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The mixed blessing of using Dvorak and Linux

I am the one who wants to find the optimal way to complete each task that is set for me. I am therefor the one who's always looking for a more efficient way to do what I'm doing, especially when it comes to computing. This has led me to discover new applications and new ways to handle my computer.

Two great examples of this are Linux and Dvorak. One being an operating-system far more effective than the standard of Windows and the other one being a keyboard layout far more effective than the standard QWERTY. Why use something that is ineffective when you can wrap your head around something new that will make the rest of your life so much easier?

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The sophisticated benifits of using Ajax with XQuery

Discover how you can get the full benefit of using XQuery technology together with Ajax. Your Web application will have the back-end benefit of sophisticated XML querying as well as the client-side benefit of rich presentation without the distraction of repeated requests. A realtime comparison of web apps with and without Ajax and XQuery. You'll see a significant difference.

The ghost of Marc Andreessen comes back as Google Chrome OS to haunt Microsoft

This news is one of the biggest digital tipping points that has occurred since Munich announced that it was moving its 14,000 desktop machines to Linux.  Google announced on 8 July 2009 that it would produce an operating system for netbook computers based on the Linux kernel.  The name of the operating system is Google Chrome OS, similar in name to its Google Chrome browser.  This is the very first time that it has been announced that the titan of the Internet (Google) would take on the titan of the desktop (Microsoft).  This is certain to be a heated battle with tens of billions of dollars at stake.  The outcome of this battle will shape the Internet and personal computing for decades.

Google explained that it is taking this initiative because it wants to make computers start faster and reduce viruses, two chief complaints of PC users.  Google says that it will benefit if people enjoy their computer experiences more, so they will spend more time on the Internet, which is, of course, where Google earns its bread and butter through paid advertising.

This announcement is a huge digital tipping point, for several reasons.  First, it shows that Microsoft is not invulnerable in its home turf, the personal computing operating system.  Google's name is well known, and merely by lending its name to this operating system, Google scores major points by raising question marks in Microsoft's business distribution network, namely, its Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and third party software vendors who write software for Microsoft Windows.  Consumers know and trust the Google name.  For the very first time, consumers have a low-cost alternative to Microsoft Windows in an arena where Apple deliberately did not compete with Microsoft.

Second, Google Chrome OS opens up the world of applications to competition.  Currently, all third party vendors must accept Microsoft's terms when it comes to licensing the information that vendors must have in order to write software for Microsoft's Windows operating system.  By offering competition and by open sourcing the secret sauce needed by vendors to write applications, Google fires a shot at a significant choke point of control that Microsoft held over applications vendors.  Previously, vendors refused to take any action that would anger Microsoft, for fear that Microsoft would not license the secret sauce to them, which effectively would be the kiss of death for these vendors' business.  Now that these vendors will have an alternative arena in which to sell their products, Microsoft will have a much harder time dictating terms to these vendors.

Third, Google offers PC users an alternative for running applications.  Currently, many consumers are tied to Microsoft Windows computers, because the vendors, as discussed above, produce products only for Microsoft Windows, so consumers really have no choice about what kind of computer they will choose.  Now, with Google Chrome OS, there will be a choice.  Google will start out with its own apps, but is partnering with vendors to create choice for the new Chrome OS.  As vendors get more choice in offering their products for new operating systems, consumers will get new choices of applications from which to choose.  It is a big win for everyone but Microsoft.  

Forth, Google Chrome OS is a Linux operating system, which means that it will be possible to innovate on top of it.  The full power of the Free Open Source Software community will be brought to bear to find bugs and squash the bugs quickly and efficiently.  This means that consumer-threatening bugs will be killed in hours, rather than months, as is often the case with Microsoft Windows bugs.

Fifth, Google Chrome OS will allow users to control their own data better, since the data created with Google Chrome apps will live in truly Free Open Standards.  This means that no one company will be able to lock down the data, since it will always be possible for a user to open his or her documents with word processors by OpenOffice or AbiWord or WordPerfect or even Microsoft Office.  Right now, it can be difficult for some users who have created documents with Microsoft Word to open those documents with other word processing programs, especially if they don't know that OpenOffice is compatible with almost all Microsoft Office documents.

Sixth, and perhaps the most important, Google Chrome OS will force Microsoft to compete.  Until now, Microsoft has not had any real competition, and that has created a lag in innovation.  During the US anti-trust case against Microsoft, the US Federal trial judge and the subesequent US Court of Appeal hearing the case both concluded that consumers had been hurt by artificially high prices for software and a lack of innovation in the PC market due to Microsoft's abuse of its desktop monopoly.  That situation is still going on today, for example, in the UK, where schools have to pay Microsoft even if they use a competitor's products, due to Microsoft's abusive end user license agreement.  Google Chrome's competition with Microsoft will force Microsoft to drop prices and innovate to stay ahead.  We are all the winners.  

Ironically, we are finally seeing the fulfillment of a prophecy by computer wunderkid Marc Andreessen, a computer science student who created what would become the Netscape browser back in 1995.  At that time, Andreessen concluded that the Internet browser would render Microsoft's Windows operating system as little more than a "slightly buggy set of drivers", meaning the software that makes hardware components run.  Andreessen foresaw today's world in which many computer users would be able to get their computing needs met on software applications that would run over the Internet, or within the browser on software that had been downloaded for free (as in free beer) over the Internet.  

The problem for Andreessen was that he tried to sell his browser software, which is a mistake that Google is not repeating.  Google is selling services, not software, so Google will not fall prey to Microsoft's tactic of "cutting of Netscape's air supply" by giving away the Microsoft Internet Explorer.  It was impossible for Andreeessen's Netscape company to survive, because Microsoft commoditized Andreessen's key product.  

Now, the shoe is on the other foot, and it is Google which is commoditizing Microsoft's key product, Microsoft Windows.  Google Chrome OS is designed to make an end run around Microsoft Windows by initially focusing on web apps, an area where Microsoft has little control over third party software vendors. One journalist, Glyn Moody, has gone so far as to suggest that Google Chrome OS is "dismissing Microsoft's core products as a sideshow".  The usually conservative BBC acknowledged that Microsoft was in for a tough fight; pro-Microsoft industry observer Rob Enderle said that Microsoft found in Chrome OS its first competition in years; and journalist Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols said called Google Chrome OS " that Microsoft has seen this century".

Truly, Google Chrome OS is a tremendous digital tipping point and a huge win for Free Open Source Software.  


New hardware… Enter Linux Mint 7

It all started a few weeks ago when I got a wonderful fathers day GIFT. As you can imagine I was rather excited. When you are a tech guy like myself there is nothing like getting hardware upgrades. So I unboxed my shiny new toy and got to work moving things around and untangling wires. I decided that rather than just replacing my old flat screen I was finally gonna go dual screen and try to increase my "productivity".

I got everything hooked up and began to try and configure my new dual monitor setup. For the life of me I could not get it to work right in Mandriva! Basically I could get the nvidia settings manager to correctly configure my displays to span the way I wanted, but when I would go to save the config to the Xorg.conf it would give me some permissions error bullshit. I tried to do it as root. Tried logging in a root. I don't know what the hell I was doing wrong. I love Linux but I am by no means a "guru". I kept fighting it a few days. Having to configure it every time I logged in. Only took three or four clicks. But it just ate at me that it wasn't right. About that time I got a good look at some of the screen shots and reviews from Mint 7 and decided to give it a try.

I downloaded the .iso from Linux Mint's website and burned it. Did one last backup and booted to the CD and ran through the installed. Lets just say that things went off without a hitch. We have all read a million reviews with details of this and that. The main thing I want to emphasize it that this edition of Mint is VERY nice looking. Once I ran updates and loaded proprietary drivers for my video card I was able to configure dual displays and compiz fusion with ease. I have been using it a few weeks now and everything is wonderful. Tweetdeck works great. All my hardware worked out of the box. No complaints here. Great Distro. Pulled me away from Mandirva and KDE and that is a hard thing to do. Afterward Picture.

Mint 7


More Steps in Scripting the Vim editor

In part-1 you can begin to understand the fundamental components of the Vimscript programming language with simple script examples. In Part-2 you can learn how to create and deploy new user defined functions in the Vimscript language.

Jaspersoft Introduces Unlimited Use Subscriptions to Simplify BI Deployments for Organizations Large and Small

Jaspersoft Unlimited provides customers with a complete suite of BI products and services to address critical business needs in today’s harsh economic environment


SAN FRANCISCO, July 8, 2009Jaspersoft Corporation, provider of the world’s most widely used business intelligence (BI) software, today announced the availability of Jaspersoft Unlimited, a one-year infinite access pass to Jaspersoft’s BI Suite Premium Professional Edition. Jaspersoft Unlimited includes the use of the entire Jaspersoft Business Intelligence Suite, with no limits on the number of applications, users or systems.


“Smart businesses are investing in BI tools today to inform decisions for tomorrow. But even the strongest companies are challenged with justifying the cost of expensive BI platforms,” said Brian Gentile, CEO of Jaspersoft. “With Jaspersoft Unlimited, customers are now able to move forward with all of their priority business intelligence projects, unconstrained by budget limitations.”


Jaspersoft Unlimited is designed to serve the needs of businesses that are struggling to meet all of their critical business intelligence needs while operating within the bounds of highly constrained budgets. With Jaspersoft Unlimited, customers receive all of the products in the Jaspersoft BI Suite, including premium technical support for all of their Jaspersoft projects, advanced technical documentation, and a four-day training class, all at one low price. Jaspersoft offered a similar package in 2007 and is today reprising the offer with additional features such as training to help customers perform important BI functions today. 


Analyst concur that companies continue to prioritize BI while other IT categories are being cut. Jaspersoft’s suite arms businesses with the essential tools needed to weather any economic climate and emerge stronger than ever before. Open source software has reached a maturity level in features and functionality that when combined with the cost, has become an important remedy for today’s businesses.  


In conjunction with the release of Jaspersoft Unlimited, Jaspersoft is publishing a white paper titled “Open Source Business Intelligence in a Down Economy,” which is available at


Pricing & Availability

Jaspersoft unlimited one-year subscription is available immediately with pricing starting at  $35,000. Jaspersoft Unlimited subscriptions entitle the customer to unlimited use of the Jaspersoft BI Suite within a company, operating unit of a corporation, government department or agency, or educational institution.  For more information on Jaspersoft Unlimited visit


About Jaspersoft Corporation

Jaspersoft’s open source business intelligence suite is the world’s most widely used BI software, with nearly 9 million total downloads worldwide and more than 10,000 commercial customers in 96 countries. The company’s Jaspersoft Business Intelligence Suite provides a web-based, open and modular approach to the evolving business intelligence needs of the enterprise. Jaspersoft’s software is rapidly updated by a community of more than 95,000 registered members working on more than 350 projects, which represents the world’s largest business intelligence community. More information is available at and




Media Contact

Jennifer Cloer

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eXo Enhances Productivity and User Experience on Document Management System

Updated eXo Document Management System (DMS) 2.5 introduces new intuitive design that delivers better flexibility in navigation, customizable preferences, and collaboration


PARIS (8 July 2009) – eXo Platform SAS today updated its Document Management System (DMS) with a brand new interface design that enhances user productivity and experience. Now, users can search for, access, and work and collaborate on documents in a similar way in which they’re used to with File Explorer on Windows and Finder on MacOSX—only, with eXo DMS, they can do much more than just navigate shared drives.


“Software packages like Documentum and Sharepoint may be more widely used at larger organizations, but shared drives remain the most common way for people to connect, share and collaborate on documents,” said Benjamin Mestrallet, CEO of eXo Platform. “With eXo DMS 2.5, we aimed to make the user experience as intuitive and familiar so that the learning curve can be shortened. By making DMS open source, we’re also opening up access to a wide audience to try it out for themselves and see why eXo customers have come to expect usability, modern design, and flexibility in our software.”


A core component of eXo Enterprise Content Management (ECM) suite, eXo DMS is a powerful tool that captures, manages, stores, preserves, delivers, and secures all types of documents. It has a built-in workflow system that not only manages how documents are accessed, modified, and shared but also manages the people and processes involved with these documents. With eXo DMS, customers can transform unstructured content such as Web pages, email text, videos, and audio files, into structured content that can be more easily managed and used to make informative business decisions.


eXo DMS is built on the company’s implementation of the Java Content Repository (JCR) specification (JSR-170), which provides a Java interface for interacting with content and data, regardless of how it’s stored. The eXo JCR implementation, now being developed in partnership with the JBoss community, enables a wide range of actions such as locking, versioning, and access control that makes eXo DMS suitable for enterprise deployments.


New features in eXo DMS 2.5 improve user productivity and experience by making it easier to find files and giving users the option to customize their environment to suit their needs. These features include:


  • A user interface extension framework that can be used to create plug-ins and extensions to the File Explorer. Eventually, eXo expects a community of plug-ins to evolve out of this that can be shared among customers.
  • Contextual action buttons in the File Explorer that can be customized depending on the type of document and launch the appropriate action(s) pre-defined for the document. Moreover, rather than see all action buttons, the user only sees those actions on which they’re authorized to act.
  • New taxonomy management that allows users to classify and retrieve documents regardless the way they are stored in the application. Organizations or departments can organize documents in whatever way that makes sense for them, but still have them stored in an optimal manner by the company to maximize performance and resources.
  • Symbolic link implementation simplifies access to important folders and/or documents when the folder structure is complex. This is similar to a “short cut,” except that users are not linked to the real folder, but rather can work in the short cut file as if it is the real one.
  • Google Gadgets support helps improve collaboration with other contributors by showing which documents were last edited or published and by whom. This eliminates guessing and version control problems.



eXo DMS 2.5 is immediately available under the Affero General Public License (AGPL) for download today at It is supported on eXo Portal 2.5.x. For additional information, including screenshots, visit


About eXo Platform SAS

eXo Platform is a provider of integrated, standards-based open source portal, content management, and collaboration software that hundreds of customers use to share, access, and publish information across their organization. These customers include Generali, Belgium’s Ministry of Finance, and the U.S. Department of Defense. Founded in 2003, eXo Platform SAS is headquartered in Paris with offices in Ukraine, Vietnam, and Tunisia. Visit or follow all the latest news on Twitter@exoplatform.



Chantal Yang

Page One PR for eXo Platform


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News You Might Have Missed: FreeSCI Merges Into the ScummVM Project


ScummVM Logo

      FreeSCI and ScummVM were two ambitious projects to reverse-engineer  the top two adventureSam and Max: Hit the Road in ScummVM game engines of the 1990's: The Sierra Creative Interpreter (SCI), and LucasArts' ScuMM. Both of the original engines were tweaked throughout the 90s to feature 2D adventure games with higher levels of complexity, both visually and functionally. The mid-90s produced such Sierra classics as: King's Quest, Quest for Glory, and Space Quest. At the same time, LucasArts' beloved Monkey Island series and such gems as Sam n' Max: Hit the Road were stepping stones in comedic adventure games.
   ScummVM began as a hobby project in 2001 by Vincent Hamm and Ludvig Strigeus to implement an interpreter for LucasArts' ScuMM engine. By process of reverse-engineering, the duo developed the project into the dedicated team that it is today. ScummVM is a highly capable emulator, and over the years gained support for many third party Non-Scumm titles (Beneath a Steel Sky, Flight of the Amazon Queen), as well as Sierra's earlier titles that ran on the crude AGI (Adventure Game Interpreter) engine.
 King's Quest I in FreeSCI  FreeSCI began as a similar initiative, although the depths of the internet seem to have claimed the original information about the origins of the project. Sierra's SCI engine has been more difficult to reverse engineer due to the fact that many of the resources were not available to FreeSCI developers early on, much unlike the ScummVM project. Sierra was well known for having a multitude of different versions of the SCI engine being released at virtually the same time for different projects, thus making a highly-defined gaming experience with jumbled-together APIs. To this day, no one has created a native interpreter for Sierra's later SCI engines.

   However, this is possibly subject to change. In early February of this year, after much heated debate from both teams, the ScummVM and FreeSCI projects united. For the time being, ScummVM now has support for Sierra's earlier titles, from the AGI games (via the Sarien project) such as the original Space Quest to the more recent SCI0 titles, such as King's Quest 4: The Perils of Rosella.

   VGA games built on the SCI1 engine and onward currently aren't supported in the intepreter, but that could be subject to change due to the community's progress on reverse-engineering the engine. Before he abandoned his project, developer Brian Provinciano had created an entire IDE that was capable of reading and writing SCI games, as well as build original titles with the engine. Shortly after stating his abandonent of the project, he released the full source code to a modified version of the IDE capable of reading the newer SCI1.1 engines with VGA graphics, all under Public Domain. The code is sitting steady here at the moment, but it could provide the ScummVM project a truly helpful insight into fully supporting the old adventure games on Free Software platforms.


Differences in the most commonly deployed SCI engines over the years, with Quest for Glory as a reference, currently only SCI0 and early SCI1 games have been successfully played with FreeSCI:



SCI 0 Engine - Quest for Glory I

SCI0 was limited to a 16-bit color palette, and a text parser interface with limited mouse support.



 SCI1 had a much more refined graphics engine that supported up to 256 colors, improved mouse support, more advanced scripting structures, and altogether made for a more robust engine. 


Quest for Glory 3, with SCI 1.1

 SCI 1.1 introduced a new point-and-click interface that became the definitive "Sierra" look and feel throughout the second half of the 1990s. Animations were smoother, character interaction grew more complex, and custom theming for interfaces (for Developers) became standardized throughout the engine. (That scarab in the picture is actually a "Wait" cursor, by the way.)


 All in all, it's great to see ScummVM making great strides at providing more free runtimes for playing the old adventure games I loved dearly during my childhood.


Getting Flash (Adobe) to stop crashing Firefox in Fedora 11

Before anyone hit's me over the head with "File a Bug Report" I'll save you the time you didn't take in checking to see if there was a bug and, there is. #505365 to be exact. The work around is known, it's a matter of waiting until Fedora decides on how to fix it.

Meantime, Firefox still crashes.  So what to do.  Well in dealing with the bug and in dealing with some stack traces I did, we came to the same idea.  There are a number of libs in Firefox, that are referenced by Firefox, the same names are referenced by flash.  The problem comes when Firefox runs it says "Do I have this lib if so use mine." and Flash says "Use the lib referenced by ldconfig"  OOOOOPS!

Yep, you now have conflicting libs, and the end result is a total panic by Firefox, resulting in a crash.  The solution?  Remove the conflicting libs from the Firefox directory (where Firefox expects them to be) and poof. All is well in surfing land.  If Firefox can't find the libs locally it happily uses the system libs without missing a beat.

The procedure is as follows. ($ is used to represent a command prompt)

$ cd /usr/lib/firefox

$ sudo mkdir lib-hold

$ mv  libfreebl3.chk libsoftokn3.chk lib-hold/

Now just install Flash as you normally would and viola, you now have a working flash installation that doesn't crash Firefox.



The Linux Box Celebrates 10th Anniversary with Expansion of Offerings



Revenues Grew 17 Percent in 2008; New Client Wins Comprised 28 Percent of Growth

ANN ARBOR, Mich., July 7 -- The Linux Box, a professional services organization specializing in open source technology, is marking its ten-year anniversary by adding custom software products to its suite of services.

Founded in 1999, the Ann Arbor-based company is a bespoke software development consultancy that customizes open-source projects for blue chip clients such as McKesson, Harvard Management Company, Borders Group, FedEx and The Linux Box currently provides professional, commercial services for companies looking to gain competitive advantage, reduce IT costs and increase the control they have over their open source technologies.

"We have productized our business as a direct response to customer need," said Elizabeth Ziph, co-founder and chief executive officer. "We've leveraged the intellectual capital gained over the years through client consultation and software integration in order to create custom solutions. Not only does it satisfy a need voiced by our customers, it fills a void in the marketplace."

The Linux Box has shown steady growth in the last decade, continuing to expand in spite of the current economic climate. In the last year, The Linux Box enjoyed a 17-percent increase in revenue compared to 2007. New clients accounted for nearly 30-percent of the company's growth in a broad range of industries including oceanography, education and marketing. The company is tapping its profits not only for research and development but also to give back to the open source community - more than 15 percent of revenue was used for this purpose in 2008. The Linux Box will be unveiling the first of its custom products in Q3 2009.

About The Linux Box

The Linux Box ( is a professional services organization specializing in open source technology and the Linux platform in the server, cluster and desktop environments.  It provides software development and customization services to a broad range of clients in industries ranging from energy and financial services to government, life sciences and the utilities.


This release is available online in the media room at


How to Beat Spam (Over the Head)

Haven't written in this forum for a while, but thought it would be an appropriate platform to talk about some of the new security features on

As some of you may know, in our quest to be an open system, certain users have felt it an open invitation to spam the bejeezus out of everyone else. Our open blog system, the groups, and our direct messaging system have all been vectors for opportunistic abusers. This has led us to create some safeguards that will keep these systems and allow the more welcome users of to self-police these people off of the site.

Already implemented is the blog safeguard. Under each blog entry, there is a new Report Spam link. If you see spam appear on the site, click on this link. After a small number of fellow users report the same entry as spam, the offending entry will be removed and the user blocked from the site to prevent further spamming. In addition, we've asked some members who were very helpful in fighting the initial deluge to be moderators who can immediately remove spam on their own.

A similar system is now in place for groups. What's been happening is that a malicious user will create a group, then issue bulletins filled with spam links in an effort to capture SEO or unsuspecting users. These bulletins don't go anywhere, but they do clog up the /Community page from time to time. Again, the solution is similar: click on the Report Group link on the Group's home page and after a requisite number of reports, the Group will be pulled down and the user who created the group blocked from

Finally, the direct messaging (DM)  system has an anti-spam system in place. If you get a message from a user that is spam, click on the Report Spam link in the message. As soon as a small number of users reports the spammer, that user will be blocked. I know several users have gotten these lately, and while you can still report instances to us, using the reporting tool will get rid of the abuser that much faster.

We hope that these new features will  enhance your visits. It's sad that we have to be mindful of such things, but having the right tools to deal with the issue will only help make the community stronger.

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