Open News Episode 25

A Weekly Open Source News Podcast

Goobuntu Confirmed

There have been rumors floating around for years now that Google would release its own desktop operating system to compete with Microsoft Windows. Well now the existence of Google operating system has been confirmed. According to theregister., Google is preparing its own distribution of Linux for the desktop in a possible bid to take on Microsoft in its core business - desktop software. A version of the increasingly popular Ubuntu desktop Linux distribution, based on Debian and the Gnome desktop, it is known internally as ‘Goobuntu’. Google has confirmed it is working on a desktop Linux project called Goobuntu, but declined to supply further details, including what the project is for. It’s possible that it’s just one of the toys Googleplex engineers play with on Fridays, when they get time off from buffing the search engine code or filtering out entries about Tiananmen Square. It could be for wider deployments on the company’s own desktops, as an alternative to Microsoft, but still for internal use only. But it’s possible Google plans to distribute it to the general public, as a free alternative to Windows. Google has already demonstrated an interest in building a presence on the desktop. At CES Las Vegas last month, it announced the Google Pack, a collection of desktop software bundled together for easy downloading. Whatever Google’s intentions, the input of Google engineers and developers, writing new features and fixing bugs, will be a huge boost to the Ubuntu project.


Windows As Punishment

Many Linux users still use Microsoft Windows in one form or another. Some of us, including myself, use Windows strictly for gaming. Others are forced to use Windows at work. But what if you were legally required to use Windows and only Windows? Well that’s what happened this week, according to An article by Iain Thomson states:

A man convicted of illegally downloading an episode of Star Wars has been told that he can no longer use his computer with an Ubuntu Linux operating system. Scott Mc- Causland pleaded guilty last year to ‘conspiracy to commit copyright infringement’ and ‘criminal copyright infringement’ by downloading Star Wars: Episode III illegally. He served five months in prison and is now on probation, but has been told that he cannot use his Linux computer.

“I had a meeting with my probation officer today and he told me that he had to install monitoring software on my PC. No big deal to me; that’s part of my sentence,” he wrote on his Lost and Alone blog. “However, the monitoring software doesn’t support Linux. So he told me that if I want to use a computer, I would have to use an OS that the software can be installed on, which basically means Microsoft and monitoring software or no computer. I use Ubuntu 7.04 now, and they are trying to force me to switch.”

McCausland, also known as ‘sk0t’, (or S-K-zero-T), was the first person to be jailed for BitTorrent use and was a member of the Elitetorrents site that was shut down by the FBI in 2005. He claimed that he’s not trying to subvert restrictions placed on him, but does not see why he should have to buy a whole new operating system to do so.

“The terms of my plea state: ‘I consent to periodic checks of my PC by my probation officer and/or the installation of software to monitor my internet activity,’” he wrote. “I am consenting to all of it, but it just so happens that the OS I use might not be supported by the software they use to monitor. So I do not feel (neither does my lawyer) that the government can force me to switch OS.”

McCausland has now started an appeal on his website to cover the cost of buying Windows.