Ubuntu Spyware: What to Do?

One of the major advantages of free software is that the community protects users from malicious software. Now Ubuntu GNU/Linux has become a counterexample. What should we do?

Proprietary software is associated with malicious treatment of the user: surveillance code, digital handcuffs (DRM or Digital Restrictions Management) to restrict users, and back doors that can do nasty things under remote control. Programs that do any of these things are malware and should be treated as such. Widely used examples include Windows, the iThings, and the Amazon "Kindle" product for virtual book burning, which do all three; Macintosh and the Playstation III which impose DRM; most portable phones, which do spying and have back doors; Adobe Flash Player, which does spying and enforces DRM; and plenty of apps for iThings and Android, which are guilty of one or more of these nasty practices. Read More

SUSE Linux Says Btrfs is Ready to Rock

The advanced Butter/Better/B-tree Filesystem, Btrfs, is still labeled as experimental in the Btrfs Wiki and on Oracle's Btrfs page, though the Oracle page looks outdated. Btrfs is an advanced copy-on-write filesystem with a lot of great capabilities: snapshotting and rollbacks, checksumming of data and metadata, RAID, volumes and subvolumes, online defragmentation, compression, and online filesystem check and repair. Snapshots are always interesting to me; they're not backups, but a fast way to restore a system to a previous state. With Btrfs users can manage their own snapshots in their home directories. Btrfs supports filesystems up to 16 EiB in size, and files up to 16 EiB as well. (Which may be almost enough to store all the cute kitten photos on the Internet.) Read More

The open source advantage: Executives learn how to stay competitive

Let's say you're a big company in a competitive industry. One who innovates and succeeds by creating software. Not extending COTS, not adapting existing code. Generating fresh, new code, at your full expense. The value the company receives by investing in the creation of that software is competitive advantage, sometimes known as the profit-motive. Read More

NVIDIA Publishes Open-Source 2D Driver Code

NVIDIA has published initial patches for providing open-source 2D hardware acceleration support on their NVIDIA Tegra 2 and Tegra 3 SoCs. This work is based upon the experimental open-source Direct Rendering Manager driver to be merged into the Linux 3.8 kernel.

Times are great with NVIDIA dabbling with more open-source code and Imagination looking at some level of open-source PowerVR support. This weekend I wrote about NVIDIA working on open-source support for their Tegra graphics while this morning new open-source patches arrived from the NVIDIA Finland office. Read More

Fedora 18 finally makes beta

After a number of delays, the beta of the Fedora 18 Linux-based distribution has been released.
The beta release date had been extended six times over the past two months, mostly due to an underestimation of the amount of work required to rewrite the Anaconda software, which is used to install or upgrade Fedora.

"It was a one-time aberration," said Robyn Bergeron, who leads the Fedora Project.

The final release of Fedora 18, which was named code-named "Spherical Cow," is now set for Jan. 8, 2013, almost two months after the original ship date, and about seven months after the release of Fedora 17. Read More

Linux for a business traveller

Are you a business traveller? Do you need to spend at least some of your nights away from home, somewhere in a hotel? Do you have a company laptop?
If you answer is yes, then you're like me. I also have a company laptop with MS Windows already installed on it. To be honest, it is not a top-range laptop, although I cannot call it a low-range one either. Something average, or just below average. Read More at

Google open sources Android 4.2

Along with the release of the new Nexus 4 smartphone and Nexus 10 tablet on Tuesday and the rollout of updates to Android 4.2 to several existing Nexus devices, Google has also pushed the source code for the new Jelly Bean flavour of its mobile operating system to the Android Open Source Project (AOSP). In a post on the Android Developers Blog, the company detailed the features in the latest Android version, which also brings with it a new SDK revision (API level 17). Read More at

10 Best Android apps this week

It's time for our weekly roundup of the best new Android apps for Google-powered smartphones and tablets.

There are slightly slim pickings this week, so it's a ten-app roundup. However, it's been a very big week for new Android games, so stand by for plenty of those in the separate smartphone/tablet games roundup, which will be published later in the day.

Here's this week's non-game Android selection: Read More at

LinuxCertified Introduces Ultra-Portable yet Powerful Linux Ultrabook

New LC22Ultra Supports Intel i3-3217 1.8GHz CPU and upto 8GB memory, and starts at $799
LinuxCertified Inc has launched the LC22Ultra Linux Ultrabook pre-installed with Ubuntu or Fedora Linux. The LC22Ultra is LinuxCertified's 14" Light weight, all purpose mobile Linux system. LC22Ultra weighs only 3.5lbs and standard unit priced at $799 features Intel 3rd generation i3-3217 1.8GHz CPU, 14" 1376 X 768 HD display, 4GB DDR3 RAM, 32GB mSATA drive. It has many upgrade-able options to beef up the system. Available to order at

New Linux and Android Game Platforms Gaining Momentum

Things are heating up on the open source gaming front. The buzz continues over the open source Ouya gaming platform. A Los Angeles-based project, Ouya is billed as "a new kind of video game console" and famously pulled down millions in funding on Kickstarter. As Ouya's plans ramp up, there are also new details emerging about Steam for Linux, which looks like it may include many more advanced games than previously thought. Read More