Archive for the ‘operating systems’ Category

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Winning ‘We’re Linux’ Video Illustrates Meaning of Freedom

SAN FRANCISCO, California — The winner of the “We’re Linux” video contest has been announced — it’s Amitay Tweeto, a freelance graphic designer and user interface consultant from Bet Shemesh, Israel.

You can view Tweeto’s winning entry on the website of the Linux Foundation, the non-profit group which put together the contest. It’s also embedded below.

The contest challenged members of the Linux community to dream up a video advertisement evangelizing the free and open-source software using the theme, “We’re Linux,” a play on Apple’s recent “I’m a Mac” ads, and the “I’m a PC” ads Microsoft put out in response.

Over 90 videos were submitted between December and March. The public then voted on their favorites, and a winner was chosen from the finalists by a panel of judges.

Here’s the winner, “What Does it Mean to be Free?” by Amitay Tweeto:

Tweeto was announced as the contest’s winner Wednesday at the Linux Collaboration Summit, taking place here this week.

According to Linux Foundation VP of Marketing and Developer Programs Amanda McPherson, who headed up the contest, Tweeto’s video rose above the pack by hitting the right tone.

“Most of the ads focused on the ‘free-as-in-beer’ part of Linux,” she told, referring to the dual concept of “freedom” within the free and open-source software movement.

Linux is distributed at no cost (“free, as in beer”) but it also allows the user to adapt and modify the software however they see fit (“free, as in freedom”).

Most entries concentrated on Linux’s economic advantages, which McPherson said makes sense considering the current financial crisis and the fact that Microsoft’s latest ads attack Macs because of their perceived higher price.

“But [Tweeto's video] talks about the higher level purpose, what freedom means to the user,” she said. “As we move to more open transparent models in government, culture and commerce, it’s obvious our world is ready for this message.”

“That really resonated with the public and with the judges.”

The panel of seven judges was made up of some free software heavies, including VA Linux founder Larry Augustin, OpenSUSE community manager Joe “Zonker” Brockmeier and tech publisher Tim O’Reilly. In addition to bragging rights for winning the contest, Tweeto also gets a free trip to Tokyo this October to participate in the Japan Linux Symposium.

Two runners up were also announced Wednesday.

Agustin Eguia’s “The Origin” is an animated short centered around his “I+You+We=LINUX” tagline, a catchy slogan one would expect to find on a t-shirt.

The other runner up was a fan favorite. Sebastian Masse’s “Linux Pub” features an antiquated and dying workstation being rushed into a hospital ER. A giant penguin (which vaguely resembles Tux) bursts in and brings it back to life by loading Linux onto it, then leaves laughing with a female doctor on each arm.

McPherson points out that all three winners are from outside the United States — Tweeto is Israeli, Eguia is a 28-year-old Uruguayan native currently living in Brussels, Belgium, and Masse is a film school graduate from Paris — and that the wide geographic diversity of the entries underscores the international nature of the Linux community.

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File Under: operating systems

Three Reasons Linux Will Win in the Future

SAN FRANCISCO, California — Linux is the fastest-growing platform in every aspect of computing. If you think about it, you’ll realize just about every person in the modern world uses Linux multiple times every day. Whenever you program a DVR, visit an ATM, run a Google search, use an in-dash GPS or read an e-book on your Kindle, you’re using some flavor of kernel-based software. As we add more devices into the mix, the list keeps growing.

So, what are the trends to watch if we want to track Linux’s proliferation?

In his keynote address at the Linux Collaboration Summit taking place here Wednesday, Linux Foundation executive director Jim Zemlin outlined the three major points to consider when mapping Linux’s future.

1. The Economy. “The economic downturn is more than just marketing hype for open-source and Linux as a way to cut costs,” says Zemlin.

Right now, corporations large and small are actively consolidating IT infrastructures, Zemlin says, and free and open-source software is becoming increasingly attractive. Also, he says, a recession usually causes companies to re-think their age-old assumptions about their computing environments. They will be more likely to consider all the options when they think about software, server and workstation costs.

2. Redefinition of the Desktop. You’ve heard it so many times, it’s become a running joke: This is the year of the Linux desktop.

All kidding aside, Zemlin says, it may be time to ask, “Well, what is the desktop?”

Computing has flip-flopped in recent years — An Android phone or iPhone has roughly the same computing power as the ThinkPad notebook of five or six years ago, and today’s average netbook has several times more muscle than that old ThinkPad, yet it’s even cheaper than an iPhone.

“This is convergence — we’re seeing it really happen,” says Zemlin. In the process, the old rules about what defines a desktop are being re-written.

What is the new desktop? Is it the phone? The browser? The Kindle? The HDTV? The car? Whatever it is, Linux will play a critical role in defining the experience.

3. The Cloud. “Linux already has a vast lead in scaled virtual hosting and cost-per-CPU services,” says Zemlin. If you don’t see Linux’s advantage in web services, answer these questions: Could Google really be Google if it wasn’t for Linux? Could Google really be Google if it was running Windows?

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File Under: operating systems

Gnome Plans Major Overhaul for the Linux Desktop

The Gnome Foundation wants to up the ante for the next major release of the popular Linux desktop. The team behind Gnome says that incremental updates aren’t enough and that the future of Gnome will require the project to “revamp our user experience.”

The overhaul is still in the planning stages but it should be welcome news for those that feel the Linux desktop is not innovating the way other platforms are. So far the Gnome project has outlined two major goals: improving the overall platform and reinventing the desktop interface.

The results will like become Gnome 3.0, though you’ll have to wait until April 2010 to get your hands on any radical new features in Gnome.

Gnome’s biggest competitor, the KDE project, recently did something similar, scrapping the entire KDE 3.5 and starting over from scratch to build KDE 4.x. The Gnome project doesn’t appear to be contemplating anything quite so radical, instead the goal is to improve the UI and incorporate newer ideas into the desktop — such as 3D graphics or geolocation features.

For more details on what the Gnome developers have in mind, check out the announcement message.

And keep in mind that, if none of this sounds like a good idea to you, the Gnome team is still in the early stages and looking for feedback, so be sure to let them know what you think.

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File Under: operating systems

Party Like It’s Unix Time 1234567890

Linux users of the world unite; Today is 1234567890 day. At 3:30pm PST Friday, Unix time will equal exactly 1234567890. It’s the geek version of the year 2000.

If you already know what Unix time (UTC) is, then you probably should head over to one of the parties happening before the big event today in cities all over the world. The list of parties and a countdown timer is available at Catch party and countdown updates at the UTC watch on Twitter.

If you aren’t in the know but still want to participate, you should come equipped knowing that Unix time is the amount of seconds elapsed since January 1st, 1970 (not counting leap seconds) — a relatively arbitrary date that is used by Unix-based systems to keep time. So 1234567890 in Unix time is a great excuse to get together with other like-minded penguin lovers, boogie down and debate the merits of GNOME or KDE, FreeBSD versus Ubuntu, Emacs versus Vi… you get the picture.

More on this and how to keep track of UTC over at  Wired’s Gadget Lab.

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PreDevCamp Aims to Burgeon Palm WebOS Development

A group of mobile software developers in Austin, Texas, have announced the arrival of PreDevCamp, a hacking event centered around software development for the WebOS platform on Palm’s new Pre smartphone.

PreDevCamps are taking place in over 60 cities around the world, including Austin, San Francisco and New York. Also on the list are some unsuspecting mobile development hotbeds such as Vietnam, Croatia and Kenya. The event is currently accepting registration and will be held exactly one week after the U.S. release of the Palm Pre — “coming soon” according to the offical Palm Pre website.

PreDevCamp is already generating some excitement on Twitter and among Palm developing groups, some of which weren’t seeing much action before the announcement of the Pre at Las Vegas’ Consumer Electronics Show, or CES, in January.

The organizers hope the event will mobilize the development community around Palm’s web-based operating system, WebOS. The operating system and device is set to compete against Apple’s iPhone, Google’s Android, Nokia’s Symbian and Microsoft’s Windows Mobile operating systems. It’s selling point is software that incorporates Linux and existing web application technologies, such as HTML, JavaScript and CSS.

William Hurley — more commonly known by his hacker nickname “whurley” — is one of the developers in charge of organizing PreDevCamp. He also had a hand in starting iPhoneDevCamp, a nonprofit meet-up that helped mobilize third-party application development for Apple’s mobile. The first two iPhoneDevCamps were considered a success (and the organization continues to hold mini-DevCamps), but according to Hurley, he and his associates were eager to help provide a legit challenge to the iPhone throne.

That is, if Apple doesn’t put the kibosh on its competition first. The company is threatening to introduce a number of patent lawsuits in order to challenge Pre’s technology before it hits the market. The lawsuits are somewhat limited to certain aspects of the operating system’s scrolling and multitouch capabilities.

Regardless, give or take a few features, it is unlikely Apple’s actions will hold up WebOS from hitting the market entirely. The next challenge would be to see how it will stack up next to the other contenders such as Google’s Android and Nokia’s Symbian operating systems. Both systems are being offered as open source, and there is no word yet as to whether Palm’s WebOS will follow suit.

“Hardware manufacturers come and go, but the company that controls the smartphone OS market is going to control the market, period,” wrote Hurley on his blog. “Watch the developers, they’re the key. The largest, most active developer network is going to win, because consumers want applications.”

The PreDevCamp is the Pre’s first chance at cultivating that community, and thanks to the buzz introduced after Palm’s announcement at January’s CES, it looks like the event is already getting considerable traction.

To see if the event is happening in your city, check out the PreDevCamp event guide. Registration is handled by the organizer of the event closest to you. If there are no nearby events, the organizers have also made it easy for you to set up a camp in your city.

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