Monday, April 30, 2012

Ubuntu 12.04 Delivers 5 Years of Enterprise Linux Desktop Support

Ubuntu 12.04 Delivers 5 Years of Enterprise Linux Desktop Support/ thru datamation

By Sean Michael Kerner
April 26, 2012

For the first time in Ubuntu Linux's history, a desktop Long Term Support (LTS) release will be supported for as long as a server release. Ubuntu 12.04 LTS was officially released today, providing five years of support for both desktop and server releases.
Ubuntu 12.04 introduces a new Linux desktop for LTS users, while also providing a new way to more easily access non-Linux applications.
"In Ubuntu 10.04, we only had three years of support on the desktop, but in response to customer requests, for 12.04 we're standardizing for five years on both the desktop and the server," Steve George, VP of Communications and Products at Canonical, explained to "The reason for that is corporate customers generally rev their hardware every three years, but it often takes a year for them to get a large deployment upgraded, so they were looking for longer than three years of support from us."
"George stressed that having five years of support on the Linux desktop is a key milestone on the path to being able to deliver to corporate environments, something that is stable and secure.
"With an eye on corporate deployments of Linux desktops, Ubuntu 12.04 is also making it easier for enterprise users to access their non-Linux applications." VMware, Citrix and Microsoft Remote Desktop technologies are now all supported, providing Ubuntu 12.04 users with a way to access enterprise applications. George noted that, for example, if an enterprise migrated to Ubuntu Linux but they still have a single business application that they were not able to migrate, the new remote desktop integration will be a big help.
"Previously you could access, for example, a Citrix server remotely, but you'd have a separate window," George said. "Whereas with 12.04, it will be embedded in the operating system."
"So as far as the end user is concerned they can simply click their application icon in the Ubuntu Linux Unity interface and it will open up the Microsoft application seamlessly. Microsoft RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) support is directly integrated with Ubuntu. Citrix and VMware support is something that end users will have to take an extra step to acquire and download and install clients themselves.
"We've been working closely with the Citrix and VMware guys to make that available," George said. "By delivering this capability, we think it will be a lot easier for people to make the progressive transition across to Ubuntu as their default operating system."
"Licensing of Citrix and VMware clients is still handled on the server side, while the end clients are being made freely available.
"We've had examples of corporate customers that want to move across to a Linux desktop but the problem is they have one or two legacy applications that hold them back," George said. "So making the process of connecting to and using those applications really seamless from a user perspective is an important step."


"Perhaps the biggest user-visible change for corporate users of the Ubuntu 12.04 LTS will be the Unity desktop interface. The Ubuntu 10.04 LTS has the GNOME 2 desktop as the default interface.
"The Ubuntu 11.04 release was the first time that Unity was included in an Ubuntu release, though that was not an LTS. Over the last year, Unity has been improved such that it's now ready for corporate users. The desktop has also now been improved for power users by way of the HUD (Heads Up Display) which provides a new way to control and access application functions.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Lenovo CEO: ‘We’ve never been so close to the top’

Lenovo CEO: ‘We’ve never been so close to the top’    from zdnet see Lenovo IdeaPad

By Zhang Xiaonan | April 18, 2012, 4:17am PDT

Summary: At Lenovo’s fiscal 2012 pep rally, president and CEO Yang Yuanqing reveals the company’s objective in the coming fiscal year: To be number one in global PC market.

On April 11 in Beijing, Lenovo held its fiscal 2012 pep rally with the title “Wow! Begins Now”. At the ceremony, Lenovo’s president and CEO Yang Yuanqing revealed their objective in the coming fiscal year, “Our goal is to be No.1 in global PC market. It’s the first time we’ve ever been so close to the top.”

April 1 was the first day of Lenovo’s fiscal 2012. According to a April 11 Gartner report, in the first season of 2012, HP’s shipments were 15,305,413 with a 17.2% share.

Meanwhile, Lenovo’s market share was 13.1%, only 4 percentage points from that of HP. Gartner’s report showed that Lenovo experienced the strongest growth among the top five vendors, as its shipments increased 28.1 percent in the first quarter of 2012. Lenovo has been enjoying healthy growth in the professional market, while the company successfully expanded into the consumer space.

However, it is widely known that low profits prevail in the PC market. In its lasted fiscal season, Lenovo only had a profit margin of 1.8%. With the aim to take the biggest share in the market, which means further expansion, will Lenovo have an even lower profit margin in the future?

When asked this question, Chen Xudong, senior vice president of Lenovo Group and president for Lenovo China Region, said, “This pressure will push Lenovo to stretch from the red ocean of PC and sail into the blue ocean of smart TV and smartphone.”

Lenovo calls it “PC+ Strategy”, which covers terminal products like PCs, smart phones, table PCs and smart TVs.

Yang Yuanqing said, “Lenovo’s smartphones have been among the Top 3 in the Chinese market.” In the Lenovo Earnings press release of third season ,2011, Lenovo’s smartphones were a 2-digit market share. The price of Lenovo’s smartphones is 1,000 yuan RMB(US $159) each. In fiscal 2012, Lenovo will release 40 new models of mobile phones and expand its business to overseas markets.

In the field of tablet PCs, Lenovo’s third generation tablet PC has been advanced: 8.7 mm thick, 580 grams and 20 hours of standby time (including peripheral circuits). As the only partner of Microsoft and Intel in the domain of tablet PCs, Lenovo will be the first to release its tablet PCs with Windows 8 system in Oct 2012.

Lenovo’s smart TV ideaTV K91 will be officially released on May 8, which adopts the voice-control technology.

Despite the greater profits and opportunities promised by the blue ocean, Yang Yuanqing stressed that the PC will always be the backbone of Lenovo.

In the PC market, Lenovo’s firmest support still comes from China. With a 35.3 % market share, Lenovo has been on the top among its rivals and set up the goal of 40 % market share this year. Outside China, Lenovo has 2-digit increase in 13 emerging markets with a 14 % market share in India, while in mature markets of America and European countries, Lenovo PC sales are weaker.

On April 2, former Acer CEO Gianfranco Lanci was appointed Lenovo’s senior vice president and head of EMEA(Europe, Middle East and Africa). Lanci said Lenovo will try to be among the top three in these three regions — Europe, Middle East and Africa.

At the ceremony, Yang Yuanqing said, “I personally love the statement of Lenovo made by an American press, that Lenovo is a combination of Apple and Starbucks in the fast developing China. But it’s not enough for us to be just like that. Hopefully next time when this press reports the situation of Lenovo, they will change ‘in China’ into ‘in the world’.”

Nokia loses global cellphone lead to Samsung for first time since 1998

Nokia loses global cellphone lead to Samsung for first time since 1998

By Matthew Miller | April 26, 2012, 9:32pm PDT

Summary: Samsung is a force in the smartphone world and just ousted Nokia for the global cellphone lead, which Nokia has led since 1998.

The first quarter is always a bit slow after the big holiday mobile phone season, but today we see data that brings a tear to my eye. According to IHS data, Nokia lost the global cellphone lead for the first time since 1998 as Samsung overtook them with 92 million cellphones shipped in the first quarter of 2012. Apple still leads in smartphone sales, but Samsung is in second there too and is the new force to be reckoned with.

I have been a fan of Nokia phones for about 10 years, but the times are changing and I have to admit I was a bit surprised by this news. I know that Nokia has fallen quickly in the smartphone market, but thought their Series 40 cellphones would keep them in the global cellphone lead for some time. Samsung now claims the title of global cellphone leader and I imagine that will continue to grow with their feature phones and Bada phones.

This quote from the report is quit telling, “Smartphones represented 34 percent of Samsung’s handset shipments in the first quarter. In contrast, smartphones accounted for just 14 percent of Nokia’s shipments.”

In the smartphone market, Apple shipped 35 million phones with Samsung right behind at 32 million. Nokia is down 39% to just 12 million smartphones sold in the first quarter and has their work cut out with their focus on Windows Phone that is having serious issues gaining consumer adoption. IHS stated that there was no data provided yet for HTC or Motorola since they haven’t posted their first calendar quarter results for 2012, but neither of these companies will be fighting it out for one of the top two spots anyway.

With the Galaxy S III announcement coming next week and a new iPhone likely several months away, it is likely that Samsung will pass Apple in the smartphone market soon as well.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

IBM Pure Systems Flash News April 11 2012

IBM Pure Systems Flash

See the Link on Business Page for IBM Products
On April 11, IBM introduced our first two IBM PureSystems family offerings; IBM PureFlex and IBM PureApplication Systems . We launched these unique expert integrated systems across North America in more than 67 local cities and virtual events to 7,000+ clients, Business Partners and IBMers – with more than 20,000 clients and Business Partners reached globally. In addition, there were more than 40,000 mentions across the web, including Twitter, blogs, and Facebook posts.

What is all the excitement about?

This announcement radically simplifies the enterprise IT. Backed by a $2 billion R&D effort, IBM's new PureSystems family will make corporate computing easier, more secure and less expensive to manage.

Also, PureSystems are ready for the cloud and they tightly integrate computing, storage and networking into a single, ready-to-run machine. This approach makes it much easier for clients to install and manage than traditional servers and associated components.

Each of the IBM PureSystem family offerings have three truly unique attributes:

1. Integration by Design: Deeply integrating and tuning hardware and software in a single, ready-to-go system with built-in security and reliability designed for multiple architectures. The systems are modular and based on open standards.

2. Built-in Expertise: Providing flexibility, choice, simplicity, and agility to drive business velocity. IBM PureSystems capture and automate what the experts have typically done from infrastructure to application.

3 . Simplified Experience: From setting up the system, to operating, maintaining, and upgrading over time, IBM PureSystems simplify every part of the IT lifecycle.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

A tale of two distros: Ubuntu and Linux Mint

A tale of two distros: Ubuntu and Linux Mint

Seeing is believing
Regardless of operating system, the user experience is always mediated through the user interface, or UI. Since Mint is based on Ubuntu, comparisons between the two OSs for desktop use come down almost entirely to the UI.

Ubuntu 11.10's Unity desktop

The Linux Mint 12 desktop
Beginning with version 11.04, Ubuntu switched from a purely GNOME environment to its own Unity shell running on top of GNOME with the long-term goal of replacing GNOME and its reliance on the X Window system with the Wayland display server.
Mint, on the other hand, has chosen to follow the path of GNOME development and has gone with GNOME 3 and the GNOME shell with MGSE — the Mint GNOME Shell Extensions. This is quite significant since it marks the largest divergence between Ubuntu and Mint since the latter's inception.
One of the primary functions of a user interface is to provide a method of navigation. Both Unity and the GNOME shell mark a transition from task-based cascading text menus, augmented with small icons, where the emphasis is on the text, to an application-based UI with arrays of large icons, augmented by small text, where the emphasis is on the icons.
This move has been prompted, at least in part, by the advent of devices such as smartphones and tablets with small touchscreens, and the need for an operating system that provides a more consistent user experience across a wide range of form factors. However, in their current form such interfaces look a little out of place on large desktop displays.
Where next?
Designing a successful new user interface isn't easy, particularly when you're trying to persuade established users to adopt new paradigms. Unity and GNOME 3 both abandon the old text-based cascading menus in favour of a graphical icon-driven system. Both UIs present an array of large icons with a small line of sometimes curtailed text underneath. This may work well on smaller devices with touchscreens, but on a desktop system with a large non-touch monitor even a small number of application icons quickly fill the screen area. As as result, the eye has to travel further to scan and identify the required application from a square grid, and much bigger mouse movements are required to select the intended application than would be necessary with cascading text menus.

Ubuntu's icon-based Unity interface is better suited to small touchscreen tablets than desktop PCs with large non-touch monitors
Text menus occupy a relatively small area, with the text precisely describing each menu choice. Navigating cascading text menus does not require a lot of mouse movement. The disadvantage is that once the menus become extensive and several layers in depth, navigation to the desired menu choice becomes more difficult. Text menus don't work well on small displays.
Both Ubuntu's and Mint's developers are making efforts to improve their navigation and selection process, and are working on extending their user interfaces. Mint 12 has MGSE (Mint Gnome Shell Extensions), which is a desktop layer on top of GNOME 3 that reinstates the experience of cascading text menus. Mint 12 also offers the still-experimental MATE desktop environment, which can be chosen by clicking on the gear-wheel icon at logon. MATE is a fork of the GNOME 2 shell with its own independent group of developers, who disingenuously describe it as "a non-intuitive and unattractive desktop for users, using the traditional computing desktop metaphor".
Linux Mint 12 shell extensions: MGSE (top) and MATE (above): both appear at the bottom-left of the desktop when the Menu button is clicked
The Mint developers are planning to go further than MGSE with a new shell called Cinnamon. This is planned for adoption as the default desktop in Mint 13, which should appear sometime in May following the April release of Ubuntu 12.04 (Precise Pangolin). Version 1.2 of Cinnamon is already available, and can be installed in Mint 12 through the Software Manager. As with any of the alternate shells, it can be selected from a drop-down menu at logon by clicking on the gear wheel icon.

The Cinnamon shell 1.2 running on Linux Mint 12
The Ubuntu developers recently announced the slightly oddly-named Head-Up Display or HUD — a feature it's hoped will make its way into the upcoming 12.04 LTS release. Here, the term 'heads up' is used more in the American idiomatic sense of an advance alert, or in the sense of targeting a required behaviour. HUD uses a fuzzy logic system so that when the user types in a fragment or phrase expressing what they intend to do, HUD produces a response. This could be an application selection, or a command that hopefully matches the user's intent. For example, in the vector graphics program Inkscape, typing 'drop shadow' could result in the system offering a shortlist of commands that manipulate shadows. HUD can be seen as an extension of the predictive text that's already present in the Unity and GNOME shell interfaces.
Here is what Mark Shuttleworth has to say about the HUD in his 24 January blog:
"The desktop remains central to our everyday work and play, despite all the excitement around tablets, TV's and phones. So it's exciting for us to innovate in the desktop too, especially when we find ways to enhance the experience of both heavy "power" users and casual users at the same time. The desktop will be with us for a long time, and for those of us who spend hours every day using a wide diversity of applications, here is some very good news: 12.04 LTS will include the first step in a major new approach to application interfaces...Say hello to the Head-Up Display, or HUD, which will ultimately replace menus in Unity applications."
Shuttleworth also says that the adoption of the HUD fuzzy logic system could be the precursor to the eventual adoption of voice control in Ubuntu. For trial purposes, the HUD repositories for the experimental code can be added to the software sources of Ubuntu 12.04 alpha via the PPA — ppa:unity-team/hud.

Ubuntu's Head-Up Display (HUD) locating the Bookmarks command for the Firefox browser (see this blog post for more details)
Both Ubuntu and Linux Mint have evolved considerably since their beginnings. The future could well see Mint abandon its connection with Ubuntu to grow closer to its roots in Debian and GNOME, while Ubuntu has already decided to move away from GNOME and may continue to diverge from Debian.
Which distro is for you?
Ubuntu and Linux Mint are both stable, mature distributions with a wide range of compatible applications. If you're a business requiring commercial-level support for which you're willing to pay, then Ubuntu is the obvious choice. Home users who want out-of-the-box support for a wide range of media and can put up with the slightly later release dates might well prefer Mint.
Some people take a rather dim view of Ubuntu's default earth-tone colour palette, and Mint certainly provides an appropriately cool green-and-grey alternative. Ubuntu does offer desktop themes in alternative palettes, although the default 'orange'-hued Ambience theme arguably has the most polished appearance.
Then there's the choice between Ubuntu's Unity interface and Linux Mint's modifiable GNOME 3 shell. As we've seen, the UIs for both distros are works in progress, and in practice both offer an easy switch to variations on the earlier GNOME 2 if you don't get on with the default offerings.

Test setup
I have been using and writing about open-source software for about four years and have used Ubuntu as my main operating system since version 9.04. Although aware of Linux Mint, I had not previously tried it, simply because it's based on Ubuntu.
For this comparison I needed a Mint system, and rather than run it as a virtual machine, or on another computer, I decided to install it as a bootable option on my main work PC — an AMD Athlon64 X2 system with 2GB of RAM running on an MSI K9N motherboard.
I had an empty bay in my hot-swap drive cage and a spare 500GB drive, so I plugged the drive in installed Linux Mint to it and then opened a terminal window and ran the command 'sudo update-grub'. This added Linux Mint to my boot menu, so I could then choose between Ubuntu 11.10 64-bit, Windows XP or Linux Mint 12 64-bit at boot time.

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