News

Various news items of interest

Firefox OS Phones Reported Due in India in July, in $50 Range

Filed under
Linux

It looks like India may be the next global market where Mozilla tests demand for ultra-low cost smartphones based on its Firefox OS mobile platform. The 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. Because India remains a hugely fast-growing market for mobile phones and apps, the region could be a proving ground for Mozilla.

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Linux Foundation SysAdmin Michael Halstead's IT Career Started at Age 15

Filed under
Linux
Interviews

Michael Halstead maintains all of the public facing infrastructure for the Yocto Project, a Linux Foundation collaborative project that provides the tools and methods for building custom embedded Linux distributions. In this Q&A he describes his typical day at work, the best part of his job, how he spends his free time, and more.

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Google Offers Up A Free Crash Course In Android Development

Filed under
Android
Development
Google

Google has teamed up with Udacity to make available a free course in Android development available to all – complete with videos, quizzes, course materials and forums. The course is called ‘Developing Android Apps: Android Fundamentals,” and it provides everything you need to learn how to make an Android app step-by-step; provided, that is, you already have a basic understanding of programming in general.

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Imad Sousou: The Future of Linux and Intel in the New Connected World

Filed under
Linux
Hardware
Interviews

From new cloud platforms, to changes in virtualization and container technologies, to how data is stored and transmitted, every innovation in the data center has a Linux-based or open source component, says Imad Sousou vice president of the Software and Services Group and general manager of the Intel Open Source Technology Center at Intel.

“To a great degree... the speed with which solutions can be brought online is the result of Linux and open source in the data center,” said Sousou, who is also on the OpenStack Foundation board of directors. “The amount of collaboration around the future of the data center is very encouraging.”

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$35 OpenWRT SBC targets educational apps

Filed under
Linux
OSS

Belgian father-and-son startup DPTechnics is promoting its new open-spec DPT Board as an educational tool for budding embedded developers. Just as the similarly priced Raspberry Pi has been seeded in U.K. schools, DPTechnics is working with schools in Belgium to integrate the board in their curricula.

The fully open source “DPT Board” consists of the combination of a baseboard plus an “OpenWRT Embedded Module” COM (computer-on-module), creating a defacto single board computer (SBC). During its Indiegogo funding session, the COM is available separately for $20 or integrated with the baseboard as the DPT Board for $35 ($45 with cables). If the company fails to make its $6,000 funding goal after 27 days, it will continue with the project anyway, although ship dates would slip from the current delivery date, which is scheduled for the end of the funding period.

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Mozilla Advances JPEG Encoding with mozjpeg 2.0

Filed under
Moz/FF

We’re pleased to announce the release of mozjpeg 2.0. Early this year, we explained that we started this project to provide a production-quality JPEG encoder that improves compression while maintaining compatibility with the vast majority of deployed decoders. The end goal is to reduce page load times and ultimately create an enhanced user experience for sites hosting images.

With today’s release, mozjpeg 2.0 can reduce file sizes for both baseline and progressive JPEGs by 5% on average compared to those produced by libjpeg-turbo, the standard JPEG library upon which mozjpeg is based [1]. Many images will see further reductions.

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Manjaro 0.8.10 Receives Its Third Update Pack and Linux Kernel 3.15 Support

Filed under
Linux

Manjaro 0.8.10, a Linux distribution based on well-tested snapshots of the Arch Linux repositories and 100% compatible with Arch, has received the third upgrade pack.

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FFmpeg 2.2.5 Officially Released

Filed under
Software
Movies

FFmpeg is the leading multimedia framework able to decode, encode, transcode, mux, demux, stream, filter, and play pretty much any media that humans and machines have created.

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Leftovers: Software

Filed under
Software

Leftovers: Gaming

Filed under
Gaming

Best Linux Desktop: Top 10 Candidates

Filed under
GNU
Linux

When it comes to selecting the best Linux desktop experience, there are a number of different factors to consider. In this article, I'll explore 10 Linux distributions that I personally believe are the best all around desktop options.

I'll segment each off for newbies or advanced users, customization vs. pre-configured, along with how each performs on standard PC hardware commonly used in most homes.

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“To whom much has been given, much is expected in return” – Free Software economics

Filed under
LibO
OSS
OOo

When it comes to Free Software projects, there’s a profound, deep misunderstanding about who does what and how it’s being done. Using the now overused quote, developers write a code “because they have an itch to scratch”, means that there can be twenty different motivations to contribute to Free Software. No one needs to explain or justify his or her contribution. In the real world, one of the most common motivation is money, be it in the form of a salary, a fee, or a transaction involving the developers to fix whatever bug or develop a new feature. Most of the FOSS projects I know -excluding Firefox- do not pay developers directly for fixing bugs except in very specific circumstances and by definition not on a regular basis. The LibreOffice project is no different. The Document Foundation serves the LibreOffice project by financing its infrastructure, protecting its assets and improving LibreOffice in almost every way except paying for development on a regular basis. What this means, in other terms, is that the Document Foundation does not provide support; nor does it provide service to customers. In this sense, it is not a software vendor like Microsoft or Adobe. This is also one of the reasons why there is no “LTS” version of LibreOffice; because the Document Foundation will not provide a more or less mythical “bug-free version” of LibreOffice without ensuring the developers get paid for this. The healthiest way to do this is to grow an ecosystem of developers and service providers who are certified by the Document Foundation and are able to provide professionals with support, development, training and assistance.

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Announcing Project Zero

Filed under
Google
OSS
Security

Security is a top priority for Google. We've invested a lot in making our products secure, including strong SSL encryption by default for Search, Gmail and Drive, as well as encrypting data moving between our data centers. Beyond securing our own products, interested Googlers also spend some of their time on research that makes the Internet safer, leading to the discovery of bugs like Heartbleed.

The success of that part-time research has led us to create a new, well-staffed team called Project Zero.

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New Plasma brings a cleaner interface on top of a new graphics stack

Filed under
KDE

Plasma 5.0
Plasma 5.0
July 15, 2014. KDE proudly announces the immediate availability of Plasma 5.0, providing a visually updated core desktop experience that is easy to use and familiar to the user. Plasma 5.0 introduces a new major version of KDE's workspace offering. The new Breeze artwork concept introduces cleaner visuals and improved readability. Central work-flows have been streamlined, while well-known overarching interaction patterns are left intact. Plasma 5.0 improves support for high-DPI displays and ships a converged shell, able to switch between user experiences for different target devices. Changes under the hood include the migration to a new, fully hardware-accelerated graphics stack centered around an OpenGL(ES) scenegraph. Plasma is built using Qt 5 and Frameworks 5.

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OpenWRT 14.07 RC1 Brings Native IPv6 Support, New Init System

Filed under
Linux

The first release candidate to OpenWRT "Barrier Breaker" 14.07 is now available with a large number of changes to this popular embedded Linux distribution primarily for routers and other network devices.

Among the highlights for OpenWRT 14.07 RC1 "Barrier Breaker" is an update against the Linux 3.10 kernel, a new preinit/init/hot-plug/event system (their own Procd custom creation), native IPv6 support, file-system improvements, configuration improvements, numerous networking enhancements, initial support for the Musl C standard library, support for DNSSEC validation, and a wide assortment of other improvements for this embedded Linux platform.

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New AMD Catalyst 14.6 Beta Video Driver for Linux Now Out

Filed under
Graphics/Benchmarks
Linux

It's been quite a while since the previous driver release by AMD for the Linux platform and it looks like the company still isn't ready to promote a stable version. This means that the Linux users will have to contend with yet another Beta. At least it comes with a few fixes.

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Why is Cabinet Office Holding Back Microsoft's ODF Emails?

Filed under
LibO
Microsoft
OOo

Back in May, I wrote about my less-than-happy experience in putting in a Freedom of Information request to the UK Cabinet Office on the subject of ODF formats: I am writing in connection with Francis Maude's speech on 29 January 2014 in which he announced that the UK government would be adopting ODF as one of its preferred formats. I would be grateful if you could please supply me with the following information: What meetings, telephone or email exchanges were held with representatives of Microsoft or the Business Software Alliance at any time during the last six months that discussed document formats and/or the UK government's new policy on open document formats.

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Apple iPhone 6 Clone Surfaces in China as CCTV Cautions Against iPhone Usage, Fearing NSA Spying

Filed under
Android
Linux
Mac
Gadgets

However, it's still believed to be Android at play here that has been tweaked enough to offer an iOS like UI, claims 9to5Mac.

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Microsoft Said to Announce Job Cuts as Soon as This Week

Filed under
Microsoft

The restructuring may end up being the biggest in Microsoft history, topping the 5,800 jobs cut in 2009, two of the people said. Some details are still being worked out, two of the people said.

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Tell the FCC: Net Neutrality is crucial to free software

Filed under
GNU

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) needs to be convinced that Net Neutrality is worth saving.

The agency has asked members of the public, along with industry leaders and entrepreneurs, to tell it why Internet Service Providers should be banned from traffic discrimination. This comment window is one of the best opportunities we've had to make an impact. Comments are due July 15, 2014. Submit your statement in support of Net Neutrality right away using the Electronic Frontier Foundation's free software commenting tool.

Net neutrality, the principle that all traffic on the Internet should be treated equally, should be a basic right for Internet users. It's also crucial for free software's continued growth and success.

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