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LinuxInsider -- "Linux News & Information from Around the World"
Updated: 1 year 15 weeks ago
When HP announced late last year that it would open source webOS, it was hard not to be skeptical. After all, it would be all too easy for a company to whitewash its own abandonment of a project by grandly "donating it to the community." However, that pessimistic view is beginning to fade, thanks to HP's publication last month of an official road map for its webOS plans, including the inclusion of a mainline kernel by March and ongoing involvement from HP itself. Are webOS's prospects looking a little brighter now? That's what Linux bloggers have been trying to figure out.
When it comes to playing audio and video files in Linux, media players pretty much all work the same way and have a very similar user interface. It usually all comes down to features. With SMPlayer it depends on what you want to play. Unfortunately, this bug of sorts is something its developer Ricardo Villalba has yet to resolve in the latest release, version 0.7.0. It is more of an inconvenience than an all-out reason to reject using SMPlayer completely. The problem is this app's inability to read directories from CD/DVD music collections inserted in the optical drive.
Antivirus vendor Symantec announced recently that up to 5 million Android devices may have been infected with a particular type of malware. Multiple publishers were pushing out apps -- some of which were found in the official Android Market -- containing malware known as "Counterclank," according to the AV company. This is a minor modification of Android Tonclank, a bot-like threat that can receive commands to carry out certain actions as well as steal information from the device.
Some of us here in the Linux blogosphere may have hoped for a quieter 2012 than 2011 turned out to be, but so far at least, it doesn't look like we're getting our wish. January appears to have started the year off with a bang. Do we get a little break now that it's the end of the month? No, we don't, thanks to the arrival of Ubuntu's "HUD." What in the world is HUD, you ask? Well for those who missed it, it's Head-Up Display, a new interface planned for Ubuntu 12.04 "Precise Pangolin" that will eventually replace menus in Unity applications and recognize voice commands.
Vignette differentiates itself from other Android-based camera apps by adding cross-process, tilt-shift, double exposure and other sophisticated effects like infrared, as opposed to the general toy camera and retro effects commonly found. The paid version of Vignette adds full resolution to the mix. I had been using the free version for some months and loved the app, but was disappointed with the resolution delivered, when I discovered that you had to buy the full version to utilize the full resolution of your phone. The full version has exceeded my expectations.
There's no denying that the FOSS community has many virtues, but gender equality doesn't seem to be one of them. Gender-related issues and tensions have plagued the FOSS world for as long as many of us can remember, and the problem has already been picked apart on these pages time, time and time again. Well guess what? It's still a problem. That can hardly be denied. Linux bloggers varied widely, however, in their opinions as to what should be done.
Eye candy can be a great user experience sweetener, but tastes vary widely as to how much is just enough, and it's one differentiator among Linux desktops. Fotowall is a handy app that can spice up your desktop as well as create personalized print and wallpaper displays. Fotowall is a really clever collage-making tool of sorts. Its simple point-and-click interface is actually fun to use. But it comes with no on-board help file. The home page support is practically nonexistent.
CyanogenMod, which offers aftermarket firmware for Android mobile devices, is apparently planning to sell apps that have been banned from the official Android Market. Koushik Dutta, who writes apps for CyanogenMod, has put up a screenshot of what seems to be the landing page for the app market. The market's offerings will include root apps, as well as tether apps and Visual Voicemail apps, according to Dutta. The market for root apps "is there, it's talked about in techie circles, but it's not really in the general market," said ABI's Michael Morgan.
What a difference a week makes. It was just the other day that Linux bloggers were celebrating the news from researcher Net Applications that desktop Linux had surged in popularity in recent months. Now, the mood in the blogosphere has plummeted once again as a result of the latest developments on the Windows 8 front. Secure Boot, that is -- a topic astute readers may remember from last fall but that lately seems to have taken a turn for the worse.
The stage is set for a new battle of mobile form factors. The winner could set a new non-desktop standard for consumers and office workers looking for a better alternative to bulky laptops. Lighter, thinner and more powerful are the key factors guiding the designs of tablets, convertibles, hybrids and Ultrabooks. All four form factors challenge the range of sizes found in traditional notebook computers. The netbook is perhaps a casualty of the last round of form factor skirmishing.
There's nothing like a popularity contest to elicit a wide array of opinions -- particularly those of the opposing kind -- but recently an example appeared in the Linux blogosphere that seems to be something of an exception. "Debian is now the most popular Linux distribution on web servers," proclaimed W3Techs in a blog post from earlier this month. A few mildly divergent comments were expressed, to be sure, but for the most part, Linux geeks appeared to be largely in agreement. Could this be a historic first?
Apple came close to matching Android's smartphone market share during the fourth quarter of 2011, according to a Nielsen report released Wednesday. The debut of Apple's iPhone 4S in the fall had a major impact on the proportion of smartphones sold in the quarter. Demand for iPhones increased nearly 20 percent in December compared to three months earlier, Nielsen found. However, Android remains the most popular smartphone platform overall.
LiVES is an advanced video editor that can double as a video jockey tool. It is surprisingly powerful. But its interface makes it rather simple to learn. In fact, it has so many feature levels that this app would be right at home as the video editor of choice in any professional film editing studio. I had almost no trouble putting LiVES to work on a current project before I even finished my initial shakedown of this application. This trial-by-fire test run proved highly successful.
OK, Greenpeace, arrest me now as an eco-criminal. I must have single-handedly deforested a good tract of the Amazon rain forest over the last few days. In mitigation, I plead that this was because of the requirements of my job. I was testing the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. The device is sleek and sexy, has a great UI and nice features, but its appetite for power is incredible. I had the phone on for one hour 45 minutes, during which time I made six calls, all of less than one minute's duration, and searched the Web for about 10 minutes.
There's no doubt the Linux world has seen its share of good news over the past year or so, but every once in a while a tidbit comes along that calls for a little extra fanfare. Case in point: Recent data from research firm Net Applications suggests that desktop Linux's market share has jumped considerably over the past few months. Want specifics? Here goes: The company's NetMarketShare service just recently reported that Linux's market share on the desktop has steadily increased since the summer, going from 0.97 percent in July to a new high of 1.41 percent last month.
It's well known that Android is fragmented or, as Google CEO Eric Schmidt contends, "differentiated." In a bid to codify design principles for the operating system's look and feel, Google unveiled Android Design at CES on Thursday. This website seeks to help appdevs create apps with a more uniform look and feel for its latest version, Ice Cream Sandwich. "[Google] definitely wants to have a uniform look. They never have provided a style guide before," said Melissa Skrbic-Huss, creative lead at Amadeus Consulting.
Many Android devices ship with stripped-down office suite apps that offer limited functionality loosely based on the kind you'd get with Microsoft Office on your desktop. Having had a discussion recently with someone who now regularly travels without a laptop, depending solely on his Apple iPad for office functions, I was keen to see just how far these Office-like tools could go. Many of the free apps don't allow document creation -- only reading. What would you get if you actually handed over some money?
Well CES is nearing its conclusion for another year, winding down an event that may well have brought Linux more mainstream attention than any other in the show's four-decades-long history. Much of that heightened focus has been due to the widely trumpeted Ubuntu TV debut, of course. There's no doubt Ubuntu has had its share of the limelight this past week, but it's another Linux distro entirely that's captured many bloggers' attention. Linux Mint, that is -- and its tantalizing new desktop environment, Cinnamon.
Remember this: The phone or tablet you purchased is yours. It does not belong to the carrier that you bought it from despite the fact that the device is emblazoned with its corporate identity, logo or splash screen. This outright ownership you have in the device means that you can do whatever you like with it once you've walked out of the store, assuming you don't mess with the radio hardware and cause interference to your fellow users.
As Android smartphones sell like hot cakes -- 3.7 million were reportedly activated on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day -- concerns about the fragmentation of the operating system are increasing, and Google Chairman Eric Schmidt sought to allay those fears while speaking at a panel at the Consumer Electronics Show Tuesday. Schmidt reportedly stated that Android is not fragmented, but rather "differentiated." Further, Google wants to have all Android users employ Android 4.0 aka "Ice Cream Sandwich," Schmidt reportedly stated.