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Webconverger: Linux for Libraries?

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Linux

Webconverger 7.2 is a live CD whose claim to fame isn’t that it boots into a desktop environment with a surfeit of applications, but rather that upon boot it offers Firefox and nothing but: no menus, no icons, not even configuration tools. Just Firefox. In fact, it doesn’t offer Firefox so much as it forces it upon you, launching it immediately upon boot and relaunching it whenever it’s closed. And that’s the appeal of Webconverger. Using Webconverger, institutions or individuals who need to offer internet access can, without worrying about configuration, security, or cost.

There’s nothing to configure, since Webconverger automatically detects the hardware it is running on, automatically configures the appropriate network settings, and finds any network printers that it might have access to. There’s no need to worry about security, either, since it’s a live CD. (A live CD is a CD that contains an operating system that runs from the CD without being installed to a hard drive. Since data can’t be written back to a CD, each reboot is like wiping a slate clean.) What’s more, in the case of Webconverger a user’s browsing history and the like are wiped clean each time the browser is closed. Finally, there’s no cost for the base CD other than the cost of recordable discs since Webconverger can be downloaded from the project’s website. (Webconverger is also free, open source software.)

That’s all well and good, but how does Webconverger actually perform?




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Microsoft Against GNU/Linux in the Public Sector

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    Dev team quits, suggests NHS used them to get better deal with Microsoft [...] The small team behind an ambitious NHoS Linux project are calling it a day, citing receipt of a trademark infringement warning from the Department of Health's (DoH) "brand police" as the "final straw". The initial raison d’être of NHoS was to identify a way to roll out NHSbuntu, a strand of open-source Linux distro Ubuntu designed for the NHS, on three-quarters of a million smartcards. The smartcards are used to verify the healthcare pros that access 80 per cent of applications on millions of NHS PCs. The volunteer force behind NHoS wanted NHSbuntu to replace the current smartcard verification system that was running on Windows, and ultimately, have the operating system replace Windows on the desktop as well. Smart card recognition was seen as a mile-high hurdle in this grand plan. [...] Baw alleged the pair "(unbeknown to us) were also duplicitously negotiating with Microsoft about a new NHS Enterprise Wide Agreement".
  • Barcelona Council abandons Microsoft for open-source software [iophk: "again, disinfo about the reason for Munich's change"
    The Spanish city of Barcelona has announced it will phase out its use of Microsoft software in favour of open-source alternatives. Over the next few years, the city will transition away from Microsoft's services to guarantee its "technical sovereignty."

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