31 Dec 2011

Software Law and Open Source Liability

Software licensing with open source software creates some interesting legal questions for software law. These concerns are something any Silicon Valley company looking to release or use any open or quasi-open software should assess and integrate into its strategy. There are issues with using the software and understanding exactly what its clauses mean, problems with issuing this type of software without the right protections against liability, and concerns about ensuring that open source software doesn’t contain any secretly malicious code – and how to legally approach that problem if it comes up.

Software law relating to intellectual property and theft, liability, and risk adapted to deal with basic software issues years ago. Whether software is used through purchase or some sort of temporary license, the basic regulations for products and services that have applied for all other businesses continue to change based on complex software interactions, but they remain fundamentally sound and relatively straightforward. Liability and ownership are explicitly defined. But issues get murkier and more complex when it comes to open source software law. There are concrete distribution terms set by the oversight organization Opensource.org, and they establish restrictions on activity and use.

One of the biggest risks from this type of software is Intellectual Property infringement. Many major open source projects involve the collaboration of many people, any one of whom could deliberately or accidently introduce a piece of code lifted from a copyrighted product. This puts the company or organization backing the software at risk, and can even cause problems for companies using the software depending on how they acquired it and what they did with the software. This risk also represents one of the more general problems with open source software. It is more difficult to be confident about the software and its integrity. Software lawyers can help assess the terms of this kind of software, prepare documents to effectively protect clients from these risks, and instruct clients about where their liability lies in these types of situations.

The other prominent risk is that the software will cause some harm. Generally, licensees are protected from this risk by clauses in the software licensing contract. But with open source IP there are fewer methods to hold the creators liable. Problems could be as simple as a mistake in the software’s code that leads to a less-than-accurate result which leads the user to be less efficient than it could have been. Or they can be larger, and result in a security breach or significant data loss. There are no strong warrantees in open source licenses, so legal remedies are few. An expert software law attorney can assess the options a client would have in this event, to help evaluate how worthwhile the risk is.

Software law is generally very effective in protecting both sides from negligence and dishonesty. However, in the case of open source software, companies need to exercise much more caution in everything they do.

Software Law for Open Source Licensing and Liability Is a Unique Field of Law. Invest in Understanding It Before Using It. Learn More at http://nefflaw.com/.

29 Dec 2011

Austrumi 2.4.5: Small and Mighty

Recently I wrote that visitors of Linux notes from DarkDuck come from all over the world. There are almost no white spots on the map if you look at the list of the visitors’ countries.
Some of my readers live in Latvia. Not a majority, of course. In fact, Latvia is number 64 in the list of the annual statistics, somewhere next to Kenya.
That does not mean I should never look in the direction of that country. There is at least one reason for doing so: Latvia is the native country of the Linux distribution Austrumi. It is a small pocket-size Linux distribution which I have written about once before.
The Austrumi team released a new version of their operating system recently, on the 30th of September, 2011.
Unfortunately, links on the original site still lead to the old version. To get the fresh ISO image, I used links from Softpedia, which lead to different files on the same server. The latest version is 2.4.5.
ISO image size of Austrumi 2.4.5 is about 210 Mb, which is about twice the size of the version I looked at a year ago. It was previously only 120 Mb in size. Even so, 210 Mb definitely puts Austrumi into the category of "pocket" distributions, those which you can take with you anywhere on a USB or CD.
Unfortunately, Unetbootin was not able to "burn" image to USB. That is why I had to burn it to DVD-RW.
So, the disk is in the optical drive. Reboot. Choose to boot from DVD. Lets go!

27 Dec 2011

Another off-line publication

Приветствую всех читателей журнала User and Linux, зашедших на мой блог. Буду рад видеть вас здесь многократно. Для этих целей можете воспользоваться одним из многих вариантов подписки на обновления - все они перечислены в правом столбце.

Тем, кто недостаточно владеет английским языком для чтения блога в оригинале, рекомендую пользоваться функцией автопереводчика все в том же правом столбце.

As you may already know, I am not only writing my posts on this blog, but also do guest posting on other blogs from time to time. Not only on-line blogs actually. September saw my first ever publication in off-line press. It was magazine User and Linux. I have written about this.
I am happy to announce another issue of User and Linux with my publications. As usual, they are Russian translations of blog posts. What you can find in recent issue? It is dedicated to Ubuntu, so all the articles are about this Operating system.
You can read magazine on-line or download PDF. Or you can read original posts on this blog. Choice is yours, as usual!

26 Dec 2011

AgiliaLinux 8.0.0: Ooops, We Did It (Again)!

Linux is everywhere in the world. When I look at a map of where visitors to my blog come from, I see almost the whole world map covered. Of course, the majority of visitors come from the USA, UK, Canada, Australia, India and other English-speaking countries. But there are still visitors from some relatively small non-English speaking countries like Serbia, Croatia, Israel, and even Madagascar and Angola. They are all interested in Linux.
Of course Russia is on the list. In fact, it is in 14th place, according to the year's worth of statistics.
I wrote about Russian distributions several times, and I am pleased to do so, because Russia is my motherland. Alt Linux, Simply Linux and Agilia Linux were already covered. Of course I try to keep my hands on the pulse of events. That's why I could not miss the opportunity to get my hands on new release from Agilia Linux team. Their new version AgiliaLinux 8.0.0 saw the world on the 03.10.2011.
Stop, you could ask, why is this version 8 then? Because AgiliaLinux is not a brand-new distribution. It is based on MOPSLinux, a project which stopped development. The previous version of AgiliaLinux was more or less a remake of MOPS. The current version is a fully independent development.
This version was planned for release ages ago. A member of the development team wrote a comment on my post about AgiliaLinux 7 stating that version 8 was due in June. And finally... in October they did it!
AgiliaLinux 8.0.0's ISO image size is about 2.4GB. I downloaded it from one of the mirrors. If you are a fan of torrents, you have that downloading option too, but it requires registration at the rutracker.org torrent portal.
When the downloading was complete, I burned the ISO image onto a DVD disk. So the DVD-RW is in the optical drive of my Fujitsu-Siemens Amilo Pi 1505 laptop. Reboot. Choose to boot from DVD. Let's go!

24 Dec 2011

Half a Million

When I have started this blog, I did not know how long it would continue.
Neither I knew how popular it would become.
Just to give you some flavour. 
  • There were only 341 pageviews in whole November 2010.
  • There were only 471  pageviews in whole December 2010.
  • And then, for a change, there were 5792  pageviews on the 12th of December 2011. The biggest number so far.
Do you feel the difference?
On average, there are more than 1500 pageviews per day now. More than whole year 2010 saw!
And today blog Linux notes from DarkDuck reached another important threshold. We have 500,000 (five hundred thousand) pageviews! Yes, that's half a million.
500 000
Great results, I think!
Thank you to all my readers who come here to get some more information about Linux distributions and Free open source software in general. Thank you for your support, tolerance and love!

22 Dec 2011

Geek-in-Pink: When I installed Mandrake on my computer, my boyfriend was not happy at all.

There are different people. There are different Linux users. Generally, you can split all people in the world into two categories: men and women. But should we split Linux world by gender? Some people still believe we should. Many others think we shouldn't.
My today's guest is Jonquil McDaniel. She is Linux user with more than 6 year experience and owner of the blog xjonquilx | Sabayon, Ubuntu, Fedora, Oh My!
She calls herself Geek-in-Pink sometimes. Now she brings in some pink colour into my blog.

20 Dec 2011

Mint Cocktail: Mojito or Molotov

My first approach to this Linux distribution took place about a year ago, in December 2010. It was one of the first distributions I've tried. Did I like it? Yes, I did. But not as a whole. The thing I did not like was actually one of the most important parts of desktop Linux. I did not like the menu.
How many Linux distributions do you know that develop their own menus? Other than this one, I can only name one, Mandriva 2011, which uses a menu from ROSA Labs, their sister company.
I later tried different Linux distributions from same team, and even had one of them installed on my laptop for some time. Have you already guessed which distribution I am going to talk about today? Yes? Yes!
It's Linux Mint. Their latest release is called Linux Mint 12 Lisa. It was officially published on the 26th of November 2011. As usual for Linux Mint, (at least their main branch), it is based on the latest version of Ubuntu, this time being Ubuntu 11.10.
Unlike Ubuntu, Linux Mint does not keep the size of their distribution's ISO image to 700 MB. The latest release "weighs" about 1Gb. It is larger than a CD, so you need either a DVD-R(W) or a USB stick to get this operating system booted or installed.
I downloaded Linux Mint 12 Lisa from a torrent file. There are plenty of users who seed this image, so downloading was very quick. Once downloading was finished, I used Unetbootin to "burn" the ISO image to an 8GB USB stick.
Preparations are over. It's time to reboot. Choose to boot from USB. Let's go!

18 Dec 2011

Users voted for best XFCE-based Linux distribution

Each Linux distribution has its own fans. Each desktop environment has its own fans.
Most Linux distributions use one or more mainstream desktop environments. To be honest with you, I prefer KDE. My next preference is XFCE, followed by GNOME. And LXDE brings up the rear of the mainstream desktop environments for me. Every user has his own preferences, of course. That's why arguments over Linux distributions and desktop environments will never end. People will always have differences of opinion.
There is a way to determine a current leader, though. The most democratic way is voting. Wouldn't it be interesting to know which distribution is doing better with each of the mainstream desktop environments? I had already announced a poll for the best KDE-based distribution. And I've previously announced the results twice. Now it's time for my second-favourite DE to be voted on. I announced voting for the best XFCE-based Linux distribution on the 1st of December 2011, and gave visitors of my blog 2 weeks to vote. Let's look at the results.

15 Dec 2011

Xubuntu 11.10. It Came To Stay

I repeatedly tell on my blog that my laptop has quadro-boot landscape. It became so when I first installed Linux on my hard drive (really installed, not frugal installation that I had for SLAX and Puppy).
Latest quadro-boot configuration included Mageia 1 KDE, Debian Squeeze, Fedora 16 KDE and inevitable Windows XP.
It included. Then it did not. I managed to brake Fedora installation significantly when followed the advice on LinuxQuestions.org forum about possible solution for my laptop's semi-hardware volume control keys. That advice effectively brought X-server to in-repairable condition. Keyboard stopped working at all. Of course, there could be solutions to fix it via command line, but I decided not to do so, because of couple of reasons:

  1. Fedora would not stay there anyway
  2. I want to have XFCE distribution to complement my KDE and GNOME systems.

And then Xubuntu came. I tried it recently for the first time, and liked it so much that fate of hard drive's partition was decided.

14 Dec 2011

The Real Linux Girl: Friends Told Me That My Place Was in the Kitchen.

Today my blog post is very unusual. I have never done this before. I wanted to, but up until now I have never invited another Linux-related person for interview.
Please meet, Irina Sikach, an editor of magazine UserAndLINUX.

12 Dec 2011

Three greatest successes in Linux world 2011

2011 is coming to its end. It is time to make final roundups and see what happened in our life in this year.
I have written about three greatest failures in Linux world 2011 just now.
Now let's have a look at greatest successes in Linux world in 2011 from my point of view.

1. Debian Squeeze

No doubt, Debian is one of the most respectable, used, contributed, {insert your own} distribution in the Linux world. And this team is famous for their quality. They release new stable system only when they consider it ready, not when deadline comes.
And finally Debian Squeeze was released in February 2011. It is stable, nice and reliable. It now forms part of my own quadro-boot landscape. Moreover, it is very important part of this landscape: I manage my bootloader GRUB2 from Debian.

2. Mageia 1

This distribution was forked from Mandriva somewhere in autumn 2010. Mageia's team was not producing much noise actually while getting their own Operating System ready. And then came June 2011, and we saw a result.
I don't know about you. But as much Mandriva (even previous versions) was a failure for me, that much Mageia became my favourite. It is distribution number one I use. It is default option in my quadro-boot configuration.
This Linux distribution is now ranked 11th in the Distrowatch list, just below Mandriva itself. Not a bad result providing they are only 6 months old!

3. Fedora 15 and 16

Fedora produced two released this year, same as OpenSuSE and Ubuntu (hence many Ubuntu-based derivatives).
And both of them were lovely from my point of view. Fedora 15 was the first distribution to feature GNOME3 as default desktop environment. And it was already awesome, even though not without a glitch. Fedora 16 became even better.
What is about Fedora KDE? As I have written, Fedora 15 KDE was very good, and Fedora 16 KDE was even better.

11 Dec 2011

Three greatest failures in Linux world 2011

2011 is coming to its end. It is time to make final roundups and see what happened in our life in this year.
Linux notes from DarkDuck is a blog dedicated to operating systems. Mostly Linux-based, but I sometime deviate to other open source systems like BSD.
So, what was new in Linux world in 2011? What were greatest failures in 2011 from my point of view?

1. Mandriva 2011

Mandriva 2011 was a cardinal turnover point for this distribution. This is the first release made under new management, currently led by Russians. In this new release Mandriva lost good part of its user base, those who liked GNOME interface. Basically, because Mandriva 2011 only has KDE version of it. Another reason to name Mandriva 2011 a failure is quality of this release. It grew in size almost twice, without bringing much of new functionality. Indeed, lots of expected functions became unusable or too complicated.
What is next for Mandriva? It will survive. Mostly because it has solid administrative resource and commitments from several states. But will it be still widely used in other parts of Linux community? I am not sure.

2. OpenSuSE

OpenSuSE team released two versions of their operating system this year. These were versions 11.4 and 12.1. I name both of them as failures. To be precise, out of 11.4, I should only take GNOME version into this list. OpenSuSE 11.4 KDE was more or less workable operating system.
But OpenSuSE 12.1 is a failure in full. I have not written review of this OS, and I am not going to. It does not mean I have not tried OpenSuSE 12.1. I have tried, because I got orders for CDs with this Operating System from my site buylinuxcds.co.uk and from eBay. Each time I send a disk, I test it, so I booted my laptops into OpenSuSE 12.1 several time. And I dislike the result.
As I said, I won't review OpenSuSE 12.1 myself, but if you wish, you can read what was written by Deidomedo (64-bit and 32-bit) and Firestarter.
What's next? I am not sure of OpenSuSE at this point of time. From one point of view, it is "too big to fail". From another, this Linux distribution has recently changed management (again), and it is unlikely to improve the situation quickly, as you can see in Mandriva's example.
Enough about OpenSuSE.

3. Ubuntu 11.04

Canonical also released two versions of their operating system Ubuntu this year. Version 11.04 was the first where new user interface Unity was used as default. And it was a failure point. Unity was still in very raw condition at that time. Instead of gaining users, it scared existing Ubuntu fan base. How many of Ubuntu users switched to other Linux distributions? And how many did use Ubuntu 11.04 with GNOME2?
To be fair, second release of Ubuntu this year, version 11.10, fixed situation a lot. First, Unity became much more usable in October 2011 compared to what was in April. Second, users got more acquainted with new interface, so they were less shocked.
What's next? I think next release of Ubuntu will be as good as any Long Term Support release of this OS is: stable, polished and likeable.

Do you want to know about Three greatest successes in Linux world 2011? Follow the link!

8 Dec 2011

Xubuntu 11.10: Unbelievable Easyness of Humanity

Humanity can take several shapes and forms. Everybody understands it differently.
Same for Ubuntu, which is "humanity" in some African languages. Somebody only understands it with Unity interface. Somebody cannot live without KDE, and they are fans of Kubuntu type of "humanity". Somebody prefer light and easy types of it, and their choice is Xubuntu.
I have written about Ubuntu and Kubuntu several times. Different versions, different systems, different experience.
But I have never touched Xubuntu topic so far.
Should I? Why not?
I downloaded ISO image of Xubuntu 11.10 from torrent. ISO image of this OS weights about 670 Mb
Because of bad experience with "burning" of Ubuntu-based images to USB stick with command dd (my BIOS does not like USB sticks created this way), I decided to give Unetbootin a go this time.
So, USB stick with Xubuntu 11.10 is ready and plugged into the port of my laptop Fujitsu-Siemens Amilo Pi 1505. Reboot. Choose to boot from USB. Let's go!

6 Dec 2011

LiveUSB and LiveCD: devil OpenBSD twins

There are not many times when I get my sight out of Linux and look into other free Operating System. Most often these are BSD-based operating systems.
Today is such a case. Even more, today I will tell you about two twin brothers from BSD family.

4 Dec 2011

Advantages of Using Linux

I have recently published a guest post called Disadvantages of Using Linux.
There were lots of comments on that post, and most of them are very valid.
To those who did not get the point... That post was a very-very fat troll. Yes, don't take it close to your heart. It was published on Sunday/Monday night to ease up your difficult Monday with few smiles on your face.
I am Linux person in heart, and by no doubt support Linux.
That's why let me talk about my Advantages of Using Linux.

1 Dec 2011

Vote for your best favourite XFCE distro!

I ran a poll some time ago, where I asked you about your "best favourite KDE distro".
Since then, I made 2 rounds of results announcement. Interesting enough, publishing of first round brought as many new votes as were in it initially. So, second round of results was published, showing that statistical figures were right anyway.
Did you like that poll? Do you want another one?

This time I am asking you about your favourite XFCE distribution.
Yes, I understand that userbase for XFCE is much less than GNOME or KDE, but there is still enough people who use XFCE in their work.
So, here is the new poll. Please select your best favourite XFCE-based Linux distributions, and provide optional comment if you wish.
Results will be announced around the 16th of December 2011.