Recommended Readinginvestigates the openness of the OOXML (OpenXML) document standard. "From what I've been reading, which I'll share with you, I think it's time to ask ourselves some serious questions: does OOXML really qualify as a standard? Or is it yet another monopoly-enabler in the guise of a standard? It's a good time to ask, because it turns out that we are right now in the window of time where contradictions in the OOXML standard can be reported by member bodies of the ISO/IEC Joint Technical Committee 1. February 5 is the deadline, so now is the time to bring such to their attention." looks at what went wrong with Chandler as reflected in the new book Dreaming in Code. "Still, it's a great look at one particular type of software project: the kind that ends up spinning and spinning its wheels without really going anywhere because the vision was too grand and the details were a little short. Near as I can tell, Chandler's original vision was pretty much just to be 'revolutionary.' Well, I don't know about you, but I can't code 'revolutionary.' I need more details to write code."
Trade Shows and Conferencescovers day two at linux.conf.au. "The seventh Linux.conf.au (LCA) continued Tuesday at the Kensington campus of the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, with miniconferences and a keynote by Christopher Blizzard. Blizzard spoke about interface design for the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project, and how to be relevant to users. He ventured into slightly dangerous territory, saying that part of being "relevant" means being able to "move the needle" -- that is, increase adoption -- and asked, "How many years now has it been 'the year of the Linux desktop'?"" covers an LCA talk by LWN's Jonathan Corbet. "Two years after his 2005 Kernel Report, Colorado-based Linux developer Jonathan Corbet returned to Australia's linux.conf.au conference in Sydney this week to discuss recent enhancements to the open source operating system. Corbet said the next release, kernel 2.6.20, will include a whole lot of new drivers, including a USB vision driver which will bring support for USB Web cams. "Linux hardware support is better than ever and it supports more hardware natively out-of-the-box than any other operating system," he said. "The biggest problem is vendors that won't release drivers or specifications."" reports from sunny Sydney. "The seventh Linux.conf.au continued Thursday at the Kensington campus of the University of New South Wales in Sydney with talks, tutorials, and Open Day. I didn't attend as many talks on Thursday as I did during the first half of the week because I had my own talk to deliver at 11 a.m. on marketing open source projects. You can view it online, along with most of the other talks. I've encountered very few "drone and point" talks at LCA 2007, perhaps thanks to a presentation at the speaker's dinner on Monday on improving presentations and making them more engaging."
The SCO Problemexamines SCO's recently released fourth quarter financial report. "SCO's revenue for the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2006 was $7.349 million, a decline of over a million dollars from $8.528 million for the comparable quarter of the prior year. The company managed to staunch its losses to a degree. The net loss for the quarter was $3.743 million, or $0.18 per diluted common share, as compared to a net loss of $3.431 million, or $0.19 per diluted common share, for the comparable quarter of the prior year. Darl McBride, president and CEO said in a conference call that "The decrease in revenue was primarily attributable to continued competitive pressures on the company's Unix products and services.""
Companiesreports that SageTV LLC and Linspire are collaborating on the SageTV Media Center Version 6. "SageTV Media Center software lets users watch, pause, and record TV programs on their Linux PCs, and provides a single user interface for accessing online video as well as personal music, photos, and videos stored on a PC or network. The optional SageTV Placeshifter, ala Slingbox, now also enables users to access their PC-based media library on any Internet-connected Linspire PC."
Linux Adoptionreports on a draft information technology policy being discussed in Kerala, India. "The policy stresses that Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) will be used in e-governance projects. Open standards such as Unicode and Open Document Format and Open Architectures will be followed in e-governance projects to avoid total dependence on select vendors. The Government proposed to develop the State as the FOSS destination in the country. It will provide special incentives to companies developing FOSS." (Thanks to Joseph Vimal.)
Legalreports that Alan Cox addressed a House of Lords hearing on the topic of software security liability. "Cox said that it would be difficult to make open-source developers liable for their code because of the nature of open-source software development. As developers share code around the community, responsibility is collective. "Potentially there's no way to enforce liability," he said. The question of open-source liability becomes more complex because of how the code is used, added Cox. Open-source code is generally given away, but companies use that code to develop their own products. Cox said that there was a question of how liability would move from the initial developers to the companies."
Interviewsarticle includes an interview with the developers. "Why and how did you get started? Chris: The first Rosegarden project was a university project that started at the end of 1993 at the University of Bath. I just kept working on it after I left university. The current program is a separate project that we made a fresh start on (complete with SourceForge page!) at the start of 2000. But we already knew each other by then and had been working together for a while." (Found on KDE.News) has announced a new interview in the People Behind KDE series, this one features Daniel Molkentin. "For the next interview in the fortnightly People Behind KDE series we meet a developer who has unfinished business with midges, someone who prefers bullets to stars -- tonight's star of People Behind KDE is Daniel Molkentin." an interview with the founders of the gNewSense distribution. "The co-founders of gNewSense, Paul O'Malley & Brian Brazil, very kindly agreed to give an interview. As usual, it was conducted by email. It's great to have their two differing perspectives. Between them, they provide a balance that is probably responsible for the success of gNewSense. Their passion is also quite evident. They tell us what gNewSense is about, where it's going, and why their distribution maintenance tool, "Builder", is so invaluable." (Thanks to Joey Schulze) looks at Rui Nuno Capela's Linux sound & music software catalog and talks with Rui Capela. "Rui Capela's software has appeared in this column many times. I've written about it directly (see At the Sounding Edge: Using QSynth and QJackCtl and HDRs and DAWs For Linux: The New Breed) and it shows up in almost every article I write. I'm not exaggerating when I state that Rui's programs have become indispensable components here at Studio Dave, so naturally I'm interested in the mind behind it all. In this entry I'll recap the nature and state of Rui's software, after which we'll meet the man himself in another lively interview here at the sounding edge." talks with David Jencks about Apache Geronimo security. "A full-service application server like Apache Geronimo needs to have a full-service security implementation, and that means more than just supporting SSL connections. It means securing the internal requests made within an application. In this installment, David Jencks talks to the renegade about the current and future view of Geronimo's security implementation."
Resourcesa summary of sales in the computer book market with some interesting trend graphics. "Bright spots in the market include SQL Server and to a lesser extent MySQL, as well as data warehousing and data analysis; open source programming languages Python and Ruby; "Linux Other" (which really these days means Ubuntu); and software engineering topics like project management, agile programming, object oriented programming, and user interface design; Cisco; and .Net programming." sets up a Linux box as a dial-in server. "This document describes how to attach modems to a Linux box and allow it to receive calls to connect users to the network. Its like being your own ISP (Internet Service Provider). If your Linux box is connected to the Internet, then the users will also be connected to the Internet. Your Linux box becomes a router. This is also known as RAS (Remote Access Services) in the Microsoft world. In the Linux world its called PPP (Point to Point Protocol)." looks at customizing OpenOffice.org. "OpenOffice.org includes dozens of options for how it behaves. Available from Tools > Options, they are divided into general settings for the entire office suite and settings particular to each application. General settings are available under the general headings of OpenOffice.org, Load/Save, and Language Settings." a tutorial on setting Samba share permissions. "Samba comes with different types of permissions for share. Try to remember few things about UNIX and Samba permissions. (a) Linux system permissions take precedence over Samba permissions. For example if a directory does not have Linux write permission, setting samba writeable = Yes (see below) will not allow to write to shared directory / share. (b) The filesystem permission cannot be take priority over Samba permission."
Reviewsreviews Amarok on Linux.com. "So, you got the new iPod that you wanted for Christmas, but you're no fan of iTunes. No problem -- you can cast off your iTunes chains and manage your music entirely with Linux using Amarok. Amarok gives you everything you need to manage your music, from playing to burning music CDs to managing your portable music player." looks at FreeNAS. "FreeNAS is a small, powerful, full-featured implementation of FreeBSD as a network-attached storage device. (It also happens to be January's Project of the Month at SourceForge.net.) If you're a Linux user like me, the BSD-speak used for devices and such might give you pause, but other than that small caveat, installation and usage shouldn't be a problem. It's powerful enough to be used in the enterprise, but it's friendly enough so that even a typical home office user can take advantage of it. Here's how I created an easy-to-use NAS device for rsync backups and FTP server on my LAN." a reasonably comprehensive review of several free music players. "The way Amarok presents your music library stands in stark contrast to the approach of the Gnome apps I've covered thus far. Albums are grouped by artist in a hierarchical listing. A search box provides instantaneous filtering--the fastest in any app I tested. And The Beatles are alphabetized under 'B.'" looks at OVIS, an open-source software tool that provides intelligent, real-time monitoring of computer clusters. "OVIS 1.1 takes a statistical approach to the problem of computational platform monitoring and analysis. Traditionally, cluster monitoring tools keep an eye on manufacturer-specified, "absolute" thresholds. OVIS takes a new tack. It observes the overall statistical properties and environmental effects of a cluster, characterizing individual device behaviors and comparing them to a large number of statistically similar devices." takes a look at Psiphon on NewsForge. "Last month, Toronto-based civic activists at The Citizen Lab released a new open source secure Web browsing tool designed to let people in repressive countries tunnel through government Internet filters. Known as Psiphon, the program allows users with unfiltered Internet access to provide a private, SSL-encrypted Web proxy for use by individuals in firewalled countries." Linux binaries of Psion are in the works, but have not yet been released.
Miscellaneouslooks at some recent announcements in this Linux Journal article. "Wow: has there ever been a month in computing like this one? A January distinguished by not one major announcement, not two, but four significant events that will surely go down as milestones in the history of technology."
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