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Ubuntu's Lonely Road
December 16, 2013
It may be lonely at the top, as the old saying goes, but apparently it can also be lonely a few notches down -- at least if Ubuntu is any example. Though not currently in the No. 1 spot on DistroWatch -- for whatever that's worth -- Ubuntu is often credited with having achieved more mainstream acceptance than any other Linux distro so far.
Red Hat Makes Virtualization Play With RHEL 7 Beta
December 12, 2013
Red Hat on Wednesday launched Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 into beta. RHEL 7 incorporates several changes, including a move from Oracle's MySQL to the open source MariaDB, the adoption of the XFS file system, and improvements in various areas, including storage and file size. The changes seem to indicate the company is ramping up its efforts to compete in the virtualization market.
Manjaro Smooths Out Arch's Rough Edges
December 12, 2013
If you want a Linux distro that is different and almost always up to date, look no further than Manjaro. If you can get it to load on your computer, Manjaro has a few features that could interest a Linux user who likes tinkering with the OS. The latest release failed to impress me with its cantankerous loading, but once I got it running I was pleased.
Goodbye, Win XP - Hello, Linux?
December 11, 2013
Microsoft will stop security support for Windows XP this coming April, meaning that more than a few remaining users of the long-standing OS need to come up with an alternative plan. Almost a third of desktop computers still run Windows XP, according to Net Applications. More than 15 percent of midsize and large enterprises will still have Windows XP running on at least 10 percent of their PCs after support ends.
AllSeen Alliance to Standardize Internet of Things
December 10, 2013
The Linux Foundation on Tuesday announced the formation of the AllSeen Alliance, a cross-industry consortium working on a standard of interoperability among devices connected to the Internet of Things. LG will incorporate the Alliance's technology into the smart TVs it offers next year. The alliance's technology framework is based on Qualcomm's AllJoyn open source project.
Terminator Ends the Terminal Window Blahs
December 05, 2013
Terminator is not for casual Linux users who rarely stray from the menu-driven applications. If you ever venture into what some regard as the dark side of the Linux OS, however, Terminator can end your discomfort by using a single-session terminal window. Terminator is a powerful and useful terminal emulator built with many features not included in standard terminal applications.
Delivery Drones Could Be Skyjackers' Heaven
December 04, 2013
Following news that Amazon plans to use unmanned drones for rapid delivery of goods to customers, security researcher Samy Kamkar has developed a way to skyjack drones. The hack may resonate with many Americans, who are concerned about the increasing use of drones by law enforcement to conduct surveillance on citizens within the United States' borders.
Google Joins Enterprise Cloud Slugfest in Earnest
December 03, 2013
The Google Compute Engine became generally available on Tuesday, almost 18 months after its introduction at last year's Google I/O. "We have been taking time and doing careful work to ensure that as we open Compute Engine to developers, they have a great experience with things like billing and support, tools, and our operating system support," said Google spokesperson Elizabeth Markman.
Build Your Own Simple Linux Banking Tool
December 03, 2013
The Linux OS lacks an effective yet simple checking and banking tool. There are money-management tools for Linux users, of course, but most full-fledged offerings are overkill for monitoring spending patterns and balancing financial accounts. In general, Linux financial applications are either too complex to use without an accounting degree or too simple to be truly useful.
Steam Machine on Track to Switch Up Video Gaming
November 30, 2013
iBuyPower reportedly is working on prototypes of a commercial Steam machine. Valve recently announced that it was working with multiple OEMs to bring Steam gaming machines to market in 2014. All will run its Linux-based SteamOS. The iBuyPower device is the first Steam machine prototype unveiled by a third party so far, but Valve is said to be working on its own prototype.
A Tale of Two Browsers: Chrome v. Chromium
November 26, 2013
If you've ever used Google's free Chrome browser, you may be aware that it's closely related to another, similarly named Google project called "Chromium." Chrome and Chromium share a heavy portion of their core browser code, but Chrome is a proprietary Google product, while Chromium is open source. Both serve Linux, Windows and Mac OS X platforms, however.
Pivotal Delivers on Promises
November 22, 2013
A bit more than six months ago, EMC and VMware celebrated the launch of Pivotal, a new company led by former VMware CEO Paul Maritz. Pivotal's team included IP and personnel from EMC's Greenplum and Pivotal Labs organizations, and VMware's vFabric, Cloud Foundry and Cetas organizations. A considerable surprise was the support from General Electric, including $105 million for a 10 percent stake.
Task Coach Keeps You on Target and in Control
November 21, 2013
Attention to detail is often the missing feature that separates really useful to-do managers from the mundane list-tracking options. Task Coach goes out of its way to help you keep track of the details. The latest version of Task Coach -- version 1.3.33-1 -- does a good job of servicing two categories, in fact. It is both a personal task tracker and a to-do manager.
Want Customization With That?
November 19, 2013
Enterprise software vendors want you to believe that they can customize their software to fit your company's particular needs. That promise is also one of open source software's chief claims to fame. So is the make-it-your-way vendor promise a better option than what the open source community offers? No solution involving tailoring versus customizing business software is really free.
PCLinuxOS Makes Desktop Linux Look Good
November 14, 2013
PCLinuxOS is as close as a distro can get to masking all the technical things that scare people away from the Linux OS. It makes installing and using the distro beginner-level easy. That says a lot for attracting both new and experienced users. PCLinuxOS offers several very good desktop options. It also makes a solid choice for more experienced Linux users.
How to Avoid Cloud Vendor Lock-In
November 13, 2013
Vendor lock-in has been such a standard part of enterprise IT over the years that it often goes unnoticed and unquestioned. Recently, however, that lock-in mentality has followed enterprises to the clouds. One might not think that vendor lock-in would exist for those who use open source software or open cloud solutions. Think again.
Metacloud's Steve Curry: We Need a Better Cloud Storage Model
November 12, 2013
The popularity of cloud storage is growing rapidly, and few would deny that open source technology is driving individual and business users to the clouds in droves. Yet enterprise adoption decisions are often hindered by competing technologies for public and private clouds. Often, it is less a question of open or closed source and more an issue of service and cost.
KitKat Raises Android Security Bar
November 11, 2013
Google's mobile operating system Android has been a whipping boy for some segments of the security community, but the latest version of the software may begin to rehabilitate its reputation. Android 4.4, or KitKat, contains a number of new and improved features that are garnering the praise of malware fighters -- especially improved implementation of SELinux.
Ubuntu's Saucy Salamander is a Slick but Spiritless Upgrade
November 07, 2013
Ubuntu's latest desktop OS release, Ubuntu 13.10, is more of a plain-Jane release than its "Saucy Salamander" nickname might otherwise suggest. This release comes six months after the Raring Ringtail version, which was also a bit of a yawner in terms of offering any must-have-the-upgrade enthusiasm. Like the last release, Ubuntu 13.10 also does not deliver much "wow."
FOSS in the Enterprise: To Pay or Not to Pay?
November 05, 2013
One of the big attractions behind the growing popularity of open source software is the ability to get it and use it for free. In a world of ever-rising costs in pretty much every other aspect of business and life, "free" is an offer that's increasingly difficult to refuse. Support is one area, however, where "free" may not be all it seems -- particularly for enterprises.

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