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[SLO] Okrogla miza: direktiva o računalniških patentih

Brez programskih patentov v Evropi!V sredo, 2. marca ob 17.00 v Kiberpipi (Kersnikova 6, Ljubljana) bo potekala okrogla miza z naslovom : Izzivi soodločanja Slovenije v EU - direktiva o računalniških patentih

V omizju bodo sodelovali udeleženci, ki se jih direktiva dotika vsakega na svoj način: Urad za intelektualno lastnino, sekcija slovenskih proizvajalcev programske opreme - Koda.si, Ministrstvo za gospodarstvo, Inštitut za intelektualno lastnino, strokovnjak s FDV, ki se ukvarja s procesi odločanja v EU. Tokrat prvič enakopravno soočenje stališč za skupno mizo.

Ne bo se razpravljalo le o vsebini zloglasne direktive, temveč tudi o njenem sprejemanju, lobijih, procesih odločanja doma in v EU. Besedo pa bo seveda dobila tudi publika. Vabljeni!

DODATEK: Videoposnetek okrogle mize o programskih patentih si lahko prenesete od tukajle.



Free Software Magazine - Issue 2

FSM Issue 2The second, March 2005, issue of Free Software Magazine is out. In this issue you can read the following articles:

The whole magazine can be downloaded as a PDF file. ED2K links for eMule, aMule and similar clients are available here.



KDE 3.4.0 Release Candidate 1

KDE logoThe final release of KDE 3.4.0 is not far away. In order to find and fix the last remaining bugs Release Candidate 1 was just released. You can download the source code and compile it yourself or you can use Konstruct to help you through the whole process. Stephan Binner has also updated Klax Live-CD (ED2K download link is available here) so you can simply burn the ISO image and boot right into Linux with KDE 3.4.0 RC1. Can't get much easier then this. And don't forget to report any bug you find!

UPDATE: OSDir.com was very quick to publish 52 screenshots of KDE 3.4.0 RC1 on their page.



My Windows XP x64 Edition RC2 Benchmark

AMD64 LogoI few days ago I have decided to do my own little benchmark of recently released 64-bit Windows XP Professional x64 Edition RC2 (build 1433, free download). I compared it to 32-bit Windows XP Pro with Service Pack 2 installed. My system has the following configuration:

Before benchmarking in 32-bit and 64-bit mode I have installed Windows XP Professional on fresh and installed all the latest official drivers that were available at that time. Every benchmark was run three times and then I calculated the average values which are listed in the tables below.

My first benchmark was in Sisoftware Sandra Lite. The version I used was 2005.2.10.50. I used 32-bit Sandra on 32-bit Windows and 64-bit Sandra on 64-bit Windows. Here are the results (higher is better):
Benchmark32 on 3264 on 64Factor
CPU Arithmetic Dhrystone ALU9104 MIPS9784 MIPS1,07
CPU Arithmetic Whetstone FPU3122 MFLOPS3581 MFLOPS1,15
CPU Arithmetic Whetstone iSSE24046 MFLOPS4165 MFLOPS1,03
CPU Multimedia Integer aEMMX/aSSE (*)18875 it/s (*)14831 it/s (*)0,79 (*)
CPU Multimedia Float x4 iSSE220269 it/s22852 it/s1,13
Memory Bandwidth Int Buff'd iSSE22898 MB/s2941 MB/s1,01
Memory Bandwidth Float Buff'd iSSE22900 MB/s2938 MB/s1,01
Cache & Memory Combined Index4630 MB/s4867 MB/s1,05
Cache & Memory Speed Factor8,910,81,21

Then I tried some encoding of music into Ogg Vorbis (lossy) and FLAC (lossless) formats. Ogg Vorbis was version 1.1.0 and FLAC was 1.1.2. Since I couldn't find any 64-bit optimized binaries I used 32-bit ones in both Windows editions. Here are the results (lower is better):
Benchmark32 on 3232 on 64Factor
Ogg Vorbis Notorious B.I.G.21,9 s21,0 s1,04
Ogg Vorbis Bach44,5 s41,8 s1,06
Ogg Vorbis Tschaikowsky137,9 s130,0 s1,06
FLAC Notorious B.I.G.29,0 s27,2 s1,07
FLAC Bach58,3 s54,3 s1,07
FLAC Tschaikowsky183,4 s170,8 s1,07

I also started the benchmark that is included in WinRAR 3.42 (higher is better):
Benchmark32 on 3232 on 64Factor
WinRAR483 KB/s500 KB/s1,04

I also checked the CPU time for 5 results for Einstein@Home project computed in each edition of Windows (lower is better):
Benchmark32 on 3232 on 64Factor
Einstein@Home23345 s22517 s1,04

What can I say. Quite good for a beta version of Windows without optimized drivers. But I guess these don't play such a big role in these tests. It is a bigger problem with games and until we get good 64-bit drivers it is just not worth to upgrade to 64-bit Windows XP Professional x64 Edition. Games will run quite a bit slower until then. On the other hand it looks like other applications mostly just get additional performance on 64-bit CPU like AMD Athlon 64 and using 64-bit OS. Even if the apps are only 32-bit. I can't wait for final release of Windows XP x64 Edition sometime in April and to see more 64-bit apps/drivers optimized for AMD64. Then Windows platform will catch the great support for AMD64 we now get with Linux distributions like Gentoo Linux.

UPDATE: This is what SiSoftware says about the unusually low CPU Multimedia Integer benchmark:

As you know (E)MMX mode is not supported in Windows x64 thus the test in 64-bit mode uses SSE2. If you look at the bar in 64-bit mode (or results) you'll see x16 SSE2 not x4 EMMX/SSE.

This is a known issue with the K8 (Athlon/Opteron) which is why we use EMMX and not SSE2 in 32-bit mode. But we cannot use this in 64-bit mode.

If you disable "optimisation over-ride" you'll see that the SSE2 score in 32-bit is worse than EMMX and less than in 64-bit. Thus there is nothing wrong, the SSE2 code is faster in 64-bit than 32-bit but not faster than EMMX.

I will have to check out if this is true later. But judging from other results I am sure this one is also faster in 64-bit mode.


Firefox 1.0.1

Firefox logoA new version of currently the best web browser is out. In version 1.0.1 of Mozilla Firefox they have improved stability and implemented several security bugfixes. Firefox now displays Unicode international domain name (IDN) addresses in punycode to prevent phishing. If you would still like to use Unicode to display them, go to "about:config" and set "network.IDN_show_punycode" to "false". To download Firefox click here.

Blogs for Firefox - The Best Just Got Stronger!
Spread Firefox - Security Update to Firefox Now Available
Mozilla.org - Mozilla Foundation Announces Update to Firefox

UPDATE: You can use BitTorrent client (like Azureus) to download Firefox 1.0.1 from this page. Or you can use ED2K client (like eMule) to download it from this page.



Mandrakesoft to buy Conectiva

Mandrakelinux LogoMandrakesoft is a well known European Linux company. Mandrakelinux distribution is especially popular among novice Linux users for its ease of use and friendliness. But their products are also used by more advanced users, companies and governments across the world. Conectiva is a major company providing Linux operating system to people in Latin America. It is recognised by highly adaptive and custom built Linux distributions. Today both companies have announced that they will merge and work together to provide even better Linux products and services. We'll see how this turns out for the average Mandrakelinux user like my sister and my cousin.



Einstein@Home officially launched

Most of us have powerful computers at home with fast processors. But for most of the time they are just idling or are used very little. So why wouldn't we donate all this excess and otherwise unused computational power to science and help it advance more rapidly. Today new distributed computing project, Einstein@Home, was officially launched. If you decide to help then your computer will search for spinning neutron stars (also called pulsars) using data from the LIGO and GEO gravitational wave detectors. Help science and join us now! Oh, by the way, if you didn't know, this year is international year of physics.



25 000 000 Firefox downloads

On 15th February the number of Mozilla Firefox 1.0 downloads reached 25 million. This is after only 99 days since the official release. And this number doesn't even include downloads from web pages other then Mozilla's, downloads from filesharing networks like ED2K or BitTorrent and people who got it from a CD that came with some magazine. And the users keep on switching to Firefox at incredible rate. To read more about this awesome achievement click on the image below:

25000000 Firefox downloads


Internet Explorer 7 announced

StopIEFor the last couple of days I was having a flu and I'm still not 100% well today. In the meantime Microsoft has announced that they will release Internet Explorer 7 before the release of Longhorn. They say it is because they are listening to their customers. Yeah right. They are just afraid of loosing their market share and money because they can see so many smart people switching to safer, faster and more advanced browsers like Firefox and Opera. Read the article titled Microsoft pretends to care on Heretic's linkblog of fun and you will see what the real truth is. I doubt they will catch Firefox and Opera when they release IE7. And by the time it is released Firefox and Opera will again be far ahead and once more leave Internet Explorer in the dust.


Kyoto protocol

Our fragile planet Earth is more and more endangered by industrial nations polluting it so much. And if we do nothing about it then no anti-terrorism war will help our children. Luckily almost all nations have agreed to do something, at least about global warming. This is why they signed the Kyoto protocol, an international treaty that came into effect yesterday. Unfortunately some countries (like USA, Australia which are one of the largest emitters of greenhouse gases) are lead by stupid men who just can't see (read: don't want to see) the big problem of their wrong doing and have not yet ratified the important document. I hope United Nations will pose some harsh sanctions on countries that don't care about Earth and endanger all people, animals and plants that live here.



Successful Ariane 5 ECA liftoff

Ariane 5 ECAThe new ESA's workhorse for lifting heavy payloads (up to 10 tonnes) into space, Ariane 5 ECA, has successfully completed its initial qualification flight. Now the commercial production of the enhanced version, which will replace the current Ariane 5 Generic, can begin. On this flight the launcher carried three payloads: a 3600-kg commercial X-band communication satellite XTAR-EUR, a 129-kg Sloshsat FLEVO minisatellite and a 3500-kg Maqsat B2 to simulate commercial satellite payloads. The second flight is scheduled for mid-year.

More info here:
Enhanced Ariane 5 demonstrates heavy-lift capability


Windows XP Professional x64 Edition RC2

AMD64 LogoIt looks like that during my studying period Microsoft released a second release candidate (RC2, build 1433) of 64-bit Windows XP Professional x64 Edition. If you are lucky enough to be a beta tester (and have compatible 64-bit CPU) you can download it from here. The rest of us will have to live with RC1 (build 1289) which is available as a free download from Customer Preview Program web page. Luckily the release date for final version is not far away. We can expect it somewhere in April.

UPDATE: It looks like Microsoft has updated the free download of Windows XP x64 Edition on CPP webpage to version RC2, build 1433. Or at least the file name suggests that: w2k3sp1_1433_usa_x64fre_pro.iso



KDE 3.4 beta 2 "Keinstein" released

KDE logoDuring the last couple of days the second beta version of the upcoming KDE 3.4 has been released. It is called "Keinstein" and is the first release after the feature freeze. So, if you would like to see all the new features that will come with KDE 3.4 and help beta testing or translating it, this is one of your last chances. In the upper right corner of this post you can also see the new KDE logo which is on the K button and in some other places in the new KDE.

You can download the source code from one of the mirrors listed here, or use Konstruct to help you set it up. Thanks to Stephan Binner you can also download a special ISO image (373 MiB) of bootable Klax Live-CD, with KDE 3.4 beta 2 on it. Just burn the image to a CD and boot your computer from this CD and you are ready to enjoy the new KDE and find and report bugs.


Chemistry exams finally over

I didn't have much time to blog in the last couple of days as I had to study. Yesterday I finally passed my chemistry exams. It's finally over! All those chemistry formulae are just not for me. I don't find them interesting and they are hard to remember. Back to translating and beta testing KDE 3.4 now. And blogging of course :)



Deployment of Mars Express MARSIS radar in May

Mars Express over marsESA's Mars Express is currently orbiting around the red planet Mars. The European Space Agency has recently given the green light for deployment of MARSIS radar on board of Mars Express sometime in the first week of May 2005. The radar will then start the search for water reservoirs under the surface and also begin studies of the Martian ionosphere. You can read the full story here.


AnandTech's preview of Windows XP for AMD64

AMD64 LogoPeople at AnandTech have taken a closer look at the performance improvements of 64-bit Windows XP, for 64-bit processors like AMD Athlon 64, over 32-bit Windows XP. They have used Release Candidate 1 of Windows XP Professional x64 Edition (which you can download for free from Microsoft) and found out that even with a pre-release version and not yet optimized drivers it is faster in almost all cases. The only big exception in this are games, which heavily depend on good drivers, especially for graphic cards. And unfortunately nVidia and ATI will have to do a much better job here in the future. But currently they are mostly focusing on stability and not so much on performance, which is understandable. The situation will surely change after the release of final version of Windows XP for AMD64. So currently you can in most cases only gain by upgrading to 64-bit Windows XP, unless you are playing games a lot, of course.

You can read the complete preview here:
Windows XP 64-Bit Preview: First Look at Athlon 64 Performance



Qt for Windows to also get GPL license

Qt logoQt is a powerful and simple to use cross-platform development framework developed by Trolltech. It is already the basis for several commercial and also opensource projects like KDE. Up until now only programmers on Linux and Mac OS X were able to use Qt under GNU General Public License (GPL) for their opensource development. Windows developers could only use a commercial license. Starting with the release of Qt 4 later this year, Qt for Windows will also be available under GPL license for developing opensource applications. You can read the press release here.


University of Oslo switches to Thunderbird

Thunderbird logoStarting from June 2005 the default e-mail client on computers at University of Oslo is going to become Mozilla Thunderbird. Currently they are using Eudora, the same e-mail client we are using at our Faculty of Mathematics and Physics at University of Ljubljana. I hope our administrators also switch to a more modern, powerful and easier to use Thunderbird soon.

More about this here:
gemal.dk - Thunderbird to be default e-mail client at University of Oslo



Plastik 2 in the works

KDE logoPlastik is probably the most popular theme or style for KDE interface. This is why it will be the default in KDE 3.4. Its successor, Plastik 2 is already being designed. It has just recently also been uploaded to KDE CVS. You can find it here. To take an early look at Plastik 2 check out this screenshot. You can leave your comment about Plastik 2 here.


No software patents in EU, for now

Brez programskih patentov v Evropi!A couple of days ago the Legal Affairs Committee of the European Parliament (JURI) voted (with vast majority) for a restart of European Union process on software patents. Mega-corporations lost in this battle despite very heavy lobbying. The winners are: people, small and medium companies and democracy. The Commission will now have to review current software patent directive and submit a new one.

You can read more about recent not so small victory here:
FFII - European Parliament JURI Committee votes for restart with massive majority
NoSoftwarePatents.com - EU process on software patents restarted: "Like Rocky II with an instant rematch"

Remember that this is only one battle where we won. The war is still going on and we must keep fighting against software patents. Write about the danger on your blog and tell your friends and coworkers about this.


GMail coming out of beta soon?

When I logged into my GMail account this morning I noticed that I have 50 invitations available to give out. Yeah that's right, 50 (send me a request over Jabber or e-mail to get one). And when I talked to my sister and other people I found out the also got 50 new invites now. Does this mean that GMail will soon come out of beta phase. This would be great. It is working perfectly here for a long time now. The only thing that still bothers me is that they have yet to fix the compatibility with KDE's web browser Konqueror. Support for it almost zero :(


Mozilla Takes On Godzilla - users switching to Firefox

Firefox logoOn Blogs for Firefox I have just seen an entry with a link to a very nice article on one of the big news pages, CBS. They are reporting on how users are very quickly switching from the old and insecure Internet Explorer to a more safe, modern, fast and open source browser Firefox. It also has more features and it is completely free to download. Through Firefox people are also learning that they can replace almost any piece of expensive software on Windows with safer, less expensive open-source alternatives like OpenOffice.org and Thunderbird. They can even replace Windows with free operating system Linux.



THG - Readers' Choice Awards 2004 Results

The results for the best products for the year 2004 are in at Tom's Hardware Guide. Readers have decided, for example, that the best chipset is nVidia nForce 3 250 Gb, the best CPU is AMD Athlon 64, the best graphics technology is nVidia Geforce 6800 series, the best display manufacturer is Samsung and the best mobile technology is AMD Mobile Athlon 64. So ATI lost this year and AMD Athlon 64 won by an amazing ratio of 7 : 1 over Pentium 4. You can read more details (also for other categories) here.


First test of 64-bit Intel Pentium 4

If you can read a little bit of French (or if you don't mind using Babelfish or just watching the graphs), you can check out one of the first tests, or benchmarks if you like, of the upcoming 64-bit Intel Pentium 4 processor. They, at x86-secret website, have compared Pentium 4 630 (800 MHz FSB, 2 MiB L2 cache) to previous models and to AMD Athlon 64, off course. 32-bit and 64-bit applications were used and it looks like Athlon 64 still wins in almost all benchmarks. So situation isn't much different than today with 32-bit Pentium 4 CPUs. Intel will have to do better to match the performance of Athlon 64. And it would also be nice if they reduced power consumption (about 125W compared to 95W for Athlon 64). A feature similar to Cool'n'Quiet would also help. Let's wait for more tests and hope Pentium 4 does better in them.



All about OpenDocument

Daniel Carrera wrote a very nice and informative article about OpenDocument format titled The Future Is Open: What OpenDocument Is And Why You Should Care. It is completely open and standardized format for office documents. It is based on XML and it will be the main format for at least two office suits (both open source and free): OpenOffice.org 2.0 and KOffice 1.4. Open and standard formats are very important for all of us, users and governments, because they assure us we can always read the documents and with any application that supports them. So it is no wonder OpenDocument is considered by European Union Commission as a candidate for an official format. You can also download the article in OpenDocument, OpenOffice.org 1.0 or PDF format.


Updated Firefox roadmap

Firefox logoOn his blog, Inside Firefox, Ben Goodger (one of the main Firefox developers) tells us, he has updated the roadmap to upcoming versions of Firefox, which are developed of the same code base as Mozilla 1.8. Details are added about version 1.1. First Preview release (alpha) is expected in March, second PR (beta) in April and the final version in June (instead of March). The slippage is not due to his move to Google. They just want to be sure version 1.1 is of the same high quality as version 1.0 is.


Trackbacks added to my blog

If you look at the bottom of any blog article on my blog you may see a new trackbacks link. If you write something on your blog that talks about my blog article, then you can use this trackbacks link to display a link which you can then use to ping back to my blog. And the link to your blog article will automatically display in the trackbacks window here. Unfortunately Blogger.com doesn't have a native support for trackbacks yet. This is why I registered (it is free) with HaloScan which provided JavaScript code to put on any blog or web page to enable trackbacks an comments. You can read more on trackbacks on Wikipedia.


Dangerous Waters gone gold

Akula submarineOne type of games I like to play a lot is submarine simulation. I very much enjoyed Jane's 688(I) Hunter/Killer a few years ago and I still play Silent Hunter II, which I like even more. So you can imagine I was very happy to see news about a new submarine simulation reaching "gold" status. It is titled Dangerous Waters and it is brought to you by the same Sonalysts group that created 688(I). Dangerous Waters is available in a Deluxe (with 570 page printed spiral bound manual) and Regular version (manual as a PDF file). The game ships on 2 CD's. Pre-orders are possible now. But I'll wait until I see some reviews first. And may I also remind you that Silent Hunter III is scheduled to be released on 17th of March 2005. Things are exciting in subsim land :)


[SLO] KStars v slovenščini

KStars logoNekaj trenutkov nazaj sem končal tudi s posodobitvijo prevoda programa KStars. To je odličen astronomski program, namizni planetarij, ki je namenjen predvsem ljubiteljskim začetnikom v astronomiji. Zelo prav pa lahko pride tudi pri učenju astronomije v šolah. Zaslonski posnetek poslovenjenega KStars si lahko ogledate tukajle.

English summary:
A few moments ago I finished updating the Slovenian translation of KStars, a great astronomy application. Screenshot of KStars with Slovenian user interface is available here.

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