Madhav Kobal's Blog

This blog will be dedicated to Linux, Open Source and Technology news, affairs, how-tos and virtually EVERYTHING in these domains.

Posts Tagged ‘News’

Google Images Gets A New Look!

Posted by madhavkobal on 24/07/2010

Google has redesigned its popular image search service, adding a series of tweaks to make it easy to look at more images at once. Launched in 2001, the service has grown quite a bit, from a tiny index of some 250 million images to more than 10 billion today. The new interface displays up to 1,000 images on a single scrollable page.

“The quantity and variety of images on the Web has ballooned since 2001, and images have become one of the most popular types of content people search for. So over the next few days we’re rolling out an update to Google Images to match the scope and beauty of this fast-growing visual Web, and to bring to the surface some of the powerful technology behind Images,” Google explains in a blog post.

Here’s what’s new in the refreshed design of Google Images:
• Dense tiled layout designed to make it easy to look at lots of images at once.
• Instant scrolling between pages, without letting you get lost in the images. You can now get up to 1,000 images, all in one scrolling page. Google’ll show small, unobtrusive page numbers so you don’t lose track of where you are.
• Larger thumbnail previews on the results page, designed for modern browsers and high-res screens.
• A hover pane that appears when you mouse over a given thumbnail image, giving you a larger preview, more info about the image and other image-specific features such as “Similar images.”
• Once you click on an image, you’re taken to a new landing page that displays a large image in context, with the website it’s hosted on visible right behind it. Click anywhere outside the image, and you’re right in the original page where you can learn more about the source and context.
• Optimised keyboard navigation for faster scrolling through many pages, taking advantage of standard Web keyboard shortcuts such as Page Up/Page Down. It’s all about getting you to the info you need quickly, so you can get on with actually building that treehouse or buying those flowers.

Google further adds, “These upgrades are rolling out in most of our local interfaces worldwide over the next few days. We hope they not only make it easier to search for images, but also contribute to a better aesthetic experience.”

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Centrify Express Connects Macs, Linux To Active Directory

Posted by madhavkobal on 23/07/2010

The new, free software from the identity and access management vendor gives Mac and Linux users single sign-on to Microsoft Active Directory services.

Centrify is a founding member of the Enterprise Desktop Alliance, formed to promote interoperability between Macs and Windows. The company already offers the Centrify Suite of Active Directory-based access and identity management software. But for organizations with “just a few non-critical Linux systems or Macs” (in Centrify’s words), Centrify Express offers a simple route to single sign-on and password policy enforcement.

The Express product provides a subset of the features of the entire suite. In includes DirectControl Express, which provides the single sign-on capability and also lets OS X and Windows servers be part of an Active Directory domain; DirectManage Express, which discovers and validates non-Windows systems on a network; a group of Centrify-enabled open source tools and utilities; and Centrify Express Community, for supporting best practices through forums, how-to videos, and so on.

“Cross-platform identity and access management solutions have traditionally been too costly and complex for smaller to medium sized businesses, but they often have some of the same security and compliance requirements such as PCI as larger organizations,” said Frank Cabri, vice president of marketing at Centrify. “Centrify’s approach of leveraging Active Directory combined with our free Express offering will now allow those organizations to easily improve security and compliance for their systems and layer on additional capabilities as their business evolves.” The free software can be downloaded here.

Original post by  Jake Widman

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FBI can’t crack open source security

Posted by madhavkobal on 02/07/2010

Sleuths at the FBI have admitted their attempts to crack the open source encryption software TrueCrypt have come to nowt.

America’s finest have been banging away at hard drives seized by Brazilian police during a 2008 investigation of dodgy banker Daniel Dantas.

Brazil’s own National Institute of Criminology called in the FBI after its own attempts to break the encryption were foiled. It seems the FBI was no more successful.

According to Brazilian media reports, two programs were used to encrypt the drives, one the free open source program TrueCrypt. Snoops in Brazil spent five months throwing a dictionary at the drives and got nowhere.

They then passed the drives to the FBI whose experts spend a year trying exactly the same tactic before giving up and sending the unlocked drives back to Brazil

Daniel Dantas meanwhile was sent to prison for ten years in December 2008 for attempting to bribe a police officer. Whatever information he stored on his hard drives remains secret.

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K3b 2.0 burner software with Blu-ray support arrives

Posted by madhavkobal on 01/07/2010

The K3B  development team has released version 2.0 of its CD and DVD creator for Linux. With this version, the developers have almost fully ported the popular burner software to KDE 4 by, for example, using solid for hardware detection.

As an added feature, the program now supports the burning of Blu-ray media via cdrecord. The developers have also combined various dialogues and given the program new icons to match the Oxygen theme. The rest of the program’s visual appearance – a direct port of its KDE3 predecessor – remains intact, so users will not need to re-familiarise themselves with the latest release.

More details about the release can be found in the changelog. K3b 2.0 source code is available to download from the project’s site. The K3B CD/DVD creator for Linux is licensed under the GPL.

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VLC 1.1.0 (Final) Has Been Released!

Posted by madhavkobal on 21/06/2010

Quietly, VLC 1.1.0 final (stable) was posted to the VLC git a few minutes ago. VLC 1.1.0 brings extensions support as well as GPU and DSP decoding among many other new features. Read on!

What’s new in VLC 1.1.0:

  • GPU and DSP decoding on selected platforms
  • New support for codecs, demuxers and muxers
  • Lua extensions and Lua content extensions (luaSD)
  • Improved interfaces
  • Video Output rework
  • Removal of lots of modules, rewrite of many
  • Improved performances, in CPU, RAM and I/O
  • New libVLC and bindings
  • New or improved ports on misc platforms
  • And many other features and bugs fixes

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YouTube Gains Online Editing Features

Posted by madhavkobal on 20/06/2010

Google recently announced a new feature found in YouTube’s TestLabs. The YouTube Video Editor is a trial feature that will allow YouTube video creators to edit their videos online without any additional software.

In its initial form, the video editor allows users to do the following: combine multiple videos to create a new longer video; trim the beginning and/or ending of videos; add soundtracks from YouTube’s AudioSwap library; and create new videos online with no uploading required.

There are definitely helpful features to have. I upload a lot of video to YouTube. Every now and then, a mistake makes its way into the final, posted video. In order to fix it, I have to delete or hide the existing video, edit it on my desktop, and re-upload the new version. While it’s mostly painless, there’s a big drawback: you lose all your views.

Since YouTube now allows for editing online, it might be possible to edit out mistakes without losing your page views.

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Airtel launches voice-blogging service

Posted by madhavkobal on 15/06/2010

Telecom major Bharti Airtel on Sunday gave social networking a voice with the launch of its voice-blogging service, allowing millions of subscribers to share recorded voice updates with their friends and family members.

The ‘Airtel Blog’, which was officially unveiled Sunday, had already roped in two million users in the first three months of its soft launch and is currently the world’s fastest growing voice-oriented social networking service, Bharti Airtel said in a statement.

Through the service, Airtel mobile users can share recorded voice updates with their friends, family, or fans, adding a voice to social networking, it added.

“Perhaps one of the fastest growing Value-Added Services in our stable in recent times, Airtel Blog is taking the concept of micro-blogging to an entirely new level,” Bharti Airtel President (Mobile Services) Atul Bindal said.

Airtel said celebrities like Amitabh Bachchan, Arshad Warsi, Lara Dutta, Neetu Chandra, V.J. Ranvijay and Sonu Nigam are using their Airtel Blog to share voice updates with their fans, who receive SMS updates of the posts.

Airtel said standard airtime charges would be applied for the service.

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World Cup kicks off web traffic record

Posted by madhavkobal on 15/06/2010

Web traffic on the first day of the World Cup has been classified as heavy for the better part of the day, exceeding the record set when Barack Obama won the US presidential election, according to measurements by Akamai.

At its peak, traffic for news sites globally started a steady climb about 6:00am ET and peaked six hours later, reaching nearly 12.1 million visitors per minute. The previous record was 8.5 million visitors per minute.

Traffic dipped going into the afternoon, but it stayed well above normal — registering some 6.5 million visitors per minute, or 130 percent of normal — at 17:00 ET. The bulk of the demand in the last 24 hours has come from North America and Europe, but all regions are reporting heavy usage.

For more on this story, see World Cup Fever sends Internet usage to record levels on

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VMware to standardize on Novell SUSE Linux

Posted by madhavkobal on 10/06/2010

A new VMware and Novell partnership will eventually push all VMware virtual appliances onto Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES).

The deal, announced today, brings much-needed consistency to VMware’s virtual appliances and gives SUSE a competitive boost against the Red Hat and Ubuntu Linux distributions.

“This is a very good move,” said VMware customer Mark Vaughn, an enterprise architect for a large information services firm. “Novell is a large company. It has a strong focus on security and a quality product.”

VMware-Novell deal details
The new pact gives VMware the right to distribute the update stream for SLES to customers with active vSphere 4 support and subscription (SnS) contracts. At the same time, VMware is now authorized to support SUSE Linux.

VMware already distributes vCenter CapacityIQ, Update Manager and many other products as virtual appliances. The company will eventually add more, including Zimbra hosted email, to its virtual appliance portfolio, said Bogomil Balkansky, vice president of product marketing.

Before now, VMware had not been systematic about which Linux distributions underpin its virtual appliances, delivering one on Ubuntu, for example, and another on Debian.

“This OEM agreement gives us a good vehicle to standardize all the virtual appliances that VMware distributes,” Balkansky said.

The shift to SLES will be gradual, he said.

“There will be no big bang,” he added. “Chances are, different products will do the conversion on their own timeline.”

Novell SUSE Studio already makes it easy to output a SUSE-based appliance to VMware, Vaughn said. In his own practice, he already moved to OpenSUSE after years as a Red Hat user, citing superior hardware drivers and easier setup and administration.

Why not Red Hat?
Red Hat still leads Novell in terms of Linux market share by a wide margin, leading some to wonder why VMware didn’t partner with that company instead.

SUSE’s main appeal is its broad range of independent software vendor certifications, not the least of which is SAP, Balkansky said.

“SAP is a beachhead application for us,” he said. “We have a very good relationship with SAP, and SUSE is the preferred Linux distribution for SAP.”

At the same time, Red Hat has been pursuing its own virtualization strategy — first with Xen, and more recently with KVM — putting it directly in VMware’s crosshairs.

Furthermore, Red Hat licensing policies aren’t as virtualization-friendly as Novell’s, Vaughn said. Red Hat’s continued push to offer platform virtualization and its virtualization-unfriendly licensing policies are driving large organizations to Novell, he said.

VMware-Novell: A boon for SUSE Linux?
VMware administrators stand to gain from standardization, but Novell is perhaps the biggest beneficiary of this agreement.

“Our goal is to be the more interoperable and performant Linux OS across a variety of virtualization platforms,” said Joe Wagner, Novell’s senior vice president and general manager of global alliances. “Teaming up with VMware hits all those points.”

The VMware-Novell deal does not affect Novell’s commitment to distributing virtualization software based on Xen and KVM, Wagner said.

“Our strategy is still to distribute and support popular open source virtualizationenvironments,” he said.
Beyond providing foundational virtualization technology — where the company has had middling success — Novell’s aim is to “be the best guest that we can be,” he added.

Some solutions providers said this VMware-Novell deal will boost SUSE’s profile relative to other enterprise Linux distros.

“This is a coup for SUSE Linux, because they’ve been blessed by the leader in virtualization,” said Frank Basanta, director of Systems Solutions, a national systems integrator that partners with VMware and Novell, as well as Red Hat.

Questions about Novell’s long-term viability swirled this winter, capped by a $2 billion buyout offer in March that the company rejected. But when it comes to its SUSE business, some Novell partners said the company has been proactive and aggressive.

“I’ve seen dramatic changes in Novell’s marketing approach and how they handle the channel,” said Gregg Rosenberg, owner and chief technology officer at RICIS, Inc., a professional services organization in Tinley Park, Ill.

For example, the SUSE license activation process used to be a “nightmare,” but it’s now “almost a trivial process,” he said. RICIS’ Red Hat sales fell in the past year, while SUSE sales rose, he added.

However, it remains to be seen whether VMware’s blessing will have a material effect on SUSE license sales.

Novell has made a legitimate push for the software appliance business with SUSE Studio, said Bill Claybrook, president of New River Marketing Research and a former Novell executive.

However, “I never thought they would make a lot of money off of software appliances — unless they sold an awful lot of appliances,” he said.

There’s a reason that Red Hat hasn’t pushed in the software appliance business, he added: “because they don’t see that as a money-making proposition.”

So, is VMware’s blessing enough to turn Novell’s fortunes around? Maybe, maybe not, Vaughn said.

“It won’t necessarily be a financial boon, but it’s definitely a hearts-and-minds win,” he said.

Source : Alex Barrett, News Director

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Ubuntu Ultimate Edition 2.7 with KDE SC, XFCE and LXDE

Posted by madhavkobal on 08/06/2010

Ultimate Edition 2.7 is already here, just one month after the previous release. The short development cycle is due to the fact that Ultimate Edition (UE) 2.7 is pretty much a polished version of Ultimate Edition 2.6. However, it comes with a lot more choices in desktop environments on top of the GNOME option. Fans of KDE, XFCE or LXDE will enjoy having the choice to use their favorite tools and applications.
Ultimate Edition [2.7] was built off Ultimate Edition 2.6 (Ubuntu Lucid Lynx 10.04). Major difference being that it has been fully updated / upgraded and has the following environments, user selectable at the login screen: KDE, XFCE, Gnome, LXDE, Openbox… I have said in the past, I am not a KDE man it looks too much like that ‘Other O/S.’ I will return to Ultimate Edition 2.6. That does not mean our users are not interested in exploring / using these environments,” Glenn Cady wrote in the official announcement.

The upgrade to Ubuntu 10.04 as the underlying distro has been completed and all packages should be on par. Other than that, everything included in UE 2.6 is also available in the latest release. Users now also have the option to create a customized install of the Conky lightweight system monitor.

I have included a Conky script I wrote that will generate as per each computer… This script will be in your home folder when installed (your choice to run it or not). The script is commented if you wish to learn,” Cady added.

About Ultimate Edition

Created by TheeMahn, Ultimate Edition is a Linux distribution based on the popular Ubuntu operating system. It comes bundled with a lot more apps and tools than Ubuntu and it also has a very unique and somewhat over-the-top visual style. Ultimate Edition was previously known as Ubuntu Ultimate, but started life as Ubuntu Christmas Edition. There is also a specialized version, the Ultimate Edition Gamers, which includes all the applications from the Ultimate Edition and many Linux games.

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