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Purpose-built: Five specialised Linux distributions

Tectonic - Fri, 06/08/2010 - 9:45am
We’ve all heard of Ubuntu, OpenSuse, Fedora and Mandriva. But how about RIP, Damn Vulnerable and Zeroshell Linux? Here are five specialised Linux versions worth bookmarking. Damn Vulnerable Linux By its own admission DVL is the “most vulnerable and exploitable operating system ever”. Fortunately those weaknesses are by design rather than by accident, because Damn [...]

SA copyright laws outdated and in need of urgent overhaul, says new study

Tectonic - Tue, 03/08/2010 - 7:06am
Findings of a new study show that the current copyright regimes in Africa in general, and South Africa in particular, are not promoting access to knowledge and the authors have called for an urgent revision of copyright laws. Published by UCT Press, Access to Knowledge in Africa: The Role of Copyright was launched on Saturday [...]

SA tech podcasts worth checking out

Tectonic - Tue, 27/07/2010 - 9:35am
Audio and video podcasts are nothing new but recently there has been a boom in the number of good quality technology podcasts coming out of South Africa. From serious business-focused podcasts to geek talkshows there are at least four worth checking out. ZATech Show http://zatech.co.za/ The granddaddy of SA podcasts, the ZATech show is now [...]

NetBeans training in JHB and Cape Town

Tectonic - Fri, 23/07/2010 - 9:32am
Need to get up to speed with NetBeans? The good news is that SA company Jumping Bean has teamed up with Munich-based Eppleton, to offer a NetBeans training series. NetBeans is an open source development environment for creating Java applications. Mark Clarke of Jumping Bean tells us that the courses will be held in Johannesburg [...]

SA companies registrar wants you … to use Internet Explorer

Tectonic - Thu, 22/07/2010 - 10:25am
If you take the time to read the South African government’s free and open source software policy (PDF) you’ll find on page three the following commitment: The South African Government will encourage the use of Open Content and Open Standards within South Africa. So, if that is the case, then how come the Companies and [...]

Get involved: Looking for African software translators

Tectonic - Fri, 16/07/2010 - 12:57pm
What better way to contribute to free and open source software than to help translate applications into your home language? Anloc, the African Network for Localisation, has put out a call for language teams to do exactly this. The organisation’s Localise Software sub-project aims to finalise these teams by the end of the month with [...]

SA education department’s laptop initiative snubs open source policy

Tectonic - Fri, 16/07/2010 - 9:01am
A year after it was first announced, the South African department of education yesterday kicked off its teacher laptop initiative. The initiative aims to subsidise teachers so that they can purchase a laptop from one of the department’s approved suppliers. It’s a welcome addition to the education arena except for one detail. Despite a national [...]

South Africa must take lead from NZ on software patents

Tectonic - Thu, 15/07/2010 - 4:35pm
In huge win for anti-software patent activists, New Zealand has announced that it will not change legislation to make software patentable in the country. It is, however, a partial victory only as New Zealand’s Commerce minister, Simon Power, also announced he would instruct the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand to draft guidelines that would [...]

Software competition to encourage East African developers

Tectonic - Thu, 15/07/2010 - 9:33am
The US State Department has thrown its weight behind an initiative to promote software development for the good of East African residents. The Apps 4 Africa contest was launched earlier this month and aims to encourage developers to produce software that will improve the quality of life for residents of this region. The contest is [...]

New Maestro content management system rolls out

Tectonic - Thu, 08/07/2010 - 6:48am
CMS-Maestro is a new PHP-based content management system (CMS) released by South African Web development company Valente Online. Easy to install and use, CMS-Maestro offers the basics such as page and article management and adds to that the ability to add additional widgets, and manage menus and a range of media formats. In a release [...]

Red Hat adds new premier SA partner

Tectonic - Wed, 07/07/2010 - 1:26pm
Linux giant Red Hat has announced that Linux System Dynamics (LSD), an open source consulting firm, has been appointed a Red Hat Premier Business Partner for the Southern Africa region. Red Hat Premier Business Partners are top-tier Red Hat partners, who have demonstrated expertise in the Red Hat product portfolio and have met the stringent [...]

FreeBSD 8.1 gets first release candidate

Tectonic - Tue, 22/06/2010 - 9:04am
A week later than originally scheduled, the FreeBSD team has issued a first release candidate (RC1) for version 8.1 of its popular Unix-like operating system. The final release of FreeBSD 8.1 was scheduled for July 9 bit with the current delay that may be pushed out by a week. Major changes include improvements to Solaris [...]

VLC 1.1.0 adds GPU-decoding, WebM support

Tectonic - Tue, 22/06/2010 - 8:18am
VLC, the Swiss army knife of multimedia viewing, has released a new version. Already a top-class video player VLC 1.1.0 adds a number of new goodies, including WebM support and GPU-decoding. The highlights: GPU decoding on Windows Vista and 7, using DxVA2 for H.264, VC-1 and MPEG-2 GPU decoding on GNU/Linux, using VAAPI for H.264, [...]

Dell in talks to ship Chrome OS netbooks

Tectonic - Mon, 21/06/2010 - 3:13pm
Dell today confirmed that it was in talks with Google to ship Chrome OS on its netbooks. The company’s president of Greater China and South Asia, Amit Midha, said that Dell devices were in development although he didn’t add any detail. Google’s Chrome OS is a Linux-based web-focused operating system that is intended for ultra-portable [...]

Is OpenOffice at a crossroads?

Tectonic - Mon, 21/06/2010 - 2:52pm
OpenOffice.org (OOo) is a flagship product for free and open source software but could be doing so much better than it is. What’s wrong? Michael Meeks a long-time OOo and Gnome developer and Novell employee argues that among the chief problems are a lack of leadership, a half-hearted open source strategy and copyright assignments that [...]

Google hits geek paydirt with command-line tools

Tectonic - Mon, 21/06/2010 - 2:35pm
Forget web applications, the future is the command line! Google releases a command-line tool for controlling services such as YouTube, Blogger, Google Docs and Calendar. And judging by user response, the command line is still cool. GoogleCL is a pure Python application that uses the Python gdata libraries to make Google Data API calls from [...]

Open Tech Exchange talks to Tectonic

Tectonic - Mon, 21/06/2010 - 1:23pm
The latest episode of OTE podcast features an interview with Tectonic in which we talk about open source software in Africa. I don’t normally write about myself but allow me this one indulgence. Following my decision to start working on Tectonic again Mark Clarke and Darlene Parker of the Open Tech Exchange podcast approached me [...]

The law behind free and open source software

Tectonic - Mon, 21/06/2010 - 1:03pm
The third issue of the International Free and Open Source Software Law Review has been released. And even if you’re not a lawyer there is food for thought. With everything from a profile of the BSD licence, to issues around copyright in free software and a review of case law related to free software, the [...]

Ubuntu calls for btrfs testing on Maverick

Tectonic - Mon, 21/06/2010 - 12:57pm
Adventurous Ubuntu users can now install test versions of Maverick Meerkat with a btrfs root filesystem. Ubuntu’s Colin Watson today announced this on the Ubuntu developer list. Maverick Meerkat is Ubuntu’s current development version which is expected to be released in October. Naturally, because btrfs is still very much in development, this is not a [...]

OpenSuse on track with first 11.3 RC

Tectonic - Mon, 21/06/2010 - 12:30pm
Distribution will be first to offer Btrfs filesystem as an option during installation.

Jargon, compatibility major stumbling blocks for new Ubuntu users

Tectonic - Fri, 18/06/2010 - 8:49am
Jargon that they didn’t understand, insecurity over compatibility with Microsoft Office and a lack of visual feedback when performing desktop actions were the key stumbling blocks for first-time Ubuntu users. This is according to results from recent usability testing by the Ubuntu design team. According to the team one of the main areas of concerns for [...]

Tunisian govt. launches FOSS training programme

Tectonic - Fri, 18/06/2010 - 6:12am
The Tunisian Ministry of Communications has linked up with Linux Professional Institute to certify more than 2,000 IT students in Linux and free and open source technologies. And that’s just the start. The government of Africa’s northernmost country is launching the LPI training and certification programme as part of a wider project aimed at skilling-up 20,000 [...]

Wordpress 3.0 blasts off

Tectonic - Fri, 18/06/2010 - 5:37am
It’s been a while in the coming but Wordpress 3.0 is now here and it is packed with big changes. The biggest change is the merging of Wordpress and Wordpress-MU, the multi-site version of Wordpress. Merging the two means that all Wordpress users can now setup and manage multiple blogs from one installation. The downloads [...]

Conspiracy time: Dell tones down Windows critique

Tectonic - Fri, 18/06/2010 - 4:51am
It was inevitable. Dell has backed away from its earlier statement that Ubuntu Linux was more secure than Windows and now has a much tamer message in its place. Earlier this week we reported that the Dell.com/ubuntu website published a number of reasons that Ubuntu Linux was a good choice for customers. Among those, and [...]

Brazil streaks ahead in Firefox world cup

Tectonic - Thu, 17/06/2010 - 3:11pm
If Firefox’s personas are anything to go by then the biggest soccer fans, as well as the biggest Firefox fans are clearly in Brazil. The South American nation is simply miles ahead of its rivals on points in the Firefox Cup, a neat marketing project to boost the Firefox browser. Rating countries by the number of users [...]

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