Tag Archives: Linux

Linux, Piracy and emergence of Copyright Laws

Below is a reproduction of a comment from distrowatch with some additions relevant to us.

In the freedom-loving developed countries of the West, jack-booted storm troopers from The Intellectual Property Cartel may well break down your door, haul off your computers, and after forensically examining the hard drive, impose harsh fines and criminal penalties if they discover an unlicensed software application or a pirated MP3 file.

This scenario is fortunately seldom seen in the Third World, where the police, judges and government officials charged with enforcing the law are also running pirated copies of Windows on their home computers too.

(In addition Buddhist monks in temples use pirated copies breaking one of the five precepts and interestingly enough most of these computers are sponsored by the government.
What is even more relevant is even in schools and universities (who should be vocal in protecting copyrights law) use pirated copies).

This attitude of the education department encourage and perpetuate the violation of copyright law. Even entering a National School at year one all the possible act of violation are enacted by parents sometimes with inside help and young one are taught to lie and cheat and after 30 years these very same people enter the parliament one cannot expect the legislator to act impartially.
In actual fact they get in there to violate laws (in all the spheres from gem mining to illegal arrack and drugs) and monks and clergy are also become part of that machinery.

I am ashamed of this but there is no way we can change the evolving trends and corruption has engulfed us tip toe to vertex..

In fact, far from enforcing intellectual property laws in countries where there is little money, there is evidence that software piracy is actually being encouraged by Big Business as a shrewd marketing tool.
Bill Gates himself admitted as much in a speech at the University of Washington in 1998. When talking about software piracy in poor countries, Mr. Gates said:

“As long as they are going to steal it, we want them to steal ours. They’ll get sort of addicted, and then we’ll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade.”

But nowadays, most of the software I see for sale is legal, and costs considerably more than US$2 per copy. Bill Gates was right.
We have passed the copyright law but enforcement is poor.
For over decade I have tried awareness of this fact but for some reason or other nobody wants to take some interest in Linux.
Why this is I am not sure.
When the political system fails and even the vote is stolen or rigged and MPs covertly and overtly encourage rigging talking about copyright law is a moot point.
Most of the voters do not know how to protect the ballot and law enforcement is not effective in enforcing severe punishment (one sided affair) for wrongful acts and people get used to stealing and think it is a downright entitlement as long as one is not caught, investigated and punished.

This is a malady of the Third World countries and poor penetration of Linux is a result of all these wrongful act of commission and omission.
I think lack of penetration of Linux whether it is in the West or East is a big loss and what is lost in academic terms is enormous.
I will not give up promoting Linux but I believe in education and it seems to be working albeit slowly.
At least all the well established vendors in my city (places I visit) do not sell pirated copies.
This should not be the primary work of mine but Buddhist monks and other clergy and they are not interested.
I now started telling them do not publish Dhamma or Religion in pirated Windows software.
I hope what we have started in this city supposed to be holy will spread from center to the periphery.
I will not give up.
It started from my home and the friends and I boycott all computers with pirated copies.
We started from our department and we do not have any computer with pirated operating systems or software.
Even though we are a small faculty we are making slow but steady progress.
My perseverance seem to be working and hope it will last many decades after I have left the scene of action and my student spread the good values among themselves and beyond.

All my good students are using Linux now and some of them are postgraduates.

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Knoppix Update-Clear Front Runner

Knoppix stands tall and scores 2410 which is well above Ubuntu and Unity on the threshold of becoming a Gold Standard on its own.
Good old days when it was difficult to find a distribution and DEMO CDs were hard to come by Knoppix started the revolution of Live Cds.
I have used it from its 3.1 versions and up and it was available even in Sri-Lanka.

Its significant features apart from Live CD running on RAM are
1. Good hardware detection
2. Sound configuration and unique start up with sound script.
3. Ability to compress lot of programs into a CD.
4. Enormous number of packages
5. Partition tool and many more
6. ORCAs that is fun for visually handicapped user and is as good as Vinux.
It was way ahead until Puppy Linux came into the scene and took another twist by making Live CD under 100 MiB soon which I became a convert.
its weakness was it could not be installed into the hard disk and I found a way to mount it on FAT partition. I always had a copy mounted on my hard disk when the LXDE came into the available.
The came the 10th anniversary release which was big hit by itself both CD and DVD versions. Now it can be installed and administrative right can be restored after installing.
There is Knoppix for Kids and Games DVD which was something lacking in 95% of the Linux Distributions.
If you do not use any other Linux distributions this is the one one should always have.
I cannot find anything wrong with this distribution when I format my hard disk it is the first one goes in as the flag bearer of Linux and other are installed afterward.

Finnix, the LiveCD for system administrators

Finnix is Genome / Linux Kernel 3 and only 102 MiB and fits a mini CD.
Below is a reproduction from Finnix Organization.
If I write about Linux Live CD that boots with windows X desktop only, I am doing an injustice to the Linux Developers, who make wonderful Little Utilities for system administrators.
Below is one of them, a CD that boots without a desktop window on a terminal (window) with 300 MiB of utilities.
Download and enjoy!
Thank you Guys and Girls of Finnix organization.

Finnix, the LiveCD for system administrators
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Finnix is a self-contained, bootable Linux CD distribution (“LiveCD”) for system administrators, based on Debian. You can mount and manipulate hard drives and partitions, monitor networks, rebuild boot records, install other operating systems, and much more. Finnix includes the latest technology for system administrators, with Linux kernel 2.6, LVM2, encrypted partitions, etc. And above all, Finnix is small; currently the entire distribution is over 300MiB, but is dynamically compressed into a small bootable image. Finnix is not intended for the average desktop user, and does not include any desktops, productivity tools, or sound support, in order to keep distribution size low.

Criteria for Defining Suitability of Linux Distributions

With Gnome 3 and Kernel 3 in the horizon and tablet in the market and Ubuntu making a radical changes to desktop with Unity already arrived, I have decided to award a point scheme for all the distributions active now and write an update for all the Linux distributions I have downloaded so far.
That means moment I post an update on a distribution, my old writing here probably become obsolete and would be taken out without any notice.
I would be grateful if you post any errors of omission or commission on those post already here.
That means future posting will be slow to come and try my best avoid any errors.

I will keep the point scheme close to my heart and won’t publish them here but on a future date if necessary may do that for completeness sake.
Points are given on quantitative as well as qualitative reasons.
Lowest mark is 10 and the highest mark is 300.
For an example I give 10 marks if it is only in French and 100 marks for multi-language cababililty.
I will give 300 marks if it includes Sinhala and multi-language capability.

Similarly Ubuntu Unity gets 300 for its innovative approach and as a teaser for loyal fans who hate the new approach. I would include the total points for the old version as well as new version.
This analysis is with desktop users in mind and server editions won’t get any additional mark but I would state that server is avable.
I will start with Linux Mint, since it has O.E.M version, codecs version with minimal multimedia support and almost pure without any software infringements and full version with additional software.
It is a complete desktop and laptop friendly and currently is the top most downloaded at distrowatch.
It has both 32 and 64 bit versions.
I am going to stop stating that PCLinux is the Gold Standard of live CD to eliminate my personnel bias on that distribution but have a Hypothetical Gold Standard defined by criteria below and with a point award of 2500.
So anything that approaches 2200 for CD version and above is potential Gold Standard and you are free to try it.
Nobody will get 100% assuming that no distribution has reached its peak and would be trying to achieve that gold wit constant improvement an bug fixes.

For DVD the point award is 3500 points and anything that tops 3000 is a good value with 90% to 95% of all software.
I am a believer that “small is beautiful” and would figure out a way to award points and my guess is Puppy will come on top but there are equally good small utilities like SliTaz, 4MLinux, gParted and pMagic.
You are welcome to critically analyze my future writing with feedback but there is no attempt to compare with Microsoft and Apple Mac and in the next 5 to 10 years Linux will be way ahead of both of these distributions and I am not the one who need any pep commercial talks. In this period of course Linux guys and girls have to make 1000 and 1000 of tiny games and blockbuster games to invade the market in style.
They are already there on mobile phones and they have to mature with the hardware specially tablets in mind.

Criteria
A. Use
1. Live CD installable
2. Light Weight
3. Mini to LXDE to Standard

B. Internet
4. Easy Access to Internet
5. Automatically Configure Internet
6. Browser (ideally FireFox) Capability
7. Other browsers- 5 for each additional browser
8. Email Capability-Thunderbird
9. Google gadgets but not essential
10. Torrent Down Loader
11. Skype or alternative
12. Cloud-Dropbox
13. Cloud Other

C. Productivity
14.Office Package -Abiword
15.Office Package -Other Open office
16.Office Package -PDF Reader
17. Scribus
18. CD burner (ideally K3B-50)
19. CD burner (10 others)
20. LightScribe/LaCie (100)

D.Graphic
21. GIMP
22. Blender
23. Inkscape
24. Digicam
25. Tuxpaint
26. Special Graphics
27. Others

E. Audio
28. Mixer
29.Alsa
30. Others

F. Video
31. Imagination
32. VLC Player
33. Miro Internet TV
34. Cheese
35. TV Card
36. Others
37. Media Players including ability play itunes and divx

G. Essential Utilities
38. Stable Grub Configuration
39. Partitioning tool is essential(ideally Gparted)
40.Ability to clean up the temporary file at boot up
41. Updates and Package management

H. Archiving
42. Ark
43. File Roller

I. For Children
44. Light Weight Games
45. Children Version (150)
46. Gcompris

J. Subjective
47. Reliability (most of them are)
48. Speed at start up (most of them are slow except YOPER)
49. Quick installation
50. Portability
51. Type of Desktops (Genome/KDE)
52. Down loader that start from where one has left / stopped earlier
53. On line updates
54. Infrequent Cycles of Change
55. Downloads available for Libre Office,Open office, Skype (25 for each)
56.Speed at Start Up

K. Linux Fundamentals
57. Separate administrator in addition to normal user
58. Reliable Package Manager
59. Multi-Language in addition to English (5 for each Language-Total-100)
60. Sinhala Language Capability (200)
61. Terminal

L. USB Boot Up
62. UnetBootIn
63. USB Creator
64. Live CD creator

M. Emulators
65. DOS
66. Wine
67. Oracle VM
68. Apple Emulation

N. Games
69. Light Weight
70. Advanced Games (25 for Each)

O. Educational
71. Google Map
72. Tux Guitar
73. Tux Maths

P. Special and Development Utilities
74. Gambase
75. Web editor
76. PHP Admin
77. Scientific packages like statistics

Q. Access to Information
78. Home Web Site
79. Essential information including installation password etc
80. The facility for registration and writing reviews

R. Special Attributes
81. Less than 50 MiB
82. Less than 200 MiB
83. Less then 500 MiB
84. Innovative approach GOBO and YOPER

S. Finances and Printing
85. Gnumeric
86. GnuCash
87. Printing

S. Very Special
88. Religion
89. Language
90. Kernel Version
91. Version Number
92. New Desktop Type
93. Innovative Changes
94. 32 bits only
95. Both 32 and 64 bits
96.O.E.M.Version
97. ORCAS-Visually Handicapped
98
99
100

Linux Mint Debian Included -An Update

Linux mint is trying to forge away from Ubuntu, Kubuntu derivatives and that is a very encouraging change since they are going back to basics.
Go back to Debian base and forge ahead.
Reason being the change of canonicals to Unity.
I am one who is in favour of mark Shuttleworth’s smart move.
Yes it is a smart move by him.
He is doing a Bill Gate to Linux Community.

I wish him success.

Linux missed the opportunity for netbooks and I do not want to see it misses on tabloid too.
Like iPads, tabloid is the future.
We must not let only Apple to dominate the market.
Google’s Android has shown the way and Ubunbtu should not miss this opportunity come what it may.
I am highlighting Linux Mint here since it overtook Ubuntu head and a nose recently in downloads at DistroWatch and Ubuntu in the last week or so putting its nose ahead again.
Linux Mint did not miss time in promoting both Ubuntu 10 and Ubuntu 11 base.
Not only that it did not forget the Debian and out came Debian Mint in Last December.
Linux Mint was thinking ahead and getting ready for all the consequences resulting from Unity experience and not forgetting the community they were with.
Like PCLinux Linux Mint gave variety of options and Long Term (LTS) support and rolling editions and also brand new version based on Debian for the newcomers and the newbies.
This is what was lacking with Ubuntu.
They did not have two versions but with too much enthusiasm promoted Unity only.
They can reverse this by supporting their community who were with them when Microsoft was dominating the field.
It is not too late, let the user decides the trends of the future what canonicals and Mint and Debian should do is to be ready for all the eventualities including brickbats were call in our country.
God Luck to everybody in Linux and especially the developers and without you we do not have a customer base,too.

In any case innovation is the future for IT both hardware and software.

Linpus Light-1.4

It is nearly two years ago that I used Linpus Linux.
At that time I was not interested in Live CDs.

I had downloaded it when I was abroad and it had a heavy version and a light version.

I did not like the heavy version which was based on Redhat.

But I really like the light version and even though it did not mention that it is an O.E.M. version but it behaved like one and takes over the hard disk and install it in minutes.

It’s GRUB was not compatible with other Linux and I gave up because of its high handed take over of the hard disk.

It had all the making of a Mobile Linux but I was waiting for an update but I could never find a new version and totally gave up on it.

Today for curiosity I went to their site and looked for a free download iso and to my surprise and fortuitously I found the Light version 1.4.

It is only 411 MiB.

It is for netbook and is for mobile use.

It has the following.

  • Firefox
  • Email Client
  • IM: MSN, Skype
  • Open Office Applications
  • Photo Management
  • Power Management
  • PC Folder
  • Social Network
  • Multimedia Player
  • Network Manager
  • Game Collection
  • PDF Reader
  • Live Update
  • RSS Reader
  • Sync Mail
  • File Manage
They have done a beautiful advertisement and those who did not get Android from Google, this is where one should start.

It is beautiful.
It is light weight.
It is free and one does not have to wait for Google to dish it for you.

It is Chinese with English capability and I am going to support it instead of Google’s Android from now onwards.

Without much hype in two years Chinese at Taiwan has done a good job.

Thanks guys and girls at Linpus.
I hope you go from strength to strength and give Google a bit of scare!

If you have a nettbook this one for you.
It might take over and erase your windows though.
They are developing touch and HTDV version too.
Visit Linpus Home and see it for yourself.

Ten (10) Minutes of Digital Linux-Multitasking

I was bored to death of this long new year holiday and having had a long sleep overdue for sometime switched on the two computers one for my daily work and the other for the downloading of Linux gamers.

One I use regularly is a secondhand IBM overhauled by me into prime condition with two SATA disks.

Other one is one overhauled just two weeks ago with one of my old second hand IBM computer’s bare bones (mainly 133 bus speed SDR RAM which I used for the last 4 years, day and night and coming to its terminal stage of life and wanting to say good bye (on off switch is not working properly, graphic card is grumbling at times being unable to bear the load etc) or see a junkyard specialist but all the old SDR RAM Cards which I paid a fortune to get the (my ) minimum requirement of 1 GiB in working order, old CD Writer (combo) not much used and a DVD ROM hacked to its optimum use still working.

Now the SDR RAMs which I paid a fortune have no secondhand market value and throwing them into a dustbin was not my intention and roamed all the secondhand dealers in Kandy (looking for a IBM with SDR slots) and found a NetVista with 16 GB Graphic card (but the mother board supporting above 32 and above up to to 512 GB but the vendor selling it cheap, knowing it has no market value) and I was test driving it for buying it at a later date.

While I was doing all that another buyer (probably having minimum of Rs.10,000) without any respect to my age or dignity promptly wanted to buy it for cash on the spot. I took a back step and made a funny wink at the salesmen (by now who are very friendly with me) and said OK and sell it without the stranger form a nearby village knowing it, knowing I can have another later with a new power pack and the agreement of the dealer for providing a 32 GB graphic card (64 GB is the minimum for Linux now).

This incident reminded me of the post Christmas sale and mad rush in London high street where customers almost kill each other (I never went for any of them fearing my life like an Asian going to a English Football Club for a prime football match-unlike cricket of course-where one can get trampled to death by design if not by default- stay at home in London and watched them on TV instead) for a purchase which I wondered how could it happen in a civic society who teaches democratic values to Middle East sheiks.

And to put the story in perspective, I duly purchased the Kit with a 80 GiB IDE fortunately one day before the agreed buy / sell date saving time in my hand in the process (since I managed to get my salary one day before the due date) so that I could fiddle with it (in spite of many security tags they put on inner hardware) and get it in working order to download Linux games during New year holidays.

These are the things I did in 10 minute while K-torrent was downloading two images in two different computers in the background.

1. Copied a 1 GiB image in K3B – WiildLinux which is pretty good.

2. Went through my email answered new year greetings in double quick time.

3. Changed the screen saver on the newly assembled computer and almost ruined the graphic card of 64 GiB with plasma effects and comic strip.

Please do not try these extreme graphic effects of Linux on new graphic cards not supporting Linux. You will invariably ruin them in few seconds.

4. Made a cup of tea in between and let it brew.

While my daughter was on Skype and my son watching peoTV on the same DSL line.

In spite of the slow speed of our Telecoms achieving all this is due to digital capability of Linux and not Microsoft.

In the meantime my wife who had switched on the computer to watch digital TV but the computer idling with her being on the land phone answering  a New Year call. This was land line (handset) out of commission and was not in working order for nearly 3 months and I happen to buy the cheapest hand set available on the market (but still over Rs.2500/=).

I often wonder why we we use a telephone other than for flimsy communication strategy?

Can Microsoft boast for same multi- functionality or multitasking?

It may do all that but it will do all that in about 30 minutes with huge RAM on the computer and it has no swapping facility to use the processor efficiently in a time shared manner.

It loads everything working and not working like a a dinner party dress with glamorous frills all around but which fail to take the attention of the speaker who is half drunk but still talking.

I doubt very much!

Go digital but make it Linux my dear friend.