raspberry pi and kano

kano858_2740798b“Kano kit offers an easier way to make a low-cost Raspberry Pi¬†computer. Raspberry Pi provides an inexpensive way for aspiring computer scientists to start hacking, but its bare-bones offering can be intimidating to a newcomer. Kano is a forthcoming open-source computer kit designed to make coding as easy as assembling Legos. Among other projects, Kano can be used to build simple games, like Pong or Snake, or create music, sounds, and HD video. The kit runs a variation of Linux and includes visual coding software called Kano Blocks that outputs Python and Javascript. A Kano keyboard costs $49 more; you’ll need to bring your own monitor.” [link to read more of this article]


Libre Planet

stallmanI took several of my WDIM students from my GNU/Linux class to attend Stallman’s Libre Planet, a conference organized at the Harvard Science Center by the Free Software Foundation on March 21-22. In addition to presentations from FSF staff and board members the event included a full “unconference” day of work oriented toward progressing free network services and other areas important to the free software community as outlined on the FSF’s High Priority Projects list.

The Free Software Foundation, founded in 1985 by Richard Stallman, is dedicated to promoting computer users’ right to use, study, copy, modify, and redistribute computer programs. The FSF promotes the development and use of free (as in freedom) software — particularly the GNU operating system and its GNU/Linux variants — and free documentation for free software. The FSF also helps to spread awareness of the ethical and political issues of freedom in the use of software.

The students were particularly ‘start-struck’ when Stallman appeared and gave a two minute talk and were disappointed that he left afterwards and that they did not get to hear him personally. They were looking forward to it. In any case, their feedback was great regarding the first day but were not really interested in the second day of the unconference.

who’s afraid of bill gates?

bill_gates_halo_3.gifThe Scientific American is reporting that Microsoft’s Bill Gates is at it again: he is attacking open source and says it is violating 235 icsoft patents [link]. This is of course in response to the way Linux has been gaining ground and taking away from Microsoft’s market share. Apparently Microsoft sent an email to reporters this past Monday detailing its position which it had previously written in Fortune Magazine.

According to another source, patent experts say that

Microsoft’s patent complaints don’t make a lot of sense from a legal standpoint. The complaints, while possibly driving some customers away from open-source software, may make Microsoft the target of lawsuits from open-source developers seeking to prove they have not infringed, some patent experts have said.

Among those,

open-source advocates, including Linux creator Linus Torvalds and long-time open-source advocate Eric S. Raymond, have said there’s a simpler explanation for Microsoft’s action: It’s trying to create fear, uncertainty and doubt about open-source software.[link]

So.. don’t be afraid of Microsoft’s threats.

step-by-step uploading linux onto windows

This is not about using a live CD but rather about letting Linux run on Windows. This is not only good and convenient for those who want to try out Linux, but it is really also good because you do not have to go through the hassle of installing an entire Linux system even though it is getting to be easier.

Well first here are the applications you will need to download:

  1. VMplayer
  2. a Virtual Machine appliance
  3. Winrar to unzip the appliance

Now, here is how you get those:

  1. vmplayericon.gifFor VMPlayer, go to http://www.vmware.com/products/player/ Once it is downloaded, double click on the icon and install the application. Once installed, you should be able to see this icon on your desktop once it is fully downloaded and open.
  2. The virtual machine appliance: http://www.vmware.com/vmtn/appliances/directory/ Scroll down and choose the Linux version you want. For the purpose of this brief tutorial, I am choosing Mandrake Spring 07. If you would like to use this appliance, then go directly to this link http://www.bagside.com/bagvapps/ and choose the Mandriva.rar folder. Click on it and and download it.
  3. Winrar you can get from http://www.rarlab.com/download.htm and choose the top most link which says WinRAR 3.70 beta 8. This is a shareware version. However you can at least use it once to unzip the .rar file that we have downloaded.

What to do next once you have all those files:

  1. create a folder directly in the C drive [or whatever your hard drive is], and extract the .rar files to that folder. These will be the folder contents if you downloaded Mandriva:
  2. listofmandrakefiles.gif

  3. Open vmplayer. It will ask you for the vmx file you want to open. Just point to the file you have downloaded. It will accept only the file with its own extension *.vmx.


  4. Once you do that, you will have Linux Mandrake up and running!

This version downloads with everything on it – a typical Mandrake version.

For the more geeky people: I have noticed that you cannot have root access to the root folder because it requires a password that is not available. When you download Fedora for example, it gives you the opportunity to create the root password and user/guest password. If anyone knows why this Mandrake [downloaded as vmplayer] does not do that, let me know.

If you have any questions, do not hesistate to ask me.