Markus Thielmann's blog

Dimdim: Free and open source web meeting

I think it would be fair to call Dimdim a WebEx "mee-too" application.

Dimdom offers a web- and Flash-based meeting application which allows you to communicate (via video, audio or text) and to collaborate through whiteboards. You're able to share a presentation or even you whole desktop (at least if you're still on Mac or Windows).

The most outstanding feature however is the released source-code. Not only open, but also free as in speech, distributed under the terms of the GPL.

Even if you're not interested in deploying your own server, you might want to trade any other web meeting portal for dimdim. Unfortunately, sharing your Desktop with Linux is not possible right now, but at least it's on the roadmap.

While I consider the release of the source code a really smart move of Dimdim Inc., I wonder why they don't offer paid support for the open-source edition. There are a lot of companies who prefer FOSS, but still able and willing to pay for their software through support contracts.

Ubuntu: Adding repositories via URL

Last week I was asked for Google Earth by a not-so-tech-savy Ubuntu user. He found Google's .bin Installer and was asking for help with installing.

I told him, that it would be better to use a software repository and did a short introduction to packaging and repositories. While it was easy to send him a link to a Google Earth package for installation with gdebi, telling him how to enable a third-party repositories was not.

A short search reveals that apturl is able to add repositories via URL, unfortunately this feature is disabled by default.

In my opinion, this decision should be reconsidered: While it is true that third party repositories and third party packages mean a potential harm to the users system, the current handling of third-party software is not consistent.

Installing a Ubuntu package via gdebi is easy and used frequently. Even when installed from a trustworthy source, installation of single packages cause a security risk due to a lack of updates.

If the user decides to install third-party software, it seems just consistent to offer him a comparable easy way of adding a repository. This way, his software will get updated and he will decrease the risk of possible security holes due to outdated software.

If you agree with me on this topic, I'd like you to consider voting for this idea on Ubuntu Brainstorm:


Ubuntu Brainstorm

If you don't agree, I'm eager to read your opinion.

Google releases Android SDK 0.9 beta

Google just released the long-awaited Android SDK 0.9 beta.

Android welcome screen

Besides a major graphical overhaul, Google made a lot of changes to the Android APIs. It seems the coming T-Mobile Android mobile phone made it possible to release the new SDK.

Android main menu

Android browser

There's one important step left: Google still needs to release the source of the Android APIs.

Adobe updates Flash 10 to RC

Adobe updated the Linux Flash 10 Beta to an RC last week. Since I was on vacation, it took me a while to update the .deb in my PPA. Fortunately Adobe changes it's archive name with every new release, so the old package was still working when installed.

Have a look at the new features and the list of fixed bugs of this release.

I updated my Personal Package Archive (PPA) accordingly. If you already added my PPA to your sources list, you'll get the updated flashplugin-nonfreebeta within the next upgrade.

There are still issues with flash sites using the "windowless mode". This seems to be an Firefox issues, which isn't fixed on Ubuntu Hardy's Firefox right now (and most probably won't get fixed before Firefox 3.1). You might want to disable the "windowless" mode via a small configuration file.

Update:

I reported two bugs to the Adobe bug tracker system. Additional to that, you might experience problems with Ubuntu x64, due to the newly introduced dependencies. If you got problems running the RC on Ubuntu x32, please try installing libnss and libcurl and give me a short notice. I don't have a "fresh" Ubuntu right now, to test the dependencies.

Firefox will introduce Ogg support for audio and video

If you're using a linux distribution, Ogg FLAC/Vorbis or Ogg Theora support is already available to you.

Today, Mozilla employee Christopher Blizzard announced, that (most likely) Firefox 3.1 will feature Ogg audio and video support for all platforms.

This is a huge step for the Ogg formats, since neither Windows, nor Mac OS X come with Ogg support pre-installed.

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