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AV Linux Dazzles Both Eyes and Ears
May 08, 2014
AV Linux can turn a new or old PC, or an Intel-powered Mac box, into a workstation for audio/graphics/video enthusiasts. AV Linux is a specialty distro much in the style of the CAELinux distro for engineers and scientists and the Musix distro for audio and music production that I reviewed in recent weeks. AV Linux is not your typical Linux desktop. It has a custom-designed Linux kernel.
Making Linux Feel at Home
May 07, 2014
Migrating to a different OS is never easy. Keeping the Windows opened or not chewing on a MacIntosh can be a frustrating and costly experience. Buying new upgraded hardware to keep up with costly new software releases is often an exercise in futility. Running a Linux distribution at home or in a small office can be a productive endeavor that brings cost savings and increased efficiency.
GitHub Unleashes Atom Into Open Source Realm
May 06, 2014
After launching its Atom text editor into beta back in February, GitHub on Tuesday announced that the software is now fully open source under the MIT License. "Much of Atom's functionality is provided by packages, and every Atom package has been open source since the day we launched the beta," explained GitHub developer Nathan Sobo. "Today, we're open sourcing the rest of Atom."
Snowden's Beloved Tails OS Reaches v1.0 Milestone
May 01, 2014
The volunteers who developed Tails, the open source operating system used by whistleblower Edward Snowden, this week released v1.0. This is the 36th stable release of the OS since the first public version, then called "Amnesia," was released in June 2009. Various security and bug fixes have been incorporated into v1.0. They include a Web browser upgrade and a Tor upgrade.
Musix Linux: Sweet Strains Jarred by Sour Notes
April 30, 2014
The Musix Linux distro is a specialty OS with an impressive collection of tools for users with a passion mostly for audio and music production. That same collection of tools should be included for video, given the blending of music and video popular in distributing entertainment on the Internet today. Yet it is missing from Musix. Musix also lacks its own software repository.
Brian Warner: Tizen Has Good Bones
April 29, 2014
The consumer electronics industry has a secret ingredient: the Tizen OS. It is alive and well and may control a device you now use or the next one you buy. That might surprise some early adopters who watch eagerly for the next bleeding-edge electronics device. Many of those who have heard of Tizen are under the impression that it has no consumer or developer-ready devices in the marketplace.
Polishing the Rare Gem That Is Linux
April 28, 2014
"Love is blind," as the old saying goes, and that can be just as true when the object of love is a thing -- an operating system, say -- as a person. Case in point? Linux. Fans of the operating system love it, perhaps even to the point where they can no longer see its -- gasp! -- imperfections. Fortunately, the Linux community includes some clear-eyed observers and thinkers.
Federal Initiative Aims to Spur Software Development
April 24, 2014
The allure of Big Data stems from the ability to use advanced technology to manage and manipulate huge amounts of information. Not only that, Big Data offers the opportunity for unlocking information not previously available, and even not previously knowable. However, the software required to underpin Big Data and related IT advances may not be up to the task.
Reading Into the Red Hat CentOS Deal
April 23, 2014
There was a somewhat quiet, cost-free acquisition of sorts in the Linux world earlier this year when Red Hat announced it was joining forces with Red Hat Enterprise Linux community clone CentOS. The move, which effectively brings organization, governance, backing and technology of CentOS under Red Hat's brim, is interesting for a few reasons.
Heartbleed and Heartache in FOSS Town
April 21, 2014
Well it's been a wild few weeks here in the Linux blogosphere, thanks not just to XP's demise but also the long-overdue discovery of the all-pervasive Heartbleed bug. That the bug is "catastrophic" appears to be beyond dispute; in fact, "some might argue that it is the worst vulnerability found ... since commercial traffic began to flow on the Internet," as at least one commentator suggested.
Adobe's Open Source Tightrope Walk
April 19, 2014
Open source software continues to gain momentum -- but what is not growing is an open desire among individual software developers to port their commercial Windows wares to Linux. Open source support is not a mere in or out decision. Some software makers shape their business models to take advantage of open source support for some products but not others.
uGet Gives Great Downloads
April 17, 2014
The latest version of the uGet Download Manager rekindled my interest in grabbing files without relying on a Web browser. uGet version 1.10.4. was released last month. Written in C, it uses GTK+3 for its user interface, and it is packed full with improvements. It is very reliable and stable, with 11 years of growth behind it. The uGet website has received a makeover to better support users.
Fun and Angst With Google Glass
April 15, 2014
Google Glass, which has been the focus of considerable controversy, went on sale Tuesday -- for one day only -- at $1,500, with Android KitKat and new features that include improved battery life, photo bundles, photo replies and voice command sorting. However, one feature -- video calling -- has been eliminated because fewer than 10 percent of Explorer beta users employed it.
Linux and the Post-XP Cry for Help
April 14, 2014
Well the Linux landscape shifted dramatically last week, and not just because of the discovery of the Heartbleed bug. No indeed, there's another key reason this little planet of ours isn't the same as it was a week ago, and that's none other than Windows XP's long-anticipated end of life. "As of April 8, 2014, support and updates for Windows XP are no longer available," wrote Microsoft.
Desperately Seeking Linux Programmers
April 11, 2014
Help Wanted: computer programmers needed to code and maintain Linux systems. The Linux operating system and Linux servers are so widely used today that not enough Linux-trained coders and system techs exist. Software developers and enterprise IT departments have jobs but no takers. To fill this shortage, the Linux Foundation has partnered with edX to offer a free online course.
CAELinux Is the Ideal Distro for Designing Scientists
April 10, 2014
CAELinux is a perfect example of the power of open source to tailor the Linux OS to users' specialized needs. This computer-assisted engineering distro clearly is not for the vast majority of Linux users, but it certainly has all the features you would expect in any mature Linux OS -- and then some. The extra ingredients make CAELinux a unique Linux distro for engineers and scientists.
France Bans Mobile Phones During Cabinet Sessions
April 10, 2014
French President Francois Hollande has imposed a ban on mobile phones during cabinet sessions, forcing ministers to leave their devices at the door. The move is designed to help "focus on what we must do," a spokesperson said, and will ensure that government folk "talk and listen to what is said and will no longer be able to tap away at this magnificent tool."
FOSS Community Hustles to Fix Gaping Heartbleed Flaw
April 08, 2014
A flaw in OpenSSL that has been around since 2011, the Heartbleed Bug, lets hackers steal information protected by the SSL/TLS encryption used to secure the Internet. Codenomics, which co-discovered the flaw at about the same time as Google's Neel Mehta, tested some of its own services and found it could steal "the secret keys used for our X.509 certificates, user names and passwords" and more.
Calligra 2.8 Is Too Sweet for Words Alone
April 03, 2014
If you spend any amount of time creating documents, graphics or organizing data into reports or visual presentations, drop whatever collection of tools you use and put the Calligra Suite to the test. The Calligra Suite is a forked set of office tools for the KDE desktop that branched off the stalled KOffice suite. However, you do not have to run the KDE environment to get it.
Would You Like Your Open Source All the Way?
April 01, 2014
The enterprise software industry today can be compared to the menus offered at fast-food eateries. Some offer their star item only one way. Others let you have it your way. How much choice you have often determines where you do your eating. The same option -- or lack of it -- is the driving principal behind attracting and keeping enterprise customers paying for open source product support.
New Linux Office Suite Too Soft to Be King
March 27, 2014
The Kingsoft Office Suite holds the promise of bringing a near perfect clone of Microsoft Office to Linux desktop users. However, Kingsoft's developers still have some work to do on the Linux Alpha release to make it a beta deal. Other than OpenOffice and LibreOffice, the Linux platform lacks any full-featured office suite. Both of these more in common with each other than distinguishing features.
Is Google Thwarting Android-x86 Development?
March 26, 2014
Has Google been spreading FUD to discourage computer makers from using an Android OS retooled to run on legacy computers? The maintainer of the Android-x86 Project has suggested that the Justice Department should investigate whether Google has been interfering with adoption of the open source code his community is developing. The FOSS development world is hardly free of rivalry and power plays.
Sony Gives Android Wear the Cold Shoulder
March 25, 2014
It's been just barely a week since Google's Android Wear project made its initial debut, but already one major maker of wearable devices has snubbed the new platform. Sony this week said it will stick with its own Android-based SmartWatch platform for wearables instead. Consumer electronics manufacturers including Asus, HTC, LG, Motorola and Samsung have signed on as Android Wear partners.
Linux Goes to the Head of the Class
March 21, 2014
A new book on open source education teaches school leaders and parents why kids need to see coding as more than cool. Energizing Education through Open Source: Using Open Source Software to Enhance Learning by Christopher Whittum makes a strong case for deploying the Linux OS and its academic software in schools. This book should be required reading for developing computer-driven curricula.

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