Less than two weeks ago we shared that SplashTop Linux was hacked to run off a USB stick, run custom applications, and more importantly having it run on non-certified motherboards (meaning those not sold by ASUS with SplashTop's instant-on Linux environment embedded). These hacks were done by members of our Phoronix Forums, but now a security hole has been discovered. Kano, a member of the Phoronix Forums and the mastermind behind the Debian-based Kanotix distribution, has discovered a serious security problem.
OpenMoko, the folks behind the original open phone design, have released OpenMoko 2008.08, which is their first official software stack release in a little more than a year. With this release, OpenMoko supports EFL, Qtopia, and GTK+ applications on X11. All of the details can be found at OpenMoko.org.
A few (small) interesting tidbits of information to report on from this afternoon's OSCON...
The GIMP crew has been hard at work on their GIMP 2.4 replacement, which will be called GIMP 2.6. There's a number of new features already present within the GIMP 2.6 development tree and just yesterday was the GIMP 2.5.2 testing release. GIMP 2.5.2 refines the combined Freehand/Polygon Select tool, added a dock-able dialog for managing Color tool settings, compatibility changes for the forthcoming GTK+ release, improved pop-up scale button, allow to map dynamics to hardness for the Eraser tool, added new PDB data type for transferring color arrays, and added text search to the Help Browser plug-in. These are just a few of the changes along with bug fixes and code clean-ups, but the complete GIMP 2.5/2.6 change-log can be viewed here. The development snapshots and other versions of GIMP can be acquired from their download page.
A year ago FIC started selling the OpenMoko Neo Base Developer Preview phone and starting on July 4 (in just two days) they will begin selling the OpenMoko Neo FreeRunner. The OpenMoko web store will begin accepting orders starting on the 4th of July while orders will begin processing on the 7th.
If you've been looking out for OpenOffice.org 3.0 or are just looking for a new software package to try out this afternoon, OpenOffice.org 3.0 Beta has been released. OpenOffice.org 3.0 integrates ODF 1.2 support, Microsoft Office 2007 Import Filters, charting enhancements, improved note capabilities in Writer, new icons, and a start center. For Mac OS X users, OpenOffice.org 3.0 will now run without the need for X11 to be installed. In addition, there are bug-fixes and other minor features that make up this beta release. The complete beta feature list can be read on the OpenOffice marketing website. The 3.0 beta can be downloaded here. The OpenOffice 3.0 release candidate is expected on July 25, while the final release isn't expected until September 2, 2008.
Pidgin, the popular IM client once known as GAIM, has flown out of the coop today with a new release. Pidgin 2.4.0 is the first update in about three months, but it brings a number of features to the client as well as libpurple and Finch. Pidgin 2.4.0 adds support for offline messages for AIM, Yahoo! Messenger 7.0+ file transfer support, 64-bit D-BUS fixes, auto-resizing of the chat input text area, theme support for conversation name colors through the GTK+ theme, and new bindings. These are just some of the changes, with the complete Pidgin/libpurple/Fince 2.4.0 change-log being available on the Pidgin developer website. Additional details and download links for this popular multi-platform instant messenger client are available at Pidgin.im.
OpenMoko has today announced that they are now a separate company from FIC. While FIC will continue to invest in OpenMoko and will manufacturer products for the OpenMoko platform, it has become a separate company in order to further develop its brand leadership and develop new open-source business models. FIC, the creator of the Neo 1973 mobile phone and other consumer electronic products, had originally started working on this open-source mobile project back in 2006. The OpenMoko project has been selling its Neo Base Developer Preview since July and has seen new features recently added such as a new user-interface. OpenMoko is competition to Google's recently announced Android project.
A month ago we were first to deliver an in-depth analysis of the DeviceVM's SplashTop (along with subsequent updates), which was found on the ASUS P5E3 Deluxe motherboard and re-branded as an "Express Gate" feature. SplashTop is an "Instant-On Linux Desktop Environment" that can be executed off the motherboard and you can be using Skype or Firefox within a matter of seconds. It's one of the most interesting motherboard innovations we have seen in a while and holds a lot of potential. Only weeks later Phoenix Technologies introduced their SplashTop rival. Phoenix's Linux-based HyperSpace is like SplashTop but can be initiated at anytime while within another operating system.
The Skype team is out with their Skype 2.0 Beta for Linux, which does present one very interesting feature. Skype 2.0 for Linux will support video communication. Other features in the Skype 2.0 Linux beta include the ability to automatically answer incoming calls, full-screen video support, icon updates, and a variety of bug fixes. The complete list of changes for Skype 220.127.116.11 can be viewed at the Skype Garage.
For those that require NDISwrapper to use the Windows driver for their wireless network card on Linux, a new release is now available. NDISwrapper 1.49 includes a fix for invalid MAC addresses (some Atheros devices are affected), kernel crashes with non-preempt kernels, NDISwrapper working with RT-preempt and non-preempt kernels, and dropped support for Linux 2.4 kernels and early Linux 2.6 kernels. All of the details are available from the NDISwrapper SourceForge page.
We've been covering the development of GIMP 2.4.0 for a number of months, and GIMP 2.4.0 is finally available! GIMP 2.4.0 is so new that their website hasn't been updated yet, but if you check out the GIMP FTP it is available for download as of October 23. We have some screenshots from an earlier GIMP 2.4 testing build.
We've just received confirmation from DeviceVM that the lightweight window manager they use for SplashTop is based upon Blackbox. As we shared earlier today, SplashTop currently uses the Linux 2.6.20 kernel. Once we get any other technical details we will pass them along.
Fluxbox, the window manager based upon Blackbox, has reached version 1.0.0. Fluxbox 1.0 introduces a new default style, new alternate styles, fixed shape handling, added a fluxbox-remote utility, and updated languages. There are also a lot of bug-fixes in Fluxbox 1.0.0 and other updates since the Fluxbox 1.0 release candidates. All of the changes can be found on their SourceForge page with source and binary download links.
Not only did Fedora 8 Test 3 and OpenSuSE 10.3 hit the web today, but so did Skype 1.4. Skype 1.4 for Linux lays the framework and a "solid foundation" for what Skype engineers are looking to build upon in future releases. Skype 1.4 also features a new user interface to offer a simplified experience. Other features for this VoIP program include streamlined file-transfer manager, birthday reminders, and call forwarding. Find out more about the release in this Skype announcement.
Pidgin 2.3.0 is already in development, but these open-source chat developers have pushed out a Pidgin 2.2.1 release to back-port some bug fixes on top of Pidgin 2.2.0. The changes in Pidgin 2.2.1 include a few Solaris build fixes, improved Gmail notifications through libpurple, closing multiple memory leaks, and fixed detection of X11 with Pidgin are among the ten changes officially making up this minor release. There is also a Pidgin 2.2.2 release already planned. You can download Pidgin 2.2.1 from Source Forge.
Remember Greg Kroah-Hartman's comments earlier this year about offering up free Linux driver development for all companies willing to provide hardware specifications to the developers? Novell has realized the potential of this open-source work and is now allowing Greg Kroah-Hartman to work full time on developing free software drivers that are free of charge to companies that are interested. Not only is Greg willing to develop these free drivers but over 100 other developers already have stepped up to the plate to provide development help. A new Wiki has been launched at LinuxDriverProject.org to kick off this initiative now that Greg can work on this project full time. Greg and his posse of developers are even willing to sign Non-Disclosure Agreements to access a company's specifications and pool of information. In addition to the new project Wiki, Greg has provided additional information on the LinuxDriverProject.org mailing list. Additional information can be found on the Kroah blog.
GIMP 2.4.0 is coming soon and as a sign of that, the third release candidate for GIMP 2.4.0 is now available. GIMP 2.4.0-rc3 offers a variety of bug fixes as well as improved handling of JPEG settings, switching tabs by just hovering over them, conversion options for the color profile conversion plug-in, and a few other changes make up this release candidate. You can read about the eight changes in GIMP 2.4.0-rc3 in their GIMP Developer News File and the latest code is available from their GIMP mirrors.
We missed reporting this news last week due to the Intel Developer Forum, but the MadWiFi team has announced that they will be abandoning the proprietary HAL currently required to make this Linux wireless driver functional. In fact, new work on the MadWiFi driver will really cease as they are now focusing their work on a new completely free and open-source driver. For those that do not know, MadWifi is a Linux driver for use with Atheros 802.11 Wireless Chipsets, but it had depended upon a proprietary Hardware Abstraction Layer (HAL) for regulatory reasons.
The official release of OpenOffice.org 2.3.0 is scheduled for Monday, September 17, but it is available already. OpenOffice.org 2.3.0 introduces a number of new features and changes for all OpenOffice.org components. There is a new charting wizard, the ability to create Wiki pages using a new Filter in the OpenOffice.org Writer, and performance improvements are among the many changes found in the OpenOffice.org 2.3 branch.
Pidgin, the open-source instant messenger program previously known as GAIM, is out with version 2.2 this morning. Pidgin 2.2.0 introduces MySpaceIM support, XMPP enhancements, Yahoo Chat fixes, and other improvements. The Pidgin 2.2.0 source can be downloaded from SourceForge.
This past week the Phase 2 "Mass Market" schedule for the OpenMoko Neo1973 was revised. OpenMoko now expects the GTA02v3 design to be finalized by September 20 while on December 10 it will begin production in "moderate volumes". On December 20 the OpenMoko Neo1973 GTA02v3 will go on sale, and with "Santa's Sleigh Package Service", the OpenMoko Neo1973 will arrive on December 25 for those celebrating Christmas. In the new OpenMoko Neo 1973 is 802.11b/g WiFi support, Samsung 2442 SoC, SMedia 3362 Graphics Accelerator, 256MB of flash memory, and a faster S3C2442/400 processor. For those not wanting to wait until Christmas, the OpenMoko Developer Preview model is already on sale. It was also recently announced that there is a new OpenMoko interface and that it may be the base of the upcoming Google gPhone. The new OpenMoko Neo1973 schedule is available on their Wiki. David Lin has posted more information on his blog.
For those using the Opera web browser, Opera 9.5 Alpha with a Linux binary has been released. The Opera 9 rendering engine has been rewritten for Opera 9.5 which resulted in several speed and memory enhancements, improved layout algorithm, a more responsive user interface, synchronization support with My Opera, full history search, and many more improvements. The Opera 9.5 release announcement can be found at Opera Software.
In time for the release of X.Org 7.3, Ian Romanick has pushed out the XGI X.Org 1.5.0 driver release. The xf86-video-xgi 1.5.0 driver uses the SiS DRM and contains a number of code fixes along with cleaning up the code. Romanick announced the availability of the XGI X.Org 1.5.0 driver on his blog while all of the details and git information is available at FreeDesktop.org.
If you're using Matrox EpicA TC2 or EpicA TC4 graphics cards, you'll be pleased to know that new Linux drivers are available. This new driver features a new GUI control panel for configuring multiple displays with Matrox thin client solutions. The Matrox 1.4.5 Linux driver supports up to X.Org 7.2.0 and the Linux 2.6.20 kernel. More information on the Matrox 1.4.5 Linux Driver can be found in this press release.
A new snapshot of OpenMoko is available that is called OpenMoko 2007.2 "August Snapshot". This release offers a new user-interface and application set, gcc-based toolchain 4.1.2 with EABI, synchronized against org.openembedded.dev, and an easy upgrade path for OpenMoko. OpenMoko can now be upgraded using ipkg update && ipkg upgrade. On the new UI framework is a new dialer, contacts, today, calculator, and feed-reader programs. The new interface is designed to better support the FIC Neo1973 with the screen's ultra-high DPI capabilities, offer performance improvements, and rearranging where buttons and other options are displayed. While the new interface is available from their SVN repository or the latest snapshot, it's still said to be a work in progress. The announcement can be found on the OpenMoko mailing list along with the OpenMoko 2007.2 August snapshot. Remember, Google is also looking at OpenMoko for their mobile gPhone.
If you are a Linux user with an ATI Radeon X1000 "R500" graphics card and would like to help out the X.Org developers working on developing an open-source R500 driver, consider providing a VBE mode-setting dump. It takes barely no time, requires no development experience, and can go a long way in helping to work out the current issues in the Avivo driver. For more information read our article entitled Your First Date With Vbespy and post the dumps in this forum thread.
We told you at the end of July that GIMP 2.4.0 would be coming soon, and now the GIMP team has announced the first release candidate for GIMP 2.4.0. The first release candidate marks the point where all new features to be contained in GIMP 2.4.0 can be found and the GIMP API is now frozen. Left to be tackled before the final release of GIMP 2.4.0 are some bug fixes and "minor changes". The GIMP Bugzilla reports about nine open bugs left before GIMP 2.4.0. You can grab GIMP 2.4.0 RC1 from their official mirrors. It looks like GIMP 2.4.0 will be a late August or early to mid September release.
The first CUPS 1.3 release is now available with a great number of new features and other changes. CUPS 1.3.0 introduces Kerberos authentication, Zeroconf support, new web interfaces, Internet printer sharing, localized printer drivers, and new functions for various CUPS APIs. In total there are over 30 new features and changes in CUPS 1.3.0. This is also the first release since it was announced Apple acquired CUPS Printing.
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