Posted by SignintooldBlogger | Posted on 9:53 AM
Posted in firefox
Most people lock their doors and windows, use a paper shredder to protect themselves from identity theft, and install antivirus software on their computers. Yet they routinely surf the Internet without giving a second thought to whether their browser is secure and their personal information safe. Unfortunately, it's easy for someone with nefarious intentions to use a Web site to glean data from -- or introduce spyware to -- your computer. Even worse, sometimes all you have to do is randomly click on a site to have your data probed in a most unwelcome way.
Mozilla Firefox has several security settings you can adjust via the Preferences pane, but there are also more than 150 privacy and security extensions you can add as well. They are easy to install and take little time to set up; some even work automatically after you restart your browser. Let's have a look at some of the most popular and most useful.
Many people use Tor to hide their online surfing habits. FoxTor provides a way to mask and unmask your browser on the fly, without having to commit to anonymous surfing throughout an entire browsing session. It requires the use of Tor and Privoxy.
Your browser's history logs help provide a speedier surfing experience for you. Unfortunately, skilled hackers can peek at them remotely to see where you've been. Deleting log information after each browsing session would slow you down, but fortunately, there's another way. Don't delete your data -- hide it with SafeHistory.
Some of the most sensitive information sent over the Internet travels via email, so many people prefer to send their messages encrypted. The Gmail S/MIME extension encrypts Gmail messages, including attachments, automatically, as long as you have the recipient's digital certificate.
While Firefox 2 has built-in phishing protection, it never hurts to have a backup plan. The premise behind Petname is simple: leave reminder notes on your trusted Web sites and the notes will automatically appear each time you return. If you surf to what you assume is one of your whitelisted sites and no reminder note appears, you'll know something's not right. This extension is particularly useful if you're running an older version of Firefox without anti-phishing protection.
SecurePasswordGenerator is a long name for a little extension that sits in your toolbar and helps you create unique passwords. Half the battle of staying safe online is using complex and different passwords whenever you register at a Web site. Use this tool to help you create a unique password everywhere you go.
Have you ever wondered where the information you type into an online form goes once you hit "send"? With FormFox, you can find out. Once you download and enable this extension, hovering your mouse over the data field of a form or search box will reveal exactly who receives the information you enter. Use this extension to check out an unfamiliar Web site before you cough up your name, address, and credit card information while doing your online holiday shopping.
Many people use disposable or temporary email addresses around the Internet to avoid email spam. Although spam is generally considered more of a nusiance than a security issue, there are occasions when a disposable address may be a safer option than providing a real one (on message forums, for example). There are several temporary email services to choose from; the TrashMail.net Firefox extension makes that service an attractive choice.
Sometimes you need to protect your information from the prying eyes of people around you. If you're surfing at an airport or local coffee shop, people wandering past can have a look at the titles of the tabs you have open. Page Title Eraser lets you either blank out the title and icon in your browser's tabs, or replace the text with something of your choice.
When trying to protect your privacy, the last thing you want is for a Web site to collect data on what you do while you visit: where you click, how long you view a page, and so on. That's called profiling. While it's harmless if a site tracks data on how long it took you to read an article on how to install a video game, most people feel that there's no reason a Web site needs to know anything about your surfing habits, even if it's only to collect data for marketing purposes.
Most extensions and tools commonly used to prevent data profiling by search engines work by concealing information from outsiders. TrackMeNot takes the opposite approach and actually sends out a bunch of information for the search engines to process. Of course, it sends mostly false information, which means your search activities remain hidden from view and search engines won't glean any meaningful data from your visit.
These are only a few of several dozen privacy and security extensions available for Firefox; you can find a larger list at Mozilla's Web site. Tools like these can make your surfing experience safer, but remember: nothing is foolproof, and talented hackers can still find ways to pull information from your system if they try hard enough. Always be careful.
Posted by SignintooldBlogger | Posted on 4:12 AM
Posted in linux
The new version of the GNU Affero General Public License has been published by the Free Software Foundation, based upon the existing GNU GPLv3 license but with one important difference: support for on-demand software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications. By publishing this license, the FSF aims to foster user and development communities around network-oriented free software.
The GNU Affero General Public License is a free, copyleft license for software which has been specifically designed to ensure cooperation with the community in the case of network server software. It is intended to guarantee the freedom to share and change versions of a program, ensuring it remains free for all its users. So while the GNU General Public License enables the user to make a modified version of the software and provide pubic access to it via a server but without ever actually releasing its source code, the Affero version is designed from the ground up to ensure that this modified source code is made available to the wider community. Specifically, it requires the operator of that network server to provide the source code of the modified version running upon it to the users.
Although this new license is based upon developments by San Francisco-based volunteers rating and reputation company Affero, responsible for the Affero General Public License based upon GPLv2, and which aimed to achieve similar ends, it is not the same and should not be thought of as a version of that license. According to the FSF, Affero has released a new version of the Affero GPL which permits relicensing under this new GNU AGPLv3 license. Affero confusion apart, it is hoped that by introducing this new license the Software as a Service development arena will find favour with the Open Source community. FSF board member Benjamin Mako Hill said, “The GNU GPL has been the most successful free software license because it makes a program's source available to its users. This enables massive collaboration between developers, since everyone gets the same benefits from this rule. The GNU AGPL will enable the same kind of cooperation around web services and other networked software.”
When Valve called Apple out for not taking games and game developers seriously, nobody really paid much attention. Despite Valve’s offerings in terms of games, they never really did anything for the Mac and so these were seen as outside comments. Between this and the later news about the large amount of money asked by the company for a Mac port of Half-Life 2, the arguments just weren’t that convincing. Now, longtime Mac developer id software is singing the same song.
John Carmack has criticized Apple for its game related decisions, concluding that the company simply does not get this market. Despite joining Jobs on stage at WWDC, to renew his studio’s commitment to the platform, the legendary game developer is not very
optimistic about gaming on the Mac.
To further dive his point, Carmack points towards Apple’s handling of games on both the iPod and iPhone.
The two mobile devices may not be Macs, but they are a product that can support games and that requires special attention from Apple in order to ensure that game developers can actually develop.
Instead of making sure that these developers can flourish, Apple has done the exact opposite, locking the two devices and giving only the most rudimentary access. In the case of the iPod, when development was finally allowed, developers had to work with an emulator. With the iPhone and iPod touch, the company refuses to allow any development until the native software development kit is released in February next year.
Both of these decisions make developing games for these platforms highly impractical.
"The honest truth right now is that Apple's not exactly hugely supportive of [games for the iPhone]," Carmack says. "When they finally allowed games to be put on the iPod... in many ways it's one of the worst environments to develop games for. You have to work on an emulator... just all these horrible decisions."
This is not too different from what valve was saying and does indicate that the company as a whole simply disregards the entire game market. While this seems to be the case, Apple isn’t exactly being hounded by their stance.
"[Apple's] strategy seems to be working just fine from a business standpoint, so I'm not going to second guess them and tell them they're being fools or idiots for not focusing on this," the developer admits.
While all of Apple’s products are doing well even despite the lack of commitment to games, this market remains an important one for many users and it could be very beneficial to the company if only it could be bothered to do anything about it.
Posted by SignintooldBlogger | Posted on 9:19 PM
Posted in windows
With Windows Vista far from being the last mammoth release of the Windows operating system as we know it, Microsoft is increasingly focusing on Windows 7. Stripped down of its Vienna codename, following the development strategy implemented by Steven Sinofsky, Senior Vice President, Windows and Windows Live Engineering Group, debuted with the introduction of product numbers, Windows 7 is currently set for 2010, in both 32-bit and 64-bit flavors. At the same time, there are generally only scarce details related to Windows 7 available, most of which do not benefit from any official confirmation from Microsoft.
But one aspect of the operating system, that the Redmond company will evolve, concerns the ecosystem of programs and applications built on top of the platform. In this context, Windows 7 could be synonymous with an overhaul of how the Windows client handles the deployment, configuration and management of third-party software products integrated into its fabric in an effort to improve installation, stability, performance etc.
Well, according to the Windows Survey on Deploying and Configuring Applications, Microsoft is quite interested in the impact of the User Account Control on the development, installation and configuring of applications. While it is highly unlikely that the company is considering dropping UAC, the security mitigation could be tweaked as a consequence of the feedback received. But at the same time, Microsoft is pointing to a simpler installation experience that does not by any means require elevation of privileges.
Microsoft is also questioning developers in relation to the diagnostics and troubleshooting process of application failures, as well as extensive repair options, complete uninstall and a separation of the program from Windows in order to avoid conflicts and errors impacting the operating system. Still, by the repetition of the topic involving the lack of administrative privileges for future applications for Windows 7 it appears that the UAC is here to stay.
Posted by SignintooldBlogger | Posted on 9:17 PM
Posted in piracy
The French authorities seem to be prepared to launch a campaign against the illegal downloaders in the country as they want to stop the distribution of pirated music and videos. According to Financial Times, President Nicolas Sarkozy wants to create a special government body which will be responsible for blocking these illegal downloads. But what's more interesting is that the authorities want to remove the access to the Internet for the ones discovered as illegal downloaders. Although some of you might believe this move is way too harsh, it can be pretty efficient as the pirates will be unable to download additional illegal files after they are first detected.
In case you're wondering how they will get the information about the users who download pirated content, it's quite easy to obtain it since the ISPs are able to monitor the entire activity. This way, every time a consumer accesses an application flagged as illegal, the authorities could start an investigation. The targeted applications are obviously the peer-to-peer and file sharing solutions. The copyright holders and the Internet service providers will probably become partners for the government as this move can reduce the pirated content distributed inside the country.
"In exchange for the clampdown on illegal downloading, the music industry has agreed to make individual downloads of archive French material available on all types of players by dropping digital rights management protection," Financial Times added. "The French film industry has agreed to release DVDs more quickly after a film’s first cinema screening, reducing the delay from 7½ months to 6 months."
As far as I can see, this seems to be the most important move made by the French authorities to reduce software piracy and encourage users to download only genuine software, music or movies. However, there are way too many more steps to do until this huge phenomenon stops so let's hope some of the pirates will get scared and will stop distributing pirated content.
Posted by SignintooldBlogger | Posted on 6:47 PM
Posted in linux
"While the Linux Foundation's third annual desktop Linux survey doesn't officially end until November 30th, the number of daily respondents have shrunk to a trickle and the Foundation is working on analyzing the results. They now have up an early look at the raw data. For starters, almost 20,000 self-selected users filled out this year's survey compared to fewer than 10,000 in 2006's survey. Not surprisingly, the Ubuntu family of Linuxes is the most popular among organizations, at 54.1 percent. This was followed by the Red Hat family — RHEL (Red Hat Enterprise Linux/Fedora/CentOS) — with 50.2 percent. The Novell SUSE group — SLED (SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop) and openSUSE — came in third, with 35.2 percent."Read More
Posted by SignintooldBlogger | Posted on 4:35 AM
UPDATE, 11/14/07: A motion was informally submitted to the OGB for discussion and endorsement of this proposal. Today that proposal was placed on the meeting agenda however no member of the board was willing to even submit it for discussion or debate. This proposal is therefore, for the time being, dead and this author is saddened by the continued lack of action on the part of the OGB to even advance the discussion. This only further enforces the reality that change will come from within Sun, not from the OpenSolaris Community or its Board.
The following is an open letter to the OpenSolaris Community, of which Sun Microsystems is a member, as a response to the great naming debacle.
We stand at a crossroads. Two paths before us: success and failure. Two parties opposed: Sun Microsystems and "the community". One simple problem: will Project Indiana take on the name "OpenSolaris'.
Does that sentence seem overly dramatic? Yes. Is it untrue? No. The situation we find ourselves in is nothing short of madness, utter confusion and chaos. With the success of Project Indiana's maiden voyage we should be more unified and excited than ever, but alas we are not. We stand more divided than ever... over a name.
Ian Murdock came to Sun as a savior. He did not invent something great, rather he brought together greatness in a unified force. Project Indiana was its name. When Solaris was without direction, when our future was clear but path unknown, he brought together the projects and persons together necessary to chart that path. In the course of that work he sought to solve a simple yet important problem: "Where do I download OpenSolaris? How do I run it?" This is a branding problem, a naming problem, with powerful implications and a hurtle to success. The answer lies in the question... the distribution must be called OpenSolaris.
But OpenSolaris carries a variety of meanings now. Most importantly, it carries two:
- OpenSolaris is currently synonymous with "Nevada", the Open Source (CDDL) code base. This may be used by a Distribution such as Nexenta ("Based on OpenSolaris"; "Based on OpenSolaris Technology", in this cased meaning the source), by a provider such as Joyent ("Built On OpenSolaris"; in this case meaning Solaris Express), etc.
- OpenSolaris refers to the community around the code, in a wide variety of projects and efforts. This may be used by a Users Group ("Silicon Valley OpenSolaris Users Group"), a project or effort ("OpenSolaris Desktop Project"), etc. None of these things use the term to mean any one product in specific but rather the whole.
Hence our dilemma. To name the distribution OpenSolaris is to confuse the term by making something fairly generic mean something very specific... yet, to name the product/distribution something other than OpenSolaris is to create yet a different type of confusion. Is there no solution? Is this a perpetual stalemate?
I believe there is a solution and that everyone can win. Whats more, I believe that the only true solution is a win-win solution. I believe that Ian Murdock is a worthy leader and I also believe that the community has legitimate concerns.
I therefore humbly submit that OpenSolaris's reference distribution, Project Indiana, name become: OpenSolaris RD
This name provides a variety of advantages:
For the community, OpenSolaris RD is clearly delineated, drawing on the OpenSolaris brand but being distinct at the same time.
For Sun, this provides a clear, hip, conventionally accepted naming scheme that is extensible over time. Taking up the name "OpenSolaris" alone is short sited. Because of the nature of the distribution a fully supported version will need to be created for ISV Qualification, etc, down the road. This qualified version will be a customized version of OpenSolaris RD and perhaps named OpenSolaris GS ("Genric Server") or OpenSolaris DS ("Data Server"). Furthermore, specific pre-canned varieties can extend yet futher without confusion: OpenSolaris HPC, OpenSolaris HA, etc. Given that there are several plans for appliances in the next year, this naming scheme can bring them into the mix as well, and later provides a simplified naming convention for picking the binary distribution thats right for you.
I believe that my proposed naming provides advantages to both the OpenSolaris Community and to Sun Microsystems, where we can both share the brand, monitize the brand, and minimize confusion both now and down the road.
The current actions of both Sun and the OpenSolaris Governing Board are gear toward a stalemate at this time. The OGB is deciding on a official position statement regarding the issue, yet allowed a review of that statement by Bill Franklin (representing Sun Microsystems) prior to declaring it an official position; this simply defeats the purpose of making such a statement given that the purpose of such a statement is to send a clear message to Sun on where it stands. The motions currently pending seek not to resolve the problem but rather to post-pone any steps toward a real resolution. I believe that my proposed naming offers a long term solution to end the current line of motions and put it firmly behind us, and back on a unified path of glory.
It is with great humility that I request the serious consideration of this proposal by Sun Microsystems (represented by Bill Franklin), Project Indiana Founder and Chief OS Strategist Ian Murdock, and the OpenSolaris Governing Board.
In closing, I believe in light of recent frustrations that a word be devoted to Mr Ian Murdock. I have had the pleasure of meeting with him several times since coming to Sun and getting to know his mind. I believe with ever core of my being that he is one of the most open minded and receptive technologists that I've ever met. I am personally offended by the various accusations that he is closed minded or inflexible. I humbly ask the community to consider that there are many persons at Sun who have various agenda's which are in several cases being unfairly placed on him. He has tried to be open and honest with the community and repaid with mockery and condescending remarks. It is, in my opinion, of the utmost importance that we quickly resolved this naming controversy, re-group, organize ourselves, and work together with Ian Murdock toward a brighter future for OpenSolaris and Sun Microsystems. Our best hope for the future of all parties is his continued leadership; we tried it without him for 2 years and got no where, now, because of his leadership, regardless of your personal opinion of him, his decisions, or his execution, we have come further than we previously could have seen ourselves in 2-5 years. I applaud Ian Murdocks leadership, his honesty, and his commitment to this process.Read More
Posted by SignintooldBlogger | Posted on 9:22 AM
Posted in facebook
Facebook's new Beacon advertising platform, which leverages its users' news feeds as a sort of personal endorsement for products and services used, is already coming under heavy criticism. On November 6, Facebook launched an advertising system called Beacon that consists of a partnership between the popular social network and 44 other sites. The system allows a user's activity outside of Facebook to be recorded and then posted on his or her news feed. Merchandise purchases, rentals of films and games, streaming videos being viewed, or reviews being written and submitted, all trigger events that are linked back to the user's Facebook page as an update that friends can view. For example, News Feed: 'Tim purchased How to be a Better Writer on Amazon.com' would be broadcast to everyone I'm connected with on Facebook. One big problem with this system may be that it's turned on by default, and requires multiple opt-outs when using more than one participating site. The political activism site Moveon.org has gotten into the act, declaring Beacon a glaring violation of Facebook users' privacy, and offering an online petition for users to submit grievances to the social networking site. "Facebook says its users can 'opt out' of having their private purchases reported to the world," writes MoveOn. "But the link is easy to miss. And even if you do 'opt out' for purchases on one site, it doesn't apply to purchases on another site--you have to keep opting out over and over again. The obvious solution is to switch to an 'opt in' policy, like most other applications on Facebook." Perhaps more importantly, Beacon uses a customer's buying habits as product or service endorsements with no reward given to that person as an endorser. True, Beacon could be heralded as an advertising breakthrough, blurring the line between advertiser and consumer, but the potential problems with the system could be far too numerous, far too soon. One user complained that Christmas gifts she purchased from Overstock.com were announced on on her Facebook page item by item, effectively negating any level of surprise. Another user's charitable donation on Kiva, intended to be anonymous, was advertised in his news feed without his knowledge. In the meantime, as Beacon peels back a layer of security, it appears to be forcing users to consider the social ramifications of their purchases. Participating sites include AllPosters.com, Blockbuster, Bluefly.com, CBS Interactive (CBSSports.com & Dotspotter), ExpoTV, Gamefly, Hotwire, Joost, Kiva, Kongregate, LiveJournal, Live Nation, Mercantila, National Basketball Association, NYTimes.com, Overstock.com, (RED), Redlight, SeamlessWeb, Sony Online Entertainment LLC, Sony Pictures, STA Travel, The Knot, TripAdvisor, Travel Ticker, TypePad, viagogo, Vox, Yelp, WeddingChannel.com and Zappos.com. For its part, Facebook dismissed the assertion by MoveOn.org that it is misleading users and turning them into advertisements. "We encourage feedback from our users on new products," the company said in a statement, "but in this case, the MoveOn.org-led group misrepresents how Facebook Beacon works. Beacon gives users an easy way to share relevant information from other sites with their friends on Facebook." "Information is shared with a small selection of a user's trusted network of friends, not publicly on the Web or with all Facebook users. Users also are given multiple ways to choose not to share information from a participating site, both on that site and on Facebook," the company added. But as anyone using such sites knows, social networks do not just connect a user's closest friends, but also colleagues and acquaintances. With many users counting hundreds or thousands of "friends" on Facebook, and an individual's Beacon information available to anyone in the same network, the threat to privacy is a big one. Facebook also did not specifically address concerns about why its service is opt-out, rather than opt-in. Of course, the problem for the site is that if Beacon notices were opt-in, few users may actually turn them on, limiting a great deal of revenue for a company that has struggled to monetize tens of millions of users.
Facebook's new Beacon advertising platform, which leverages its users' news feeds as a sort of personal endorsement for products and services used, is already coming under heavy criticism.
On November 6, Facebook launched an advertising system called Beacon that consists of a partnership between the popular social network and 44 other sites. The system allows a user's activity outside of Facebook to be recorded and then posted on his or her news feed.In Beacon, when a user is logged into a Facebook session while simultaneously browsing another participating site, that site records behavioral events pertaining to the user's actions. The user is prompted with an opt-out message, alerting him that his action will be posted to his news feed unless he chooses not to. If the user misses this message in some way or it never pops up -- which is reportedly a common occurrence -- the feed item is posted by default.
Merchandise purchases, rentals of films and games, streaming videos being viewed, or reviews being written and submitted, all trigger events that are linked back to the user's Facebook page as an update that friends can view.
For example, News Feed: 'Tim purchased How to be a Better Writer on Amazon.com' would be broadcast to everyone I'm connected with on Facebook.
One big problem with this system may be that it's turned on by default, and requires multiple opt-outs when using more than one participating site. The political activism site Moveon.org has gotten into the act, declaring Beacon a glaring violation of Facebook users' privacy, and offering an online petition for users to submit grievances to the social networking site.
"Facebook says its users can 'opt out' of having their private purchases reported to the world," writes MoveOn. "But the link is easy to miss. And even if you do 'opt out' for purchases on one site, it doesn't apply to purchases on another site--you have to keep opting out over and over again. The obvious solution is to switch to an 'opt in' policy, like most other applications on Facebook."
Perhaps more importantly, Beacon uses a customer's buying habits as product or service endorsements with no reward given to that person as an endorser.
True, Beacon could be heralded as an advertising breakthrough, blurring the line between advertiser and consumer, but the potential problems with the system could be far too numerous, far too soon. One user complained that Christmas gifts she purchased from Overstock.com were announced on on her Facebook page item by item, effectively negating any level of surprise. Another user's charitable donation on Kiva, intended to be anonymous, was advertised in his news feed without his knowledge.
In the meantime, as Beacon peels back a layer of security, it appears to be forcing users to consider the social ramifications of their purchases.
Participating sites include AllPosters.com, Blockbuster, Bluefly.com, CBS Interactive (CBSSports.com & Dotspotter), ExpoTV, Gamefly, Hotwire, Joost, Kiva, Kongregate, LiveJournal, Live Nation, Mercantila, National Basketball Association, NYTimes.com, Overstock.com, (RED), Redlight, SeamlessWeb, Sony Online Entertainment LLC, Sony Pictures, STA Travel, The Knot, TripAdvisor, Travel Ticker, TypePad, viagogo, Vox, Yelp, WeddingChannel.com and Zappos.com.
For its part, Facebook dismissed the assertion by MoveOn.org that it is misleading users and turning them into advertisements.
"We encourage feedback from our users on new products," the company said in a statement, "but in this case, the MoveOn.org-led group misrepresents how Facebook Beacon works. Beacon gives users an easy way to share relevant information from other sites with their friends on Facebook."
"Information is shared with a small selection of a user's trusted network of friends, not publicly on the Web or with all Facebook users. Users also are given multiple ways to choose not to share information from a participating site, both on that site and on Facebook," the company added.
But as anyone using such sites knows, social networks do not just connect a user's closest friends, but also colleagues and acquaintances. With many users counting hundreds or thousands of "friends" on Facebook, and an individual's Beacon information available to anyone in the same network, the threat to privacy is a big one.
Facebook also did not specifically address concerns about why its service is opt-out, rather than opt-in. Of course, the problem for the site is that if Beacon notices were opt-in, few users may actually turn them on, limiting a great deal of revenue for a company that has struggled to monetize tens of millions of users.
Just keeps getting better - the Audacity team has released another update to their popular cross-platform, open source digital audio editing application. The Audacity 1.3.x beta line features a ton of options that aren’t available in the 1.2.x stable versions. For example, it’s much easier to move sound files from one track to another or to split and manipulate audio tracks.
Audacity 1.3.4 beta features a ton of small, but important updates, including:
A new welcome screen
Enhanced Windows Shell integration, meaning you should be able to access Audacity from Windows dialogs like “open with.”
New keyboard commands and shortcuts
The solo track button actually does what you’d expect and mutes all other tracks
Metadata editor added for OGG, FLAC, and WAV/AIFF exports
As usual, Audacity 1.3.4 beta is available for Linux and Windows platforms, though for OS X is still 1.3.3 beta. More info here can be found here.Read More
If you’ve switched to Ubuntu (as I have) or any other Linux distribution, you may consider the following free (and in most cases open-source) games, as they’ve been favorites of mine for some time now.
Tremulous is an addictive first person shooter (FPS) that has countless gamers on at all hours from both the Linux and Windows worlds. As all other games in this article, Tremulous is free to download and play.
In Tremulous there are two teams: Aliens and Humans. Aliens can have such awesome feats as wall-walking (dizzying to say the least), pouncing from great distances, and spraying poisonous gases. Humans can obtain advanced weaponry and armor, and plant strategic devices such as turrets to defend their base.
Tremulous features a unique upgrade system, where players from each team must make a certain number of kills to gain new upgrades (aliens can evolve into more powerful aliens, and humans can obtain better items and gear).
To install under Ubuntu:
sudo apt-get install tremulous
There is a distinct retro top-down-shooter look and feel to this game, but any thought that this is a vintage game is blown out of the water once you see the stunning liquid visuals that this game provides.
VDrift is a Linux racing game with a focus on drifting. Quite frankly, VDrift sucks if you only have a keyboard and mouse. If you’re nerd enough to have a PC joystick or gamepad, you’ll get the most out of this little gem.
To install VDrift on Ubuntu:
apt-get install vdrift vdrift-data
4. World of Padman
World of Padman is a rather toony first-person shooter which combines fast gameplay, brilliant colors, and the Quake3 engine (massively supported by today’s hardware standards).
There is no aptitude installer for World of Padman, so if you’d like to try this out you’ll need to visit the World of Padman website Download section.
Nexuiz is another Quake3 mod, but with some of the best weapons this side of Half Life 2.
6. Scorched 3D
Scorched 3D has the same objective as old games like Missile Defense, but provides revamped graphics in a 3D world, network play, and terrain interaction. In same cases it’s just more fun to nuke a path to your enemy and sink their base into the ocean.
Applications -> Add/Remove -> Games -> Scorched 3D
Glest is a well designed real time strategy game, which is guaranteed to provide hours of fun.
To install, download from the ubuntu forums:
and install using:
sudo dpkg -i glest-data_2.0.0-1~getdeb1_all.deb
8. Flight Gear
Flight Gear is a must for everyone. Sometimes you just need to take to the skies
To install in Ubuntu:
Applications -> Add/Remove -> Games -> Flightgear
9. Battle for Wesnoth
Battle for Wesnoth is a turn-based strategy game. It’s quite fun really!
To install in Ubuntu:Applications -> Add/Remove -> Games -> Battle for Wesnoth Read More
Posted by SignintooldBlogger | Posted on 4:55 AM
Posted in linux
And once again I am being bombarded with e-mails asking me to help them install ATI drivers under the latest openSUSE 10.3. Make sure that you do follow and understand the how-to and go through it completely … besides I am not guarantying that this will 100% work with your PC configuration … this is what I came up with from my past experience and has worked on several configurations.
Before we start (as of writing this how-to - 11.10.07): We all know about the 1-click install that new openSUSE 10.3 has, but unfortunately if you use this ATI 1-click Driver Installer link, you end up installing the latest 8.41 driver which only has support for the new Radeon HD video cards (HD 2xxx series) and thus we will need to install the older 8.40 driver manually for older cards. Expect the later drivers to work with all cards and hopefully making 1-click install really worthy it’s name for installing ATI drivers. So if you have them RadeonHD card then try 1-click install, as I can’t try it out myself.
I am running openSUSE 10.3 x86_64 platform (AMD64), with ATI Radeon X800 GTO2 PCI-E interface and 22″ 1650×1080 resolution on DFI nForce4 Ultra based motherboard (sad, but from my last 10.2 installation I haven’t upgraded my computer).
Driver used here: 8.40.4
IMPORTANT: Please check for any UPDATES at the end of this blog before continuing.
Once again there are prerequisites before you begin installing the drivers. You will need to have the following installed. All these can be found on your openSUSE 10.3 DVD or main repository:
1. kernel-source 2. kernel-syms 3.gcc 4. make
Also make sure that the followings are installed, which are usually installed with default installation (just to make sure)
- libstdc++-32bit (plus -devel packages)
- xorg-x11-libs-32bit (plus -devel packages)
- Mesa-32bit (plus -devel packages)
- fontconfig-32bit (plus -devel packages)
- expat-32bit (plus -devel package)
- freetype2-32bit (plus -devel packages)
- zlib-32bit (plus -devel packages)
(the list is for x86_64 users, for 32-bit users the same applies but without “-32bit” string in the name for packages)
Info for n00bs/newbies: When you see “~>” it is user prompt and when you see “#“, you have to be root (by typing “su” and supplying the password when asked).
Once the above mentioned packages are installed, let’s prepare the kernel modules. Execute the following commands:
# cd /usr/src/linux–184.108.40.206-0.4 (or the version of kernel you are using, usually the newest available)
# make mrproper
# make cloneconfig
# make modules_prepare
and one last command to clean the kernel source:
# make clean
Also, if you have tried installing drivers before, let’s remove them completely by executing the command:
# rpm -e $(rpm -qa | grep fglrx)
(Just in case, run also Yast Software Manager and search for fglrx and remove all of them)
Now to installing drivers:
1. Download the latest available drivers from ATI Drivers and Software section. Choose your version of drivers: Linux x86 for 32 bit, Linux x86_64 for 64 bit.
2. Once downloaded, copy to a folder that you wont forget. (let’s presume /home/me/ATI)
# cd /home/me/temp
3. Generate distribution specific package:
For 32-bit users:
# sh ./ati-driver-installer-x.xx.x-yy.run –buildpkg SuSE/SUSE102-IA32
(where x.xx.x is the driver version number and yy the architecture)
For 64-bit users:
# sh ./ati-driver-installer-x.xx.x-yy.run –buildpkg SuSE/SUSE102-AMD64
(since driver version 8.40 does not have support for 10.3 we are using the file to generate 10.2 package. Once new drivers are there I will update this step)
4. Now the ATI Driver Installer made a driver package for your system which has to be installed and has been created in:
of if you have a 64-bit processor it’s located here.
Head to the location where installer has been created:
# cd /usr/src/packages/RPMS/x86_64
(64-bit version is presumed from now onwards for the tutorial (adjust according to your platform))
5. Once there we need to install the rpm package that we compiled:
# rpm -Uvh fglrx*.rpm
and at the end you should have something similar to the following, without any errors:
6. Hopefully the above command went well, without any error messaged and the drivers were installed. Now run the following command:
7. Now we need to leave the cool graphical desktop and switch to console mode by typing (as root):
# init 3
Log-in as root.
8. Last thing left is to configure the X server, to let it know which driver to use for rendering 2D and 3D:
# sax2 -r -m 0=fglrx
Test and then save the configuration. No need to run aticonfig command (at least it works for me)
9. Reboot(!) before you enter your DE (Destop Environenment).
Once rebooted and back to your KDE/Gnome and logged in as user, launch few more commands to verify that all went good and OpenGL is working now at it’s max:
If it states ATI Technologies Inc and the make of your card - excellent. Everything is setup correctly and working flawlessly. Time to relax and have a cup of coffee.
Troubleshooting 1: When running sax2 command and/or when switching to terminal screen you face problem of blank screen (screen going dead), then you should disable framebuffer in the console. For this do the following:
/boot/grub/menu.lst and remove the
vga=xxx statement from the kernel line.
2. Reboot once you have modified the menu.lst file
3. Rerun the sax2 command mentioned above in step 8
Tip: If you would like to get back your original/higher resolution when in console mode (ex: Ctrl+Alt+F1), once you have installed and rebooted and verified that ATI drivers are in charge for OpenGL, you can re-input the string vga=xxx (in my case as seen above it is 0×317 which is for 1680×1050).
Troubleshooting 2: If you get stuck while installign driver (black screen, not booting DE, etc), reboot and once in grub menu type “init 3″, and once loaded log-in as root and runf the following to load the default drivers:
# sax2 -r -m 0=radeon
With video drivers installed you will notice the quick responsiveness of your GUI and a more pleasant experience. Hey don’t forget that now you can enjoy the 3D desktop
Also check out the openSUSE.org ATI wiki page, though mine is easier to understand but you can find more detail their per your needs. Enjoy.
Remark: Expect updates for this tutorial once newer drivers are available from ATI/Yasts ATI repository.Update 17.10.07 : (not same as above icon) The drivers are not official ATI, so it may work or not, which are based on 8.40, thus supposedly supporting most of the cards. Read More
Posted by SignintooldBlogger | Posted on 4:01 AM
Posted in ubuntu
Ubuntu is extremely popular on the desktop, but it's made comparatively little progress on servers. That's about to change. Dell is expected to announce in the first quarter of 2008 that it has certified Ubuntu Linux for its server lines. In an interview with Rick Becker, Dell Product Group's vice president of solutions, Becker said that Dell is currently in the process of certifying Ubuntu for all its server lines. "But we are still several months away from announcing a certification. I'd say it'll be announced in Q1 next year." Dell, however, is already selling pre-loaded Ubuntu on its servers. "At the moment, if a Dell customer asks us to pre-load Ubuntu on a server, we'll do it for them. We do the same for Red Hat and SUSE. Our open-source support group will work with them as best they can, but most developers who ask for Linux probably know more than we do about Ubuntu. In fact, we may ask them for advice," said Becker. For now, Dell will direct customers who get pre-installed Ubuntu Linux on its servers to Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, and the Ubuntu community for support. "With Linux, it's not like you can just pick up the phone [and get support], as you know. We can't go too deeply into Ubuntu support at this time. We'll pre-load and resell it, and support the hardware with our Dell support folks. We'll refer people to the Ubuntu community if we need to," said Becker. After all, explained Becker, "We're not into operating systems much. We'll let the other companies handle those. We're much more into providing the hardware and the management software, as well as optimizing how it runs on our servers, finding bugs, making sure the drivers work well, etc." Just a day earlier, Dell had announced that it had formally certified Sun's Solaris on its servers. By March of next year, Dell, once an almost 100 percent Windows Server shop, will be offering pre-installed RHEL (Red Hat Enterprise Linux), SLES (SUSE Linux Enterprise Server), Solaris and Ubuntu Server to customers across its standalone, rack and blade server lines by the spring of 2008. Gerry Carr, marketing manager for Canonical, said he was unable to comment directly on Dell's decision since "although it is our software, these are entirely Dell internal matters so we cannot comment on them. As a good partner, until and unless we are given specific permission to talk about any initiative, then we have to defer to Dell." There is, however, no secret that Canonical has been working to get Ubuntu on the server and Dell's servers in specific. Carr and other Canonical executives are on record as saying that Canonical has been working on persuading server OEMs, and Dell in particular, of the advantages of offering Ubuntu on their servers since this summer. Mark Shuttleworth, Canonical's CEO, added: "It would be superb for adoption--and would accelerate the positive trends we see already. We have indicators from several ISVs saying that Ubuntu is now their No. 1 or No. 2 server platform. These are more aggressive, newer ISVs, but even some proprietary heavyweights have started to come knocking about certification, support and joint sales, largely based on perceived momentum for the Ubuntu server platform among their customers."So I would be delighted if Dell took this step. I think it would be very reassuring to the people who are already deploying Ubuntu on the server; it would make Dell attractive to them as a supplier and it would catalyse another round of adoption by folks who require certification and support throughout their stack," Shuttleworth said.Dell was also the first major PC OEM to offer pre-installed Linux on desktop and laptop lines. Dell began this move with Ubuntu-powered desktops and notebooks in May 2007. Sources at Dell indicate that the company will soon be offering pre-installed Ubuntu on more desktop and laptop lines with the latest version of Ubuntu 7.10."We have built a very productive relationship with Dell on the consumer range, which does continue to mature, and will build on that as the market requires it. The Dell folks have a knack for tracking demand and responding," Shuttleworth said.Ubuntu's first major server success was getting Ubuntu certified on Sun's Fire T1000 and T2000 servers. Since then, Ubuntu has continued to work hard on its server support efforts. In July, for example, Canonical launched Landscape, its Web-based systems management program for Ubuntu servers and desktops, and the company has also expanded its support, training and certification efforts. In short, Canonical has been busy during 2007 setting up all the business infrastructure needed to support enterprise server customers. As Carr said, there are no specific announcements to make at this time. "Our position remains that we are keen to see Ubuntu on as many servers and as many desktops as we can get it onto," he said.With Dell's forthcoming server certification, Canonical and Ubuntu are posed to make a major step forward in the server market.Read More
Everyone wants a quick boot time, from the beginner user to the advanced user, this is a issue that bothers us all. As Linux has advanced it has increasingly become slower to boot. I have tested on my machine 5 Linux distributions: Linspire, Fedora 3 & 4, Suse 9.2 & 9.3, ubuntu and Debian. And on average between all these distributions Linux needs around a minute to 1 and half minutes to go from boot loader to graphical login screen. So I decided to look into reducing the time it takes to boot my current setup, which is Fedora 4. In doing so I was able to reduce the boot time of my Fedora 4 installation to less than 25 seconds (just above 24 seconds on average). Below I have documented what I did, and what you can use to potentially reduce your boot up time for Linux.
Of course we will be dealing with advanced Linux know how, so this is not for beginners. Also results may vary on your end since there are a lot of factors involved.
My Initial Setup
My initial setup was pretty much standard Fedora 4 with nvidia driver loaded. My PCs hardware is an Athlon64 3000+, 1GB RAM, 80GB SATA 7200 rpm hard drive, and Nvidia Video Card. I was getting about a minute for booting Fedora 4 on this setup. I decided to benchmark in two ways, the first was using a standard stopwatch and manually starting / stopping, and the second way was using bootchart software which you can download here (bootchart.org). Bootchart will capture you boot time from when init starts (init? See below) till its finished loading your system up. It also provides visualization so you can see potential bottlenecks. My initial setups bootchart is below.
Note: I will describe a basic simplified overview of the boot process. When you turn on your computer the BIOS starts up and after initializing some parts of your PC, it hands over control to the bootloader. The bootloader then loads the Linux kernel and hands control to the kernel. The kernel then executes init a program that starts and manages services. After its finished loading up all services specified a login prompt is displayed. To reduce the time it takes to boot we need to reduce the time it takes in any of these stages. For the most part there is little you can do to reduce the time it take for the BIOS to go from power on to bootloader though generally this is only a 1-2 seconds anyway. And the bootloaders life is extremely short lived since it only loads and executes the kernel, so all the optimization tips I will discuss in this article are going to center on the kernel and init parts of the boot sequence.
The First Step
As you can see X gets started twice, which is a major time waster. So I decided to look into disabling that, and as I was googling I found an interesting feature disable by default in Fedora 4 called “early-login”. This enables you to only start X once and allows a user to start logging in while other services are still starting in the background. This both reduces the actual boot up time and the user impression of boot time (Since they can log in earlier it seems to boot up faster even though it still booting up in the background). To enable, type the following:
# chkconfig --add gdm-early-login
# chkconfig --add gdm-allow-login
# chkconfig gdm-early-login on
# chkconfig gdm-allow-login on
I also wanted to reduce the number of services I was running there by reducing the number of things that need to start at boot. Below is a list of services I decided was only needed for what I do on my personal desktop Fedora machine. The services you need may vary:
As you can see I disabled kudzu (bootup hardware detection, saves a second of time), auditd (I also disabled selinux), rhnsd (red hat network update daemon), and sendmail. I personally use yum to do updates and will weekly check for them, I rarely make changes to my hardware but can add hardware on my own if needed, and I think selinux is overkill for a personal desktop machine. You can do this by going to Desktop->System Tools->Server Settings->Services and de-selecting services to disable. Then when you are done click done.
Below is what the boot looked with these changes. Wow, as you can see we went from 41 seconds in bootchart to 25 seconds. But with my stopwatch we where looking at 34 seconds of boot time from boot loader to login screen. Definitely better, but can we see even quicker boot times? I wanted to find out.
Note: What was interesting with my system is in the time X took to start and display a login screen, it was finished loading up all background services. So I could literally log in right away as soon as the login prompt was displayed. Since I did not test this on any other machines this behavior maybe localized to my system or similarly configured PCs as mine.
Drivers and Modprobe
The boot up time is also consumed by loading additional kernel modules as you can see with the modprobe bar in the boot chart. So I decided to reduce the number of kernel modules that had to be loaded by compiling them into the kernel. To do this you will need kernel source of course, and will need to take an inventory of what drivers you need on your machine. I also compiled the ext3 file system into the kernel so this didn’t need to be loaded either. I also reduced the number of drivers / modules in my kernel, by disabling the ones I did not use (for starters wireless lan, SCSI raid controllers, console frame buffer [they use to conflict with nvidia driver, do not know if this is still the case], selinux, and some of the misc. filesystems (amiga fs?). Below is an overview of the changes I made to the kernel:
USB driver (on my system OHCI, EHCI)
Removed Selinux and auditing system calls feature
Compiled in Drivers, Ex. Parallel Port, Floppy, and others
Compiled in some features that where originally in module form.
This distribution was based on the latest kernel release for Fedora, 2.6.12-390.
So I compiled, rebooted, and below the results…24 and change. I am now at 18 seconds in boot chart, but now we are at little more than 24 seconds for total boot time using my stopwatch.
Did I stop there? Of course not, but nothing else more I tried worked. So I will have to write a follow-up article if I find anything more. Below are some things I tried which had little effect:
Recompiled the X server with custom optimization for my processor. My aim was to reduce the X servers start time, but this did very little.
Compiled the kernel with size optimization instead. My aim here was to reduce the size of the kernel (which it did) and to potentially speed up the kernel load time (less of a kernel to load). This did nothing either.
And there is my story for 24 second boot time in Fedora on standard PC hardware. I really think I’m onto something with compiling some of the kernel modules into the kernel. Why would ext3 filesystem not be compiled in anyway? It is the default file system for Fedora. Ext2 is compiled in.Hope you enjoyed!! Read More
Posted by SignintooldBlogger | Posted on 7:13 PM
Posted in sony
Blackboard Communications Systems announced Wednesday that it would be partnering with Sony to begin developing contactless identity card systems in the U.S. Blackboard designs "one-card" systems for campus transactions, bridging financial, data, access, and authentication systems into a single "network transaction environment."
The company's swipe-able card systems are in place in many academic institutions across the globe. By partnering with Sony, and utilizing its successful FeliCa system, Blackboard systems will be able to produce student identifications that work like SpeedPass and EZPay.
FeliCa works on the industry standard Near Field Communication (NFC) protocol, which has been successfully integrated with door access readers, point-of-sale terminals, cell phones, as well as other attended and unattended devices. And not just Sony devices either: mass transit systems in Japan, China, Thailand, India, The Phillipines, and Hong Kong all utilize FeliCa chips in various capacities for fares and ticketing.
In addition to protected financial transactions, a contactless identification card system is able to take student attendance, and grant them access only to approved areas.
With headlines of school shootings becoming an almost weekly occurence, on-campus security measures have become a major concern for students, parents and faculty in American learning institutions. The need for an efficient emergency announcement system and an effective means to remotely "lock down" a campus were especially apparent after the Virginia Tech shootings in April.
If Sony's FeliCa technology is placed in students' phones, like the "Osaifu-Keitai" marketed by NTT DoCoMo, KDDI and Softbank Mobile in Japan, students could start using the Blackboard system not only as a key, identification and credit card, but also as a system to send SMS updates to all students in the event of an emergency lockdown, or on a more positive note, for a snow day.
Posted by SignintooldBlogger | Posted on 7:10 PM
Posted in apple
Ticketmaster and Apple said Wednesday that they had formed a partnership where digital albums of artists would be sold alongside concert tickets on Ticketmaster.com. About 700 artists including Kanye West, Keith Urban and Bon Jovi would be the first to take advantage of the tie-in on the ticketing site. As a promotion, albums sold at Tickmaster and redeemed through iTunes would be cheaper by $1 through December 29.
The promotion would compliment another that the two companies have launched at Target. A $50 iTunes card is available at that retailer, which gives a $25 credit towards a purchase at ticketmaster.com along with $25 in iTunes credits. This isn't the first time Apple has joined forces with the ticket seller: in 2005 it sold pre-sale tickets for a Depeche Mode concert alongside the band's newest album at that time.
Prism is an application that lets users split web applications out of their browser and run them directly on their desktop. It lets users add their favorite web apps to their desktop environment. They are accessible with Control-Tab, Command-Tab, and ExposÃ©, just like desktop apps. And users can still access these same applications from any web browser when they are away from their own computers.
Mozilla Prism has the following other editions available: Mozilla Prism for Windows and Mozilla Prism for Max OS X.
Every now and then The Register publishes a really funny news piece, and the one entitled 'Confused BBC tech chief' is a perfect example. According to the report, in an interview with UK based web design magazine .net, the Director of Future Media and Technology at the BBC, one Ashley Highfield, claimed that only 400 to 600 of the visitors to the BBC website were using Linux. That's 400 to 600 out of the 17.1 million users of the site.
"We have 17.1 million users of bbc.co.uk in the UK and, as far as our server logs can make out, 5 per cent of those [use Macs] and around 400 to 600 are Linux users" Highfield is quoted as saying.
Although it is easy to understand that actual numbers are never going to be possible to reap from server logs, especially when the browser user agent string can so easily be adjusted by users of Linux for example, it is still useful as a trend reporting device. Indeed, according to the CurryBetDotNet, the blog of a former BBC new media employee, if you go back a couple of years the BBC were saying then that Linux represented a 0.41 percent visitor share which would be over 70,000 rather than 600 max.
So what has Highfield got to say by way of an explanation?
Responding to the criticism of the figures in the BBC blog, Highfield comments "Alternative analysis that we have run off which performs the measurement in different ways suggests that the potential number of Linux users could range from 0.3% to 0.8% (which, from a total UK bbc.co.uk userbase of 12.2m weekly users could imply a user base between 36,600 and 97,600.) We'll try and get a more accurate picture: over 30 thousand Linux users is a not insubstantial number, but we do have to keep this in context with the vast majority of users who use either Windows or Macs to access bbc.co.uk."
Not that Highfield is a stranger to controversy when it comes to Linux by the numbers.
Take the small matter of the iPlayer, the BBC's move into streamed TV broadcasting content, which has been hit by claims it is ignoring Linux users. In that same .net magazine, Highfield responded to claims that open source protestors had been gathering outside the BBC's HQ in London as a result of the Windows only iPlayer by saying "The 12 people who demonstrated outside our offices have every right to demonstrate, but I think 'the 12 people' says it all."
Linux is the most common OS now a days.I think all of you will agree with me.
So i think it would be a good idea to have a look on the growth of linux.so i searched the whole internet and finally found two timelines that show the growth of linux.This timeline will show the whole linux disributions including distros...
It would be very nice if every linux user own a copy of this.Digg it up if you liked...
Click on the thumbnail for a larger image..