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Welcome to Ubuntu Video | Linux Videos for Human Beings

Michael D. Stemle, Jr.: When Buying PCs, Always Bring your Live CD!

Planet Ubuntu - Wed, 2007-08-15 19:13

So many of us have bought computer hardware just to get home and realize that there are serious issues with hardware compatibility. So I had an idea….

Next time you go into Best Buy or Circuit City or $RETAILER, why don’t you bring your Kubuntu Live CD (okay, you can bring an Ubuntu Live CD if you really want) with you? I did that today, and it actually went really well. Here’s the story.

So I ordered a Dell OEM Ubuntu Inspiron 1420 on the 23rd of July. Today, the 15th of August, Dell still hasn’t shipped my order. So I call them up to see what’s going on. They won’t give me any update other than telling me that it’s in production. Meanwhile, I notice all sorts of public outcry from all sorts of folks about how they’ve been waiting weeks beyond their “Estimated Ship Date” and still have yet to receive their machines. This is obviously not something that is going to make me very happy at all.

So today when the guy was giving me the run-around on the phone, telling me that my order “could ship on time, but it could also not ship on time,” I just canceled. I’ve had enough of Dell’s guff, and I went out on the prowl to find a machine that will work for me. I went everywhere. I went to Radio Shack, Best Buy, Circuit City, Simplified Computers, Computer Deli, and Microcenter. Nobody had anything I was interested in except that Circuit City had this neat little 13.3″ wide-screen Toshiba U305-S5107 that looked kinda neat. So I called their manager later in the evening and asked the guy if I could bring in my Kubuntu Live CD and test it without installing anything. The guy said sure–much to my shock and amazement–and so I went in there and took a peeky-peek.

What I found was very disappointing but also very promising. Disappointing because the Toshiba model completely failed my test, but very promising because Circuit City seemed very willing to let me test these machines to my heart’s content. This particular Toshiba model actually didn’t work with my Kubuntu 7.04 Live CD at all. The ACPI didn’t work–couldn’t restart or suspend–there was no audio, the wireless device didn’t work, the bluetooth device wouldn’t work, and it seemed like the graphics card wasn’t going to play nice either. I’m glad I ran this test and it really helped me make a better purchasing decision.

WARNING: If you do decide to do this, please don’t screw it up for the rest of us. Be courteous when you run your tests. Most of all, don’t install anything. I understand that many of us consider Windows to be the ultimate computer virus, but if even a handful of folks screw around and start installing stuff, it could really make it harder for the rest of us to be able to test this hardware with our operating system of choice.

At the end of the day, I ended up ordering the 12.1″ Darter Ultra from System76. I just want a machine that will do what I need, and I’m not interested in screwing around with hardware compatibility anymore. System76 is promising a 8-10 day turnaround, so I’m really looking forward to my new machine. Here’s hoping System76 really delivers on their promise.

LinuxMCE Releases Media Center Addon for Kubuntu

The Fridge - Wed, 2007-08-15 17:32

Dot News, a KDE news site has recently written about the new release of LinuxMCE. LinuxMCE is a free and open source add-on for the Kubuntu operating system. The new release, 0704, provides an add-on CD for Kubuntu 7.04, and turns your computer into the world’s most complete media center.

“The traditional PC user interface doesn’t work well on a TV. So a different interface is needed, which is called the ‘10 foot’ interface”

LinuxMCE’s lead developer, Paul Webber, in an effort to address the ‘10 foot’ interface challenge, has joined up with the KDE Plasma developers and accepted the challenge. The 0704 release is the first step in making a prototype showing how LinuxMCE and KDE can work together.

To understand the power of LinuxMCE, which literally can run your home, read the features list and watch the video walkthrough. To try it out download the CDs or DVD.

How Pirated Software Impacts Free Software

Slashdot Linux - Wed, 2007-08-15 17:02
jmglov writes "Dave Gutteridge has an unusual take on why people are not interested in saving money by using a free-as-in-beer OS like Linux or *BSD: because Windows is free. At least, that is an all-too-common perception, thanks to bundling and piracy. Bundling is a well-known problem to the adoption of open source operating systems, so Dave takes a look at the piracy issue in depth. His title may offend you, but his well-written article will most likely get you thinking hard about the question, 'how much does Windows cost?'"

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Alberto Milone: I have removed the posts on Envy from Planet Ubuntu

Planet Ubuntu - Wed, 2007-08-15 16:36

I have removed the posts on Envy from Planet Ubuntu, therefore you will have to keep an eye directly on my blog if you want to read more about Envy’s releases, etc.

The rest of my blog posts will appear on the Planet.

Jordi Mallach: Ten years of GNOME

Planet Ubuntu - Wed, 2007-08-15 16:07

Ten years ago, Miguel de Icaza announced the “GNU Network Object Model Environment” project, an attempt to fix a dependency on a non-free library for free desktops.

Today, GNOME is a large, healthy and fun project with a very steady mission and personality. Congratulations to everyone who made it possible!

Learning the Open Source Way

The Fridge - Wed, 2007-08-15 15:34

At the beginning of July, the FLOSSCom team and Ubuntu Education launched the “Learning the Open Source Way” project. They want to advance their collective understanding on how learning, communication and collaboration works in open source and how these experiences can help to improve (formal) education.

You are invited to join this group of interested learners and educators, currently including people from Germany, Greece, Portugal, the Netherlands, South Africa and the United Kingdom… Please come along for their virtual meetups and share your experiences and insights from the open source world!

For more informaction check out the Launchpad page.

The last three meetings/talks focused on these topics:

1. What are the roles in FLOSS?
2. Summer University Newbie Introduction - Part 1
3. Summer University – Newbie Introduction: The support approach

The coming three meetings/talks will focus on:

1. What is the FLOSS support system?
2. How is FLOSS learning different from ‘normal’ education?
3. Is there any assessment and evaluation in FLOSS?

You know that you can make a difference in open source, so please come and make one here too!

Linux net PC inspires tough love

DesktopLinux.com - Wed, 2007-08-15 14:15
Jeff Campbell (aka "Mr. Zonbu") has updated the blog chronicling his experiences with Zonbu, a mini-sized Linux-powered network computer for home users. The latest posting, based on two weeks with the device, finds Campbell happy but still full of suggestions.

IBM, Novell Square Off With MS, Red Hat in App Server Arena

Topix - Linux - Wed, 2007-08-15 14:05

"I think the people that will be best served by this agreement are those that use Notes on a Windows Desktop and want to consider a Linux desktop"

The end goal of the IBM-Novell alliance is to provide an enterprise-ready open source alternative to JBoss. via E-Commerce Times

Jonh Wendell: Useful GNOME RSS Feed

Planet Ubuntu - Wed, 2007-08-15 12:58

This is a quick post, just to say that i found out a very useful rss feed to add into my liferea:


It shows latest GNOME uploads and their Changelog, try it!

Cross-Platform Microsoft

Slashdot Linux - Wed, 2007-08-15 11:29
willdavid sends us to the ZDNet blogs for a provocative opinion piece by John Carroll. He points to Microsoft's evident cross-platform strategy with Silverlight, and wonders whether the company couldn't make money — and win friends — by extending its excellent development ecosystem cross-platorm. "Microsoft, apparently, is helping the folks at Mono to port Silverlight to Linux. This is good news, as the primary fear I've heard from developers is that Silverlight will be locked to Microsoft platforms and products. Microsoft has already committed to supporting Silverlight cross-browser on Windows, and has a version that runs on Mac OS X (which is even available from the Apple web site). The last step is Linux, and Microsoft is working with Novell and Mono to make this happen."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Novell Proclaims 'We're Not SCO' and We Won't Sue

Slashdot Linux - Wed, 2007-08-15 10:06
E5Rebel writes "Novell has promised not to sue anybody over the Unix copyrights that a US court last week ruled it owned. They said there was no Unix in Linux and now they are sticking by it. Perhaps they had no option, but Novell deserve praise for taking on the fight with SCO...."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Ubuntu Servers Hacked

Slashdot Linux - Wed, 2007-08-15 09:35
An anonymous reader noted that "Ubuntu had to shutdown 5 of 8 production servers that are sponsored by Canonical, when they started attacking other systems. Canonical blames the community, saying they were community hosted, and were poorly maintained. However, kernel upgrades couldn't be done because of poor backwards compatibility with the very hardware that Canonical had sponsored! While people point fingers at each other it is pretty clear that both sides are equally to blame, the community administrators for practicing bad security practices, such as using unencrypted FTP transfers with accounts, not properly maintaining the system. However Canonical should have been well aware of what they are hosting. The question remains, if any of the files distributed to users have been compromised. A major blow for Canonical though who are attempting to enter the business market with Ubuntu Server."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Novell Delivers Industry's Most Comprehensive Systems Management...

Topix - Linux - Wed, 2007-08-15 09:10

"Managing and maintaining our IT systems to ensure that our users have the tools they need when they need them used to be a labor-intensive, manual process for our IT staff"

WALTHAM, Mass.--Novell today announced the worldwide availability of Novell ZENworks Configuration Management, the latest addition to its systems management portfolio that helps companies reduce IT complexity ... via M2.com

Robert Collins: 15 Aug 2007

Planet Ubuntu - Wed, 2007-08-15 08:48

When are two identical changes the same, and when aren't they? Theres a little bit of debate started by Andrew Cowie posting about unmixing the paint. Matt Palmer followed up with a claim that a particular technique used by Andrew is dangerous, and finally Andrew Bennetts makes the point that text conflicts are a small subset of merge conflicts.

That said, one critical task for a version control system is the merge command. Lets define merge at a human level as "reproduce the changes made in branch A in my branch B". There are a lot of taste choices that can be made without breaking this definition. For instance, merge that combines all the individual changes into one - losing the individual commit deltas meets this description. So does a merge which requires all text conflicts to be resolved during the merge commands execution, or one that does not give a human a chance to review the merged tree before recording it as a commit.

So if the goal of merge is to reproduce these other changes, then we are essentially trying to infer what the *change* was. For example, in an ideal world, merging a branch that changes all "log messages of floating points to 6 digit scale." would know enough to catch all new log messages added in my branch, regardless of language, actual api used etc etc. But that is fantasy at the moment. The best we can do today depends on how we capture the change. For instance, Darcs allows some changes to be captured as symbol changing patches, and others as regular textual diffs.

So the problem about whether arriving at the same result can be rephrased 'when is arriving at the same result correct or incorrect'.

For instance, if I write a patch and put it up as plain text on a website, then two people developing $foo download it and apply it, they have duplicate changes but its clearly correct that a merge between them should not error on this.

On the other hand, the example Andrew Bennetts quotes in his post is a valid example of two people making the same change, but the line needing a change during the merge to remain correct.

Here's another, example though. If I commit something faulty to my branch, and you pull from me before I fix it. Then while I fix the bug, you also fix it - the same way. That is another example of no-conflict being correct.

If its possible for either answer - conflict, or do not conflict - to be correct, then what should a VCS author do?

There are several choices here:

  • Always conflict
  • Never conflict conflict
  • Conflict based on a heuristic

I think that our job is to assess what the maximum harm from choosing the wrong default is, and the likely hood of that occuring, and then make a choice. Short of fantasy no merge is, in general, definately good or bad - your QA process (such as an automatic test suite) needs to run regardless of the VCS's logic. The risk of a bad merge is relatively low, because you should be testing, and if the merge is wrong you can just not commit it, or roll it back. So our job in merge is to make it likely as possible that your test suite will pass when you have done the merge, without further human work. This is very different to trying to always conflict whenever we cannot be 100% sure that the text is what a human would have created. Its actually harder to take this approach than conflicting - conflicting is easy.

Szilveszter Farkas: Ubuntu Viral Marketing (in Hungary)

Planet Ubuntu - Wed, 2007-08-15 04:45

UPDATE: I’m really sorry, the picture shouldn’t have been there from the beginning. Please accept my apologies.

Today a reader of the Hungarian Unix Portal posted this picture to the site:

PICTURE REMOVED. Please see the linked article if you want to see it yourself.

That’s one form of viral marketing I guess ;) The young lady is wearing a women edition of the ubuntu.hu shirt. The title says: “If yours is ‘micro’ and ’soft’, the shirt will never come off!”.

You can also digg the picture here.

Alberto Milone: Envy 0.9.7-0ubuntu7 is now available (ATI driver 8.40.9)

Planet Ubuntu - Wed, 2007-08-15 04:30

Envy 0.9.7-0ubuntu7 is now available. Here is the changelog:

* Added: ATI driver 8.40.4
* Removed: ATI driver 8.39.4

NOTE: the owners of Nvidia cards have no reason to upgrade to this minor release.

You can get Envy here as usual.

Andreas Lloyd: Bruce Perens Live

Planet Ubuntu - Wed, 2007-08-15 04:25

“Free Software and Open Source are the same. What difference there used to be between the two is now deprecated. When we first began working on the term ‘Open Source’, Eric Raymond was afraid that IT companies couldn’t deal with Richard Stallman, and thus it would be necessary to distance ‘Open Source’ from Richard and Free Software. But it turned out that the companies have no trouble relating to Richard. They do indeed take him seriously, which became quite apparent during the drafting of the GPL version 3 where several big companies took part in the process. So there is no longer any need to differentiate between the two.”

Bruce Perens has launched into his talk at the Danish Unix User Group, and he immediately touches upon the issue for which he is best known: the definition of Open Source, and his role as a mediator between two of the other big men within the free software community, Richard Stallman and Eric Raymond whose eccentricities and disagreements have become the stuff of legend.

As he notes, Stallman often refuses to give talks where people are using proprietary software, instead offering to “defenestrate the computer” - that is: remove Windows from it (and, presumably, install a suitable free replacement).

Compared to those two, Perens appears as one of the more sensible, pragmatic free software advocates. Usually, he does not attract as much attention as the others, and no more than 30 people have showed up this Monday night to hear the Copenhagen stop in his whirlwind tour of talks around Europe.

Most of these talks are given to various government institutions and policy makers who are considering their stance on free software, software patents, or with open standards, or with the GPL version 3.

Perens obviously gets a lot of practice doing public speaking and he sprinkles the relevant technical and legal expositions with some interesting anecdotes while remaining patient and interested in the questions that appear along the way. He comes across as a sage passing on the growing tradition of free software activism, telling us how to learn from past mistakes and seeking to amend previous wrongs - such as the divide between open source and free software.

His talk is called “Innovation goes public” and it is basically Perens’ interpretation of how the free software advocates should go about introducing the core ideas of free software to policy makers, corporations and other non-technical parties:

“You know how newscasters used to report from a crime scene, saying “The police suspect it is the work of a lone isolated nut”? Well, with the Internet, there are no more isolated nuts! The nuts can easily go on-line and find 50 people who share the same obscure interest. That’s basically how Open Source development came about!”

Perens compares this with the way that old people have embraced the Wikipedia. He has found that there many retired professionals with plenty of time on their hands and no one to receive their no-longer active knowledge, so they begin adding that knowledge to the Wikipedia, finding new communities of shared interest in that way.

But the main point of his talk is how free software compares favourably to proprietary software in that it makes economic sense. He argues that companies should examine their use of software and find out which software they use is the differentiating factor setting them apart from their competitors. For the Amazon bookstore, that factor is the recommendation system which boosts their sales remarkably.

Perens notes that, generally, a company’s differentiating software is less than 5 % of all the software they use. Thus it will make sense to them to keep that 5 % percent proprietary and develop that as they have so far, but to use Open Source for everything else, since those 95% of their software is infrastructure such as web server and operating system software which isn’t giving them any vital advantage over the competition, and thus, it can be developed in an free software fashion, giving all of the companies greater rewards compared to the amount of development they invest.

Thus, Perens explains, the Amazon bookstore uses free software such as the Apache web server, the PHP scripting language and the MySQL database which cost them nothing, and enables them to get custom made development done in-house or by others as they may need it. Thus allowing them to reduce cost and focus on what they actually sell. That is: books.

I quite enjoyed the talk, which lasted almost 3 hours as Perens expanded his scope to touch upon more and more topics. I wonder how he fares with a less geeky crowd, but he certainly was hit here. Make sure to go see him if talks at a LUG near you.

Bugtraq: [security bulletin] HPSBMA02237 SSRT061260 rev.1 - HP...

Topix - Linux - Wed, 2007-08-15 03:37

Hash: SHA1 SUPPORT COMMUNICATION - SECURITY BULLETIN Document ID: c01109584 Version: 1 HPSBMA02237 SSRT061260 rev.1 - HP OpenView Performance Agent Running Shared Trace Service, Remote Arbitrary Code Execution ... via SecurityFocus Vulnerabilities

Jason Brower (GSoC): Complete code but lots of clean up left to do….

Planet Ubuntu - Wed, 2007-08-15 02:19


I used to work in construction and learned a very important fact. The house may be complete, but it’s the cleanup that not only makes the house look good, but is a big pain.

PyStart is doing well, and I am working out all the bugs. Some things you see, somethings you don’t. For example, little peices of code I repeat alot that should really be in their own functions. Or having the create screen not move to the correct notebook tab, but in taking a lesson it works. Happily, I and my mentor are satisfied with what I have done and seem to have quite a following of people with requests to make more improvements.

Things I will probably do in 2.o:

  • Create a start python console button for quick code checking and experimenting.
  • Test taking can have a restricted environment with even a special use that has to be logged in to take a test.
  • Gui cleanup, more HIG compliant.
  • Create a submit code feature, where code can be automatically submitted to a “teachers server” and then all the files are easily seen by the teacher. Most teachers hate searching through their email.
  • Open lessons and/or assignments by double clicking on them.
  • More interactive python programs: ability to have inputs and other information. (Basically, a built in console)
  • Anything else? PLEASE post it here…

If you want to test it out, contact me:

encompass.gmail@com /jabber/email

encompass@freenode IRC

MeMaker coming slowly:

We are still looking for more willing artwork to go into MeMaker, an avatar maker for Gnome/Ubuntu. Contact me if you would like to help out!

Andrew Bennetts: Re: Dangerous Merging

Planet Ubuntu - Wed, 2007-08-15 01:28

Matthew Palmer argues against “having your revision control system assume that patches which are the same text is the same”:

If you think this is right, "think about two different patches each adding a new keyword and also changing the line ``#define NUM_OF_KEYWORDS 17'' to ``#define NUM_OF_KEYWORDS 18''." (example taken from the darcs manual, because I'm not going to come up with a better example than that).

In the example he cites, there will most likely be a conflict, assuming the added keywords are different (and depending on what the source changes to add keywords look like, but the obvious schemes would cause a conflict). The conflict will be at the point where the different keywords are added, rather than at the “#define NUM_OF_KEYWORDS”, but the human resolving that conflict would, if your source is clear, know that they need to check the NUM_OF_KEYWORDS value too. (Although if your source code has the property that you need to update multiple places to register one new thing, it's violating “Don't Repeat Yourself” principle, but that's another discussion...)

But more significantly, there are plenty of ways that two patches that don't conflict textually can conflict semantically. One patch might change the signature of a function, and another may add a new caller of that function that assumes it has the old signature. And there's lots of more subtle ways that they could conflict.

If you want to ensure your code is correct in the face of changes, then the tool for the job isn't a Version Control System. It's a Test Suite, preferably an automated one. Version Control Systems help you collaborate and manage changes, but it's your Test Suite that tells you if the code still works.

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