Category Archives: Open Source Software

Portable Ubuntu Remix Runs Ubuntu As a Native Windows App

Want to try out Ubuntu, but don’t want to do a clean install? We had covered you on this with a Ubuntu installer for Windows called Wubi. However, you can also install Ubuntu as a native Windows application by using Portable Ubuntu Remix.

portable_ubuntu_remix

Portable Ubuntu Remix is build on Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala and is built with Colinux Kernel, Xming X server and Pulseaudio server for Windows. If you are a Windows user who has been reading about Ubuntu, but haven’t had the time or expertise to install it, this is a good way to try out the system without breaking you head. Portable Ubuntu Remix only supports 32bit Windows PC.

Download Portable Ubuntu Remix [via WebUpd8]

Jolicloud Releases Pre-beta Netbook OS With Windows Installer

Jolicloud, one of the perfect operating system for Netbooks has announced a pre-beta version of their OS to the public. The latest version of Jolicloud is compatible with 98% of the netbooks available on the market, thanks to the new support for GMA500 Chipset.

jolicloud_netbook_os

The latest release of Jolicloud includes a native Windows installer called Jolicloud Express, which will allow users to install Jolicloud on Windows based netbooks. In addition to that, it also includes a new UI and an update on the Kernel. Jolicloud uses the most advanced Linux Kernel version 2.6.32.

jolicloud_windows_express_installer

If you love cloud based OS, you will love Jolicloud. And as far as we can tell you it is much more advanced than , the operating system that Google will release next year.

If you have a netbook, Jolicloud is the one you should definitely install and try out.

Tutorial Spotlight: Upgrade to Ubuntu Lucid Lynx (10.04) from Ubuntu Karmic Koala (9.10)

All you geeks out there, who have 3-4 boxes sitting around running different distros, here is an easy way to upgrade to Ubuntu Lucid Lynx 10.04 from Ubuntu Karmic Koala 9.10. Please note that Lucid Lynx is in alpha, so do it at your own risk.

Step 1: Open a terminal window on your Koala and type this:

   1: sudo sed -i 's/karmic/lucid/g' /etc/apt/sources.list && sudo aptitude update && sudo aptitude dist-upgrade

Step 2: Upgrade Karmic Koala to Lucid Lynx

   1: sudo aptitude install update-manager-core
   2: sudo do-release-upgrade -d

Since we already know that you are geek when you are reading this, all disclaimers are kept aside. Just kidding, upgrade on your own risk and don’t do production machines, since Lucid Lynx is still in alpha. Head over and download the Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx ISO, if you would prefer to do a fresh install.

Tutorial Spotlight was presented from WebUpd8 on the tutorial to upgrade to Ubuntu Lucid Lynx.

Linux Mint 8 Helena Released

Linux Mint 8 Helena Desktop

The popular Linux distro Mint’, known for its out-of-the-box working and preinstalled utility applications today released a major update. Moving on to version 8 now, the newest edition of the distro has been codenamed Helena, following the alphabetical naming scheme. Linux Mint 8 is based on Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala.

Apart from the regular edition, a new Universal Edition is also launched. The Universal Edition is available as a Live DVD and includes packages for several languages, thus enabling easy localization of the operating system. On the other hand, it won’t contain any proprietary audio or video codecs. This is done to to facilitate the distribution of Linux Mint in countries where software patents are enforceable. However, the Universal Edition will come with an extra feature that will allow the user to download all the missing codecs in one go.

Linux Kernel 2.6.31 has been put to use with this release and the system comes with Gnome 2.28 and X.Org 7.4. The spotlight of this update has been given to GUI modification and tweaking to make it more usable and productive. Several new nifty features have been added for better accessibility and computing experience. Apart from the that, major improvements have been made over OEM installation, possibility to ignore updates, configurable menu places, multiple selection in the Software Manager, new system tray File Uploader with support for drag and drop and mutiple files uploads.

[Download Linux Mint 8] We recommend you download using BitTorrent so as to avoid slow downloading speed caused be heavy load on their servers.

Ubuntu Dumps GIMP, Will Include F-Spot in Lucid Lynx

In a surprise move Canonical, the parent company of Ubuntu, has decided to dump the opensource image editor and Photoshop Alternative GIMP from the core install of the OS. Ubuntu gave a reason which roughly meant that, since Windows does not have a advanced image editor, Ubuntu does not have to sport one too.

gimp_logo fspot_logo

The new changes will affect the next release of Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx. Ubuntu would however include a basic image manipulation tool called F-Spot.

This decision is likely to create a controversy among several Ubuntu users. What do you think of this decision to skip GIMP in Lucid Lynx? Though Lucid Lynx is scheduled for next year, you can  download Lucid Lynx ISO to try it out right away.

[via Ars Technica]

Adobe Air 2 Beta Released with loads of new features

Following the success of Adobe Air 1,Adobe has released Adobe Air 2 beta. The Adobe Air platform provides developers with a rich app development platform, tailored for the desktop.
adobe_air
The success of Adobe Air is based on its cross OS capabilities which are achieved with the Adobe Air Runtime, which works pretty much like the Java Runtime. It allows us to run applications in a virtual environment. The Air 2 beta is available for Windows, Linux and Mac.

The current release of Air 2 beta supports Fedora Core 11,  OpenSuse 11.1 and Ubuntu 9.04. Currently, it is supported only on 32-bit systems but 64-bit support is expected soon.

The new version of Adobe Air has the following features:

  • Opens any external file with the default system application specified by the user.
  • Sound from the microphone can be directly accessed for recording.
  • Mass storage devices can be detected as and when added or removed to a system.
  • New networking features like listening to incoming server sockets and DNS lookup.
  • Packaging an .air application into a native system specific installer.
  • Multi touch support.
  • Availability of the rpm and deb installers unlike the earlier bin installers.

Adobe Air is a great platform and has a rich set of applications. I am a big fan of TweetDeck, which is a good Twitter client. For a list of cool Adobe Air applications which will take your breath away, see this post.

Try Adobe Air 2 here.

Download Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx ISO

399pxLynx_lynx2[1]

Ubuntu 9.10 was released less than a month ago, however work had already begun on the next version of Ubuntu, Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx. Lucid Lynx is scheduled for release sometime next year, however, you can download the development versions of Lucid Lynx and try it out in your test environment.

Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx downloads are available for both 32bit and 64bit PCs. However, you might not able to fit the 64bit edition on a single CD due to an unidentified bug. However, you can still run Ubuntu Lucid Lynx using a DVD, USB Drive or Virtual machine.

Download Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx ISO [via Webupd8]

Linux Mint 8 Helena – RC Release

Linux Mint is the best Linux distro for those switching over from Windows. It is easy to use and has extra GUIs for common tasks.

Linux_Helena
Linux_Helena

Mint is a Ubuntu based distro and has a release cycle in sync with that of Ubuntu. Linux Mint 8 – Helena, which is based on Ubuntu 9.10 made an RC release. This latest version of Mint has many new features.

  • With Linux Mint 8, we can create our own custom places like Music, Documents, E-Books, Downloads etc. The places already present include Computer, Trash, Network, Home Folder and alike.
  • Package updates are easier as there is no need to manually refresh the package database. Whenever new packages are available, the user is notified through the Update Manager.
  • The software manager features a multiple selection whereby we can select multiple applications for addition or removal.
  • The Update manager uses Synaptics to refresh the information and shows detailed progress information.
  • The addition to the distribution software list includes an Upload Manager. This Upload Manager sits in the system tray and supports multiple uploads and drag-drop style uploads.
  • ‘Gnome-Do’, which was initially added to make people aware of the project, is not available as one of the per-installed software. Though, it can be added back into the distro.

Mint is a user friendly Linux and is perfect for those who are new to GUI based Linux. It keeps getting better with each release and has gained a wide attention from Linux users. It has moved up Distrowatch rankings fast and is currently ranked #3 in the world.

SPDY: Google Redesigns HTTP, moving towards a Faster Internet

Google is a company which keeps redefining speed. Speed of information flow, speed of browsing, speed in its innovation, Google is truly all about speed. With this obsession, Google finally has thoughts of a faster Internet.

SPDY, as defined by the Chromium blog:

SPDY is at its core an application-layer protocol for transporting content over the web. It is designed specifically for minimizing latency through features such as multiplexed streams, request prioritization and HTTP header compression.

The Chomium blog says it came up with new ideas of web-browser and server interactions, in an attempt to speed up the browsing experience. The SPDY protocol delivers faster than HTTP and delivered 55% faster under test conditions at the labs. SPDY developers tested this by downloading the top 25 websites.

SPDY has been developed as a Google Code project and is Open Source. Google expects the Open Source community to respond to the project. HTTP was widely implemented around 10 years back. SPDY, built today will understand the need of the present day websites, which are significantly different from those that existed a decade ago.

Detailed technical information can be seen at this white-paper release.

Significant improvements in SPDY include,

  • A slash of 50% in page load time.
  • Communication from server end if the client needs resources and server can provide them.
  • Use of SSL as the underlying protocol, providing a secure web.
  • Use of header compression.
  • Allowing concurrent HTTP requests in a single TCP session.

Apart from this, SPDY also aims at making the switchover from HTTP to SPDY hassle free for web-authors. This will save them from making any significant changes in their websites for using SPDY.

SPDY, is just another of the innovations to create a faster web. There are other projects running parallel to SPDY and all aim at speeding up the Internet. Though, SPDY raises some concerns about making web-browsing more resource hungry for the client end. The client end will be forced to use SSL, which is not required more often. Google also claims that SPDY is not a HTTP replacement. Did they mean from the technical aspect or from an implementation point of view?

With the release of Google Chrome OS due this week, Chrome browser getting faster each day and now a Google application layer protocol for web-servers from which my favorite websites might be served, Google search being a primary resource for my research, Gmail being my primary mail client, I see Google taking up the whole of my computer usage. Should I be worried?

openSUSE 11.2 Released With KDE 4.3 [Linux]

opensuse2

Yesterday, Novell released a  new core update to it prime Linux Distribution, openSUSE, raising the bar to 11.2. The new release brings with it several core updates, newer versions of Gnome and KDE, and numerous updated packages. The spotlight feature of this release has to be none other than KDE 4.3, which is regarded as a quite significant leap in terms of stability and speed from its previous versions.

opensuse kde desktop

openSUSE KDE 4.3

The KDE window manager now comes as default, although you can choose between Gnome and XFCE while installing the system. It comes with Gnome 2.28 and if you choose to get the lightweight XFCE environment, you will get the 4.6.1 version. Well, that’s enough of numbers to munch, the rest is all obvious and can be explained in one word: Updated’.

opensuse gnome

openSUSE Gnome 2.28

Networking support has been improved for the operating system and adding to that, 11.2 also comes pre-packed with social networking clients Gwibber and Choqok (Microblogging), so you won’t feel Twitter-less the moment you land on a freshly installed desktop. The desktop experience has been tweaked like never before and things have been made simpler and easy to find. Coming to things done under the hood, you can now encrypt you entire hard disk, take advantage of the newer and better EXT4 filesystem and manage remote openSUSE webservers with WebYast, that lets you administer your SUSE servers remotely.

openSUSE 11.2 is available in several options of KDE, Gnome, 32bit or 64bit. Grab your copy from here.

Via the openSuse News Blog. Thanks to LinuxCritic for the timely images.

The Sun-Oracle Deal Hangs in the Balance

The Sun Oracle deal, which was supposed to take place long ago, is  still not finalized because of the European Commission and its antitrust issues with the deal. The deal, which was initially valued at $7.4 billion is fast losing value and is proving to be a loss, for both the companies.

sun_oracle
sun_oracle

The European Commission is especially worried that the deal would discourage competition in the database industry, as both Sun Microsystems and Oracle currently own popular database product of their own, namely the MySQL and Oracle database. While the Oracle database is more popular for database servers and financial services in company networks, the MySQL database is extremely popular as a database for web-servers. They are vastly unrelated and cater to two different sections of database users.

In the midst of all this, Sun is cutting out on its services like Zembly, laying off employees(3000 of them planned for the next few days) and alike. Basically, it is doing everything it can to stay alive in the face of this disaster. Inspite of all this, investors and even customers are backing out of the company. This is pushing Sun Microsystems into even bigger losses.

All this fuss over a database which is Open Source! My question is, why is the European Commission so interested in a saving a database which is Open Source and can as well, survive with help from the much larger Open Source community? With Sun Microsystems going down so badly, will preventing the acquisition help MySQL in any way at all?   What is the open-source community’s response to this? Where are the MySQL developers and what is their take on this?

Sun Microsystems Announces a Shut-Down of Zembly

Zembly, a web-application to develop other Web 2.0 applications like Facebook Apps, Orkut Apps, RSS widgets and numerous other applications, will be shut down on 30th November, by Sun Microsystems.

The product, which aimed at social application development and was an amazing collaboration platform, never came out of beta. The application was totally browser based and needed a knowledge of JavaScript to create widgets and apps. The apps created by others could be used as a framework and other applications could be built upon the already existing ones. The management of source control and component sharing was left to Zembly, making development as the prime focus.

The letter from the Zembly team says:

We regret to inform you that on November 30th, 2009 we will be suspending this service.

More than three years ago, we started this project with the goal of making it easy to create next-generation Web apps. Our original tagline was “Build the web, using the web,” and the ideas we were incubating around platform-mediated Web applications, Web API mashups, and social programming were brand new.

We learned a lot along the way. Your confidence and enthusiasm helped us improve the project and do amazing things that we never imagined when we began this journey.

Thank you to everyone who’s been with us through the ups and downs. It’s heartening to see that many of the best ideas pioneered in zembly have started to appear elsewhere. With your support, we’re proud to have contributed to the DNA of the Web.

All the best,

— The zembly team

Sun Microsystems had a vision with the launch of Zembly which never delivered.  The project will shut down at the end of this month. Also, any application usingt the Zembly API or the Zembly client library will fail to work as desired, after 30th of November.  Developers are allowed to save all their code and project works in this time.

If you are interested in web-development and have not tried it yet, head over to zembly.com to give it a last try before it shuts down.

Google Introduces ‘Go': Open Source Programming Language

On Tuesday, Google launched ‘Go’, an Open Source programming language which combines Python and C++. The applications developed on this platform will be for multi-processor systems. The Go programming language combines the power of a compiled language like C++, with the robust and fast application of an interpreted language, like Python.

Google-Go
Google-Go

‘Go’ is another brainchild of Google’s 20% free time. Rob Pike, a principle engineer at Google and a Go developer says:

I’ve never felt as productive as I have working with Go.

The Go Project actually began in 2007 and the reason for the open-sourcing, as Pike says, is:

We’re opening sourcing it now because we think it’s reached the point of being fun and useful and powerful

‘Go’, reportedly runs at the speed of C. Other existing languages have not been optimized to run on modern day multi-core processors. The learning curves of ‘Go’ are comparable to that of Java and the language is not too hard to learn as well. ‘Go’ should be a programmer’s choice over existing languages like C and C++, given its speed and optimal implementation on current day hardware.

‘Go’ will go a long way in  bridging the gap between compiled and interpreted languages. Pike gives an example saying, Google Wave currently uses a C++ backend and a JavaScript frontend. ‘Go’, if used in Google Wave can replace both the backend and the frontend equally effectively. Pike is also quoted to have said:

Go has properties that make it really nice for running inside the browser for your apps

Which is something web-developers will really like. I will give ‘Go’ a go from my side.

For the rest, we will see the developer community’s take on ‘Go’ over the next few months.

Visit the ‘Go’ homepage for more details.

Major Flaw in GRUB 2.0 Addressed

GRUB 2.0, GRUB version 1.97 had a major security issue which allowed users to login by entering only a few characters of the password correctly. Only the sequence of characters had to be correct and for that matter, even one of the characters entered as password worked.

A recent bug-report from debian.org says:

GRUB accepts user input as valid password as long as user enters some first
characters of password correctly.

I.e. if /boot/grub/grub.cfg reads:

set superusers=”user1″
password user1 password1

Then user can enter “p”, “pa”, “pas” etc, and GRUB will ‘eat it’ as correct
password.

Given this, the GRUB team addressed the flaw with the release of GRUB 1.97.1 which has a fix to the problem. Apart from this, the new version of GRUB also addresses a build problem with the Mac OS X kernel, support for which was added only in the latest GRUB 2.0.

Given the hype GRUB 2.0 had created with its rewritten code, object-oriented model and support for multiple kernels, security issues like these, makes it look like a hoopla to the Linux beginners. We should know, Linux beginners are simply more interested in no-one entering their computer by typing just anything at the password prompt, than all the developments of extended file system support and kernel support.

OpenOffice.org Plans to Release 18 Button Mouse

OpenOffice.org is planning to give keyboards a run for their usability with the release of its 18 button mouse in February, next year. The mouse will come in handy for OpenOffice users and gamers alike. OpenOffice.org starts taking orders for the manufacturing of the new revamped mouse from next month.

This is how the mouse looks in the website:

OO-mouse-model
OO-mouse-model

And this is how it will look on your table:

oo-mouse-model
oo-mouse-model

The mouse has 18 programmable buttons, a scroll wheel and a 512K flash memory. The mouse has default profiles for the five core OpenOffice.org apps and 20 other games and applications. Apart from that, the mouse will support a total of 63 different profiles. OpenOfice.org will release an application at the beginning of next year which will help us configure the profiles according to our needs.

OO claims that the mouse will also feature the worlds first ‘analog joystick on a mouse’ and the joystick will act as a keyboard as well.

“You can do far more with this mouse than most people are likely to realize at first,” said mouse designer Theodore Beale. “You can launch applications from the desktop, and in your browser you can fire up a specific Internet site with one button, then close it with a double-click on the same button. In Writer and Calc, you can have your most powerful and complicated macros on one row of buttons and simple functions like Bold, Undo, and Format Cell on another. It’s very useful in games like World of Warcraft, because even without taking the joystick into account, you’ve got 16 commands within one click, 40 within two, and all 72 icons on the six action pages within just two double-clicks or less.”

In spite of all these features, the mouse still takes us back into the era of wired and corded mice, where on the other hand, more and more companies are coming up with cordless mice, though ,this will hopefully change in future models. Rest assured, this mouse will be a first buy on any gamers list.

[ On-table Image from The Register ]