Wednesday, June 27, 2012

HP Delivers WebOS Community Edition

If you're old enough to remember the heyday of Palm and how many people swore by their Palm devices, you may wax nostalgic at the news that Hewlett-Packard has released the first part of WebOS Community Edition (WOCE), which is what the Palm operating system has morphed into after all this time. The open source offering is targeted at people who own HP's TouchPad tablet. The first release of WOCE is downloadable now.
While HP has already open source some WebOS components, WOCE is a full Community Edition mobile operating system. There is a support wiki available for community members to ask questions and generate discussions.
There is another release coming from HP called OpenWebOS, slated to arrive in September, which will be an open source platform that is appropriate for many kinds of mobile devices and not just the TouchPad.
You can find HP's blog post about the new WOCE offering here. As the post notes:
"The Community Edition is focused on supporting the TouchPad. By contrast, the Open webOS 1.0 release planned for September includes modernized technologies to better enable the community to port webOS to the hardware of their choice, and to integrate open source technologies in areas such as BlueZ bluetooth and GStreamer. No matter which aspect of the platform you care about, webOS will provide options for you. The source code can be found here."

Announcements Pour In from Red Hat's Conference

This week, the Red Hat Summit and JBoss World 2012 conference is going on, and Red Hat is making a number of new announcements. In addition, Red Hat's always highly quotable CEO Jim Whitehurst--a veteran of the airline industry--is out with some notable reflections on the state of open source.
Much has written about Red Hat's OpenShift platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offering, which gives developers tools and frameworks for building cutting-edge cloud applications. At this week's conference, Red Hat has delivered some forward-looking glimpses at OpenShift's business model. In particular, Red Hat will offer enterprise-class service for it. One strain of the platform and surrounding services will be called FreeShift and remain free, while a paid offering called MegaShift will include full support services from Red Hat.
Red Hat has also announced the Red Hat Pathway to Open Source Enablement consulting service aimed at helping customers "formalize enterprise open source adoption, development, and governance strategies." The strategic business consulting service is scheduled to be available in North America beginning in July, and will expand into additional regions. 
Meanwhile, Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst has delivered some wise words at this week's conference. As ZDNet notes, there are some key decisions coming up regarding open source and its role in IT architecture:
"Open source has gone mainstream … open source is the default choice of the next generation IT architecture...The decisions we make over the next few years [are critical] … if we have a new architecture with an old business model it still does not get us there."
 Only a few days ago, Red Hat's stock slid after the company reported earnings, but it has since picked up momentum again. And, only recently, Red Hat became the very first billion-dollar-a-year company focused on open source.

Download KDE SC 4.9 Release Candidate 1

The KDE Project announced a few minutes ago, June 27th, that the first Release Candidate of the upcoming KDE Software Compilation 4.9 desktop environment is available for download and testing.

KDE SC 4.9 RC1 is here to fix bugs found in previous development versions, as well as to further polish old and new functionality.

KDE Software Compilation 4.9 will be released in August and it will contain features such as Qt Quick in Plasma Workspaces, improved searching, sorting, display and inline rename on Dolphin, better integration of Activities for files, as well as lots of performance improvements and bugfixes to improve the overall user experience.

Download KDE Software Compilation 4.9 RC1

SolusOS 2 Alpha 5 Has LibreOffice 3.5.4 and VLC 2.0.1

Ikey Doherty has just announced today, June 27th, that the fifth Alpha version of the upcoming SolusOS 2 Linux operating system is now available for download and testing.

SolusOS 2 Alpha 5 comes with updated software, internal improvements to the desktop interface, and lots of small bugfixes. It also includes non-free audio/video codecs for an out-of-the-box multimedia experience, and firmware for common WLAN chipsets.

Highlights of SolusOS 2 Alpha 5:


· Linux kernel 3.3.6 (with preempt/BFS);
· LibreOffice 3.5.4-2;
· Mozilla Firefox 13.0.1;
· Mozilla Thunderbird 13.0.1;
· Adobe Flash Player;
· VLC Media Player 2.0.1;
· GNOME Panel;
· Nautilus 3.4.2;
· SolusOS Desktop

Download SolusOS 2 Alpha 5

Calise Sets The Screen Backlight Based On Ambient Brightness

Calise (Camera Light Sensor) is an application that uses your computer's camera as a light sensor for obtaining the ambient brightness and then calculates and sets the correct backlight according to an user defined scale.
Calise features:

  • command line, GUI (with tray icon) interfaces and daemon mode
  • profiles support
  • DBus service optimized with automatic dawn/sunset recognition and weather information by using latitude and longitude.

More info on Calise cam be found at its official website.

Install and set up Calise

Ubuntu 12.10, 12.04, 11.10, 11.04 and 10.10 users can install Calise from the main WebUpd8 PPA:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:nilarimogard/webupd8
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install calise
Note: I've only tested it in Ubuntu 12.04 because it can't be tested in VirtualBox.

After the installation completes, you must start the Calise calibration process (but before you do, read the "Important" note below) using the following command:
calise --calibrate

Important: before proceeding with step 3, you have to give write permissions to the file used for step 2 (the sysfs backlight path) using the following command:
sudo chmod 666 INTERFACE
Where "INTERFACE" is the file you've selected under step 2 (example: /sys/class/backlight/acpi_video1/brightness).

Then, continue with the remaining calibration steps.

Once you're done, you can run Calise from the menu / Dash. If you prefer to use the command line interface or the daemon mode, use the following commands to see the available options:
calise --help #command line interface
calised --help #daemon mode

Arch Linux users can install Calise via AUR.

Download Calise for other Linux distributions via SourceForge.

Parted Magic 2012.06.26 Has Linux Kernel 3.4.3

Patrick Verner has announced the release of Parted Magic 2012_06_26, an updated version of the project's specialist live CD with utilities for disk management and data rescue tasks: "Parted Magic 2012_06_26. Lots of little changes and some new programs added. The most noticeable additions are Samba and the proprietary binary video driver from NVIDIA. The NVIDIA driver doesn't come pre-installed, but it is available as a ready-to-go module. Make sure you grab the drivers that match the kernel in the version of Parted Magic that you are currently running. You must also disable the nouveau driver from the Fail Safe menu. The panel has been almost completely reworked. Clonezilla and our famous 'Erase Disk' program have been added to the desktop. ARandR replaces LXRandR." See the project's news page to read the release announcement. Download (MD5): pmagic_2012_06_26.iso (234MB), pmagic_2012_06_26_i486.iso (233MB), pmagic_2012_06_26_x86_64.iso (235MB).

Patrick Verner announced last evening, June 26th, that yet another maintenance release of his Parted Magic Linux operating system for partitioning tasks is available for download.

Powered by Linux kernel 3.4.3, Parted Magic 2012_06_26 comes with the following updated packages: Mozilla Firefox 13.0.1, XRandR 1.3.5, BlueZ 4.91, FSArchiver 0.6.15, e2fsprogs 1.42.4, Sed 4.2.1, Nouveau video driver git_20120614_36d3f8c, FreeType 2.4.10, GNU ddrescue 1.16, Pixman 0.26.0, X.Org Server 1.12.2, gzip 1.5, PSmisc 22.18, ClamAV 0.97.5, ethtool 3.4.1, xz 5.0.4, Conky 1.9.0., xdg-user-dirs 0.13, xdg-utils 1.1.0 RC1, Boost 1.49.0, cifs-utils 5.5, and libdrm 2.4.35.

Moreover, the following new programs have been added in Parted Magic 2012_06_26: Arpwatch 2.1 Alpha 15, sallu-xclamscan 1.1.1, ARandR 0.1.6, Samba 3.5.14, pm-utils 1.4.1, libmcs 0.7.2, and libmowgli 0.7.1.

Parted Magic 2012_06_26 also adds the proprietary binary video driver from NVidia, which is available as a ready-to-go module.

Download Parted Magic 2012_06_26

SolusOS 2 Alpha 5

Ikey Doherty has announced that the fifth alpha release of SolusOS 2, a Debian-based desktop distribution, is ready for testing: "The SolusOS team is pleased to announce the release of SolusOS 2 alpha 5. This release uses the GNOME Classic desktop environment 3.4 (not fallback), which is heavily tweaked to behave and look the same as GNOME 2. What's new? This time we've gone all out to give you the best looking GNOME desktop we can, and it's increasingly difficult to tell the difference between our GNOME Classic and GNOME 2. We've gone to great lengths to improve the overall look and feel of the desktop whilst enhancing usability at the same time. Included software: Linux kernel 3.3.6, LibreOffice 3.5.4, Firefox and Thunderbird 13.0.1, Adobe Flash, VLC 2.0.1, Nautilus 3.4.2...." Here is the ful release announcement with a handful of screenshots. Interested testers can download the live DVD image from here: SolusOS-2-A5.iso (989MB, MD5).

CrossOver 11.2 Brings Microsoft Visio 2010 to Linux

CodeWeavers, through Josh Dubois, CrossOver product manager at CodeWeavers, proudly announced this morning in a press release that the CrossOver 11.2.0 software has been officially released for both Linux and Mac OS X platforms, bringing support for Microsoft Visio 2010 and Microsoft Project 2010.

Based on Wine 1.4.1, CrossOver 11.2.0 comes with lots of general improvements for various applications, as well as support for the upcoming Apple Mac OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion) operating system.

"I am happy to announce that we at CodeWeavers have released CrossOver 11.2.0 for both Mac and Linux!"

"In addition, we have added support for Microsoft Visio 2010 and Microsoft Project 2010 on both Mac and Linux.  Another major feature is incorporation of Wine 1.4.1, which is a bug-fix release of Wine's stable 1.4 branch, and includes many improvements for a variety of applications," the press release stated.

Highlights of CrossOver 11.2.0:

· Based on Wine 1.4.1;
· Support for Microsoft Visio 2010;
· Support for Microsoft Project 2010;
· Improvements for Fedora 17 (including support for UDisks 2 and correct Perl detection);
· Improved detection of the libpng library on various Linux distributions, such as Arch Linux;
· Fixed an issue with uninstalling packages (and packages built with cxrepackage) from Ubuntu Software Center;
· zypper package manager is now suggested on SUSE Linux, instead of Yast;
· Fixed microphone detection issues for Rosetta Stone 3;
· Fixed a crash in PowerPoint 2010;
· Internet Explorer 7 Japanese input improvements;
· Graphics card detection improvements;
· Graphics driver detection is now allowed in CrossTie files;
· Better installation notes are provided during CrossTie installations.

CrossOver 11.2.0 comes with native packages for the Ubuntu/Debian, Red Hat/Fedora/SUSE/Mandriva operating systems, as well as a universal binary package for other Linux distros.

Download CrossOver 11.2.0

Chromebooks Are Gaining Traction in Schools

This week, Google officials were in San Diego meeting with thousands of educators and administrators at the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) conference. are more than 500 school districts in the U.S. and Europe actively using Chrome OS-based Chromebooks, and more are signing on at a fast clip.
In addition to the 500 school districts in the U.S. and Europe using Chromebooks, Google announced this week that more are signing on, including Rockingham Country Schools, N.C., Transylvania County Schools, N.C., and Fond du Lac School District, Wis. 
Leyden High School District from Illinois is rolling out Chromebooks to its 3,500 students, and here some of the apps the students will use:  WeVideo, EasyBib, Vernier Labquest2, SlideRocket, Geogebra and Pearson’s OpenClass. Who knew about these?
At this week's conference, Google is also rolling out some new features for schools using Chromebooks that purportedly make it easy to find, use, install and manage web apps for an entire school. These include the following, according to Google's report:
  • Grade-level application packs are groups of Chrome Web Store apps that integrate tightly with Google’s suite of Apps for Education, divided by grade levels to meet different classroom needs. These packs are installable from the Chromebook management console. Many of them are free and we’ve worked with the app makers to offer discounts for bulk purchases.
  • Organization-specific web app collections in the Chrome Web Store give administrators the ability to recommend apps to students, teachers and staff. The collection is visible only to the school, and admins can curate apps from the Chrome Web Store, application packs and web apps purchased elsewhere or private apps developed by the school. (This feature is also available to Chromebooks for Business customers from the control panel.)
 Apple, of course, still has overwhelming market share in schools. However, if Google can offer compelling free applications, bundles, incentives and low costs for Chromebooks, they could gain further traction in schools.

Slackware Follows 13.37 with 14.0

Users and admirers of Slackware were given a bit of jolt recently when the main project Website (and some mirrors) disappeared from the Internet. The hardware issue was eventually resolved and work resumed. Then today we hear from an avid Slackware watcher that Patrick Volkerding confirmed the next version number has been decided and sent lots of updates to Current.
Willy Sudiarto Raharjo, the aforementioned enthusiast, blogged today that Volkerding has "upgraded aaa_base and bumped /etc/slackware-version to 14." While Raharjo reminds readers that doesn't mean version 14 is near release. The Slackware project subscribes to the philosophy of "release when ready" and even close observers get little notice when that is approaching.
Raharjo also mentions that there were "a huge list of changes in today's update." These include GCC 4.7.1, KDE 4.8.4, Linux 3.2.21, Xorg X Server 1.12.2, "lots of WiFI driver removals, several new applications gets introduced, library updates, and also development tools/library major updates, such as Python 2.7.3."
We still may not have a idea when to expect 14.0, but it does appear the project is alive and well, which is good news for everyone.

Empathy 3.5.3 Has a Revamped Interface

Empathy 3.5.3 instant messaging client for the GNOME desktop environment has been announced earlier today, June 26th, bringing a completely redesigned contact list.

Among lots of changes to the new roster, the development team focused their efforts on making a clean interface, with groups disabled by default, and a top contacts feature showing your favorite buddies (see above and/or below images for details).

Empathy 3.5.3 has the following new dependencies: Folks 0.7.1, telepathy-glib > 0.19.1 and libebook is no longer required.

Last but not least, five translations were updated in Empathy 3.5.3, including Spanish and Slovak.

Download Empathy 3.5.3

Install MythTV on Ubuntu

MythTV is a Free Open Source software digital video recorder (DVR) project distributed under the terms of the GNU GPL. It has been under heavy development since 2002, and now contains most features one would expect from a good DVR (and many new ones that you soon won’t be able to live without). If you are interested in learning more about MythTV (or just want to check out some screenshots), please take a look at MythTV In Detail.

You can install MythTV on Ubuntu by either clicking this link or by typing the following in your terminal.
sudo apt-get install mythtv