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Mesa 10.3.2 Has A Couple Bug-Fixes

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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"

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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

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

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."


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

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

4 See

5 See

6 See p. 22 of the judgment.

7 See p. 21 of the judgment.

8 See

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

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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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Google’s Nest buys Linux automation firm, adds five partners

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Google’s Nest Labs acquired Revolv, a maker of Linux-based home automation devices, and announced five new Nest-compatible devices. including the Pebble.

After Google acquired Nest Labs in January $3.2 billion, placing a stake in the fast-growing home automation business, Nest acquired home surveillance camera maker Dropcam in June for $555 million. Now Nest announced it has acquired another major home automation company in its purchase of Revolv. The acquisition, which was announced with no dollar amount, came shortly after the Boulder, Colo. based company announced compatibility with the Nest Learning Thermostat and Nest Protect CO/smoke detector.

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Make Your Own Wireless Printer With A Raspberry Pi

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Wireless technology is perhaps the best improvement to home printing for years. Fewer cables, flexibility about where you can put your printer – it’s win-win. Unless you have an older printer.

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For Intel Core i7 5960X Haswell-E Linux testing I originally bought an MSI X99S SLI PLUS motherboard as it was one of the most interesting, lowest-priced boards available at the time of the Intel X99 chipset debut. While I initially ran into some problems, those issues have now been confirmed to be isolated, and with a replacement X99S SLI PLUS motherboard I have been stressing it constantly for the past few weeks on Fedora and Ubuntu. The X99S SLI PLUS has now proven itself to be a reliable motherboard that's still among the least expensive X99 ATX motherboards on the market.

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Is the Tizen Samsung Z Alive and running Tizen 2.3 SM-Z910F ? #TDS14SH

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At the Tizen Developer Summit 2014 Shanghai, Samsung were showing off the Gear S, and also the Samsung Z Smartphone. Taking a further glimpse at the settings we can see that it is listed as running Tizen 2.3, which recently saw the release of the Tizen 2.3 Beta SDK. As a recap, the Samsung Z was the Tizen flagship Smartphone that Samsung were due to release at the Tizen developer summit in Russia, but cancelled the launch with only 48 hours to spare.

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Another Tor router crowdfunding project nixed by Kickstarter

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Kickstarter is apparently not the place to go if you’re trying to crowdfund privacy hardware. Just days after the Anonabox project, a highly criticized effort to package the Tor privacy protection service into a portable miniature Wi-Fi router, was suspended by the crowdfunding site, another similar project has met its demise—and its founder’s account has been deleted.

TorFi, which Ars mentioned in a report on October 21, was a project by Jesse Enjaian and David Xu of Berkeley, California aimed at creating home routers with turnkey Tor protection and support for OpenVPN connections—allowing users to route all their Internet traffic either through Tor's "onion router" network or a virtual private network provider of their choice. The project’s initial pitch was dependent on repurposing routers from TP-Link purchased through retail and re-flashing them with a customized version of the OpenWRT embedded operating system.

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Rise of Linux – a hacker’s history

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The original code of Linux was written for fun, or in Eric Raymond’s phrase, to ‘scratch the itch’ of Linus Torvalds, and later to satisfy the enthusiasm and programming itch of an assortment of hackers and hobbyists who, for the most part, had grown up in the age of the ZX80 and the BBC Micro, Acorns and Apricots, for which the code was often available – and hackable.

For those who spent their childhood or adolescence delving into the home computers of the late Seventies and early Eighties, playing with software was a learning experience, and something to be shared. Linux could be said to have grown out of this ethos as much as it grew out of the free software movement, or the early Nineties culture of Usenet where “if you wrote something neat you posted it to Usenet” and the only proviso that came with the software was that “if the software breaks you get to keep both pieces.”

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Being a Sporadic Overview Of Linux Distribution Release Validation Processes

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Our glorious Fedora uses Mediawiki to manage both test cases and test results for manual release validation. This is clearly ludicrous, but works much better than it has any right to.

‘Dress rehearsal’ composes of the entire release media set are built and denoted as Test Composes or Release Candidates, which can be treated interchangably as ‘composes’ for our purposes here. Each compose represents a test event. In the ‘TCMS’ a test event is represented as a set of wiki pages; each wiki page can be referred to as a test type. Each wiki page must contain at least one wiki table with the rows representing a concept I refer to as a unique test or a test instance. There may be multiple tables on a page; usually they will be in separate wiki page sections.

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Android Wear Gets Its First Big Update

Google's Android Wear on Thursday got its first major update, bringing GPS support and offline music capabilities to the wearables platform. "Android Wear is great for tracking things like route, distance and speed," wrote Kenny Stoltz, Android Wear product manager. "Before today, you had to keep your phone close at hand. Starting today, Wear supports watches with GPS sensors, so you can enjoy these features regardless of where your phone's at." Read more

Positive results from Outreach Program for Women

In 2013, Debian participated in both rounds of the GNOME Outreach Program for Women (OPW). The first round was run in conjunction with GSoC and the second round was a standalone program. The publicity around these programs and the strength of the Google and Debian brands attracted a range of female candidates, many of whom were shortlisted by mentors after passing their coding tests and satisfying us that they had the capability to complete a project successfully. As there are only a limited number of places for GSoC and limited funding for OPW, only a subset of these capable candidates were actually selected. The second round of OPW, for example, was only able to select two women. Read more

Mesa 10.3.2 Has A Couple Bug-Fixes

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. Read more

openSUSE Tumbling, Fedora Slipping, and Calculating Linux

The big news today is the merger of openSUSE Factory and Tumbleweed. Fedora 21 is delayed again due to numerous blockers. Jack M. Germain looks at Calculate Linux 14 and Bryan Lunduke is back with another desktop review, this week LXDE. There's a "victory for free software" in the news, but it's not in Berlin where Microsoft Office is being substituted for OpenOffice. Read more