Monday, March 27, 2006

Fedora Core 5 released

The Fedora Project has announced the release of Fedora Core 5. According to their website, "New desktop applications, advances in security, better localization tools, improved software installation and management facilities and strong Java integration help to make Fedora Core 5 the most innovative Linux distribution ever."

Included in this release are Gnome 2.14, KDE 3.5, 2.0.2, Firefox 1.5, Xen 3.0, and a rewritten version of the Anaconda installer, to match the new look-and-feel of the distribution.

Fedora has switched to using the reference policy for the SELinux security framework. This supports binary modules, allowing SELinux policies to move into individual packages. Developers can use this to ship site-specific policy customizations. Fedora Core also supports the Multi Category Security (MCS) SELinux policy by default, in addition to Type Enforcement (TE), Muti Level Security (MLS), and Role Base Access Control (RBAC) security policies.

The release also includes new free Java support, Fedora can now compile and run software written in Java without relying upon proprietary and closed Java machine implementations. It does this through the introduction of the completely free software stack java-gcj-compat that runs native
and bytecode Java.

Many packages are now compiled and run on a 100% free and open software stack. These include, Eclipse, Apache Tomcat, and Jakarta. Other Java applications include the popular BitTorrent utility Azureus and RSSowl.

FC5 Release Summary

Xara releases Xtreme open source code at Libre Graphics meeting

At the Libre Graphics meeting in Lyon on 18th March, Xara announced that, after the last few months of readying the source code, it has now made the first release of the majority of the Xara LX source code for public download.

Commenting on Xara's goals, Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Ubuntu Linux and the second space tourist, says: "The announcement by the Xara team positions them well for the growing wave of momentum behind free and open source software. In each market sector, there is emerging a dominant open source application to challenge the existing dominant proprietary application. I wish the Xara team every success in their efforts to ensure that Xara becomes the leading open source graphics application, and to craft a strong community and business around that work."

Friday, March 17, 2006

Mandriva fires founder Gael Duval

Gael Duval, one of the founders of Mandriva, was fired by his own company as part of a set of cost-cutting measures, designed to help the company recover from its current financial losses. Duval had voluntarily moved to a new branch of the company which was planning to improve its open source community involvement, while the company as a whole has been turning increasingly towards "enterprise" applications, hoping to compete with Red Hat and Novell SuSE, among others. NewsForge reports that Duval intends to sue the company for "abusive layoff", but Mandriva CEO Francois Bancilhon mildly described the decision as part of cost-cutting measures. It remains unclear what the company's next moves will be, as it will face serious competition in the enterprise Linux market sector.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Knoppix 5.0

The latest release of the Knoppix live DVD Linux distribution is available, with a more "genuine Debian" collection of packages, more and better hardware detection, and improvements to the install to hard disk option. In particular the system now supports updating a hard disk installation from a more recent live DVD or CD. The system includes a Linux kernel, Xorg xserver, KDE 3.5.1, Gnome 2.12, and Open Office 2.0.1.

The first release of Knoppix 5.0 was made exclusively available as a free pressed DVD at CeBIT.

Earliest date 2 weeks after CeBIT, the CD edition of KNOPPIX 5.0 should be ready and will be available for download, together wih the DVD version, from the usual mirrors.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Get the FUD from New Zealand

A new "Get the Facts" style report commissioned by the New Zealand government cautions strongly against the use of open source software, making a wide variety of misleading claims about copyleft "infection". The report states "While the use of open source software has many benefits, it brings with it a number of legal risks not posed by proprietary or commercial software." Perhaps unsurprisingly, the report was created by legal firm Chapman Tripp, which is closely associated with Microsoft. New Zealand Green Party Information Technology Spokesperson Nandor Tanczos, responds critically, "Asking Microsoft's general counsel and IT adviser to prepare what is supposed to be a neutral guide to open source software is just scandalous."