Thursday, October 9, 2008

PowerDVD from Cyberlink Now on Linux

PowerDVD is one of the most popular playback software which comes bundled with many DVD and Blu-ray optical drives. Until now it was available only for the windows platform but now it is also available for the Penguin boxes and laptops and the recent 'nettops' - the budget desktops and laptops designed to run Linux. This decision was made by Cyberlink on Thursday.

"PowerDVD Linux is derived from Cyberlink's movie player, PowerDVD, and supports DVD Video playback with menu navigation, subtitles, and video rewind and fast-forward. PowerDVD Linux incorporates CyberLink TrueTheaterT Lighting for automatic video lighting enhancement, and support for CyberLink TrueTheaterT Surround and Dolby audio technology.

CyberLink PowerCinema Linux, on the other hand, is an all-in-one media player for the Linux operating system that can handle DVDs, video files, music files, photos, and even manage portable and plug-in devices. The application supports a wide range of video formats, including ASF, WMV, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, DAT, and AVI.

The two new applications will be made available via OEM licensing. Currently, it's unclear if they will be available in retail versions."


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Mandriva Linux 2009 Released

Mandriva has launched it latest release - Mandriva Linux 2009. This latest offering from Mandriva comes with the KDE 4.1 graphical environment.

Mandriva’s team has gone to great lengths to integrate this new environment in a way that ensures everyone - from the beginner to the hardcore can start using it immediately, with a customized graphical theme, careful choice of the most powerful applications, and a default configuration tuned to your system's particular hardware.

The latest release ensures that there is 100% graphical synchronization with mobile devices: Windows Mobile 2002 and 2003 as well as Windows Mobile 5 and 6, all Blackberry devices, and many Nokia devices.

The major changes in this release are:

# An updated set of commercial applications in the Powerpack edition: Fluendo audio and video codecs, advanced touching-up of digital images with LightZone, virtualisation with VmWare, and Google applications

# Complete overhaul of the graphic installer

# Simplification and improved reliability of application installations and updates: notification of new distribution versions via Mandriva Online, and automatic configuration of official repositories

# Latest versions of leading open source applications: integration of KDE 4.1, GNOME 2.24, 3, Firefox 3

# Faster boot time

# Improved parental control utility, now with time-based restrictions

# Installer now capable of detecting low-resource systems or netbooks, and installing an appropriate environment (GNOME is default for netbooks)

# Detection and optional automatic removal of packages known as orphans (packages previously installed which are no longer required) to optimize free space and future updates

# Constantly improving hardware support (kernel 2.6.27) with particular attention paid to netbooks

Mandriva Linux 2009 is available in three configurations:

a) Powerpack - the commercial edition, including exclusive commercial software, support, and services

b) One - a live CD which can also be installed to the system permanently (Download)

c) Free - an edition which contains only free / open source software (Download)

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PocketMac for BlackBerry Linux Edition Beta

PocketMac for BlackBerry Linux Edition is the first tool to sync Linux user data to the Blackberry. Information Appliance Associates announced the release of the beta version on Tuesday. They are the creator of the original Mac-to-BlackBerry sync solution.

It is after 18 months of mind-boggling effort that this beta version is at last ready for the public. It’s worth noting that the beta version of PocketMac for BlackBerry Linux Edition is currently only being tested on the Xandros Linux distribution, and syncs against the KDE PIM application. However, in the near future, it will be made available to and functional with other distributions of the OS as well.

After the beta testing is over, the PocketMac for BlackBerry Linux Edition will be available for free.


Related Links:
Information Appliance Associates
Sign up to become a beta tester of PocketMac for BlackBerry Linux Edition

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Become a Linux Foundation Board Member for Only $50!

The Linux Foundation has now opened up membership for individual members. Anybody can become a member of the foundation by paying only $50. Memberships include a T-shirt, quarterly newsletter, and the ability to run for and vote for a Linux Foundation board seat.

The Linux Foundation is a nonprofit consortium dedicated to fostering the growth of Linux. It was founded in 2007. The foundation sponsors the work of Linux creator Linus Torvalds and is supported by leading Linux and open source companies and developers from around the world. The Linux Foundation promotes, protects and standardizes Linux by providing unified resources and services needed for open source to successfully compete with closed platforms.

The following are the activities of the Linux Foundation:
  • Protecting Linux by sponsoring key Linux developers and providing legal services
  • Standardizing Linux and improving it as a platform for software development
  • Providing a neutral forum for Collaboration and Promotion
Related Links:
Become a Member of the Linux Foundation

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Untangle Joins Linux Foundation

Untangle, the open source software maker has officially joined the Linux Foundation. The Linux Foundation is a consortium that aims to promote adoption of the Linux operating system and collaboration between major Linux contributors.

The Linux Foundation was launched in 2007. It employs the famous Linus Torvalds, maintains the Linux Standard Base specification, and hosts Linux events.

"The Linux Foundation is funded by its members. Untangle has joined as a silver-ranking member, which means that its annual contribution is somewhere between $5,000 and $20,000. The specific amount of Untangle's annual contribution has not been disclosed. Other prominent silver members include Red Hat, Dell, Sun, DreamWorks, and Adobe.

Untangle's open source network gateway software is distributed under the General Public License and includes components for antivirus, spam blocking, intrusion prevention, and other security-related applications. The company's business model is built around support and sale of commercial add-ons.

The rate at which the Linux Foundation is gathering new corporate members is a pretty good indication that the organization still has relevance in the open source ecosystem. Other companies that have joined in the past few months include Canonical, CME, and Black Duck."

Source: Ars Technica, Boston, MA, USA

Related Links:
Linux Foundation
Linus Torvalds' Homepage (Outdated)
Linus Torvalds' Blog
Linus Torvalds' LinkedIn Profile

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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Linux and Open Source - Are Both One?

When people talk about Linux they equate it with Open Source and vice versa. This is altogether not false as the open source revolution was started by BSD but the mass acceptance to it was brought about by Linux.

A few years ago open source apps were only available for Linux. But now the scenario has changed. Open source apps are not only for Linux but they are also available for windows. And this is really necessary for changing the misconceptions about Linux and open source apps.

Consider the case of Firefox or Ubuntu (thanks a million times to Mozilla Foundation). The whole misconception about open source apps or operating systems being not user-friendly is finally laid to rest.

Particularly, Firefox has shown that open source apps can be more user-friendly and innovative than their closed-source counterparts. And why they should not be - is not the collective greater than the lone?

Now, open source is not only Linux or BSD or related to a single entity but it is everywhere. And this is where open source wins - that its fundamental goals are now being realized - that the open source model for software development can truly be innovative and bring out products that are outstanding.

And the laurels for this goes to the developers of open source operating systems and apps. Everyday a new innovation comes out of their collective intelligence destined to change the world, for the betterment of mankind. This they do or rather their coding fingers and minds with a true love for humankind, bereft of any perverted multi-billion dollars of financial gain in their heads.

The revolution has just started and the future holds many more innovations and golden achievements for open source. Perhaps, our governments were also open-source! ( Although the day is not faraway, when mankind get to their true roots as humans, and not as the follower of a this tall or that high citadel's chair or take part in the whims of a mad caveman with an AK-47)

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Hyperwords 5.2 for Firefox

What is the main reason for firefox's popularity? Yes, you are right they are the third-party extensions. Now there is another addition to this arsenal. It is Hyperwords.

Hyperwords for Firefox is a new add-on that enables you to highlight a word on a web page and find more information. Say you wanted to find out about a certain unknown animal, simply highlight the word on the page, then use your right-mouse menu to select a reference. You can search Wikipedia, Google and many other locations. If it’s a foreign word, you can quickly translate, find a place on a map and much more.

Hyperwords is a freeware developed by the Hyperwords Company. It runs on practically all platforms including linux.

The download is a small 4mb file. You can download it from

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Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Become a Multimedia Pro with MMBD

"Many audio, video, and graphics professionals would like to make the switch to Linux, but don't want to deal with the hassle of figuring out multimedia on Linux or are scared off by the purported lack of such tools. I created Vector Linux Multimedia Bonus Disc (MMBD) to address this problem and perception. It's a complete multimedia creation and production system that contains hundreds of the best multimedia applications available on Linux.

The MMBD is an add-on for Vector Linux that installs directly into a preinstalled copy of the distribution. Vector is a Slackware-based distribution that is built for speed and flexibility. Although Slackware is sometimes viewed as an archaic, crude operating system, it is famous for its stability and clean, reliable core. Vector Linux improves on Slackware by enhancing user friendliness and provides many speed enhancements. It is a fast, friendly, and flexible modern distribution, making it the perfect platform for many multimedia processes.

The MMBD collection comprises hundreds of multimedia programs, including audio, video, and graphics. It supports nearly every known codec and provides the capability to convert between them.

Available audio applications include professional digital audio workstations (DAW) such as Ardour and audio editors such as Audacity, Sweep, and MhWaveEdit. A selection of digital DJ software, including Mixxx and TerminatorX, allows artists to play with and distort their music. Users can even create their own digital music using tools such as Hydrogen, LMMS, and JackBeat. In addition to the audio applications, the MMBD includes more than 300 audio effects and plugins that work directly with many of the audio editors.

Video applications in the MMBD include a range of video editors from Kino to more advanced and specialized video editors and motion picture retouching systems such as CinePaint. Cinelerra, a well-known Linux video editor, is not currently included because it had several bugs that prevented packaging it with the latest X server included on Vector Linux, but I plan to include it if and when those bugs are fixed. In the meantime, other video editors such as Avidemux, OpenMovieEditor, and LiVes are included to fill in the gap.

The MMBD also has a collection of DVD authoring applications ranging from simple DVD encoders to advanced applications capable of complex menu structures and a high level of control. ManDVD, a simple wizard-like DVD creation program, allows for easy DVD creation, while those who want more control and capability in their DVDs can choose DVDstyler or Qdvdauthor to create professional-quality DVDs. Many other DVD-related applications are also on the disc, including command-line encoding and authoring tools.

An important capability of any multimedia workstation setup is the ability to convert between audio, video, and image formats. This is especially true for users who work with DVD authoring and need to take media from different sources and combine them into a single-format DVD. The MMBD includes the tools to read, write, and convert between nearly every known format, save for a few proprietary ones. Included are command-line applications such as ffmpeg, mplayer, and tovid, and graphical utilities such as MultimediaConverter, Ogg Convert, and Tovid GUI.

Graphics applications make up the last major category on the disc. Packaged applications include the GIMP, Blender, Digikam, Hugin, Inkscape, Xara Xtreme, and a host of others aimed at both amateurs and professionals.

A complete list of the applications included on the MMBD is listed on the project's Web site.

The MMBD is free to download, and a $24 paid version that comes as a CD with a printed manual and 60 days of email support is also available. The manual walks readers through common tasks such as creating a DVD, audio and video conversion, creating panoramas with photos, and audio and video editing, with screenshots and examples.

The MMBD is not the only multimedia compendium available. For instance, Ubuntu Studio, dyne:bolic, and 64 Studio are complete distributions that focus on multimedia apps. But the MMBD is faster and more user-friendly, thanks to its Vector Linux base, and gives users more choice over exactly which programs, libraries, and codecs to install.

I hope the MMBD will allow many users to discover the power of multimedia in Linux." - Travis Mallet

Source: This article was originally written by Travis Mallett. He is the lead developer of of the Vector Linux Multimedia Bonus Disc and founder of Vector Linux Solutions. He works at an electrical engineering firm and enjoys programming and using Linux.

MMBD Homepage

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Barton George Quits Sun After 13 Years

Sun Microsystem has lost their anchor in their hope for making their open source software included in popular Linux distros.

Barton George has quit Sun after 13 years, hard on the heels of having helped secure the inclusion of an open-source friendly version of Sun's Java Development Kit (JDK) - OpenJDK - with major GNU/Linux distros.

The major weapon of Sun was shipping open source friendly versions of Java and Sun's middleware with Linux. This was their strategy from the past few years. The company wants Java and its middleware to piggyback with Linux, to support the market, and ultimately to be able to charge for services related to its software down the line.

Barton was the group manager for Sun's GNU/Linux strategy. He liaised with individuals on the distros and coordinated Sun’s internal engineering work packaging the company’s NetBeans, Glassfish, and JavaDB in addition to OpenJDK with distros.

George, who set up Sun's manufacturing operations in Brazil soon after joining, has left the company to become senior director of marketing at business-process management specialist Lombardi Software.

George told The Reg he liked Lombardi's smaller company culture and the fact it's based in the town where he lives, Austin, Texas. His departure comes, though, as Sun lays off between 1,500 and 2,500 employees.

Sun told us vice president of developer and community marketing - and Debian founder - Ian Murdock is taking over the relationships George managed. A Sun spokeswoman described Sun's relationships with the Linux community as "a major priority".

Source: Register, London, England, UK

Read more! - Now Actors Are Open Source

Yes, is now launched and is going to make 'actors' Open Source. Don't laugh. It's really true. But they are not going to make Britney or Angelina Open Source.

" will publish video interviews with open source actors from around the world. Among available interviews I already enjoyed Bruce Perens speaking of the open source long tail, and I am looking forward to see what others have to say about open source marketing (Fabrizio Capobianco of the Funambol fame and Stormy Peters, now employed at the GNOME foundation, just to mention a couple of the pipelined ones)" - Roberto Galoppini

Links: Homepage

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Is Open Source the Winner or Not?

It is a very critical question which rages on and on in chat-rooms, blogs and websites. But if we look at a few facts we can become aware of the situation at present.

Open Source as a standalone business is very marginal. However, successful companies that leverage open source in various ways make a good profit - selling systems, proprietary software, services and advertisement.

Basic pay-for-support models tend to have low conversion rates and haven't mostly been big moneymakers.

The Linux desktop remains a niche. There was a time when the desktop looked to be the next great frontier for Linux. That hasn't happened. Ironically, Apple Macs, which are arguably even less open than Windows PC, have been the big desktop winners over the past few years--not Linux.

Firefox is the marathon winner in the Olympics of 'Open or Closed' and is still going strong. Others such as Sun's OpenOffice, although they cannot replicate the firefox numbers are monumental in pressuring proprietary software vendors on various fronts such as pricing and standards.

There's a tension between cloud computing and open source. Most of the open-source licenses that were written to require that modifications and enhancements to open-source software be contributed back to the commons don't apply when software is distributed only in the form of network services, rather than directly in the form of the software bits themselves.

More broadly, as the Free Software Foundation's Richard Stallman has been lately complaining, the very idea of the cloud can be seen as conflicting with "Software Freedom" principles, to which open source was a means and not an end.

Although these are small minuses considering the tremendous change that Open Source has brought to virtually every field of computers, and, yes, Open Source is a winner.

Source: CNET News, San Francisco, CA, USA

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Firefox Moblie Alpha Coming Soon

Mozilla CEO John Lilly said to the San Jose Mercury News that the Firefox Mobile Alphas will be released within a few weeks.

Here is what he said, "We want to make sure that the Web on mobile is more like the Web than what the mobile industry offers today, which is closed, separate networks and not a very good information-getting experience for the user. The first thing is to bring Firefox to mobile devices. We’re working on that, and we’ll see some alphas in a few weeks."

Source:, USA

Mozilla Website

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Monday, October 6, 2008

Magento - 425,000 Downloads!

Magento, a popular choice for ecommerce development for many web designers was only released last march. In this short span it was downloaded approximately 425,000 times. That is an awesome number considering the infantile stage of the software.

Why are so many flocking to Magento, and is the hype really justified by the functionality?

Magento has the professional, Web 2.0 look many designers are looking for, and that is surely one of the main reasons for its popularity. In comparison to other ecommerce platforms like OScommerce, Zen Cart, etc. there is a definite improvement in both theme and display out of the box.

Magento uses custom themes and block positioning like most popular CMS software for design. The templates are clean and dynamic, and it is easy to set up your catalog display. Magento includes a shopping cart, a large number of payment gateways, product comparisons, tags, polls, internationalization support, advanced reports, analytics, and SEO optimized URLs.

There is support for coupons, discount codes, catalog management, wishlists, cross-sells, and related items. You can create orders from the admin section for offline or call center sales, and managing shipping is easy with built in calculation for USPS, UPS, DHL, Fed Ex, and other delivery services.

Magento will also automatically calculate sales tax on orders and supports multiple currencies on the same site. The user account stores existing order information, shipping and billing addresses, as well as a user’s wishlist, recently viewed, and recently compared products.

Users can submit reviews, edit and manage them from their account pages. They can also submit tags for products, subscribe to newsletters, and send recommendations and wishlists to friends.

Source: Web Developer News

Magento Website

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What is the Role of Money in Open Source Development?

Evangelia Berdou's doctoral thesis on the differences between the contributions of paid open source developers and volunteer contributors is an interesting read.

In it Berdou examines the parallels and disconnects between the paid and volunteer contributors in the Gnome and KDE projects.

Berdou interviewed a number of paid and volunteer developers working with the GNOME and KDE projects. Based on these interviews, she presents four working hypotheses:

1. Paid developers are more likely to contribute to critical parts of the code base.
2. Paid developers are more likely to maintain critical parts of the code base.
3. Volunteer contributors are more likely to participate in aspects of the project that are geared towards the end-user.
4. Programmers and peripheral contributors are not likely to participate equally in major community events.

On the surface, these hypotheses seem logical to the point of obvious. The truly curious aspect is how these hypotheses are confirmed in one project, and aren't in another. There are different people working on the two projects, and each project ultimately has a different goal and vision, but the compared projects were designed to fill the same need, the same space. They are both desktop environments.

Why are only hypotheses 2 and 4 true for KDE? Why do they all apply to GNOME? Certainly the underlying codebase, the libraries, and the characteristics of the update and release cycle are huge determinants of how the statistics break down.

It seems a bit counterintuitive considering KDE's Qt was originally code produced by a commercial organization, that at this point, KDE has fewer paid "core code base" developers than volunteer developers. It has a greater number of paid "core code base" maintainers than volunteer maintainers. It would seem, perhaps, that the introduction of new core components in KDE for that time period might have been less frequent than in GNOME, but the maintenance requirements were similar.

Volunteer developers creating and maintaining a larger percentage of the code that rests on the core base is not terribly surprising. Berdou mentions that a significant number of developers who are paid to work on the code base also contribute -- on their own time, and without compensation-- to modular projects related to the core code.

There is a major component of open source software development that is a labor of love, and many don't associate that with monetary compensation -- it is its own reward. This is certainly fine (although there aren't many in any industry who'd turn down payment to do a job they love) and this passion is part of the vitality of open source. The importance of an organization (commercial or non-profit) and the directional input and funding it can provide open source can't be overlooked. Finding the right balance -- even in different development areas of the same application -- is another challenge open source projects face.

Source: OStatic, San Francisco, CA, USA

Dr. Evangelia Berdou

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Picasa 3 Beta Now For Linux

Are you a Linux user and want to run Picasa but can't? Then your wait is over. Google released a Linux port of Picasa's latest version. The software reportedly utilizes portions of Wine to function, so it wouldn't be accurate to call it an actual “port”. As a result, there are a few features missing in this release due to Picasa relying on certain Windows components.

Picasa 3 Beta is also available for Windows now, which is no surprise, but not for the Mac. Is this some sort of trend setting at Google, let's remember that the company's month-old Chrome browser remains at large a Windows-only application.

Source: Google

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