Monthly Archive for February, 2010

Amazon, Microsoft sign Linux patent deal

Amazon and Microsoft have signed a patent deal which covers their Linux based products and Kindle.

The deal covers both Amazon’s Kindle product as well as the company’s use of Linux-based servers. Microsoft has maintained that many implementations of Linux infringe on its patents and has signed numerous licensing deals that cover Linux with both companies that sell Linux-based software and those that use the operating system in their hardware.

LTSP 5.2 released, with some impressive features

The Linux Terminal Server Project team have released version 5.2 after two years and almost one thousand commits. It has become one pretty powerful product! I like the ability to “run the whole session remotely or run select applications locally to use specific hardware or advance 3D capabilities.”

Neat.

NetworkManager 0.8 to arrive shortly

According to Phoronix, NetworkManager 0.8 has been flagged in the git repository and will be on the way shortly!

NetworkManager, the free software project that’s backed by Red Hat and used by many distributions for easily managing network connections
from the Linux desktop, is ready for its version 0.8 milestone. NetworkManager 0.7 is getting old and while NetworkManager 0.7.1 brought some improvements last year, the 0.8 release is rather exciting

Major improvements are better bluetooth support, integration with ModemManager, ipv6, and the removal of HAL (due to its deprecation).

Set Your Desktop Free, With Nouveau’s 3D

The nouveau project has done it! Finally, an open source 3D driver for NVIDIA video cards has arrived and will ship with Fedora 13. Let’s take a look (including a few benchmarks).

Faster, better ARM Cortex-A9 on the way

That’s right. ARM is set to take over the netbook market (yay!) and even more good news that their highly successful Cortex-A9 will get a revamp.

Shrinking the die down to 28-nanometer will provide a 40% performance increase and reduce power consumption by 30%. It should be available later this year. Now that will certainly be something for Intel to think about..

Five Brilliant Ubuntu-based Distros You Never Knew Existed

The major derivatives of Ubuntu are well known, but what about the others? Just because they aren’t as popular doesn’t mean they don’t have something to offer! We introduce five of the least known, yet simply outstanding distributions.

The Greatest KDE Distro Ever: An Early Look at openSUSE 11.3

This week the first milestone release of openSUSE was made available. Together with the KDE 4.4 release candidate and excellent integration of GTK applications such as Firefox, openSUSE simply provides the greatest KDE experience available to date. Here’s why.

KDE SC 4.4 is here

The KDE SC team has finally announced the much awaited 4.4 release, dubbed “Caikaku.”

KDE SC 4.4 Desktop

The sleek modern desktop environment from KDE SC has finally arrived. I’ve been waiting a long time for a solid, complete version and now I can finally delve right in and see all the goodies that KDE has to offer (although 4.3.5 was also very good, in my mind 4.4 is “it” and marks a most important turning point in the desktop).

Update: Renamed the title of the post so as to not appear to be dissing GNOME (which is also a brilliant desktop).

Trying to kill Theora – MPEG LA extends royalty free use of H.264 for Internet streaming

So the MPEG LA has extended the royalty free life of Internet streaming H.264 video from the end of 2010 to the end of 2016. The majority of patents expire in 2028, so that will still give them plenty of time to collect on royalties, if we let them.

Make no mistake, this is about stifling the adoption of Theora in order to become the de-facto standard. MPEG LA is trying to kill Theora, but we must not let that happen! We need an open web.

If you use H.264 for ANY OTHER PURPOSE today, you still need a license. Yes, that means you Mr. Linux user ripping your DVD’s to H.264..

Do you use H.264 or MPEG? You need a license.

Recently it was confirmed by the MPEG LA that a license is needed for any use of H.264 and that everyone on the chain is liable. Free software projects are not exempt from this either and neither are end users.

Ben Swartz has an excellent summary about why H.264 should not be used.

A lot of commercial software comes with H.264 encoders and decoders, and some computers arrive with this software preinstalled. This leads a lot of people to believe that they can legally view and create H.264 videos for whatever purpose they like. Unfortunately for them, it ain’t so.

The license that comes with commercial software, such as Apple’s Final Cut Pro, does not cover commercial works. Even so, if you use a commercial software package to create something non-commercial and give it to a friend, they need to be properly licensed also.

You have a license to use their software, provided you don’t make any money, your friends are also all correctly licensed, and you only produce content that complies with the MPEG standard. Using video for a commercial purpose? Producing video that isn’t within MPEG’s parameters? Have friends who use unlicensed encoders like x264, ffmpeg, or xvid? Too bad.

This last thing is actually a particularly interesting point. If you encode a video using one of these (open-source) unlicensed encoders, you’re practising patents without a license, and you can be sued. But hey, maybe you’re just a scofflaw. After all, it’s not like you’re making trouble for anyone else, right? Wrong. If you send a video to a friend who uses a licensed decoder, and they watch it, you’ve caused them to violate their own software license, so they can be sued too.

That’s right folks. Use Handbrake to rip a DVD, or create, view, watch or distribute any H.264 video and you’re liable (royalty free streaming via the Internet has been extended until the end of 2016).

Won’t somebody please think of the children?