"It's yet another in a long series of diversions in an attempt to avoid responsibility." - Chris Knight

Archive for the ‘Open Source’ Category

Mythbuntu: Turning Ubuntu Into A DVR System

October 8th, 2007 by iDunzo

Mythbuntu has released a new 7.10 beta, based on the Ubuntu 7.10 beta, which features a number of enhancements and new features.


Mythbuntu is an Ubuntu derivative optimized for setting up a standalone MythTV DVR system.

The project is not part of Canonical, nor is it officially affiliated with Ubuntu.

MythTV is a popular open source DVR solution that works well for converting an old PC system into a DVR box.

Mythbuntu allows users familiar with Ubuntu to easily set up a lightweight MythTV installation.

Programs not necessary for MythTV, such as OpenOffice, Evolution, and the full Gnome desktop, are omitted from Mythbuntu.

Version 7.10 is still a beta, but the release notes provide the following list of new features:

  • Xfce based setup. No more openbox, it’s not even installed on the disk
  • Network Manager included.
  • VNC can be installed from multiple locales on disk
  • ubuntu-mythtv-frontend isn’t used at all.
  • Lots of additional features for mythbuntu-control-center.

The Mythbuntu Installation can also be performed directly from an existing Gutsy installation now via Firefox.

For more details and complete list of new features and bugfixes, check out the Mythbuntu release notes.

If you’d like the give Mythbuntu a try, you can download it from the site or via your favorite bittorrent client.

tag Posted in Open Source + Software + Technology + Videos | comment 1 Comment »

Linux Driver Project Gets A Shot In The Arm From Novell

October 2nd, 2007 by iDunzo

Linux’s biggest downside remains the lack of driver support for peripheral devices of all stripes, but there’s good news: a new project from Novell is offering to write free drivers for any manufacturer that’s willing to show their specs.

The project itself is not new, it was announced last year by the main developer, Greg Kroah-Hartman, a programmer at Novell.

However, late last week Kroah-Hartman posted an update to his blog and announced that Novell has moved him onto the project full-time.

I never imagined that so many different people would offer to help out. There is a real need for a place where developers can find a “real” project to work on in the Linux kernel.

The Kernel Janitors project is a great place to start out, but what to do from there? It turns out that over 100 different developers offered up their services.

Clearly this was a huge untapped group of talented people who wanted to help out.

This is great news for Linux fans and will hopefully mean much better device support for your favorite distribution.

Something to note, while Kroah-Hartman and crew are willing to sign NDAs for the actual device details the companies hand over, all of the code generated will be GPLv2 and can thus be rolled into the Linux kernel.

There’s an announcement on the Linux Driver mailing list with more details, or you can check out the Linux Driver Project website for more information.

Via: Linux Watch

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An iPhone For Hackers: The OpenMoko ‘LPhone’

July 12th, 2007 by iDunzo

OpenMoko LPhoneYou would have to be deaf to ignore the screaming about the Apple iPhone that’s been filling the air for the past few weeks.

It’s a slick piece of hardware, sure but the amount of vendor lock-in that you have to accept to use it has alienated many people.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, another company has been quietly gearing up to offer a completely different kind of phone.

That’s right, a mobile phone that’s as open to hardware and software hackery as the iPhone is closed.

It’s called the OpenMoko.

OpenMoko, a phone platform – devices and SDK, both – that is built on GNU / Linux software and is open all the way across the board.

The device is built from the ground up to be modified by its user base: Both the device itself and the software you load into it are fully documented. They want you to crack it open and have a good time with it and yes, you can even replace the battery unlike with the iPhone.

The device itself comes loaded with:

  • a 640 x 480 touch screen
  • 256MB of on-board flash memory
  • WiFi
  • a MicroSD card interface
  • USB 1.1 connectivity
  • integrated AGPS
  • Bluetooth 2.0

And of course, there is quite a bit more to come with people hacking away at it. This phone has the potential to become any number of other things.

The basic, non-developer version of the phone is $300; the developer versions add another $150 to $200 on top of that depending on what versions you get – not a bad deal considering the thousands you’d normally have to spend to develop for any phone platform.

One of the key selling points for the iPhone is the user experience – how other phones or devices might do the same things, but they don’t do them quite like this, or all in one place.

In the same way, the OpenMoko is selling an experience, but one aimed at a totally different kind of audience – the hardware hacker and tech lover.

It’s akin to one of those electronics or chemistry hobby kits that you used to buy for the kids at Radio Shack – instead of building a transistor radio, though, you’re starting with a multifunction device which can be expanded out into any number of other things.

The question, though, is whether that’s a large enough market to be sustainable: They have to sell enough units to justify their manufacturing costs.

Also, how useful is the OpenMoko as a phone, especially in the United States? That part’s a big unknown until people actually take it out into the field.

The phone uses 2.5Ghz GSM, CSD and GPRS, so it’ll talk to most networks but many carriers get antsy when you try to bring in a phone they didn’t sell you and may charge you an activation fee.

And unless the OpenMoko is something the cell providers start selling in conjunction with their plans, layfolks are scarcely likely to even know about it.

Few people want to go through the hassle of dropping $300 for a phone they’ve never heard of with no guarantee it’ll even work on their network, for reasons that are wholly abstract.

Would I get one? If I hadn’t already just bought a phone, probably.

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