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Linux Laptop from a Large Vendor

Red hat
RedHat Linux

HEWLETT Packard are beginning to sell Linux laptops. An article was published today to follow a previous article from September last year, which was also mentioned in this blog.

From the article:

“HP South Africa is to release a range of Linux-based notebooks at the end of February. In an interview with Tectonic HP’s Sean Owen-Jones said the HP 6110 notebooks will sell for R5999-00 and will run the Linspire operating system.”

Ubuntu used to be the prospective choice when this was first announced:

“HP’s Sean Owen-Jones… said the company would shortly be releasing desktop and notebook PCs running Ubuntu Linux. The NX6110 notebook would be available shortly with Ubuntu and a desktop PC would also be available.”

Related item: KDE to Reach Africa

China Takes Linux Very Seriously

Season of the playful penguins
Season of the playful penguins from Oyonale

RECENTLY, there have been various articles about the need for Linux in China. It is a rapidly-growing country where roughly 90% of software involves piracy. The Chinese have just committed themselves to contributing to Linux enormously.

The world’s second Linux international standard testing lab was set up in China’s capital of Beijing on Friday.

Sponsored by China’s Information Industry Ministry, the lab was jointly established by China Electronics Standardization Institute (CESI) and Intel Corporation.

Google Take Interoperability More Seriously

Google Earth
Google Earth on Windows; screenshot taken
when it was first released; click to enlarge the image

AFTER several months of waiting, the Windows version of Google Earth has been ported to run on Macs too.

If I recall correctly, they did the same with Google Talk recently. Will a Linux version be next? That would the real test. So far they have primarily, if not exclusively, catered for commercial, closed-source platforms. Perhaps Google Pack was a key milestone, due to which they could not afford to lose time on ports.

Rants about interoperability have been voiced before although Google’s media player was cross-platform from day one. Google’s clear intent is to remain Open; in fact, all of their Web-based tool are rarely ‘platform-discriminatory’.

Grim Outlook for the Media

Man and his dogIn this era we live in, there is a mounting fear among journalists. No longer is it only books and papers that are able to reach people’s attention. Nowadays, people can get delivered content that they most desire by using search engines. People also discover ways of getting high-quality, credible information without paying a penny.

Realising that adaptation to change is needed — somewhat of a new status-quo — newspapers begin to penetrate the Internet. All the same, they fail to make profit that they have become accustomed to over the decades. Sooner or later, methods similar to eavesdropping are employed. Yet again, the grim outlook for the press seems inevitable and ever irreversible.

Rupert Murdoch has forecast a gloomy future for newspapers with the growth of the internet, saying he doesn’t know “anybody under the age of 30 who has ever looked at a classified ad”.

The owner of the Sun, Times, Sunday Times and the News of the World, who once described newspaper classified advertising revenue as providing “rivers of gold”, now says: “Sometimes rivers dry up”.

The media is not alone in this. The Royal Society attempts to keep science off the Web, arguing it could harm scientific debate.

The Royal Society fears it could lead to the demise of journals published by not-for-profit societies, which put out about a third of all journals. “Funders should remember that the primary aims should be to improve the exchange of knowledge between researchers and wider society,” The Royal Society said.

Newspapers and Spying

Scare
“How did a newspaper reveal so much about me…?”

SPYING provides information. Information is power. The simple implication is that spying grants an organisation extra power. Especially, it gives an organisation advantages over its competitors. For this very particular reason, search engines put an end to privacy over time. As a matter of fact, the Internet in general has exposed most of us at a certain level. Controversially enough, Google can finally analyse the behaviour of rival search engines as they possess statistics of many Web sites.

Search engines and information management authorities are not alone in this. What I see more and more of are signup requirements for reading on-line newspapers (the New York Times is a notable example). I am not speaking of paid subscriptions, but rather about identification. It is no longer a secret that sales of in-print newspapers decrease, if not slowly diminish. As previously said, one must evolve and this includes publishers. More and more people simply find greater convenience in reading news on their personal workstation. So how can publishers keep up and protect their revenue? Can spying provide a solution?

Newspapers and publishers might not like the use of network bandwidth, which even when accompanied by advertisement, does not give them the same touch with the readers. Moreover, newspapers become more susceptible to plagiarism (which is a simple copy & paste), frequently due to millions of bloggers, some of whom are immoral. I occasionally find a heavily-cited article in blogs and it is ranked higher than its origin, which stems in mainstream media. Needless to say, such articles are copied verbatim, in full, and neglect to link to the source. No wonder the media is afraid of blogs.

All in all, newspaper head towards targetted content and they attain to get full information about their readers. This way, content (e.g. articles), as well as commercials, can be tailored to individuals. By localising items and customising them to a person’s taste, the relevance and thus value rises. This all comes at the expense of the individual’s privacy, of course. It all depends on the ability to make assumptions and generalisations in the process of ‘profiling’ an individual reader. Since the reader enters personal details at the start, too much is known. The browser cookie sooner or later contains full personal information about the reader, as well as all the article s/he has read. Similar issues and can in fact be ascribed to Google’s cookie.

Photos from Google Headquarters

Googleplex in London

YOU can help yourself to a quick glance at Google’s complex at London, which is going to be accommodated with hundreds of engineers fairly soon. Be warned that the ZDNet server, which is flooded by Slashdotters at the moment, is extremely unresponsive. It must be suffering from the ‘Slashdot effect’. In fact, it was only hours ago that ZDNet engineers got mentioned here at the datacentre in Manchester Computing (where I am at the moment). I am not sure what the reason was, but I saw the memo on the desk and wondered if ZDNet plan to upgrade or migrate. I would like to believe that.

Back when I was in touch with Google’s recruiters, only the headquarters in Zurich and Dublin were in question. I wonder why London was not even mentioned at the time. Perhaps it is a newly-erected branch for their future operations, which are said to take advantage of dark fibre and mobile machines with 3.5 perabyte (3,500,000 GB) of storage.

“We’re talking about 5000 Opteron processors and 3.5 petabytes of disk storage that can be dropped-off overnight by a tractor-trailer rig. The idea is to plant one of these puppies anywhere Google owns access to fiber, basically turning the entire Internet into a giant processing and storage grid.”

Search Engines Play Fair?

Cards deck with the player peeking

A new study contends that, in contrast to the widely-held view, search engines give a chance to new businesses and sites. Traffic tends to be centralised in the ‘high-status arena’, so the study offers a rare contradiction.

A paper questions whether search engines make popular sites more so

THE winner takes all, it is widely supposed in computing circles. Indeed, geeks have coined a word, “Googlearchy”, for the way in which search engines encourage web traffic towards the most popular sites. The belief that search engines make popular websites ever more popular, at the expense of other pages, is now being challenged by research.

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