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Computex News and The Future of Linux in Netbooks

Every year we are hearing that "2000-something will be the year of Linux." But it does not happen. Asus announced it is better with Windows, Windows XP support is prolonged, Windows 7 is just around the corner (don't say it's crappy with netbooks, AMD announced dual-core Neo processors which will run Aero fine) and the companies will slowly adopt to Linux. Another competitor on the netbook market comes from Android and Acer announced Aspire One with Android in Q3 this year. Let's count the competitors: Android, XP, 7. It was nice news that Ubuntu Moblin was announced but what will be the competition like: AMD Dual Core Neo + Windows vs. the unfamiliar Ubuntu Moblin or Android (by the way, I really loved Moblin and find it really efficient in terms of netbook use).

Put everything in place and rethink: there are many reasons that Linux is not triumphing over Windows. Plus there is competition and in the arena of the netbooks, I cannot claim that this year or the next will be the year of Linux. Just set aside your passion for this lovely operating system of ours and try to rethink objectively: does the announcements in Computex will have any positive impact on Linux? Or is it just "Computex?"

 Hit the comments!

 

Windows 7 release date near Ubuntu's 9.10

Microsoft announced the release of Windows 7 to be on October 22.  I can't help to think that this is planned as a way to take the wind out of the sails of the Ubuntu 9.10 release, since the code for Windows 7 is planned on being done by July.

 Is it a ploy?  Will Windows 7 steal all the headlines from Ubuntu's 9.10?  The saga continues......

 

How to fix Firefox's semi-fullscreen problem

I have read quite about this problem on sites like the Ubuntu Forums.  But so far the "solutions" do not actually seem to solve the problem, rather temporarily fix it, and I believe that I have found a solution to this problem.

If you have this particular problem, Firefox will look similar to the image below when you open it.  You will have no task bar, no title bar, nothing but the browsers contents.

 

Ok so now on to the solution:

 1.) Press F11 twice and it should go from looking like the image above, to the image below.

As you will have undoubtedly noticed, the task bar and title bar are visible and it looks as if Firefox is simply maximized.

2.) Drag Firefox partially off screen (may only work if compiz is running, I'm not sure) and shrink it to a likeable "un-maximized" size.

 

3.) Now all you need to do is drag it back onto your screen and the problem is resolved.

I think the problem is caused by javascript resizing windows, but it has only happened a few times and I am no expert.  This solution solves the problem until, obviously, it is altered again.  If anyone knows for sure what causes this, please, by all means post a comment explaining it.

Good Luck

 

Bing is not Google, but it is a spin engine.

Microsoft is at the beginning of a major product launch, called Bing, in an attempt to catch up to Google in search, following the collapse of Microsoft's take-over attempt of Yahoo.  While Bing is a re-branding of Microsoft's clunky distant third place "Live Search" search service, Bing is also an attempt to add new features to search.  Microsoft calls Bing a decision engine, in that it purports to offer more comparisons in its search results, rather than the simple blue links which have characterized search up to the recent arrival of Wolfram Alpha.  

But rather than a search engine or even a "decision engine", Bing also appears to be a spin engine, in that it provides partisan answers to controversial topics, such as Steve Ballmer's propensity to throw chairs to blow off stress.  At a friend's suggestion, I typed the following phrases (without quotes) into both Google.com and Bing.com.  The results are very telling.  Be sure to look at the phrase completion options that you are offered as you type.  

"linux "

"antitrust microsoft"

"ballmer throws chair"

"bill gates steals"

The important thing here is not whether Bill Gates does, in fact, steal, and I am not here to make ad hominem attacks on the world's richest man.  The point is how Microsoft deals with criticism.  With spin.  As opposed to Google, which just repeats much of the criticism of it.  

For example, the first phrase, Linux, when typed into Bing, yielded phrase-completion suggestions linked to comparisons of Linux and Microsoft products.  By contrast, the same phrase when typed into google leads to information that a GNU-Linux user would actually want, such as information on different Linux distros.  

The second phrase produced no phrase-completion results at all in Bing.  Google yielded the records in the actual case.

Same for the third phrase.  Bing returned no suggestions at all for "Ballmer thr", whereas that same incomplete phrase yields "ballmer throw chair" and "Ballmer throwing chair" in Google.

As to the fourth phrase, Bing returned "bill gates steve jobs" and "bill gates steps down" for "bill gates ste".  But add an "a" to the end of that search, "bill gates stea" and you get nothing under Bing.

In short, Microsoft is always partisan, whereas Google is more informative, Microsoft couldn't even do so much as suggest phrases that would lead the reader look at official court records regarding its anti-trust trials, or anything else that reflected negatively on it.  

Contrast that with phrases that are negative for Google, such as "Google is evil."  Typing "Google is e" yields no suggestions.  But typing in "Google is" yield results which are both positive and negative for Google as a company:

"Google is your friend"
"Google is broken"
"Google is skynet"
"Google is making us stupid"
"Google is a number"
"Google is paying to work from home"
"Google is always right"
"Google is taking over the world"
"Google is watching you"
"Google is paying"

More to the point is the first phrase.  Microsoft's first suggestions all are aimed at diverting attention away from one of its keenest competition, Free Open Source Software, a competitor which, every year in its official annual 10k SEC-mandated warning to investors, Microsoft lists as a threat to its profitability.

Compare that to Google's suggested results for its main global competitor, Baidu, a Chinese search engine which holds about 60% of search results in China to Google's approximate 32%.  Google's suggested phrase-completions return first a Chinese character hyperlink to Baidu; second to an English-language hyperlink for Google's arch rival; and trailing below that are all viable suggestions for Baidu.com or Baidu MP3 or Baidu Video.  

Clearly, it is more important for Microsoft to put its spin on your results, compared with Google, which is more concerned with giving you information that is probably useful to you, even if it is negative for Google.  

Which raises a question: who at Microsoft is responsible for skewing results this way?  Does Chairman Bill know about this?  I'll bet he does.  Same for Ballmer.  These two men have reputations for cut-throat competition, and yielding no quarter to their competition.  Which is the real lesson to be learned here.  Google has thrived despite competition.  Microsoft has succeeded only where it can choke out competition, as in leveraging its Microsoft Windows desktop monopoly.  Where Microsoft has to compete, such as in search or in on-line video delivery or even in game consoles, it comes in second or even third.

Clearly, Bing is not Google, and is not going to overtake Google anytime use, nor offer information which, on the whole, is as useful to its users as Google search results.  

By the way, the most concise summary of why Google is beating Microsoft can be seen by typing this phrase into your browser: Bingisnotgoogle.com.  Google is always one step ahead of Redmond. 

 

antiX M8.2 Test 2 now available and looking better than ever!

antiX M8.2 Test 2 now available and looking better than ever!

In my previous blog, I reported that antiX M8.2 Test 1 is now available and looking great. I then went on to explain the many reasons why I enjoy using, testing, and promoting antiX so much. The Test 2 release is now available; anticapitalista has already, along with some community members, identified a few more things that will be changed, but Test 2 is looking better than ever. In fact, if someone wants to install Test 2, then simply use it as their lean, fast system, I see nothing in the capabilities or in what is "lacking" that would prevent someone from doing just that.

Yesterday I took antiX M8.2 Test 2 and installed it on my Lenovo Y410 laptop in place of antiX M8.0, using the option to save my /home partition. You generally do not rewrite the disk partition when you this technique; instead the installation program removes the old packages and installs the new packages. It works extremely well and effectively. I claim that for many people this Test 2 version would work fine, even as an every day system. I have it installed and I have no hesitation in using it.

 

The possibilities of Servlet 3.0 and JavaEE 6

Explore the different implementations of developing with Comet. See how popular Java Web servers like Jetty and Tomcat have enabled Comet applications, and learn how to program with each server. And finally, learn about the standardization proposals for Comet in Java that are part of the upcoming Servlet 3.0 and JavaEE 6 specifications.
 

Google Chrome

I still do not understand why Google does not provide Linux installers for this browser. I am using it under  Win XP (in a VM of course) and pretty happy with the performance. I am not a programmer but if they can make Picasa to run under Linux (with WINE), they could do the same for Chrome. Then they could release the Linux-native installation files.

I really want to use Chrome under Linux and try the Wave but I do not want to boot the virtual machine and switch back and forth.

Anyway, I hope it will worth the wait.

 

Media Center Issues...

I do not understand why this common commercial operating system is trying to trick the users as if the only Media Center is available for Vista and 7. There are a lot of Media Center programs for Linux, from Live CDs to full-fledged home automation systems. I spent a weekend going through MythTV, XBMC, eAROS and Linux MCE in detail and I absolutely saw nothing less than the Windows' Media Center. In no way, XBMC or MythTV falls short; if you want to discuss about Linux MCE,  Microsoft needs some more years to do the half of it.

So, in this perspective I wonder if the distributions and their communities are falling short of advertising the media center capabilities? Just think about a new convert from Windows to -say openSUSE: how will he know that a media center program (or programs) is available for his computer.

Why did I point to this issue: I am putting my hands on any device I see here in my country and always media center capabilities are in the top displayed features. Think about HP, Sony, Acer and all the big guys showing how elegant their media centers are. In fact they are not showing the Windows' native media center but rather their own. I know it is not more than eye-candy but in terms of this "eye candy" that the end users value, Windows has a long way to go, considering at least the Compiz Fusion.

I wonder if the developers or the foundations/companies can also put a media center in their default installations and advertise this with the screenshots and other media? I think this will close another gap (which is unexistent by the way) which users ask "can I do everything in Linux that I can do in Windows?"

 

Mailspect Joins Forces with Gen8 Solutions to Extend Archive Import

 

Gen8 Solutions' Emailchemy and Harvester technologies vastly extend and improve the email import capabilities of MPP Archive's MPP Green architecture.

 

New Rochelle, NY - June 1, 2009- Mailspect Inc. is pleased to announce a new partnership with Gen8 Solutions, the creator of the Emailchemy and Harvester email import and migration technologies to better support legacy email formats such as PST files.  With this partnership, Mailspect is extending the benefits of the MPP Green architecture to unify email stores of virtually all varieties into web accessible, searchable and optimized archives   MPP Green can now unify email formats like Microsoft's PST, and many other proprietary and outdated formats.

 

MPP Archive offers a comprehensive email archive solution that is ideally suited for environments that have strict archive and discovery requirements but want an open and cost-effective Linux based solution.   MPP archives, indexes and optimizes real-time email streams from MS Exchange and popular MS Exchange replacements like Zimbra, Zarafa, Scalix, Open-Xchange and others.    With the recently announced MPP Green architecture, MPP Archive intelligently imports proprietary and standards-based mail stores such as IMAP and GMAIL and provides efficient single instance storage and cross-mailbox searching.  It de-dupes emails, strips duplicative attachments, scans based on content inspection rules as well as cleanses and purges long-dated emails.  MPP Green converts fragmented mail stores to indexed, full-text searchable, centralized archives.  As such, MPP Archive can serve as the basis for email lifecycle management.

 

Using the Harvester option, MPP Green can automatically find and import private PST folders stored on end-user desktop and laptop disk drives.   These capacities will enable mail administrators to centralize disparate mail stores into a single, searchable email archive.  Aggregating email stores improves compliance with corporate and government email retention and retrieval rules and regulations.

 

In addition, the new MPP Green extensions can  import email from  all of the following  email servers: AOL for Windows ("PFC" files), Claris Emailer for Macintosh, CompuServe Classic for Macintosh (aka "MacCIM"), CompuServe 2000 for Windows, Entourage (Database, .RGE Archives and cache files), Eudora, Mac OS X Mail, Mozilla, Mulberry, Musashi, Neoplanet, Netscape, Opera, Outlook for Windows (.PST and .OST files), Outlook Express for Macintosh, Outlook Express for Windows, Outlook Express for UNIX/Solaris, PowerTalk/AOCE for Macintosh, QuickMail Pro for Macintosh, QuickMail Pro for Windows, Thunderbird, Yahoo! Mail and any UNIX-style or mbox-format mailbox.

 

To download a fully configured, VMware-based virtual appliance of MPP Archive for evaluation, go to:  http://www.mailspect.com/download

 

About Mailspect                                                                                                  www.mailspect.com

Mailspect, Inc. based in New Rochelle, New York, is the developer of the Message Processing Platform or MPP.  MPP offers clients a comprehensive and integrated suite used for email archiving, compliance and quarantine, complete with spam filters, email policy management, email import and email retention solutions.  MPP integrates with leading anti spam and antivirus products and currently is installed in client mail systems that process billions of emails per day.

 

 

Contact Info:  Paul Sterne, Chief Marketing Officer, sterne@mailspect.com

 

 

About Gen8 Solutions                                                                           http://www.gen8solutions.com/

Michigan-based, Gen8 Solutions was formed in partnership with Weird Kid Software in 2007 to provide technology to the enterprise market segment. Weird Kid Software has been marketing email conversion technology to the consumer market since 2002. Since its inception, Weird Kid Software has sold and supported its products to tens of thousands of clients worldwide.

 

 

Contact Info:  Phil Okun, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , +1 248.918.9792

 

Python Signal Handling

I did a short test on Python signal handling over at my other blog. For those interested...

 

Ubuntu - Long Term Support - How long is it really?

 

Ubuntu - LTS

Ubuntu GNU/Linux Long Term Support which are the Ubuntu GNU/Linux versions that are supported for three years for desktop versions and five years for server versions.

The first LTS Ubuntu version that was issued was Ubuntu 6.06 LTS Dapper Drake, which was released in June 2006.  The second was Ubuntu 8.04 LTS Hardy Heron, which was released in April 2004 (per the numbering scheme -- first digit being the issuance year and second being the month number.)  The next scheduled LTS Ubuntu version is Ubuntu 10.04 (which is currently tentatively scheduled.)

As may be already evident, there is no true way to get the full three years (much less five) of support (which is actually just operating system and software security and stability updates -- basically bug fixes.)  You see if these versions are supported for three years but are issued every two years, how is it possible to get continuously three full years or supported use without the need to do a full reinstall or upgrade of your operating system.

You see, unlike most Ubuntu users (most of which are power/geeks users of which I somewhat regard myself), I do not get my "kicks" from reinstalling my operating system and/or performing a version upgrade every six to eighteen months.  (On a somewhat unrelated note, I am rarely impressed by Linux distro version reviews through a "virtual machine" as it seems to me that the only way one can get a true indication of an operating system's performance is by performing a true hard drive install and putting this new install through approximate real world use for a few days -- with the exception of distros which are never really intended to be installed on a hard drive such as Puppy Linux.)  So, I do appreciate the LTS Long Term Support Ubuntu GNU/Linux versions which, at least, minimize my need to perform a major OS upgrade and/or reinstall.

In this regard, I believe I am most like the truly "average" user who want his/her PC to "just work" and does not want to be hassled by operating system upgrades / reinstalls.  I recently read an interesting statistic that approximately 77% of Ubuntu users are currently already using Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope (it is May 28, 2009, as I write this.)  This tells me that 77% of Ubuntu users are truly geek power GNU/Linux users and are not the "average" user Ubuntu is now targeting, for, like me, the "average" user clearly does not want to be bothered with an operating sysem upgrade / reinstall every six months.  (As a side note, I applaud Dell for sticking with Ubuntu 8.04 LTS for their pre-install Ubuntu GNU/Linux sales.)

I do not believe in performing an operating system upgrade / reinstall unless the new version presents a "compelling" reason to upgrade.  As such, I am still running Ubuntu 8.04.2 LTS on our home PCs.  Clearly Ubuntu 8.10 Intrepid Ibex did NOT present a "compelling" reason to upgrade.  Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jacklope did approach the compelling threshold, but I am still holding out for the next LTS release (frankly, probably the point 2 release in July 2010 for bug fixes.)  (In the interest of full disclosure, I did install 9.04 on my folks PC, but they needed a new hard drive installed anyway so it made sense to install it -- since a reinstall was required anyway.) 

Based upon my peripheral observations, it seems that with Ubuntu's cut throat six month release schedule, new features are introduced in each new release that are far from perfected until at least the next subsequent release.  In support of the preceding statement, consider pulse-audio, ext4, x.org (without an actual x.org file.)

I would much prefer that Ubuntu change to a one-year release cycle for routine releases and three years for LTS releases (not every two years for three year supported LTS releases as it is now so one could actually get a full three years support.)  With a one-year release cycle, ample time would be afforded so new features could actually work properly and bugs could actually be fixed and more and more would "just work" as it should.

Just my two cents for now.  Thanks for reading.

Mark, did you get this?  (Shuttleworth)

stlouisubntu

 

 
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