MasterPatricko writes The latest version of the openSUSE distribution, 13.2, has been officially released. Key features include integrated support for filesystem snapshots, enabled by a switch to btrfs as the default file system, a new network manager (Wicked), as well as the usual version updates. This release includes seven supported desktop environments (KDE 4.14, GNOME 3.14, Xfce, LXDE, Enlightenment 19, Mate and Awesome) and even preview packages of Plasma 5.1, all presented with a unified openSUSE theme. Download LiveUSB and DVD images now from software.opensuse.org/132.
Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive
An anonymous reader writes "The op-co.de blog has a post about the incredibly poor job Samsung did securing its new NX300 'smart camera.' One of the camera's primary features is that it can join Wi-Fi networks — this lets it upload photos, but it also lets you use your smartphone to access the photos on the camera directly. You can also connect with NFC. Unfortunately, the way they set it up is extremely insecure. First, there's an NFC tag that tells the camera where to download the app, and also the name of the access point set up by the camera. 'The tag is writable, so a malicious user can easily 'hack' your camera by rewriting its tag to download some evil app, or to open nasty links in your web browser, merely by touching it with an NFC-enabled smartphone.' Things aren't much better with Wi-Fi — a simple port scan reveals that the camera is running an unprotected X server (running Enlightenment). When the camera checks for new firmware, it helpfully reports your physical location. Its software also sets up unencrypted access points."
An anonymous reader writes "Full Wayland support has been added to Enlightenment 0.19. Building upon earlier Wayland support, Enlightenment can now act as its own Wayland compositor by communicating directly with the kernel's DRM drivers instead of having to rely upon Weston. The Wayland support is still considered experimental but it's now the first Linux desktop with full Wayland support." Quick README on building and using it.
An anonymous reader writes "While it took over a decade for E17 to come out, Enlightenment E19 is being readied for release just two months after E18's debut. The Enlightenment DR 0.19 update has a rewritten compositor that can fully act as its own Wayland compositor (not dependent upon Weston). The update integrates OpenGL canvas filters support, contains many bug-fixes, and has other improvements for both X11 and Wayland users. The 1.9.0 alpha1 pre-release was issued today as the initial testing version of the new window manager."
carmendrahl writes "Famed astronomer Galileo Galilei is best known for taking on the Catholic Church by championing the idea that the Earth moves around the sun. But he also engaged in a debate with a philosopher about why ice floats on water. While his primary arguments were correct, he went too far, belittling legitimate, contradictory evidence given by his opponent, Ludovico delle Colombe. Galileo's erroneous arguments during the water debate are a useful reminder that the path to scientific enlightenment is not often direct and that even our intellectual heroes can sometimes be wrong."
New submitter robp writes "After a link to VLC showed up in one of HBO's DMCA takedown requests, I recalled how often I've linked to VLC in my own copy, and how often I've seen that app noted across traditional-media outlets — even though you could make the same arguments against linking to it that Judge Kaplan bought in 2000. Now, though, even the House's own IT department not only links to this CSS-circumventing app but endorses it. Question is, what led to this enlightenment?"
An anonymous reader writes "The E17 Enlightenment project has released a new version of its Terminology terminal emulator. With Terminology 0.3 comes several fancy features, including the ability to preview video files, images, and PDF files from within the terminal. There's new escape sequences, inline video playback, and other features to this terminal emulator that's only built on EFL and libc."
benrothke writes "In its first week, Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief was #3 on the New York Times Best Sellers list and will likely be #1 soon. The fact that the book is in print is somewhat miraculous given the voracious appetite Scientology has for litigation. It is the first time that such an expose could have been written and found such wide-scale reading. An interesting analysis of this fact is found in Why the Media Is No Longer Afraid of Scientology by Kim Masters. But as mesmerizing an expose as the book is, I doubt that this will be more than a speed bump to Scientology's growth and fund raising." Keep reading to be clear about what Ben has to say.
The Enlightenment front page bears this small announcement: "E17 release HAS HAPPENED!" The release announcement is remarkably spartan — it's mostly a tribute to the dozens of contributors who have worked on the software itself and on translating it into many languages besides system-default English. On the other hand, if you've been waiting since December 2000 for E17 (also known as Enlightenment 0.17), you probably have some idea that Enlightenment is a window manager (or possibly a desktop environment: the developers try to defuse any dispute on that front, but suffice it to say that you can think of it either way), and that the coders are more interested in putting out the software that they consider sufficiently done than in incrementing release numbers. That means they've made some side trips along the way, Knuth-like, to do things like create an entire set of underlying portable libraries. The release candidate changelog of a few days ago gives an idea of the very latest changes, but this overview shows and tells what to expect in E17. If you're among those disappointed in the way some desktop environments have tended toward simplicity at the expense of flexibility, you can be sure that Enlightenment runs the other way: "We don't go quietly into the night and remove options when no one is looking. None of those new big version releases with fanfare and "Hey look! Now with half the options you used to have!". We sneak in when you least expect it and plant a whole forest of new option seeds, watching them spring to life. We nail new options to walls on a regular basis. We bake options-cakes and hand them out at parties. Options are good. Options are awesome. We have lots of them. Spend some quality time getting to know your new garden of options in E17. It may just finally give you the control you have been pining for."
Since before all other interfaces, Enlightenment has been making computers look and feel like they're from the future. On December 21, the decade long effort to rewrite Enlightenment will see the first officially stable release. With e17 a few days away, project founder and master of X11 graphics hacking Carsten Haitzler (the Rasterman) has agreed to answer your questions. Ask as many questions as you like, but only one per post please.
kfogel writes "Two thumbs up, and maybe a tentacle too, on Version Control with Git, 2nd Edition by Jon Loeliger and Matthew McCullough. If you are a working programmer who wants to learn more about Git, particularly a programmer familiar with a Unix-based development environment, then this is the book for you, hands down (tentacles down too, please)." Read below for the rest of Karl's review.
In development for the better part of the last decade, the 0.17 release of the Enlightenment window manager is slated for November 5th. Leading up to this, the H has an enlightening interview with project lead Rasterman on what to expect. From the article: "Today Enlightenment offers most of what you get from GNOME and KDE, and probably the same if not a bit more than XFCE. It just doesn't try and ship a suite of apps with it. It is the desktop (Window manager, settings, file manager, application launching and management) minus the apps. ... The biggest thing E17 brings to the table is universal compositing. This means you can use a composited desktop without any GPU acceleration at all, and use it nicely. We don't rely on software fallback implementations of OpenGL. We literally have a specific software engine that is so fast that some developers spent weeks using it accidentally, not realizing they had software compositing on their setup."
An anonymous reader writes "Modern Linux desktops like Ubuntu's Unity and the GNOME Shell have placed a requirement on OpenGL 2.0+ support for handling their compositing window managers and desktop effects. Wayland's Weston also needs OpenGL ES 2.0 support. Now with modern Linux distributions like Ubuntu 12.10, rather than falling back to a 2D unaccelerated desktop if you don't have a sufficient GPU or graphics driver, users are being forced to run LLVMpipe as a CPU-based software rasterizer. LLVMpipe works fine if you are on a new PC with a fast x86-64 CPU, but the OpenGL-based Linux desktops are causing growing pains for ARM hardware, virtual machines, servers, multi-seat computers, and of course all older hardware. LLVMpipe is a Mesa Gallium3D driver that uses LLVM for run-time code generation as an attempt at accelerating graphics faster on the CPU. So much for Linux being good for old computers?" The KMS based graphics stack is already effectively unusable on AGP systems (if you have SMP + AGP, there are race conditions somewhere leading to really hard crashes that appeared a couple of years ago and dozens of years old open bugs with no resolution other than "use PCI mode" which cuts bus bandwidth by 4 or 8 times, and still doesn't work with SMP), but for those with older PCIe/IGP systems you could always runs Window Maker, Sawfish, Enlightenment, Open Box, or one of many other window managers without a compositor. Of course then you lose compositing, and there aren't any usable external compositors for some reason. The flipside to this is that moving to OpenGL as the primary interface to the GPU means one fewer driver that has to be written, and will probably lead to an overall improved experience for those with supported hardware given the limited resources Free Software drivers authors have.
An anonymous reader writes "Emacsy is 'a Guile library that provides Emacs-like facilities — keymaps, minibuffer, tab completion, recordable macros, and major/minor modes — for applications natively.' However, to my eyes, it looks more like an attempt to revive the development style done on Symbolics Lisp Machines that survives to some extent in Emacs. Might be a boon to Emacs users, but where's a comparable VIM alternative?" The skeptic in me asks what benefit this would have over just using libguile directly, and how it fits in with efforts to port Emacs itself to Guile and things like Englightenment's pluggable event loop. The example code seems to imply Emacs-like APIs will be used (despite not intending to replace parts of Emacs), even when better alternatives exist. Some of the proposed components seem orthogonal to existing interface toolkits; others seem to compete with components provided by various Free desktop environments.
Earlier today, Tizen, Intel's post-MeeGo mobile OS, announced the availability of their first stable release. The H has a summary of the new features: "The source code for Tizen's Larkspur release has seen a number of new features added. The Web capabilities have now got full W3C/HTML5 specification support with 'key' WebRTC features incorporated and APIs to access the local camera and vibration. ... Tizen's graphics are based on X11 with a compositing window manager based on Enlightenment Foundation Libraries ... The SDK's IDE includes a new browser based tool which offers support for the Tizen APIs within a browser; this should allow developers to run and debug Tizen 'web applications' and see how those applications run with various device profiles. The alpha release of the browser based simulator should reduce the need to work with the emulator for many applications." The SDK release notes and source release notes have the gritty details. A new community wiki has been created, and source is available via git. This release comes just before the first Tizen developer conference, May 7-9th in San Francisco.
jsuda writes "For those billions of people for whom the current political-economic system doesn't work–the Occupy Wall Street people, the Tea Partiers, the 99%-ers and have-nots, the middle and lower classes, and the rest of the unwashed masses, Occupy World Street is a starburst of enlightenment and a practical vision of hope for a new and advanced society." Read on for jsuda's review
New submitter Stirling Newberry writes "You may have heard of The Great Moderation (PDF), which argues that business cycles have become less volatile over time, and the Green Revolution, a set of initiatives that led to increased global food production. These, it has been argued, have led to a marked decrease in war across the world. But not so fast, says a study in Science. It may well be that periods of war, past and present, can be linked to changes in climate: 'The most direct way in which extreme climate shifts influence human society is through agriculture, Zhang says; a falling supply of crops will drive up the price of gold and cause inflation. Similarly, epidemics can be exacerbated by famine. And when people are miserable, they are likely to become angry with their governments and each other, resulting in war. But golden ages rise out of these dark periods, the team argues. For instance, a 100-year cold period beginning in 1560 caused shortened crop growing seasons. The researchers found a causal linkage with a decline in average human height by nearly an inch during this period, and the century was rife with disease and conflict. But the world began to warm in 1650; when Charles II was crowned king of England in 1660, the coronation sparked the Enlightenment era in Europe.'"
MrSeb writes "In the time of Socrates, Plato and Cicero, great minds came together in local forums or sophist schools. The Enlightenment of the 18th century was triggered by homely gatherings at salons and fueled by the steaming hotpot of coffeehouses and caffeine. Today we still use forums, of course, and plenty of inventions and insight still originate from coffeehouses, but most innovation occurs in laboratories. ExtremeTech takes a look at the six computer labs that gave birth to the digital world — from Bletchley Park in Blighty, to PARC labs in Palo Alto, and everything in between."
mdsolar writes with this excerpt from the NY Times: "For centuries thinkers have assumed that the uniquely human capacity for reasoning has existed to let people reach beyond mere perception and reflex in the search for truth. Rationality allowed a solitary thinker to blaze a path to philosophical, moral and scientific enlightenment. Now some researchers are suggesting that reason evolved for a completely different purpose: to win arguments. Rationality, by this yardstick (and irrationality too, but we'll get to that) is nothing more or less than a servant of the hard-wired compulsion to triumph in the debating arena."