Collection of Interesting Articles on OSS



^Nice beginning SyGeek :) Remember, its an 'interesting articles' thread and not educational :D

@Krow: Please don't use 'quote' as it ruins the flow of the page.


The Linux vs. Windows Security Mystery
Katherine Noyes

"NSA recommending Vista for home security is merely a reflection of the reality of monopoly in the retail space," said blogger Robert Pogson. "In the USA probably as few as 2 to 3 percent of users use GNU/Linux, so a recommendation is almost useless." Those who are serious about security "are already aware of SELinux, a product of the NSA. The NSA is merely recommending that folks move on from XP, a poor OS poorly supported by M$."

Of all the many winning advantages Linux has in its favor, security is surely one of the more widely known examples.

Why else, indeed, would we see security experts in mainstream publications recommending it over Windows for online banking purposes?

That, indeed, is part of the reason it was so disappointing to see Linux get completely ignored in a recent NSA report entitled "Best Practices for Keeping Your Home Network Secure."

The report is filled with various suggestions oriented toward Windows and Mac users -- just as one would expect, given that they're by far the majority today. What stands out, though, is that for Windows users, the NSA simply recommends upgrading to Windows 7 or Vista, making no mention at all of the far-more-secure Linux option that's available.

More than a few ripples were created in the waters of the Linux blogosphere.

'NSA Says No to Linux'

Some interpretations seemed truly bizarre.

"NSA Best Practices Recommend Windows Over Linux For Security" read one headline on ITProPortal, for example.

Similarly, "NSA says no to Linux in best practice advisory" read another on TechEye.

‎ This, despite the fact that Linux wasn't mentioned at all in the NSA report.

'What a Twist of Words'

Bloggers, as per their wont, made note of that fact quickly.

"Wow what a twist of words," wrote Ken in the comments on the ITProPortal story, for example. "The NSA article does not even mention Linux. What the NSA article says is this: 'Both Windows 7 and Vista provide substantial security enhancements over earlier Windows workstation operating systems such as XP.'

"So the NSA is really saying that the newer Windows is better than the old Windows. Duh!!!!" Ken added.

‎It wasn't long before PCWorld weighed in with an indignant, "Windows Vista for Better Security? I Don't Think So," and the conversation took off from there.

Down at the blogosphere's Punchy Penguin saloon, Linux Girl was bombarded with comments.

'Merely a Reflection of Reality'

"NSA recommending Vista for home security is merely a reflection of the reality of monopoly in the retail space," blogger Robert Pogson offered. "In the USA probably as few as 2 to 3 percent of users use GNU/Linux, so a recommendation is almost useless."

Those who are serious about security "are already aware of SELinux, a product of the NSA," Pogson added. "The NSA is merely recommending that folks move on from XP, a poor OS poorly supported by M$. Folks who would heed that advice probably do not even know GNU/Linux exists."

It is "possible that some of M$'s donations may also have suppressed mention of GNU/Linux," Pogson concluded. "But who knows?"

'The Security Swiss Cheese of XP'

Consultant and Slashdot blogger Gerhard Mack took a similar view.

"You can't knock them too badly," Mack agreed. "The best numbers I have seen show Linux at half the numbers of Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) -- a small number to begin with."

The NSA "has sponsored Linux security projects in the past, so they are definitely not anti-Linux," he pointed out.

Vista, meanwhile, "brought along some features to allow more apps to run as non-administrator and some features (UAC) to annoy people who buy products from people who can't be bothered with good security patches," Mack added. "Win 7 is just a more stable/less annoying Vista, and I'll take either of them over the security swiss cheese of XP."

So, "I'm with the NSA on this one because the sooner XP is just a memory, the better off we all are," Mack concluded.

'You Need to Know What You're Doing'

"The problem with Linux is you really need to know what you're doing for it to be secure," asserted Slashdot blogger hairyfeet.

The NSA's recommendations, then, are "no surprise, as they know that 99.995 percent of the population is not CS grads or kernel hackers or programmers," hairyfeet opined. "These people will NEVER use CLI -- hell, Windows' control panel scares them. You honestly think they are gonna learn Bash?"

Hyperlogos blogger Martin Espinoza wasn't so sure.

'Irresponsible at Best'

"When I see the federal government recommend the products of one of its actual constituents, I am annoyed but not surprised," Espinoza told Linux Girl in a link-filled email. "Remember when Bush's boy Ashcroft gave Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) a free pass after the DOJ found that they had illegally abused their monopoly position? (And have you noticed where Ashcroft is now?)

"It comes as no shock to see the NSA failing to promote Linux when the federal government is clearly a friend to Microsoft, and vice versa," he said.

"And let us not forget the well-foreshadowed speculation that Vista may contain an NSA back door," Espinoza pointed out. "Since there is no way for an independent reviewer to know that the code they are reviewing is what is actually being distributed with Windows or via Windows (or Microsoft) Update, clearly it is irresponsible at best to utilize Windows in any case where security is important."

'NSA - New Spending Authority'

Barbara Hudson, a blogger on Slashdot who goes by "Tom" on the site, wondered about the target audience for the NSA's report.

"Home users will never even see this, never mind read it," Hudson explained. "Business users? If they haven't switched by now, a pdf bearing the NSA's imprimatur isn't going to count for a hill of beans next to the considerations of software that can't be migrated from XP, or the costs and time of migrating desktop users to a new version.

"Besides, most of those installations will be taken care of over the next few years by simple attrition or migrating the users to tablets," she added.

"So who *was* the real target audience? I would have to say it's the boss of whoever at the NSA ordered this written, to 'show they're doing something' so they can justify their paycheck," Hudson suggested. "After all, haven't your tax dollars always been used for NSA -- New Spending Authority?

"Now please excuse me," she concluded, "while I go tell the neighbors that those black helicopters are just a coincidence."​


Linux: The Source of All Desktop Innovation

I’m going to make a statement that, at this point, should be obvious to every nerd on the planet… but I still feel needs to be stated:

Almost every ounce of real innovation happening in the world of Desktop Operating Systems… is happening on Linux. Microsoft and Apple have completely dropped the ball and ceased to innovate in any real way in this area.

Over the last few months I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing (with the Linux Action Show) some truly interesting new software releases, including: Ubuntu’s new desktop environment “Unity“, KDE 4.6, and Gnome 3.

These are exciting, interesting desktop environments that seek to improve upon (and, in some cases, completely modify) the basic “Computer Desktop” paradigm that we’ve been using and building upon for so many years. With Gnome 3 and Unity making sweeping changes with the goal of providing a computing experience that is accessible and easy to use for all people.

It should be noted that I can’t stand using either Gnome 3 or Unity. And, even that might be putting it a tad too lightly.

But, just the same, I have immense respect and admiration for what the teams behind these desktop environments have achieved. They have thrown out the conventional wisdom of what a “desktop” is and built the user experiences that they felt needed to be built. And that is awesome (and valuable).

What’s happening on the other side of the fence? What have Microsoft and Apple been up to?

What new, truly innovative ideas has either brought to the desktop in the last several years?

Case in point:

Apple has announced the core new features of their next big update to MacOS X, code-named “Lion“. To summarize the new features, Apple used the phrase “Back To The Mac”. The implication being that they are taking the user interfaces from their iPhones and iPads… and shoehorn them into MacOS X.

Some of the big new and exciting changes? Some applications can run full screen and your desktop can now be a row of icons that launch applications (just like iOS devices).

I’m not kidding. Those are two of the top demo-able, new features. Features taken from a mobile OS (iOS) and forced into a desktop OS. And, worth noting, these features have existed for very, very long time.

And these are some of the most radical and exciting new features MacOS X has had to offer since its initial release over 10 years ago. This, also, is not a joke. (To be fair, Windows has seen a similar glut in user interface innovation during that same time.)

Compare that with Gnome 3, which includes actually useful notifications and messaging and messaging and dynamically expanding virtual workspaces. Not to mention an extraordinarily scriptable (via JavaScript) and modifiable user experience that is simply not possible on Windows or MacOS X. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

The end result is a desktop environment that is significantly easier to pick up and learn, for people often intimidated by computers, than Windows or MacOS X. Add to that the fact that Gnome 3 is also significantly more customizable for power users than either… AND significantly more innovative…

It makes you wonder. What, exactly, are the folks in Redmond and Cupertino doing? Two of the largest companies on the planet with, literally, billions of dollars at their disposal… and neither has come up with any big new ideas to significantly improve the usability of their desktop OS’s in the last decade?

Perhaps both companies are simply too big and too slow to really innovate in this area. Perhaps they simply don’t want to. Or, perhaps it has something to do with the development model being used.

Whatever the reason, I’m immensely happy to see that several projects are pushing things forward, trying new ideas out to make our desktops even cooler and more powerful (and usable).

And, I almost hate to say this… but I’m glad some projects are taking the Desktop in directions that I wouldn’t go myself. The end result is more diversity, more new ideas and, in the end, far cooler desktop environments.

Cool G5

Conversation Architect
I feel the big co's R&D so much that it takes time to innovate. By the time they even implement it, it is already out in Linux arena. Linux on other hand has been proactive for sometime now & I've never seen it so active. If they continue in the same vein, it should not take time to increase the world linux share.



Every year as I wade into reviewing books for the Jolt Awards, I am forced to slog through several language tutorials. Over the years, I've found them to be reasonably well written, although rarely more than this. That is, they're accurate, and a determined reader can certainly learn enough from them to code in the target language. But I am hard-pressed to be more complimentary for even the best tutorials.

These books are marked by common failings that greatly frustrate their simple mission. The first and by far most-common handicap is a confusion by the authors in which they conflate a tutorial with a detailed treatise on every aspect of the language. For reasons not quite clear, the latter approach seems generally favored by the publishing industry, resulting in almost ridiculous volumes. I have in front of me a 1480-page "introduction" to Java. The notion that anyone would read that many pages as a primer defies credulity. Predictably, the book descends into the AWT and Swing, pops up to diverge through tributary libraries, disappears into the VM, and finally ends up in parallel programming, after which it thankfully comes to an end. Given that this particular volume is the 4th Edition of this title, I have to believe that it represents the ultimate in refinement of the author's intended model. It's really a hybrid tutorial-reference work. And my guess is that since it weighs 4½ pounds, it serves primarily in the latter capacity. Mark Lutz's Learning Python is that language's equivalent of this book. Other tutorials, such as the "Pickaxe book," which brought Ruby to the attention of the Western world, unabashedly follow this model. The front half is tutorial, the back half is marked as reference. This approach works far better. And the quality of the Ruby tutorial, despite its length (418 pages), justifies the popularity the book has enjoyed.

Another common failing is that the authors forget what readers most want to do when learning a new language; namely, to write small working programs to familiarize themselves with the syntax. Frequently, tutorials present endless tiny snippets of code that illustrate a feature — without showing a single useful program. This tendency is greatly exacerbated if the language has a built-in shell/interpreter, as is the case with Ruby, Groovy, and Scala.

For example, the Scala tutorial by Odersky, Spoon, and Venners (Programming in Scala) is a fair representation of the problem. In the first 200 pages, I was able to find only one example longer than 20 lines of code; the majority being less than 10. (In K&R, which I'll come back to in a moment, the first 20-line program appears on page 26.) The result, as I experienced it, was that after a lot of reading and typing, I knew a little bit about a lot of features, but still had not written a single program that actually did something useful. To be fair, this problem is strikingly common. I have tutorials on Clojure and Groovy before me that proceed exactly the same way.

Finally, a pet peeve that I find frequently in poorly edited tutorials: the desire to show off the language by presenting clever tricks or small hacks it can accomplish. Personally, I want to learn, rather than watch linguistic parlor tricks. This weakness shows up most frequently in tutorials for functional languages and for those, such as Groovy, where the syntax is purposely designed to be better than a competing language (in this case, Java).

The truly frustrating aspect of all three limitations is that there has long existed a brilliant tutorial to serve as a guide: Kernighan and Ritchie's C Programming Language book (K&R). Judging it beside other tutorials, the differences are immediately visible. Let's start with the obvious things: the tutorial portion of K&R is a mere 177 pages. This is followed by 40 pages of appendices, which serve as a highly abbreviated reference section. At this modest length, any reader can work through the book and do all the examples. Secondly, most of the programs are longer than 20 lines, do something mildly useful and familiar, and are complete. Even 125 pages into K&R, an illustrative program has a main() function. We're not talking snippets here, we're looking at real, albeit short, programs. Finally, the explanations are lucid and they build incrementally on each other. They do not present a scattershot of features. There is a pervasive sense of sequence; and at all times the reader knows where he is in relationship to the ground covered and the ground yet to be traversed.

What is missing from K&R? Most clearly, it lacks a section that explains every function in the standard library. Java books should drop this nonsense, too. (The definitive books on all the arcana of Java, including the library and solving knotty problems, is the lapidary Core Java, Volumes I and II, by Horstmann and Cornell. But at a combined 1800 pages, they do not comprise a tutorial — nor, I might add, do they claim to).

The second thing K&R omits is spoon feeding. You have to think as you work through it. All the information is there, but you're forced to engage the language through the examples to get what you need. The authors expect you to be an attentive reader. As a result, you can move quickly through the language because the book supports you, rather than forcing you to read pages that add little to your comprehension.

One can argue that C is a small language and therefore concision comes naturally to an introductory text. I would invite you to examine the other tutorials on C and see whether you can find another that's as short and well written as K&R. Or try JavaScript, which is also a small language, and likewise lacks for short, lucid tutorials.

I want to make clear that the books I named were chosen with care because they are, in my view, the best tutorials for their respective languages. Odersky et al. on Scala, Thomas on Ruby, Lutz on Python — these are the best starting points for their respective languages. I only wish they'd followed K&R's model more closely.


What's better, a graphical interface or the Linux command line? Both of them. They blend seamlessly on Linux so you don't have to choose. A good graphical user interface (GUI) has a logical, orderly flow, helps guide you to making the right command choices, and is reasonably fast and efficient. Since this describes a minority of all GUIs, I still live on the command line a lot. The CLI has three advantages: it's faster for many operations, it's scriptable, and it is many times more flexible. Linux's Unix heritage means you can string together commands in endless ways so they do exactly what you want.

What's better, a graphical interface or the Linux command line? Both of them. They blend seamlessly on Linux so you don't have to choose. A good graphical user interface (GUI) has a logical, orderly flow, helps guide you to making the right command choices, and is reasonably fast and efficient. Since this describes a minority of all GUIs, I still live on the command line a lot. The CLI has three advantages: it's faster for many operations, it's scriptable, and it is many times more flexible. Linux's Unix heritage means you can string together commands in endless ways so they do exactly what you want.

Here is a collection of some of my favorite finding-things command line incantations.

File Operations

In graphical file managers like Dolphin and Nautilus you can right-click on a folder and click Properties to see how big it is. But even on my quad-core super-duper system it takes time, and for me it's faster to type the df or dh commands than to open a file manager, navigate to a directory, and then pointy-clicky. How big is my home directory?
$ du -hs ~
748G    /home/carla
How much space is left on my hard drive or drives? This particular incantation is one of my favorites because it uses egrep to exclude temporary directories, and shows the filesystem types:
$ df -hT | egrep -i "file|^/"
Filesystem    Type    Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/sda2     ext4     51G  3.6G   32G  11% /
/dev/sda3     ext4    136G  2.3G  127G   2% /home
/dev/sda1     ext3    244G  114G   70G  63% /home/carla/photoshare
/dev/sdb2     ext3     54G  5.8G   45G  12% /home/carla/music
What files were changed on this day, in the current directory?
$ ls -lrt | awk '{print $6" "$7" "$9 }' | grep 'May 22' 

May 22 file_a.txt
May 22 file_b.txt
Using a simple grep search displays complete file information:
$ ls -lrt | grep 'May 22' 
-rw-r--r-- 1 carla carla 383244 May 22 20:21 file_a.txt
-rw-r--r-- 1 carla carla 395709 May 22 20:23 file_b.txt
Or all files from a past year:

ls -lR | grep 2006

Run complex commands one section at a time to see how they work; for example, start with ls -lrt, then ls -lrt | awk '{print $6" "$7" "$9 }', and so on. To avoid hassles with upper- and lower-case filenames, use grep -i for a case-insensitive search.

Want to sort files by creation date? You can't in Linux, but you can in FreeBSD. Want to specify a different directory? Use ls -lrt directoryname.

Which files were changed in the last three minutes? This is quick slick way to see what changed after making changes to your system:

find / -mmin -3

You can specify a time range, like what changed in the current directory between three and six minutes ago?

find . -mmin +3 -mmin -6

The dot means current directory.

Need to track down disk space hogs? This is probably one of the top ten tasks even in this era of terabyte hard drives. This lists the top five largest directories or files in the named directory, including the top level directory:
$ du -a directoryname | sort -nr | head -n 5
119216208	.
55389884	./photos
40650788	./Photos
37020884	./photos/2007
20188284	./carla
Omit the -a option to list only directories.

Biggest Files

It is well worth getting acquainted with the find command because it can do everything except make good beer. This nifty incantation finds the five biggest files on your system, and sorts them from largest to smallest, in bytes:
# find / -type f -printf '%s %p\n' |sort -nr| head -5

1351655936 /home/carla/sda1/carla/.VirtualBox/Machines/ubuntu-hoary/Snapshots/{671041dd-700c-4506-68a8-7edfcd0e3c58}.vdi
1332959240 /home/carla/sda1/carla/51mix.wav
1061154816 /proc/kcore
962682880 /home/carla/sda1/Photos/2007-sept-montana/video_ts/vts_01_4.vob
962682880 /home/carla/sda1/photos/2007/2007-sept-montana/video_ts/vts_01_4.vob
You really don't need to include the /proc pseudo-filesystem, since it occupies no disk space. Use the wholename and prune options to exclude it:

find / -wholename '/proc' -prune -o -type f -printf '%s %p\n' |sort -nr| head -5

There is potential gotcha, and that is that find will recurse into all mounted filesystems, including remote filesystems. If you don't want it to do this then add the -xdev option:

find / -xdev -wholename '/proc' -prune -o -type f -printf '%s %p\n' |sort -nr| head -5

Another potential gotcha with -xdev is find will only search the filesystem the command is run from, and no other filesystem mounts, not even local ones. So if your filesystem is spread over multiple partitions or hard drives on one computer, and you want to search all of them, don't use -xdev. I'm sure there is a clever way to distinguish between local and remote filesystems, and when I figure it out I'll share it.

Now let's string together a splendid find incantation to convert those large indigestible blobs of bytes into a nice readable format:
# find / -type f -print0| xargs -0 ls -s | sort -rn | awk '{size=$1/1024; printf("%dMb %s\n", size,$2);}' | head -5

1290Mb /home/carla/sda1/carla/.VirtualBox/Machines/ubuntu-hoary/Snapshots/{671041dd-700c-4506-68a8-7edfcd0e3c58}.vdi
1272Mb /home/carla/sda1/carla/51mix.wav
918Mb /home/carla/sda1/Photos/2007-sept-montana/video_ts/vts_01_4.vob
918Mb /home/carla/sda1/photos/2007/2007-sept-montana/video_ts/vts_01_4.vob
918Mb /home/carla/sda1/Photos/2007-sept-montana/video_ts/vts_01_1.vob
es, I know, you can do many of these things in graphical search applications. To me they are slow and clunky, and it's a lot faster to replay searches from my Bash history, or copy them from my cheat sheet. I even have some aliased in Bash, for example I use that last long find incantation a lot. So I have this entry aliased to find5 in my .bashrc:

alias find5='find / -wholename '/proc' -prune -o -wholename '/sys' -prune -o -type f -print0| xargs -0 ls -s | sort -rn | awk '{size=$1/1024; printf("%dMb %s\n", size,$2);}' | head -5'

In this example I have excluded both the /proc and the /sys directories.

Fast Locate Command

The locate is very fast because it creates a database of all of your filenames. You need to update it periodically, and many distros do this automatically. To update it manually simply run the updatedb command as root. locate and grep are powerful together. For example, find all .jpg files that are 1024 pixels wide:

locate *.jpg|grep 1024

Search for image files in three different formats for an application:

locate claws-mail|grep -iE "(jpg|gif|ico)"

Well here we are at the end already! Thanks for reading, and please consult the fine man pages for these commands to learn what the different options mean.


Cyborg Agent
Re: How Ubuntu is built: the inside story

Bookmarked it. Reading it later and thanks for the link.


Cyborg Agent
Re: How Ubuntu is built: the inside story

Few years back I got 10 CDs from Cononical freely.. Started using ubuntu in one of the my spare 20 GB HDD as installing it to the same HDD as Windows was hactic for me as I was not with Partition.. :(

I email to Mark Shuttleworth suggesting why can't Ubuntu be installed in a single partition like windows do..... I got reply from his secretary that my email has been reached to Mark and he discussed it with the development team...... And will try to make it happen.....

Really this is true I still have saved that email reply.......


Merged that thread with this one as more than news, it is an interesting article on OSS.

@socrates: Please create threads in appropriate sub-forums. Not all threads are for news sections.


I seriously think posters should stop posting news or off-topic things in this thread. This is all about interesting articles on FOSS.

Mods please clean this wonderful thread.


^That post by socrates is not news. It is an interesting article on how Ubuntu is built. Did you read it?


By Robert Storey​

Please accept my resignation. I don't care to belong to any club that will have people like me as a member. (Groucho Marx)
* * * * *
My name is Robert, and I'm a distroholic. For the longest time, I was in denial. But as any AA member will tell you, the first step to dealing with an addiction is to know you have one. And to admit it publicly. Which is why I am here today.
What a long, strange trip it has been, ever since that fateful day in 1998 when I installed SUSE Linux. I remained loyal to her for all of six months. But soon I was having an affair with Red Hat. And then I found Slackware. I had a long and satisfying fling with Libranet, now sadly deceased. Then, in despair, I embraced FreeBSD and OpenBSD, only to abandon both of them for Debian. I'm sure there were others, but I've forgotten their names.
And suddenly, in 2005, stability came into my life, when I first put a free "ShipIt" disk from Canonical into my CD drive and rebooted. Yes, the first one was free, but soon I was hooked. My friends tried to warn me: "Don't be seduced just because she's easy," they said. But I wouldn't listen. "It's got a graphical installer!" I exclaimed. "And my mouse just works, without having to manually edit file /etc/X11/XF86Config!" I was in love.
My tryst with Ubuntu lasted over five years. But the relationship - often rocky at times - began to sour. And when Oneiric arrived last month, I knew it was over.
I cried - at least they said I did - when I recently booted a Debian disk, typed mkfs.ext4 /dev/sda1, hit enter, and watched my Ubuntu installation disappear in a digital puff of smoke. Gone, but not forgotten.

Unity: Ubuntu's Waterloo?

OK, before someone tells me to put a sock in it, I'll cut the crap and get to the point. I'd been having issues with Ubuntu for a long time, but still remained loyal. I figured that these travails would eventually be worked out, and besides, the competition wasn't any better. However, the seriously misnamed "Unity" was the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back.
Now yes, I know, Unity is not required to run Ubuntu. Indeed, I was one of the loudest voices proclaiming to Unity-haters that they could simply go with GNOME-Shell, or Kubuntu, Xubuntu and Lubuntu. Not to mention that aside from the official *buntu interfaces, buried within the bowels of the repositories are numerous other worthy desktop environments: IceWM, Enlightenment-17, FVWM-Crystal, Fluxbox, or for the truly hardcore, Ratpoison (thus named because it kills your mouse). So really, if you don't like the look of Unity, the solution is just an "apt-get install my-favorite-desktop" away. Right?
Unfortunately, it's not that simple. The biggest problem with Unity is not that it has become the new Ubuntu default desktop. The problem is that Unity development seems to be sucking up Canonical's resources, to the detriment of everything else. Bugs have been creeping into Ubuntu, and they are not getting fixed because the developers apparently have no time. Over the years I have reported a number of bugs myself on the Launchpad web site, and in the beginning I recall that developers were very prompt to examine the reports and come up with solutions. I was quite surprised, and pleased, the first time I reported a bug and received a polite email from an Ubuntu developer the next day asking for more details. I replied, and within a week the bug was fixed.
But that was then and this is now. More recently, bug reports have sat in the overworked developers' inboxes for months while numerous users add additional comments saying how they too have run into the same issue. Occasionally, these bugs are real show-stoppers - everything from an inability to get online to frequent system lock-ups. Many serious bugs are now officially "triaged," which means that the developers will get to it if and when they can, but don't hold your breath waiting.
Perhaps it would be worth putting up with the bugs if Unity was the greatest thing since sliced bread - something wonderful that is going to revolutionize desktop computing. But it's not. I tried Unity, and it's kind of cute, but nothing to write home about. If it vanished from the face of the Earth, I wouldn't particularly miss it. Perhaps it will be of some value in the future if someone manufactures an Ubuntu Pad (uPad?), but for now I just want something that works well on my conventional computer. And Ubuntu is no longer stable or fast enough to fit my needs.

Where do we go from here?

I started out this rambling essay saying how I am (was) a "distroholic." That is to say, my early days of Linux Geekdom were spent jumping from distro to distro. Ubuntu gave me stability for five years, but now I am back to distro-hopping again. I am actually enjoying this experiment, and seeing how many quality distros now exist, I feel a bit like a kid in a candy store. I have three computers in my possession, each one running something different. Two of the three are Debian-based (AntiX and Linux Mint "Debian"), while the other (Salix) comes from the Slackware universe. I haven't yet bothered to set up any of my machines to double (or triple) boot, but that's a possibility too. So maybe by next week I'll be playing with six distros, or nine.
I view this as a competition. And may the best distro win.


Time to dispel open source myths, says Liam Maxwell​

Government director of ICT futures says open source has grown up and Whitehall is ready to buy.

Open source and open standards are the direction for UK government IT, the civil servant leading the government's technology change agenda has said, reports The Register.

Liam Maxwell, Cabinet Office director of ICT futures, said that open source has grown up and it's time to dispel lingering misconceptions about this technology and development process.

Maxwell told the Intellect 2012 conference in London: "Open source software is not three guys in a shed anymore. There are a lot of misconceptions about open source but open source is the future model for delivering IT."

He was speaking the day before the Cabinet Office opens a three-month period of consultation on open standards to be used in the government's G-Cloud initiative.

G-Cloud is intended to establish a series of frameworks on software, hardware and services and on purchasing to help deliver IT more effectively and reduce costs across government.

The three-month consultation process is intended to take input on open standards that would underpin G-Cloud. Maxwell promised the consultation is an important part of G-Cloud saying it has the "same authority" as the consultation on a new airport. "We are serious about this," Maxwell said.

The consultation comes as the government prepares to announce which IT vendors will be G-Cloud certified. More than 600 companies are reported to have expressed an interest in the framework.

Underscoring the government's interest in open source, Maxwell said that last week he'd accompanied Cabinet Office minister Frances Maude, overseeing the government's digital transition, on a tour of Silicon Valley tech companies working with open source and big data – Cloudera, specializing in the Google inspired Hadoop data munching framework, and MongoDB specialist 10Gen. Maxwell also introduced his ministerial boss to cloud software infrastructure specialist Joyant and eBay's payment arm PayPal.

"We have a minister who really gets this," Maxwell said. "That's where the future is moving. It's moving to a new model of service and delivery, it's big data and big data is going to be open source. We are going to spend a lot of time looking into that. If we move to being one common government we need open source," he said.

The idea is to move away from what Maxwell called "black-box" contracts involving big IT vendors to more agile systems delivered by small and medium sized enterprises. The thinking seems to be SME equals open source and open standards, while big means the same old proprietary vendors.

"For years we spent on IT systems built for bureaucrats, they were not built for people," he said.​


Right off the assembly line
Linux Sucks!!!
Posted by tuxxie Friday, July 17, 2009

Linux is gaining momentum and people are starting to switch over to this computer operating system. I have been using GNU/Linux for years and would like to warn you about it. My conscience wouldn't allow me not to speak out about the OS. Linux is a free operating system that anyone can download and use.

Imagine, you don't have to pay a penny to get Linux to run on your computer. I know what you are thinking, is this another of those recession inventions? It will trick you into using it for a while for free and then pop up a window and ask for your credit card... But no. Linux is not like the other operating systems you normally use. It is much more evil. Not only it is for free, but it is also completely legal to download and distribute to as many people as you want. Now, when was the last time you downloaded something legally? I know, it is impossible to even think about it. Every time a security update pops up, you can actually download it without the fear that your illegal version of a program will stop functioning afterwards. Where the hell is the fun in that?!? Do you remember the thrill of looking for cracks all over the internet, and many of them often came in a combo with a nice virus that gave you something to do for the next few days? How dare Linux take that away from people? Most of the stuff with Linux works right out of the box. The popular distributions out there are very easy to install and you are ready to surf the web, edit pictures, burn cd/dvds and many other features right away. It will take time till you get used to not dishing out your hard earn cash for a simple upgrade or mediocre application. Your free word processor will not expire after 3 months of use and after saving your files in a format that nothing else can open. I miss entering the numbers of my credit card into the system every other day. I know them by heart and it pains me that I am unable to utilize this knowledge. All of this because of Linux. It has thousands of free quality applications that range from great games to audio/video editing and other professional software. This just makes you feel cheated. However, Linux has been listening to us and trying to fix this problem. With the application called Wine you can still use your expensive Windows software. Once you install it, you will be able to play all your favorite games and run other applications that you paid for so gladly in the past. But that is about the only thing that is fun about Linux. Everything else is so boring, legal and free. Hopefully one day I can get over it. I still haven't figured out what to do with the extra money I saved...

The worst thing of all is that I have lost most of my friends, namely Mike, Chris and Rob from the software store. They used to call me twice a week, ask how I was and tell me about the new software they just got. I shouldn't say that, but they would also offer me discounts if I bought several at the time. However, when they called last time, I told them that I got GNU/Linux. They were outraged. I haven't heard from them since. Linux destroys the most precious of friendships you build throughout the years. I miss you my best friends. Please, call me back sometimes.

GNU/Linux is also very customizable. That means you can change it any way you want. You are not locked in to proprietary software. It is about having freedom and no one company is dictating the rules to you. Install whatever you want, how you want and change things the way you want. No rules and no restrictions. I don't think I can handle so much freedom. I never had to make decisions for myself before.

Linux also looks really cool. If you though Mac's were great than you will be amazed at Linux. Just install Compiz Fusion and you will be able to have amazing eyecandy. This application will give you a 3D cube, wobbly windows, expo, widget layer, 3D windows, shift switcher and many other cool effects that will make your Windows and Mac OS friends jealous. You can install any themes and icon sets you want. The only limit is your creativity. The good thing about this is that you can make Linux look like Windows and Mac OS so your friends still think you are cool as them.

Please stay away from GNU/Linux because it is a computer revolution. It is slowly changing the computer industry in major ways. Even Google is creating their own operating system that will be based on the Linux kernel. What are they thinking? Linux for the masses? Oh no! How are we going to get used to not paying hundreds of dollars for an OS. We would have to change our way of thinking and I don't think majority people are ready for that. We cannot allow this to happen. I have been using GNU/Linux for years and I still can't get used to such a great operating system. I am happy with it and the great software that I am using. Please take my warning seriously! GNU/Linux is awful and I hope you stay away from it. It is better to pay high prices for an OS that you do not like and the company will dictate to you what you can or cannot do with it, what software you can install and treat you like a criminal. If you do not take my warning seriously and will install GNU/Linux I hope that you are ready for what is to follow. Don't say I haven't warned you. Think hard about switching to GNU/Linux.

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