Saturday, 22 December 2007

Linux GUI difficulties

sad tux - sad penguin with tears rolling down cheekSometimes you encounter problems with the Linux user interface that you just don't get on Windows or the Mac. Today I was downloading my photos with digiKam, when the process suddenly came to a halt. The reason? "digiKam could not import the file 'dsc.......'". Not really a very good explanation. I tried restarting digiKam, and re-plugging the camera. All to no avail.

As it turns out, the problem was simply a full disk. On Windows, you would have had countless annoying messages saying "You are running out of free disk space on drive C:" long before the disk was full, but on Linux the program just stops functioning all together. You're not even told that the disk is full, and there are no easy tools to empty your trash and clean up unused files like there are on Windows. It's a pity when your favourite operating system lets you down like this, but I have to admit that most users are not likely to think of typing "df" at the Konsole terminal when their program stops working. Let's hope KDE4 solves this full disk problem.

Friday, 21 December 2007

Google's acquisition of DoubleClick is cleared by the FTC

Google has just got the approval of the FTC for their upcoming acquisition of DoubleClick, a leading online advertising company, for $3.1 billion in cash. Apparently the transaction was cleared with no conditions, leaving Google free to innovate in the advertising field.

"In its clearance opinion released today, the FTC explicitly rejected any current or potential competition concerns. Google and DoubleClick are complementary businesses and do not compete with each other. Google's current business primarily involves the selling of text-based ads, while DoubleClick's core business is delivering and reporting on display ads. DoubleClick does not buy ads, sell ads, or buy or sell advertising space. Rather, it provides technology to enable advertisers and publishers to deliver ads once they have agreed to terms, and to provide advertisers and publishers statistics relating to those ads."

This is good news for Google, as they will now have access to the huge market share and consumer base of their own service combined with DoubleClick. The acquisition will complement their recent offerings of Video and Image based ads, and will offer advertisers and publishers new, integrated ways of managing, showing and creating ads.

Read more: Official Google Blog: Analysis: The FTC clears our acquisition of DoubleClick

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

KDE 4.0 release draws near

kde 4.0 release event logoKDE 4.0 is now nearing completion, with the release event scheduled for 17 January 2008. The desktop interface is being finalized now, and the 2nd Release Candidate has already been released, providing an early look at the new Plasma interface.

Although the background APIs and data structures underlying KDE4 were finalized a while ago, Plasma is only nearing completion now. From the various previews around, it looks as if KDE 4.0 is going to be the introduction to a new era in the evolution of the Linux GUI. Plasma looks really smooth, and the APIs behind it are just as neat.

Unfortunately, I can't seem to build the RC2 properly. I keep getting a segmentation fault. So I can't give you a first hand account of KDE4 (yet!), but for more info check out the official announcement - it's got heaps of screenshots.

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Google Highly Open Participation Contest - GHOPC

GHOPC Logo - Google Highly Open Participation Contest LogoRecently Google launched a new program called the "Google Highly Open Participation Contest", or GHOPC. This initiative allows younger developers (13 and above) who could not join in the Google Summer of Code to help work on open source projects such as Apache and GNOME. For every 3 tasks that an individual completes, Google will award USD$100, up to a total of $500 (15 tasks). The tasks vary from simple ones such as "Create a short slideshow of distinctive plone websites", to highly advanced tasks such as " Implement Mapping as a Joomla! v 1.5 Extension". So far there has been a huge amount of work on behalf of the developers, especially in the tasks of well-known projects like Joomla.

At the moment I have temporarily paused my Android development in order to focus on the GHOPC. I believe it is more suited to my abilities at the present time. So far I've completed 2 out of 3 tasks, so I'm looking forward to the completion of the next one! It also means I may not be around much on the blog, as the tasks have fairly strict deadlines.

Here I see yet another example of Google's support of the open source community. Regardless of whether you like Google as a company or not, you have to acclaim them for continuing a good work here. Now, with the Google SoC, and the GHOPC, open source projects have a commercial backing, even if only once a year, which encourages upcoming business leaders to contribute to open source, and reaps huge benefits for the projects involved.


As you've probably noticed, I haven't been very active on this blog lately. A combination of real-life events and my other blog have conspired to rob me of the time I was using to develop The Big Byte. Hopefully I should have a little more time now, but I still won't be able to research and write articles as much. I hope you'll be able to put up with my ramblings about my current projects, at least until my other tasks sort themselves out. :)

In the meantime, any feedback on the site is appreciated (as always!). In particular, does anyone have any ideas about whether I should change the theme again?