Over at Internet News Sean Kerner writes that the IT industry is turning to Linux in our current economic downturn.

A new report out today from IDC, sponsored by Linux vendor Novell indicates that the current economic downturn is a good thing for Linux adoption. with more than half of the IT executives surveyed planning to accelerate Linux adoption in 2009… According to IDC, in a poll of 300 IT professionals more than 72 percent reported that, “they are either actively evaluating or have already decided to increase their adoption of Linux on the server in 2009.”

I’m sure most of our readers have heard that Linux, as well as open source, is a great option during times of economic stress.  Companies and even every day users are turning to cheaper and free alternatives to expensive software and operating systems and Linux is just the right place to turn.

This is a great thing for Linux, even though it sucks for our current state of the economy.  Let’s just hope Linux can prove worthy and benefit in these tough times.

Read the full article here.

In a mailing list post dated September 8th, Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth announced plans for Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope, scheduled for release in April, 2009.

Shuttleworth starts out by making a bold statement that we can expect Ubuntu to be shipping on millions of devices by next year, thus setting the bar very high for Ubuntu in order to compete with the major players, Microsoft and Apple.

Goals of Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope

Mark also lays out two specific goals that Jaunty Jackalope will have.  The first being faster boot time and faster resume time.  I really think this is a great area for Ubuntu 9.04 to address.  Boot time can certainly be improved and would make the experience of Ubuntu that much better.  The second goal will be to work towards blurring web services and desktop applications.  “Is it a deer? Is it a bunny? Or is it a weblication – a desktop application that seamlessly integrates the web!”

This release looks promising and I really can’t wait to start testing the beta versions.

As for now, Ubuntu 8.10 is scheduled to be released next month, so I’m looking forward to the Intrepid Ibex for now.

The Linux Foundation and kernel developers alike have finally decided to speak out by issuing a statement on closed source drivers, recommending “that hardware manufacturers provide open source kernel modules.”

Here’s the entire statement:

The Linux Foundation recommends that hardware manufacturers provide open source kernel modules. The open source nature of Linux is intrinsic to its success. We encourage manufacturers to work with the kernel community to provide open source kernel modules in order to enable their users and themselves to take advantage of the considerable benefits that Linux makes possible. We agree with the Linux kernel developers that vendors who provide closed-source kernel modules force their customers to give up these key Linux advantages. We urge all vendors to adopt a policy of supporting their customers on Linux with open-source kernel modules.

Background Materials

There is no telling if the hardware manufacturers will take notice and actually adhere to the Linux Foundation’s statement, but at least they will know where the Linux community developers stand.  It’s obvious as to why the hardware companies don’t want to provide open source drivers, in order to remain competitive, but there has to be a tipping point at some point.

Visit the Linux Foundation website for more information.

openSUSE 11.0 Released

Congratulations to the openSUSE team for the release of openSUSE 11.0.

The openSUSE Project is proud to announce the release of openSUSE 11.0 — everything you need to get started with Linux on the desktop and on the server. Promoting the use of Linux everywhere, the openSUSE Project provides free, easy access to the world’s most usable Linux distribution, openSUSE.

The 11.0 release of openSUSE includes more than 200 new features specific to openSUSE, a redesigned installer that makes openSUSE even easier to install, faster package management thanks to major updates in the ZYpp stack, and KDE 4, GNOME 2.22, Compiz Fusion, and much more.

Download openSUSE 11.0

openSUSE is now available for immediate download. The openSUSE 11.0 release brings several new options for installation media, as well as familiar choices:

  • openSUSE 11.0 DVD
  • openSUSE 11.0 KDE 4 32-bit Live CD
  • openSUSE 11.0 GNOME 32-bit Live CD
  • openSUSE 11.0 KDE 4 64-bit Live CD
  • openSUSE 11.0 GNOME 64-bit Live CD

You can download openSUSE 11.0 via HTTP, FTP, BitTorrent, and Metalink from software.openSUSE.org.

You can also purchase a retail box with openSUSE 11.0 that includes 90-day installation support, physical media, and a printed Getting Started guide.

Acer to push Linux

It’s being reported that Acer is going to start pushing Linux on it’s Laptops and netbooks. The choice for Acer is obviously a smart financial move. Linux is open source and much cheaper then the alternative Microsoft operating systems. Gianpiero Morbello, the vice president of marketing and brand at Acer, even stated “We have shifted towards Linux because of Microsoft,” he said. “Microsoft has a lot of power and it is going to be difficult, but we will be working hard to develop the Linux market.”

This is definitely a great push for Linux.  Acer has a lot of influence in the hardware market, and taking a stand against Microsoft for Linux could make other major companies think twice about what operating system they develop hardware for.  However, I’m reluctant to see how Acer will go about marketing the OS on their brand of laptops.  I hope they don’t plan on just having a lower cost laptop sitting on the store shelf and waiting until the customer gets home to discover that the operating system looks “different”.  If done correctly, Acer could help the Linux desktop spread to more homes.

If you haven’t heard the news already, Ubuntu has released Ubuntu 8.04 “Hardy Heron” for both the Desktop and Server. This is the second Long Term Release of the popular distro.

This release marks some pretty drastic improvements for the fight to bring the Linux desktop to the mainstream audience. Wubi, the Windows based Ubuntu Installer, is an officially supported Ubuntu installer for Windows users that can bring you to the Linux world with a single click. Wubi allows you to install and uninstall Ubuntu as any other Windows application, in a simple and safe way. This is definitely going to get more “everyday” desktop users to try out Linux.

Upgrade from Ubuntu 7.10 to Ubuntu 8.04

If you have an existing installation of Ubuntu, upgrading to the latest 8.04 is very simple. Just open System -> Administration -> Update Manager or from the command line, run sudo update-manager. Check for new updates and simply click on the Upgrade button next to the message that states “New distribution release“.

Read the official how to upgrade from Ubuntu 7.10 to Ubuntu 8.04 here.

To download the new Ubuntu 8.04 “Hardy Heron” release go here.

Red Hat has announced that they have no plans to create a traditional Linux desktop product for the consumer market.

Lets look at Red Hat’s explantion of why:

…as a public, for-profit company, Red Hat must create products and technologies with an eye on the bottom line, and with desktops this is much harder to do than with servers. The desktop market suffers from having one dominant vendor, and some people still perceive that today’s Linux desktops simply don’t provide a practical alternative. Of course, a growing number of technically savvy users and companies have discovered that today’s Linux desktop is indeed a practical alternative. Nevertheless, building a sustainable business around the Linux desktop is tough, and history is littered with example efforts that have either failed outright, are stalled or are run as charities. But there’s good news too. Technical developments that have become available over the past year or two are accelerating the spread of the Linux Desktop.

In short?  It’s too much money, and it’s too hard.

I really don’t think this is a bad move.  Red Hat is great at what they do.  Servers and development, and they do it as a business, for money.  Contrary to the buzz in the community right now, there is nothing in the announcement that says Fedora will stop being worked on.  Fedora is community driven, so there really is no worry as I see it.  Fedora is a great free Linux desktop but it’s obvious which desktop player is leading the charge for the commercial Linux desktop; Ubuntu.

Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Canonical Ltd. and leader of the Ubuntu Linux distribution, discussed the Windows based UBuntu Installer, Wubi, on his blog today.

Windows is a very important platform, and our justifiable pride in Linux and the GNU stack shouldn’t blind us to the importance of delivering software that is widely useful. I believe in bringing free software to people in a way that is exciting and empowering to them, and one of the key ways to do that is to show them amazing free software running on their familiar platform, whether that’s Windows or the MacOS.

Firefox, for example, is an inspiring free software success story, and I’m certain that a key driver of that success is their excellent support for the Windows environment. It’s a quick download and an easy install that Just Works, after which people can actually FEEL that free software delivers an innovative and powerful browsing experience that is plainly better than the proprietary alternatives. I’ve noticed that many of the best free software projects have a good Windows story. MySQL and PostGres both do. Bazaar works well too. And users love it – users that may then be willing to take a step closer to living in the GNU world entirely.

So, I was absolutely delighted with the way Agostino Russo and Evan Dandrea steered the Windows-native installer for Ubuntu into 8.04 LTS. What I think is really classy about it is the way it uses the Windows Boot Manager sensibly to offer you the Ubuntu option. If I was a Windows user who was intrigued but nervous about Linux, this would be a really great way to get a taste of it, at low risk. Being able to install and uninstall a Linux OS as if it were a Windows app is a brilliant innovation. Kudos to Agostino and Evan, and of course also to the guys who pioneered this sort of thinking (it’s been done in a number of different ways). It looks crisp, clean and very professional

There have been some concerns with Wubi not working on various machines.  A lot of people have been saying that it’s not installing at all for them.  Mark is calling out for everyone to test it out before the upcoming Ubuntu 8.04 “Hardy Heron” release.

So – yesterday I suggested folks hammer on the Heron for servers, today, here’s a call for folks who have a Windows machine and would like to see WUBI in action to test it out and let the developers know if there are any last-minute gotchas. Happy hunting!

Read more…

CodeWeavers, Inc has announced that their new application suite, CrossOver Games, similar to their CrossOver Office suite, is now available. Now you can play those popular Windows games on your Mac or Linux with ease.

From the press release:

Crossover Games delivers gamers a low-cost tool allowing them to play popular windows games including World of Warcraft, Guild Wars, and many Steam games including Team Fortress 2, Counterstrike Source, Civilization 4, Peggle, and many others on the platform and machine of their choice.

“One of the differences between CrossOver Games and our current CrossOver products is that it’s going to be a little more ‘bleeding edge’,” said Jeremy White, President and CEO of CodeWeavers. “The Wine development community, including CodeWeavers, is cranking out a lot of important improvements to game support. We want to get those improvements into the hands of gamers now. CrossOver Games, we think, will fit in with the edgier technology needs of gamers.”

CrossOver Games features many recent game advancements developed in the open-source community. “This is our way of promoting the incredible work of the open-source community,” said White. “It also marks a positional change in our product line. There’s a perception that our products primarily make Windows office productivity applications run under our CrossOver products. The truth is, CrossOver also runs many popular games on Macs and Linux PCs as well.”

CrossOver Games is available for purchase directly from CodeWeavers and its authorized resellers. It is a download-only product. The cost for the product is $39.95, which includes 12 months of free product support and software updates.

This is great news for the Linux desktop community. A big reason users have strayed away from Linux is due to the fact that gaming on Linux is just not as good as it is on Windows. Much respect to CodeWeavers for trying to close the gap in the lack of Linux gaming department.

It has been announced that Security-Enhanced Linux (SELinux) will now be available as an alternative security option to AppArmour in Ubuntu 8.04 “Hardy Heron”.

Security-Enhanced Linux (SELinux) is a Linux feature that provides a variety of security policies, including U.S. Department of Defense style mandatory access controls, through the use of Linux Security Modules (LSM) in the Linux kernel.

Here is How to install SELinux on Ubuntu 8.04 taken from the Ubuntu Wiki:

How To Install SELinux on Ubuntu 8.04 “Hardy Heron”

Installing SELinux in Hardy:

  1. Update /etc/apt/sources.list by appending the following:
  2. Update repo:
    • > apt-get update
  3. Install updated packages:
    • > apt-get upgrade
    • These packages have SELinux support patches:
      • libpam0g
      • openssh-server
      • grub
      • login
  4. Install selinux:
    • > apt-get install selinux
    • These packages will be removed:
      • apparmor
      • apparmor-utils
  5. Reboot

If using aptitude instead of apt-get, you will need to manually remove apparmor and apparmor-utils, deselect selinux-policy-dummy, and then choose selinux-policy-refpolicy.