Category Archives: Open Source Software

Why is Oracle Playing the Bad Guy in the Open Source world? Is Java next now that OpenSolaris is dead?

Oracle, as we all knew was a supporter of Open Source standards. However, a recent turn of events has forced me to think otherwise.

Oracle took over Sun Microsystems with a view of monetizing the Open Source technologies Sun held under its banner. There was no harm in that. However, it totally failed to understand the basic mindset of a community process and maintain an enthusiastic community around free and open source software.

Oracle started pissing off everyone with a total lack of communication, with red tapes and finally, it is showing its true colors with today’s event of  sending OpenSolaris to the grave. Killing off OpenSolaris, as speculated by many, might just be a start of some unexpected yet unsurprising events from Oracle.

Today, Oracle holds two flagship technologies, an enterprise DBMS and a complete programming platform in the form of Java besides many other major technologies. However, Oracle’s recent attack on Google over Java is a well-calculated move. Oracle is looking to make some good profits out of the Intellectual Property infringement of Java.  However, if Google has been able to innovate to this massive level using Java, maybe Oracle should take the cue and try to innovate instead of litigating!

Google has finally responded to the Oracle claim saying,

We are disappointed Oracle has chosen to attack both Google and the open-source Java community with this baseless lawsuit. The open-source Java community goes beyond any one corporation and works every day to make the web a better place. We will strongly defend open-source standards and will continue to work with the industry to develop the Android platform.

Back in the good old days, Sun Microsystems allowed Java’s Intellectual Property to be used freely and never interfered with any company on this matter. If Oracle successfully wins this allegation against Google, the whole matter will simply scare away all businesses based around Java and can have a devastating effect on Java.

In short, these actions from Oracle can virtually kill Java too. As the case against Google builds up, we will have a better picture of the future of Java.

(Google’s Response via Engadget)

Oracle Has Killed OpenSolaris

There was no need for the OpenSolaris Governing Board to kill OpenSolaris at all, Oracle was already planning to do it  themselves.

In an internal email sent to OpenSolaris development team by Mike Shapiro, Bill Nesheim and Chris Armes, they have informed the OpenSolaris Development Team that the OpenSolaris project has been discontinued. Oracle will now be focusing their resources on Solaris 11 and there will be no other binary distributions including OpenSolaris.

This is what they wrote:

All of Oracle’s efforts on binary distributions of Solaris technology  will be focused on Solaris 11. We will not release any other binary  distributions, such as nightly or bi-weekly builds of Solaris  binaries, or an OpenSolaris 2010.05 or later distribution.

In the same email, they have also announced that they will release an open-source version of Solaris 11 as Solaris 11 Express. However, unlike OpenSolaris which is released way ahead of the commercial product, Solaris 11 Express will not be released ahead of the commercial version. It will be released after the commercial product have already shipped.

We will have a Solaris 11 binary distribution, called Solaris 11  Express, that will have a free developer RTU license, and an optional  support plan. We will  determine a simple, cost-effective means of getting enterprise users  of prior OpenSolaris binary releases to migrate to S11 Express.

The email has since then been leaked and you can see it here. There has been no official words from Oracle so far.

What are your thoughts on Oracle killing off the OpenSolaris Project?

Ubuntu Packages Are Now Compatible With Puppy Linux

Puppy Linux is a very light weight Linux distribution. With the latest release, that is Puppy Linux 5.1 codenamed Lucid Puppy, it has become binary compatible with Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx. This means that Puppy Linux 5.1 can use the packages (applications) meant for Ubuntu Lucid Lynx as it is.

The binary compatibility with Ubuntu should come as good news to the Puppy Linux users. They can now use Ubuntu’s packages without much problems.

Puppy Linux 5.1 itself has been built using packages from Ubuntu Lucid Lynx. Because of this the development time was extremely short. It is also the first Puppy Linux release in which the entire community did the development work, not just Barry Kauler.

In this release, a new application called Quickpet has been added. It allows users to easily install other applications with a single click. Lucid Puppy offers the users a choice of four browsers – Firefox, Chromium, Opera or Seamonkey.

Other features include:

  • Straight to desktop – auto setup
  • Icewm Window Manager included with Joes Window Manager
  • Developer access to the Ubuntu software repositories
  • Better enhanced Graphic driver support

Puppy Linux 5.1 comes in a 130MB ISO image which is available for direct download. If you want to try it, the download link is given below.

Download Puppy Linux 5.1

[source]

id Software Open Sources Wolfenstein Return to the Castle and Enemy Territory Source Codes

id Software is famous for open sourcing there games and engines after a few years of release. This serves as a great educational tool and helps small-time developers and enthusiasts have a clear understanding of game development.

wolfenstein-return-to-castle

Keeping this trend, id Software has made their latest release, which includes two of the most popular Wolfenstein titles Enemy Territory and Return to the Castle. The announcement was made at the recent QuakeCon event. John Carmak, the master programmer at id Software made the announcement that can be  seen at this post.

The code is released under GPL thus allowing for commercial reuse and modification with proper credit to the source for the code. Codes are available for Enemy Territory, Return to the Castle single player and Return to the Castle multi player.

It is good to see that id Software has taken this step. However, these stagnant and age-old codes will not serve much purpose as they are from years ago. Currently, game development has seen a major overhaul of development process. However, we expect to see some innovative design using these codes in near future.

The source code is available at the  id Soft’s FTP site.

(Source)

Shutter Version 0.86.3 adds support for Ubuntu One

Linux has few good screenshot apps and Shutter is one of them. It allows us to capture screenshots of the whole screen, a particular application, a region or any menu. Apart from that, it can also apply some effects and draw shapes on the captured image to create illustrations. The best thing about Shutter is that it allows complete control with GUI without any scary command line controls.

shutter-ubuntu-one

Shutter version 0.86.3 has brought a new feature. From now on, we can synchronize the captured screenshots on our Ubuntu One cloud storage.

Ubuntu One is a storage application and service operated by Canonical Ltd. and currently in public beta. The service enables users to store and sync files in a Canonical Managed Cloud.

The latest feature of publishing at Ubuntu One cloud works only for Ubuntu 10.04 or later. The support can be added by running:

sudo apt-get install libnet-dbus-glib-perl

from the terminal.

Other changes in the recent version of Shutter, include a new icon set and some  bug-fixes. Romario, at the release announcement page, has answered some comments. From there, it is evident that the next imminent feature is the ability to capture screenshots of scrolling windows and to capture a screen area repeatedly with a predefined delay. This can make Shutter an excellent tool for creating step-by-step tutorials.

(Shutter about Page)
(Via : Unixmen)
(Image via: http://zibergela.bitarlan.net)

Fedora Lives Upto Its Tradition – Fedora 14 Delayed

Well, delayed release has become a tradition of sort with Fedora. The last five releases of Fedora were all delayed and, unsurprisingly, the next version, that is Fedora 14 codenamed Laughlin, is also delayed.

Fedora 14 was actually scheduled to be released on 26th October, but now it has been pushed back by a week. If things go well from now onwards, Fedora 14 will now be released on 2nd November.

Apart from all the bleeding edge features that a new Fedora release always brings, one of the main aims on Fedora 14 was to actually ship it on time. But this time too things did not go their way. The Fedora Release Engineering and Quality Assurance Team feel that they need some extra time to eliminate chances of blocker bugs.

This is what Fedora Project Leader, Jared Smith, wrote in the Fedora mailing list announcing the delay:

During composition of any further release candidates, the Fedora Release Engineering and Quality Assurance teams plan to be quite conservative in the updates they pull into the release candidates, so that we don’t inadvertently create more blocker bugs. I’d also like to thank those who have really pushed hard to try to get the Alpha into shape. In particular, the Release Engineering team put in a lot of extra hours to compose our release candidates, and the QA team did a fantastic job of testing the release candidates and knocking out as many blocker bugs as possible.

While I regret the fact that the schedule has slipped, I’m confident it was the right decision to ensure that Fedora 14 is a rock-solid  release.

Let us hope that it does not get any more delays.

You can see the Fedora 14 release schedule here.

[via Phoronix]

Canonical To Start Tracking Ubuntu Installations Starting From Ubuntu 10.10

Today a new package has been added to the repository of Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat. This package, called canonical-census, is meant to for Canonical to track the OEM Ubuntu installations around the world.

This is what the source code description says:

Send an “I am alive” ping to Canonical. This is used for surveying how many original OEM installs are still existing on real machines. Note that this does not send any user specific data; it only transmits the operating system version (/var/lib/ubuntu_dist_channel), the machine product name, and a counter how many pings were sent.

Right now though, the package will not track everyone who install Ubuntu. It is only meant to track those who bought their system with Ubuntu pre-installed.

And if you are worrying about privacy and stuffs, the package will not not send any data which can identify the user (as the description above says). It is only meant to ping canonical just to let them know that the default Ubuntu installation is still alive. And if you are the paranoid type and do not want it to ping as well, you can just remove the package. I for one would not mind this package even in a non-OEM systems if it will help Ubuntu become better.

Unlike paid operating systems like Windows, there are currently no way for Canonical to track the Ubuntu installations. Since they encourage users to copy and share the Ubuntu CDs, it is even harder to track them. The introduction of this package looks like a first step by Canonical to understand the usage of Ubuntu properly.

If you are interested and want to take a peek at the source code, here is the link.

Are you concerned with the idea of Canonical tracking the Ubuntu installations?

[via Phoronix]

Whats New In Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat Alpha 3

The Ubuntu Release Team has just announced the release of third alpha of Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat. This is an alpha release and, hence, is not meant for daily usage. It is meant for testing by developers and interested users.

This is what Martin Pitt from the Ubuntu Release Team wrote announcing the release:

Alpha 3 is the third in a series of milestone CD images that will be released throughout the Maverick development cycle. The Alpha images are known to be reasonably free of showstopper CD build or installer bugs, while representing a very recent snapshot of Maverick.

The third alpha brings a lot of new changes/features. Here are some:

Linux Kernel 2.6.35

Ubuntu 10.10 Alpha 3 uses the Linux Kernel 2.6.35. This kernel includes a lot of security enhancements over the previous kernels. It also has some interesting new features like support for Apple’s Magic Mouse and faster packet transmission.

Ubuntu Software Center

The Ubuntu Software Center has undergone some changes. The main page now shows “Featured” applications and also has a “Whats New” section. It also supports plugins now.

Ubuntu Netbook Edition

The Ubuntu Netbook Edition now uses the Unity interface by default. Global menu also makes an appearance.

Kubuntu

In Kubuntu, KDE SC 4.5 RC is used for this release. As expected, the default browser has also been changed to rekonq.

Download/Upgrade

If you want to try it out here is the download link: http://cdimage.ubuntu.com/releases/maverick/alpha-3/

If you would like to upgrade from Ubuntu 10.04 directly (not recommended!), open the terminal, execute the command below and follow the on-screen instructions.

update-manager -d

The final release is scheduled for 10th October 2010.

Firefox Edges Out Chromium – Will Remain Default Browser In Ubuntu Netbook Edition

In the last Ubuntu Developer Summit, it was decided that Chromiun will be the default web-browser in Ubuntu Netbook Edition 10.10. It was not the final decision, the final decision was left till Alpha 3 and they started shipping Ubuntu Netbook Edition with Chromium as the default browser in the Alpha 1 and Alpha 2.

Now that the Alpha 3 is approaching, Jorge Castro has confirmed that Chromium will not be used as the default web-browser in Ubuntu Netbook Edition 10.10. They have decided to stick with Firefox for Maverick,  at-least.

This is what Jorge wrote to the Ubuntu Mailing List:

This is a follow up status report from the Chromium-by-default-on-UNE discussion at UDS. The desktop team have decided to stick with Firefox for UNE for 10.10, however Chromium is moving into main. Here are the critical blockers:

  • We don’t have a plugin installer, ie. if you go to a Flash site it sends you to Adobe’s webpage instead of just installing the plugin.
  • No langpacks or translations support in lp so we can’t translate Chromium, we have to depend on upstream to do it in one huge thing. :(
  • Doing all the xulrunner packaging changes in order to get the CD size down AND switching to chromium in one cycle is currently not feasible with the people we currently have.

Jorge says that they want to switch to Chromium but right now there are simply too many issues with having Chromium by default. One problem is the disk space – Chromium is about twice the size of Firefox. Another problem is the release of security updates. With Firefox, the Ubuntu developers get around 1-2 weeks to test new security updates. However, with Chromium it is a bit different – they just release them once they have fixed it without giving the Ubuntu developers time to test it.

Chromium will still be available in the repository though.

Linux Kernel 2.6.35 gets Google Network Technology for Faster Packet Transmission

The latest release of the Linux kernel 2.6.35 has brought significant changes to the kernel. Released on Sunday this week, the kernel claims to have significant improvements along the improvement in behavior of packets and over network throughput.

The new technologies borrowed from Google are RFS and RPS. These help in modifying the behavior of packets in a network. RPS spreads a process into all cores and RFS searches for the ideal core for performing jobs. RSP stands for receive packet steering and RFS for receive flow steering. As an evidence of increased performance, Joab Jackson at Networkworld has written,

The site cited a benchmark test showing how an eight-core Intel CPU-based server, with an Intel e1000e network adapter, doubled the number of networking-based transactions-per-second (tps) it could execute with RPS and RFS in place, from 104,000 tps (at about 30 percent CPU usage), to 303,000 tps (and 61 percent CPU usage).

This is good news compared to the earlier development of Linux. This move will popularize builds based on this new kernel.