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Social Networks

Bring On the Decentralized Social Networking 238

Frequent contributor Bennett Haselton writes: "The distributed-social-networking Diaspora Project recently announced that their software will be released as open source. I don't know if Diaspora specifically will be the Next Big Thing in social networking, but I hope that social networking moves to a decentralized model within the next few years, where anyone can set up and run a hub to administer profiles for themselves and their friends or clients, and where profiles can interact with each other in a distributed fashion instead of on a centralized system like Facebook." Read on for Bennett's thoughts on how that model could work.
GNOME

GNOME Developers Lay Out Plans for GNOME OS 208

From the H: "Allan Day has written a blog post on the concrete plans for 'GNOME OS' and provided background on the ideas that have motivated those plans ... Day starts by emphasizing that GNOME OS is not an attempt to replace existing distributions. Although the creation of a standalone GNOME OS is part of the plans, the idea is to make that a testing and development platform, and any improvements that come from GNOME OS should 'directly improve what the GNOME project is able to offer distributions.' Many of the drivers for GNOME OS are, Day says, old ideas to improve the development experience, such as automated testing and sandboxed applications, and while the developers could have separate initiatives for each feature, the idea is to work on them as a 'holistic plan' under the moniker 'GNOME OS.'" A few slides provide more context. In the works are stabilizing the platform APIs, improving deployment of applications, making everything automatically testable, and probably the most controversial: "The increasing popularity of mobile and touch devices represents a challenge to existing desktop solutions. This situation is complicated by the emergence of new hybrid devices that combine keyboards, touchpads and touchscreens. During our discussions last week we talked about how existing types of devices – primarily laptops and desktops – have to remain the primary focus for GNOME ... At the same time, we also want to ensure that GNOME remains compatible with new hardware. ... We have set the goal of having a touch-compatible GNOME 3 within a maximum of 18 months." The drive toward touch may seem obnoxious to desktop users, but spreading Free Software to a hardware ecosystem that is currently locked down and proprietary seems like a good goal to have.

Submission + - Check your Paypal buttons (debian-administration.org)

51mon writes: "Seems Paypal regard domain images.paypal.com domain as defunct. Probably broken by recent infrastructure changes at Paypal (April 19th)

People with older Paypal buttons may find their pages slow or fail to load.

Paypal support seem to be relaxed on the issue asking me to supply them lists of their own documentation which use the old name. There appears to be no planning to the decommissioning, no use of HTTP redirects.

I can't find a start date for this problem, I can't find any other references."

Comment Re:I think the FSF might be a bit biased (Score 2) 277

We can't tell from Blackduck's data either since it isn't known what criteria are used by them.

We could pick other projects and see what the trend is in them, but ultimately all we would know is what the trend is in them. Google Code looks like a fairly easy place to gather some figures from and they host a lot of code these days.

Any such study is limited by the set of data it looks at. I presume the FSF chose Debian because it is (a) large (b) licenses are reasonably easily checkable (c) well documented historical versions, so they could quickly check if the there is a trend away from the GNU GPL in the kind of systems the FSF was created to create.

The changes in Blackduck's data are simply too large to reflect changes to say GNU/Linux distros, since software tends not to change license that often, so it seems likely they are just including more sources of free software from other places which simply have less GNU GPL software in them, in which case what you are seeing is their data becomes more representative of the totality of free software code rather than a trend away from the GNU GPL.

Thus it is possible both studies are correct and that GNU GPL usage is increasing in Debian (and probably other general purpose GNU/Linux desktops - not least a lot of them are based on Debian, and perhaps in general), and GNU GPL now forms a smaller part of the code base that Blackduck are keeping in their knowledge base.

Whilst I'm sure the FSF like people to use the GNU GPL, they are pro-free software, so if that the amount of free software Blackduck find is growing faster than the growth in GNU GPL software, it is unlikely to be keeping my friends in Boston up at night.

But what really matters is what software people use, not the proportion of software in repositories. I'm using Debian to write this, and I don't much care what free software license most of the software I use is, as long as Debian can inspect, package, fix and distribute it.

I care more when I write code, but mostly that the codebase I'm contributing to aims to remain free, a copyleft license is a guarantee of that, but it isn't the only such guarantee that makes me feel good. I'd happily contribute freely to the Apache project knowing me and my friends can expect to benefit from any such contribution in future even without a copyleft license.

Comment Re:Windows Cl is useless (Score 1) 780

You've never enabled the extra features in Bash auto-completion have you.

In Bash the tab auto-completion is programmable, with the typical configuration used on Debian it completes command names, file names (to nearest unambiguous match and then shows you the list of matching names), it will display the command line options to commands limited to those which match what you've typed so far, for various commands that take commons lists (like list of available software packages) it will auto-complete those arguments from those lists.

I believe Zsh does similar but also shows short extract from documentation on command line options in addition.

The problem is as a GNU/Linux user you can end up like me and just hit tab whenever the grey matter glitches and you forgot what you were going to type next.

Say you want to install a web server with PHP5....

$ apt-g[tab] completes "apt-get "
$apt-get i[tab] completes the "install" option
$apt-get install libapa[tab] saves typing the "che" (goodness you can get lazy)
$apt-get install libapache2-m[tab] saves typing "od" for mod
$apt-get install libapache2-mod-ph[tab] saves typing the "p5"
$apt-get install libapache2-mod-php5

So I've saved typing 15 characters (if I can count), got everything spelt right first time, and this one command will (I think) get you a webserver and PHP5 installed and ready for development work, of course usually you want to specify which thread model you want for the Apache webserver and probably want some other dev tools but it makes the points that you only need 16 key presses to install a webserver with PHP (no browsing to websites, downloading installers, or finding your original installation CD image to drag IIS off, or patching to get it up to date after running the command (since it'll install the latest versions). Only the command name "apt-get" is a file name.

It has been this way for a long time in Debian (although PHP5 wasn't around all that time), and you have to uncomment a line in one of the config files to enable the enhanced completion otherwise I think it is just filenames (including commands).

Comment Re:Obligatory quote (Score 1) 780

I was kind of worried about the opposite. It suggests someone at Microsoft has been doing some serious work making Windows easier to administrate, which might make it more popular amongst the IT literate crowd, and thus more popular generally.

This remote admin will make automaton of admin easier, and also discourage what we (and many others) are guilty of, which is logging in with VNC or remote desktop, and messing about as Administrator because we only have a few boxes. Until we realize actually we have far too many to be doing it all this way.

Comment Re:Reasonable Expectation (Score 1) 403

"That said... a reasonable expectation may not translate into something actionable in a court of law."

IANAL - but UK law explicitly implemented rules to govern consumer agreements where you can't negotiate contract terms. (Unfair terms in consumer contracts regulations) which were based on an EU directive from 1993, which effectively boils down to a reasonableness test (although there are restrictions on fields of reasonableness).

Whilst I don't have a problem boycotting Sony, perhaps such contracts probably needs some sort of proper legal redress in the style of the European directive, as otherwise it would be pretty much impossible to buy/lease any modern software or hardware without agreeing to similarly outrages terms and conditions as were used in this class action.

Apple

Steve Jobs Dead At 56 1613

SoCalChris writes "Apple cofounder Steve Jobs was found dead in his Cupertino home this morning. I'm sure everyone in the Slashdot community will miss him — even if you didn't enjoy his work, there's no denying his contributions to popular culture. Truly an American icon."

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