An anonymous reader writes "I was looking at multimedia players from brands such as SumVision, Noontec and Western Digital. They all seem to be some device which accepts a USB hard-drive and commands from an IR remote control, and throws the result over HDMI. I have my own idea of what a hardware multimedia player should do (e.g. a personalized library screen for episodes, movies and documentaries; resume play; loudness control; etc.). I also think it will a good programming adventure because I will have to make the player compatible with more than a few popular codecs. Is this an FPGA arena? Or a mini-linux tv-box? Any advice, books or starting point to suggest?" There certainly have been a lot of products and projects in this domain over the years, but what's the best place to start in the year 2012?
Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive
First time accepted submitter rodrix79 writes "Hi all. I am trying to move from Windows to Linux (Ubuntu, but maybe to Mint). The problem is I telecommute full time and I am having a hard time trying to find the right tools to keep communication flowing with my clients (which are mostly on Windows / Mac). Any good recommendations from Linux telecommuters?"
SJVN is, of course, the well-known nickname and abbreviation for Steven J. Vaughn-Nichols, who has been covering technology as a journalist since... since longer than he cares to admit... and has been covering Linux and FOSS since the 1990s. This was basically a one-question interview: "How has reporting on Linux changed in the last 10 years?" After that, except for a couple of words requesting clarifications, we just let the webcam roll. (Note: if you know someone who would make a good Slashdot video interview victim, please put us in touch with them. Thanks.)
dartttt writes with an excerpt from Ubuntu Vibes: "Skeltrack is a Free Software (GPL3) library by Igalia for tracking the human skeleton joints from depth images. It is implemented with GLib and uses plain mathematics to detect the human skeleton and although it does not use any database, it was inspired by Andreas Baak's paper: "A Data-Driven Approach for Real-Time Full Body Pose Reconstruction from a Depth Camera" Skeltrack devs have recorded very cool videos showing Gnome Shell and Linux games being controlled through gestures."
CharlyFoxtrot writes "The geeks over on the fail0verflow blog took apart an AT&T Microcell device which is 'essentially a small cell-tower in a box, which shuttles your calls and data back to the AT&T mothership over your home broadband connection.' They soon uncovered some real security issues including a backdoor : 'We believe that this backdoor is NOT meant to be globally accessible. It is probably only intended to be used over the IPSEC tunnel which the picoChip SoC creates. [...] Unfortunately, they set up the wizard to bind on 0.0.0.0, so the backdoor is accessible over the WAN interface.'"
alphadogg writes "For the first time ever, Microsoft can be counted as a key contributor to Linux. The company, which once portrayed the open-source OS kernel as a form of cancer, has been ranked 17th on a tally of the largest code contributors to Linux. The Linux Foundation's Linux Development Report, released Tuesday, summarizes who has contributed to the Linux kernel, from versions 2.6.36 to 3.2. The 10 largest contributors listed in the report are familiar names: Red Hat, Intel, Novell, IBM, Texas Instruments, Broadcom, Nokia, Samsung, Oracle and Google. But the appearance of Microsoft is a new one for the list, compiled annually."
dartttt writes, quoting Ubuntu Vibe: "Dmitry Grinberg has successfully booted Ubuntu 9.04 on an 8 bit micro machine with 6.5 KHz CPU and 16 MB RAM. Grinberg did this experiment on a ATmega1284p, 8-bit RISC microcontroller clocked at 24MHz and equipped with 16KB of SRAM and 128KB of flash storage. Since the RAM was too low, he added 30-pin 16MB SIMM to the machine and a 1 GB SD card to host Ubuntu image. ... To get the world's slowest Linux Computer running, he had to write an ARMv5 emulator which supports a 32bit processor and MMU. A similar machine can be made very easily and everything should come in about $20." There is source code available, but it's under a non-commercial use only license. Just how slow is it? "It takes about 2 hours to boot to bash prompt ('init=/bin/bash' kernel command line). Then 4 more hours to boot up the entire Ubuntu ('exec init' and then login). Starting X takes a lot longer. The effective emulated CPU speed is about 6.5KHz, which is on par with what you'd expect emulating a 32-bit CPU & MMU on a measly 8-bit micro. Curiously enough, once booted, the system is somewhat usable. You can type a command and get a reply within a minute." If you like watching a whole lot of nothing, there's a video of the boot process below the fold.
dartttt writes "Adobe has released Flash Player version 11.2 with many new features. This is the final Flash Player release for Linux platform and now onward there will be only security and bug fix updates. Last month Adobe announced that it is withdrawing Flash Player support for Linux platform. All the future newer Flash releases will be bundled with Google Chrome using its Pepper API and for everything else, 11.2 will be the last release."
First time accepted submitter bheading writes "Following years under controversial leadership which, among other things, led to a fork (which was in turn adopted by some of the major distributions) the glibc development process has been reinvented to follow a slightly more informal, community-based model. Here's hoping glibc benefits from a welcome dose of pragmatism."
judgecorp writes "After many delays, the Raspberry Pi computer has arrived in Britain, but has been stopped by the need for a CE approval sticker to say it meets European regulations. The Raspberry Pi Foundation expects the sticker to be a formality, and says it failed to apply because it thought the Pi did not qualify as a 'finished end product.'"
head_dunce writes "Now that Red Hat has officially posted more than a billion dollars in revenue, ($1.13 billion to be exact), the company's PR department sent this funny list of quotes predicting doom. For instance, 'We think of Linux as a competitor in the student and hobbyist market but I really don't think in the commercial market we'll see it in any significant way.' Bill Gates, 2001."
New submitter inhuman_4 passes along this quote from an article at Wired: "Last December, Microsoft scored a victory when the ITC Administrative Law Judge Theodore R. Essex found that Motorola had violated four Microsoft patents. But the ruling could also eliminate an important Microsoft software patent that has been invoked in lawsuits against Barnes & Noble and car navigation device-maker Tom Tom. According to Linus Torvalds, he was deposed in the case this past fall, and apparently his testimony about a 20-year-old technical discussion — along with a discussion group posting made by an Amiga fan, known only as Natuerlich! — helped convince the Administrative Law Judge that the patent was invalid."
New submitter Mojo66 writes "Mayor Ude reported today that the city of Munich has saved €4 million so far (Google translation of German original) by switching its IT infrastructure from Windows NT and Office to Linux and OpenOffice. At the same time, the number of trouble tickets decreased from 70 to 46 per month. Savings were €2.8M from software licensing and €1.2M from hardware because demands are lower for Linux compared to Windows 7."
mtaht writes "Has anyone, besides those that worked on byte queue limits, and sfqred, had a chance to benchmark networking using these tools on the Linux 3.3 kernel in the real world? A dent, at least theoretically, seems to be have made in bufferbloat, and now that the new kernel and new iproute2 are out, should be easy to apply in general (e.g. server/desktop) situations." Dear readers: Have any of you had problems with bufferbloat that were alleviated by the new kernel version?