still too fluid. For coders and site builders, however, it’s a great time to familiarise yourself with the new system and start porting your contributed modules. Read this post by Drupal Project Lead, Dries Buytaert; it more thoroughly describes who and what the beta releases are and aren’t good for: “Betas are good testing targets for developers and site builders who are comfortable reporting (and where possible, fixing) their own bugs, and who are prepared to rebuild their test sites from scratch when necessary. Beta releases are not recommended for non-technical users, nor for production websites.”

 

With a full Release Candidate or 8.0.0 release on the cards for some time in 2015, now is the perfect time to start planning and preparing your sites for the upgrade to Drupal 8. Prolific Drupal contributor Dave Reid gave an excellent session at DrupalCon Amsterdam, “Future-proof your Drupal 7 Site”, in which he outlines a number of well-established best practices in Drupal 7 that will help you have a smooth migration when it is time - as well as a number of deprecated modules and practices to avoid.

 

2) What is the importance of maintaining API and module compatibility in future versions of Drupal and how does Acquia balance that with innovation that may necessitate new/alternative hooks and functions?

 

The Drupal community, which is not maintained or directed by Acquia or any company, has always chosen innovation over backward compatibility. Modules and APIs of one version have never had to be compatible with other versions. The new point-release system that will be used from Drupal 8.0.0 onwards - along with new thinking among core contributors and the broader community - may change this in future. There has been discussion, for example, of having APIs valid over two releases, guaranteeing that a Drupal 8 module would still work in Drupal 9 and that a Drupal 9 module would work in Drupal 10. Another possibility is that this all may be obviated in the future as moves toward broad intercompatibility in PHP lead to the creation of PHP libraries with Drupal implementations rather than purely Drupal modules.

 

3) Which Free/libre software project do you consider to be the biggest competitor of Drupal?

 

The “big three” FOSS CMSs – Drupal, Wordpress, and Joomla! – seem to have settled into roughly defined niches. There is no hard and fast rule to this, but Wordpress runs many smaller blogs and simpler sites; Joomla! projects fall into the small to medium range; and Drupal projects are generally medium to large to huge and complex. Many tech people with vested interests in one camp or another may identify another project as “frenemies” and compete with these technologies when bidding for clients, but the overall climate between the various PHP and open source projects is friendly and open. Drupal is one of the largest free/libre projects out there and doesn’t compete with other major projects like Apache, Linux, Gnome, KDE, or MySQL. Drupal runs most commonly on the LAMP stack and couldn’t exist or work at all without these supporting free and open source technologies.

 

NB – I use the term “open source” as synonymous shorthand for “FOSS, Free and Open Source Software, and/or Free/libre software”.

 

4) Which program -- proprietary or Free/libre software -- is deemed the biggest growth opportunity for Drupal?

 

Frankly, all things PHP. Drupal’s biggest growth opportunity at present is its role as an innovator and “meta-project” in the current “PHP Renaissance”. While fragmented at times in the past, the broader PHP community is now rallying around common goals and standards that allow for extensive compatibility and interoperability between projects. For the upcoming Drupal 8 release, the project has adopted object-oriented coding, several components from the Symfony2 framework, a more up-to-date minimum version of PHP (5.4 as of October 2014), and an extensive selection of external libraries.

 

On the one hand, Drupal being at the heart of the action in PHP-Land allows it and its community of innovators to make a more direct impact and spread its influence. On the other hand, it is now also able to attract even more developers from a variety of backgrounds to use and further develop Drupal. A Symfony developer (who has had a client website running on Drupal 8 since summer 2014) told me that looking under the hood in Drupal 8, “felt very familiar, like looking at a dialect of Symfony code.”

 

NB – I use the term “open source” as synonymous shorthand for “FOSS, Free and Open Source Software, and/or Free/libre software”.

5) To what degree did Drupal succeed owing to the fact that Drupal and all contributed files are licensed under the GNU GPL (version 2 or 3)?

 

“Building on the shoulders of giants” is a common thread in free and open source software. The GPL licenses clearly promote a culture of mutual sharing. This certainly applies to Drupal, where I can count on huge advantages thanks to benefitting from more than twelve years of development, 100k+ active users, running something like 2% of the Web for thousands of businesses, and millions of hours of coding and best practices by tens of thousands of active developers. Our code being GPL-licensed and collected in a central repository on Drupal.org has allowed us to build upon the strengths of each other’s work in a Darwinian environment (”bad code dies or gets fixed” - Jeff Eaton) where the best code rises to the top and becomes even better thanks to the attention of thousands of site owners and developers. The same repository has contributed to a reputation economy where bad actors and dubious or dangerous code has little chance of survival.

 

The GPL 2 is business friendly in that the license specifically allows for commercial activity and has been court tested. As a result, there is very little legal ambiguity in adopting GPL-licensed code. It also makes clear cases for when code needs to be shared as open source and when it doesn't (allowing for sites to use Drupal but still have "proprietary" code). The so-called “Web Services Loophole” caused some controversy and discussion, but also opened the way to SaaS products being built on free/libre GPL code. Drupal Project Lead Dries Buytaert explained this back in 2006 (read the full post here):

 

“The General Public License 2 (GPL 2), mandates that all modifications also be distributed under the GPL. But when you are providing a service through the web using GPL'ed software like Drupal, you are not actually distributing the software. You are providing access to the software. Thus, a way to make money with Drupal is to sell access to a web service built on top of Drupal. This is commonly referred to as the web services loophole.”

 

Business models remain challenging in a GPL world; nothing is stopping me from selling you GPL code, but nothing is stopping you from passing it on to anyone else either. App stores, for example, are next to impossible to realise under these conditions. Most Drupal businesses are focused on value add services like site building, auditing and consulting of various kinds, hosting, and so on, with a few creating SaaS or PaaS offerings of one kind or another.

 

NB – I use the term “open source” as synonymous shorthand for “FOSS, Free and Open Source Software, and/or Free/libre software”.

 

6) What role do companies that build, maintain and support Drupal sites play in Acquia's growth and in Drupal's growth?

 

Acquia was the first company to offer SLA-based commercial support for Drupal (a Service Level Agreement essentially says, “In return for your subscription, Acquia promises to respond to your problems within a certain time and in a certain manner”). The specifics of response time and action vary according to the level of subscription, but these allowed a new category of customer to adopt Drupal: The Enterprise.

 

Enterprise adoption – think Whitehouse.gov, Warner Music, NBC Universal, Johnson & Johnson – of Drupal resulted in increased awareness and therefore even further increased adoption (and improvement) of the platform over time. Everyone who delivers a successful Drupal project for happy clients improves Drupal for everyone else involved. The more innovative projects there are, the more innovation flows back into our codebase. The more happy customers there are, the more likely their peers are to adopt Drupal, too. Finally, the open source advantage also comes into play: it behooves Drupal service providers to give the best possible service and deliver the highest-quality sites and results. If they don’t, there is no vendor lock-in and being open source at scale also means you can find another qualified Drupal business to work with if it becomes necessary. Acquia and the whole, large Drupal vendor ecosystem simultaneously compete, cooperatively grow the project (in code and happy customer advocates), and act as each other’s safety net and guarantors.

 

NB – I use the term “open source” as synonymous shorthand for “FOSS, Free and Open Source Software, and/or Free/libre software”.

 

7) How does Acquia manage and coordinate the disclosure of security vulnerabilities, such as the one disclosed on October 15th?

Acquia as an organisation is an active, contributing member of the Drupal community and it adheres strictly to the Drupal project’s security practices and guidelines, including the Drupal project’s strict procedure for reporting security issues. Many of Acquia’s technical employees are themselves active Drupal contributors; as of October 2014, ten expert Acquians also belong to the Drupal Security Team. Acquia also works closely with other service providers, whether competitors or partners, in the best interests of all of us who use and work with Drupal. This blog post, “Shields Up!”, by Moshe Weizman explains how Acquia, in cooperation with the Drupal Security Team and some other Drupal hosting companies, dealt with the recent “Drupalgeddon” security vulnerability.

Xubuntu 14.10 (Utopic Unicorn) Features a Pink Desktop

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Ubuntu

Xubuntu 14.10 (Utopic Unicorn) is now available for download, along with its Ubuntu GNOME, Kubuntu, Xubuntu, and other flavors. The developers have made a few important changes that will definitely set this release apart.

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UBUNTU MATE SEES ITS FIRST RELEASE (14.10

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Ubuntu

Along with the other flavors, Ubuntu MATE 14.10 was released today. This is an unofficial (it will most probably become an official Ubuntu flavor in the near future) MATE-based Ubuntu flavor, "ideal for those who want the most out of their desktops, laptops and netbooks and prefer a traditional desktop metaphor", which had its very first stable release today.

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Mature, easy-to-deploy Open Source Cloud computing software platform boasts improved efficiency and performance.

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OSS

The Apache CloudStack project announced the immediate availability of Apache CloudStack v4.4.1, the latest version of the turnkey Open Source cloud computing software platform used for creating private-, public-, and hybrid cloud environments.

Apache CloudStack clouds enable billions of dollars' worth of business transactions annually across their clouds, and its maturity and stability has led it to has become the Open Source platform for many service providers to set up on-demand, elastic public cloud computing services, as well as enterprises and others to set up a private or hybrid cloud for use by their own employees.

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ownCloud Asks Canonical to Remove Their Software from Ubuntu Repos, Sparks Fly

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Ubuntu

A member of the ownCloud security team has sent a request to Canonical asking them to remove all the packages from their repositories regarding this software stack. The problem is that things are not that simple.

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Mozilla's Webmaker App Could Spur Firefox OS App Developers

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Moz/FF

Mozilla continues to push ahead with its Firefox OS mobile operating system, which is arriving on phones in many markets around the world. In fact, the company has aligned its whole strategy around the mobile platform. The OS is gaining enough traction that many observers see it as eventually being competitive with iOS and Android phones, but I've made the point that If Firefox OS is to be a resounding success, it's going to need a very healthy ecosystem of apps to attract users. Apps count for a lot in the mobile game.

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Tiny Android SBC taps quad-core A31s SoC

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Android

Boardcon launched a 92 x 65mm “Compact A31S” SBC that runs Android 4.2.2 on a quad-core Allwinner A31s SoC backed up with 2GB of soldered RAM and 4GB flash.

Boardcon Embedded Design offers a wide variety of Android-based single board computers and COMs that incorporate Samsung system-on-chips, and now the Shenzhen-based OEM manufacturer is spreading out to the quad-core Allwinner A31s. The Compact 31S SBC is touted for its tiny dimensions, and indeed it’s pretty small considering all you’re getting here. It’s only 92 x 65mm, compared to 148 x 108mm for Boardcon’s Samsung Exynos4412 based EM4412 SBC.

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6-Way Ubuntu 14.10 Linux Desktop Benchmarks

Filed under
Graphics/Benchmarks
Ubuntu

In celebration of Ubuntu 14.10's Utopic Unicorn release today, here's some fresh benchmarks of one of the most requested topics: 2D/3D benchmarks of different desktop environments. In this article is a look at six of the popular desktop offerings found in Ubuntu 14.10.

The desktops tested in their near-final state on Ubuntu 14.10 x86_64 included Unity 7.3.1, KDE 4.14.1, Xfce 4.10, LXDE 0.6.2, Openbox 3.5.2, and GNOME Shell 3.12.2. Tests are also being done of Kubuntu's PPA for Plasma 5 packages, but those results will be saved for its own article. Testing the MATE packages in Ubuntu 14.10 was also attempted but when logging into the MATE session it was endlessly spawning a bunch of new windows and just wasn't working right at least in the configuration attempted.

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Enlightenment's EFL 1.12 Alpha Has Evas GL-DRM Engine, OpenGL ES 1.1 Support

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Software

The first alpha release for the 1.12 version of the Enlightenment Foundation Libraries (EFL) was released this week.

EFL 1.12 Alpha 1 has some notable changes including the addition of the gl-drm engine for allowing OpenGL directly over Enlightenment's DRM back-end, support from reading the screen geometry with the ecore-drm backend, support for client-side rotation in Evas GL, and support for OpenGL ES 1.1 within Evas GL.

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Android Wear gets GPS support, offline music in first major update

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Android
Gadgets

Google promised that it would consistently improve Android Wear with a number of updates, and now the first major update is here. Announced today in a blog post, the update unlocks some key fitness functionality. It now supports watches with built-in GPS sensors, providing new tools to track your distance and speed independent of your phone. Additionally, with the new software, you'll be able to pair Bluetooth headphones, and offline music playback will also be enabled. And, of course, we're sure the Android Wear team has squashed some bugs along the way.

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Currys/PC World (UK) Voids Warranty on Hardware If Buyer Installs GNU/Linux

Filed under
GNU
Linux

As it turns out — and this was confirmed to us by multiple people (in multiple PC World stores) after arguing for more than half an hour — once you install GNU/Linux (even if it’s dual boot with Windows) no damage to hardware would be covered by the warranty (keyboard, screen, and so on). One of the sellers, who follows the Linux Action Show, regretted this but also defended this policy because it’s imposed from above. No matter how ridiculous a policy it is, changes to zeroes and ones on the hard-drive (to remove spyware), according to Currys, would void the warranty on what clearly is not connected to software.

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GTK+ Lands Experimental Backend For Mir Display Server

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GNOME

GTK+ apps now run not only on X11 and Wayland under Linux with native support but the mainline GTK+ Git code now also supports running Ubuntu's Mir Display Server. That's right, there's now mainline Mir support in GTK for the GNOME/GTK 3.16 release.

Beyond many GTK+ 3.16 improvements that already landed, Canonical's Robert Ancell has been leading work on mainlining the GTK+ Mir support capabilities. As of yesterday in Git, that work is now in Git for GTK+ 3.16 and all of the GTK+ 3.15.x development releases ahead.

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FreeBSD 10.1-RC3 Now Available

Filed under
BSD

The third RC build of the 10.1-RELEASE release cycle is now available
on the FTP servers for the amd64, armv6, i386, ia64, powerpc, powerpc64
and sparc64 architectures.

The image checksums follow at the end of this email.

Installer images and memory stick images are available here:

ftp://ftp.freebsd.org/pub/FreeBSD/releases/ISO-IMAGES/10.1/

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Kubuntu 14.10 (Utopic Unicorn) Ships with KDE 4.14.1

Filed under
KDE
Ubuntu

The Kubuntu devs have released the ISO images for the 14.10 version of their distribution, but they are running a little late with the release notes. That's not really a problem, but it would have been nice to have them. We'll post the link anyway in the hope that by the time you're reading this they will be online.

Just like its Ubuntu base, Kubuntu will only have nine months of support, but it has some attractive features that should make it very appealing, even for the users of the LTS release. It has numerous updated package, but most importantly it comes with a new KDE version.

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Best Chromebooks 2014

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Google

Whether it’s because of their very affordable prices or an aversion to Windows 8′s complexity, more and more shoppers are buying Chromebooks. There are some valid reasons to choose a Chromebook over a Windows machine, including a very intuitive interface (it’s largely browser based), a lack of upgrade headaches, and less worrying about malware. And while Chromebooks have limited offline capability, there’s a growing number of apps that work without a Wi-Fi connection.

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UBUNTU 14.10 AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD

Filed under
Ubuntu

Ubuntu 14.10 is now available for download. This release doesn't ship with any new Unity features and it includes mostly bug fixes. Still, there are some under the hood changes and of course, updated applications.

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Feeling Scammed After Anonabox? Android-Based Project Sierra Claims To Be The Real Deal

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Android
Linux
Security

In the wake of former NSA contractor Edward Snowden's big reveal on government spying, there's been a concerted effort by companies big and small to try and make our lives truly private. One seemingly promising solution was Anonabox, a little plug-and-play device that routes traffic through Tor to keep our online activities anonymous. Unfortunately, we were all misled on a number of levels, prompting Kickstarter to remove the project forever. Hot on its heels is Project Sierra, a network encryption device that's supposedly the real deal.

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