Posts Tagged ‘Linux’

Intel, Samsung get behind new Linux phone software

September 28th, 2011

However, analysts said the new Tizen platform is likely to struggle to attract wider developer and manufacturer support to compete with the dozen or so other mobile operating systems in a market dominated by Apple and Google’s Linux-based Android.

Even industry majors Nokia and Hewlett-Packard have ditched their mobile platforms this year.

“The best hope for them is that big operators get worried by Android’s increasing smartphone dominance and decide to consciously switch their allegiances to rival platforms to restrict Google’s huge influence over the mobile market,” said analyst Neil Mawston from Strategy Analytics.

LiMo Foundation and the Linux Foundation said the new Tizen platform is an open-source, standards-based software platform that supports multiple devices including smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, netbooks and in-vehicle ‘infotainment’ systems.

The initial release is planned for the first quarter of 2012, enabling the first devices using Tizen to come to market in mid-2012, the two groups said.

The world’s largest semiconductor firm Intel, which also has its own MeeGo Linux system, and Samsung Electronics, the second biggest maker of cell phones and one of the key contributors to LiMo, will head the technical steering committee developing Tizen.

“Tizen aims to unify a number of marginalized Linux based platforms,” said Geoff Blaber, an analyst at London-based telecoms industry consultancy CCS Insight.

“There is a willingness to create an independent alternative to Android but history tells us that willingness doesn’t necessarily equate to success,” he added.

Samsung is the leading user of the Android platform, but some other makers of Android-operated phones have begun to look at alternatives since Google agreed to buy Motorola Mobility last month for $12.5 billion.

“Samsung might be further tempted to try a new system as Google’s acquisition of Motorola Mobility raised uncertainty over the future of Android,” said Song Jong-ho, an analyst at Daewoo Securities.

A spokesman for Samsung said: “We’ve been a core Linux partner … and this is in line with our strategy of supporting many platforms.”

Earlier this month Intel and Google launched a development partnership to adapt Android for Intel’s Atom processor chips, with a view to having the first Android phones featuring Intel chips in the first half of next year.

Linux is the most popular type of free, or open-source, computer operating system which allows the public to use, revise and share. Linux suppliers earn money selling improvements and technical services.


Update Software in Ubuntu

September 19th, 2011

Making the best use of your operating system traditionally involves being aware of the all of the tools and applications that are included, how new software can be installed and removed and generally taking full advantage of what is on offer. However, it isn’t always as simple as that, especially in open source operating systems such as Ubuntu.

This Linux distro is one of the most user-friendly of them all, and even offers to manage your system updates for you!

Whether you want to install a full upgrade to the next version of Ubuntu or simply make sure that everything is running as smoothly as it should be, the Ubuntu Update Manager tool can be used to great effect to make this possible.

If the Ubuntu Update Manager doesn’t launch on its own (something that can be configured as described below) then it can be found via System > Administration.

Configuring Ubuntu Update Manager
When you first see the Update Manager open, it will check for updates (if your computer is connected to the Internet) and list what is available. You might not want all of those updates, however, just as you might not want Update Manager to automatically check for updates.

To adjust this behavior you should click the Settings… button and enter the administrator password when prompted to check through the list of configuration options. Under the section labeled Automatic Updates you are able to toggle on and off the Check for updates option, as well as specify how often the checks should be made.

You can even instruct Ubuntu to download updates without notifying you. This could be risky in some cases and lead to a failed installation if the download is a full Ubuntu update, so the Download all updates in the background option isn’t recommended.

Applying an Update in Ubuntu
The first thing to do when running Update Manager is to click the Check button. This will recheck the available updates and sources for the data to be downloaded to check that you’re not viewing a cached version of a previous update.

Next, browse through the list. It could be just a few items or it could be over 200, depending on how long it is since you last updated. Using the Description of update link you can expand into viewing details of the update, its purpose and type. Often these are security updates, so you might prefer to use the Install security updates without confirmation option in the Settings screen to deal with these.

If you prefer to avoid installing particular updates, you can do so by clearing the checkbox against the item in the list. This is particularly useful if the download is a full update and you’re using an older computer. Before any type of update process you should always backup vital data, of course, and when your updates are chosen and you’re ready to proceed, simply select Install Updates to start downloading and installing!


Shuttleworth on Ubuntu 11.04 Linux & Unity

May 2nd, 2011

Ubuntu 11.04 has been out for a few days now and while, generally speaking, I like Ubuntu’s new Unity interface, I know some people really dislike it. So, who better to explain why Unity looks and works the way it does than Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Ubuntu and the company behind it, Canonical?

Shuttleworth opened by saying that the main point of Ubuntu 11.04 with Unity was “to bring the joys and freedoms and innovation and performance and security that have always been part of the Linux platform, to a consumer audience.”

How did Canonical do it? Shuttleworth explained that it was a combination of user design testing with professional design work. “We committed to test and iterate Unity’s design with real users, and evolve it based on those findings. We’ve documented the process we’re following in that regard, so that other free software projects can decide for themselves if they also want to bring professional design into their process. I very much hope that this will become standard practice across all of free software, because in my view the future of free software is no longer just about inner beauty (architecture, performance, efficiency) it’s also about usability and style.”

That design decision really annoys some hardcore Linux users. On the other hand, I can’t argue with it. Just look, for example, at GNOME 3.0. I haven’t written about it yet, but I find it hard to disagree with a blogger named Juan Rodriguez who wrote, “Gnome Shell is Defective By Design.” GNOME 3.0, like too many Linux/Unix interfaces, was designed by software developers for software developers.

Is Unity too simple for power users? Yes, it is. But, as Shuttleworth tells us that’s by design. If you don’t like simple, consumer-oriented desktops, you’ll want to look at another Linux distribution because that’s exactly where Ubuntu is now and will continue to go.

So where did Shuttleworth and company get their ideas? Shuttleworth explained, “In the design of Unity we chose to be both humble and bold. Humble, because we have borrowed consciously from the work of other successful platforms, like Windows and Mac OS. We borrowed what worked best, but then we took advantage of the fact that we are unconstrained by legacy and can innovate faster than they can, and took some bold leaps forward. In category indicators, the dash, overlay scrollbars and other innovations we are pioneering desktop experiences that I am sure will be emulated elsewhere, in both the free and proprietary platforms.”

Of course, he continued, “This is the public ‘1.0,’ there are rough points which will affect some users more than others, but we will iterate and polish them up one by one. Our goal should be to continue to set the pace and push free software to the forefront of usability and experience, growing the awesome Ubuntu and Unity community that shares those values and is excited by those ideas.”

I’ve found some of those “rough points.” For example, the global menu bar has trouble fitting on some of my displays from time to time. Curiously enough it does best on my smallest screen—my Dell Mini 9 netbook with its 8.9” display. I also found that in the Ubuntu Software Center I can’t seem to click up the recommended to install program list.

At the same time, Shuttleworth recognizes it’s not all about Unity. Shuttleworth wrote, “Of course, Ubuntu is far bigger than Unity. And the needs of the Ubuntu community, and users of Ubuntu, are far more diverse than simply Unity could address. So I’m proud of the fact that the Ubuntu community publishes the whole expression of software freedom across its archives. Kubuntu continues to improve and set a very high standard for the KDE experience. Lubuntu, the LXDE based expression of Ubuntu, is moving towards being 100% integrated. There is unique work being done in Ubuntu for users of the cloud and other server-oriented configurations. While we can be proud of what’s been achieved in Unity, we are equally proud of the efforts that go into ensuring that the full range of experiences is accommodated, to the extent possible with the effort put in by our huge community, under the Ubuntu umbrella.”

And, I would guess that, if there’s demand for it, there will continue be an old-style GNOME 2.x Ubuntu or even a GNOME 3.0 Ubuntu. Even if Canonical won’t sponsor them, someone else can always create them. This is Linux after all. If you really want a Linux that looks like Windows XP, you can have it.

So, while Canonical will stay focused on Unity, Ubuntu’s door remains open to other desktop paths. That said, for the time being, Unity is its number one desktop.


Recover Data Offers Linux Server Recovery Software

December 30th, 2010

An article on PR USA states that the latest updated version of Linux server data recovery software has the ability to recover deleted or lost data from Linux Ext2 and Ext3 partitions as well any other storage media that supports Linux Ext2 and Ext3 file system. Recover Data announced this upgrade is compatible for all versions of Linux including Ubuntu.

“According to the data recovery experts of Recover Data; ‘Sometimes, human creates detrimental stage for its own data or many times over, the applications, do the same job over hard drive but whatever the reason behind the data loss, this updated version of Linux certainly recover all the data from Linux server hard disk whether if the data has lost because of any logical reason or it lost because of any human error.


Software bug derailed Windows bid to top Linux in supercomputing speed

November 19th, 2010

A few days ago, we told you about Microsoft’s surprising bid to join the petascale computing age. Windows HPC Server, it seems, was able to hit petaflop speeds on Japan’s largest supercomputer, but the achievement was not recognized by the bi-annual Top 500 list because Linux performed better on the same machine.

All we knew at the time was that Tsubame 2.0, the HPC cluster at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, had tested the machine’s speed with both Windows and Linux, with Linux coming out ahead because the Linux run was performed on a slightly larger number of nodes.

One reader who commented on the blog post joked that Tokyo officials “didn’t have enough licenses to run [Windows] on that many.”

But it turns out a software bug prevented the Windows HPC Server run from matching Linux’s speed and ability to run across more nodes. The bug was not in Windows HPC Server itself but rather in a software package Microsoft designed to run the Top 500 benchmarking test.

Satoshi Matsuoka, professor at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, explained it to me today at the SC10 supercomputing conference in New Orleans, saying Linux’s victory “was purely by chance.”

Here’s what happened. To submit scores to the Top 500 supercomputers list, cluster operators have to run the Linpack Benchmark, a software library designed to test a cluster’s speed under extreme conditions.

It’s like driving a Ferrari and “hitting the gas flat out for four hours,” Matsuoka said.

Because Tsubame uses both Intel CPUs and Nvidia graphics processing units, Tokyo officials needed to run a custom implementation of the High-Performance Linpack Benchmark to take full advantage of the heterogeneity of the system. The Tokyo computer scientists wrote code for the Linux run themselves, and for the Windows run used Linpack code written by Microsoft employees.

While a full Linpack run takes a few hours, Tsubame’s creators actually spent more than a week preparing and conducting the tests. The strategy is to start with small tests, and gradually ramp up, identify problems that slow performance down as you go along.

“In actuality, it’s an enormous effort,” Matsuoka said. “Things break down. There’s such a huge stress on the system. It’s the sort of stress that this machine will never see in real production.”

Ultimately, the Linux run was performed over 1,357 nodes, achieving speeds of 1.192 petaflops (one petaflop is equal to one thousand trillion calculations per second). This speed gave Tsubame the title of the world’s fourth fastest supercomputer.

Windows was outperforming Linux at small workloads, and eventually hit 1.118 petaflops across just under 1,300 nodes, according to Matsuoka. But when a Windows run across 1,360 nodes was attempted, the Linpack software designed for the Windows run failed due to a memory initialization bug.

Microsoft has since fixed the bug, but it was enough to derail the Windows bid to top Linux.

“There was a small bug in the Windows code that basically did not let them complete their final run,” Matsuoka said. “And we ran out of time. We had to use their second best number, which turned out to be slightly lower than Linux.”

Whether Windows would have beaten Linux if not for the software bug is “a mystery that’s engulfed in history, because they failed at the very last moment,” he says.

Matsuoka is interested in why Windows was able to outperform Linux in running smaller problems. Since the hardware was the same for both runs, it must come down to either the operating system or differences between the customized Linpack software packages.

“We haven’t had the time to do the side-by-side comparison,” Matsuoka says. “We’ll probably do that and publish a paper.”

Tsubame is a remarkably energy efficient, general-purpose supercomputer with about 2,000 users in academic and industry research circles. Because Tsubame uses a KVM hypervisor and various cloud-like provisioning tools, it can run both Windows and Linux at the same time on different nodes, and offer users various types of processing configurations.

“We’re very flexible,” Matsuoka says. “We can switch certain subsets of nodes to Windows from Linux and vice versa.” Running both operating systems at the same time is possible “because we run virtual machines on some of the nodes.”

Naturally, Matsuoka’s user base demands Linux more often than Windows. A little more than 80% of the machine’s time is devoted to Linux, specifically Novell SUSE Linux 11, he says, and under 20% to Windows.

“Of course, we get more demand for Linux,” Matsuoka says. “But we do get Windows demand too. Because we can do dynamic provisioning we will size our Linux vs. Windows accordingly to demand and load.”

“This might be the first time this has been done at this scale,” he adds, referring to the Windows/Linux flexibility.

Although most people in the supercomputing crowd might scoff at Windows, which accounts for only five of the Top 500 HPC clusters, Matsuoka says there seems to be little difference in performance. It should be noted that Microsoft has helped fund the Tokyo Institute of Technology’s supercomputing programs.

“I was very curious to see which one would be superior, both in terms of the [Linpack] algorithm, and the underlying operating system,” Matsuoka said. “It was very surprising, because they were very similar in performance.”


Linux Mint 10 ‘Julia’ Is Now Official

November 13th, 2010

The Linux Mint team announced today that the final release of version 10 of the free and open source operating system, dubbed “Julia,” is now officially available.

Launched in 2006, Linux Mint has quickly become the third most popular Linux distribution out there behind only Ubuntu and Fedora, and version 10 makes it easy to see why. Based on Ubuntu 10.10, or Maverick Meerkat, Julia offers numerous enhancements that put it at the forefront of usability.

Welcome Screen

A new Welcome Screen, for instance, lets users install any multimedia codecs they might need right from the start as well as upgrade to the DVD edition, if necessary. Linux Mint has always stood out for its compatibility, thanks in large part to its inclusion of many proprietary multimedia codecs that are often absent from other distributions, and this new capability makes that compatibility even easier to ensure.

Updated Menu

A revamped menu, meanwhile, highlights newly installed applications and adds support for GTK bookmarks and themes for easier customization. It’s also now aware of what’s available in the user’s software repositories, meaning that they can search for software and install packages without even having to open the Software Manager.

Search capabilities are now directly integrated into the menu as well, so users can simply begin typing to look something up on Google or Wikipedia, for example. It’s also now possible to look up words in the dictionary and find tutorials, software, hardware devices and even other Linux Mint users that way.

Software Manager

Then, too, there are the updates to Linux Mint 10‘s Software Manager, making packages easier to browse through and find. Software is now categorized more clearly, while application icons make them easier to recognize.

Update Manager

Also new in Julia is an Update Manager that lets the user tell the operating system if there are packages for which they’re not interested in receiving updates. When updates are selected, the Update Manager now shows the size of the file about to be downloaded.

Look and Feel

There’s a new look and feel in Linux Mint 10, adding a metallic twist to the distribution’s traditional light theme and dark background. A number of artist-created backgrounds are also available.

System Enhancements

Under the hood, components include security-enhanced version 2.6.35 of the Linux kernel, GNOME 2.32 and Xorg 7.5. The speedy Adobe Flash “Square” is also part of Julia, as is a new metapackage called “virtualbox-nonfree” that points to the non-open-source version of Oracle’s VirtualBox virtualization software and provides USB support.

Upload Manager

Finally, for developers and administrators, Julia’s Upload Manager has been polished with a raft of new improvements.

Following the debut of its release candidate last month, Linux Mint 10 is now available in 32-bit and 64-bit versions via Torrent and HTTP download. It will be supported through April 2012. The software requires an x86 processor with 512 MB of RAM and 4 GB of disk space for installation along with a graphics card capable of 800×600 resolution.

I’ve got Maverick Meerkat running on my main machine, but taking Julia for a lengthier test-drive is going to be one of my weekend projects.

If you’re curious about Linux Mint as a user-friendly alternative to Mac or Windows — or if you’re an Ubuntu user who wants to see what Mint is like in light of all the big changes coming down the pike for Canonical’s distribution — there’s no better time to give Julia a try.


4 reasons to give linux mint 10 a try

October 23rd, 2010

Canonical’s newly released Ubuntu 10.10 — or “Maverick Meerkat” — may still be dominating the headlines in the Linux world these days, but it’s by no means the only excellent distribution of the open source operating system. Following just behind Ubuntu on DistroWatch’s list of popularity, in fact, is not just Fedora, at No. 2, but also–of particular interest this week–Linux Mint.

In addition to being the third most popular Linux distribution out there, Mint is of considerable interest right now because the release candidate (RC) version of Linux Mint 10 was just released. That means the next stable release is just around the corner. Also known as “Julia,” the new version is based on Ubuntu 10.10 and offers a correspondingly improved level of user friendliness.

Even before this latest release, in fact, many people have found Linux Mint even easier to use than Ubuntu, thanks in part to a series of graphical tools for enhanced usability. New improvements in “Julia,” however, appear to be making Mint even better.

Whether you’re considering trying out Linux for your business for the first time or just interested in experiencing for yourself the cutting edge in Linux usability, Linux Mint 10 is well worth a look. Here are some of the enhancements you can expect in this new version.

1. System Improvements

Along with Ubuntu 10.10, Linux Mint 10 RC is based on version 2.6.35 of the Linux kernel along with version 2.32 of the GNOME desktop environment and 7.5. All of these bring with them a raft of security and other improvements.

Also incorporated in Julia is the latest Adobe Flash “Square” running in full 32-bit or 64-bit native mode, depending on which Linux Mint edition you choose. This plug-in is faster than its predecessor, especially in full-screen mode, according to the Mint development team.

A new package in Julia, meanwhile, points to the non-open source version of Oracle’s VirtualBox virtualization software and provides USB support.

2. Compatibility

Linux Mint has long enjoyed a well-deserved reputation for excellent compatibility since it has included a variety of proprietary multimedia codecs that are often absent from larger distributions. With support for media codecs, Flash and Java, for example, it can play just about anything you ask it to.

Now, with version 10, Mint has added a way for users installing the operating system from any medium to upgrade to the DVD edition right from the Welcome Screen, including the ability to install any missing multimedia codecs.

3. An Improved Menu

The Linux Mint menu in version 10 reflects a number of enhancements, including support for GTK themes and bookmarks, and direct access to search capabilities. The menu is also now aware of what’s available in your repositories, so you can search for software and install packages without even having to open the Software Manager.

That Software Manager, meanwhile, has also been updated for better categorization. Other changes make it easier to find newly installed applications and to customize the menu’s appearance.

4. A New Look and Feel

After three releases with the beautiful green-and-dark Shiki theme, Linux Mint Julia reflects a return to the distribution’s traditional light theme and dark background. This time, however, it’s giving the theme a metallic look called Mint-X. A number of artist-created backgrounds are also available, and the desktop menu and welcome screen were both given the appearance of brushed metal.

Mint also features a nice Update Manager that lets you control which of your applications get automatically updated. And, like Ubuntu, it includes a raft of excellent bundled software including OpenOffice and Firefox.

Of course, as a release candidate, the current version of Linux Mint 10 is aimed primarily at developers and others who want to help find and correct bugs; there are a few known problems, so it’s not yet recommended for production environments. Still, it is a nice way to see what’s next for the user-friendly distribution, and more generally to give Linux a try.


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