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By Howard Dyckoff and Kat Tanaka Okopnik

News Bytes

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News in General

lightning bolt Sun Pockets MySQL

At the same time Oracle was buying BEA, Sun announced its agreement to buy Open Source stalwart MySQL AB. It was only a billion or so. "As part of the transaction, Sun will pay approximately $800 million in cash in exchange for all MySQL stock and assume approximately $200 million in options." (from biz.yahoo.com) While there was some negative reaction (see ArsTechnica's posting here), many firms in the partner network around MySQL seemed supporting or accepting. Principal among these were those in the PHP community such as Harold Goldberg, CEO, Zend Technologies (the PHP company).

"This is a very good deal for the open source and web economies and it confirms the success of the LAMP (Linux-Apache-MySQL-PHP) stack as a web platform. The valuation of the transaction reflects the broad enterprise adoption of LAMP, which is also driving strong revenue growth at Zend Technologies. We have a long history of working closely with MySQL and are encouraged to see the senior roles the MySQL executives will play at Sun. It gives us confidence that we will be able to work with Sun, like we did with MySQL, to advance the innovation and open standards that power the adoption of the LAMP stack." - Harold Goldberg, CEO, Zend Technologies

Andi Gutman, co-founder of Zend and a PHP community leader, expressed support in his Jan 16th blog posting at http://andigutmans.blogspot.com/.

"...Sun missed the boat on the modern Web. Today there is very little of the huge PHP-based Web community that actually runs on Solaris."

Gutman noted that Sun needs to garner mindshare among the PHP community:

"In order to be successful, Sun has to recognize how significant PHP is for the MySQL user base and has to be pragmatic in how it thinks about and approaches this new business opportunity. By doing so they can truly use this acquisition as an opportunity to become a serious player in the modern Web server market."

MySQL and Zend have both promoted the popularity of the LAMP stack. These two companies have tremendous overlap in their customer bases and have worked closely together to ensure their products work well together. As a result, much of the modern Web uses PHP and MySQL.and both Zend and MySQL have been backed by Index Ventures.

According to MySQL VP Kaj Arno in his company blog: "...I expect Sun to add value to our community. I don't expect huge change, though. We continue to work with our quality contributors, we continue to provide our MySQL Forums, the Planet MySQL blog aggregator, we remain on the #mysql-dev and #mysql channels on Freenode, we provide MySQL University lessons, we meet at the MySQL Users Conference. We'll put effort into connecting the many FOSS enthusiasts and experts at Sun - whom we will now learn to know better - with our active user community." Sun was pushing PostgreSQL on Solaris in the last year and this switch to favoring MySQL was unexpected. The main thrust seems to be fulling out Sun's services portfolio and increased access to Linux users. Sun CEO Jonathon Schwartz noted the revenue opportunities for Sun and spoke of having a unique combination of developer resources for both a popular database and a Unix operating system. See his blog entry here: http://blogs.sun.com/jonathan/

Said Schwartz: "MySQL is already the performance leader on a variety of benchmarks - we'll make performance leadership the default for every application we can find (and on every vendor's hardware platforms, not just Sun's - and on Linux, Solaris, Windows, all). For the technically oriented, Falcon will absolutely sing on Niagara... talk about a match made in heaven." (Niagara is the multi-core SPARC processor)

He also wrote, "Until now, no platform vendor has assembled all the core elements of a completely open source operating system for the Internet. No company has been able to deliver a comprehensive alternative to the leading proprietary OS."

There is also a Sun blog posting about the high cost of proprietary databases and the growing "commoditization" of databases here: http://blogs.sun.com/jkshah/entry/cost_of_proprietary_database

An eWeek article compares the acquisition approaches of Sun and Oracle, noting that this further commits Sun to an Open Source strategy, and quotes industry analysts as favoring the Sun-MySQL deal. See: http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Enterprise-Apps/Oracle-Sun-Seek-Big-Buys/?kc=EWKNLENT011808STR2

Oracle closed its deal with BEA after upping its purchase price to $8.5 Billion dollars in January. BEA had been integrating its own purchases and has overlaps with the Oracle product line in portals, business process tools, and the ubiquitous Weblogic Java Application Server. Industry analysts view Oracle's motive primarily as a market share ploy, to position itself better vs. IBM and Microsoft.

The Wall Street Journal wrote "Acquisitions by Silicon Valley software giants Oracle Corp. and Sun Microsystems Inc. suggested a slowing economy and other forces could kick a recent wave of high-tech deals into higher gear." Wonder who's next??

lightning bolt AMD Acknowledges Faux Pas, Plans for New 8-way Opteron

"We blew it, and we're humbled by it," AMD CEO Hector Ruiz told a December analysts conference in New York. It has shipped few of its new quad-core architecture Opterons due to problems in the translation lookaside buffer (TLB). Although there are OS-level patches for the problems with almost no performance penalty, BIOS level workarounds can result in a 10% or greater performance penalty (and some worst case tests show a 30% hit). All the OEMs - Dell, HP, IBM, Sun, et al. - are careful not to incur a support nightmare, assuming customers may not install the OS patches correctly.

The TLB issue primarily impacts virtualization due to how guest OS might use some TLB registers. If the guest OS is patched not to use the registers, there is no need for a BIOS fix. So some Barcelona chips have been shipped for use in HPC clusters where bare metal performance is optimized, such as the Texas Advanced Computing Center at U of T. AMD said that it has shipped about 35,000 Barcelona chips by mid-December and it expects to ship "hundreds of thousands" by the first quarter of 2008. At the January earnings announcement, AMD did show that shipments for its 4-way chips were ramping up. (From Mercury News)

The Sunnyvale chip maker backed away from its previously stated goal of ending its string of losses in 2007, saying it's aiming to break even in the second quarter and turn an operating profit in the third quarter. It also confirmed it will delay the widespread launch of its "quad-core" server chip until the first quarter of next year. CEO Ruiz spoke encouragingly of "...a phenomenal transition year in 2008."

As recently as 2005, AMD was grabbing market share from rival Intel. But then came a series of missed deadlines on new products and price-cutting. The company also acknowledged that it significantly overpaid for ATI Technologies ($5.6 billion) and will write down the value of the biggest acquisition in AMD history.

The AMD road map includes a transition to 45nm process technology with Shanghai and Montreal processors as successors to Barcelona starting in the 3rd Quarter of 2008. The Montreal chip will sport an octal core in 2009 with a 1 MB L2 cache and 6-12 MB of L3 per cache, roughly matching or modestly exceeding the Intel roadmap. AMD is also a partner with IBM in developing a 32 nanometer chip fabrication process that may be cheaper and more flexible than the 32 nm process that Intel will use for its CPUs next year.

Also helping, in January, HP announced that it would sell a new consumer PC - the Pavilion m8330f - that uses AMD's new quad-core Phenom processor.

From ArsTechnica: http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20071213-forecasting-2008-amd-strikeapologiststrike-analyst-day.html

AMD acknowledges quad-core woes; Promises rebound; Highlights roadmap


lightning bolt Intel Splits from OLPC Board

Intel has decided to pursue its own plans for 3rd World student computers, ending its short association with the One Laptop Per Child project after only a few months on its board. In a January statement, the OLPC board said that Intel had violated written agreements with the board of directors, specifically in not helping to develop software jointly with the project. The OLPC statement also claimed that Intel "disparaged" the OLPC's XO laptop to developing nations that were in negotiations to purchase the XO.

The Intel scheme for 3rd world classrooms uses a small but more standard laptop with flash storage that runs Windows, while OLPC uses Linux and open source applications and has hardware -- especially the screen and keyboard -- more suitable for 3rd world environments. OLPC's XO also consumes substantially less power. The first models used a low-power AMD processor and Intel was angling to get OLPC to switch to a low-power Intel chip.

An Intel spokesperson claimed the issue was that OLPC wanted Intel to work "exclusively on the OLPC system".

Here are links to BBC pages that reviews features of both the OLPC XO and Intel's Classmate mini-laptop: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/7094695.stm and http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/7119160.stm

lightning bolt JBuilder 2007 Named "Best Java IDE"

InfoWorld has named CodeGear's JBuilder 2007 the "Best Java Integrated Development Environment" as part of its recent 2008 Technology awards.

CodeGear is the developer tools foundry descended from Borland and its JBuilder 2007 IDE now runs on the open source Eclipse framework. JBuilder speeds the development of Java and Web-based applications. CodeGear makes tools for C/C++ and Java development as well as Ruby on Rails.

"I found a very smooth, very robust IDE with many innovative features. It's safe to say that CodeGear decided to throw everything it had at this release - and succeeded brilliantly," wrote Andrew Binstock, senior contributing editor at InfoWorld. "...JBuilder feels solid throughout - a remarkable achievement given its status as a first release on Eclipse."

To learn more about CodeGear and its products, visit www.codegear.com.

Details on all winners of the InfoWorld 2008 Technology of the Year awards are available online at: http://www.infoworld.com/

lightning bolt SCO-Novell Damage Claims Get a Court Date

The drama continues. A Federal judge has set an April date to determine just how much the SCO Group must compensate Novell for royalties it collected on Unix operating system licenses after Novell, and not SCO, was proven to be the copyright holder.

Utah district judge Dale Kimball set the trial for April 29 in Salt Lake City.

SCO must compensate Novell for the royalties it collected but its has less in the bank than that amount. Novell is concerned that SCO and its financial backers may try to extract or liquidate it assets before paying.

lightning boltExist Global Acquires DevZuz

Exist Global, a Philippines based software engineering firm, announced their acquisition of US-based open source expert DevZuz to create a system to help companies utilize outsourcing and overseas companies along with open source technologies to create a cost efficient and also successful software application.

DevZuz provides a platform that links enterprises to open source application developers. Exist's strength is their cost effective rapid software development. With the global demand for innovative software increasing, combining these companies will


lightning boltEaton Corp/UbuntuIHV Certification

Eaton Corporation announced that its MGE Office Protection Systems Personal Solution Pac v3 for Linux and Network Shutdown Module v3 is the "first UPS power management solution to receive Ubuntu's Independent Hardware Vendor (IHV) Certification". This software allows for default UPS integration and is designed to assure communication, monitoring and graceful shutdown during prolonged power disturbances.

MGE Office Protection Systems UPS hardware users can download the free software at http://www.mgeops.com/index.php/downloads/software_downloads.
For additional information on MGE Office Protection Systems Linux solutions, visit http://www.mgeops.com/index.php/products__1/power_management .
For more information about Ubuntu and the IHV partners, visit http://webapps.ubuntu.com/partners/system/ .
To learn more about Eaton's complete line of MGE Office Protection Systems products and service portfolio, visit www.mgeops.com.

lightning boltTuxMobil Now Offers 7,000 Linux Guides for the Laptop

The TuxMobil project is the largest online resource on Linux and mobile computing, covering all aspects concerning Linux on laptops and notebooks. In ten years, Werner Heuser has compiled more than 7,000 links to Linux laptop and notebook installation and configuration guides.

These guides and how-tos are suitable for newbies as well as experts. Most of the guides are in English, but special TuxMobil sections are dedicated to other languages.

TuxMobil indexes the guides by manufacturer and model as well as by processor type, display size and Linux distribution. All major Linux distributions (RedHat, Fedora, Gentoo, Debian, Novell/SuSE, Ubuntu, Mandriva, Knoppix) and many not-so-well-known distributions are present. Other Unix derivatives like BSD, Minix and Solaris are also covered.

Linux installation guides for Tablet PCs and a survey of suitable drivers and applications like handwriting-recognition tools are described in a separate section.

TuxMobil provides details about Linux hardware compatibility for PCMCIA cards, miniPCI cards, ExpressCards, infrared, Bluetooth, wireless LAN adapters and Webcams.


lightning boltOpen Moko

OpenMoko, creator of an integrated open source mobile platform, is now a separate company.

"We have reached our initial milestone with the developer version of the Neo 1973 - the world's first entirely open mobile phone," said OpenMoko CEO Sean Moss-Pultz.

OpenMoko also announced a partnership with Dash Navigation, Inc. The Dash Express, an Internet-connected GPS device for the consumer market, runs on the Neo mobile hardware and software platform. The Dash Express is now available for pre-order directly from Dash Navigation.

In further news, OpenMoko announced it has inked a deal with mobile device distributor, Pulster, in Germany. Pulster specializes in online sales of mobile devices, selling into the industrial and education markets with focus on Linux-based solutions. Pulster will distribute the Neo 1973 and Neo FreeRunner, a Wi-Fi-enabled mobile device with sophisticated graphics capable of handing a new generation of open source mobile applications.


lightning boltDemonstrating Open Source Health Care Solutions (DOHCS '08) at SCaLE

An opportunity for providers, administrators, technical people and journalists in the health field to see firsthand how open source is making strong in-roads and hear real world success stories firsthand.

A number of the presenters and sponsors were just featured by the California Health Care Foundation (CHCF) in their analysis here: http://www.chcf.org/topics/view.cfm?itemID=133551


InfoWorld's Virtualization Executive Forum - Free Feb 4, Hotel Nikko, San Francisco, CA https://ssl.infoworld.com/servlet/voa/voa_reg.jsp?promoCode=VIPGST

Southern California Linux Expo - SCaLE 2008 February 8 - 10, Los Angeles, CA www.socallinuxexpo.org

Florida Linux Show 2008 February 11, Jacksonville, FL http://www.floridalinuxshow.com

JBoss World 2008 February 13 - 15, Orlando, FL http://www.jbossworld.com

COPU Linux Developer Symposium February 19 - 20, Beijing, China http://oss.org.cn/modules/tinyd1/index.php?id=3

FOSDEM 2008 February 23 - 24, Brussels, Belgium http://www.fosdem.org/

USENIX File and Storage Technologies (FAST '08) February 26 - 29, San Jose, CA http://www.usenix.org/fast08/

Sun Tech Days February 27 - 29, Hyderabad, India http://developers.sun.com/events/techdays

Software Development West 2008 March 3 - 7, Santa Clara, CA http://sdexpo.com/2008/west/register.htm

O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference 2008 March 3 - 6, Marriott Marina, San Diego, CA http://conferences.oreilly.com/etech

Sun Tech Days March 4 - 6, Sydney, Australia http://developers.sun.com/events/techdays

CeBIT 2008 March 4 - 9, Hannover, Germany http://www.cebit.de/

DISKCON Asia Pacific March 5 - 7, Orchid Country Club, Singapore Contact: pslim@idema.org

Novell BrainShare 2008 March 16 - 21, Salt Palace, Salt Lake City, UT www.novell.com/brainshare (Early-bird discount price deadline: February 15, 2008)

EclipseCon 2008 March 17 - 20, Santa Clara, CA http://www.eclipsecon.org/ ($1295 until Feb 14, higher at the door; 15% discount for alumni and Eclipse members)

AjaxWorld East 2008 March 19 - 20, New York City http://www.ajaxworld.com/

SaaScon March 25 - 26, Santa Clara, CA http://www.saascon.com

Sun Tech Days April 4 - 6, St. Petersburg, Russia http://developers.sun.com/events/techdays

RSA Conference 2008 April 7 - 11, San Francisco, CA www.RSAConference.com (save up $700 before January 11, 2008)

2008 Scrum Gathering April 14 - 16, Chicago, IL http://www.scrumalliance.org/events/5--scrum-gathering

MySQL Conference and Expo April 14 - 17, Santa Clara, CA www.mysqlconf.com

Web 2.0 Expo April 22 - 25, San Francisco, CA sf.web2expo.com

Interop Las Vegas - 2008 April 27 - May 2, Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas, NV http:://www.interop.com/

JavaOne 2008 May 6 - 9, San Francisco, CA http://java.sun.com/javaone

Forrester's IT Forum 2008 May 20 - 23, The Venetian, Las Vegas, NV http://www.forrester.com/events/eventdetail?eventID=2067

DC PHP Conference & Expo 2008 June 2 - 4, George Washington University, Washington, DC http://www.dcphpconference.com/

Symantec Vision 2008 June 9 - 12, The Venetian, Las Vegas, NV http://vision.symantec.com/VisionUS/

Red Hat Summit 2008 June 18 - 20, Hynes Convention Center, Boston, MA http://www.redhat.com/promo/summit/

Dr. Dobb's Architecture & Design World 2008 July 21 - 24, Hyatt Regency, Chicago, IL. http://www.sdexpo.com/2008/archdesign/maillist/mailing_list.htm

Linuxworld Conference August 4 - 7, San Francisco, California http://www.linuxworldexpo.com/live/12/


lightning bolt Restful Ruby on Rails 2.0 Arrives on Track

The latest incarnation of the Ruby framework was a full version update that arrived in early December and was quickly patched in mid-December to Version 2.0.2. The 2.x version expands the commitment of the Ruby community to REST (Representational State Transfer) as the paradigm for web applications.

The new version follows a full year in development and implements new resources, a more Restful approach to development, and beefed up security to resist XSS (cross site scripting) and CSRF (cross site resource forgery - an area of increasing exploitation). The CSRF hardening comes from including a special token in all forms and Ajax requests, blocking requests made from outside of your application.

Rails 2.x also features improved default exception handling via a class level macro called 'rescue_from' which can be used to declaratively point certain exceptions to a given action.

All commercial database adapters are now in their own 'gems'. Rails now only ships with adapters for MySQL, SQLite, and PostgreSQL. Other adapters will be provided by the DB firm independently of the Rails release schedule.

Get the latest Ruby on Rails here (http://www.rubyonrails.org/down )

lightning bolt Debian 4.0.r2 Patches Security

The Debian community released an Etch "point release" in late December which included multiple security fixes for the Linux kernel that could allow escalation to root privileges, denial-of-service (DOS) attacks, and toeholds for malware. Application fixes are also included to prevent vulnerabilities from being exploited. Among effected applications are OpenOffice and IceWeasel (Debian's implementation of Firefox).

Other changes include stability improvements in specific situations, improved serial console support when configuring grub, and added support for SGI O2 machines with 300MHz RM5200SC CPUs (from mips). Etch was first released in April of 2007.

lightning bolt FreeBSD 6.3 Released

FreeBSD 6.3 was released in January and continues providing performance and stability improvements, bug fixes and new features. Some of the highlights include: KDE updated to 3.5.8, GNOME updated to 2.20.1, X.Org updated to 7.3; BIND updated to 9.3.4; Sendmail updated to 8.14.2; lagg driver ported from OpenBSD / NetBSD; Unionfs file system re-implemented; freebsd-update now supports an upgrade command.

FreeBSD 6.3 is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Junichiro Hagino for his visionary work on the IPv6 protocol and his many other contributions to the Internet and BSD communities. Read the release announcement and release notes for further information.

lightning bolt openSUSE 11.0 Alpha 1 in Testing

openSUSE 11.0, Alpha 1, is now available for download and testing. The main changes against Alpha 0 are: Sat Solver integration, Michael Schröder's 'sat solver' library is now the default package solver for libzypp; heavy changes to the appearance of the Qt installation (ported to Qt 4); KDE 4.0.0, Perl 5.10, glibc 2.7, NetworkManager 0.7, CUPS 1.3.5, Pulseaudio.

Here is the full release announcement.

lightning bolt MEPIS 7.0 is Released for Christmas

MEPIS has released SimplyMEPIS 7.0. The ISOs for the 32 and 64 versions are in the release directory at the MEPIS subscriber site and public mirrors.

The Mepis community also released the Mepis-AntiX 7.01 update for older PCs.

lightning bolt X.Org 7.4 Planned for Feb '08

New development versions of X.org were released January. Version 7.4 is scheduled to be released in late February 2008.

See the list of updated modules here: http://www.x.org/wiki/Releases/7.4

Major items on the ToDo list include a new SELinux security module and a new Solaris Trusted Extensions security module, both using XACE.

Software & Products

lightning bolt Perl 5.10 Released, First Update in 5 Years

The ubiquitous Perl language, the Swiss Army knife of the Internet and *ix distros, has got a whole new bag. The famous parsing interpreter gains speed, while shedding weight, claims Perl Buzz. Other interpreter improvements include:

A simplified, smarter comparison operator is now in Perl 5.10. On this new feature, Perl Buzz comments, "The result is that all comparisons now just Do The Right Thing, a hallmark of Perl programming."

Other new language features include:

The Perl development team, called the Perl Porters, has taken working features from the ambitious Perl 6 development project to add useful functionality and to help bridge to the future version. Perl 5.10 is available here: ftp://ftp.cpan.org/pub/CPAN/src/5.0/

See a slide show on new Perl features at http://www.slideshare.net/rjbs/perl-510-for-people-who-arent-totally-insane

lightning boltScribus

The Scribus Team is pleased to announce the release of Scribus This stable release includes the following improvements:

One of the major additions to this release is the final complete German translation of the Scribus documentation by Christoph Schäaut;fer and Volker Ribbert.

The Scribus Team will also participate again at the Third Libre Graphics Meeting in Krakow, Poland in May. LGM is open to all and the team welcomes seeing users, contributors and potential developers. For more info see: http://www.libregraphicsmeeting.org/2008/

lightning bolt Public Beta of VMware Stage Manager

VMware Stage Manager, a new management and automation product that streamlines bringing new applications and other IT services into production. Building on the management capabilities of VMware Infrastructure, VMware Stage Manager automates management of multi-tier application environments - including the servers, storage and networking systems that support them - as they move through various stages from integration to testing to staging and being released into production.

Stage Manager should setup pre-production infrastructure while enforcing change and release management procedures.

For more information on VMware Stage Manager or to download the beta, please visit http://www.vmware.com/go/stage_manager_beta.

lightning bolt Apatar Open Source Data Integration Partners with MySQL AB

Apatar, Inc., a provider of open source data integration tools, has joined the MySQL Enterprise Connection Alliance (MECA), the third-party partnership program for MySQL AB. This will make It easier to integrate MySQL-based solutions with other data sources, such as databases, CRM/ERP applications, flat files, and RSS feeds.

Apatar has released open source tools that enable non-technical staff to easily link information between databases (such as MySQL, Microsoft SQL Server, or Oracle), files (Excel spreadsheets, CSV/TXT files), applications (Salesforce.com, SugarCRM), and the top Web 2.0 destinations (Flickr, Amazon S3, RSS feeds).

Apatar tools include:

Apatar Enterprise Data Mashups (www.apatar.com ) Apatar Enterprise Data Mashups is an open source on-demand data integration software toolset, which helps users integrate information between databases, files, and applications. Imagine if you could visually design (drag-and-drop) a workflow to exchange data and files between files (Microsoft Excel spreadsheets, CSV/TXT files), databases (such as MySQL, Microsoft SQL, Oracle), applications (Salesforce.com, SugarCRM), and the top Web 2.0 destinations (Flickr, RSS feeds, Amazon S3), all without having to write a single line of code. Users install a visual job designer application to create integration jobs called DataMaps, link data between the source(s) and the target(s), and schedule one-time or recurring data transformations. Imagine this capability fits cleanly and quickly into your projects. You've just imagined what Apatar can do for you.

ApatarForge (www.apatarforge.org ) ApatarForge is an on-demand service, released under an open-source license, which allows anyone to build and publish an RSS/REST feed of information from their favorite Microsoft Excel spreadsheets, news feeds, databases, and applications. ApatarForge is the community effort where business users and open source developers publish, share, and re-use data integration jobs, called DataMaps, over the web. ApatarForge is the prime destination for Apatar users to collaborate and extend an Apatar Data Integration project. ApatarForge.org now hosts more than 160 DataMaps containing metadata. All DataMaps are available for free download at www.apatarforge.org.

For more information on how MySQL can be used with Apatar, please visit http://solutions.mysql.com/solutions/item.php?id=441

lightning bolt Emerson, Liebert Introduce Software-Scalable Ups

Emerson Network Power announced its new Liebert NX UPS with Softscale technology, delivering "the first software scalable UPS for data centers". Designed for small and medium size data centers, the UPS allows customers to pay for only the UPS capacity they while providing the flexibility to purchase and unlock additional capacity when needed via a simple software key. Visit here for more information: (http://www.liebert.com/newsletters/uptimes/2007/11nov/liebertnx.asp)

Free power and cooling monitoring tool for Liebert customers To help better maintain a data center's power and cooling infrastructure, Emerson Network Power is now offering a facility management tool to all Liebert service contract customers at no additional cost. The Customer Services Network is a web-based monitoring and reporting tool that provides you with up-to-date information on every piece of critical protection equipment, right from your desktop. Visit here for the complete story: (http://www.liebert.com/newsletters/uptimes/2007/11nov/customerservicesnetwork.asp )

lightning boltGood OS Announces Debut of gOS 2.0 "Rocket" at CES

Good OS, the open source startup introduced gOS, a Linux operating system with Google and web applications, on a $199 Wal-Mart PC last November.

gOS 2.0 "Rocket" is packed with Google Gears, new online offline synchronization technology from Google that enables offline use of web apps; gBooth, a browser-based web cam application with special effects, integration with Facebook and other web services; shortcuts to launch Google Reader, Talk, and Finance on the desktop; an online storage drive powered by Box.net; and Virtual Desktops, an intuitive feature to easily group and move applications across multiple desktop spaces.

gBooth is the first of many web apps to come specially customized for gOS. gBooth is powered by gOS spin-off, meebooth, a browser-based web cam application that makes it fun and easy to capture photos, add special effects, and share across Facebook, YouTube and other web services. To introduce a gOS compatible web cam, gOS and meebooth partnered with leading web cam manufacturer Ezonics to create the "gCam," a web cam compatible with gOS and gBooth.

Rocket will be available online on January 7, 2008 as a free download. Rocket requires minimum 128MB of RAM, 400 MHz processor, and 3GB disk space. The launch of gOS Rocket will coincide with the launch of new web cam, developer kit, desktop, and notebook products:

Ezonics gCam available direct at http://www.ezonics.com.

gOS Rocket Developer Kit with VIA motherboard and CPU http://ClubIT.com.

Everex CloudBook, gPC, gPC mini, gBook available at Wal-Mart.com and others February 2008. http://everex.com

For information on gOS or to download a free copy of gOS Rocket see www.thinkgos.com.

lightning boltConcurrent NightStar LX

Concurrent announced the release of a new generation of its NightStar LX debugging and analysis tools now available for Ubuntu Linux. NightStar is a powerful, integrated GUI tool set for developing and tuning time-critical applications on x86-based platforms. NightStar's advanced debugging features enable system builders to solve difficult problems quickly.

With this new release, NightStar LX now supports platforms running Ubuntu desktop and server editions in addition to Red Hat(r) Enterprise Linux and Novell(r) SUSE(r) Linux versions.

NightStar LX tools packages range from to $495 to $995. NightStar for Ubuntu Linux will be available on March 1. NightStar for Red Hat Enterprise Linux and SUSE Linux is available for immediate trial download and purchase. NightStar is supported on both 32-bit and 64-bit x86 platforms. For further information and demo sign up please visit http://www.ccur.com/nightstar

Magical Realism

lightning bolt Nanowire Battery Can Hold 10x the Charge

Stanford researchers have found a way to use silicon nanowires to reinvent the rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that power personal electronics such as laptops, iPods, video cameras, and cell phones.

The new technology, developed through research led by Yi Cui, assistant professor of materials science and engineering, produces 10 times the amount of electricity of existing lithium-ion, known as Li-ion, batteries. A laptop that now runs on a normal battery for two hours could operate for 20 hours, a boon to ocean-hopping business travelers. With such greatly expanded storage capacity, the new batteries would also be attractive to electric car manufacturers. "It's not a small improvement," Cui said. "It's a revolutionary development."

The electrical storage capacity of a Li-ion battery is limited by how much lithium can be held in the battery's anode, which is typically made of carbon. Silicon has a much higher capacity than carbon. The lithium is stored in a forest of tiny silicon nanowires, each with a diameter one-thousandth the thickness of a sheet of paper. The nanowires inflate four times their normal size as they soak up lithium. But, unlike other silicon shapes, they do not fracture.

The breakthrough is described in a paper, "High-performance lithium battery anodes using silicon nanowires," published online Dec. 16 in Nature Nanotechnology, written by Cui, his graduate chemistry student Candace Chan and five others. The online article is accessible by subscription to Nature: http://www.nature.com/nnano/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nnano.2007.411.html

Talkback: Discuss this article with The Answer Gang

Howard Dyckoff

Bio picture

Howard Dyckoff is a long term IT professional with primary experience at Fortune 100 and 200 firms. Before his IT career, he worked for Aviation Week and Space Technology magazine and before that used to edit SkyCom, a newsletter for astronomers and rocketeers. He hails from the Republic of Brooklyn [and Polytechnic Institute] and now, after several trips to Himalayan mountain tops, resides in the SF Bay Area with a large book collection and several pet rocks.

Howard maintains the Technology-Events blog at blogspot.com from which he contributes the Events listing for Linux Gazette. Visit the blog to preview some of the next month's NewsBytes Events.

Kat Tanaka Okopnik

Bio picture

Kat likes to tell people she's one of the youngest people to have learned to program using punchcards on a mainframe (back in '83); but the truth is that since then, despite many hours in front of various computer screens, she's a computer user rather than a computer programmer.

Her transition away from other OSes started with the design of a massively multilingual wedding invitation.

When away from the keyboard, her hands have been found wielding of knitting needles, various pens, henna, red-hot welding tools, upholsterer's shears, and a pneumatic scaler. More often these days, she's occupied with managing her latest project.

Copyright © 2008, Howard Dyckoff and Kat Tanaka Okopnik. Released under the Open Publication License unless otherwise noted in the body of the article. Linux Gazette is not produced, sponsored, or endorsed by its prior host, SSC, Inc.

Published in Issue 147 of Linux Gazette, February 2008