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Windows XP Professional x64 Edition RTM

AMD64 LogoMicrosoft have finally finished their 64-bit Windows XP Professional x64 Edition for 64-bit processors like AMD Athlon 64. This version is now released to manufacturing (RTM) and the final build number is 1830. People who have MSDN subscription can already download it. Others will have to wait until the end of April. If all goes well you will be able to swap 32-bit Windows XP Pro for 64-bit x64 Edition for free. When I get the final version I will try to benchmark it against 32-bit version as soon as possible. I'm sure it will do even better now and I hope it will be easier to get more and higher quality 64-bit optimized software and drivers by then. You can check out the old benchmark of release candidate 2 in this post.



Firefox the most popular on Ars Technica

Firefox logoAbout two weeks ago I have repored how Firefox web browser is the most popular on Slovenian computer news site Slo-Comp.net. It looks like Firefox has also become number one browser on a much larger technology oriented page Ars Technica. 40% of all the readers use Firefox now and percentage of those using old and insecure Internet Explorer dropped to only 30%. So, professionals already know which is the best browser to use. How about you? Switch to Firefox now, before it is too late.

Read more here:



Gentoo Linux 2005.0 released!

Gentoo Linux logoThe long awaited day is finally here. After some setbacks (including a complete security rebuild) the version 2005.0 of Gentoo Linux distribution is finally out. One of the main changes in this release is the transition to Linux kernel 2.6. The biggest disappointment for most of the people is probably the fact that Graphical Installer is not included in this release. Sorry folks, let's hope we see it in 2005.1. You can download the suitable CD image from any FTP/HTTP mirror or use BitTorrent.

Source: beejays world - Gentoo-Linux 2005.0 is out



KDE Desktop Usability Survey

KDE logoIf you use KDE desktop for Linux or have used it before, then take some time to complete two part KDE Desktop Usability Survey. Tell them what you like about KDE and what you don't like. The results will be shared with KDE developers and they will help them make KDE even more user friendly.


I hate time shifting

In the middle of the night time shifted for one hour forward, as it does every year because of daylight saving time. The original idea of so called summer time was to make better use of daylight. I don't mind about this as I like starlight more. They say that we also save energy by daylight saving time. I think this was more true in the past and today savings are next to zero. Because of all this and because time shifting disturbs my natural biorhythm I would very much like to see DST gone. Heck I also think we should use Universal Time (UTC or GMT) all over the world and get rid of time zones. But I guess this would be too much for most of the people.



Greece joins ESA

ESA and GreeceOn 16 March Greece has become the 16th Member State of European Space Agency (ESA). Cooperation between ESA and the Hellenic National Space Committee goes back to early 1990s. Greece formally applied to join ESA in September 2003. I hope Slovenia also becomes ESA Member State sometime in the future. There sure is something our science could offer to help advance space exploration. Materials science maybe? Sensor electronics? Something else?

Read the press release here:
Greece becomes 16th ESA Member State


Firefox 1.0.2, Thunderbird 1.0.2, Mozilla Suite 1.7.6

Firefox logo
Thunderbird logo

A couple of days ago Mozilla Foundation has released version 1.0.2 of the web browser Firefox and e-mail client Thunderbird. This is a maintenance release that makes both extremely popular internet applications even safer and more stable. They have also released version 1.7.6 of the Mozilla Suite, for those of you who like the Suite more.

You can download them here:
Firefox 1.0.2 - ED2K
Thunderbird 1.0.2 - ED2K
Mozilla Suite 1.7.6 - ED2K



TUX - free magazine for the new Linux user

TUX - Issue 1 - March 2005I have already been writing about Free Software Magazine and I'll keep you posted about new free issues. Now we got another free magazine in PDF format. This one is called TUX (after the cute Linux penguin mascot) and is dedicated to the new Linux user. In every digital issue they will try to explore one aspect of modern Linux desktop. You can expect informative columns with rich, graphical content and covers everything for home, work, and play. Easy to understand tutorials, insightful hardware and software reviews, enlightened opinion, useful tips and tricks, and in-depth exploration of the tools computer users need every day will all be in this new magazine. To learn more about it read this editorial.

The first issue - March 2005 is already out. Free subscription is required to download the PDF. For a list of topics in this issue visit this page. I will also release this issue and any future ones on eMule Content Database page. The link to the release will follow later.

UPDATE: ED2K links for download with eMule, aMule or similar are available here.


Hourglass craters on Mars

ESA's Mars Express spacecraft is still orbiting around the red planet Mars and watching it closely using its High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC). A couple of days ago the orbiter has sent us some pictures of interesting hourglass-shaped craters. They are filled with flow features most likely formed by glaciers or "block" glaciers. Take a look at this photo:

Hourglass craters on Mars

For more information visit this page:
Hourglass shaped craters filled with traces of glacier


Gentoo Linux 2005.0 is almost here

Gentoo Linux logoThe release 2005.0 of my favorite Linux distribution - Gentoo has been delayed because of some last minute major issues. But it looks like the release is almost ready now. Both x86 and AMD64 versions are now prepared and ready to get mirrored on servers around the world. Before it goes public they need to check if everything works as stated in the installation handbook. My friend Boris is also waiting for this release and I think he will finally be able to install Gentoo 2005.0 sometime next week. On the other hand I'll just update the link to the new 2005.0 profile, maybe make some other adjustments and simply update everything using emerge as usual. Portage is so great!

Read more here:
Gentoo-Linux 2005.0 for x86 complete
Gentoo/AMD64 2005.0 release almost finished


4 new world records in Planica

PlanicaA couple of moments ago ski jumping world cup has finished in Planica, Slovenia. Planica is a famous home for world records and this time it has been broken four times in the flying competition. The new world record is 239m now and belongs to Björn Einar Romören from Norway. Rok Benkovič (it is his 19th birthday today) landed at 226m which is a new Slovenian national record. Another great day in Planica. Too bad I couldn't be there. Maybe next year...


KDE Worldwide

KDE Worldwide is a web page where you can see where do contributors to KDE come from. There is a world map that shows a dot (or a name on the larger version) for every registered KDE developer, artist, documentation writer, translator and so on. The page has a new maintainer now and new submissions are processed again. So, if you are still not on the map make sure to fill in the form. You can find me in Slovenia (between Italy, Austria, Hungary and Croatia), Bohinjska Bistrica (geographic latitude 46.3° and longitude 14.0°) under the name of Jure Repinc.

Map of KDE contributors



KDE 3.4.0 released

KDE logoThe final version of K Desktop Environment 3.4.0 is here at last. I've been using beta and release candidate versions compiled from CVS for quite some time and I must say it is runinng great.

There are a lot of new features in this version. I especially like the new RSS and Atom feed aggregator and reader Akregator. KPDF is also much nicer now. It is faster and allows you to select and copy text or graphics. The new KDE also supports vector desktop backgrounds or wallpapers in SVG format. You can read more about KDE 3.4.0 in its public announcement.

To download source code or binaries visit this page:
KDE 3.4.0 Info Page



Firefox the most popular on Slo-Comp.net

Firefox logoIn January 2005 Firefox, together with Mozilla, became the most frequently used web browser on one of the most popular Slovenian computer related web pages, Slo-Comp.net. You can see the usage history of Internet Explorer and Gecko based browsers in this recently produced graph. They also monitor the browser type of each post in their forum and they say that Firefox usage in this area is even five times greater then that of IE. And Firefox keeps increasing its share...



Privacy with instant messaging

It looks like AOL's AIM instant messaging service has joined Microsoft's MSN Messenger when it comes to not respecting privacy of your conversations. AOL has recently changed terms of service for AIM and now they say they have the right to read all your chats and use all your messages as they like. This is intolerable. So now is the time you start using some open and standard instant messaging service like Jabber. I have already switched and now I have no worries about privacy and no more problems with blocking my favorite clients from the network. Also no more viruses that spread easily through MSN. There are many public servers for Jabber and quite a lot of clients for multiple operating systems. Jabber is the future of instant messaging.

Read more here: Diary of CrazyFrench - IM and privacy


KDE 3.4 from CVS and Mandrakelinux 10.2

KDE logoAbout a week ago I upgraded Mandrakelinux on one of my computers from 10.1 to 10.2 Beta 2. All went fine except that KDE 3.4 from CVS stopped working correctly. The menu entries were missing and there were no file type associations. After some investigation and help from KDE-Devel mailing list I found out what the problem is and how to correct it. It looks like that in Mandrakelinux 10.2 the folder for menu configuration is not in the default place and so KDE was using the wrong configuration. To solve this I had to set the XDG_CONFIG_DIRS environment variable to $KDEDIRS/etc/xdg/ and export it. Now all is working as it should. Well, almost. Lost & found menu has way too many entries and Home has no icon set. But this is nothing big. I can at least work normally again in KDE 3.4 from CVS.



First dual core AMD Athlon 64 benchmark

AMD64 LogoPeople at Italian web site Hardware Upgrade are the first to publish benchmarks of the dual core AMD Athlon 64 processor. They used an engineering sample running at 2.4 GHz and with 1 MiB of L2 cache. The system had 512 MiB of memory. Here are the results from the Cinebench (in seconds, lower is better):

Dual core AMD Athlon 64 benchmark results

What can I say. Very cool for only 2.4 GHz and I can't wait to see the final hardware in action. I wonder what will be the price for these CPUs...


GNOME 2.10.0 released

GNOME logoAlthough I'm waiting for soon to be released KDE 3.4.0, some of you might be happy to know that GNOME 2.10.0 has been released a few days ago. They have added two popular apps into the package: Sound Juicer for AudioCD ripping and Totem for playing videos. File manager Nautilus is faster and more stable. Mozilla based web browser Epiphany now has an extensions manager. For a list of new things visit this page. There is also a Ubuntu based LiveCD with the new GNOME available for download. Screenshot tour is available here.


nVidia Linux drivers 1.0-7167

nVidia logoA couple of days ago nVidia have released a new version of their graphic drivers for Linux. The new version is 1.0-7167 and these are the release highlights:

Download the drivers here:
nVidia Linux drivers 1.0-7167 - 32-bit IA32
nVidia Linux drivers 1.0-7167 - 64-bit AMD64



No more work on Mozilla Suite

Mozilla Suite logoBack in 2003 Mozilla Foundation announced it will be shifting its development focus away from Mozilla Suite and towards a new generation of applications - web browser Firefox and e-mail client Thunderbird. A couple of days ago they decided to complete the shift and stop any major work on Mozilla Suite. So 1.7 will be the final stable branch. There have been a couple of 1.8 alphas and betas but these were only used to test some back-end changes and there will be no release of stable 1.8 version by Mozilla Foundation. Yet a lot of people still prefer Mozilla Suite (here in Slovenia mostly because Thunderbird is still not translated into our mother language) and some developers would still like to continue working on it. Perhaps we will someday see some form of Mozilla from enhanced sourcecode, but it will probably be branded under a different name. Mozilla Foundation will still provide infrastructure support (CVS access, bugzilla, development tools, etc) for this development. For the most of us the future is in Firefox, Thunderbird, Sunbird, Nvu and other separate Mozilla based projects.

Read more here:
Mozilla Application Suite - Transition Plan



AMD Turion 64 Mobile Technology

AMD Turion 64 Mobile Technology logoCurrently AMD is especially well known because of their fast 64-bit Athlon 64 and Opteron processors. These are meant for desktops, workstations and servers. Today they started to offer special low power 64-bit CPUs under the name of AMD Turion 64, which are competing directly against Intel's Centrino technology. Turion 64 will bring AMD64 performance to thinner and lighter notebook PCs with longer battery life and enhanced security.

With Turion 64 we also get new model numbering, like ML-37 and MT-34. The closer the second letter is to the end of the alphabet the lower is the power consumption and this means longer battery life. The numbers indicate relative performance within the processor class.

Press release is available here: AMD Ushers In A New Era In 64-Bit Mobile Computing With AMD Turion™ 64 Mobile Technology



Google Desktop Search with Firefox support

Google DesktopGoogle Desktop Search is a special tool which indexes files, e-mails and web history on your computer and then enables you to easily and quickly search for the desired information. It has been available as a beta for quite some time but now a final version is out. They have added support for Firefox web browser, Thunderbird e-mail client and PDF files. Support for other file formats can be added using plugins and a plugin for OpenOffice.org is already available.


Faulty software patents directive adopted

Brez programskih patentov v Evropi!The damage is almost done. Yesterday the Council Presidency has adopted the faulty software patents directive. They have done so despite qualified majority of member states demanding to make the directive a B-item. This is a violation of the procedural rules and the Legal Affairs Committee (JURI) has already asked for Council decision documentation. If things stay as they are now, the directive will go to European Parliament for a second reading. In the worst case we can only hope that then something is done to fix the broken directive. Otherwise bad times are ahead for small and medium companies and open source developers and consequently for all of us.

Read more here:



Denmark to lead fight against software patents

Brez programskih patentov v Evropi!After a foolish decision by the EU Commission not to restart the writing of a better directive on software patents, it has again become an A-item on agenda for the Competition Council meeting on Monday. This means that the current defective directive would be accepted without discussion and the damage would finally be done.

Luckily, the Danish parliament has took a binding decision (can not be ignored) that the Danish government shall oppose the adoption of the current proposal as an A-item and shall request that the proposal be renegotiated (as a B-item) in the future. This will reopen the software patents discussion that should lead to the rewrite of the directive. It is expected that Sweden and Poland (which has prevented the adoption of current directive before).

Read more here:



OpenOffice.org 2.0 Beta 1

OpenOffice.org logoWe've got another beta release today. This one is for the upcoming opensource office suite OpenOffice.org 2.0. Version 2.0 will come with a lot of new features and improvements. The default format will change to a new standard OASIS OpenDocument. A new databse application is added. You can read more about new features here and here. Download it from this page. ED2K links for eMule, aMule and similar apps are available here.


Netscape Browser 8.0 Beta

Netscape is about to release a new browser, which is based on extremely popular Mozilla Firefox. From Firefox you will get the well known speed, security and stability and great support for the newest web standards. Support for RSS feeds is also here. What makes it different from other browsers are some additional features like Site controls and Multi-Bar. Netscape Browser 8.0 also enables you to render pages using Trident engine from Internet Explorer. Off course this is not recommended as this engine is known for being old, slow and has a lot of security problems. But unfortunately sometimes you just don't have other choice but to use Internet Explorer (for example for Windows Update or some other webpages created by people who know nothing or don't care about web standards). You can download the beta version from its home page or using eMule, aMule or a similar client from here.



Software patents very dangerous again!

Brez programskih patentov v Evropi!Thanks to selfish, corrupted or simply stupid politicians like Charlie McCreevy and José Manuel Barosso software patents are again an extremely big danger for people, open source developers and small and medium companies. Despite the strong and clear opposition to current form of the directive on software patentability, above mentioned politicians have decided not to listen to all of us, JURI and European Parliament and said no to much needed renewal process for the badly written directive. A very said decision for all of us and an extremely sad day for democracy.

Don't forget to fight against software patents by blogging about this and telling you friends and coworkers about the danger!

Read more about this here:

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