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Spy vs. Spy; Wikipedia Sports New DB & More…

Friday FOSS Week in Review

Goodbye to Fuduntu, hello to FuSE

We already knew, of course, that Fuduntu was history, that the beloved distro was to be no more, evidently due to the fact that it was becoming nearly impossible to support GNOME 2 in any sort of meaningful way. We also knew there’d been talk among the developers at Fuduntu of continuing with a new distro. Well, now it’s a done deal and most of the developers of Fuduntu will be working on a new distro based on openSUSE.

According to an article published last Saturday on the Fuduntu blog, the new distro already has a tentative name–FuSE:

“The team is currently discussing the name with SUSE to ensure that there is no legal issues to using that name. Pending confirmation that the name is in the green, it will be officially declared.”

The group is still looking into the best-fit default desktop. Not surprisingly, they’re leaning towards one that has much in common with the old GNOME 2:

“After discussing many different DE’s, including KDE, xfce, razor-qt, klyde, and Consort, it was put up to a vote. The majority ruled in favor of Consort which is currently being developed by Ikey Doherty, the founder of SolusOS. It is based off of GTK3 but designed to look, and act, like GNOME2. The team, however, still has plans to evaluate it to ensure integration and stability before officially declaring it as the default DE.”

Being that the distro will be based on openSUSE, users will easily be able to switch to another desktop environment from the openSUSE repositories, if they desire.

Plans are to set FuSE Linux up as a 501c3 non-profit entity, meaning that donations will be tax deductible–but not until all the i’s are dotted, the t’s crossed and a green light given by the IRS. We’ll keep you advised.

They’re hoping to have the first release out by September 30th “so that there is no interruption for Fuduntu users.”

Ostatic asks, “Are you experienced?”

On Tuesday, Susan Linton over at Ostatic asked readers of the site to grade their Linux experience levels. Well, she actually asked the question earlier and reported on it on Tuesday, but you catch our drift.

Anyway, here’s the results:

“Those admitting to be a Newbie number 138 or 17% of respondents. Casual users numbered 70 or 9%. Those describing themselves as moderately experienced were 303 or the majority of participates at 37%.

Well experienced received 28% of the vote or 233. Those claiming Guru! status was 28 (or 3%). I had 38 professionals respond, which was 5% of voters.

“Finally, nine people don’t fit anywhere in there. I’m not sure what level I forgot to offer, but 1% chose none of above. I suppose they could be Windows, Mac, *BSD, and Android users.”

The emphases were hers.

That reminds us, a few weeks ago we began taking polls here at FOSS Force. Next week we’ll get Christine Hall (or, if she won’t do it, someone else) to start sharing the insightful results we’ve been getting.

Wikipedia drops MySQL for MariaDB

Also from Ostatic, this time from Jon Buys, we learned on Monday that everybody’s favorite open encyclopedia, Wikipedia, has dropped the Facebook fork of MySQL they had been using to deploy MariaDB.

The reason for this is obvious, as Mr. Buys points out in his article:

“More and more Oracle is looking like the place where good software goes to die a slow and lonely death. Sure, Oracle is still developing MySQL, but who’s there to work on it anymore? Since the best and brightest tend to leave Oracle soon after their project is acquired, it comes as no surprise that MariaDB is emerging as the de facto successor to the most popular open source database on the web.”

We think this is wonderful news, and exactly as it should be. However, every time we read about MariaDB, we hear that dang song from West Side Story playing in our heads.

Commercial espionage program spoofs Firefox

As we write these words, Christine is working on an in-depth treatment of this story to be published early next week–so we’re hoping she doesn’t get too mad if we scoop her a bit here. Well, we’re not really scooping her as the item’s gotten ink elsewhere already.

This week it was disclosed by Citizen Lab, a group of Canadian researchers associated with the University of Toronto, that a UK and Germany based developer of software used by governments for espionage has been spoofing the filename firefox.exe as a way of hiding itself as it does it’s spy vs spy work.

This has resulted in the folks at Mozilla on Wednesday sending Gamma International, the spyware vendor, “a cease and desist letter … demanding that these illegal practices stop immediately.”

According to an item published on the Mozilla Blog:

“It’s important to note that the spyware does not affect Firefox itself, either during the installation process or when it is operating covertly on a person’s computer or mobile device. Gamma’s software is entirely separate, and only uses our brand and trademarks to lie and mislead as one of its methods for avoiding detection and deletion.”

Dutch government set to allow hackers into your computer

In a related story, the BBC says it appears as if the Dutch government is ready to allow their police to hack into people’s computers:

“Under a new bill, investigators would be able to hack into computers, install spyware, read emails and destroy files.

“They could also break into servers located abroad, if they were being used to block services.”

This would require a court order, of course. Also included in the law would be a provision that would “make it a crime for a suspect to refuse to decipher encrypted files during a police investigation.” The BBC says that the draft legislation is expected to go before parliament by year’s end.

“Critics say the proposed measures are unnecessary and could set a dangerous precedent for people living under oppressive governments.”

Ya think? If you’re not sure, ask the activists in Bahrain who’ve found Gamma International’s dirty code on their computers.


Well, that’s our review for this week. Until next week, may the FOSS be with you…


  1. djohnston djohnston May 3, 2013

    “The emphasises (is that a word?)”

    Plural of emphasis is emphases. ;^)

  2. Force FOSS Force FOSS Post author | May 3, 2013

    @djohnston Duly noted and corrected. We were in a hurry and a little “punch drunk” from being behind schedule, if people still use that expression. We actually meant it as a bit of humor, but evidently it wasn’t being taken that way.

  3. Hey there! I know this is kind of off topic but I was wondering if
    you knew where I could find a captcha plugin for my comment form?

    I’m using the same blog platform as yours and I’m having problems finding one?
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