Blogrotate #4: The Weekly Roundup of News for System Administrators

Oct 30, 2009 / By Brad Hudson

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Welcome to the all hallowed eve eve edition of Blogrotate. It was a relatively quiet week this week but the 2 standouts are from the OS department with more reviews of the just released Windows 7 and the release of Ubuntu 9.10. Here’s some of the stories that we took note of this week.

Operating Systems

Ubuntu 9.10 is released. Anyone who reads my blogs knows by now that I am a Kubuntu user and I think that it’s the best desktop Linux available right now. They’ve put a lot of work into this one and it’s the best version of Ubuntu yet, easy to install and use with all the features you could ask for. Ryan Paul at Ars Technica has his own review called Ubuntu 9.10 brings web sync, faster bootup, GNOME 2.28, check it out.

Here’s a short list of some types of Ubuntu you can get, and their niche.

  • Ubuntu – The standard desktop featuring Gnome.
  • Ubuntu Server Edition – Just how it sounds.
  • Ubuntu Netbook Remix – A version of Ubuntu designed to work on your netbook.
  • Kubuntu – The KDE desktop version of Ubuntu. With KDE it’s an easier conversion for Windows users in my opinion.
  • Edubuntu – Edubuntu is an educational operating system that is designed for kids, parents, teachers and schools. I have not tried this one yet, but my 3.5 year old is ready for it.
  • Mythbuntu – A replacement for Windows Media Center featuring MythTV. I use this for a PVR at home, easy install and great interface.
  • XUbuntu – A version of Ubuntu using the xfce desktop, and designed for older or less powerful machines that have trouble with the Gnome or KDE desktops.

Windows 7 is still fresh in the minds of many. If you want an exhaustive review of all the pros and cons of Windows 7, how about trying to get through a 15 page review by Peter Bright. For the impatient, he sums it up at the end saying “…Windows 7 is, overall, a fantastic OS. It builds on a solid platform, and just makes it even better”. Read the full review in Hasta la Vista, baby: Ars reviews Windows 7.

PC Pro has an interesting article up called The Crapware Con. This article has some interesting information on what sort of extra software each of the major manufacturers are adding to your laptop, and what sort of effect this has on your performance. If you have an Acer, Sony or HP laptop they are apparently the worst offenders.

Security

Dan Goodin has an interesting article about a free Microsoft product that can identify and harden applications against common avenues of attack without even needing access to the source code itself. Read the scoop in Free Microsoft security tool locks down buggy apps.

Dan Goodin reports on a new Mozilla site that will check the plugins in your FireFox for old versions which may have security issues and allow you to update them easily. Mozilla service detects insecure Firefox plugins has the full story, and the plugin check page is here.

Software

Paul Lorimer, Group Manager for Microsoft Office Interoperability, writes in his blog that “In order to facilitate interoperability and enable customers and vendors to access the data in .pst files on a variety of platforms, we will be releasing documentation for the .pst file format”. This will open up the specifications for the pst file, used by MS Outlook to store email, making it easier for other software vendors to tap into the file format. See more in Roadmap for Outlook Personal Folders (.pst) Documentation.

Internet

The Internet celebrated its second 40th birthday on Thursday marking the date that the first word, “Lo”, was sent between 2 machines at UCLA on October 29, 1969. Get more of the story in Internet pops champagne on (second) 40th birthday. On an unrelated note, this happened 40 years after the 1929 stock market crash.

Hardware

Neil Mcallister at InfoWorld has an interesting article on the rise of the ARM processor as a competitor to the Intel‘s Atom for mobile devices. Read on in ARM vs. Atom: The battle for the next digital frontier.

Computerworld has an article about the recent Intel release and recall of it’s SSD firmware update due to issues with data corruption. Intel pulls firmware for SSDs just a day after release has more details. Ars Technica also covered the story in Intel’s SSD firmware brings speed boost, mass death (again).

That’s all we have time for this week folks. Be sure to tune in again next week. Same bat time. Same bat channel.

3 Responses to “Blogrotate #4: The Weekly Roundup of News for System Administrators”

  • Bill Fraser says:

    Brad,

    Thanks for this week’s round up, I just have a little something I wanted to add to the section about Ubuntu.

    As if there weren’t enough choice in the variants you mentioned, I can think of two others — Eeebuntu and Qimo. The first is designed specifically for netbooks (the ASUS Eee PC in particular) while the second is based on Xubuntu and is designed for preschool aged kids.

    I haven’t used Eeebuntu at all, so I don’t know how it differs from the Ubuntu Netbook Remix and whether or not its aligned with Ubuntu’s release cycle.

    I have used Qimo however, and it works well for its target userbase. It automatically logs in to a desktop and there are icons for a number of games/applications in a panel easily accessible at the bottom, including Childsplay and GCompris, the ones we use most. The intent is for Qimo to be released on a six month cycle, as with Ubuntu, but the first version is based on Xubuntu 8.10 (‘Intrepid Ibex’) while the second version has not yet been released. I have upgraded my Qimo install to Jaunty and intend to do the same to Karmic, as soon as I can find time.

    http://www.eeebuntu.org
    http://www.qimo4kids.com/

  • Andrey Goryunov says:

    Looks like Eeebuntu 3.0 built on 9.04 and Netbook remix is on 9.10

    BTW, I tried to install UNR on Asus Eee701PC using usb flash drive but it failed with
    “can not mount /dev/loop1 on /cow” but
    installation of 9.10 desktop edition went w/o problems.

    Just wondering is there any chance to change GUI to UNR look?

  • Brad Hudson says:

    Andre you could try installing one of the meta-packages kubuntu-netbook or ubuntu-netbook-remix using apt, but keep an eye on what it tries to install and especially any packages it wants to remove.

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