Yes, I'm afraid it's true; Firefox is the most popular browser out there. Standing at this moment at over 11.5 millions downloads since its production release Tuesday, June 17. How can I make such a sweeping statement? It is the most popular browser ever because of the number of voluntary downloads. Firefox doesn't come standard on any OS--although a few Linux distributions package it in by default. (Note the word [I]voluntary[/I] above. Internet Explorer may enjoy more installations but it's shoved onto every Windows computer by default and you really have no choice in the matter). Wow, I'm overwhelmed with …

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Yes, it's Sunday again and you know what that means--Crystal Ball Sunday and new predictions for Linux and Open Source for the coming months. This week I probe application and operating system interoperability. Developers and integrators are going to begin focusing considerable effort on the interoperability of Windows, Linux, and possibly even Mac OS applications. Interoperability between operating systems and applications seems to be a thing of great interest amongst would-be corporate adopters of Linux and open source technologies. Interoperability means different things to different people but most often it means application interoperability through the use of underlying standards. For …

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A few months ago, I did an "On the Desktop" article for Linux Magazine on [I]Getting to Know Konqueror[/I], the default Linux web browser, file manager, and remote protocol client. Until I saw FireFox version 3, I had never really been very impressed with it. I actually submitted a little poem about the Browser Wars for that article (It was pulled so you're seeing it for the first time here): Mosaic opened the door. Navigator showed us the way. Explorer taught us to fear. Opera sang its own song heretofore. Lynx handles the text-based fray. Konqueror's time is here. I …

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RedHat settles its patent infringement lawsuit filed by Firestar Software and DataTern in Federal Court for an undisclosed amount. Part of the settlement that RedHat made was made on behalf of the Open Source Community--indemnifying users and its customers from future infringement suits by said parties. RedHat's corporate opinion is that software patents spoil innovation and hinder new developments. Their opininon has not kept them out of the courtroom for patent infringement suits however. They are currently still involved in a patent suit with IP Innovations over 3 of its user interface patents. Patent infringement is serious business and can …

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Welcome to another edition of Crystal Ball Sunday! This week my predictions center around system builders and integrators and their use of Linux to lower costs, standardize hardware offerings, and provide a new systems to buyers that are ready to go to work. Acer has already discussed Linux being the key to the low-cost laptop market. Most major laptop system builders realize that Linux is the key to maximizing usability while minimizing costs. Laptop computer have a short life and buyers just aren't willing to pay huge dollars for them. They are basically seen as throw-away units with a projected …

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Where do you want to go in a few months? Windows 7? You'd be better off converting to Vista before holding your breath for that one. The Linux world keeps releasing new versions of its vendor-customized Operating System while the Windows world keeps waiting for more and more promises. While you're waiting, try out the new [URL="http://software.opensuse.org/developer"]OpenSuSE 11 RC1[/URL]. OpenSuSE 11 is the latest Linux entry to the world-at-large with its plethora of virtualization tools and software and the new KDE4 Window Manager. OpenSuSE's public release will no doubt garner its share of converts. It's faster, easier to install, and …

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Welcome to Crystal Ball Sunday #3. As promised, I'm going to explore the use of distributed computing for the workplace today. Whether you call it grid computing, distributed computing, volunteer computing, or some other name, it is the same animal: Donation of distributed (remote) computing power to a central project. Most distributed computing projects focus on worldwide issues such as solving cancer-curing molecule syntheses, finding extraterrestrial life, or solving some high-end mathematical problems. My prediction for distributed computing is that it will invade the workplace in the next year or so as the [I]next big thing[/I]. Projects will emerge in …

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Linux not only wants to dominate the Data Center and your Desktop but now it wants your unused CPU power as well. Nightlife is a grid-based computing effort that is Fedora Linux-specific. Designed for scientific and medical research, the Nightlife project starter, Bryan Che explains the project's goals below: [COLOR="Green"]Fedora Nightlife is a new project for creating a Fedora community grid. People will be able to donate idle capacity from their own computers to an open, general-purpose Fedora-run grid for processing socially beneficial work and scientific research that requires access to large amounts of computing power.[/COLOR] Nightlife is based on …

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VIA Technologies, Inc., maker of innovative and power-efficient processor platforms, announced today that they have released an open source laptop design to the public. Formally known as the VIA OpenBook Mini-Note Reference Design, VIA is responding to global demand for ultra-portable notebook computers. The VIA OpenBook is based on the VIA C7-M ULV processor and the new all-in-one VIA VX800 digital media chipset. The design weighs in at 1kg (2.2lbs.) and features a large 8.9" screen, WiMAX (or HSDPA, EV-DO/W-CDMA) for wireless connectivity, video resolutions up to 1024x600, high performance VIA Chrome9 DirectX 9.0 3D graphics, advanced video acceleration for …

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Yet another victory in the open source vs. all takers (well, one taker for sure) battle for world dominance--London's Oyster system is now Linux-powered. Oyster is a RFID (Radio frequency identification) card recognition and payment system for London's Tube (Subway) and bus network. The old system needed a serious upgrade mostly due to performance issues. The new system sports a combination of RedHat Enterprise Linux, Apache web server, and JBOSS. The system isn't free of proprietary software though as it still uses Oracle for its database. MySQL or PostgreSQL could have been used to further drive down costs but would …

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Mozilla Corporation, Red Bend Software, Sagem Mobiles, SFR, SK Telecom and Verizon Wireless have joined the LiMo (Linux Mobile) Foundation in order to expand and deliver wireless choices to mobile phone users. Verizon's choice to join LiMo further creates a rift between them and Google's OHA (Open Handset Alliance) over whose service will be more 'open.' Openness of the platform is important for adoption. The more open your platform, the more developers, hobbyist programmers, and end users you'll have converting to it. Unfortunately, this intense competition will end up hurting consumers and end users because companies may rush products to …

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The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and many other financial institutions run their most critical services and applications on Linux. The NYSE specifically uses RedHat Enterprise Linux because of its stability and support. Linux is the most-chosen operating system in the U.K, France, Germany, and other European countries due to its open source programming. Major companies like LVM Insurance and Deutsche Bank rely on Linux's time-tested stability, transparency, high uptimes, and low maintenance. LVM Insurance in Muenster, Germany converted all 7,700 of its Desktop computers to Linux. Reuters Group, PLC. converted their Reuters Market Data System to Linux stating that …

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The highly-anticipated release of Fedora 9 is here! It has the new KDE4 desktop that I [URL="http://www.linuxplanet.com/linuxplanet/reviews/6464/"]reviewed[/URL] on LinuxPlanet which makes some big improvements in user experience and speed. It also includes the hot new [URL="http://www.linuxplanet.com/linuxplanet/reviews/6467/"]FireFox 3[/URL] web browser with some new security features that are sure to impress even the most jaded surfer. Fedora 9 also gives you the options of the new ext4 filesystem, encrypted filesystems, partition resizing, and Xen virtualization enhancements. The ext4 filesystem is a higher-performance, high capacity filesystem based on the ext3 filesystem. Anaconda, the Fedora installer program, allows you to resize ext2/ext3, and NT …

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Welcome back to Crystal Ball Sunday. This week in the Crystal Ball are my predictions for OpenSolaris vs. Linux. The release of OpenSolaris on May 5th has caused quite a stir. Many say that it will replace Linux on the Desktop and in the Data Center. My first prediction is that there will be sizable battle waged between the two in the Press and in IT labs alike. I foresee a lot of debate going back and forth about the two operating systems, their pros, their cons, and the stalwarts in both camps. This is going to be somewhat of …

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ASUS announced that their new EEE 900 PC sporting Windows XP (Vista won't run on it) will cost $50 AUD less than its Linux counterpart. I am no economist but I can figure out quickly that a computer that comes with Windows XP Home and Microsoft Works pre-installed is going to be more expensive than a computer with a free operating system. The Linux EEE does come with a larger hard drive (20GB) than the Windows XP version (12GB) but does that offer an explanation of the higher price? If you figure that the larger drive boosts the cost $50 …

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Just when you thought it was safe to forget SCO and their ridiculous notions about suing IBM and others for infringing on their copyright ownership of UNIX, it isn't. It's been 5 years since SCO sent out its threatdown letters to large companies telling them that they may owe money to SCO for using illegal software. Today, SCO is in bankruptcy. SCO CEO, Darl McBride, still believes that SCO owns UNIX in some form. Novell never transferred the copyrights to SCO in the sale of UnixWare but yet the dream lives on. This week the trial began that determines how …

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This is the first post in my new series called Crystal Ball Sunday. These Sunday posts are where I take out my Linux, and related technology, crystal ball and give you my predictions for the coming months. This week I am focusing on corporate conversion to Linux. I foresee companies starting to take a serious look at Linux for their corporate server and desktop infrastructures. As our economy slides quietly into recession, corporate check writers are going to engage to CIOs and technical managers to find ways to lower costs for power, cooling, software, and hardware. Turning to Linux will …

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Hans Reiser, creator of the ReiserFS, is found guilty of murdering his ex-wife, Nina. Described as odd, strange, and narcissistic by the prosecuting attorneys and having Asperger's Syndrome by his attorney; the jury decided against him. Unfortunately, the evidence against him was significant and damning. The prosecutors gave Reiser's ongoing custody battle as motive for the killing. Reiser was somewhat of a child prodigy having entered into The University of California at Berkeley at 14. He created his own personalized degree plan and earned his BA degree in Systematizing. The ReiserFS and Reiser4 filesystems, that bear his name, break from …

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I am disappointed to hear that the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) initiative may be changing its original focus of providing a low-cost laptop to the world’s poorest children. Originally, the small device was to enter the market at $100 USD but had a production release price of $188 USD. It is still low-cost by any standard. It may take a huge jump in price if the OLPC group changes from the free Sugar OS, based on Linux, to the costly, proprietary, and soon to be unavailable Windows XP. The cost of Windows XP is not the only factor in …

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A new deal struck between Microsoft and its Linux ally Novell (SuSE Linux) is headed for mainland China. Microsoft claims now that Linux violates 42 of its patents (down from over 200 a year ago) and that purchasing SuSE Linux will indemnify Linux users from lawsuits for patent infringement. Thanks Microsoft but no thanks. Who knew that when Novell signed their pact with the Evil Empire that it would mean an all-out attack on emerging markets like China, India, and Brazil? Hey Microsoft, haven’t you heard that the median income in China is about $3,400 per year and in India, …

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Last night on Craig Crossman’s [URL="http://www.computeramerica.com"]Computer America[/URL], America’s longest-running nationally syndicated radio talk show about computers, Craig and crew interviewed Jason Perlow (rhymes with Merlot) about all things Linux. You may recognize Jason from his long-running stint as a regular columnist for [URL="http://www.linux-mag.com"]Linux Magazine[/URL], his popular food blog site [URL="http://www.offthebroiler.com"]offthebroiler.com[/URL], or his now famous (or infamous) [URL="http://updates.zdnet.com/tags/Jason+Perlow.html"]ZDNet[/URL] blog. His relaxed, unassuming style drew me in from his first introduction to his sign-off. His non-evangelical demeanor was also refreshing. In spite of many long commercial breaks and news bits scattered throughout the two-hour broadcast, Jason’s interview was spot on. In it, …

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There is a recent trend amongst those who’ve implemented virtualization solutions: Complaints about the costs. Why, they wonder, have they spent more on virtualization when it's supposed to be cheaper? Virtualization is greener in terms of power consumption, space, and cooling but don’t look for a lot of green to be returned in terms of personnel cuts. You don’t save money on licensing the commercial Operating Systems you run in virtual machines. You don’t save money on the host hardware—it is typically a very high-end server running into significant money territory. And you won’t save any money by getting rid …

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There is an old saying that goes something like this: If you put 1,000 monkeys in a room with 1,000 typewriters (the things people used before computers), they would come up with the works of Shakespeare. Could the same be true of a great Desktop OS? No, but give me 1,000 well-paid developers and I'll give you a great Desktop OS. My first two posts were responses to news articles concerning the fate of Desktop Linux. I think that Linux is ready for the Desktop in spite of the opinions of Novell and RedHat. Unfortunately, corporations want guarantees, support, and …

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When he took the reins almost two years ago, new Novell President and CEO Ronald Hovsepian, was going to lead the charge in driving the Linux acceptance and conversion. Recently he said that the Desktop Linux market, in the next 3 to 5 years, is mainly enterprise-related and that the consumer market will take longer to develop. While acceptance and conversion to Desktop Linux may occur more slowly in the U.S. than in other parts of the world, I think it sends a negative message for the CEO of a company that produces a product to make such a statement …

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The End.