Linzer writes: Developers of the Linux distribution Mageia, a community-driven fork from Mandrake/Mandriva, have annouced the release of Mageia 4, following its yearly release cycle. The RPM-based distribution occupies middle-ground positions in many repects: although historically KDE-centric, it has tried to suit the needs of users of GNOME and other desktop environments. It also aims at balancing user-friendliness and support for recent hardware with high configurability for power users. The new release is based on Linux kernel 3.12 and provides KDE 4.11, GNOME 3.10 and Xfce 4.10, and the new tool Mageia Welcome to help newcomers install popular applications, configure their system, and find support.
Linzer writes: A team of cognitive scientists has shown that baboons are able to read English words and differentiate them from non-words. Initially, the baboons recognize words that have already been presented. Then, in a second phase, they can differentiate between a non-word and an English word unknown to them, apparently relying on relationships between letters, or orthographic patterns, similar to those used by humans. The researchers from Marseille, France have published their findings in Science (full text for subscribers only), and uploaded a video summary.
Linzer writes: In this blog entry, Fred Crozat (head of Mandriva's engineering team in France) explains in great detail how his team has been detecting and getting rid of bottlenecks in the boot process, from the early stages to loading the desktop environment, thus decreasing overall boot time. An informative tour of the nuts and bolts of the boot process and how they can be tinkered with: initrd, initscripts, udev, modprobe calls. The basic tool they use for performance analysis is bootchart, which produces a map of process information and resource utilization during boot. The final trick: preloading desktop environment files while waiting for the user to type her password.