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DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 506

Filed under
Linux

Welcome to this year's 18th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! Ubuntu's latest release, while not among the most innovative or adventurous ones, continues to intrigue many casual and home users (business users are probably more comfortable with one of LTS releases). Still, many are wondering whether they should risk an upgrade to a new but rather unremarkable release whose support has been cut down to just nine months.

In our feature article this week Jesse Smith takes a look at both Ubuntu and Kubuntu 13.04 and finds the latter a more pleasant experience.

In the news section, Debian "Wheezy" arrives after more than two years of intense development, Mageia delays its third stable release due to installer bugs, Slackware ponders the inevitability of systemd as a service manager, and FreeBSD expands its activities thanks to record-breaking receipts of funds in 2012.

Also in this issue, a link to an article comparing a number of special distributions for the Raspberry Pi, and a review of A Practical Guide to Linux Commands, Editors and Shell Programming by Mark Sobell.

Finally, we are pleased to announce that the recipient of the April 2013 DistroWatch.com donation is the Internet Software Consortium's DHCP project.

Happy reading!

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And now for some good news... How open source triumphed over Microsoft Office in Italy

Microsoft Office may have a global monopoly, but one Italian region rejected it flat out. But, why? In the stunningly beautiful Italian region of Umbria, you'll feel more at home running open source software, rather than the clunky and expensive Microsoft Office suite. Read more

Red Hat, Chilean government hold talks on open source initiative

The head of Chilean regulator Pedro Huichalaf agreed to pass information regarding the benefits of open source software to the ministerial committee for digital development Read more

IT teams are choosing open source - but not just for the cost savings

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Patent Troll Kills Open Source Project On Speeding Up The Computation Of Erasure Codes

Via James Bessen, we learn of how a patent trolling operation by StreamScale has resulted in an open source project completely shutting down, despite the fact that the patent in question (US Patent 8,683,296 for an "Accelerated erasure coding system and method") is almost certainly ineligible for patent protection as an abstract idea, following the Supreme Court's Alice ruling and plenty of prior art. Erasure codes are used regularly today in cloud computing data storage and are considered to be rather important. Not surprisingly, companies and lawyers are starting to pop out of the woodwork to claim patents on key pieces. I won't pretend to understand the fundamental details of erasure codes, but the link above provides all the details. It goes through the specific claims in the patents, breaking down what they actually say (basically an erasure code on a computer using SIMD instructions), and how that's clearly an abstract idea and thus not patent-eligible. Read more