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LXer: Open education resources combat high textbook prices

Mon, 07/04/2014 - 9:33pm
Eben Upton is best known as the man behind the Raspberry Pi, a tiny, $25 computer designed to help turn kids into programmers. Upton priced it at $25 because he thought that's around what an average textbook cost: "I now understand that's an incorrect estimate. If we had a better idea of what school textbooks cost we would have had an easier job with the engineering over the years," he joked to Wired years later.It's a funny story but also a sad story. Textbooks are expensive. More expensive than most non-students even realize.

Reddit: History of the 32-bit int for time_t

Mon, 07/04/2014 - 8:53pm

More of a Unix question:

So Dennis Ritchie and Ken Thompson make Unix on a PDP-7. They re-specify a few times in the early '70s what the 32-bit integer represents (1/60th of a second, 1 second, etc.), but either way, it was always 32 bits.

Interviews with Ritchie and Thompson are usually just comical (Thompson saying he'll be dead by 2038, Ritchie saying he liked a signed 32-bit int so his entire life would fit in it, etc.).

I'm wondering, does anyone know the real reason they used 32 bits for a date instead of, say, 16 or 64 ,etc.? I'm specifically looking for a reference where either one or them or someone close knows precisely why.


submitted by thefox13guy
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Phoronix: LTO Support Coming To Linux 3.15, Making For A Faster Kernel

Mon, 07/04/2014 - 8:49pm
As a potentially significant performance win for the Linux kernel, when compiling the Linux kernel support for link-time optimizations (LTO) are now supported...

Reddit: Saw Best Buy's offer for Windows XP trade ins -- wondering what's out there with good Linux support nowadays

Mon, 07/04/2014 - 8:43pm

I have an older Dell laptop that I actually bought used several years ago, when it was already old, and never really use it. It's big/slow/heavy. But since I don't have a huge need for a laptop, I haven't bothered to replace it. I wasn't able to easily get a Linux install that I was happy on that one, so I liked it even less with the stock WinXP install. (So pretty much all of my Linux experience has been with desktops.)

I heard of Best Buy's offer today and now I'm really intrigued. I know there are several Chromebooks that could be available for $100 out of pocket or less with the trade in. I've used some Chromebooks and like them, but I usually desire the option to totally customize my computers.

So I got to thinking.... I don't really keep up with tech trends all that much. I don't really keep up with Linux trends too much anymore either.

Basically, I'm wondering, does Best Buy carry anything that's on the low end of cheap that has good/great/stellar Linux support? I use Arch Linux at home, and would likely go with that, but maybe not. Sleep/suspend/hibernate would be pretty big for me, but I guess aren't 100% necessary. Working wireless obviously -- are any of these even issues anymore?

EDIT: I'm doing a little research now and it looks like the low-end C720-2802 Chromebook might actually be a good choice. Still looking/still interested in others' feedback though.

submitted by elzeardclym
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LXer: Netrunner releases 32bit Rolling Edition 2014.04i

Mon, 07/04/2014 - 8:36pm
Netrunner, the KDE Linux distribution is now also available as Rolling Release. Hilary Mason's ApacheCon Keynote: 3 Ways to Improve Data Science

Mon, 07/04/2014 - 8:35pm

Data science still has a long way to go in developing systems that solve real-world, human problems, said Hilary Mason, data scientist in residence at Accel Partners, in her ApacheCon keynote today. The open source community will be key to helping big data evolve into a more accessible technology.

Reddit: Any Super Lightweight Easy To Use "thin client" Distros Out There?

Mon, 07/04/2014 - 8:30pm

I have a Pentium MMX laptop with 16 megs of RAM and a 40 gig HD. I purchased this back in 1998 and it runs Windows 98 pretty well. It also handled Windows 2000 well and RedHat 9 (the old days of free RedHat). I've looked at all the typical small distros out there like DSL (which runs on it), but I want something with a more modern look and feel.

There HAS to be a thin client distro out there that works on 16 megs of RAM and a Pentium MMX with only 2D acceleration. My goal is to make this an X terminal for the kitchen running at 1 gigbit (of course limited to probably 200 Mb/s by the PCMCIA slot).

Everything I've tried won't even boot because most of the light weight distros outside of DSL want 32 megs of RAM. I did manage to get Debian 6 on it once but it took 75 minutes to log into the desktop as the thing was swapping like crazy for a Gnome 2 desktop. (Odd since Gnome 2 was fine on it in RedHat 9). I would attempt DSL again and try to force it to just run X -query server-ip but DSL seems to be a dead project and the replacement needs 32 megs of RAM!! Any ideas?

submitted by eno2001
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Reddit: Group chat client with offline message support on Linux

Mon, 07/04/2014 - 8:19pm

Hi Everyone,

We are a small group of people and currently use Skype to communicate with each other. This has been a pain point for most of us and are looking for good alternatives.

I really want to do Private IRC Channels but I am not sure if it supports offline messages (i.e. look at the message log in the channel while you have been offline).

I'd preferably want a solution that requires its own client software. Has anyone had any experience setting up a similar environment via Jabber or XMPP or something else?

Any feedback is greatly appreciated!

P.S. Video calls and Audio calls are preferred but not necessary.

submitted by yentity
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TuxMachines: The end of Windows XP: Is it time to give Linux a try?

Mon, 07/04/2014 - 8:19pm

This week, Microsoft ends free support for Windows XP, cutting off the supply of security updates and bug fixes to anyone unwilling to pay the $200 per desktop fee MS is asking for extended support.

XP machines aren't just going to explode at midnight on 8th April but with hackers and malware authors already comfortable with the antiquated OS, it won't be long before some new exploit is discovered that will never be fixed. In short, if you value security then it makes sense to stop using XP.

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TuxMachines: Why so much fuss over Windows XP’s expiry?

Mon, 07/04/2014 - 8:07pm

Other than Windows, users and companies could look at Linux versions that run many Internet servers and those in companies. GNU/Linux is also at the foundation of Google Inc’s Android mobile OS.

Linux distributions include Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Elementary, Zorin and Lububtu. Ubuntu 12.04, for instance, comes pre-installed with the LibreOffice suite—a Microsoft Office equivalent. However, migrating applications from Windows XP to a non-Windows (read Linux) platform is easier said than done. But then, Linux distributions are free.

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Reddit: GNU Stow Template

Mon, 07/04/2014 - 7:55pm

TuxMachines: Nouveau Picks Up Slightly Better OpenGL 4.0 Support

Mon, 07/04/2014 - 7:43pm

The newly exposed extensions by the Nouveau Gallium3D code include ARB_texture_gather and ARB_texture_query_lod. The Intel Mesa driver had already supported both of these OpenGL extensions while the R600/RadeonSI Gallium3D drivers supported the latter extension as well.

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LXer: Android TV could rock Amazon and Apple’s worlds

Mon, 07/04/2014 - 7:39pm
Google is getting ready to launch Android TV, and it could prove to be a very tough competitor for Amazon's Fire TV and the Apple TV.

TuxMachines: Angie Byron on Drupal 8 out of the box

Mon, 07/04/2014 - 7:32pm community manager Jason Hibbets interviewed Angie Byron, a Drupal core co-maintainer, about the latest version of this open source content management system.

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TuxMachines: Turn Lubuntu into Windows XP with a Theme and No One Will Notice

Mon, 07/04/2014 - 7:27pm

Lubuntu is based on LXDE, a very light desktop environment that probably has even lower hardware requirements than Windows XP. It's a favorite for older systems and it's the lightest distro in the Ubuntu family.

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TuxMachines: Parsix GNU/Linux 6.0 Test 3 Is a Nice Distro Based on GNOME 3.10.3 and Debian Wheezy

Mon, 07/04/2014 - 7:20pm

Parsix GNU/Linux, a live and installation DVD based on Debian, aiming to provide a ready-to-use, easy-to-install desktop and laptop-optimized operating system, is now at version 6.0 Test 3 and is ready for testing.

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LXer: IT needs to learn to enchant users

Mon, 07/04/2014 - 6:42pm
As I listened to former Apple evangelist and author Guy Kawasaki speak last week at the AIIM14 Conference about enchanting your customers it occurred to me that what he was saying applied to many areas including IT. As Kawasaki said, try defaulting to "yes" and watch what happens.

Reddit: Quick note about Fedora 20 and a few other OS's on the Thinkpad T530

Mon, 07/04/2014 - 6:22pm

Just thought I'd write a quick review/suggestion about Fedora 20 and a few other OS's. I was given a Lenovo Thinkpad T530 in September 2013 as part of returning to school for Computer Science. Naturally, I immediately deleted that Windows partition to move onto something different. I am not an advanced Linux user by any means, but I knew enough that it would be a very useful to learn to program/develop within Linux. So I tried a few and here's what happened.

First I tried Ubuntu 12.04 LTS, having used it before on my desktop it seemed like a good first step. Here's what went wrong: Ubuntu:

  • Graphics failed after sleep, fixed by updating driver for Nvidia 5400
  • Failed to connect to schools PEAP/MSCHAPV2 network with network manager, switching to WICD fixed it
  • Finally, installed SFML and it failed to boot after, no Idea why.
  • I didn't mind Ubuntu, but the Unity desktop is definitely not my favourite
  • Power consumption very high, never tried to fix it.

Decided to switch again to Linux Mint after hearing great things:

Linux Mint:

  • Initial problem again with Network-Manager failing to connect to schools network, installed WICD instead.
  • Graphics failed again but were easily fixed with Mint's Driver Manager.
  • After about 3 months of use even WICD started to fail with the notorious "bad password" plague
  • Mint would occasionally hang on shutdown and require a force shutdown. This was about 1/3 times, but I rarely shut it down so it was a non issue.
  • Power consumption was abnormally high, installed PowerTop once and had to reinstall OS because it failed to boot after.

I did love Mint despite minor issues, but I decided to try a few more, next was

Bodhi Linux:

  • Install was difficult and buggy, Many errors with themes on LIVE CD, It would only let me install from Fancy Theme in particular, no idea why
  • Network issues were gone, first glimmer of hope with Bodhi.
  • Bodhi failed to shutdown, would hang on figure 8 logo during shutdown or restart, must have been my inexperience but I wasnt able to fix it.
  • I know simplicity is Bodhi's mantra, but the lack of basic software is time consuming when in School.

I really liked the enlightenment desktop with Bodhi, but the lack of initial and mostly necessary software was annoying, so this, along with the shutdown error, led me to try Fedora 20:

Fedora 20:

  • Nothing went wrong, installation was flawless
  • All features worked out of box, including little things like the Mic, Volume, and Mute buttons on the keyboard that failed to work in all the others, even the brightness settings work fine where they didn't before.
  • Power consumption is great compared to the others
  • No issue's with network connectivity at school or anywhere
  • The desktop looks and feels great, especially if you're doing any programming or other development, everything just flows nicely.
  • Very fast boot and shutdown
  • Apps that aren't in software store or YUM repository get incorporated nicely into app launcher and UI
  • I could go on and on.

Anyway that's my spiel. If you have a ThinkPad T530 or something similar and are looking for a good OS to install, I highly recommend Fedora. I have been using it for a month now and have not had a single issue, if anything I have been working better not having to worry about fixing dumb little hiccups every week or so. If you have any other questions about any of the OS's or the Laptop that I can answer then let me know.



submitted by Disambig
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