Scientific Linux 6.1 released  

Posted by Daniela Mehler

Scientific Linux 6.1 has been released for both i386 and x86_64 architectures
We want to thank everyone who has contributed, tested, and given us feedback. We feel that this is one of our best releases yet, and we couldn't have done it without the entire SL community. Scientific Linux 6.1 has a new graphical theme called "Edge Of Space" provided by Shawn Thompson. We want to thank him for all the work he put in making this release look more polished. Scientific Linux release 6.1 is based on the rebuilding of RPMS out of SRPMS's from Enterprise 6 Update 1, both Server and Client.

Dell's Honeycomb tablet launches in China  

Posted by Daniela Mehler

Dell launched its long awaited 10.1-inch Honeycomb tablet -- but only in China, with no date yet given for a U.S. appearance. The Dell Streak 10 Pro runs Android 3.1, offers the usual Nvidia Tegra 2 processor and other Honeycomb features, measures 0.51 inches (12.95mm) thick, and weighs 1.6 pounds, says the company.

Dell has begun taking orders for the Streak 10 Pro on its Chinese website, and says it will start shipping them "in the next couple of weeks" as well as selling direct at Dell-authorized retailers in more than 2,000 cities in China. The tablet will be heading "eventually elsewhere," which may well include the U.S. manufacturer's U.S. homeland.

The long-rumored Streak 10 Pro first showed up in a leaked Staples training guide in March as a nameless 10-inch Android 3.0 tablet, and more details were tipped in May . Yet 10.1-inch Honeycomb tablet "tip" stories are less compelling than with smartphones because so far, the devices all offer Nvidia Tegra 2 processors and pretty much identical features. The Streak 10 Pro is no exception.

Dell's Honeycomb tablet launches in China

Dell Streak 10 Pro, in landscape and portrait modes

The key differentiating features for Honeycomb tablets are the width, the weight, the battery life, and the software, although the latter two criteria require reviews to ferret out completely. If Dell's claim for up to 12-hour battery life rings true, that will be good news indeed.

On weight and dimensions, the Dell comes in slightly on the heavy and thick side at 0.51 inches (12.95mm) and 25.6 ounces (727 grams/1.6 pounds). This comes nowhere close to the market-leading Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 , which measures 0.34 inches (8.6mm) and weighs 20.1 ounces (595 grams). However, it's about the same as the Lenovo IdeaPad Tablet K1 , and is thinner than the 0.62-inch Toshiba Thrive .

Dell's Honeycomb tablet launches in China

Streak 10 Pro, back and front

Like the Thrive, the Dell is aimed -- at least partially -- at the business market. The tablet ships with an application called "Dell Divide," which offers "a clear balance between your personal and professional information -- the ultimate in yin and yang," says Dell.

The work mode offers secure access to corporate networks and business applications, yet protects personal mode items like family photos and personal email from the prying eyes of IT techs. Conversely, personal mode features are said to be enabled without "compromising access to any sensitive work data," says Dell.

(The company does not say whether the tablet also protects private info from other curious types, such as the Chinese government or Rupert Murdoch.)

We can almost list the Dell Streak 10 Pro's features without checking the spec list (which is, however, available from a link at the end of this story). Following the Honeycomb script, the Streak Pro offers a dual-core, 1GHz Tegra 2 processor with 1GB RAM, and 16GB of internal flash storage, says Dell.

Dell cites the Streak 10 Pro as having an SDHC reader for up to 32GB of memory. It doesn't say, however, whether this is microSD-sized or offers a full-sized, desktop-compatible SD format, a la the Lenovo's IdeaPad K1 or the Toshiba Thrive. (With Android 3.2, full SD support will be standard, so vendors will no longer need to offer customized support.)

Dell's Honeycomb tablet launches in China

Dell's Honeycomb tablet launches in China

Streak 10 Pro, side views
(Click on either to enlarge)

A Honeycomb-standard 10.1-inch, 1280 x 800 touchscreen with Gorilla Glass is supplied, as well as five-megapixel rear-facing and two-megapixel front-facing cameras. The tablet is further equipped with GPS, 802.11a/b/g/n, and Bluetooth 2.1, says Dell. While there's no talk about cellular support, we note that the company's official model mthe official model name is Dell T03G.

The Streak 10 Pro offers the usual gyro, accelerometer, and compass, as well as a micro-USB port, 3.5mm audio port, speakers, and dual microphones, says the company. A 40-pin dock connector is available, but there appears to be no mention of accessories at this point.

With the bug-fixed Android 3.1 release, Chinese customers should be able to spend more time enjoying their tablets and less time on tech support. In addition to the aforementioned Dell Divide UI layer, the tablet ships with Dell apps including Dell Work Profile, Stage, SyncUp, and Back up and Restore, says the company.

With the China launch, it's not surprising there are no Google apps to be seen. Instead you get Quickoffice, Swype, and a number of Chinese apps. These include Baidu maps, input, and search, which will save users from those pesky Dalai Lama stories.

Third time a charm?

Dell has so far stumbled in the Android tablet market with its original, five-inch Streak tablet and the more recent, seven-inch Streak 7 . Both tablets were hampered by high prices and out-of-date Android releases, among other issues.

Even so, a recent survey of Retrevo customers offers good news for Dell. When asked what vendors they would likely choose for an Android tablet, 55 percent said Amazon, but Dell was tied with Samsung for second with 38 percent.


The Streak 10 Pro is orderable now in China, for a special introductory price through July 29 of 2,999 Renminbi (RMB) -- $461 -- followed July 30 by 3,699 RMB ($574). The tablet is available at Dell's Chinese online store and Dell-authorized retail channels in China. More information and a spec list may be found here .

Explore Xen virtualization with Xen Live CD  

Posted by Daniela Mehler

Dedoimedo posted an article introducing Xen Live CD, which allows testing a preconfigured Xen virtualization setup on top of Debian 5 Lenny in a live session. Say, you liked my Xen introduction article and you are now looking to test its functionality. But you may be afraid of the long and complex configuration setup, which in the end, might not yield desirable results. Well, that's a justified concern. Luckily, there's a very simple solution. You can download and run Xen from a live CD! Based on Debian 5, it's a demonstration tool that allows users to roadtest Xen in a volatile live session before deciding whether they want or need Xen. Sounds fantastic. So let's see what this thing can do.

Atom-powered box PC accepts 4GB of DDR3 RAM  

Posted by Daniela Mehler

Axiomtek announced a fanless embedded PC that offers Intel's single-core Atom N455 or dual core D525 processors, along with a Mini PCI expansion slot. The eBOX620-801-FL supports up to 4GB of DDR2 RAM, includes a 2.5-inch drive bay and a CompactFlash slot, and has three serial ports, according to the company.

Despite a troubled global economy, there has been no lessening in demand for fanless industrial PCs. OK, that statement might or might not be a fact, but it's certainly the impression given by Axiomtek, which continues to pump out what seems like infinite variations of its eBox devices -- all passively cooled via impressive-looking heat sinks.

Atom-powered box PC accepts 4GB of DDR3 RAM

Axiomtek's eBOX620-801-FL
(Click to enlarge)

The new eBOX620-801-FL (above) is closely related to the eBOX620-800-FL that was released in March, as the modestly incremented model number indicates. Specs are mostly the same, except that where that model employed Intel's Atom N450 or D510 , the newer device is offered with the single-core, 1.66GHz Atom N455 or dual-core, 1.8GHz Atom D525 (TDPs are 5.5 and 10 Watts, respectively, according to Intel).

We wouldn't expect to see much of a performance boost associated with this change in processors. However, Axiomtek points out that the D525-equipped model of the eBOX620-801-FL accepts up to 4GB of DDR3 RAM in its single SODIMM slot (the N455-equipped version still has the 2GB limit that's more typical for Atom-powered PCs).

As did its predecessor, the identically sized eBOX620-801-FL has room for a 2.5-inch SATA hard disk drive and a CompactFlash slot (the latter apparently externally accessible once a door is unscrewed). Again, the device also features a Mini PCI Express slot, and Axiomtek says there's also now room for an internal USB-based wireless LAN adapter.

Atom-powered box PC accepts 4GB of DDR3 RAM

Ports on Axiomtek's eBOX620-801-FL
(Click to enlarge)

The PC's front panel (top, above) features a microphone input and line output, two USB 2.0 ports, plus two antenna connectors that were not present on the earlier eBOX620-800-FL. The rear panel is like the earlier PC's, with three serial ports (one RS232/422/485 and two RS232), a VGA port, two more USB 2.0 ports, and two gigabit Ethernet ports.

Axiomtek says that, as was the case with the eBOX620-800-FL, the eBOX620-801-FL is orderable with a second (DVI) video output, in which case dual monitors are supported. The company also claims the device has a PS/2 keyboard/mouse port, though we can't work out from the supplied images where this might be located (on the eBOX620-800-FL, it was between the Ethernet ports).

The eBOX620-801-FL supports a 14 to 122 deg. F (-10 to 50 deg. C) operating temperatures with the D525 and 14 to 131 deg. F (-10 to 55 deg. C) with the N455, says the company. Operating system support is said to include Linux, Windows CE, and Windows XP Embedded.

Features and specifications listed by Axiomtek for the eBOX620-801-FL include:

Processor -- Intel Atom N455 (single-core) or Atom D525 (dual-core) Chipset -- ICH 8M Memory -- up to 4GB DDR3 of RAM via 1 x 200-pin SODIMM on D525 version; up to 2GB of DDR3 RAM
Storage -- 2.5-inch SATA bay and CompactFlash slot Expansion -- 1 x Mini PCI Express card; internal USB bay for wireless LAN adapter Networking -- 2 x gigabit Ethernet ports
Other I/O: 4 x USB 2.0 (2 front, 2 rear)
1 x RS-232/422/485 (COM 1) 2 x RS-232 (COM 2/3)
1 x VGA
1 x DVI (optional) audio -- mic in and line out 1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse (claimed) Power -- AC adapter; 90-264 VAC input; 12 VDC output
Operating temperature -- 14 to 122 deg. F (-10 to 50 deg. C) with D525; 14 to 131 deg. F (-10 to 55 deg. C) with N455
Vibration endurance -- 2Grms with CompactFlash
Dimensions -- 7.87 x 4.7 x 2.2 inches (200 x 120 x 56mm)
Weight -- 4.36 pounds (1.98 kg) Operating systems -- Windows XP Embedded, Windows CE, Linux
Further information

Axiomtek did not cite pricing or availability for the eBOX620-801-FL, but the device appears to be available now. More information may be found at Axiomtek's eBOX620-801-FL page .

Jonathan Angel can be reached at and followed at .

ARM reports healthy results, but shaky consumer demand casts shadow  

Posted by Daniela Mehler

ARM Holdings has reported a 27 percent increase in year-over-year revenue, an 25 percent increase in pre-tax profit, and the signing of 29 processor licensees -- nine of them new. But both ARM and key licensee Texas Instruments have added a cautionary note about the rest of the year, given the shaky state of consumer confidence.

Reporting results for the second quarter of its 2011 financial year (ending June 30), ARM Holdings once again detailed increases in revenues and profits. At $190.2 million dollars, for example, revenue was up both sequentially -- the corresponding first-quarter figure had been $185.5 billion -- and year-over year.

According to ARM, its year-over-year revenue increase for the second quarter was 27 percent (relative to Q2 2010 revenue of $150.3 billion). Pre-tax profit was up too, to 54.2 million U.K. pounds, again handily beating the last quarter's figure (50.8 million pounds) and that of Q2 2010 (43.5 million pounds).

ARM reports healthy results, but shaky consumer demand casts shadow

ARM CEO Warren East (pictured), stated, "In the first half of 2011, we have seen strong license revenues driven by an increase in design activity around ARM technology across a broad range of end applications. Major semiconductor vendors and consumer electronics companies are making long-term commitments to using ARM technology in their future product developments, underpinning growth in ARM’s long-term royalty revenues."

As the statement suggests, ARM makes its money from licensing its processor IP, not from actually shipping the chips. During the second quarter, the company says, it added 29 licensees to its installed base of more than 800. Of these, nine involved Cortex-A cores, including two for the advanced Cortex-A15 and two for "Kingfisher," a smaller version the company has said it is readying for "lower-end smartphones, feature phones, and cost-sensitive digital TV applications."

ARM reports healthy results, but shaky consumer demand casts shadow

ARM added 29 licensees during the second quarter of this year
(Click to enlarge)

According to ARM, nine of the 29 licensees signed during the second quarter were adopting ARM technology for the first time, in applications such as digital TVs, microcontrollers, and near field communication (NFC) chips. The Cortex-A15 core has now been licensed to ten companies, and "will enable the next generation of scalable computing from super-smartphones and mobile computers to servers and networking infrastructure applications," the company added.

More than 1.9 billion shipped

ARM says more than 1.9 billion chips based on its technology shipped during the second quarter, the "highest ever." (During the first quarter of 2011, 1.5 billion shipped, the company reported previously.) These shipments went into the following market segments, according to ARM:

mobile -- 58 percent embedded -- 22 percent enterprise -- 16 percent home -- 4 percent Cambridge, England-based ARM's fortunes have been boosted not only by booming smartphone and tablet sales, but also by Microsoft's well-publicized announcement that it will port Windows 8 to run on ARM SoCs (systems on chip). Google, too, has announced that its Chrome OS will soon be ported, ARM noted in its earnings report.

ARM reports healthy results, but shaky consumer demand casts shadow

Nearly two billion ARM-based processors shipped during the second quarter of this year
(Click to enlarge)

Last December, meanwhile, ARM acknowledged its plans to move into the server market , claiming that its designs could halve the power consumption of the low-end servers increasingly being used for tasks such as virtualization and cloud computing.

Server-related developments since then have included:

Calxeda's announcement that it will ship ARM Cortex-A9 server chips later this year Marvell's introduction of the server-targeted quad-core Armada XP Nvidia's plans to build server CPUs and ZT Systems' release of a power-sipping R1801e rackmount server

ARM divides its business into a processor division (PD) centered on microprocessor cores -- including specific functions, such as graphics and video IP, fabric IP, and embedded software IP -- and a physical IP division (PIPD), focused on building blocks for translation of a circuit design into actual silicon.

According to the company, PD licensing and PD royalties were up year over year by 59 percent (to $58.1 million) and 16 percent (to $84.4 million), respectively. (We note, however, that PD royalties fell sequentially from the last quarter's $87.9 million.) At the same time, PIPD licensing went up 19 percent year over year to $12.3 million, ARM added.

A cautionary note

ARM added to the above good tidings that it has a "healthy order backlog and a robust opportunity pipeline, which are expected to deliver strong performance in license revenues." But, it said, "relevant data for the second quarter, being the shipment period for ARM's Q3 royalties, points to a small sequential increase in industry-wide revenues." And, it cautioned, "Q4 royalties are harder to predict as continuing macroeconomic uncertainties may impact consumer confidence."

Separately, key ARM licensee Texas Instruments (TI) reported second-quarter revenue that, at $3,46 billion, was up two percent sequentially but down one percent year over year. Compared to Q4 2010, operating profit and net income were down 18 percent and 13 percent year over year, the company added.

Compared to the first quarter of its 2011 financial year, TI experienced higher revenue. However, operating profit declined because of "lower factory utilization, higher earthquake-related costs [in Japan], and higher operating expenses," the company added.

Rich Templeton, TI's chairman, president, and CEO stated, "We expect growth in the third quarter, but because of mixed macroeconomic and market signals we are prepared for a broader-than-normal range of growth possibilities. We note that production at some computing and consumer manufacturers appears lukewarm even though we're heading into the back-to-school and holiday seasons."

Further information

Links providing access to ARM Holdings' earnings release, presentation, and webcast -- including the company's predictions for the rest of the year -- may be found on ARM's investor relations website . More information on TI's financial results may be found on the company's website .

Jonathan Angel can be followed at .

Linux 3.0 scrubs up Btrfs, gets more Xen  

Posted by Daniela Mehler

Linux 3.0 has been released, featuring a storage backend for Xen virtualization and an antifrag and data-scrubbing features for the Btrfs filesystem. Meanwhile, Thomas Gleixner released a major new, real-time Linux patch that will ready Linux 3.0 for highly-deterministic applications.

Timed for release in conjunction with the 20th anniversary of Linux -- which will be celebrated Aug 17-19 at the Linux Foundation's LinuxCon event in Vancouver, BC -- Linux 3.0 is just another Linux kernel update, according to Linux creator and gatekeeper Linus Torvalds. Back in May, he warned not to expect too much from the birthday release when he announced the major numbering shift , the first second-digit jump since Linux 2.6 arrived back in 2003.

Linux 3.0 scrubs up Btrfs, gets more Xen

"There are no special landmark features or incompatibilities related to the version number change," writes Torvalds (pictured) in a blog posting announcing the release . "It's simply a way to drop an inconvenient numbering system in honor of twenty years of Linux," writes Torvalds. 

The next release will be Linux 3.1, whose release data may wind up being determined by Torvalds' vacation schedule, he explained. Torvalds, whose main job is to decide which updated code is ready to roll into each Linux kernel release, already had his vacation delayed by a last-minute bug that delayed Linux 3.0 by several days.

In what other major software project does the head honcho's vacation plans change the release schedule? Well, perhaps more often than one would think, but only in the wonderful Oz-like open source reality of Linux does the wizard cop to it. You gotta love it.

Depending on one's perspective, beyond the numbering change Linux 3.0 will be remembered either for the improvements to the Btrfs file-system, or for the new storage backend for the Xen hypervisor. If you're a real-time Linux industrial developer, meanwhile, the big news occurred outside the mainline kernel earlier this week with a major new real-time Linux patch for Linux 3.0 from Thomas Gleixner (see farther below).

Btrfs fights fragmentation

Btrfs, which debuted in the Linux kernel in a preliminary version in the early 2009 Linux 2.6.29 release , has been steadily improved in subsequent releases including Linux 2.6.31 and 2.6.32 . Btrfs is touted for offering better fault tolerance and offering easier administration than the Ext file-systems, among other benefits.

The first Btrfs enhancement is found in new anti-fragmentation code. Because Btrfs is a COW (copy-on-write) filesystem, it is plagued by even more data fragmentation problems than other filesystems, explains , which offers its usual semi-official changelog for kernel releases. Btrfs already has several mechanisms for fighting fragmentation, but now offers an autofragmentation mounting option as well as an option to turn off COW to reduce fragmentation, according to the overview.

Btrfs also gains a "scrubbing" feature to check the integrity of the data in the filesystem. As Thorsten Leemhuis explains it in his detailed kernel write-up on The H , the feature lets developers "instruct the kernel to read all data from the storage medium and run through all the checksums to ensure data integrity." Among other enhancements, Btrfs is said to boost performance by about 15 per cent when creating files, and by about 20 per cent during deletions.

Other Linux filesystems have also been spruced up in various ways. The now mainstream Ext4, for example, gains a "punch hole" function that identifies areas that lack data so it can de-allocate them. This is said to be particular useful in virtualization environments.

Xen adds storage backend

Thanks to contributions from , the Xen virtualization system offers the long-awaited full initial domain ("dom0 ") support, essentially enabling a storage backend for Xen . As a result, explains Leemhuis, Linux "has finally acquired all the essential components for hosting guest systems as a Dom0 together with the Xen hypervisor." He notes, however, that this is a "cut-down" version of Dom0 support and lacks extras found in commercial Xen products like Xen Server, such as suspend-to-RAM and enhanced USB support.

Here's a brief rundown of other features listed as "prominent" in the changelog:

Sendmmsg() -- syscall batching for send messages, said to offer speed improvements in light virtualization systems

Cleancache -- optional feature for improving page cache performance, said to be aimed primarily at virtualization environments

Berkeley Packet Filter -- just-in-time, memcached-like filtering technique, similar to FreeBSD feature, that can generate native code when filter is loaded in memory. (Writes Leemhuis: "It generates assembler code at runtime that carries out some of the network packet filtering tasks set by sniffer tools.")

Wake on WLAN -- similar to Wake-on-LAN, enables system to nap while Wi-Fi stays active

unprivileged ICMP_ECHO messages -- MAC OS X-like technique for pinging without special privileges, now offered as default, enabled at boot-up

Setns() syscall -- improved namespace handling for resources like filesystem directory structure, network resources, and IPC

alarm-timers -- improved, hybrid-style POSIX timers "inspired by the Android Alarm driver" and other high-resolution timers

driver enhancements -- Drivers include Radeon DRM/KMS driver with support for AMD Llano graphics cores, and a i915-DRM/KMS driver for graphics in upcoming Intel "Ivy Bridge" Core processors. Other drivers include the Microsoft Kinect, Intel iwlwifi 105 and 135, Intel C600 serial-attached-scsi controller, Ralink RT5370 USB, several Realtek RTL81xx devices, and the Apple iSight webcam. BeagleBoard users who want to check out the new Linux 3.0 kernel can download it here .

Gleixner releases real-time patch for Linux 3.0

Linux 3.0 scrubs up Btrfs, gets more Xen

If you're in the real-time Linux community, looking to make embedded Linux on par with real-time operating systems (RTOSes) as a platform for highly deterministic, mission-critical applications, the big Linux 3.0 news was announced two days ago. That was when real-time Linux (RTL) project leader Thomas Gleixner (pictured) announced a major update of the PREEMPT_RT patch designed for the new 3.0 release.

This "long awaited" patch "is a major milestone of integrating it into mainline," writes Carsten Emde at OSADL (Open Source Automation Development Lab). PREEMPT_RT provides guarantees for hard timing deadlines, as required by many mission-critical applications in industries like telecom, military, healthcare, music recording, and financial trading.

OSADL , which coordinates the development of open source projects in the areas of embedded and industrial design, including real-time and safety-critical Linux, has benchmarked the new patch and found it to offer very low latency. The latest patch, which Emde calls "a major milestone of integrating it into mainline" Linux kernel, is said to be much smaller in size, in part due to upstreaming infrastructure patches. Other enhancements are said to include solving the "preemptible MMU gather problem" as well as various scheduler improvements.

Since its merger with the Real-Time Linux Foundation (RTLF), OSADL has regularly released "Latest Stable" industrial real-time Linux kernels based on the PREEMPT_RT patch series. In February, 2010, OSADL released Kernel, based on Linux 2.6.31, and in December, OSADL released Kernel, based on Linux 2.6.33. With the new patch, the RTL developers have finally caught up with the mainline kernel release.

Fanless controller has ten serial ports  

Posted by Daniela Mehler

Aaeon has added to its line of fanless embedded controllers with a model sporting ten serial ports. The AEC-6872 has a 1.6GHz Intel Atom processor, two Ethernet ports, a CompactFlash slot, four USB ports, and a slot that can hold a PCI or PCI Express card, the company says.

Aaeon's AEC-6872 is the latest in a long line of fanless embedded controllers from this company. The one we most recently covered is the AEC-6924 , released at the end of April with a Core 2 Duo SL9400 processor.

Fanless controller has ten serial ports

Aaeon's AEC-6872

The AEC-6872 returns to a more typical Atom CPU (specifically, the dual-core D510 , which has a 13-Watt TDP). It's exceptional, however, in including a total of ten serial ports.

As seen below left, eight RS232 ports are lined up on the device's front panel, along with a 25-pin parallel port. There are two more serial ports (1 RS232, 1 RS232/422/585) on the rear panel (below right), along with two gigabit Ethernet ports, four USB 2.0 ports, a VGA output, two PS/2 ports, audio I/O (mic in, line out) and a power input, says Aaeon.

Fanless controller has ten serial ports

Fanless controller has ten serial ports

Aaeon's AEC-6872
(Click either to enlarge)

Aaeon says the AEC-6872 accepts up to 4GB of RAM via two SODIMM slots, while fixed storage is via a bay (2.5-inch, we presume, though this wasn't stated) and an internal CompactFlash slot. The device also has a Mini PCI slot and a "mini card" (Mini PCI Express?) slot, according to the company.

There are four different SKUs for the AEC-6872, Aaeon notes. For example, the device is available with a choice of externally accessible expansion slots -- either PCI or PCI Express x 1. Apart from this, it's orderable either in a version that uses 12VDC input power, or one that accepts voltages ranging from 9 to 30VDC.

According to Aaeon, the AEC-6872 may be operated in temperatures ranging from 14 to 131 deg. F. When employing only CompactFlash storage, it resists shocks of up to 5G while in operation, the company adds.

Specifications listed by Aaron for the AEC-6872 include:

Processor -- Intel Atom D510 clocked at 1.6GHz Chipset -- ICH 8M Memory -- up to 4GB DDR2 RAM in two DIMM slots Storage -- CompactFlash slot (internal) and bay for SATA hard disk drive Expansion: 1 x PCI or 1 x PCI Express x1 1 x Mini PCI 1 x "mini card" Networking -- 2 x gigabit Ethernet Other I/O: 9 x RS232 (8 front, 1 rear) 1 x RS232/422/485 (rear) 4 x USB 2.0 VGA 2 x PS/2 1 x parallel audio -- mic lin, line out Power -- 12VDC or 9~48VDC; consumption n/s Operating range -- 14 to 131 deg. F Dimensions -- 9.4 x 8.4 x 3.7 inches Weight -- 12.8 pounds (5.8kg) Further information

Aaeon did not cite pricing or operating system support for the AEC-6872. More information on the device, which appears to be available now, may be found on the company's AEC-6924 product page .

Jonathan Angel can be followed at .

Free hypervisor adds virtual machine cloning  

Posted by Daniela Mehler

Oracle released a new version of its free virtualization software, now offering an easy way to clone virtual machines (VMs). VirtualBox 4.1 also includes a memory limit increase to 1TB for 64-bit hosts, guest support for Windows Aero, a new UDP networking tunnel for interconnecting VMs, and support for SATA hard disk hotplugging, among other cited new features.

Oracle's VirtualBox 4.x is a type 2 ("hosted") hypervisor, which requires a host operating system and then allows virtual machines to run on top of that host. It's distinct from type 1 ("bare metal") hypervisors, which theoretically offer more robustness and require less physical memory to operate.

As such, VirtualBox is similar to hypervisors from companies such as Parallels and VMWare, with comparable ease of use. Unlike these, however, it is offered for free -- a tradition that Sun began when it bought developer Innotek, and which is now being continued by Oracle.

VirtualBox supports several host operating systems, including Windows, Mac OS X, most flavors of Linux (including Oracle Linux) and Oracle Solaris. It gained an easier-to-user interface and other new capabilities (see later in this story) when it was updated to version 4.0 last December .

The VirtualBox user interface (below), called VirtualBox Manager, provides a graphical preview of suspended virtual machines. In addition, virtual machines -- including snapshots, saved states, and disk images -- could be deleted in a single step as of version 4.0.

Free hypervisor adds virtual machine cloning

VirtualBox Manager
(Click to enlarge)

However, in Virtual Box 4.0 users could also make snapshots of a virtual machine, preserving an operating system state they could fall back to in case of subsequent mishaps. But there was no way to copy these snapshots to servers or otherwise share them with others.

Version 4.1 now provides users with an easy way to create clones (below) of virtual machines. These become independent entities that have a life of their own, according to Oracle.

Free hypervisor adds virtual machine cloning

Cloning a virtual machine
(Click to enlarge)

Wim Coekaerts, senior vice president of Oracle Linux and Virtualization Engineering, was quoted by eWEEK as saying , "Right now, when you have a virtual machine running, you create a snapshot, which is a child of the current virtual machine. But that's not something that can independently grow afterwards. With a clone, you have a new entity that can then have its own life and, subsequently, its own snapshots."

A host of other new features and fixes noted in the VirtualBox 4.1 changelog include:

an enhanced wizard for creating new virtual disks an memory limit increase to 1TB for 64-bit hosts an experimental WDDM graphics driver that supports Windows Aero and provides Direct3D support using a "cleaner approach" (no need to install the guest drivers in Safe Mode any more a new UDP networking tunnel that "allows interconnect VMs running on different hosts easily and transparently" support for SATA hard disk hotplugging


As noted above, Oracle released a significant VirtualBox 4.0 upgrade at the end of last year. At the time, improvements in performance and functionality are said to include:

the ability for 32-bit hosts to offer more than 1.5GB or 2GB of RAM to guest operating systems emulation of Intel's ICH9 chipset, with PCI, PCI Express, and MSI (message signaled interrupts) Intel HD audio support for limiting a virtual machine's CPU time and I/O bandwidth Oracle said at the time that Virtual Box 4.0 could now resize disk images, as well as exporting virtual machines from one format to another more rapidly. It can also package disk image files and their associated XML descriptions into the OVA (open virtualization format archive) format, the company added.

Free hypervisor adds virtual machine cloning

VirtualBox 4.1 running Windows 8, Linux, and Android virtual machines (with Apple's OS X as the host OS)
(Click to enlarge)

The way Virtual Box 4.0 is distributed and its licensing details also changed somewhat. Previously, Oracle offered an Open Source Edition (OSE), whose source code was available and which needed to be complied before use, and a main release with a ready-to-go-installer: Only the latter had full USB functionality and RDP (remote desktop protocol) support.

Now, Virtual Box is available in both source code and installer formats (covered by the GNU GPL v2 license), but USB 2.0 and RDP support have been moved to a separate extension pack, which is released under the Personal Use and Evaluation License (PUEL). Users whose existing virtual machines have USB 2.0 drivers will have to download and install the extension pack, as we discovered in our testing.

While Virtual Box and the one available extension pack remain free, it's possible Oracle (or third parties) will be releasing paid packs with additional hardware support. Meanwhile, Coekaerts said in December, the continuing investment Oracle is making in its Sun Microsystems-related open source-based products such as VirtualBox and OpenOffice is quite apparent.

Further information

Comprehensive documentation and downloads may be found on Oracle's website or at .

Toshiba tablet's loaded with ports, but too hefty for eWEEK reviewer  

Posted by Daniela Mehler

Toshiba's Thrive is a decent, if unspectacular, entry to the trundling Android "Honeycomb" tablet market, according to this eWEEK review. However, the availability of multiple ports will please enterprise users, who might also like the removable battery better than did author Clint Boulton.

I began using the Toshiba Thrive Android 3.1-based "Honeycomb" tablet last week with some reservations, after all of the negative attention the 10.1-inch tablet garnered over what I'll call SleepmodeGate.

I've been using this hefty, WiFi-only device (my version was the 16GB model, with 1GB of RAM) for over a week and I haven't experienced the surely annoying experience of having to reboot every time I want to wake the device from sleep mode. But dozens of Thrive owners are experiencing this, according to Engadget .

Toshiba tablet's loaded with ports, but too hefty for eWEEK reviewer

Toshiba Thrive
(Click to enlarge)

Let me tell you what I have experience with: The Thrive, which weighs 1.6 pounds, is over .06 inches thick, compared to the thinner, lighter Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1.

The Thrive is speedy, as powered by the Nvidia Tegra 2 1GHz dual-core processor. It's also got a solid-but-not-great LED backlit widescreen display.

The device boasts 1280-by-800 resolution, just like the Tab 10.1, but its screen is not as crisp. I played several YouTube videos and movies side-by-side and the Tab won every time.

Toshiba tablet's loaded with ports, but too hefty for eWEEK reviewer

Toshiba tablet's loaded with ports, but too hefty for eWEEK reviewer

Toshiba Thrive in portrait mode
(Click on either to enlarge)

One area where the Thrive whips the Tab 10.1 (and even the vaunted iPad) is the availability of ports, letting users connect their Thrive to other devices for content sharing and device-to-device communications. It has a USB port, a mini USB port, an HDMI port for putting content on bigger screens, a headphone jack, and an SD slot for flash memory cards.

There is also a docking connector to let users access latch on to a Toshiba Multi-Dock ($59.99), with an additional HDMI port, two more USB 2.0 ports, and another audio port. The Toshiba Standard Dock with Audio Out ($39.99) provides just an 3.5mm stereo audio port, apparently for connecting to a home stereo.

Toshiba tablet's loaded with ports, but too hefty for eWEEK reviewer

The Thrive's bevy of ports
(Click to enlarge)

In other words, the Thrive is very PC-like -- it even has an AC Adapter included with the tablet. Yes, the Thrive comes with a laptop-style power cord!

Toshiba really showed its enterprise leanings with the Thrive by including its proprietary File Manager and PrinterShare apps on one of the five customizable homescreens. The File Manager (below) is useful for people storing, managing and accessing lots of content: I used it to put photos, documents and videos from thumb drives onto the Thrive.

Toshiba tablet's loaded with ports, but too hefty for eWEEK reviewer

The Thrive's File Manager
(Click to enlarge)

PrinterShare enables printing via Android phones. The LogMeIn remote desktop and QuickOffice productivity apps were also preinstalled on this homescreen.

Conversely, Toshiba also wants to be consumer-friendly, offering proprietary Toshiba Start Place news aggreggator, a Book Place digital bookstore, and an App Place application store that is pretty poor and ugly, mixing both enterprise and consumer apps. Stick with the Android Market for apps.

YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and the new Google+ mobile app rendered well. The stereo speakers worked well for music, video content and games, such as NFS Shift from EA, which is included on the Thrive. Switching between apps was super -imple, as Google intended Honeycomb to be.

Typing on the virtual keyboard was a breeze, and I used Gmail quite a bit on the Thrive to compose messages or respond to Google+ comments. You'll get used to the clacking keyboard sound, I promise. Swype gesture technology is available for folks who prefer it.

The Thrive has a standard five-megapixel rear-facing camera for average pics, though the two megapixel front-facing Webcam will give users a nice face-to-face video chat session, as my testing with Skype Mobile showed.

OK, it's rugged, but ...

My biggest issue with the Thrive is the hardware. I strongly dislike the ruggedized, rubberized and texturized Easy Grip removeable cover. I don't care that you can swap out the battery with this feature; it feels like a military-grade machine.

In fact, I moved recently and I showed the AT&T U-Verse installer the Thrive and joked that it would go great with his work Panasonic Toughbook. He agreed. You can drop it, kick it or sit on, it and you won't hurt it. (Or so it seems: I didn't do it to this test model -- I break it and I buy it.)

Seriously, I'm okay with the idea of a removable cover, but this plastic shell feels awkward on or off. Moreover, the cheap metal camera bezel on the cover is an eyesore. I wish it were rubber, too.

Speaking of rubber, you can buy Blue Moon, Raspberry Fusion, Lavender Bliss, Silvery Sky and Green Apple covers for $19.99 if you don't like the black one with which it comes.

Here's a smaller, more niggling point. While I appreciate all the various ports and the way they're rendered in the Thrive's hardware, I believe you should never clutter the power button. It must be pronounced and easy to access.

No dice here; the Thrive's power button is grouped with the volume buttons and a screen rotation lock in a rubber bezel on the right side of the device (when in portrait mode). Try manipulating these in the dark or without looking. They're not pronounced enough in my opinion.

Battery life averaged five to six hours of solid use each day I tested it -- not as good as the Tab 10.1 or the iPad at all -- even though Toshiba professes 11 hours on a full charge. With the Thrive, you need to make sure that the tablet switches off WiFi when you're not using it or you will drain power fast.

In conclusion, I found the actual software experience of the tablet enjoyable, but I'm not comfortable with the Easy Grip removable back cover.

I appreciate what Toshiba was going for, but I don't want a tablet with removable parts. I don't take the cover off my laptop; why would I remove my tablet's cover? For fashion's sake? Pshaw.

At 1.6 pounds, it's also too heavy for my tablet experience. I couldn't use the Thrive as my primary device for media consumption, but that's me.

There are plenty of people who like the look and feel of it. And it's hard to beat the user interface and overall software experience, assuming you're one of the Android aficionados who doesn't hate Honeycomb. The 16GB Thrive I tested costs $479, but if you're feeling less storage hungry, go for the 8GB model for $429.99. More greedy customers can buy a 32GB monster for $579.99.

Further information

More images of the Thrive may be found in an eWEEK slide show , and further information may be found on Toshiba Direct's Thrive site .

Clint Boulton is a writer for eWEEK.

Intel touts record revenue and 'ultrabook' initiative  

Posted by Daniela Mehler

Reporting results for the second quarter of its financial year, Intel said Atom processor revenues have dropped by 15 percent, and lowered its forecast for 2011 PC sales to around nine percent. But revenue and net income were respectively up 22 percent and 10 percent year-over-year, marking a "fifth consecutive quarter of record revenue," officials added.

Intel is gearing up to spend more than $16 billion on various investments during 2011, a $500 million jump over what executives previously projected. The money will go to everything from the company's efforts to expand deeper into the mobile device space, to getting its manufacturing plants ready for upcoming generations of processors.

Intel executives touched on some of these efforts during a conference call with journalists and analysts July 20 as they announced a fifth consecutive quarter of record financial numbers. The world's largest chip maker saw revenue of $13.1 billion, up 22 percent over the same period last year. At the same time, net income came in at $3.2 billion, a 10 percent increase over the second quarter of 2010.

The company was buoyed by strong sales of chips with its new "Sandy Bridge" architecture, which executives said saw the fastest ramp of any product in the company's history. This year, two-thirds of the chips Intel sells will be based on Sandy Bridge, they said. (Yesterday, we reported that even Intel's entry-level Celeron processors are moving to the Sandy Bridge architecture , which provides on-chip graphics capabilities.)

Intel saw strength in its Data Center Group, which garnered 15 percent revenue growth, and its Embedded & Communications Group, which had revenue growth of 25 percent. The PC Client Group also saw revenues grow, up 11 percent from the same three months last year.

However, executives also lowered Intel's forecast for PC sales in 2011 to eight to 10 percent, down from the earlier prediction of growth in low double digits. CEO Paul Otellini said there is softness in the mature markets, such as the United States and Europe, and that while businesses continue to buy PCs, the consumer space is still weak.

"The mature market consumer segment is still soft, but the emerging-market consumer segment is healthy and growing," Otellini said during the call.

For example, Brazil is poised to become the third largest PC buyer in the world. Some emerging markets saw revenue growth as high as 70 percent.

Intel also saw revenue declines in its low-power Atom platform, with revenue of $352 million, a drop of 15 percent. The Atom business illustrated Intel's struggle to gain headway in the booming smartphone and tablet markets, which are dominated by chips designed by ARM Holdings and made by the likes of Qualcomm, Texas Instruments and Nvidia.

Otellini said Intel is on schedule for volume production of its 22-nanometer processors later this year. He added that the combination of these chips -- which will feature the company's new Tri-Gate 3D transistor architecture, promising increased performance and 50 percent power reductions -- with Microsoft's upcoming Windows 8 operating system will help Intel compete strongly against ARM.

"When Microsoft has a new operating system, that's good for us," he said.

However, Microsoft officials in January said that Windows 8 also will support SoC (system-on-a-chip) architectures, such as ARM. That has analysts at IHS iSuppli predicting that by 2015, almost 23 percent of PCs sold will run on ARM-designed chips.

However, Intel is using its substantial financial advantage to fuel developments in various areas. That includes the company's "ultrabook" concept, which the company unveiled in May.

Intel executives envision ultra-thin and -light notebooks that offer the performance of mainstream systems and the features of tablets, such as instant-on, always-on and eventually touch capabilities. Ultrabooks, which Intel hopes will counter rapid sales of tablets, will account for 40 percent of all notebooks sold by the end of 2012, according to the chip maker.

Otellini compared the ultrabook effort to that behind the Centrino mobile chip initiative several years ago, "trying to move the market to a new form factor."

Beau Skonieczny, an analyst with Technology Business Research, said in a research note that Intel's ultrabook initiative has promise, but it needs to see sales grow quickly.

Intel touts record revenue and 'ultrabook' initiative

Apple's revamped MacBook Air, introduced July 20, ironically exemplifies Intel's ultrabook platform -- including a Sandy Bridge processor and Thunderbolt technology

"TBR believes the introduction of Ultrabooks will accelerate Intel's growth momentum, helping to offset the slower sales in netbooks," Skonieczny said. "By incorporating newer technologies, such as Thunderbolt, 3-D transistors and next-generation Ivy Bridge processors, Intel is better positioned to take on higher-end tablet platforms and thin-and-light notebooks, such as Apple's iPad and MacBook Air products."

Otellini also said that he still believes tablets aren't a threat to traditional notebooks.

"It's a device that some people will use as a [primary] device, but most will use it as a companion device, and that's good for us," he said.

Another area of greater investment will be in the fabs, according to Intel CFO Stacy Smith, noting that the company is preparing to move from the 22nm manufacturing process to 14nm and then 7nm.

Otellini also said that at the upcoming Intel Developer Forum in September in San Francisco, Intel officials will give more details of many of the company's efforts, including ultrabooks and work being done to integrate software capabilities from McAfee into Intel processors.

Further information 

More information on Intel's financial results may be found on the company's website .

Jeffrey Burt is a writer for eWEEK.

3 graphical clients for managing the Uncomplicated FireWall  

Posted by Daniela Mehler takes a look at 3 graphical clients for managing the Uncomplicated FireWall
ufw, the Uncomplicated FireWall, is Ubuntu’s user-friendly, command line frontend to IPTables, the command line utility for managing Netfilter, the firewall application built into the Linux kernel. It is installed not just on Ubuntu, but also on all Ubuntu-based distributions. As simple to use as ufw is, a graphical interface is even better, especially for new users. This article, presents the three graphical interfaces for and managing ufw that I am aware of. If you know another that is not listed here, tell us about it. Note that this is not a tutorial on how to configure them, just a listing.

Install Gunity On Ubuntu 11.04  

Posted by Daniela Mehler

n00bs on Ubuntu posted a guide about installing Gunity on Ubuntu 11.04
Gunity is a nice and easy to use tool to make some changes to Unity. You can make changes to the unity shell, the grab handles (if enabled) and your desktop. You can download Gunity here.

Lenovo's Honeycomb tablets feature Netflix  

Posted by Daniela Mehler

Lenovo announced two Android 3.1 tablets: a consumer-oriented IdeaPad Tablet K1 claimed to be the first tablet to offer Netflix, and a business-focused ThinkPad Tablet. Each tablet follows the Honeycomb script by offering an Nvidia Tegra 2 processor, a 10.1-inch WXGA display, and dual cameras, but the ThinkPad also features pen support and a standard-size USB port and SD reader.

Tipped by Lenovo last month with scant details , the IdeaPad Tablet K1 and ThinkPad Tablet are billed as the Chinese computing giant's first Android tablets. In January, however, the company announced a hybrid IdeaPad U1 that combines a detachable 10.1-inch LePad Android tablet running on a 1.3GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, with a Windows 7 base unit using an Intel CPU. (Lenovo also announced a 10.1-inch Windows 7 tablet due this fall called the IdeaPad Tablet P1 .) 

Lenovo's Honeycomb tablets feature Netflix

According to Lenovo, the IdeaPad Tablet K1 (pictured) will be the industry's first Android-powered tablet certified to deliver Netflix video streaming when it ships later this month. What's more, as detailed below, it appears to be the first to allow local storage of Netflix movies, thanks to built-in hardware-based DRM.

The IdeaPad Tablet K1 appears to be the first Nvidia Tegra 2 based Android device to receive Netflix certification, which has been granted to a smattering of Qualcomm Snapdragon based phones and the Samsung Hummingbird-based Samsung Nexus S. Netflix will also appear on devices running Texas Instruments' OMAP4 processors this fall.

Although Netflix is downplayed on the enterprise-focused ThinkPad Tablet, due in August, it appears that the tablet shares the K1's Netflix skills. The announcement reads: "With HDMI output and Digital Rights Management (DRM) built directly into the IdeaPad and ThinkPad tablets, Netflix members can instantly watch movies and TV shows streaming from Netflix directly to a big screen TV."

IdeaPad Tablet K1

Aside from its Netflix support, the IdeaPad Tablet K1 appears to be a fairly typical Honeycomb tablet. It runs the new bug-fixed, USB-enabled Android 3.1 on the standard dual-core 1GHz Nvidia Tegra 2 processor, and features a 10.1-inch, 1280 x 800 pocapacitive touchscreen, according to Lenovo. The tablet ships with 1GB DDR2 memory and offers up to 64GB of SSD storage and a microSD slot, says the company.

Lenovo's Honeycomb tablets feature Netflix

IdeaPad Tablet K1

The device weighs a hefty 1.63 pounds and measures 10.4 x 7.4 x 0.5 inches. In weight and thickness, it's about the same as the tubby Toshiba Thrive , and a long way from the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 , which features a 0.34-inch thickness and 1.25-pound weight. Up to 10 hours of battery life is promised.

The IdeaPad Tablet K1 offers the standard two-megapixel front-facing webcam and five-megapixel rear-facing camera. The mini-HDMI connection allows up to 1080p HD viewing when connected to an HDTV or monitor, says Lenovo. Other standard features are said to include Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.

Lenovo's Honeycomb tablets feature Netflix

K1 in all its colors

Lenovo offered no more hardware details, but according to Engadget, which published a hands-on overview of the K1, the tablet will ship in 16GB and 32GB flavors, in both a WiFi-only model and another version that also adds 3G. The latter will include a Gobi 3G chip that can connect with Verizon Wireless, AT&T, or Sprint services in the U.S., says the story.

The Engadget story links to a Lenovo data sheet in PDF format that adds some more details, including the availability of a mic, headphone, dual half-Watt speakers, and an ambient light sensor. There's also a feature that is not standard issue on a Honeycomb tablet: a good old-fashioned 10/100 Ethernet port. In addition, the K1 provides a docking port that supports an optional keyboard dock with power-charging capabilities, essentially turning the tablet into a netbook. 

Lenovo's Honeycomb tablets feature Netflix

According to Lenovo, the IdeaPad Tablet K1 is preloaded with more than 40 apps from Netflix, Amazon, Electronic Arts, Rovio, Zinio, Dataviz, and others, claimed to be a $50 value. Apps are said to include Angry Birds, the Kindle reading app, Documents to Go, and Need for Speed Shift (pictured). Adobe Flash Player 10.3. is also said to be available.

Shortly after launch, users will also be able to rent or buy movies to play off-line with an upcoming Lenovo app, says the company. Lenovo also offers its SocialTouch social networking app, and up to 2GB free cloud storage.

Apps are said to be available via Android Market as well as a new Lenovo App Shop with apps that have been certified for optimal performance on the K1 or ThinkPad tablets.

ThinkPad Tablet

Like the IdeaPad Tablet K1, the ThinkPad Tablet runs Android 3.1 on a Tegra 2 and features a 10.1-inch, 1280 x 800 capacitive touchscreen. The display is enhanced with iPad-like 16:10 IPS technology, and features a 178-degree viewing angle and scratch-resistant Corning Gorilla Glass, says Lenovo. The display even offers digitizer input, and a digitizer pen is said to be optional.

Lenovo's Honeycomb tablets feature Netflix

ThinkPad Tablet

RAM was not listed, but the tablet is said to ship with up to 64GB of SSD storage. Instead of the usual microSD slot, however, there's a full-size SD slot, as with the Toshiba Thrive.

Lenovo's Honeycomb tablets feature Netflix

ThinkPad Tablet in optional keyboard dock

Also like the Thrive, the ThinkPad Tablet features a full-size USB 2.0 port, in addition to a micro-USB port and the usual mini-HDMI port. Other features are said to include Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and 3G connectivity. Dual cameras are mentioned, without specs, and battery life is listed at eight hours.

Thinkpad Tablet options are said to include the aforementioned keyboard docking station, pictured above. Like the K1, the tablet is offered with 2GB of free cloud storage.

Lenovo's Honeycomb tablets feature Netflix

Thinkpad Tablet showing, left to right, Documents to Go, PrinterShare, and Computrace Mobile
(Click to enlarge)

As noted, the ThinkPad Tablet offers Netflix. However, Lenovo promotes its business features first, led by its layered data security features. These are said to include anti-theft software, SD card encryption, and the ability to disable the tablet if the device is lost or stolen, using Absolute Software's Computrace Mobile. Virtual desktop support is offered with Citrix Receiver, and Good Technology provides secure email support, as well as its Good for Enterprise says Lenovo.

Lenovo's Honeycomb tablets feature Netflix

Other preloaded ThinkPad Tablet software includes Lenovo's SocialTouch, the ooVoo videoconferencing app (pictured), and Documents to Go from DataViz. With Lenovo's own file copy utility, users can sync key files and folders with an attached Windows 7 PC, says the company.

Like the K1, the tablet offers Android Market and The Lenovo App Shop support, and it also provides corporate apps that can be downloaded from the Lenovo Image Technology Center.


The 32GB version of the IdeaPad Tablet K1 is priced at $499, and can be ordered in the U.S. starting July 20 via select business partners and retail stores, or on Lenovo's tablet site . It will be generally available in the U.S. in August followed by a third-quarter 2011 worldwide release, says Lenovo.

More information may be found at Lenovo's K1 page .

The ThinkPad Tablet can be ordered in the U.S. starting August 2. It will be generally available in the U.S. later that month, and generally available worldwide during the third quarter, says the company.

The 16GB version of the ThinkPad Tablet is priced at $479 without the digitizer pen, and at $509 including the digitizer pen for Wi-Fi only models. The 32GB, Wi-Fi only version with digitizer pen is priced at $589, with the optional keyboard portfolio carrying case available for $99. Shortly after launch, ThinkPad Tablets with 3G will become available, says the company.

More information may be found at Lenovo's ThinkPad Tablet page .

Microsoft contributes a lot of changes to Linux kernel 3.0  

Posted by Daniela Mehler

The H Online posted a news story that Microsoft has contributed 361 changes to Linux 3.0
The 343 changes made by Microsoft developer K. Y. Srinivasan put him at the top of a list, created by, of developers who made the most changes in the current development cycle for Linux 3.0. Along with a number of other "change sets", Microsoft provided a total of 361 changes, putting it in seventh place on the list of companies and groups that contributed code to the Linux kernel. By comparison, independent developers provided 1,085 change sets to Linux 3.0, while Red Hat provided 1,000 and Intel 839. The figures were published on Thursday in an article which is available exclusively to subscribers until this coming Thursday (21 July); however, bloggers have already commented on the figures.

Monster laptop has dual screens  

Posted by Daniela Mehler

An Alaskan company is now taking orders for a laptop computer that sports dual 17-inch displays, each with 1920 x 1080 pixels. gScreen's "SpaceBook" comes with a Nvidia GTS 250M discrete graphics processing unit, a 500GB hard disk drive, a DVD drive, and a choice of Intel Core i5 or i7 processors.

The gScreen SpaceBook has had a long gestation period, our Google News searches suggest. Apparently the device was first mooted in February 2009, with two 15.4-inch screens -- one sliding behind the other when not required.

After a obvious series of delays, the SpaceBook has re-emerged, and now offers dual 17-inch displays, each with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. As the image below shows, these screens offer what must be the world's largest desktop in a portable package.

Monster laptop has dual screens

gScreeen's SpaceBook
(Click to enlarge)

The fact that gScreen is taking pre-orders for this interesting monster was brought to our attention via a posting on the Windows Experience Blog by Microsoft public relations manager Ben Rudolph. (Presumably one could run Linux on this beastie, although the company doesn't list OS support of any kind.) Having tried out a prototype, he writes, "It's a really amazing design that's really functional; the panels slide open and closed very easily, and with some thoughtful design (the battery is in the front, not the back) the PC is remarkably stable when open."

According to Rudolph, the SpaceBook is aimed at the visual arts community, and will be available with either glossy or matte screens. Weight and dimensions haven't been specified, but it's clear this is a "carry-and-park" machine rather than a vehicle for the road warrior.

Monster laptop has dual screens

Monster laptop has dual screens

The SpaceBook with just one screen exposed (left), and closed up (right)
(Click either to enlarge)

gScreen says the SpaceBook will come with either a 2.66GHz Intel Core i5-560M processor or a 1.74GHz Core i7-740QM (these are 2010-model CPUs rather than the newer "Sandy Bridge" Cores, we note), plus a 500GB, 7,200rpm hard disk drive and either 4GB or 8GB of RAM. The laptop also features a Nvidia GTS 250M GPU (graphics processing unit) and a DVD drive, according to the company.

The idea behind the SpaceBook is novel, but not unique. In December 2009, Kohjinsha announced the DZ , a netbook that similarly combined two screens (1024 x 600 pixels apiece, in that case) for an expanded workspace. The four-pound device also included a AMD Athlon MV-40 processor, a fingerprint reader, up to 4GB of RAM, and a 160GB hard disk drive.

Further information

According to gScreen, the Core i5-equipped SpaceBook will cost $2,395, while the Core i7-equipped model will cost $2,795. Pre-orders are now being taken for those who are willing to put up 50 percent deposits.

More information may be found on the company's website .

Jonathan Angel can be reached at and followed at .

Install PlayDeb On Ubuntu 11.04  

Posted by Daniela Mehler

n00bs on Ubuntu posted a guide about installing PlayDeb on Ubuntu 11.04
PlayDeb is an unofficial project with the mission to provide the latest open source and freeware games for the current Ubuntu Linux release, in an easy to install manner. To install PlayDeb beta 2 on Ubuntu 11.04 go to the PlayDeb install page and click on the Install PlayDeb package link.