There’s sort of a guilty pleasure in seeing the ‘masters of the universe’ knocked down a notch or two. So the news that the record for calculating Pi, set by the T2K Open Supercomputer, was not just broken but smashed by a lowly Core i7 machine was warmly received.
The feat was performed by Fabrice Bellard. He pieced together a system built around a Core i7 CPU running at 2.93 GHz, 6 GB of RAM, and five 1.5 TB Seagate Barracudas. His operating system of choice was the 64-bit version of Red Hat Fedora 10, along with a software RAID-0 and ext4 file system. He then started up a Pi algorithm based on the Chudnovsky formula and let it rip. One hundred and three days later he had Pi calculated out to 2.7 trillion decimal digits, blowing by the old record of 2.5 trillion decimal digits. The resulting number took 1137 GB of storage space.
Bellard made use of this single CPU for the initial calculation, but did get some help from 'friends' when verifying his calculation. Using the Bailey-Borwein-Plouffe algorithm and a network of nine computers, he validated his result in 34 hours. (Using the PC would have taken 13 days--time Bellard didn’t want to use in case his record was broken before he got a chance to announce it.)
The company that discontinued its range of Mac clones earlier this month has now “voluntarily suspended the sale of our Rebel EFI software product.” It has temporarily discontinued Rebel EFI – a boot loader that helps install OS X on any generic PC – as it first wants the court's “clarification on the legality” of the software. “In the coming days, we will again be offering complete systems but at discounted prices as they will be bundled with your choice of Linux operating system,” the company announced on its website.
The company is trying hard to garner some much needed public support. From the face of it, Psystar wants to be seen as a champion of open computing. “It's your software, you should be able to use it where you want to,” Psystar wrote on its site. “If you purchase an off-the-shelf copy of OS X Snow Leopard, its your right to use that software.”
Silicon Graphics, Inc. (SGI) announced on Monday a deal to build the Tasmanian Partnership for Advanced Computing (TPAC) at the University of Tasmania on the eponymous Australian island state. As part of the deal, SGI will build a new x64-Linux cluster codenamed Katabatic for climate research.
"Katabatic supports vital, nationally important research for projects requiring state-of-the-art HPC capabilities, including in ocean, atmosphere, Antarctic ice sheet and climate modeling, computational chemistry, and fluid dynamics," said Dr. Nathan Bindoff, University of Tasmania professor and partnership director, and Nobel Laureate.
The SGI Altix computer cluster offers 64 clustered blade servers with 512 processors, a terabyte of RAM, and up to 2 teraflops of peak compute power, or four times the performance of the legacy system it replaces, SGI said. As for hard drive space, Katabatic offers over 70TB, along with 524TB of mirrored tape storage.
Red Hat, the enterprise open-source software vendor, announced financial results for its fiscal year 2010 third quarter on Tuesday, noting an 18 percent jump from the same quarter one year ago.
Total revenue for the quarter was $194.3 million, with $164.4 million of that coming from subscriptions. That's a 21 percent year-over-year increase, Red Hat said.
"Continued solid execution drove another quarter of strong results for Red Hat. Our double digit growth in the current economic environment was driven by our compelling value proposition and outstanding service," stated Jim Whitehurst, President and Chief Executive Officer of Red Hat.
Red Hat's net income for the quarter was $16.4 million, or $0.08 per diluted share, compared to $24.3 million, or $0.12 per diluted share in the same quarter one year ago.
Linux gurus will talk all day about the security benefits of their open-source kernel over Microsoft's proprietary Windows platform, but can Linux do multitouch like Windows 7? Why yes, yes it can, though it takes a little handiwork on the part of the end user.
Most Linux distros don't yet support multitouch screens out of the box, but that doesn't matter, because France's ENAC Interactive Computing Lab has put together a video demonstrating multitouch on a PC running Fedora 12 on what looks to be be a 10-inch touchscreen display.
According to Liliputing.com, it's made possible by combining the Linux kernel 2.6.31 with a modified version of X.org 1.7. Sprinkle in supported hardware and drivers, and you suddenly have a Linux machine able to perform the same multitouch tricks as Windows 7.
Check out the video (complete with a groovy background tune) here.
Novell this week announced the availability of Moonlight 2, essentially an open-source Linux version of Microsoft's Silverlight platform. In addition, Microsoft and Novell said they plan on expanding their collaboration on Moonlight to include support for Moonlight implementations of Silverlight versions 3 and 4..
The companies say Moonlight 2 is interoperable with Microsoft Silverlight 2 and includes some features of Silverlight 3, including support for Bitmap APIs, file dialogs, easing functions, pluggable media pipeline, and custom codecs.
"Moonlight development is quickly catching up to Microsoft Silverlight with each release," Novell said. "A preview release of Moonlight 3 will be made available in the first quarter of 2010 with a final release scheduled for the third quarter of 2010. Moonlight 4 will follow shortly thereafter."
Novel says Moonlight has been downloaded 1.3 million times so far.
If only total dupes fall for click-through advertising on search result pages, and users of Microsoft products are the most likely to click-through, does that mean users of Microsoft products are total dupes? Logically fallacy aside, Microsoft product users might be total dupes, but not for this particular reason.
Chitika, which researches search-targeted advertising, reports that users of Microsoft products are more likely than others to click an ad on a search result page. For example, users of Bing are 75% more likely to click an ad than users of Google. And users of Internet Explorer are 50% more likely than Safari users, and 80% more likely than Chrome users to click an ad. Overall, Windows users are twice as likely as Linux and Mac users to click an ad.
So users of Microsoft products are gullible dupes--easy prey for the mavens of click-through advertising, right? Hardly. In this case the percentage differences are accurate, but the actual click-through rates for all platforms are so low the differences are probably meaningless. For example, 99.85% of Internet Explorer users don’t click-through, compared with 99.34% of Firefox users, 99.50% of Safari users, and 99.79% of Chrome users. In other words, percentage-wise, hardly anyone, regardless of browser, clicks-through. The pattern for operating systems is similar--in all three cases: Windows, Linux, and Mac, more than 99% don’t click-through.
Given the general nature of Microsoft product users--in all fairness it’s a lot more diverse a population than Linux or Mac users--Microsoft product users seem to be doing pretty well in these relative comparisons. Furthermore, there’s nothing here to suggest they are any more or less susceptible to click-through ads than anyone else.
Brian Rakowski, the Google Chrome product manager, dishes out the details on the Official Google Blog. The Google Chrome betas for Mac and Linux, he says, were engineered to meet the demanding expectations of both platforms. Mac users, he says, will be impressed with the almost instantaneous launch time--so fast “there’s hardly even time for the icon in the dock to bounce!” The Mac version integrates with Mac features, such as the Keyhain, spell check, and SandBox for enhanced security.
For the Linux beta, Google remained faithful to the open source community, with more than 50 contributors contibuting to Chrome's foundation, Chromium. Google Chrome for Linux fits natively with the operating system where possible, including integration of native GTK themes, and updates managed by the standard system package manager.
Google, according to Rakowski, is all too aware that a browser without extensibility just isn’t a browser. But, at the same time, Google didn’t want to jeopardize Google Chrome’s speed and stability. Extensions, according to Rakowski, accomplishes these objectives. Extensions, says Rakowski, “are as easy to create as web pages, easy to install, and each extension runs in its own process to avoid crashing or significantly slowing down the browser.” Rakowski says there are more than 300 extensions now ready for use, but only for Windows and Linux boxes.
After months of silence, Emblaze has decided to show off their upcoming First Else phone. The First Else is running on a custom operating system powered by the Access Linux Platform 3.0. The user interface is, in a word, stunning. It uses a largely blue on black palette, but throws in lots of attractive animations and effects. The main UI was referred to as "the death of main menu". The user is presented with an arch listing various options along its length. By sliding a thumb along it, any menu can be opened without using another finger or changing your grip.
The First Else also uses a “fish eye” system to highlight and slightly magnify selections on the phone. The fish eye is basically a floating context menu in the center of the display. The whole affair just feels very sci-fi.
The hardware is also impressive. The handset will rock the TI OMAP 3430 chip, the same as is in the iPhone 3GS, Palm Pre, and Motorola Droid. The capacitive LCD screen is 3.5 inches with a resolution of 854x480, again the same as the Droid. The notification area resides on a small OLED strip above the main display, which is a nice touch. Finally, a 1450mAh battery keeps the whole affair running at least one hour longer than an iPhone. No one knows if the First Else will come to an American Carrier, but the phone will be HSDPA/EDGE only. Cross your fingers AT&T and T-Mobile fans.
Future Ubunu installations will no longer include GIMP, starting with version 10.04 (Lucid Lynx), it was announced during the Ubuntu Developer Summit.
According to those in attendance, the decision to kick GIMP to the curb was based on a variety of factors. One of the primary reasons was a feeling that the general user just doesn't use GIMP. The general consensus is that the photo editing software is too complex and better aimed at professionals. Developers also took issue with the amount of disc space GIMP takes up.
While controversial, the decision to remove GIMP from Ubuntu is viewed as an important one in promoting the OS as a mainstream option. And GIMP's developers seem to agree.
"That is pretty much in-line with our product vision," Sven Neumann, a respected GIMP developers and author of the GIMP Pocket Reference, wrote in response to Ubuntu's plan. "GIMP is a high-end application for professionals. It is not the tool that you would advise every user to use for their causal photo editing."
Most likely replacing GIMP for quick-and-dirty photo editing on the mainstream level is F-Spot.
Do you agree with the decision to remove GIMP from default Ubuntu installations? Hit the jump and sound off.