Skype announced that an open source version of the Linux client is currently under development in a blog post by Stanislav Karchebny. “There's an open source version of Linux client being developed. This will be a part of a larger offering, but we can't tell you much about that right now," wrote Karchebny.
The original Linux client had been released several years ago, but a new open source client could mean community focused developments. Skype expects that “having an open-source user interface will help us get adopted in the multicultural land of Linux distributions, as well as on other platforms, and will speed up further development.”
Within the comments of the post, users were hoping to see Skype also unlock the Skype Protocol to the open source community. Unless that is part of the “larger offering”, that Karchebny mentions, it appears for the moment that their plans are to open only the source to client interface.
On October 29, Canonical is set to release Ubuntu 9.10 (codenamed “Karmic Koala”), the newest installment in the Ubuntu product line. In anticipation of this release, we took the release candidate (RC) for a test drive. Ubuntu 9.10 RC comes on a LiveCD just like its predecessors and allows you to test a fully-functional installation of the operating system without installing it. The boot process looks very different from previous versions, especially since the old progress bar has been replaced with one that just moves from left to right while providing very little useful boot progress information. However, the boot process is still extremely fast compared to many other distros and you always have the option of disabling the boot splash screen if you want to see detailed boot information.
Additionally, the installation process now automatically sets your system time from an online time server and now includes a slideshow to introduce you to the features of Ubuntu as the system installs. And for the first time, Ubuntu now allows you to encrypt your home directory out of the box by providing a new option for it during the setup process.
If it's good enough for Maximum PC, then it's good enough for the White House. What are we talking about? Open-source Drupal software. Citing an Obama Administration source, PersonalDemocracy.com notes that the WhiteHouse.gov website has kicked its proprietary content management system (CMS) software to the curb and made the switch to Drupal after months of planning.
So why the switch? Obama's media team decided they needed a more flexible development platform in order to make the White House's online presence an interactive one. The media team envisions question-and-answer forums, live video streaming, and collaborative tools all meshing with the site's infrastructure, and for that, they decided on Drupal. Score one for the open-source community.
"Open-source is a great form of civic participation," said Macon Phillips, the White House media director. "We're looking forward to getting the benefit of their energy and innovation."
In addition to MaximumPC.com, the White House joins a growing number of sites built around the Drupal platform, some of which include NASA, Ubuntu, Linden Labs, Yahoo Research, Popular Science, and thousands of others.
On October 29, which is now less than a week away, Linux users will have a new Ubuntu release to play with. But if you just can't wait that long, especially with all the hoopla surrounding the launch of Windows 7 making you jones for a new OS, consider downloading the Ubuntu 9.10 Release Candidate that was just made available.
"We consider this release candidate to be complete, stable, and suitable for testing by any user," the Ubuntu team wrote on its blog.
Several new features have been added to the open source OS since the release of Ubuntu 9.04. For example, 9.10 makes the transition to Upstart native jobs for faster boot times, Empathy has replaced Pidgin as the default messaging client, the latest release ships with Ubuntu One, a personal cloud computing app allowing you to backup, store, sync, and share data with other Ubuntu One users, Canonical claims the inclusion of new Intel video driver architecture solves "major performance problems," the new ext4 file system is now used by default, and a whole bunch more.
See the full list of changes (and known problems) here, and if you're itching to try out the RC, you can download your copy here.
The open source movement might just be on to something with Open Office 4 Kids (OOo4Kids), a productivity suite aimed at the much younger crowd between the ages of 7 and 12. And if DownloadSquad.com has anything to say about it, adults may prefer it to the regular version of Open Office as well.
According to the project's wiki, OOo4Kids is based on OpenOffice.org source code, but because certain aspects have been stripped out, it loads noticeably faster than the full fledged suite. There's a lot less going on in the UI, and larger buttons point out all the obvious features. But aside from the splash screen, it doesn't look overly childish, so we could also see this being installed on Aunt Angie's machine.
As expected, there are some features that are missing, such as Base, and power users won't be content with al the advanced controls, but in our limited test run, we were fairly impressed with OOo4Kids. There's still a lot you can do with it, the interface isn't condescending, and it's fast.
If you want to check it out for yourself, you can download the latest version (0.5) here.
The new version has added native Exchange, Youtube, and Facebook support. With Facebook integration, users can import contact data from their friends list. The Browser has reportedly been much improved; rivaling the iPhone 3GS in rendering speed. Google has even added a unified email inbox. Google Maps has been totally updated, adding support for Layers. Finally, there’s a new “Car Home” with big buttons for things you might want to use when driving.
This is still an early build, but it gives us a real sense where the OS is going. If there’s one way to describe what Google has done in this revision, it would be “more polish”. From the browser to the contact list, everything looks more well thought out and functional. The firmware appears to be running on the mysterious Motorola Droid. The phone has been reported as being a Google Experience phone, so everyone seems ready to believe this is stock Android 2.0. So, how do the screens strike you?
It's not too often that you see giant pastries requiring two or more people just to the lift the thing being delivered to a company, but when that company is Google, well, it's a safe bet another Android release is on the way.
To quickly recap, the Android 1.5 update carried the codename Cupcake, Android 1.6 (which still isn't out yet) is referred to as Donut, and Eclair looks to be the codename for Android 2.0.
The ginormous pastry was caught on video being delivered to Google's lawn, right next to the oversized cupcake. Maybe Google just has a thng for sweets and felt an eclair would complete its landscaping motif, but we're willing to bet developers will be getting their hands on the next version of Android very shortly.
Regardless of the operating system you are using, data loss is inevitable. Sooner or later, it will happen to you—the only question is how much data you will lose. Although RAID can act as an insurance policy for hardware failures, it was never designed to serve as a backup and will not perform this task well at all. Human error is always the greatest concern since important files can be accidentally overwritten or deleted at careless moments. It is easy to fall behind on your backups or get complacent; without recent backups you have no recovery strategy. This guide will help you automate your backups on your Linux rig so you will always have your files up to date.
Google's open source Android platform will turn one year old later this month, and according to Gartner, the OS is about to hit a major growth spurt. While Android can be found on less than 2 percent of all smartphones today, Gartner predicts a seven-fold increase in global Android-based handsets by 2012.
That would put Android in second place, trailing only the Symbian OS, which today accounts for nearly half of all smartphones but is expected to drop to 39 percent in 2010, Gartner says.
Gartner acknowledges that T-Mobile's G1 -- the first Android-based smartphone -- was met with a mixed response among consumers, but the research firm believes Google's continued backing of Android and its focus on cloud computing capabilities will propel the platform to 14 percent of the smartphone market in just a couple of years.
"Google's other up-and-coming consumer and enterprise products should make [Android] a dominant platform," Ken Dulaney, VP of Gartner Research, told ComputerWorld in an interview.
Dulaney also predicts that there could be as many as 40 models of Android devices shipping in 2010.
Red Hat, the self proclaimed world's leading open source technology solutions provider, has a bone to pick with not just patent trolls, but shady software patents in general. As such, Red Hat has filed a petition with the Supreme Court seeking to ban software patents.
"Red Hat continues its commitment to the free and open source software community by taking a strong position against bad software patents," Red Hat VP Rob Tiller said. "Our patent system is supposed to foster innovation but, for open source and software in general, it does the opposite."
Tiller went on to complain that software patents end up slowing and discouraging software innovation, arguing that "patent trolls" have exploited the current legal system by constructing lawsuits that further confuse the hundreds of thousands of patents that "cover abstract technology in vague and difficult-to-interpret terms."
Red Hat says oral arguments are scheduled for November 9, giving you plenty of time to read the full brief here (PDF).