FOSS Friday: Ubuntu 10.04 Beta2 Released, Songbird Drops Linux Support And More

This week we saw lots of interesting activities in FOSS. Here is our weekly roundup of the key FOSS events this week.


  • Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx Beta 2 Released

The second beta of Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx was released yesterday. Although it has some small changes, it does not have any striking difference from the earlier Beta 1. If you are using Ubuntu 10.04 Beta 1 with regular updates, there is no need to install the Beta 2 for you. You can read more here.

  • Songbird Decides to Drop Linux Support

The Pioneers of the Inevitable announced that the  Mozilla XULRunner based music player, Songbird, will no longer be supported in Linux. This decision has been blamed on the lack of developers and their inability to continue maintaining Songbird in Linux at the same level as that in Windows and Mac OS X. An active Songbird developer has already forked the Songbird project and named it Nightingale. You can read more about it here.

  • Firefox in Ubuntu 10.04 is Going To Use Google Search

Canonicals retracted their earlier decision to use Yahoo! as the default search in Firefox that comes with Ubuntu 10.04. Firefox in Ubuntu 10.04 will now use Google as the default search. You can read more here.

Tips & Features

  • Install The Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Bisigi Themes In Karmic

There are a lot of people still using Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic and they might want to use the updated Bisigi themes but that’s not easy – the new PPA is only for Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid and also Karmic doesn’t have the latest Murrine engine so the themes won’t work – but there is a way to do it. Read more about it at  WebUpd8.

  • Installation and Getting Started with Firebug

Firebug is a free, open source tool that is available as a Mozilla Firefox extension, and allows debugging, editing, and monitoring of any website’s CSS, HTML, DOM, and JavaScript. Read more at PACKT.

Firefox in Ubuntu Coming Back to Google Search

We had earlier reports of Ubuntu 10.04 using Yahoo search as the default option on its Ubuntu Linux. One of the two major changes announced by Rick Spencer was,

The default search homepage will change to the Yahoo! search homepage if we change the default search engine preference to Yahoo!. If we do not change the default search preference to Yahoo!, the current Google search page will remain intact as the homepage. This change currently applies to Yahoo! and Google only.

However, now Ubuntu is surprisingly switching back to Google search as the default. This time as well, we have Canonical’s desktop engineering manager,  Rick Spencer detailing this change saying,

Earlier in the 10.04 cycle I announced that we
would be changing the default search provider to Yahoo!, and we
implemented that change for several milestones.

However, for the final release, we will use Google as the default
provider. I have asked the Ubuntu Desktop team to change the default
back to Google as soon as reasonably possible, but certainly by final
freeze on April 15th.

That would not be a surprise as earlier, Rick Spencer said Ubuntu was entering a revenue sharing deal with Yahoo!. Now, we all know here that a similar deal with Google gives much better financial returns. Or as d0od at Omg!Ubuntu says,

it could be that they found most users where switching the search back to Google anyways.

Is Yahoo! Really Buying FourSqaure?

FourSquareFourSquare, the popular location-based social network, is probably only rivaled by Twitter when it comes to growth in early years. With millions of users checking-in daily, it is the hottest property around. BusinessInsider reports that Yahoo! deal-makers are talking about buying FourSqaure for $100 Million. The story which is quite vague on details reads

“Yahoo’s M&A deal-makers are deciding right now whether or not to buy super-hot location-based startup Foursquare for ~$100 million, says a source close to bankers involved in Foursquare’s current fund-raising efforts.”

But with some of the biggest VCs (Khosla and Accel) fighting to invest in FourSqaure at a valuation of $80 Million, the sale price of $100 Million doesn’t sound a really good deal. Moreover, with no comments from Dennis Crowley, FourSqaure founder, or Yahoo!, it seems more probable that the whole deal is just an effort by the investment bankers to sweeten the $80 Million valuation.

Dennis Crowley’s first project was Dodgeball, a Twitter-like service that was bought by Google in 2005. Dennis claims he only sold it because of the lack of funding. This, however, isn’t the case with FourSqaure and with the current growth and popularity FourSqaure enjoys, the deal would be a very cheap bargain for Yahoo! but a very unfortunate one for Dennis.

Yahoo Launches New iPhone Search Applications

Yahoo has introduced two new mobile search apps. The first one is Yahoo Search iPhone app and the second one being,Sketch-a-search. Yahoo Search iPhone app is an integrated search service for the Apple iPhone including a number of interesting features like voice search and Shake to Clear(clears the last search when you shake the phone).

This fully featured search tool also provides information from Yahoo Finance, Yahoo Movies, and Yahoo News into the search results. The search application also takes advantage of location information and provides search results that are relevant to the user’s location. The Yahoo! Search for iPhone app is currently available in only 22 countries across North America, Latin America, Europe, and Asia, and is expected to cover the other parts as well.

The more interesting of the two apps is Sketch-a-search. The service works by allowing users to sketch a boundary on a map encompassing a specific location. This app will then, provide you with local information including restaurants and local businesses. It is really amazing because without even typing keywords,you get the search result.

The release of these new application shows that Yahoo has continued efforts to stay involved in the growing mobile industry. Well, we hope there is a lot more to come from Yahoo.

Bing Market Share Up, Yahoo Goes Down, Google Stable [Search Market]

The search market share for February 2010 is in, Bing has once again managed to increase their market share in the month of February by gaining 0.2% share for a total of 11.5%. On the other hand, Yahoo has continued their downslide by falling 0.2% to 16.8%.


On the other hand, Google seems to have not been affected and has instead gained 0.1% market share for a total of 65.5% share.

The data in question comes from comScore, which said that the total US search volume has increased 10.4% in February 2010 for YoY data. Other search engines like Ask lost 0.1% to end up at 3.7% and AOL stayed flat at 2.5% market share.

Bing has shown a decline in search market only once since it has launched, however, this could be attributed to their recent deal with Yahoo. However, Microsoft has not been able to make a dent into Google’s market share and has been consistently eating into that of Yahoo.

It will be interesting to see how the search market pans out in the next 3-4 months and whether Bing is able to snatch some share from Google. Consider that Microsoft is pouring pocketfuls of money into advertising Bing, it is high time that they start seeing some good results too.

All data is for US markets only.

[via Business Insider]

Facebook Topples Yahoo, Now the Second Largest US Website

There is no doubt that is growing in users and popularity, however, they are now also busy toppling some of the biggest players in the industry. Quite recently a study suggested that Facebook now sends more traffic to top properties in US than Google does.

Facebook vs Yahoo, Jan 2010 Traffic

Now, a new update from Compete says that Facebook has toppled Yahoo as the 2nd larges website in the United States. According to the compete stats for January 2010, Facebook had around 134 million page views as compare to the 132 million by Yahoo.

Monthly Time Spent on Facebook, Yahoo and Google

In addition to that, Facebook has also been growing steadily in the amount of time users spend on the website. According to the data, 11.6% of all online time in US was spent on Facebook as compared to 4.25% for Yahoo and 4.1% for Google. However, these numbers are bound to be as shown as Facebook has more interaction among friends, and also has several time waster apps including Farmville which leads to a higher time spent on the site, as opposed to someone who might spend less than 10-15 seconds on a search engine like Google.

Nevertheless, it goes on to show how Facebook has changed the landscape and other big players have to haul up their asses and draw users back, anyone?

A recent study showed that users spent around 7 hours a month on Facebook. How much time do you spend on Facebook on a day to day basis?

Yahoo Says, We Had Yahoo Updates for A Year Before Google Buzz

is already making a buzz on the web, the product demo was definitely a real treat and the final product will not only be useful for geeks, it will also come in handy for non-technical users as well.

 yahoo_logo Google Buzz Logo

However, Yahoo has had a similar feature called Yahoo Updates for over a year now, and they have sent out a note to Business Insider, which lays out the features that are available in Google Buzz, but were already present in Yahoo Updates for a year.

Here is the email in question, courtesy  Business Insider:

It’s been almost a year and a half since we first launched Yahoo! Updates a social feature that lets people share their status, content and online activities and stay connected to what their friends and family are doing on Yahoo! and across the Web and we wanted to share the latest on what’s happening with Updates:

  • There are now more than 200 Yahoo! and third-party sites that feed into Yahoo! Updates like Flickr, Twitter, YouTube, Yelp and Yahoo! Buzz allowing people to see and share updates such as when they’ve uploaded photos, changed their status, buzzed up a news story or posted a new restaurant review, all from Yahoo!
  • Yahoo! Updates now appear throughout the Yahoo! network, in popular sites and services like Yahoo! Mail,, and Yahoo! Messenger and across our content properties, meaning people can always keep up to date with their friends’ latest activities
  • Yahoo! Updates are featured prominently on the What’s Newsection of Yahoo! Mail, which is used by more than 300M people worldwide. People can also update their status and share it with friends and family directly from the What’s Newtab
  • Yahoo! Updates are now available globally
  • Additionally,  Yahoo! recently announced an expanded integration with Facebook that will allow people to connect with Facebook friends on Yahoo! and share Yahoo! content with Facebook friends as well
  • Ultimately, Yahoo! sees social as an enabler and as a dimension that is part of everything we do—and everything people do online.

As you can see from the email, Yahoo does not really think much about the new "Google Buzz" and have been working on the product for quite some time now, however, comparing both these products at this point would not be right. However, Google has definitely done a lot of thinking and has always been under pressure from social networking sites like and , who have overtaken the popularity of Google.

Unlike Google Buzz, Yahoo Updates is also integrated into Yahoo Messenger 10. Google Buzz is definitely a product to watch out for, and unlike , this might not be a failure, however, it would be interesting to see how it stacks up against Yahoo Updates amongst other things.

Yahoo! will be Firefox’s Default Search engine on Ubuntu

Rick Spencer is Engineering Manager at canonical. This recent email from Rick Spencer says that there are two new improvements in Ubuntu Lucid Lynx and the developers have been asked to arm Lucid with these changes as it nears its release date.

Although these changes are sure to appear by default, the user will also have an option to switch back to the previous option in case they liked them better. The reason for this change, as told by Rick Spencer is,

I am pursuing this change because Canonical has negotiated a revenue sharing deal with Yahoo! and this revenue will help Canonical to provide developers and resources to continue the open development of Ubuntu and the Ubuntu Platform. This change will help provide these resources as well as continuing to respect our user’s default search across Firefox.

The two changes mentioned in this letter are:

  • The default search homepage will change to the Yahoo! search homepage if we change the default search engine preference to Yahoo!. If we do not change the default search preference to Yahoo!, the current Google search page will remain intact as the homepage. This change currently applies to Yahoo! and Google only.
  • The default search provider in Firefox will be changed to Yahoo!. This setting can be changed by the above mentioned method.

This change brings up many questions like “Why Yahoo!?”, “Did Google disagree to continue with the deal with Mozilla?” and “Did Yahoo! promise better revenues than Google, so well known for its love of Open Source”?

VMware Buys Zimbra, Microsoft & HP Sign $250M Deal, IBM To Move Panasonic To The Cloud

A battle in the technology world not talked about a lot is, VMware vs Microsoft in the enterprise arena. Last week has seen both these companies up the ante against each other. VMware has been giving Microsoft some stiff competition with their virtualization offerings and so far Microsoft has been able to hold the fort with a wide range of competitive products like Sharepoint, Server 2008 R2, Exchange Server, SQL Server, BizTalk Server etc. Virtualization and Cloud Computing are the industry buzz words with all the big names trying to gain market share. Microsoft’s Azure platform with Office Web Apps, Exchange, Outlook, Sharepoint make a compelling package for businesses. While all this is software, Microsoft realizes that it needs strategic partnerships with hardware manufacturers to strengthen its position. Which is where the deal with HP comes into picture. Microsoft’s deal with HP is significant, which is evident since the top leaders of both companies addressed the press briefing. The Microsoft-HP deal is for cloud infrastructure and unified solutions for the enterprise customers. Some minutes of the deal are:

  • Microsoft will be HP’s preferred partner for Virtualization solutions.
  • Lucrative hardware-software bundles from HP-Microsoft will be available for businesses.
  • HP’s software solutions for businesses will integrate and be interoperable with Microsoft’s suite of products.
  • HP will provide hardware for Microsoft’s Azure platform.

This deal will definitely help end users make decisions and upgrade their infrastructure. The CEOs of both companies have stated that this deal will not affect their respective commitments and partnerships with others.

VMware, on their part is attempting to provide their customers with an integrated solution of regularly used services. Zimbra was one of the most popular downloads on VMware’s Virtual Appliance market place. VMware CTO – Steve Herrod, did an article on the company blog talking about what prompted VMware’s decision to buy Zimbra. The article revolved around providing business customers with an integrated solution. It would be interesting to see how efficiently is VMware able to integrate Zimbra into their package since this would   diversify VMware’s offerings.

While I was writing this article, CNET reported that Panasonic will be migrating to the cloud as part of their globalization strategy. Panasonic will be dumping Microsoft Exchange and moving to IBM’s LotusLive suite of services. LotusLive is IBM’s collaboration offering for businesses that includes — email, calendar, contact management. This is being seen as the largest cloud migration.

So if you thought that Google is high on the cloud, think again. The war has just begun.

Companies Who Walked Out on Google Deals [Failed Acquisitions]

Google, the company and the brand has grown tremendously over the years. It is known best for it’s innovations and best use of technology. However, not each and every technology that Google provides is created by them. They have been purchasing companies, both small and big to supplement their existing technologies and to create new ones.


This approach is of course beneficial, as they do not have to start from scratch and get access to a readymade and proven technology. However, not every company that Google has set their eyes on have accepted the deals. There have been quite a few companies who have rejected lucrative Google offers too.

So who are the braveheart companies who rejected offers from Google? Let us take a look at the companies from what we know. I have tried my best to include most of them, however, if you do know of any other busted deals, feel free to leave a comment.


Google’s aim to take over the local search market took a huge jolt when Yelp walked out of discussions. There is still a lot of speculation, whether it was Google or Yelp who actually walked out of the deal. However, the deal is now off the table and you will no longer see a Google-Yelp merger, at-least in the near future.


Lala is a music company which allows users to stream music online. Though Lala was bought by Apple, there are speculations that Google had tried to buy them out before Apple did. However, Google now have a new deal with Lala to help users discover new music in Google music search


has always been a target for the tech biggies including Google, Microsoft and . There were talks held between Google and Twitter for a possible buyout, however, Evan Williams held out splendidly and did not sell under pressure. Twitter now has deals with both Microsoft and Google, and are also making money and profitable.


There were rumors going around in 2008 that Skype and Google are in talks for a partnership, however, nothing came out of it. Acquiring Skype would have given a huge boost to Google, however, they do have Google Voice which has taken off in a good way and have also acquired Gizmo5 recently.


Friendster was perhaps the first company to not go along with Google. They rejected a deal from Google in 2004. Google then went ahead to create , which is one of the most popular social networking sites in India and Brazil.

Other Notable Failures

There have been other notable failures in the past, which failed at negotiation stages or due to governmental policies, these include:

Are there any other failed Google Deals you have come across? Let us know through your comments.he