Qt is about to be independent again

in code on (#2SGX)
Once upon a time, the Qt developer kit was written and published by Trolltech. Then it was sold to Nokia. Then Nokia sold it to Digia. And now, Digia is spinning it off as an independent entity. Freedom at last?!

The Register reports:
While Digia puts an upbeat spin on the separation, it's hard to avoid wondering if, like Trolltech and Nokia before it, the company has found it hard to reconcile the coexistence of the open source and commercial versions of the platform.

It said as much in August, noting that “The installers and product packages for the open source and enterprise versions are different, and there is a complete disconnect between and the commercial pages on” when it announced its intention to create the subsidiary.

Digia holds 100 per cent of the new Qt company at this point, and said one of the aims of the new operation will be to unify the two sets of packages, starting with one set of installers.

The first step of the creation of a new Qt has now gone live, and a few days ago the unified operation popped its head up at the IBC conference in Amsterdam to position its capabilities as a set-to-box and digital TV UI development environment.
[Ed. note: Now that Qt is on its own, they should come up with a good name for the organization. I propose "Trolltech" - just so we can truly come full-circle.]
[2014-09-17 15:15 Title updated from QT to Qt]

Enlightenment E19 released with full Wayland support

in linux on (#2SGS)
The Enlightenment team announced this week that the 19th version of their popular-but not popular enough- desktop environment has been released. Enlightenment DR 0.19 brings a number of useful improvements, refinements, or fixes, including a new profile for tiling workspace windows, better video previews, the return of the E16-style live pager, a new compositor API, non-recursive make files for building the system, and improvements to the file manager, system action menus, better performance on multiple monitors, support for high DPI monitors, and better rendering of shaped (non-rectangular) windows. It also has full support for Wayland including its own, rewritten Wayland compositor.

The Enlightenment project has always marched to the beat of a different drum. So their disclaimer: "Enlightenment developers cannot be responsible for any successes which occur during testing of E19" seems like they're still having a lot of fun.

If you're interested in seeing what E19 is capable of, Bodhi has a good intro to Enlightenment E17 on their site, but this Youtube video of E17 is also a good place to start.

Attachmate and MicroFocus to merge, SUSE Linux unaffected

in linux on (#2SGG)
Richard Brown reported on Google Plus that Attachmate has entered into an agreement with Micro Focus, a UK enterprise software company. Under the terms of the agreement, both institutions will merge. You might already know that Attachmate is the company that owns and manages SUSE Linux out of Nurenburg, Germany. So what does this mean for SUSE and OpenSUSE? Maybe nothing! That's great news. From the letter sent by Attachmate to the Board of Directors of SUSE Linux:
* Business as Usual: There are no changes planned for the SUSE business structure and leadership. There is no need for any action by
the openSUSE Project as a result of this announcement.

* Commitment to Open Source: SUSE remains passionately committed to innovation through Open Source. This has always been the foundation of our business and that will continue as we grow and innovate in new areas.

* Commitment to openSUSE: SUSE is also fully committed to being a sponsor and supporter of an open, highly independent and dynamic openSUSE community and project. We are proud of openSUSE and greatly value the collaborative relationship between SUSE and the openSUSE community.

* The combination of the Attachmate Group and Micro Focus creates a larger, global enterprise software entity, operating at a greater global scale. This provides an even stronger foundation for the continued investment in SUSE and our continued innovation through Open Source."
That's good news for fans of the openSUSE Linux distro, as well as SUSE customers everywhere. I would argue that Attachmate's purchase of SUSE from Novell was the best thing that happened to SUSE in years; glad this isn't going to have an impact on a great distro.

What's next for tablets running Linux?

in linux on (#2SEW)
story imagePut aside the "Android is based on Linux" argument for a second, and let's look at the state of tablet hardware running the Linux operating system instead of Android. And it doesn't look good.

Network World reports Ubuntu Touch might be our last and best hope for tablets running Linux:
Canonical says that they expect Ubuntu Touch-powered tablets to start shipping in the second half of this year. When I took Ubuntu Touch for a spin on my Nexus 7 last October, it definitely had promise (if it was a bit on the buggy side). And it has certainly improved a great deal since then. Unfortunately, the ability to run traditional Linux desktop software isn't the focus of Ubuntu Touch. In theory, this will be possible, but I've yet to see this actually happen. So I'm not holding my breath.
Not too long ago, Aaron Seigo and a group of KDE hackers was making a big splash about the upcoming Vivaldi tablet, which was to be a Linux tablet running a customized version of the KDE Plasma environment (KDE4 reconfigured in ways that make sense for a tablet). I was looking forward to that device, as KDE4 was rejiggered specifically to permit this kind of innovation in interfaces and avoid the whole "if Gnome3 is good enough for a tablet it's good enough for your desktop" attitude. Unfortunately, when the Vivaldi tablet project met with a lack of supporters willing to put up cold hard cash, it bit the dust:
Announcing the ‘wrap up’ in an e-mail sent to backers of the Improv ARM-based development board the team suggests that the FOSS community is ‘not ready’ to put its weight behind the ‘pressing issue of hardware freedom’, adding: “We greatly appreciate everyone’s support, whether it was purchases, donations or words of wisdom and encouragement. There was simply not enough support to make the project work, despite having fully functional, production ready devices and a strong commitment to succeed.”
Well, there's still the Pengpod, currently in crowd funding. But it's barely there as a product, reliant on going from crowd-funding to crowd-funding to push out new versions of their interesting product. What is there to do if you want Linux apps on tablet hardware? For the moment, it seems the answer is "be patient."

ZFS on Linux

in linux on (#2SAR)
Richard Yao has written a provocative piece detailing the state of the ZFS filesytem on Linux. It's made the rounds on other sites, where it's generating a lot of buzz. The reason is twofold: (1) ZFS is such a phenomenal piece of software, and (2) Yao insists the ZFSonLinux project (ZoL) is ready for primetime.
Linux users familiar with other filesystems or ZFS users from other platforms will often ask whether ZFS on Linux (ZoL) is “stable”. The short answer is yes, depending on your definition of stable. The term stable itself is somewhat ambiguous. While one would think that stable means “ready for production use”, that can mean that it does not lose data, that it does not crash, that it is a drop-in replacement for an existing filesystem, that changes to the disk format are forward compatible, that updates are always flawless or some combination thereof. Consequently, the long answer is much more nuanced than a single word can express. ...
He continues: I believe ZoL is production ready for the following reasons:
  1. Key ZFS data integrity features work on Linux like they do on other platforms.
  2. ZFS runtime stability on Linux is comparable to other filesystems, with certain exceptions that I document below.
  3. ZoL is at near feature parity with ZFS on other platforms.
Read on for the rest.

Lots of folks are having a laugh at Apple

in apple on (#2SAK)
story imageA lot of the tech world is taking a moment to have a laugh at Apple, after a lackluster event earlier this week. Here are some of the digs:Is Apple off its game? Or is the tech press just snippy as always? Or is the new Apple ecosystem going to wow us, as the fans predict?

Friday Distro: Absolute Linux

in linux on (#2SAE)
story imageAbsoluteLinux [screenshots] is different from most other niche distros because it’s built on a Slackware base instead of Debian/Ubuntu, so I installed it in a VM and have been giving it a test drive for a while. It’s the work of one man: Paul Sherman, of Rochester, New York, who took his extensive customizations to Slackware and began making them available to the public as a distro.

Absolute fits on a single CD, and focuses on being a lightweight OS optimized for speed and designed to stay out of your way. It’s a desktop, with no pretensions of being installed on a server. It uses the IceWM windowmanager, so you get a fast, traditional desktop, task bar and tray with none of the bulkiness of modern KDE or Gnome desktops, and a set of apps judged to be ‘best of class’ as well as a couple of utilities he wrote himself (the volume control is a stand-alone app that avoids having to install another package that would’ve had other dependencies).

Because Absolute is based on Slackware you get all of Slackware’s simplicity, stability, and dependability. But you also get Slackware’s thin package selection and install mechanism. Absolute has its own repo, and you can add Slackware’s repository too [file list is here], as Absolute is 100% compatible with Slackware. But you will soon find yourself over at looking for 3rd party packages. You also have to manage your own dependencies - a good thing if you want to avoid finding out that a simple app brought all the underlying base packages with it, but a bad thing if you prefer the ease of simple apt-getting your way to the desktop you like. That said, you can use gslapt-get, which comes preinstalled, and takes some of the hassle out of package management.

That said, I like it. It boots quickly, and I do appreciate Slackware’s simplicity and straight-forwardness. By installing Absolute instead of straight Slackware you get a graphical, lightweight desktop by default. I think I prefer FreeBSD’s ports system or Debian’s apt-get for installing software, and it’s true Slack - and therefore Absolute - aren't for just anybody. But if you’re looking for a refreshing change from the quotidian, Absolute Linux is pretty enjoyable. And above all, it's a reminder that the most interesting things don't come out of corporations trying to be everything to everybody, they come out of willful and skilled hackers that focus on doing one thing and doing it well - much like the Unix tradition itself.

Celebrity Nude Selfies hack: not a technical problem, everyone's problem

in security on (#2S8S)
There's a good editorial over at ZDNet by Violet Blue, who writes in the "Zero Day" opinion column: Wake up: The celebrity nudes hack is everyone's problem. The celebrity nudes 'hacking' scandal is a wake up call about security and human nature.
The amount of private data theft going on right now is insane. Until the online revolution, our private spaces were our bedrooms and bathrooms, our homes, sex clubs, our phone calls and our inner fantasy worlds. Now, our private spaces for adult playtime include texts, emails and direct messages to trusted friends or family members, and especially photos. But that's only true if we really trust the person we share them with.

The problem we face now is that not everyone understands or agrees what constitutes a private space online. Online, private spaces include our email inboxes, chat rooms, IRC, social media profiles and their not-public messaging systems (Twitter DMs, Facebook chat), dating websites, message boards. Private space now includes all the places that our personal information resides.
I have an alternate theory, though I do agree with Violet Blue: maybe Web 2.0 and the "culture of sharing" is the problem? Web 1.0 wasn't so bad, if you ask me.

Is this the year of Linux of the desktop? For these guys, that's old news

in linux on (#2S8R)
story imageMunich city council's decision to move from Windows to Linux may be under scrutiny, but it's worth remembering it's not the only major organisation to have chosen open source for its desktops. Linux-based desktop operating systems face barriers to widespread adoption and skepticism about their future prospects due to their limited use today. Yet major users do exist, including companies such as Google and a small but growing number of government bodies. TechRepublic covers five of the major players that have invested seriously in Linux desktops.
  1. Google
  2. NASA
  3. French Gendarmerie
  4. US Dept of Defense
  5. CERN
  6. yo mamma

New Sailor Moon Dub is online

in anime on (#2S8Q)
story imageHave you always wanted to share the silly fun of Sailor Moon with your geeklings? Now’s your chance! 23 episodes of the original, newly re-dubbed anime are now available online through Viz Media and Hulu.
If you suffered through the Sailor Moon DiC dub in the 90s, you’ll find things are different now. In Viz’s new dub, character names now match the manga. Sorry, Serena! The voice acting seems to be higher quality, with an admirable effort at matching the animated mouth movements without rushing the dialogue too much to fit the words in. Usagi is appropriately cute and whiny without being grating; my five-year-old commented more than once, “Sailor Moon is hilarious!”

The opening and ending songs, as well as the background and transformation music, remain unchanged and undubbed, which made me happy as an anime watcher who prefers subs over dubs. (I’m a sub snob.)
1 This article is a bit of an experiment. Never covered manga and related on Pipedot before. If you're interested in this topic, speak up; if you're not I probably won't submit similar articles since they're not really my cup of tea.