An anonymous reader writes: If you're involved in the free and open-source software movement — especially in the United States — you may want to read through this, as long as it may seem. It appears that the United States' Internal Revenue Service has strongly shifted its views of free and open-source software, and to the detriment of the movement, in my opinion. From the article: "The IRS reasons that since Yorba’s open source software may be used for any purpose, Yorba is not a charity. Consider all the for-profit and non-charitable ways the Apache server is used; I’d still argue Apache is a charitable organization. (What else could it be?) There’s a charitable organization here in San Francisco that plants trees throughout the city for the benefit of all. If one of their tree’s shade falls on a cafe table and cools the cafe’s patrons as they enjoy their espressos, does that mean the tree-planting organization is no longer a charity?"
Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook
An anonymous reader writes "Wayland 1.5 has been released, along with Weston Compositor 1.5. Wayland/Weston 1.5 carry many new user features, with a new libinput back-end, XWayland support, a full-screen shell, and many other changes. This release is particularly important as Fedora 21 will run on GNOME Wayland and X.Org Server 1.16 will be released this summer with integrated XWayland support."
An anonymous reader writes "The GNOME Foundation is running out of money. The foundation no longer has any cash reserves so they have voted to freeze non-essential funding for running the foundation. They are also hunting down sponsors and unpaid invoices to regain some delayed revenue. Those wishing to support the GNOME Foundation can become a friend of GNOME."
New submitter Sri Ramkrishna writes: "Like clockwork, the next version of GNOME has been released with updated applications, bugfixes, and so forth. People can look forward to faster loading times and a little better performance than before. A video has been created to highlight the release! Check it out!" The release features "... app folders, enhanced system status and high-resolution display support. This release also includes new and redesigned applications for video, software, editing, sound recording and internet relay chat. Under the hood, support for using Wayland instead of X has progressed significantly." There are a bunch of new features for programmers too.
An anonymous reader writes that XWayland is nearly ready to be merged into the main X.org tree "X.Org Server 1.16 this summer should support XWayland, the means of allowing X11 applications to run atop Wayland-based compositors without the need for any application/game changes. With the revised design, XWayland has generic 2D acceleration over OpenGL and a cleaner design compared to earlier revisions. With GNOME 3.12 having better Wayland support and Plasma Next around the corner, it looks like 2014 could be the year of Wayland's take-off!" The patch series emails have more details. The big news here is that XWayland is ditching its old DDX model for one based on Glamor. eliminating the need for any X.org drivers to be written to support X11 on Wayland: "Finally, the last patch adds the Xwayland DDX. Initially Xwayland was an Xorg module that exposed an API for Xorg video drivers to hook into so that we could reuse the native 2D acceleration. Now that glamor is credible and still improving, a much better approach is to make Xwayland its own DDX and use glamor for acceleration. A lot of the code in the Xorg approach was busy preventing Xorg being Xorg, eg, preventing VT access, preventing input driver loading, preventing drivers doing modesetting. The new DDX in contrast is straight-forward, clean code, only 2500 lines of code and neatly self-contained." It does not yet have direct rendering or any acceleration, but those patches should come soon.
An anonymous reader sends this quote from OLPC News about whether the One Laptop Per Child project can expect to continue much longer: "Here is a question for you: 8 years on, would you recommend anyone start a new deployment with XO-1 laptops? With the hardware now long past its life expectancy, spare parts hard to find, and zero support from the One Laptop Per Child organization, its time to face reality. The XO-1 laptop is history. Sadly, so is Sugar. Once the flagship of OLPC's creativity in redrawing the human-computer interaction, few are coding for it and new XO variants are mostly Android/Gnome+Fedora dual boots. Finally, OLPC Boston is completely gone. No staff, no consultants, not even a physical office. Nicholas Negroponte long ago moved onto the global literacy X-Prize project." A response from OLPC says their mission is "far from over." They add, "OLPC also has outsourced many of the software and development units because the organization is becoming more hardware and OS agnostic, concentrating on its core values – education."
sfcrazy writes "The Ubuntu Gnome team wants to join the elite club of Ubuntu flavors which enjoy the LTS (Long Term Support) status. Ubuntu 14.04 will be an LTS release making it a good time for the Ubuntu Gnome flavor to be promoted since it will be two more years before the next LTS release."
An anonymous reader writes "GNOME 3.12 was going to have official Wayland support as one of its main features for the upcoming desktop release. The developers have now decided to delay the official Wayland support until at least GNOME 3.14 while the support found there will be shipped as a preview. Missing features like drag 'n' drop and clipboard support are still missing from GNOME's Wayland code, which made them decide another six months of development work is needed. Other GNOME 3.12 features are mentioned on the GNOME Wiki."
An anonymous reader writes "A VP9 video decoder written for FFmpeg, FFvp9, now holds the title of being the world's fastest VP9 video decoder. FFvp9 is faster than Google's de facto VP9 decoder found in libvpx, but this doesn't come as too much of a surprise given that FFmpeg also produced a faster VP8 video decoder than Google a few years back with both single and multi-threaded performance."
jones_supa writes "At FOSDEM 2014 some recent developments of GNU Hurd were discussed (PDF slides). In the name of freedom, GNU Hurd has now the ability to run device drivers from user-space via the project's DDE layer. Among the mentioned use-cases for the GNU Hurd DDE are allowing VPN traffic to just one application, mounting one's own files, redirecting a user's audio, and more flexible hardware support. You can also run Linux kernel drivers in Hurd's user-space. Hurd developers also have working IDE support, X.Org / graphics support, an AHCI driver for Serial ATA, and a Xen PV DomU. Besides the 64-bit support not being in a usable state, USB and sound support is still missing. As some other good news for GNU Hurd, around 79% of the Debian archive is now building for GNU Hurd, including the Xfce desktop (GNOME and KDE soon) and Firefox web browser."
sfcrazy writes "Gnome developers are planning to delay the release of Gnome 3.12 by approximately a week. It's a deliberate delay to sync the release with the availability of Wayland 1.5. Matthias Clasen (Fedora and Gnome developer) explains that 'the GNOME release team is pondering moving the date for 3.12.0 out by approximately a week, to align the schedule with the Wayland release plans (a 1.4.91 release including all the xdg-shell API we need is planned for April 1). The latter 3.11.x milestones would be shifted as well, to avoid lengthening the freeze period unnecessarily.'"
David W. White writes "Years ago ago those of us who used any *nix desktop ('every morning when you wake up, the house is a little different') were seen as willing to embrace change and spend hours tinkering and configuring until we got new desktop versions to work the way we wanted, while there was an opposite perception of desktop users over in the Mac world ('it just works') and the Windows world ('it's a familiar interface'). However, a recent article in Datamation concludes that 'for better or worse, [Linux desktop users] know what they want — a classic desktop — and the figures consistently show that is what they are choosing in far greater numbers than GNOME, KDE, or any other single graphical interface.' Has the profile of the Linux desktop user changed to a more pragmatic one? Or is it just the psychology of user inertia at work, when one considers the revolt against changes in the KDE, GNOME, UNITY and Windows 8 interfaces in recent times?"
enharmonix writes "I have a big decision to make. I am probably going to buy a laptop that I will primarily use for music. I would prefer an OEM distro so I don't need to install the OS myself (not that I mind), but I have no preference between open- and closed-source software as an end-user; I just care about the quality of the product. There are two applications that I absolutely must have: 1) a standard notation transcription program with quality auditioning (i.e., playback with quality sound fonts or something similar, better than your standard MIDI patches) that can also accept recorded audio in lieu of MIDI playback, and 2) a capable synthesizer (the more options, the better). If there's software out there that does both 1 and 2 in the same app, that's even better. I've played with some of Ubuntu's offerings for music a few years ago and some are very good, though not all of them are self-explanatory and the last time I checked, none of them really met my needs. I am not so worried about number 2 because I think I could pretty easily develop my own in .NET/Mono, which I think would be a fun project (which would be open source, of course). I am a Gnome fan so if I go with Linux, I will almost certainly go with standard Ubuntu over Kubuntu, but Gnome seems to rule out Rosegarden which was the best FOSS transcription software out there the last time I checked. The other solution I've thought of is to just shell out the $600 for Finale, which I'm more than willing to do, but I'm not so sure I want Windows 8 and I'm just not sure I can afford to go with a Mac on top of the $600 for Finale. I don't intend to put more than one OS on my laptop, either. Any slashdotters out there dabble in composing/recording, using MIDI, sound fonts, recorded audio, and/or synthesizers? What setup of hardware/OS/software works for you? Can FOSS music software compete with their pricier closed source competitors?" The KXStudio apps installed over Debian or Ubuntu tend to be pretty nice (better session handling that gladish provides at least).
Freshly Exhumed writes "Phoronix has an article about how Dirk Hohndel of Intel's Open-Source Technology Center has stirred the hornet's nest with a talk at Australia's Linux.Conf.Au (MP4 file) about what he views as the biggest problem with the GTK: he finds dealing with upstream GTK/GNOME developers to be tough, with frequent abuse and flame-wars, with accusations from the developers that "you're doing it wrong." Conversely, he found the Qt development community to be quite the opposite: willing to engage and help, with plenty of application developer documentation and fewer communication problems than with their GTK counterparts."
An anonymous reader writes "The Maui OS Project has made their first stable release of the Hawaii Desktop. Hawaii is still catching up with GNOME, Xfce, and KDE in terms of features, but it's written from scratch atop next-generation open-source technologies. In particular, Hawaii 0.2.0 is powered by the brand new Qt 5.2 tool-kit and runs natively on Wayland's Weston 1.3 compositor. Hawaii 0.2.0 carries all standard Linux desktop features but more advanced desktop functionality is planned while focusing around a Wayland design and eventually their own Green Island Compositor."
sfcrazy writes "The Fedora Project has announced the release of Fedora 20, code named Heisenbug (release notes). Fedora 20 is dedicated to Seth Vidal, the lead developer of Yum and the Fedora update repository, who recently died in a road accident. Gnome is the default DE of Fedora, and so it is for Fedora 20. However unlike Ubuntu (where they had to create different distros for each DE) Fedora comes with KDE, XFCE, LXDE and MATE. You can install the DE of your choice on top of base Fedora."
jones_supa writes "SteamOS has been further inspected to see what kind of technical solutions it uses. The Debian-based OS uses Linux 3.10, shipping with a heap of patches applied, with the most focus being on real-time-like features. The kernel is also using aufs and they seem to be sitting on some bug fixes for upstream on top of that. The kernel is not using the new Intel P-State driver, with the reported reason being, 'it causes issues with sound being choppy during BigPicture trailer video playback.' SteamOS is using SysVinit as its init system. The desktop is backed by X.Org server 1.12.4 and a custom desktop compositor which seems to be a 4,200-line patch on xcompmgr. Catalyst and Mesa components can be found on the system, but so far only NVIDIA is officially supported. The system boots into Big Picture Mode, but the user can drop into a GNOME desktop. Responsible for a great deal of the kernel changes, SteamOS compositor work, and other SteamOS code is Pierre-Loup A. Griffais, a.k.a. 'Plagman'. He was a NVIDIA employee dealing with their Linux support. Another Valve employee doing lots of the SteamOS system-level work is John Vert, who up until last year was a Microsoft employee since 1991. There's also other former Microsoft employees on Valve's Linux team, like Mike Sartain."
jones_supa writes "This announcement comes from the ubuntu-desktop mailing list. Due to GNOME Control Center already being a heavily patched version in Ubuntu, Canonical is planning to found their own fork called Unity Control Center. This would be a fork with a limited lifespan and later on they would move to something called Ubuntu System Settings, an in-house project. For now, a PPA has been set up to test the new fork."
super_rancid writes "The team that quit Linux Format magazine to launch a competitor that pledges 50% of profits back to the Free Software community, plus the release of all its content as CC-BY-SA after nine months, have hit their ambitious £90,000 Indiegogo crowdfunding target. The campaign now includes endorsements from Karen Sandler, Executive Director of the Gnome Foundation, Eben Upton, Founder of the Raspberry Pi and Simon Phipps, President of the OSI, with the first issue promised for February 2014."