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All posts by Andrew Craucamp

Religious sceptic, professional consumer and full time developer. Andrew is an avid open source enthusiast and keen follower of the big players in the information sector. He sternly supports free media, free information and copyleft principals and hates writing about himself in the third person.
  • Ubuntu raises the client OS bar

    On the 28 April 2011 Canonical officially released Ubuntu 11.04 codenamed Natty Narwhal. The controversial Unity Desktop became the standard interface, merging the desktop and netbook versions, creating a scalable client operating system which can be run on desktops, nettops, notebooks, netbooks and tablet devices. Large screen smart phones, in-vehicle infotainment systems and possibly even home appliances such as high-end refrigerators could potentially also run Ubuntu. Aside from the interface overhaul Canonical was determined to push a number of major updates through in this version. I was initially doubtful about their ability to achieve these ambitious goals within their six month...

  • Ubuntu tech board united against flash

    The Ubuntu Tech Board have unanimously voted against restricted software being included in Ubuntu by default. The Ubuntu Restricted Extras package which can be found in the Ubuntu Software Centre, includes a number of proprietary extras such as codecs and fonts but it also includes the infamous Adobe Flash. Canonical is diligently trying to get Ubuntu to a level where everything “just works” and being able to watch Youtube videos out of the box is a major factor. However, the proprietary nature of Flash is counter-intuitive to Ubuntu’s open source principals and the board have made their decision for the...

  • Canonical: Hardened corporate or community leader?

    Open Source is starting to become a very lucrative business model these days and I think we have Google to thank for that. However, this means money is coming in for people who didn’t get much before and who feel that it’s long overdue. Naturally capitalist greed gets the better of the once generous and the Gnome Foundation and Canonical have locked horns. Let’s investigate the situation a little further. Background Founded by South African entrepreneur Mark Shuttleworth, Canonical is the corporate backer of Ubuntu, the third most popular desktop operating system in the world after Windows and MacOS. Ubuntu is built...

  • Online security firm feels the wrath of Anonymous

    Early on Monday morning the anarchist movement Anonymous released a torrent containing over 44 000 leaked private emails belonging to security firm HBGary‘s Aaron Barr, including a report which the firm was intending to sell to the FBI. The firm had appointed Aaron Barr to conduct an investigation to find individuals involved in the DDoS attack on Mastercard, Visa and Paypal which took place in December 2010. The attack was a response to the respective financial institutions refusing to deal with Wikileaks’ donations and/or other transactions. Naturally, Anonymous was not pleased with an investigation into their group and a dangerous...

  • The HTML5 video debate rages on

    It has come to my attention that people are getting rather confused about what constitutes freedom and openness in web standards. Over the past few days there has been a lot of buzz around Google’s decision to drop support for H.264 format in HTML5 video and, to my surprise, a large number of people are actually against the move. I’ll try to sum up the arguments from the perspective of all the players involved. A bit of background H.264 was developed by Apple and the Joint Video Team in 2003 in order to compress high quality video which can be...

  • Google pushes free video codec for HTML5

    Google has taken a neutral approach to HTML5 video since it was first suggested, but now it seems like it has chosen a side — its own. It has decided to remove the patent-encumbered H.264 codec from the Google Chrome browser, which now only supports its in-house developed WebM format. Google bought video codec company On2 Technologies in February 2010 in order to acquire the rights to what was the top performing video codec on the market at the time, VP8. The most commonly used video codec at the moment is Apple’s H.264 which is used with most Flash-based videos...

  • Ubuntu’s fundamental flaw: Frozen full-screen apps

    A fundamental flaw has dogged Ubuntu through the years and there is still no sign of it being resolved. Misbehaving applications are one of the first hurdles that an operating system must overcome. Microsoft Windows endured mountains of criticism in its early days for allowing badly written applications to bring the whole OS to its knees. Linux is, in most circumstances, very resilient in handling problematic applications and Ubuntu is no exception to this. These problems are “water off a ducks back” for Ubuntu and the operating system will happily continue doing its thing when an app freezes or crashes....

  • Google wants you to move from ‘OS and hard-drive’ to ‘browser and cloud”

    At the same time that Google released the Chrome 8 browser, it also released its much-anticipated Chrome Web Store. The simultaneous release signals Google’s intention to change the “operating system and hard drive” mindset to one of “browser and cloud”. Although it will deny it, this is the most direct stab at Microsoft’s business model that Google has ever taken. It may not be directly competing in the desktop arena as many had hoped for, but platform independence brought about by a browser-centered world would make Microsoft’s Windows/Office hegemony redundant. Microsoft is not the only company that should feel threatened by...

  • The quest for the perfect portable computer

    An ideal product doesn’t exist in the device world. But in order to get close to “ideal”, the product would have to be able to adapt to the needs of different individuals and also be able to adapt to different situations. For example, a person in a managerial position needs to access overview information on the fly from his organisation’s portal. The Apple iPad is a very attractive option for this because it’s light and portable, it has instant-on features and is easy to interact with using touch. A blogger on the other hand, may want to write up...

  • The secrets to success with Ubuntu OS

    Ubuntu is an impressive operating system and can be incredibly rewarding once you’re comfortable using it. People keep asking me for suggestions on how to get started with this OS so I’ve decided to write up my suggestions, which will hopefully ease a few more people towards adoption. The points below assume that the reader has at least an intermediate level of computing skill. If you’re not quite at that point yet, then it might not be worth the effort. Install the 64 bit version Unless you are installing Ubuntu Netbook Edition or your computer is more than five years old you...

  • Is 4Chan getting a makeover as Canv.as, the new anti-social network?

    We are becoming obsessed with online privacy whilst at the same time fussing continuously over our Facebook profiles and Twitter followers. Social networking has been a major part of the internet since the early days of IRC and online anonymity was always an accepted standard.  It was only with the launch ofMySpace and Facebook that the concept of broadcasting our real life personas globally became personalised, but more than a handful of people seem to...

  • Microsoft can no longer dictate web standards

    Microsoft has never been big on supporting standards that were not developed in-house, but external pressure has forced the Internet Explorer (IE) division to start complying with open web standards. The beta version of IE9 has just been made available and there is a lot of talk in the media about its HTML5 support. IE8 has a dismal 26% compliance with the newer HTML specifications, against the 75% minimum from the other major browsers. IE9 has made a massive leap forward and will support a whopping 63% of the specification. This comes at a time when Chrome and Safari are sitting at over 90% compliance. The...