Our poor monthly book selections were bumped last month by the LinuxWorld announcement binge, so let's get back to it. Apress has a fun new book out: Beginning Game Development with Python and Pygame: From Novice to Professional by Will McGugan. The idea is to train the budding game developer (but not Python expert) as both a game creator and proficient user of Python and the Pygame games development library. In creating your own tank warfare game, you learn how to deal with gaming preferences, sound, visual effects, keyboard/joystick interactions, multiple platform issues and so on.
Making RSS a snap is the idea behind the new Feed Server Virtual Appliance from Attensa. Essentially, Attensa has merged its existing Feed Server—an application for complete management of enterprise-wide RSS coordination—with the rPath Linux-based virtual appliance platform. The virtual appliance format, says Attensa, simplifies the hassles of installation, integration, maintenance and administration. A free trial version of the Feed Server is available at Attensa's Web site.
The company 2X is touting its new ThinClientServer 5 as not just a secure and cost-efficient solution but an environmentally friendly one as well. 2X claims that the thin-client model utilizes up to 50% less electricity than its fatter counterpart. ThinClientServer 5 deploys a small-footprint, always-up-to-date, Linux-based OS to popular thin-client devices. Some of Version 5's new features include full redundancy of configuration and settings, load balancing and high availability for PXE booting, ThinClientOS USB disk boot and installer, and Jetdirect print-server support. A free trial version is available on 2X's Web site.
The nifty Zimbra messaging and collaboration suite now has the honor of its own book, namely Packt Publishing's Zimbra: Implement, Administer and Manage by Marty Resnick. The book shows how to install and configure the multiplatform and open-source Zimbra server for use with Zimbra's Ajax Web client, Outlook and mobile devices. Some of the topics covered include application architecture, administration, security and Zimlets—the mashups that make Zimbra so unique and cool.
MontaVista has high hopes for its new Mobilinux 5.0, a mobile operating system used in a large number of Linux-based smartphones. The company says that Version 5.0, with its sophisticated development environment, will allow manufacturers to create new mobile devices (such as, phone handsets, GPS devices and wireless POS terminals) to consumers more quickly. Key highlights of this upgrade include NSA-level mobile security using MicroSELinux, dynamic power management, built-in connectivity (SDIO, Wi-Fi and so on), integrated real-time response, quick startup (less than seconds), smaller footprint, and support for multicore processors and the Linux 2.6.21 kernel. The first platforms supported will be Texas Instruments' OMAP 2430 and 3430, followed by six additional platforms in early 2008.
It always has been tough for small games publishers from outside the US to make their mark on our shores. Shipping boxes of air for mafia-controlled shelf space at CompUSA is no way to make a living. Thanks to the Internet, you can download cool (and Linux-based) games from publishers like Poland's Anawiki Games. Anawiki's new adventure is Path of Magic, sequel to its previous Runes of Magic. Playable without its predecessor, Path of Magic is a puzzle-driven game with more than 51 challenging levels, six image puzzles and two bonus games. The main character Evelyne continues her quest through Avalon and must find her way home on the “Path of Magic”. 3-D-accelerated OpenGL is required.
LessWatts.org is a new green project plus Web site from the Open Source Technology Center at Intel. The mission is to create “a community around saving power on Linux by bringing developers, users and sysadmins together to share software, optimizations, tips and tricks”. The site covers mobile devices, desktops and servers and uses both software and hardware solutions to reduce power consumption. One example of available solutions is PowerTOP, a tool for assessing how well a system is doing at saving power and which components are “misbehaving” while the computer is idle.
Arcom's new arrival is its TITAN PC/104 PXA270 single-board computer. TITAN is based on the Intel 520MHz PXA270 XScale RISC processor and is targeted at ultra-low-power, fanless embedded systems. Typical consumption is merely 1.5W, and additional dynamically adjusted sleep modes to reduce its power needs further are supported. The TITAN has ready-to-run development kits for embedded Linux and Microsoft Windows CE 5.0, each containing the requisite documentation and tools for immediate deployment.