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Linux Business

Submission + - Digia to acquire Qt from Nokia 1

MrvFD writes: "Ever since the most recent layoffs were announced by Nokia last month and the end of Qt related programs at Nokia was rumored, the fate of Qt has been in the air despite it nowadays having a working open governance model. Fear no longer, Qt brand, since Digia has now announced acquiring of Qt organization from Nokia. While relatively unknown company to the masses, it has already been selling the non-free (non-LGPL) licenses of Qt for 1.5 years. Hopefully this'll mean a bright future for Qt in co-operation with other Qt wielding companies like Google, RIM, Canonical, Intel, Skyp... Microsoft, Jolla and the thousands of Qt open source and commercial license users. Digia now plans to quickly enable Qt on Android, iOS and Windows 8 platforms, where work has already been underway for some time."

Submission + - K Desktop Environment is now Plasma Desktop ( 2

Jiilik Oiolosse writes: After literally years of agonizing over the details, KDE has killed KDE. In what is essentially, this is the same process that Mozilla went through, originally being a browser, but now being an organization, the KDE community has killed to term K Desktop Environment (previously the Kool Desktop Environment). KDE had previously ambiguously referred to both the community, and the complete set of programs and tools produced by the KDE community which together formed a desktop user interface. This set of tools, including the window manager, panels and configuration utilities, which KDE terms a 'workspace', will now be shipped under the term "Plasma Desktop". This allows KDE to ship a separate workspace called "Plasma Netbook", and independently market the various KDE applications as usable in any workspace, whether it be the Plasma Desktop, Windows, or XFCE.
Data Storage

A Short History of Btrfs 241 writes "Valerie Aurora, a Linux file system developer and ex-ZFS designer, has posted an article with great insight on how Btrfs, the file system that will replace Ext4, was created and how it works. Quoting: 'When it comes to file systems, it's hard to tell truth from rumor from vile slander: the code is so complex, the personalities are so exaggerated, and the users are so angry when they lose their data. You can't even settle things with a battle of the benchmarks: file system workloads vary so wildly that you can make a plausible argument for why any benchmark is either totally irrelevant or crucially important. ... we'll take a behind-the-scenes look at the design and development of Btrfs on many levels — technical, political, personal — and trace it from its origins at a workshop to its current position as Linus's root file system.'"

Piston-Powered Nuclear Fusion 147

katarn writes "General Fusion is a startup proposing they can create commercially viable fusion using acoustic shock waves, triggered by 220 precisely controlled pneumatic pistons. Their approach is based on a US Naval research concept called 'Linus' and old research done by General Atomics. They feel we now have the high-speed, digital processing capable of pulling off this feat, where decades ago the technology was not available. I think we can hold off on the 'vaporware' claims for a bit; everyone is aware of the horrible track record for turning fusion concepts into reality, but they don't claim to be the first with the idea or that there are not substantial challenges in the way. If nothing else, it is a fascinating concept." Los Alamos National Laboratory has further details on this type of fusion, and longtime LANL researcher Ronald Kirkpatrick did an external assessment (PDF) of General Fusion's plans. Popular Science had a lengthy story about the company a while back. The reason they're back in the headlines now is that they've secured enough funding to begin work on a prototype reactor.

Should Copyright of Academic Works Be Abolished? 349

Dr_Ken writes to mention recent coverage of a Harvard Cyber-Law study on Techdirt that analyzes the uses of copyright in the academic world. Some are claiming that the applications of copyright in academia are stifling and that we should perhaps go so far as to abolish copyright in the academic world entirely. "I've even heard of academics who had to redo pretty much the identical experiment because they couldn't even cite their own earlier results for fear of a copyright claim. It leads to wacky situations where academics either ignore the fact that the journals they published in hold the copyright on their work, or they're forced to jump through hoops to retain certain rights. That's bad for everyone."

The Best First Language For a Young Programmer 634

snydeq writes "Fatal Exception's Neil McAllister questions whether Scheme, a dialect of Lisp taught as part of many first-year CS curricula and considered by some to be the 'latin of programming,' is really the best first language for a young programmer. As he sees it, the essentially write-only Scheme requires you to bore down into the source code just to figure out what a Scheme program is trying to do — excellent for teaching programming but 'lousy for a 15-year-old trying to figure out how to make a computer do stuff on his own.' And though the 'hacker ethic' may in fact be harming today's developers, McAllister still suggests we encourage the young to 'develop the innate curiosity and love of programming that lies at the heart of any really brilliant programmer' by simply encouraging them to fool around with whatever produces the most gratifying results. After all, as Jeff Atwood puts it, 'what we do is craftmanship, not engineering,' and inventing effective software solutions takes insight, inspiration, deduction, and often a sprinkling of luck. 'If that means coding in Visual Basic, so be it. Scheme can come later.'"

Robot Makes Scientific Discovery (Mostly) On Its Own 250

Hugh Pickens writes "A science-savvy robot called Adam has successfully developed and tested its first scientific hypothesis, discovering that certain genes in baker's yeast code for specific enzymes which encourage biochemical reactions in yeast, then ran an experiment with its lab hardware to test its predictions, and analyzed the results, all without human intervention. Adam was equipped with a database on genes that are known to be present in bacteria, mice and people, so it knew roughly where it should search in the genetic material for the lysine gene in baker's yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Ross King, a computer scientist and biologist at Aberystwyth University, first created a computer that could generate hypotheses and perform experiments five years ago. 'This is one of the first systems to get [artificial intelligence] to try and control laboratory automation,' King says. '[Current robots] tend to do one thing or a sequence of things. The complexity of Adam is that it has cycles.' Adam has cost roughly $1 million to develop and the software that drives Adam's thought process sits on three computers, allowing Adam to investigate a thousand experiments a day and still keep track of all the results better than humans can. King's group has also created another robot scientist called Eve dedicated to screening chemical compounds for new pharmaceutical drugs that could combat diseases such as malaria.

Cities View Red Light Cameras As Profit Centers 740

Houston 2600 writes "Chicago could rake in 'at least $200 million' a year — and wipe out the entire projected deficit for 2009 — by using its vast network of redlight and surveillance cameras to hunt down uninsured motorists, aldermen were told today. The system pitched to the City Council's Transportation Committee by Michigan-based InsureNet would work only if insurance companies were somehow compelled to report the names and license plates of insured motorists. That's already happening daily in 13 states, but not here."

FIRST Robotics Competition Announced 73

Z80xxc! writes "FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) has officially announced the 2009 FIRST Robotics Competition. This competition, started by inventor Dean Kamen, encourages high-school students to design and build robots to compete with and against other FRC teams. The competition overview video is available from NASA. This year's competition is called 'Lunacy.' The game consists of a series of 135-second face-offs during which the student-designed robots must pick up 9-inch game balls and deposit them in trailers hitched to the opposing teams' robots. The game field is coated with regolith, a slick polymer material, and special wheels are used to create a low-traction interaction with the crater's surface. Together, these combine to simulate the one-sixth gravity on the surface of the moon. For any readers who are interested in participating, FRC teams can always use more adult mentors."
GNU is Not Unix

Open Source Victories of 2008 378

Meshach writes "Ars Technica has an interesting run-down on the major open source victories of 2008. Some, like Firefox 3, we can probably mostly agree on. Others — KDE 4 comes to mind — will be more controversial. And Mono 2? What else should be on the list?"

32bit Win7 Vs. Vista Vs. XP 641

An anonymous reader writes "ZDNet's Adrian Kingsley-Hughes tested the latest Win7 build against XP and Vista and came to a surprising conclusion: Win7 performs better than the other 2 OSs in the vast majority of the 23 tasks tested. Even installation. 'Rather than publish a series of benchmark results for the three operating systems (something which Microsoft frowns upon for beta builds, not to mention the fact that the final numbers only really matter for the release candidate and RTM builds), I've decided to put Windows 7, Vista and XP head-to-head in a series of real-world tests...'" This review shows only a 1-2-3 ranking for each test, so there's no sense of the quantitative level of improvement.

NASA's IBEX Ready For Launch 28

dj writes "NASA has designed a mission to map the boundary of the solar system. The mission is called IBEX (Interstellar Boundary Explorer) and it is ready to launch. The data collected by IBEX will allow scientists to understand the interaction between our Sun and the galaxy for the first time. Understanding this interaction will help us protect future astronauts from the danger of galactic cosmic rays." The IBEX Launch Blog will go active "about 2 hours before launch scheduled for 1:48 p.m. EDT," and the Southwest Research Institute will be running webcasts of the event. The IBEX fact sheet provides more details about the mission (PDF). IBEX will reach space via a Pegasus rocket launched from an L-1011 "Stargazer" carrier plane. You can see the launch countdown schedule at NASA's site.
The Media

A Wikipedia Conspiracy and the Wall Street Meltdown 485

PatrickByrne writes "This is The Register's world-class investigative piece concerning one aspect of the meltdown on Wall Street ('naked short selling') and how the criminals engaged a journalist to distort Wikipedia to confuse the discourse. The article explicitly and formally accuses a well-known US financial journalist, Gary Weiss, of lying about his efforts to distort a Wikipedia page under assumed names, and accuses the Powers That Be in Wikipedia (right up to and including Jimbo Wales) of complicity in protecting Weiss. This is not another story about a 15-year-old farm kid in Iowa pretending to be a professor. This is like the worst Chomskian view of Elites manipulating mass opinion. But it is all documented." We discussed the alleged Wikipedia manipulation when The Register first wrote about it last December. The submitter is the CEO of and a major player in this drama from the beginning.

Could Google Become a Game Publisher? 85

Forbes is running a story examining the possibility of Google becoming a games publisher. The launch of their Google Lively 3D world and the acquisition of in-game advertiser AdScape has analysts speculating on whether Google will use its enormous reach to tap into the lucrative games market. "Google also has several existing technologies that could be used to create games. Imagine a flight simulator that uses Google Earth as a backdrop or tracking a spy in a major city via Google Maps' street view. While there would still be significant work required to create a game using these tools, the underlying technology is already fundamentally finished."

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