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Handy Disk Image Tools

Filed under
Linux
Hardware
Software

Disk images are computer files of a disk volume or an entire data storage device, such as a hard drive, optical disk (e.g. DVD, CD, Blu-ray), tape drive, USB flash drive, or floppy disk. A disk image represents the content exactly as it is on the original storage device, including both data and structure information.

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The Unbundling Of That Other OS At Lenovo

Filed under
GNU
Linux

For years, I’ve been annoyed that Lenovo supports GNU/Linux on all its PCs and will ship GNU/Linux for those who demand it but did not advertise GNU/Linux units side by side with units burdened with that other OS.

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OverlayFS Finally Offered For Pulling Into Linux 3.18

Filed under
Linux

When Linux 3.18-rc1 was released last week, one week sooner than anticipated, Linus Torvalds mentioned he was willing to still allow OverlayFS to be merged this cycle. One week later, that code is hopefully now ready for merging.

While Linux 3.18-rc2 is expected for release later today, last night Al Viro sent in a new VFS pull request that finally has OverlayFS ready for landing. OverlayFS has been aiming for Linux 3.18 and it's finally moving ahead while already having a lot of users even though it's not been part of the mainline kernel tree. OverlayFS is a simple union file-system already used by some live DVD/USB Linux distributions like Mageia and OpenWRT. OverlayFS has been trying for years to get mainlined in the Linux kernel but not all kernel developers have been happy with it -- some objecting it's incomplete, not happy with the design, etc.

With this pull request hopefully it will be honored by Torvalds today and let OverlayFS make it into Linux 3.18 this late. Anyhow, there's already a lot of other great features to Linux 3.18.

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Pi2D2 interview

Filed under
Linux
Interviews
Sci/Tech

It was a pretty long project. I didn’t work on it full time, obviously, but I probably worked on it over a period of six months, and most of the time was writing the software. A lot of the software was written in Python – like the controls for the webcam, the soundboard and everything – so most of the time was getting the software running and getting the kinks worked out. Like where if it loses a Wi-Fi connection it tries to rejoin and things like that. So, yeah, I definitely want to revisit it, and obviously the second time round you can do it a lot better than you did the first, so I’d like to go back.

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[Video] Hands-on with the Samsung Gear S at the Tizen Developer Summit in shanghai 2014

Filed under
Linux

Navigating around the display is a breeze with swiping down from the clock face bringing down quick controls for volume, screen brightness and also the do not disturb setting. Swiping left brings you the user selectable and also installable widgets. This means that you can have the app widgets that matter to you most within striking distance. Swiping right from the clock face brings you to you notifications, where you are easily able to select notifications from different applications such as SMS, Whatsapp, email etc.

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GParted Live 0.20.0-2 Stable Release

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Debian

This live image contains GParted 0.20.0 which improves resizing for multi-device btrfs file systems. Also included is a patched version of parted 3.2 that fixes a crash that would occur when resizing fat16 file systems.

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Corporate Desktop Linux

Filed under
GNU
Linux

A business doesn’t need a fleet of GNU/Linux guys to run IT. A few will do because one person can easily manage thousands of PCs with FLOSS. There are no licences to count, no networking limitations, no CPUs to count, … They just have to run the software any way that makes sense.

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Mesa 10.3.2 Has A Couple Bug-Fixes

Filed under
Graphics/Benchmarks
Linux

For those living by stable Mesa releases rather than the exciting, bleeding-edge Mesa Git code for open-source Linux graphics drivers, Mesa 10.3.2 is available this Friday night.

Mesa 10.3.2 has fixes for Nouveauy's GM107 Maxwell and GK110 support, a handful of Intel DRI driver fixes, and also a few R600g/RadeonSI driver fixes.

Mesa stable users interested in learning more can find the 10.3.2 release announcement by Emil Velikov, the new Mesa release manager. For those after the latest Git developments, Mesa 10.4 will be declared stable in December.

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A victory for free software over the "Microsoft tax"

Filed under
GNU
Linux

This is a guest post by Marco Ciurcina, a lawyer who worked on this case.

The Italian Supreme Court (Corte di Cassazione) issued a
judgment1 that bans the "Microsoft tax," a commercial
practice that discourages users from converting their PCs to GNU/Linux
or other free operating systems by forcing them to pay for a Windows
license with their PCs. PC producers in Italy now cannot refuse to
refund the price of the license to purchasers that will not run
Windows.

The ruling definitively concludes the case filed in 2005 against a hardware
producer by Marco Pieraccioli,2 with the support of the Consumer Association
ADUC,3 and affirms Marco Pieraccioli's right to a refund for the price of the
Microsoft Windows license for the computer he purchased.

The primary reason to insist on using free software4 is because nonfree
software deprives the user of freedom, including the freedom to participate in
its development. The "Microsoft tax" has no effect on that issue.

The "free" in "free software" refers to freedom. It does not mean "gratis,"
and copies of free software do not have to be distributed without charge.
Selling a copy of one free program or many of them is legitimate.5

However, most GNU/Linux distributions are offered to the public
gratis, while Windows is not. Therefore, switching to GNU/Linux offers
an opportunity for the secondary benefit of saving money -- a benefit
that many Italians would value. The "Microsoft tax" has the effect of
abolishing that secondary benefit. Now the secondary benefit must be
available.

The ruling applies to more than just Windows. The Court states a
general principle that applies to any device with software
preinstalled: "...who buys a computer on which a given operational
software (operating system) was preinstalled by the manufacturer has
the right, if he does not agree to the conditions of the license of
the software made available to him at first start of the computer, to
retain the computer returning only the software covered by the license
he did not accept, with refund of the part of the price that
specifically relates to it."6

According to the Supreme Court, any commercial practice that prevents the user
from getting a refund "..would clash in different ways with the rules that
protect the freedom of choice of the consumer, and the freedom of competition
among firms..."7

On the one hand, therefore, the judgment follows the path of the French
Courts' case law, that on several occasions stated that the joint sale of
hardware and software, without providing for the buyer the possibility to
obtain refund of preinstalled software, violates the right of the consumer.8

On the other hand, the Italian Supreme Court states that the act of
hindering the refund violates the freedom of competition among firms.
This statement of principle is interesting considering that, to date,
the antitrust authorities have done little against business practices
that "force" the joint sale of hardware and proprietary software. Now
they may consider taking stronger action.

The focus of the Court's reasoning is that the sale of a PC with software
preinstalled is not like the sale of a car with its components (the 4 wheels,
the engine, etc.) that therefore are sold jointly. Buying a computer with
preinstalled software, the user is required to conclude two different
contracts: the first, when he buys the computer; the second, when he turns on
the computer for the first time and he is required to accept or not the license
terms of the preinstalled software.9 Therefore, if the user does not accept
the software license, he has the right to keep the computer and install free
software without having to pay the "Microsoft tax."

Notes:

1 Judgement n. 19161/2014 published 11/9/2014

http://www.italgiure.giustizia.it/xway/application/nif/clean/hc.dll?verbo=attach&db=snciv&id=./20140912/snciv@s30@a2014@n19161@tS.clean.pdf.

2 I had the honor to assist before the Supreme Court Marco Pieraccioli who
already had favorable decisions both at first instance (judgment no. 5384/2007
of the Giudice di Pace di Firenze) and in second degree (judgment no.
2526/2010 of the Tribunale di Firenze).

3 See http://aduc.it/.

4 See https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.

5 See https://gnu.org/philosophy/selling.

6 See p. 22 of the judgment.

7 See p. 21 of the judgment.

8 See http://non.aux.racketiciels.info/.

9 The judgment at p. 21 states: "Having been assessed that there are not
technological obstacles, the 'packaging' at the source of hardware and
operating system Microsoft Windows (as it would for any other operating system
for a fee) would actually respond, in substance, to a trade policy aimed at
the forceful spread of the latter in the hardware retail (at least in that, a
large majority, headed by the most established OEM brands); among other
things, with cascade effects in order to the imposition on the market of
additional software applications whose dissemination among final customers finds
strong stimulus and influence - if not genuine compulsion - in more or less
intense constraints of compatibility and interoperability (that this time we
could define 'technological with commercial effect') with that operating system,
that has at least tendency to be monopolistic".

© Marco Ciurcina, 2014 – Some rights reserved
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International
License or any later version.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 license (or later version)

Cumulus Linux 2.5 adds mainstream L2 features to bare-metal switching

Filed under
Linux
Server

As Cumulus Networks attempts to expand beyond the early adopters of its Cumulus Linux bare-metal switch operating system, it is adding Layer 2 networking features aimed at making it easier for enterprises to make the transition from legacy environments to the IP fabrics that most cloud computing customers operate.

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