ReactOS 0.3.6 released

"In a little over a month since version 0.3.5, we are announcing the release ReactOS 0.3.6. This release along with the rest of the 0.3.x series is still considered alpha quality software, so do not set your expectations too high. ReactOS 0.3.6 is the product of the current development focus: bugfixes, compatibility, and stability."

Qt Port of Mozilla and Firefox 3

The Mozilla and Nokia teams have been working hard to port Firefox 3 and the Mozilla Platform to Qt and there are now some solid results available from their efforts. An experimental build of Firefox Qt is available and you can download the sources from Mozilla's mercurial repository. The plan is to merge the Qt branch into the central Mozilla branch to make the port official.

Build Your Own Fedora Respin

Do we need even more Linux distros? That's a contentious topic, but if you'd like to make your own flavour of Fedora, see this guide to using Revisor, Fedora's re-build application. With some intermediate Linux knowledge (and a spare few hours), you can customise Fedora DVDs with your own software selection and updates.

Why Free Software Has Poor Usability, and How to Improve It

"The best open source applications and operating systems are more usable now than they were then. But this is largely from slow incremental improvements, and low-level competition between projects and distributors. Major problems with the design process itself remain largely unfixed." Personal Note: I am not sure how many people feel that Free Software has poor usability. As far as the desktop environment, I find most of linux window managers to be the more user-friendly than Windows and OS X.

Fedora Makes PS3 More Than a Toy

Early on, it was a bit of a challenge to get Linux natively installed on the PS3. Time has passed, and a great deal has changed. Fedora 7 installs on the PS3 out of the box, with the most challenging installation steps eliminated. This article introduces the basic configuration knobs and widgets specific to the PS3 running Linux, shows you how to use them effectively, and suggests the kind of trickery that gets improved performance.

ThinkPad X200 Reviewed

"The recent release of Intel's Centrino 2 platform means a refresh of notebooks from every manufacturer. Lenovo took this chance to not only update the internals of their ThinkPads, but also to make changes to their naming conventions and release a few new models, including the addition of the ThinkPad X200 to the venerable X series." The X200 brings along a widescreen display (the X was the ThinkPad's last standard aspect ratio series), the Centrino 2 platform with 45nm processor, and an SSD option. The notebook is a bit wider than before but still has that ThinkPad keyboard and with the right battery it will last up to 9 hours."

Most Interesting README File

"Once upon a time there was a printer who lived in the woods. He was a lonely printer, because nobody knew how to configure him. He hoped and hoped for someone to play with." That is an excerpt from the Readme file for gnome-cups-manager. There are more snippets from different programs that might pique your interest.

NetBSD: Metadata Journaling Support Added to FFS

Today, support for metadata journaling has been added to NetBSD's implementation of the Berkeley Fast File System (FFS), eliminating the need for lengthy file system checks after a crash or power failure. Support for converting existing file systems to use the new journaling capabilities is provided as well. See the official announcement for all the details.

Your Server Is Wasting Your CPU

While using an AMD Barcelona server to create a portable benchmarking kit, InfoWorld's Tom Yager discovered something unexpected: "I could incur variances in some benchmark tests ranging from 10 to 60 percent through combined manipulation of the server's BIOS settings, BIOS version, compiler flags, and OS release." Yager put this matter to AMD's performance engineers and was told he was seeing an effect widely known among CPU engineers, but seldom communicated to IT - that the performance envelope of a CPU is cast in silicon, but is sculpted in software. "Long before you lay hands on a server," Yager writes, "BIOS and OS engineers have reshaped its finely tuned logic in code, sometimes with the real intent of making it faster sometimes to homogenize the server to flatten its performance relative to Intel's."

The A-Z of Programming Languages: JavaScript

JavaScript creator and current CTO of Mozilla Corporation Brendan Eich provides a detailed history of JavaScript, including some of the more interesting programs written with JavaScript, right up to how JavaScript has been essential to the Ajax or Web 2.0 revolution. Eich started work on JS in 1995 and says he's been surprised by how popular it has been: "I was resigned for a long time to JS being unpopular due to those annoying popups, but more: due to its unconventional combination of functional and prototype-based object programming traditions." And with multicore/massively-parallel computers upon us, Eich talks about the future of JavaScript: "JS has its role to play in addressing the multicore world, starting with relatively simple extensions such as Google Gears' worker pools -- "shared nothing" background threads with which browser JS communicates by sending and receiving messages."

Midori: Microsoft’s Endgame for Windows

Microsoft appears to be assembling its game plan for the day when the Windows client OS as it has been developed for the past 20 years becomes obsolete. The incubation project, also known as Midori, seeks to create a componentized, Net-centric OS, based on connected systems - one that largely eliminates dependencies between local apps and the hardware on which they run. SDTimes is also featuring an article that has some more details about Midori.

SplashTop “Instant-On Linux” Gets Hacked

SplashTop is an instant-on Linux environment created by DeviceVM. SplashTop does not intend to provide a full computing environment, but it satisfies a home user's basic needs such as email, VOIP, IM, etc. Asus is the primary partner of DeviceVM and SplashTop started to get bundled with Asus motherboards and Asus notebooks. Now the good folks over at the Phoronix Forums have hacked SplashTop to run from a USB stick on non-Asus motherboards, run custom applications and launch a terminal inside the Linux environment.

Mandriva Linux 2009 Beta 1 Released

Mandriva is proud to announce the release of Mandriva Linux 2009 Beta 1 'thornicrofti'. This beta includes the newest release of KDE 4, KDE 4.1 final, GNOME 2.23.5, Firefox 3, and kernel 2.6.26 final. The new beta also switches to using splashy (rather than bootsplash) for boot and shutdown graphics, and adds synchronization support for Windows Mobile 2003 devices. As always, Mandriva reminds you not to use pre-releases in any critical situation; install them only on a test system or partition, or in a virtual machine. Additionally, they strongly discourage using this pre-release to upgrade from any earlier release of Mandriva Linux, as the transition process from KDE 3 to KDE 4 is not yet fully implemented and you are likely to end up with an unusable system. Please make sure to read the Errata and Release Notes, and file any bugs not covered in those pages on Bugzilla.