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WFTL Bytes! for Dec 19, 2008

This is WFTL Bytes!, your occasiodaily FOSS and Linux news show for Friday, December 19, 2008, with your host, Marcel Gagné. This is episode 40. In today's stories, we get a breath of fresh Air from Adobe, montrously huge losses at Palm, the sudden dematerialization of Novell's Brainshare, a disturbing shot of reality from Good OS, and some fantastic Linux toys for the geek on your shopping list.

Download a local copy in Ogg/Theora, AVI, Flash, iPod, or audio-only MP3.

Want to win a copy of this week's featured book, "The Official Ubuntu Book, 3rd Ed."? To win a copy, comment on this newscast (make sure you include your email when asked). I'll choose a name from the comments, at random, and make the draw after this Friday afternoon. If you simply must have  the book, click the Amazon link to the right. If you can't think of anything to say in a comment (oh, come on), you can email me, quoting the tags from this episode of WFTL Bytes! My thanks to Pearson Higher Education for providing the book.

For links to the stories covered in this newscast, click the 'read more' link.

Links to the stories covered in today's newscast

Adobe Air for Linux is here

Palm sees huge loss; looks to Nova

Sayonara to Novell Brainshare, at least for now.

The picture at ThinkGos

Linux gadget hall of fame


Re: WFTL Bytes! for Dec 19, 2008

So the Ming looks awesome. I have been interested by the Kindle, but I much prefer to read with paper. Once they come out with a bendable reader I may try it.

Re: WFTL Bytes! for Dec 19, 2008

Lol, I didn't notice your hat was glowing until you pointed it out... perhaps I should pay more attention.

I was listening, I promise. ;)

No link to Ogg-Theora format

Prefer the Ogg format because I can download the entire clip and view it all in one piece.

re: Ogg/Theora link missing

Hey Bob,

Sorry about that, but sometimes it takes me a little longer to do the Ogg/Theora format since I have to generate that one separately. Today was particularly late because of a snow storm here (had to run off and get the kids early -- never got back to the file). Anyhow, it's there now. Sorry about the delay, and thanks for watching.

-- Marcel

re: Ogg/Theora link missing

No problem. As it turned out I viewed it in the browser live without any delay. That is rather unusual in Thailand where I normally expect and get slow download speeds.

Thank you for encoding the show in Ogg Theora! You are a daily must-watch show, now.

Thanks ... uh ... yeah ... thanks

Marcel explores the eternal question, how far over the top can one go in a podcast, alone in front of a camera?

Pretty far.

You've got me hooked, the efficiency of listening to news updates in the background is wearing down my resistance to your ... urm ... delivery?

I've always said I prefer enthusiasm to coolness, the wftlbytes put that to the test.


Keep 'em coming.


Kindle on e-paper?

It's funny that this got mentioned. It just so happens there really is e-paper, but I think it's still in development and promises to be terribly expensive. It works by clearing electronic sensors in a flexible plastic matrix and then turning on (showing as black) the pixels needed to form words. The idea was originally to use e-paper to regenerate new pages of a newspaper as they were formed. Personally, I don't think I'd like reading a book on this, but I have an ancient e-book reader that I really liked (before the batteries became extinct).
Margaret Wendall

Found you today.

Originally freaked out due to the box to the right saying Fall River?!?!? I live there. Then it hit me, duh IP address. I need more sleep.

Enjoyed the show.

gOS and a bag full of mostly goodies

Well, I have to say that I did go and look at gOS Gadgets...and downloaded it...and installed it on my daughter's computer: P4 1.2Ghz or thereabouts, with 768Mb RAM and a 64Mb ATI video card.

The following is not in any particular order and I've included pros and cons as I've gone along.

I was and am quite impressed. The desktop is very attractive as is the instantly installed toolbar at the bottom which emulates the Mac OSX toolbar.

The install was very simple and easy and includes many proprietary bits and pieces (e.g. video codecs). In this instance, as with distros like Linux Mint and Simply Mepis, when you complete an install like this for a friend, they're completely shocked that everything is instantly there: office suite, video editing suite, games etc.

My daughter loves installing and trying out the new widgets from Google Gadgets – many of which are educational. For instance, one shows the planets in the solar system and when you click on a planet, you're connected to a page on the NASA site which discusses that particular planet.

Though the base of gOS is Ubuntu Hardy Heron 8.04, I had problems with the settings on the sound card. I also had and still have some problems with sliders on such things as the audio volume control. I haven't spent much time on this as the external speakers attached to the computer have volume controls. By comparison, the machine had Edubuntu 8.04 installed and there were no similar problems. I'm assuming there's some work still required on the GUI by the gOS people.

One advantage of Ubuntu forming the base is that you have access to all the lovely bits of Ubuntu and the forum is therefore useful for gOS users.

The default colours (hues of green) are very attractive but the initial font settings are far too small for my eyes and there are some contrast issues (for me, that is) with the settings. Additionally, the video resolution initially appeared difficult to get right as the toolbar at the bottom kept disappearing when I changed the default settings to 1024x768 (it had a much higher resolution that did not appear 'square' to me (i.e. round shapes appeared slightly elliptical). I then realised (after about 30 minutes) that I had to refresh the tool bar (using the option in the menu) for the toolbar to reappear. This would, I think, be a bit of a killer if you were didn't persevere and 'fiddle'...mind you, if you were smarter than me, maybe you'd work it out earlier!

Interestingly Google Gear/gadgets chew through a fair bit of RAM and CPU processing power. I suspect the ATI drivers for the card (ATI Radeon 9200 series) may not be great – this is something I've no experience of as this is the only ATI card I've ever used) and this may contribute to a sense of a slightly less responsive system when you're using a fair few gadgets/widgets on the desktop – there are many of them which my daughter is quite attached to.

All of this does not detract from the very 21st Century fact that gOS has a great many gadgets which connect you to 'the Cloud', which have given me my first experience of Prism. An example is gmail. When you open the gmail application, it creates a webpage dedicated only to gmail. Thus your gmail application acts as if it is an application on your desktop, rather than in a web browser.

On thing I have not done yet is to send mail by clicking on a mail link on a webpage to see if it automatically creates and e-mail for you (as per Thunderbird and other desktop applications).

So, would I recommend it? Yes. Do I like it? Yes. More importantly, do my children like it? A resounding YES!

To this end, I'm going to hack the Edubuntu install on one of our the desktops used by our children to see if I can change it to be more like the gOS.

If you have a machine with reasonable specifications, I'd recommend gOS as means to impress other by displaying the many capacities and beauties of Linux as a desktop operating system.