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Comment Re:A few clarifications (Score 4, Informative) 137

It was done some years ago: in 2002 they bought 70.000 PCs and put the first 50.000 one for every 2 high-school students (so my first information was wrong, it's not under 13 but 13 to 17 years old) and the remaining 20.000 for primary education (under 13 yo.)

Here is a blog entry (in Spanish) from 2009 in which one of the responsibles comments on the conversion of the original PCs into thin clients:

Comment Re:Typical misleading summary (Score 4, Informative) 137

I don't know what the automated translation looks like, but I can tell you that

a) LinEx was not a "ridiculous incest", it made sense big time and also was more than just the distro, they put a free-software-based-PC every two under-13 school kids, they put the same PCs in every public library in the region ("Nuevos Centros del Conocimiento", New Knowledge Centers), they created elder-persons computer-literacy programs and more...

b) how can they "suck in public money" if they were the very public administration? They stopped giving away public money to (US) private companies, and created a public entrerprise to create a public-interest, publicly-available, free-as-in-beer-and-also-as-in-speech region-wide computer network with public access to the internet.

Comment A few clarifications (Score 5, Informative) 137

Please allow me to make a few clarifications on the subject, because there are some additional facts related than can be missed if you didn't read TFA and TF(Spanish Newspaper)A linked by TFA:

  • Extremadura became pioneer in Free SW creating their own Debian-based distro 9 years ago, LinEx (Linux Extremadura)
  • They implanted a PC every two school students (primary education, up to 13 yr) region-wide running LinEx, appart from the Regional Administration
  • Now they're closing the LinEx development project, handing it to a national-level (rather than regional)
  • The information is based in a 2011-12-31 statement by the regional CIO, saying they're migrating from LinEx to "pure" Debian as LinEx is orphaned
  • I've tried to find additional info (like planning, additional commentaries, etc) in newspapers, the official regional citizen-info site, etc. on the subject but I've found nothing
  • I've found some statements from LinEx project (now ex-)workers but these statements where just suppositions
  • Regarding to a HW and UEFI related comment I've seen, I don't think they will replace any hardware, they will just migrate the OS in those systems already owned by the regional administration

Australian Stats Agency Goes Open Source 51

jimboh2k writes "The Australian Bureau of Statistics will use the 2011 Census of Population and Housing as a dry run for XML-based open source standards DDI and SDMX in a bid to make for easier machine-to-machine data, allowing users to better search for and access census datasets. The census will become the first time the open standards are used by an Australian Federal Government agency."

Submission + - SPAM: X Power Tools

stoolpigeon writes: "The X Window System has been around for over twenty years and is the display system for an incredibly wide range of operating systems. With the number of Linux users growing, there are more people working with X than ever before. Most modern desktop environments provide user friendly interfaces that make modifying X rather simple. There is not so much need to dig into config files and settings as in the past but for those environments without such tools or for the user who loves to dig deep into their environment this book can be a simple way to understanding how X works and how to tweak it in any number of ways. If you want things that 'just work' and have no interest in digging around below the surface this book is not for you. On the other hand, if you think the best thing to do with a shiny new tool is to take it apart, well "X Power Tools" by Chris Tyler may be just for you.

The author, Chris Tyler, is a professor at Seneca College in Toronto as well as a programmer and Linux user. His first book published by O'Reilly was "Fedora Linux: A Complete Guide to Red Hat's Community Distribution", published in 2006. He cites the growth in X users, combined with active development and the lack of existing books that address X as the motivation for writing "X Power Tools."

X is the windowing system on a wide range of Unix and Unix like systems. Chris is obviously most familiar with Linux and so the material is heavily Linux oriented. This is most apparent when the book deals with Session Managers, Desktop Environments and Window Managers. The material focuses on Gnome, KDE and Xfce and their associated components in regards to X. For the Linux user this could be a valuable resource.

When I've had issues in working with X locally and over the network, I've found that while what I need is available on the web, getting just what I need can be very labor intensive at times. Usually just what I want is spread across tutorials, on-line man pages and forum posts. Sorting out what applies to my situation can be especially difficult when I'm not even sure just how things work for my setup. Chris makes this kind of guessing unnecessary and provides the locations and function of key files. He also spells out how the most important files and tools can be best used.

For the sysadmin on another platform, these Linux specific sections are not going to be much help. Most of the book though, deals with X itself. I've already loaned my copy to one of our AIX admins more than once and I think he plans on picking up a copy of his own.

When Gnome and KDE provide an interface for modifying or customizing X functionality, the book gives at least the name of the program and sometimes screen shots and explanations of how the tool works. This is always after an illustration of how to get the job done with the tools that are a part of X itself. From fonts to keyboard layouts, multi-display to kiosks, everything required is laid out in straight forward terms.

For me, as a Fedora user myself, this means that having read this book I approach my work environment with a new level of confidence. Behaviors that used to puzzle me, now make complete sense. Quirks that bothered me, no longer need to be tolerated as I know have the tools to get things working just the way I want, rather than using defaults.

The book has just come out, so it was being written before the release of KDE 4. I've looked through the documentation and I don't think any of the changes to programs like KDM or KWin make the information in the book out of date. In fact, according to the KWin release notes, when discussing KWins new compositing support, "...manual configuration of X may be required for proper results..." So if you are a KDE user that likes to live on the edge, this book may come in handy.

O'Reilly says that their "Power Tool" books are comprised of a series of stand-alone articles that are cross-referenced to one another. To be honest, it didn't feel much different from reading any other tech book. Topics flowed naturally and the articles are analogous to sections that divide up chapters in other books. One nice navigation feature is that page numbers are on the bottom of the pages while chapter and article numbers are at the top corner in a decimal notations. For example at the top of page 58 there is a grey square containing the number 3.13 which means that it is the 13th article in chapter 3.

The book has a thorough index. It also comes with 45 days free access to an electronic version through O'Reilly Safari.

For me the only real weakness of the book is that I would like to have seen more information on working with X on Unix. When reference is made to specific implementation of X it is almost always in regards to Linux. I wouldn't want to lose that, but I think a mixed environment of Unix, Linux and Windows is more the rule than the exception today. It would be more work to include other operating systems, but it would have also made the book much more valuable.

All tech books face the danger of becoming quickly useless as progress marches forward. X is actively being developed, but at the same time, looking back on its history I think this book will be useful for sysadmin and user for some time to come."

Audio Watermark Web Spider Starts Crawling 173

DippityDo writes "A new web tool is scanning the net for signs of copyright infringement. Digimarc's patented system searches video and audio files for special watermarks that would indicate they are not to be shared, then reports back to HQ with the results. It sounds kind of creepy, but has a long way to go before it makes a practical difference. 'For the system to work, players at multiple levels would need to get involved. Broadcasters would need to add identifying watermarks to their broadcast, in cooperation with copyright holders, and both parties would need to register their watermarks with the system. Then, in the event that a user capped a broadcast and uploaded it online, the scanner system would eventually find it and report its location online. Yet the system is not designed to hop on P2P networks or private file sharing hubs, but instead crawls public web sites in search of watermarked material.'"
GameCube (Games)

Miyamoto Lecture At Smithsonian Documented 36

Thanks to 1UP for its report on last week's Smithsonian lecture featuring game industry luminaries, including Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto, and as previously mentioned on Slashdot Games. After Miyamoto's entrance, heralded with "hoots and hollers [so loud] that you'd think Natalie Portman had just walked out on stage at a Star Wars convention", the article quotes the Nintendo mainstay on his entrance to the industry ("When I originally I came to Nintendo it was to do industrial design... I wanted to make the new Rubix Cube. I never imagined that I would work in video games, especially since I don't like computers"), and his concern over making videogames accessible: ("Everyone should be able to pick-up a controller and play a video game... But still so many people think games are too complex. So I developed the L/R buttons and analog stick to simplify things.")

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