LinuxIT is an agile IT specialising in Linux and Open Source Software specialist with an unrivalled record in the deployment of associated best practice system management technologies into the private and public sectors.
Sponsored Link Aptik is a new tool to simplify re-installation of packages after doing a clean installation of an Ubuntu-based distribution. It can be used while re-installing or upgrading to the next Ubuntu/Linux Mint release.
Answering common questions about MIT and Harvard’s new partnership in online education.
Jan Bergmans's insight:
What technology will edX use? An open-source online learning platform that will feature teaching designed specifically for the Web. Features will include: self-paced learning, online discussion groups, wiki-based collaborative learning, assessment of learning as a student progresses through a course, and online laboratories. The platform will also serve as a laboratory from which data will be gathered to better understand how students learn. Because it is open-source, the platform will be improved continuously.
Is there anything innovative about the online technology? Yes. It will move beyond the standard model of online education that relies on watching video content and will offer an interactive experience for students. And the technology will be open-source; other universities will be able to leverage the innovative technology to create their own online offerings.
Why are MIT and Harvard doing this? To improve education on campus and around the world:
On campus, edX research will enhance our understanding of how students learn and how technologies can best be used as part of our larger efforts to improve teaching and learning.Beyond our campuses, edX will expand access to education, allow for certificates of mastery to be earned by able learners, and make the open-source platform available to other institutions.
Ripped off on a 256MB RAM stick? Today's your lucky day
Jan Bergmans's insight:
A group of US Attorneys General have agreed to a $310m settlement package with memory chip makers, which is to be distributed among the public, following allegations of price gouging by vendors between the years 1998 and 2002. DRAM makers named in the paperwork include Samsung, Micron, Hynix, Infineon, NEC, and Toshiba. They all deny any wrongdoing, and settled out of court in California.
Under the terms of the deal, US residents and companies can file claims to receive a slice of the cash pie based on DRAM they purchased during the four-year period. The payouts start at $10, and the attorneys say the, er, victims could receive "much more" for their troubles.
The settlements come from a lawsuit first filed in 2007 that accused DRAM manufacturers of price-fixing. The allegations claim that over the four-year period spanning the turn of the century, the vendors sought to gouge customers by colluding to artificially drive up the price of memory.
Various other settlements have been reached previously, including a $300m deal in 2005 between Samsung and the US Department of Justice. The $310m being distributed now is the result of motions brought forward by 33 state Attorneys Generals on behalf of the public.
In order to claim a share of the loot, customers will need to file a claim by 1 August, 2014 through the DRAMclaims website or print out and send in a written claim form.
If, for whatever reason, users want to opt out of the agreement (most likely in order to file a separate suit) the deadline to file is 5 May. ®
We all know Linux is popular but here are a few places where it is not expected to be. EFYTimes takes a look.
Jan Bergmans's insight:
Government Users of Linux
1.U.S. Navy Submarine Fleet – As per FreeSoftwareMagazine.com "the US Navy nuclear submarine fleet is using GNU/Linux" too.
2.The City of Munich, Germany - The city of Munich, Germany has "chosen to migrate its 14,000 desktops to a free Linux distribution, rather than a commercial version of the open source operating system" as per 2005 ZDNet report.
3.Spain – As per LWN.net, Spain remains the strongest supporter and user of Linux from a national government perspective. Linux is widespread all over Spain since 2002, when the government of Extremadura made its own customized Linux distribution (called LinEx) based on Debian, utilising GNOME as its "default desktop environment."
4. Federal Aviation Administration – A couple of government users of Linux seem to be happier with their choice to switch than the United States Federal Aviation Administration. As per Wikipedia, the FAA made an announcement in 2006 that it "had completed a migration to Red Hat Enterprise Linux in one third of the scheduled time and saved 15 million dollars" while doing so.
5.French Parliament - French Parliament chose in November 2006 to get rid of Windows for Ubuntu Linux, as per ZDNet. This move was a component of a comprehensive shake-up in the software run on Parliament computers that resulted in "1,154 French parliamentary workstations running on Linux, with OpenOffice.org productivity software, the Firefox Web browser and an open-source e-mail client."
6. State-Owned Industrial and Commercial Bank of China – As per 2005 InformationWeek report, the state-owned Industrial and Commercial Bank of China "decided to roll out Linux in all of its 20,000 retail branches." Being the largest bank in entire China, the institution made a commitment to purchasing "an unrestricted user license" as part of a wide integration of Linux "throughout its entire banking operations network" that culminated in 2008.
7. Pakistani Schools & Colleges - In 2002, the Pakistani government brought about a Technology Resource Mobilisation Unit for promoting the spread of open-source software (as well as Linux) all over the country. The unit (that comprises of academics, businesspeople and government officials) has hugely been successful in educating computer users all over Pakistan about what free software could offer.
Educational Users of Linux
8. Russian Schools - In 2007, Russia made an announcement that all its schools would start running Linux software. As per a BBC report on the matter "schools formerly tended to run illegal copies of Microsoft operating systems", but as Russia joined the WTO, it was no longer an accepted practice.
9.German Universities - ComputerWeekly.com stated in August 2007 that "around 560,000 German students plus thousands of staff at 33 German universities will now be supported by Linux systems from Novell."
10. The Philippines - The taking over of Linux is stated to be "forging an education revolution" in the Philippines, as per ComputerWorld. As explained by them, "after a successful deployment of 13,000 Fedora Linux systems from a government grant, plans are underway to roll out another 10,000 based on Ubuntu" in that country.
11.Georgia – The former Soviet state Georgia started running all its school computers and LTSP thin clients on Linux, primarily using Kubuntu, Ubuntu and took away Fedora-based distributions in 2004, as per Wikipedia.
12. The Indian State of Tamil Nadu - LinuxWatch.com reported the story of how "after being put off by Microsoft's bundling tactics for academic users", the Indian state of Tamil Nadu made a decision that instead of distributing 100,000 Linux laptops to students there.
13. Switzerland Schools - Wikipedia stated that Switzerland changed 9,000 of its computers to using Linux and OpenOffice.org's suite of office productivity tools in its Geneva district in September 2008.
14. Bolzano, Italy - Balzano in Italy having a student population of 16,000) switched to making use of a customized distribution of Linux across all its schools in 2005.
15.Kerela, India - Rediff.com stated in September 2006 that beginning now, in Kerela, India, "nearly 1.5 million students in the 2,650 government and government-aided high schools in the state will no longer use the Windows platform for computer education. Instead, they have switched over to the free GNU/Linux software."
Business Users of Linux
16.Novell – For a prolonged period, software and services company Novell made an announcement in 2006 that it was going through a company-wide migration from Windows to Linux on employee desktop computers. Since April 2006, nearly half of Novell's 5,000+ workforce had migrated to Linux, with that figure to rise to 80% by November.
17.Google - The huge and ever-growing group of servers powering Google's search and other apps running on Linux. Of course, typically Google was not satisfied of simply running an out of the box version on its own hardware.
18.IBM – Adding on to doing development work on Linux, IBM also uses it internally on desktops and servers. IBM started a TV ad campaign in 2006 known as "IBM Supports Linux 100%."
19.Panasonic – The Electronics giant Panasonic uses Linux in powering a few of its operations. Similar to many other firms on this list, Panasonic made use of Linux only after Windows NT proved woefully insufficient for what the company required - voicemail systems.
20.Virgin America – This is a low-cost U.S. airline that is run by Richard Branson, that used Linux to power its in-flight entertainment as per TechCrunch. The entertainment system (known as RED) is powered by Red Hat and Fedora specifically, and was opted for as it’s "very stable and agile."
The greatest danger is the emergence of a balkanized Internet.
Jan Bergmans's insight:
Tim Berners-Lee: We need to re-decentralize the WebThe greatest danger is the emergence of a balkanized Internet.
by Liat Clark, wired.co.uk Feb 6 2014, 5:08pm CET
BroadbandInternet regulation100Chris Woods
Twenty-five years after the Web's inception, its creator has urged the public to reengage with its original design: a decentralized Internet that remains open to all.
Speaking with Wired editor David Rowan at an event launching the magazine's March issue, Tim Berners-Lee said that although part of this is about keeping an eye on for-profit Internet monopolies such as search engines and social networks, the greatest danger is the emergence of a balkanized Web.
"I want a Web that's open, works internationally, works as well as possible, and is not nation-based," Berners-Lee told the audience, which included Martha Lane Fox, Jake Davis (aka Topiary) and Lily Cole. He suggested one example to the contrary: "What I don't want is a Web where the Brazilian government has every social network's data stored on servers on Brazilian soil. That would make it so difficult to set one up."
It's the role of governments, startups, and journalists to keep that conversation at the fore, he added, because the pace of change is not slowing—it's going faster than ever before. For his part, Berners-Lee drives the issue through his work at the Open Data Institute, World Wide Web Consortium, and World Wide Web Foundation, but also as an MIT professor whose students are "building new architectures for the Web where it's decentralized." On the issue of monopolies, Berners-Lee did say that it's concerning to be "reliant on big companies and one big server," something that stalls innovation, but that competition has historically resolved these issues and will continue to do so.
I have been thinking about whether I should write a blog post about the following topic for a long time. After all Jono asked us to calm down and not put more oil into the fire. But on the other ha...
Jan Bergmans's insight:
against my person several times and unfortunately on the Ubuntu Planet there is still a blog post which attacks me personally without any sign that this will change. As I had been attacked by the Ubuntu community quite a lot over the last half year and I had to ask Jonathan to tell Jono that I’m not the scape goat for Ubuntu, I think it is important that I stand up against this and point out the abusive behavior we get from the Ubuntu community.
First of all I want to verbatim quote the Ubuntu Code of Conduct:
Disagreement is no excuse for poor manners. We work together to resolve conflict, assume good intentions and do our best to act in an empathic fashion. We don’t allow frustration to turn into a personal attack. A community where people feel uncomfortable or threatened is not a productive one
That is broadly what has been said about quantum computers up to now, but it's probably best to pause here and be clear about what is, at this stage, most likely to come.
First things first, though: just what do they do? Many media outlets have dived into the academic literature sporadically to shed some light on the effort.
BBC News has reported that quantum computers "exploit the counterintuitive fact that photons or trapped atoms can exist in multiple states or 'superpositions' at the same time", and "quantum computing's one trick is to perform calculations on all superposition states at once" - plus, other quantum weirdness means the whole business "can then be done 'in the cloud' completely securely".
This week has seen two more advances in the field. In one, a team reporting in Nature describes the first fully quantum network, in which "qubits" - quantum bits, the information currency of quantum computers - were faithfully shuttled between two laboratories.
In another, a team writing in Science says they have "entangled" two qubits - representing the simplest core of a quantum computer - within a semiconductor, materials that standard computer makers are already familiar with manufacturing.
(It has been truly busy recently; the largest ensemble of working qubits was reported on Arxiv in January, and the biggest quantum computer number-crunching feat was published in Physical Review Letters in late March.)
Bet it works
It is all a bit bewildering, so to sum up the state of the field: very small-scale, laboratory-bound quantum computers that can solve simple problems exist; most researchers say the idea of massively scaled-up versions looks perfectly plausible on paper; but making them is an engineering challenge that practically defies quantifying.
Scott Aaronson, an expert in the theory of computation at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is one believer in the scaled-up quantum computer. He recently offered a $100,000 prize for a convincing proof that such a device could not be made.
Continue reading the main storyEssence of the quantum advantage
Scott Aaronson, MIT
You frequently hear that quantum computers "try all the possibilities in parallel" - that's a very drastic oversimplification.
We talk about a 30% chance of rain tomorrow - we'd never say there's a negative 30% chance. But quantum mechanics is based on "amplitudes", which can also be negative. If you want to find the probability that something will happen, you have to add up all the amplitudes.
With a quantum computation you're trying to choreograph things such that for a given wrong answer there are all these different paths that could lead to it, some with positive amplitude and others with negative amplitude - they cancel each other out.
For a given right answer, the paths leading to that should all be positive or all negative, and amplitudes reinforce. When you measure it, the right answer should be measured with high probability.
But he has no illusions that it is just around the corner.
"I get kind of annoyed by all the (popular media) articles reporting every little experimental advance," he told BBC News.
"The journalists have to sell everything, so they present each thing like we're really on the verge of a quantum computer - but it's just another step in what is a large and very difficult research effort.
"It was more than 100 years between Charles Babbage and the invention of the transistor, so I feel like if we can beat that, then we're doing well - but that's a hundred years for people to say 'works great on paper, but where is it?'"
More than that, though, even the most optimistic researchers believe that quantum computers will not be a wholesale replacement for computers as we now know them.
The only applications that everyone can agree that quantum computers will do markedly better are code-breaking and creating useful simulations of systems in nature in which quantum mechanics plays a part.
Martin Plenio, director of the Institute for Theoretical Physics at the University of Ulm, Germany, said that "it might never happen that it will be a device that sits here under my desk".
"A quantum computer can do all the things that a classical computer can do, and some of those things it can do much better, faster, like factoring large numbers," he told BBC News.
"But for many questions it's not going to be superior at all. There is simply no point to use a quantum computer to do your word processing."
Others are more sanguine about the utility of what will come out of the current research efforts.
Alan Woodward, a professor of computing at the University of Surrey, cites a couple of recent advances that, to his mind, signify a significant push toward a computer that might sit under his or Prof Plenio's desk.
Quantum experiments are still complex and bulky lab-based beasts
Most quantum computers to date have been designed to tackle a single problem, unlike the general-purpose computers we use now. But Prof Woodward says that a report in Nature Photonics in December represents the first "programmable" quantum computer.
And, he said it is significant that an industry giant like IBM is getting into the game; at a meeting of the American Physical Society in March, IBM researchers reported significant advances in just how long they could preserve the quantum information in their qubits.
"Are you going to have a purely quantum computer in five years? No - what you'll have is elements of these things coming out, you always do with technology," he told BBC News.
"In the same way you have a graphics processor card along with a main processor board in a modern computer, you'll see things added on; people will find a means of using quantum computing and the quantum techniques, and that's how I think it'll move forward.
"And those I can definitely see in the five-year period."
Prof Woodward is in the minority in thinking that the consumer market will benefit widely from quantum computers; the problem of course is making predictions about a technology that has, since its inception, always seemed possible but even now is not incontrovertibly achievable.
Dr Aaronson concedes that perhaps the long term may bear out a greater desire and use for it.
"It's hard for me to envision why you'd want a quantum computer for checking your email or for playing Angry Birds. But to be fair, people in the 1950s said 'I don't see why anyone would want a computer in their home', so maybe this is just limited imagination.
"Maybe quantum video games will be all the rage 100 years from now."
Net neutrality, the principle that all traffic on the Internet should be treated equally, should be a basic right for Internet users. It's also crucial for free software's continued growth and success. Here's why:
Media distribution giants that use Digital Restrictions Management and proprietary software to control what's on your computer have also been fighting for years to control the network. Without Net Neutrality, DRM-laden materials could be easier to access, while DRM-free competitors could be stuck in the slow lane. Web-based free software projects like GNU MediaGoblin could also suffer the slow treatment while competitors like YouTube shell out big bucks for speedier service. The bottom line--an Internet where the most powerful interests can pay for huge speed advantages could push smaller free software projects right off the map and make it harder for decentralized projects to flourish. That's not good for free software, and it's not good for other innovative voices for change in the digital world.
Tell the FCC: Net Neutrality will help free software flourish
Activists have worked for years to get to this moment. Over the last several months, things have really heated up--with Internet freedom lovers camping out outside of the FCC, serenading FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler with a special version "Which Side Are You On?" The comments flooding in to the agency have jammed the phones and crashed the FCC's email servers. And yet, Chairman Wheeler still thinks he can get away with ignoring overwhelming public outrage and wrecking the free Internet. We have to keep up our historic momentum in order to convince a cable-industry sympathizer like Chairman Wheeler to listen to the public and protect Net Neutrality.
The deadline for comments is July 15, 2014. Don't delay--comment now!
With this broad selection of packages, Debian once again stays true to its goal of being the universal operating system. It is suitable for many different use cases: from desktop systems to netbooks; from development servers to cluster systems; and for database, web, or storage servers. At the same time, additional quality assurance efforts like automatic installation and upgrade tests for all packages in Debian's archive ensure that Wheezyfulfills the high expectations that users have of a stable Debian release. It is rock solid and rigorously tested.
You can install Debian on computers ranging from handheld systems to supercomputers, and on nearly everything in between. A total of nine architectures are supported: 32-bit PC / Intel IA-32 (i386), 64-bit PC / Intel EM64T / x86-64 (amd64), Motorola/IBM PowerPC (powerpc), Sun/Oracle SPARC (sparc), MIPS (mips (big-endian) and mipsel (little-endian)), Intel Itanium (ia64), IBM S/390 (31-bit s390 and 64-bit s390x), and ARM EABI (armel for older hardware and armhf for newer hardware using hardware floating-point).
Want to give it a try? If you want to simply try it without having to install it, you can use a special image, known as a live image, available for CDs, USB sticks, and netboot setups. Initially, these images are provided for the amd64 and i386architectures only. It is also possible to use these live images to install Debian. More information is available from the Debian Live homepage.
If, instead, you want to directly install it, you can choose among various installation media, such as Blu-ray Discs, DVDs, CDs, and USB sticks, or from the network. Several desktop environments — GNOME, KDE Plasma Desktop and Applications, Xfce, and LXDE — may be installed through CD images; the desired one may be chosen from the boot menus of the CDs/DVDs. In addition, multi-architecture CDs and DVDs are available which support installation of multiple architectures from a single disc. Or you can always create bootable USB installation media (see the Installation Guide for more details).
The installation images may be downloaded right now via bittorrent (the recommended method), jigdo, or HTTP; see Debian on CDs for further information. Wheezy will soon be available on physical DVD, CD-ROM, and Blu-ray Discs from numerous vendors, too.
Already a happy Debian user and you only want to upgrade? Upgrades to Debian 7.0 from the previous release, Debian 6.0 (codenamed Squeeze), are automatically handled by the apt-get package management tool for most configurations. As always, Debian systems may be upgraded painlessly, in place, without any forced downtime, but it is strongly recommended to read the release notes as well as the installation guide for possible issues, and for detailed instructions on installing and upgrading. The release notes will be further improved and translated to additional languages in the weeks after the release.
Samsung Electronics said Monday that it would start selling a smartphone running on a homegrown operating system called Tizen in the third quarter of the year, marking a major step forward in the Korean technology giant's attempts to lessen its reliance on Google Inc.'s Android operating system.
Jan Bergmans's insight:
Open Source, Open Standards
The LiMo Foundation and Linux Foundation have recently announced a new partnership to develop a mobile operating system merging their LiMo and MeeGo platforms. Dubbed "Tizen," the new OS platform is a Linux-derived operating system not unlike Android, with which it plans to compete. However, Tizen will attempt to mitigate the copyright (and copyleft) issues that have been hounding Android, due to its use of certain copyrighted Linux libraries. Tizen will also focus on emerging open standards in delivering applications and content, particualrly HTML5.
Software certification of the device focused primarily on the firmware for the Atheros AR9271 chip used on the adapter. This firmware is packaged in Linux-libre, the kernel used by several free GNU/Linux distributions. This is the same chipset used by the ThinkPenguin TPE-N150USB USB wireless adapter which was also awarded RYF certification in April 2013. While others may sell wireless USB adapters with this same chipset, if they do not bear the RYF certification mark, the device may be packaged with or recommend the use of nonfree software. This is why FSF endorsement of a hardware product is on a per seller basis rather than a blanket endorsement of a particular hardware model or chipset.
"The availability of freedom-respecting wireless networking devices is important because at present, the WiFi devices that ship with nearly all laptops and PCs require proprietary software. This is a major obstacle for users seeking to install a 100% free software GNU/Linux distro, because for most people, WiFi is an essential feature. So, it is exciting that we can now direct any such user from around the globe to two different sellers on two different continents that offer a small and convenient USB WiFi adapter," stated Joshua Gay, FSF Licensing & Compliance Manager.
KDE Frameworks 5 KDE Frameworks 5 Beta 1 Officially Released The KDE Community has announced that KDE Frameworks 5 Beta 1 has been released, marking yet another step towards the end of the old KDE Platform 4.
The Linux Foundation is putting its training materials up on edX's platform.
Jan Bergmans's insight:
$2,400 “Introduction to Linux” course will be free and online this summerThe Linux Foundation is putting its training materials up on edX's platform.
by Megan Geuss - Mar 8 2014, 10:00pm CET
Earlier this week, The Linux Foundation announced that it would be working with edX, a non-profit online learning site governed by Harvard and MIT, to make its “Introduction to Linux” course free and open to all.
The Linux Foundation has long offered a wide variety of training courses through its website, but those can generally cost upwards of $2,000. This introductory class, which usually costs $2,400, will be the first from the Linux Foundation to run as a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC). There is no limit on enrollment through edX's platform.
The course will be held this summer, although an official start date has not been posted yet. Jennifer Cloer, Director of Communications for the Linux Foundation, said that over 2,500 people signed up for the course within the first 24 hours of it being posted. There are no prerequisites, and a note on the course's information page says that most users will find the course takes between 40 and 60 hours to complete.
Students can either audit the course, which means they'd get access to all the course materials but not have to commit to completing the tests and assignments, or they can take the course for a certificate of completion, which will be offered for free. (On some edX classes, "verified certificates of achievement" cost a fee.)
If all goes smoothly, the Linux Foundation may consider making more courses available on edX in the future.
In the press release from the Linux Foundation, executive director Jim Zemlin wrote, “Our mission is to advance Linux and that includes ensuring we have a talent pool of Linux professionals. To widen that talent pool and give more people access to the opportunities in the Linux community and IT industry, we are making our training program more accessible to users worldwide.”
Jolla is now ready for global distribution with the announcement of Sailfish OS 1.0 The fourth software update released in the beginning of March, raising the software to commercial readiness, will again include many important improvements and new features. These will include further improved performance, extended landscape support, lots of visual improvements, lots of new camera functionalities, enhancements to the Jolla store, new general settings, and many more. Jolla expands into new markets Jolla will start selling devices to users in Hong Kong, India and Russia. In Finland Jolla smartphones can be purchased also through local operator DNA’s shops, and sales is now expanding to all common retail channels.Negotiations in several European countries are well on the way for Jolla to soon open new channels in main European markets. Read the full press release below [OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE] HELSINKI, Finland – February 21, 2014 — Jolla, the Finnish smartphone and Sailfish OS developer, today announced that Jolla’s mobile operating system Sailfish OS has reached release 1.0 and is now ready for global distribution. Jolla is also introducing availability of the Sailfish OS experience as downloadable software to devices running Android OS. The world’s first Jolla phones were sold to mobile operator DNA’s customers in Finland in late November last year. After the limited availability sales start of Jolla smartphones with Sailfish OS beta, Jolla has released three significant software updates. The fourth update will be released at the beginning of March, after which the software will be commercially ready for global distribution. “We’re very …
The compiler can perform autovectorization, where it will decide that some loops should be vectorized while others shouldn't. But should we trust it? In this blog, Jeff Cogswell looks at how to attempt to coerce the compiler into vectorization. In December, we were exploring how vectorization works. When we left off, we had looked how…
KXStudio is a collection of applications and plugins for professional audio production. KXStudio provides Debian and Ubuntu compatible repositories and its own Linux Distribution currently based on Ubuntu 12.04.3 LTS.
The KXStudio project is divided into 3 main sections:
Applications We offer our own custom set of applications and utilities for Linux and Windows. This includes a fully-featured audio plugin host, a JACK patchbay and more.
Plugins We provide a wide range of open-source audio plugins and Linux ports. We also provide custom patched plugins to work better and/or support more features.
Repositories Debian and Ubuntu compatible repositories are available. Use them to get extra applications and updates, or to upgrade to the KXStudio distribution.
In this tutorial we will learn,how to install Owncloud 6 in Ubuntu 13.10 Server.Recently, the Owncloud community has released its new verison called Owncloud 6. Owncloud is one the best alternative for Dropbox and Google Drive.