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  1. A new feature added in test snapshots for the upcoming OpenBSD 6.2 release will create a unique kernel every time an OpenBSD user reboots or upgrades his computer. This feature is named KARL — Kernel Address Randomized Link — and works by relinking internal kernel files in a random order so that it generates a unique kernel binary blob every time. Currently, for stable releases, the OpenBSD kernel uses a predefined order to link and load internal files inside the kernel binary, resulting in the same kernel for all users. KARL is different from ASLR Developed by Theo de Raadt, KARL will work by generating a new kernel binary at install, upgrade, and boot time. If the user boots up, upgrades, or reboots his machine, the most recently generated kernel will replace the existing kernel binary, and the OS will generate a new kernel binary that will be used on the next boot/upgrade/reboot, constantly rotating kernels on reboots or upgrades. KARL should not be confused with ASLR — Address Space Layout Randomization — a technique that randomizes the memory address where application code is executed, so exploits can't target a specific area of memory where an application or the kernel is known to run. "It still loads at the same location in KVA [Kernel Virtual Address Space]. This is not kernel ASLR!," said de Raadt. Instead, KARL generates kernel binaries with random internal structures, so exploits cannot leak or attack internal kernel functions, pointers, or objects. A technical explanation is available below. A unique kernel is linked such that the startup assembly code is kept in the same place, followed by randomly-sized gapping, followed by all the other .o files randomly re-organized. As a result the distances between functions and variables are entirely new. An info leak of a pointer will not disclose other pointers or objects. This may also help reduce gadgets on variable-sized architectures, because polymorphism in the instruction stream is damaged by nested offsets changing. "As a result, every new kernel is unique," de Raadt says. Feature developed in the last two months Work on this feature started in May and was first discussed in mid-June on the OpenBSD technical mailing list. KARL has recently landed in snapshot versions of OpenBSD 6.1. "The situation today is that many people install a kernel binary from OpenBSD, and then run that same kernel binary for 6 months or more. Of course, if you booted that same kernel binary repeatedly, the layout would be the same. That is where we are today, for commited code," de Raadt says. "However, snapshots of -current contain a futher change, which I worked on with Robert Peichaer. That change is scaffolding to ensure you boot a newly-linked kernel upon every reboot. KARL is a unique feature Speaking to Bleeping Computer, Tiberiu C. Turbureanu, founder of Technoethical, a startup that sells privacy-focused hardware products, says this feature appears to be unique to OpenBSD. "It's not implemented in Linux," Turbureanu said. "This looks like a great idea," the expert added, regarding the possibility of having this feature ported to the Linux kernel. Instead, the Linux project has just added support for Kernel Address Space Layout Randomization (KASLR), a feature that ports ASLR to the kernel itself, loading the kernel at a randomized memory address. This feature was turned on by default in Linux 4.12, released last week. The difference between the two is that KARL loads a different kernel binary in the same place, while KASLR loads the same binary in random locations. Same goal, different paths. As for Windows, KARL is not supported, but Microsoft has used KASLR for many years. Fabian Wosar, Chief Technical Officer for antivirus maker Emsisoft is all on board with adding KARL to the Windows kernel. "OpenBSD's idea would go even further [than current Windows kernel protections] as everyone would have a unique kernel binary as well," Wosar said in a private conversation with Bleeping Computer. "So even if you had the address where the kernel starts (which is randomised), you couldn't use it to figure out where certain functions are located, as the location of the functions relative to the kernel start will be different from system to system as well," Wosar added. Having KARL on other OS platforms would greatly improve the security of both Windows and Linux users. Article source
  2. Windows has been my all time favourite operating system for years. No doubt Windows is the most popular operating system available. For all those who want to use their computer systems for basic jobs simply go for Windows. But the developer and geeks who have customised requirements from their operating system try different other operating systems. Another operating system which is also quite popular is Linux. Linux is an open-source and free operating system. People love to work on Linux for many reasons. If we talk about Linux vs Windows, then telling the best one in not that easy as it depends on the need of the user. ve Both Linux and Windows have a lot to offer to their users. So, which operating system you should opt? Difference between Linux and Windows? Are you planning to make a switch between Linux and Windows? In the war, “Linux vs Windows“, here are a few things you need to know. Difference between Linux and Windows You Need to Know Let’s get to know that which operating system is better for you is by comparing Linux and Windows in terms of user interface, security, graphics, gaming and other features. 1. Accessibility of source code: Linux vs Windows This is the first biggest difference between Windows and Linux. Linux provides full access to its source code to the users. Which means you can access the code and even make unlimited changes to it. Each Linux distributions has its not features and working and you can change any of it according to your need. On the other hands, you can never get access to the source code of Windows. So, Windows doesn’t allow its users to look up into its source code. You only get the executable file of the Windows operating system. Well, accessibility to source code has both good and bad points. First of all, if the source code of an operating system is all open to the people out there then those malicious developers or hackers can misuse it or take advantage of weak points of the source code. Also, it is good for those people who want to understand the software completely and want to modify it. Hence, it depends on you which Operating system you like on the basis of accessibility of source code. If you want to have full access to the source code then Linux is for you otherwise Windows is great. Winner: Linux 2. File Structure: Linux vs Windows Another crucial difference between Linux and Windows. The file structure of Linux is far different from that of the Windows. In Windows, you get separate drives like C drive, D drive, the desktop files, the document directory all are the separate ones. Files are displayed in a hierarchical tree structure. But in Linux it is like a single file tree where all the drive and directories are part of the single file. It doesn’t provide you MyDocument or program files, unlike Windows where all such things can be clearly seen and easily understandable. But in Linux, you will need to study all the file structure separately in order to understand it. Winner: Windows 3. Licensing: Linux vs Windows In Linux, there is free of license whereas in Windows it has many restrictions regarding the software’s license and its paid. Linux is a free open-source software which can be edited, modified both commercially and non-commercially under the terms of GNU General public and other respective licenses. You can install it on any number of machines for free. Windows on the other hand is a paid operating system. If you buy 1 license then you can run Windows legally on only 1 machine. If you want to install Windows on five machines then you will have to buy five licenses of Windows operating systems. This is one of the reasons why developers prefer to work on Linux. Winner: Linux 4. Registry: Linux vs Windows If you are a Windows user then you must have heard about Registry and also might have used it for some purpose. Registry saves the low-level settings for Windows and for some applications too which choose to use registry. The regsitry saves a lot of crucial data. It is important in many respects. But In the case of Linux, there is no such feature. Instead, it stores the setting on program-by-program. So, if you alter or change any program’s settings then it will not harm the other programs setting if something goes wrong. So, Linux configuration is modular, unlike Windows. Winner: Linux 5. Hardware support: Linux vs Windows I Found the Windows hardware support better and best than that of the Linux. If you want to install Linux operating system on your system then make sure that every piece of hardware is compatible with Linux as it’s hardware support is not that good. This was the huge problem years ago. Though it has been improved now some still exist. On the other hand, you don’t have to worry about the hardware you want to install Windows on your system as hardware support would not be a problem in this case. You will have to search for the correct driver. Otherwise, each hardware or device you attach to the Windows system, it is assured to make it give it’s 100%. So, Hardware support of Windows is far better than the Linux which makes Windows winner of this section. Winner: Windows 6. Ease of use: Linux vs Windows Windows is the easiest operating system to work on. It’s interface, design, and functionality is really easy for its users. You don’t need to go deeper to understand the operating system. Just install it and start working on your system. So, it’s great for those who just want to do their work on the system. Windows is perfect fit for even those who know very little about technology and gadgets. Even my Grandma uses Windows for some basis tasks like playing a movie or song. Whereas, it is quite difficult to understand Linux in order to work on it. You will have to learn how to do day-to-day function. If there occurs any technical issue then trouble shooting it can become really irritating. You might also find the user interface not so pleasing. Winner: Windows 7. Package manager: Linux vs Windows The best thing about Linux is its Package Manager which enables you to browse, download and install programs directly from it which is quite convenient as you don’t have to search over other browsers to get that particular program. But for Windows, there is no such program and you need to search for the program you want to install in your system you have to go through several steps in order to install it. First of you need to visit the developer’s website, search for the programs, download it and then install the .exe file of the program on your Windows system. Winner: Linux 8. Changes through versions: Linux vs Windows Windows has retained the same basic interface through all its versions. Though in Windows Vista it made some little changes to its interface, but that was almost as same as the previous one. Also, in Windows 8 there came complete new tiled interface which was not liked by many. And now in Windows 10, it is restored to the same one but the transitions and effects are something new in it. That’s not much change to the look of its Interface. But in the case of Linux, you can easily switch to the interface of the operating system without worrying about the re installations etc. as its interface is served from the core system. Also, there are some utilities such as GNOME and KDE etc. which makes it easier. Since, Linux is an open-source operating system it gets a lot of updates and rich features get constantly added to the operating system. Winner: Linux 9. Driver Setting: Linux vs Windows All the popular driver manufacturer companies focus more on the drivers for Windows than that of the Linux due to Windows widespread grasp on drivers. so, finding the best compatible driver for Windows is much easier. You can find and update almost every driver just by visiting the manufacturer’s website, browse the latest update of the driver and update it. But you will get highly irritated to find the latest compatible drivers for your Linux system. Especially for the gaming, as gaming on Linux is not that good as in Windows. Winner: Windows 10. Flexibility: Linux vs Windows Linux is quite more flexible than Windows. As it lets you alter the appearance of it as per your wish. For example, if you want to change the appearance of Desktop of your Linux system then you can easily do that. You can convert it from simple to that mind-blowing 3D Compiz. But in the case of Windows, you have to stuck with that old Microsoft desktop theme. The only thing which you can change it is wallpaper and nothing else. So, Windows is rigid whereas the Linux is really flexible. Winner: Linux 11. Reliability: Linux vs Windows In terms of reliability, Linux leaves behind the Windows. Linux is much reliable than that of Windows. No doubt that Windows have improved much but the sacrifices it makes for making the system more user-friendly it can lead system instability and security vulnerabilities. On the other hand, Linux mainly focuses on system security, process management, and uptime. Winner: Linux 12. Cost: Linux vs Windows Linux, as I said earlier is a free open-source operating system. Although, some companies offer paid support for various distributions but the underlying system software Linux is free of cost. On the other hand, it can cost you from $99 to $199 per licensed copy of Microsoft Windows. Winner: Linux 13. Threats And Security: Linux vs Windows A big difference between Linux and Windows. As compared to Linux, Windows is highly likely to get a victim of viruses and threats. Linux security is quite strong and if chance any threat or virus get into the operating system then it can be easily resolved the developers all around the world. But Windows is the primary target of malicious developers due to which it is more likely to be attacked by the viruses and threats. Windows users keep reporting about virus, adware and malware in their systems however, it is not the case with Linux. Linux is highly secure. Winner: Linux 14. Performance: Linux vs Windows In Windows, it uses a dynamically allocated page file for memory management. On the disk, a page file is allocated for all those objects which are less used and accessed can reside in so that it can leave the enough room for those objects which are actively used. But due to disk fragmentation this scheme suffers slow-down. On the other hand, in Linux there is dedicated partition called swap partition for all the paging operations where all the hard drive installations happen. So, there it is comparatively faster than Windows. There is also huge difference between the file systems of both the OS. In windows, NTFS file system causes file fragmentation due to the way it works. Whereas The file system of Linux doesn’t require any file fragmentation. Also, the visual transition effects and others are very less in Linux so programs load easily. Winner: Linux 15. Customer support: Linux vs Windows Customer support of Microsoft Windows is superior to that of the paid help-desk support of Linux. There are many web forums, websites and hundreds of informative books about Windows where you can find solutions to your problems. For Linux too, there is mass online support available for the same. And you can also buy paid helpdesk support for the Linux. Winner: Windows So, these were some basic but important differences between Linux and Windows. Now it’s up to you to decide which one of these fulfils your requirements. Hope this comparison makes it easier for you to choose between Linux and Windows. Article source
  3. ReactOS 0.4.5 released The development team behind ReactOS, an open source project attempting to create a free computer operating system that's 100% compatible with Windows binaries, announced the release of ReactOS 0.4.5. ReactOS 0.4.5 is a maintenance update that adds numerous changes and improvements over the previous point release. The kernel has been updated in this version to improve the FreeLoader and UEFI booting, as well as the Plug and Play modules, adding support for more computers to boot ReactOS without issues. The Memory Manager and Common Cache areas of the kernel were improved as well in ReactOS, which no longer becomes unbootable when creating a system partition, and now avoids attempts to reinstall a driver during reboot when a previous attempt already failed. Taking about drivers, ReactOS 0.4.5 includes various fixes and speedups for the FAT32 driver, addresses a BSoD (Blue Screen of Death) that occurred when changing floppy drives, correctly reports processors to the system, and patches some USB leaks. Theming improvements, reworked and improved commands and utilities To improve theming, ReactOS 0.4.5 adds some major enhancements to the comctl32 and uxtheme components. It also includes some fixes to the Winsock 2 DLL so that apps won't crash so often, and introduces a basic NTLM implementation to the secur32 component. A bunch of commands and utilities were reworked or improved in this release of ReactOS. For example, the "at" command was implemented and the "tree" command reworked, but the font and even viewers, as well as the scheduler service have been greatly improved. Check the changelog attached below for more details. Various apps were added into RAPPS, which as finally replaced in ReactOS 0.4.5. Other than that, it looks like support for Asian fonts was implemented into the console properties dialog, and various components updated, including FreeType 2.7.1, zlib 1.2.11, libpng 1.6.28, libjpeg 9b, libtiff 4.0.7, uniata 0.46e3, ACPICA 20170303, mbedTLS 2.4.0, Wine Staging 2.2, and mkisofs schily-2017-02-16. ReactOS 0.4.5 also includes a handful of improvements to the Win32 subsystem and the shell, improving the Start Menu, the Folder Options dialog, etc. You can download ReactOS 0.4.5 if you want to install the operating system on a new computer, but if you're using ReactOS 0.4.4 or a previous release, you can simply update your installation. Changelog Source
  4. Tails 3.0 Anonymous Live OS Enters Beta, Ships with Linux 4.9 and GNOME 3.22 It will only work on 64-bit desktop and laptop computers The next version of the Tails 2.x series will be 2.11, currently scheduled for launch in early March, but it looks like the development of the Tails 3.0 major release continues in the background, and now users can get their hands on the Beta build. Tails 3.0 Beta comes two and a half months after the Alpha milestone released last year in November, when the project's developers announced that they would drop support for 32-bit systems, allowing the amnesic incognito live system to run only on 64-bit PCs. As usual, we took the Beta version of Tails 3.0 for a test drive to see what's new, and we can report that it's based on the upcoming Debian GNU/Linux 9 "Stretch" operating system and it's powered by the long-term supported Linux 4.9 kernel. GNOME 3.22 is the default desktop environment with redesigned Greeter However, probably the coolest new features of Tails 3.0 is the revamped Tails Greeter, a small dialog that will pop-up when you run the live system for the first time on your computer, helping you set up the default language, keyboard layout, formats, and other settings. Of course, Tails 3.0 will come pre-installed with all the anonymity tools that you love, including the recently introduced OnionShare utility for anonymous file sharing. The latest Tor and Tor Browser applications are also included to keep your identity safe from hackers and hide from government agencies. Numerous bugs have been squashed in this new pre-release version of Tails 3.0, but many known issues remain unresolved, and you can read all about them before jumping on the beta testing bandwagon in the official release notes. Without further ado, you can download the Tails 3.0 Beta Live ISO image right now, write it on a USB flash drive, and take it for a test drive on your modern, 64-bit computer. If you decide to stick with it, please keep in mind that it's a pre-release version, not suitable for production use, despite the fact that it will receive security updates. Source
  5. OpenBSD 6.1 released The OpenBSD 6.1 operating system was officially announced today, April 11, 2017, by developer Theo de Raadt. It's a major release that adds support for new platforms, new hardware, and lots of up-to-date components. OpenBSD 6.1 comes seven months after the release of OpenBSD 6.0, and while it's a point release, it adds numerous improvements, such as support for the ARM64 (AArch64) hardware architecture, an extra layer of performance to the ARMv7 platform, support for systems with Loongson 3A CPUs and RS780E chipsets. A lot of new drivers were added as well in this massive update of OpenBSD, adding support for Loongson 3A PCI host bridges, Hyper-V networking interfaces, OMAP pin multiplexing and wake-up generators, Hyper-V guest Nexus device, ACPI Smart Battery devices, as well as ACPI ambient light sensor devices. Kaby Lake support is implemented as well in OpenBSD 6.1, along with support for Lewisburg PCH Ethernet MACs with I219 PHYs, support for RTL8153 USB 3.0 Gigabit Ethernet-based devices, support for X550 family of 10 Gigabit Ethernet-based devices, and better ACPI support for Apple's latest Macs. Updated applications, improved components Lots of IEEE 802.11 wireless and generic network stack, installer, routing daemons and other userland network, vmm(4), vmd(8), dhclient(8), dhcpd(8), and dhcrelay(8), as well as security improvements are also present in the OpenBSD 6.1 release, which comes with various updated components. These include OpenSMTPD 6.0.0, OpenSSH 7.4, LibreSSL 2.5.3, mandoc 1.14.1, X.Org 7.7, Mesa 13.0.6, GCC 4.2.1, LLVM/Clang 4.0.0, Perl 5.24.1, Unbound 1.6.1, GNU Binutils 2.17, Ncurses 5.7, NSD 4.1.15, GDB 6.3, Expat 2.1.1, TeX Live 2015, PHP 5.5.38, 5.6.30, and 7.0.16, Chromium 57.0, AFL 2.39b, Mutt 1.8.0, Node.js 6.10.1, and Xfce 4.12. Apps like LibreOffice 5.2.4.2, GIMP 2.8.18, Mozilla Firefox 52.0.2 ESR, Emacs 21.4 and 25.1, GHC 7.10.3, Groff 1.22.3, OpenLDAP 2.3.43 and 2.4.44, PostgreSQL 9.6.2, MariaDB 10.0.30, Mono 4.6.2.6, and Mozilla Thunderbird 45.8.0 are also included. You can download OpenBSD 6.1 right now from our website. Source
  6. Windows XP Has More Users than Windows Vista and Windows 8 Combined, Avast Says Avast provides Windows usage data in latest report While it’s important to note that these figures come from computers running Avast, they do align with the statistics provided by research firms whose main activity is monitoring operating system usage, so there’s a good chance these are accurate. First and foremost, there’s leader Windows 7. According to Avast, the operating system launched in 2009 is currently powering more than 56 million computers where its antivirus product is installed, and this means a share of no less than 48.35 percent. Windows 10 is growing, the security firm says, and it managed to reach a share of 30.46 percent, which accounts for a little over 35 million devices running Avast security software. Windows XP still a super-popular choice But what’s a little more worrying for everyone, including here Microsoft, users, and Avast itself, is that Windows XP, which was launched in 2001 and no longer receives security updates since April 2014, is still running on more than 6.5 million computers. This means that it has a share of 5.64 percent, more than Windows 8 (2.51 percent) and Windows Vista (2.08 percent) combined. Windows 8 was launched in 2012 as Microsoft’s new revolution, but its small market share is mostly the result of most people choosing the free upgrade to Windows 8.1. The OS launched one year later has a share of 10.96 percent, which represents 12.7 million PCs running Avast. For what it’s worth, Windows Vista is also reaching end of support next month, so users who are still running this OS, and there are at least 2 million according to Avast, should already start planning the upgrade. Windows 10 is the safest bet right now, as Windows 7 itself is also projected to reach EOL in January 2020. Source
  7. Adguard Website: Download Windows And Office ISO Images Adguard is a third-party web service that allows you to download Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office ISO images from Microsoft services directly. Microsoft makes it quite difficult for the average user to download ISO images of Windows or Office. While you can grab some ISOs from Microsoft directly, it gets quite complicated if you need ISO images of older Microsoft products. One of the better options to get those is provided by the Windows ISO Downloader program for Windows. You may use the program to grab ISO images of Windows or Office versions or editions straight from Microsoft servers. The program is available for Windows only however, so that you cannot really use it if you happen to use a different operating system. Adguard: Download Windows and Office ISO images The Adguard website offers an alternative. If's biggest advantage over Windows ISO Downloader is that it is a web service. You need a modern web browser to access it, but don't need to install programs or plugins to make use of it. All you have to do is pick an interface language at the top, and select the product that you want to download using the menus provided. The following five menus determine the product: Type: Windows RTM, Windows Insider, Office, Other. Version: depends on type, includes Windows 7, 8.1 and 10, Office 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2011 for Mac, and recent Windows 10 Insider Preview builds. Edition: depends on type and version. Windows editions include Home, Pro, Enterprise, Office include Home,Personal, Professional, and more. Language: lists all supported languages based on the type, version and edition. File: usually 32-bit or 64-bit, if provided. Once you have made the last selection, the file download link is provided right away. The listing includes the file size of the download, and the SHA1 hash. Downloads, at least those that I have tested, originate from Microsoft servers. It is recommended that you check the download link before you start it. The Adguard site seems to be powered by Microsoft TechBench, the same source that the Windows ISO Downloader is also getting its files from. Closing Words Adguard offers another method of downloading Windows and Office ISO images to the local system. Since it relies on TechBench, it is equally dependent on Microsoft not shutting down access to older ISO images. The service works well right now, and downloads are quite fast considering that they are served directly from Microsoft servers and not third-party servers. (via Born) Source Tips: Download RTM only ISO versions from here. Choose proper listing and right ISO[x86 / x64] before download. Check d/w link and Checksum. Optionally, You can directly download the ISO using Direct Links without filling the form here. Make sure you choose the right ISO and Checksum. This direct-download will also help those who use ancient browsers. Alternate site for similar Downloads: TechBench Dump(GitHubGist) - [Updated - 2017-03-20T16:20:00+0100]
  8. Windows 10 Had More Vulnerabilities than Windows 7 Last Year This doesn’t necessarily mean it’s less secure though Specifically, the study shows that last year, Microsoft addressed a total of 729 vulnerabilities in its software, more than the 703 confirmed for 2015. What’s a bit worrying, however, is that this is nearly the double of the vulnerability count in 2014, when Microsoft found and fixed 383 security flaws. The research also indicates that Internet Explorer continues to be the Microsoft application with the biggest number of vulnerabilities, with an all-time chart indicating that the browser was affected by no less than 1,261 flaws. Surprisingly, however, Windows 10 is the runner-up, with Microsoft’s latest operating system getting the second spot with 705 vulnerabilities. Windows 10 was launched in July 2015 and 2016 was its first full year on the market. Windows Server 2012 is third with 660 vulnerabilities, while Windows 7 comes next with 647 flaws. Windows Vista is fifth with 621. Users not exposed despite the bigger number of vulnerabilities What’s essential to know is that although the number of vulnerabilities increased in Windows 10, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the latest operating system is less secure than its predecessors. Most of these vulnerabilities were privately reported to Microsoft and they were fixed before any exploits went public, so users weren’t exposed to any attacks. At the same time, Microsoft is also paying particular focus to making Windows 10 capable of mitigating zero-day vulnerabilities even when no patch is available. Recently, the company revealed that Windows 10 Anniversary Update, which was launched in August 2016, managed to cope with attacks aimed at exploiting unpatched vulnerabilities in the operating system, keeping users secure until Microsoft actually delivered a fix. Furthermore, Microsoft has already started downplaying Windows 7, explaining that it’s less secure than Windows 10 and pointing to the security features that its latest operating system has and which are missing because of the obvious technical limitations on its predecessors. Source
  9. Linux Mint 18.1 Released The Linux Mint team has just released the long term support release Linux Mint 18.1 as a KDE and Xfce edition to the public. The new version of Linux Mint brings software updates and refinements mostly. First, some information on Linux Mint 18.1 being a long term support release. The Mint team will support Linux Mint 18.1 with security updates until 2021. Future versions of Linux Mint will use the same base package as Linux Mint 18.1 until 2018. This ensures that it is easy to update to new versions. Starting in 2018, the Linux Mint team will work on a new base package and focus its efforts on it. The previous versions of Linux Mint will be supported until 2017 (Linux Mint 13), or 2019 (Linux Mint 17.x). Linux Mint 18.1 Linux Mint 18.1 Cinnamon, released earlier this month If you are upgrading from Linux Mint 18, you can use the built-in Update Manager for that as it offers the most convenient experience: Select Menu, and there Administration > Update Manager. Click on Refresh once the Update Manager interface has loaded. Click on "install updates" afterwards to start the process. Check out our detailed how to upgrade Linux Mint guide for additional information on the process. Some features of the new Mint version are available in the KDE and the Xfce release. Many are edition specific however. Linux Mint 18.1 What's New The Update Manager may display the Origin of an update in the latest version. You need to enable it under View > Visible Columns > Origin in the Update Manager menu before it becomes available. Kernel updates are highlighted better in the Update Manager, and when you open the kernel window, kernels are now sorted by version and recommendations are given for the most stable, and the most secure kernel. The Linux Mint 18.1 Xfce edition ships with updates to built-in applications, and even some changes. Xed for instance saw improvements to the on-page search functionality. Search opens at the bottom now instead of the top so that it does not obstruct part of the text anymore. It is real-time now as well as it finds text while you are typing, and you may tap on the Enter-key at any point in time to jump to the first result quickly. The editor supports dark themes fully in the latest version, and highlights to you if it is run with administrative privileges. Xplayer, the media player, may blank secondary displays now when playing a video in full screen. Other improvements include full compatibility with EXIF orientation tags, and that the rotation plugin and the subtitle plugin are enabled by default. The media player Banshee was replaced with Rhythmbox in Linux Mint 18.1. The reason given was that Banshee "suffered many regressions lately". Other improvements in Linux Mint 18.1 Software Sources supports anycast now which picks an appropriate server near your physical location automatically when selected opposed to selecting one of the available mirrors near your location manually. New selection of background desktop images. KDE Only: KDE Plasma 5.8 desktop environment. Xfce Only: You can navigate categories in the application menu using the keyboard now. The menu supports web search actions, for instance !w Ghacks to search Wikipedia for the term Ghacks. Xfce Only: Language settings checks are improved, as localized versions of "a lot more" packages are now installed. The Input Methods configuration screen has been improved to make the selection easier and better understandable for novice users. You can check out the release notes for Linux Mint 18.1 Xfce and KDE here. Download links for the latest ISO image of Linux Mint 18.1 are provided on the official site. This is useful if you want to test the new version in a Live CD or virtual environment first, or install it from scratch. Source
  10. Tails 2.10 Amnesic Live System Adds OnionShare Tool for Anonymous File Sharing Includes Tor to 0.2.9.9 and Tor Browser 6.5 If you want to stay hidden online and you are on the go, the best way is to use Tails. The Debian-based Live ISO images can be easily written on a USB flash drive that you can carry with you anywhere, connect it to your computer, and access all your favorite websites through the Tor anonymity network. The latest version, Tails 2.10, has been in development for the past five weeks, since Tails 2.9.1, and a first Release Candidate arrived only ten days ago. New features include the OnionShare tool that lets you share files anonymously, circuit view functionality in the Tor Browser, as well as support for exFAT file systems. The OnionCircuits tool that lets users view the status of Tor has now been made compatible with the popular Orca open-source screen reader and magnifier utility, and Tails 2.10 comes packed with all the latest security updates from the Debian GNU/Linux 8 "Jessie" software repositories. Tor to 0.2.9.9, Tor Browser 6.5, and Linux kernel 4.8 The new Tails version is using the latest Tor 0.2.9.9 and Tor Browser 6.5 technologies, along with a completely revamped Tor control port filter, allowing users to safely share files anonymously using OnionShare and use the new circuit view of Tor Browser. The Icedove 45.6.0 email and news client is also present in Tails 2.10. Under the hood, we can't help but notice that Tails 2.10 is powered by the Linux 4.8 kernel series, which should improve the hardware support, but, unfortunately, it reached end of life earlier this month. We do hope that the next Tails release, versioned 2.11, will come with the long-term supported Linux 4.9 kernel. Among other noteworthy changes, Tails 2.10 replaces the AdBlock Plus add-on with uBlock Origin on Tor Browser, uses Debian GNU/Linux's Onion services, renames the "Live" bootloader menu entry to "Tails," removes Nyx (arm), and replaces the "failsafe" bootloader entry with "Troubleshooting Mode." If you're using Tails on a newer AMD Radeon GPU, you should know that Tails 2.10 comes pre-installed with the open-source AMDGPU graphics driver. Existing users can upgrade to the new version as we speak, if they're using Tails 2.7 or 2.9.1. The rest of the world can download the new Tails 2.10 32-bit ISO image right now with install instructions. Tails 2.11 is currently scheduled to land on March 3, 2017. Source
  11. The fate of Windows 10 lies in the hands of users that are still deeply in love with Windows 7. Windows 7 This year's CES saw plenty of shiny new Windows 10 devices on display, from the acrobat Lenovo Yoga through to HP's all-in-one Sprout Pro. Hardware like this will certainly boost the fortunes of Windows 10. Sleek new designs and form factors, and the rise of two-in-one devices like the Surface Pro that can function both as a PC and a tablet, are giving consumers and businesses a reason to invest in Microsoft's latest operating system. And Windows 10 has made some decent inroads thus far: it now accounts for somewhere around a quarter of PCs accessing the internet as measured by NetMarketShare. All data like this needs to be looked at in terms of trends rather than details, of course, but in December 2016 - the most current data available, Windows 7 stood at 48 percent, Windows 10 had 24 percent, Windows 8.1 held seven percent, Windows XP nine percent, and Windows 8 had just two percent. Contrast that with June 2015, just before Windows 10 arrived. Windows 7 stood at 61 percent, Windows 8.1 at 13 percent, Windows XP had 12 percent and Windows 8 just three percent. A few obvious points leap out. First, Windows XP usage hasn't changed very much at all as a result of the arrival of Windows 10. That's hardly surprising: Windows XP wasn't part of the free consumer upgrade programme that Microsoft offered. Windows XP is long, long past its sell-by date, and most of the hardware running XP is probably so old that is can't be upgraded anyway. If users are happy running such an antique and insecure operating system they'll probably keep using it until the hardware gives up or the Sun expands to finally vapourise the Earth, whichever is sooner. Second, Microsoft did a good job encouraging people to move away from Windows 8. Perhaps they didn't need much encouraging, considering the reception that Windows 8 got, but it's all but vanished. For Windows 8.1 its (unsurprisingly) is a similar story and usage has fallen rapidly, which presumably means many users have been happy to take their (largely) free upgrade to Windows 10. But what about Windows 7? This is the big one, of course. Usage has decline according to the NetMarketShare data - from 61 percent to 48 percent over 18 months, which looks at first glance like a rapid decline. But the big question for Microsoft is whether that erosion of Windows 7 usage will continue. Looking at the numbers more carefully, most of the drop in Windows 7 usage came in the first year that Windows 10 was available: since April 2016 Windows 7 usage has stayed pretty stable. That's likely because most of the switchers were consumers. More cautious types and businesses in particular have held fire. In Windows 7, Microsoft built a good product that companies like. It's now tried and tested, works with their existing infrastructure and their users are confident using it. And they worry about how big a leap it is to Windows 10. More will no doubt consider the upgrade as Windows 7 heads towards the end of its lifecycle (Microsoft's extended support, which included security updates, ends in January 2020). Unless Microsoft finds a compelling set of reasons to encourage upgrades, Windows 7 is will go the same way as Windows XP and become an operating system that just won't die. That could become a realy headache for Microsoft if it happens. Microsoft of course would very much like as many users as possible of Windows 10, if only to help ignite the app ecosystem it is trying to build. Much hangs on the reception of the Windows 10 Anniversary Update which some think will be the final push that starts enterprise rollouts. And one Microsoft exec has already warned that Windows 7 "does not meet the requirements of modern technology, nor the high security requirements of IT department." Microsoft has big ambitions for Windows 10, even if it has admitted it won't now hit its target of one billion Windows 10 devices by 2018. Just when it does hit that target will depend greatly on persuading Windows 7 fans to upgrade sooner, rather than later - or not at all. Article source
  12. How to Opt Out of iOS Beta Updates and Reinstall iOS 10.2.1 on Your iPhone/iPad The tutorial also applies to iPod touch devices iOS 10.2.1 is the first point release to the iOS 10.2 series. It received a total of four Beta/Public Beta versions during its entire development cycle since mid-December last year. The last one was seeded only ten days ago. Like many of us running the iOS 10.2.1 Public Beta 4 release, it turns out you'll not receive the final version of iOS 10.2.1, which some will say it's identical with the last Beta, but what if your device is not working properly and you are still experiencing bugs. For example, we found out that, since we've installed the last Public Beta versions of iOS 10.2.1 on our iPhone 6 device, some applications were very slow to load and not so responsive like they used to be. Also, we noticed major battery drains. Removing the iOS Public Beta profile If you're experiencing the same issues on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch device, it's time to refresh it by reinstalling the operating system. First off, make sure that you have a recent iCloud backup, or at least a local backup in iTunes. It's time to remove the Public Beta profile (you can always reinstall it at a later time if you still want to use upcoming Beta versions), so open the Settings app, go to General, scroll down to the Profile section and click it. Then, remove the iOS Beta profile by pressing the red "Delete Profile" button. Restoring the device and reinstalling iOS Connect your device to your personal computer, where the latest version of iTunes needs to be installed (make sure you have the latest version installed, 12.5.5 at the moment of writing). With the device connected to your PC, enter DFU mode. Entering DFU Mode is as simple as pressing and holding both the Power and Home buttons on your device until you see the Apple logo on the screen. Release the Power button but keep holding the Home one until the "Connect to iTunes" logo appears. iTunes will soon offer you the option to "Restore and Update" the device. Click the "Restore and Update" button and the application will tell you that iOS 10.2.1 is available. Click OK and let it download the update. Once iTunes completes downloading iOS 10.2.1 from Apple's servers, it will soon begin installing it on your device. You don't have to do anything at this point, just don't touch anything and make sure your computer has enough battery or that it's plugged in. Reset and erase the device to restore it from a backup Just before iOS 10.2.1 finishes installing, iTunes will display a message saying "Congratulations, your iPhone has been unlocked. To set up and sync this iPhone, click Continue." Click the "Continue" button and iTunes will immediately detect your device. At this point, you need to set up your device by pressing the Home button. Choose your preferred language and region. On the next screen, you'll have to connect to your Wi-Fi network. Then, enable the location services, or simply don't. It doesn't matter, because we're going to reset and erase the device anyway, so there's no need to set up Touch ID now. When you reach the home screen, open the Settings app, go to the Reset section and press on "Erase All Content and Settings." Erase your device, which will bring you to the setup screen again. So, this time, make sure that you set up everything correctly, including Touch ID, location services, etc., and, after entering your Apple ID, you can finally choose to restore from a backup. Select the restore method you want (we prefer the iCloud backup) and let your device restore the backup, which can take a few good minutes. Once everything is restored, you can unlock your device and access the home screen. Most of the apps will continue to download and install in the background, so you'll have to wait a little longer for everthing to be exactly like it was before you've started all this. Congratulations, you refreshed your device and have the final iOS 10.2.1 installed, too. Source
  13. At last – we’ve done it! I’ve anticipated this day for ages – the day when the first commercially available mass market hardware device based our own secure operating system landed on my desk. And here she is, the beaut. This unassuming black box is a protected layer 3 switch powered by Kaspersky OS and designed for networks with extreme requirements for data security. And there’s plenty more in the pipeline where this came from too, meaning the tech will be applied in other Internet-connected bits of kit, aka the Internet of Things (IoT). Why? Because this OS just so happens to be ideal for applications where a small, optimized and secure platform is required. The operating system boasts several distinctive features. Let me run through the main ones briefly… First, it’s based on microkernel architecture, which allows to assemble ‘from blocks’ different modifications of the operating system depending on a customer’s specific requirements. Second, there’s its built-in security system, which controls the behavior of applications and the OS’s modules. In order to hack this platform a cyber-baddie would need to break the digital signature, which – any time before the introduction of quantum computers – would be exorbitantly expensive. Third, everything has been built from scratch. Anticipating your questions: not even the slightest smell of Linux. All the popular operating systems aren’t designed with security in mind, so it’s simpler and safer to start from the ground up and do everything correctly. Which is just what we did. And just the other day we celebrated the birth of this new OS! The very first meeting held regarding this project took place 14 (fourteen!) years ago almost to the day – on November 11! Not that we’ve been diligently coding and testing since then; in that amount of time with sufficient resources you could see several projects through to the end and update and improve them all several times over! No, in the first several years not a single line of code was written. We met from time to time, discussed technical details, architecture, and drew pretty pictures on large sheets of paper. Then we built up a team – very slowly, since OS specialists are few and far between. And onwards we move, slowly but surely. Fast forward several years, and today we aren’t simply celebrating the latest team discussion, but our first commercial hardware device actually ready! November 11 is of course easy to remember as it’s 11-11. Which is birthday of our big, ambitious project. Indeed, within the company the project is known simply as ’11-11′. 14 years is a serious age for any project. Looking back it seems so quaint now how at the start we argued about the architecture and the basic parameters of the future OS and felt a little bit like… alchemists with compasses trying to make squares out of circles. The question to which we were searching for an answer was this: how can we build an operating system that will be impossible to hack in principle? Is it possible in practice? Meanwhile, all around this alchemy folks were fairly astonished: just what were we thinking? We’d decided to make an unhackable platform and ruin our other security business model?! Indeed, we were often asked why such an OS is really necessary. Here’s why: Once, cyberthreats targeting critical infrastructure, telecoms and other modern-life-essential systems looked mostly like science fiction. No one – besides us paranoids (actually, and also the most advanced hackers, cyber-spies and cyber-militaries) really had any idea that data security could directly affect physical security. Nor were they aware that literally all digital systems in existence around the world can be hacked. After all, we started our project long before Stuxnet, and even before Die Hard 4, where the cyber-baddies hacked and wrecked critical infrastructure. But as time has passed the general level of understanding of the threats has gradually – and increasingly conspicuously – risen… The serious problem of security of critical infrastructure started to be discussed at high-profile international conferences. Then, gradually, the topic started to spread into the imaginations of Hollywood (Die Hard 4, Skyfall…). Next, literally in the last year to 18 months, attention has risen still further – exponentially – to finally make the topic of cybersecurity one of the main topics at various top-level international summits and meetings of world leaders. Meanwhile, quietly in the background all this time, alchemists KL experts were toiling away in their workshops edging ever nearer to the unveiling of our very own OS! We realized that the operating system needed to have lots of different applications. First, it should provide a basis for the development of protected industrial control systems. Second, it should provide a basis for the development of protected embedded devices, including the IoT. Btw, the recent DDoS attack on Dyn’s DNS servers, which brought down sites like Amazon and Twitter, was carried out by a botnet that had infected ‘smart’ (actually, rather stupid:) devices like IP-cameras. The attack generated an astounding 1.2 terabytes a second – the biggest DDoS in history. So, I’m hoping it’s obvious by now how protecting the IoT and, of course, critical infrastructure (industry, transport, telecoms, etc.) from IT threats is simply mandatory. I also hope it’s clear that it’s better – no matter how difficult – to build IoT/infrastructure devices from the very beginning in such a way that hacking them is practically impossible. Indeed, that is a fundamental goal with Kaspersky OS. That was all mostly a teaser really. Coming up soon – more details about our secure operating system. Article source
  14. Antivirus Firm Kaspersky launches Its Own Secure Operating System The popular cyber security and antivirus company Kaspersky has unveiled its new hack-proof operating system: Kaspersky OS. The new operating system has been in development for last 14 years and has chosen to design from scratch rather than relying on Linux. Kaspersky OS makes its debut on a Kraftway Layer 3 Switch, CEO Eugene Kaspersky says in his blog post, without revealing many details about its new operating system. The Layer of 3-switch is the very first tool for running the Kaspersky OS, which is designed for networks with extreme requirements for data security and aimed at critical infrastructure and Internet of Things (IoT) devices. What's new in Kaspersky OS than others? Kaspersky OS is based on Microkernel Architecture: The new secure OS is based on microkernel architecture that enables users to customize their own operating system accordingly. So, depending on a user's specific requirements, Kaspersky OS can be designed by using different modifications blocks of the operating system. Kaspersky OS is non-Linux: Yes, one of the three major distinctive features of the new OS mentioned by Kaspersky is that the GUI-less operating system has been constructed from scratch and does not contain "even the slightest smell of Linux." But what makes Kaspersky OS Hack-Proof? It is the operating system's inbuilt security system. Yes, Kaspersky OS inbuilt security system has the ability to control the behavior of applications and the OS modules. Kaspersky OS claims itself as practically unhackable OS, because for gaining unauthorized access, any hacker would need to break the digital signature of an account holder, which is possible only with a quantum computer. Kaspersky talked about the recent DDoS attacks that affected numerous websites in past few months. He guaranteed that Kaspersky OS would protect devices, such as industrial control systems, SCADA or ICS, and IoTs, from cyber attacks. The most severe one was the recent massive DDoS attack on Dyn's DNS servers, which knock down popular sites like Amazon and Twitter. The attack was carried out by Mirai botnets that had infected smart devices like security cameras. So, Kaspersky says it is mandatory to protect the IoT and other critical infrastructure (like industry, transport, and telecoms) from IT threats. More details about Kaspersky's secure operating system is coming soon. Stay Tuned! Source
  15. Tails 2.7 Anonymous Live CD Ships with Let's Encrypt Certificates, Tor 0.2.8.9 Also brings Tor Browser 6.0.6, Linux 4.7, and Icedove 45.4.0 Tails 2.7 has been in development for the past one and a half months, during which it received numerous security fixes and updated components. However, the most important change implemented in this version is support for Let's Encrypt SSL certificates. "This release fixes many security issues and users should upgrade as soon as possible," reads today's announcement. "[We] ship LetsEncrypt intermedite SSL certificate so that our tools will be able to go on authenticating our website when its certifcate will be updated." Tor 0.2.8.9 and Tor Browser 6.0.6 have been included As for the updated components and applications included in today's Tails 2.7 release, we can mention the latest stable Tor 0.2.8.9 anonymity network and Tor Browser 6.0.6 web browser for surfing the Internet via the Tor network, as wel as the Icedove 45.4.0 email and news client. Under the hood, Tails 2.7 appears to be powered by a kerne from the Linux 4.7 series, which, unfortunately, reached end of life last month. Tails 2.7 also addresses an issues with the Synaptic Package Manager to allow the installation of packages with the correct architecture, and sets the default spelling to en_US in Icedove. As nothing is perfect in this world, Tails 2.7 ships with a known issue, which could affect those who set the security slider of the Tor Browser to High, as they'll need to click on a link to view the result of the search executed using the search box. Tails 2.7 is available for download right now. Source
  16. Report discusses the possibility of switching to Windows 10 Munich is the pioneer of en masse migration from Windows to Linux after the city started the transition to open-source software in 2004 and completed it many years after that, but it turns out that local authorities are once again considering going back to Windows and Office in the coming years. The key word here is considering and a decision in this case has not yet been made, but a report commissioned by current mayor Dieter Reiter discusses a possible move to Windows 10 and Office for the approximately 20,000 systems that are currently in use. In approximately nine years, Munich moved about 15,000 staff from Windows and Office to open-source alternatives, including LiMux, which is the city’s own Linux distribution based on Ubuntu, and LibreOffice, replacing the more expensive Office productivity suite. But the report brings back the idea of returning to Windows and Office as there are departments where the use of open-source software still doesn’t advance as planned. One of the agencies that are supporting the transition back to Windows is the human resources department (known as POR), who explains that productivity dropped dramatically because of crashes and bugs that engineers had to fix. The department cites old software and issues such as errors in how PDFs are displayed, as some of the problems that employees have to deal with every day. "The POR strongly supports a swift and structured transition to Windows, Microsoft Office products and standard applications," the organization explains. Old software LiMux, currently at version 5, is based on Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (which stands for Long Term Support), whereas the newest version available for public users is 16.04. Approximately 45 percent of machines are running this version, while 32 percent of them are powered by LiMux version 4.1. 23 percent were running 4.0 when the report was conducted. More than 4,000 PCs used by Munich are still running Windows, and according to a report from TechRepublic, 77 percent of them are on Windows 7, 9 percent on Windows XP and Vista, and 14 percent on Windows 2000. While the transition back to Windows and Office isn’t yet happening, the city is planning to at least give employees the option to choose between Windows and Linux when setting up new computers. This way, authorities are trying to make sure that productivity won’t be affected in any way, but it remains to be seen if such a decision also makes sense when it comes to costs. Matthias Kirschner, president of the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE), pointed to some details that make the whole report sound a little fishy: it was conducted by Accenture, a company that’s involved in a joint venture with Microsoft called Avanade and whose purpose is to help the software giant implement Microsoft tech, such as Windows and Office, for businesses and organizations worldwide. While a connection between the study and Microsoft is hard to be confirmed (but it’s not out of the table either), Accenture guarantees this is just an “independent view” and it shouldn’t be associated with the Redmond-based software giant. As a refresher, Microsoft considered Munich’s transition to Linux such a critical moment that even CEO Steve Ballmer himself flew to Germany to discuss the matter with the mayor and attempt to convince them to give up on this plan. Article source
  17. Ubuntu Budgie Is Now an Official Ubuntu Flavor The distro features the Budgie desktop environment That's right, after two successful major releases, budgie-remix has finally been accepted as an official Ubuntu flavor, earlier today during a meeting where four members of Canonical's Ubuntu Technical Board voted positive. As such, we're extremely happy to inform our readers that the new Ubuntu flavor is called Ubuntu Budgie. In April this year, when budgie-remix hit the road towards its first major release, versioned 16.04, we reported that David Mohammed was kind enough to inform Softpedia about the fact that he got in touch with Ubuntu MATE leader Martin Wimpress, who urged the developer to target Ubuntu 16.10 for an official status. budgie-remix 16.10 arrived as well this fall shortly after the release of Ubuntu 16.10 (Yakkety Yak), and the dream of becoming an official Ubuntu flavor is now a reality. "We now move full steam ahead and look forward to working with the Ubuntu Developer Membership Board to examine and work through the technical aspects [...] 17.04 will be our first official release under the new name," said David Mohammed in the announcement. Budgie 11 desktop environment is coming soon to Ubuntu Budgie 16.10 After this major announcement, most probably the budgie-remix developers will have a lot of work on their hands with the rebranding of the entire project from budgie-remix to Ubuntu Budgie, including the website and other components of the distribution, but we don't know yet if existing users will receive the changes. However, we know for sure that when the Solus Project releases the Budgie 11 desktop environment later this year, Ubuntu Budgie users will receive the major update as well through the official channels. In the meantime, you can start using Ubuntu Budgie right now by downloading the latest release from budgie-remix. In related news, the Ubuntu Budgie developers have recently discussed with Solus Project leader Ikey Doherty to ensure an effective and positive collaboration between the two teams, which means that any improvement made by Ubuntu Budgie devs to the Budgie desktop will also land for Solus users, or users of other distros using Budgie. "I look forward to working with you all in attaining that goal of making Budgie the number one go-to desktop, and honestly, us all enjoying it on an equal peer footing, is the most important part to me," said Ikey Doherty, who is currently working hard on re-architecting the Budgie desktop environment as detailed in our exclusive story. Source
  18. Do you ever wonder why Linux based operating systems like Ubuntu,Linux Mint,Elementary OS,Kali Linux etc boots and shutdown faster than Windows operating system ? No! In this article we are going to break down it for you. Why Linux Boots Faster than Windows ? First we are going to discuss why Linux boots faster than windows . A lot factors affect the boot time of both Linux and Windows. Some of the notable reasons are : Kernel : Kernel is the nucleus of an operating system. It has complete control over everything that occurs in the system. Linux Kernel is monolithic — means it holds all functionality,even drivers ,memory management, task scheduler and file system. So while booting Kernel loads all these functions at once. And Windows NT kernel is like a micro-kernel which only holds basic features during boot process, then loads other functions,drivers and file systems. Which makes Windows to boot a bit slower than Linux. Services and Programs : In Windows many services auto-starts during start up along with many programs like Antivirus which makes booting process slow. While in case of Linux it is limited. Backward compatibility : Backward compatibility allow software system to successfully use interfaces and data from earlier versions of the system or with other systems. And Windows have long history and they support old software frameworks, so during boot time Windows have to load these libraries to make the Windows experience smoother. While Linux distributions doesn’t have backward compatibility feature. Fragmentation : Fragmentation means the storing of a file in several separate areas of memory scattered throughout a hard disk. In Windows files are fragmented. So hard disk takes more time for read and write during start up. And also when you installs more programs in Windows, then system takes more time to load. You can notices these by delay in boot time with new and used Windows system. And in Linux filesystem used is EXT, which doesn’t requires fragmentation. Because Linux allocates files in a more intelligent way. Instead of placing multiple files near each other on the hard disk, Linux file systems scatter different files all over the disk, leaving a large amount of free space between them. So read and write during start up is faster. Desktop Environment : Another main reason behind faster Linux boot is its Desktop Environment (DE). Which is quite faster than Windows. Why Linux Shutdown Faster than Windows ? Now we are going to discuss why Linux shutdown faster than Windows. Services in Windows delays shutdown : During Windows shutdown, most services will generate at least one event on terminating. Sometimes each service may have many events. Eg “NTP Service terminating”, “Printer Driver got signal to terminate”, “Printer Driver is flushing the queue” “Printer Driver Exiting”. These Events are “objects” and are slow to create and destroy, which adds up to shutdown time. However, during shutdown on Linux, most processes simply print a line on the console or/var/log/messages and exit. Which makes a smoother shutdown. Cache : Windows may cache many things and these caches have to be flushed to filesystem on shutdown. But caches are handled better in Linux, with periodic “fsync” executions, on better filesystems. GUI : Graphical User Interface (GUI) in Windows saves a lot of state information most of which is stored as objects. Which affect shutdown time. While in case of Linux, Command Line Interface (CLI) has almost nothing to save, except for the shell history file. Most state information is in simple text files. Process & Programs : Like services, some process and programs in Windows a lot more time to exit during shutdown and it will hung up and sometimes we have to forcibly terminate the task. And Linux takes less time to each process to exit, and most programs may respond quickly and exit faster during shutdown. However unlike previous Windows versions, Windows 10 some what improved its boot and shutdown time but still doesn’t faster than Linux. Article source
  19. Choosing between operating systems isn’t a new problem – it’s been around for a few decades. But the latest incarnations of both software and hardware offer some new options to consumers at all price and experience levels. If you already know what you want (we see you preparing your nine-point presentation on why your OS is the best, put it down), this guide is not for you. But if you want an exhaustive guide to the pros and cons of Windows, MacOS, and Chrome OS, then read on. Windows and Mac have been in active development for decades, and if you’re looking for a computer for work, odds are that you’re going to go for one or the other. Chrome OS, a Linux-based system developed by Google, is more of an anomaly. It’s based on Google’s Chrome browser, with much of the same interface and a web-focused design. It isn’t for the typical user, but Google has been improving it steadily for the last few years, and it’s worth consideration for a broader base of users. Windows Pros Best selection of software Available on wide variety of hardware Easily the best choice for gamers Works with almost all accessories Rapid updates introduce new features Cons Rapid update schedule can become confusing Compatibility issues with some hardware Less secure than Chrome OS or MacOS Microsoft’s Windows, in its various incarnations, holds approximately 90 percent of the desktop and laptop market worldwide. The reasons why are complex, but we can basically break it down into two factors — hardware and software variety. Because Microsoft sells Windows licenses to more or less any manufacturer to load on desktops, laptops, tablets, and everything in between, you can get a Windows machine in almost any size, shape, or price range. Windows is even sold on its own, so consumers and businesses can manually load it onto their own hardware. That wide-open approach has let it conquer all competitors over the last few decades. Because of its worldwide availability and longevity, Windows also boasts the biggest software library on the planet. Windows users don’t get absolutely every new application that comes on the market, but even those they don’t initially receive tend to come in Windows form eventually. Consumer, media, enterprise, gaming, it doesn’t matter – if you want the widest array of capability, Windows is the way to go. Works with everything Windows also boasts compatibility with the widest array of hardware. It’s an important consideration if you want to play graphically intense video games, or work with high-powered software for media, video editing, or computer-aided design. There aren’t any ChromeOS systems that offer high-end desktop hardware, and while MacOS does come on the Mac Pro, that system is now several years out of date. Though most accessories are universal since the introduction of the USB standard, Windows still technically boasts the most compatibility with third-party add-ons, too. Just about any mouse, keyboard, webcam, storage drive, graphics tablet, printer, scanner, microphone, monitor, or any other doodad you care to add to your computer will work with Windows, which is something that can’t always be said for Mac and Chrome. Windows also gets universal and updated drivers, some provided by Microsoft and some developed by the hardware manufacturers themselves, at a much more frequent rate than alternatives. Works on everything Even if you have no interest in upgrading your machine or running exotic software, Windows devices offer the most variety of form factors on the market. And with the introduction of Windows 10 – which all new retail devices are running in 2016 and later – touchscreens have become much more user-friendly even for complex work. No matter how exotic your tastes, odds are that there’s a Windows machine offering what you want. Rapid updates If you haven’t used Windows in a few years you may associate it with slow, tepid progress. That’s no longer true. With Windows 10, Microsoft committed to rapid updates. And it has executed. Those who want the cutting-edge can join the free Insider program, which puts out new updates almost every week. Often they’re minor tweaks, but they do add up over time. In the most recent update, called Windows 10 Anniversary update, Microsoft added major revamps to the notification center, a new “Windows Ink” platform that adds apps and features for PCs with a stylus, extensions for the Microsoft Edge browser, and much more. Over time, this rapid update program has given Windows 10 an edge of MacOS, which updates every year, but usually with just one or two significant features. Chrome OS also updates quickly, but Google rarely introduces a major new feature update — which has stalled progress. Compatibility problems With all that said, Windows isn’t perfect. The open nature of Microsoft’s relationship with desktop and laptop manufacturers means that two different machines, often with the same specifications, might perform very differently. Production quality can vary wildly, even within hardware from the same manufacturer line. Windows is less secure than MacOS and Chrome OS, simply because it’s the most-used desktop operating system, and thus the most targeted. Windows includes Microsoft tools to prevent and clean viruses and other threats, and third-party tools are available, but there’s no denying that Windows computers are more vulnerable than the competition. The wide variety of Windows hardware can cause problems as well. Windows’ complex driver system can cause system errors that are left to the user to diagnose and solve, and frequent updates from Microsoft might break software or devices that haven’t been accounted for. Is Windows for you? Windows is in a must better position than it was just a few years ago. The newest version, Windows 10, is more elegant and easier to understand than past editions, and it receives frequent updates. The problem of complexity does remain. You will likely encounter more bugs with Windows than with its competition. But these bugs are rarely the fatal errors that used to drag Windows’ systems to a halt, and they’re balanced by features and hardware compatibility that is simply unavailable with Microsoft’s competition. Mac OS Chrome OS The verdict If you’re still on the fence, let’s break down the major desktop operating systems in terms of features. Price Apple hardware is expensive, almost always carrying a premium versus equivalent Windows designs. Windows isn’t cheap – laptop and desktop makers have to pay Microsoft to use it – but it’s available in a wider variety of hardware and prices, sometimes getting well below the $500 entry point. If you need basic functionality and price is the only factor, Chromebooks can be bought at around the $200 level – an amazing deal. Ease of use MacOS has traditionally been considered much easier to use than Windows, perhaps because of Apple’s slavish dedication to user interface design. Chrome OS, by virtue of its extreme simplicity, also has Windows beat in this regard. Web browsing Chrome OS is the best choice if all you do is browse the web, because that’s all it does. If everything in your digital life is in the cloud and unrelated to local storage or programs, it’s an excellent way to stay light and uncomplicated. Windows and MacOS can both handle any browser software available, including Chrome itself, but web-only users may find the rest of their features a distraction. Productivity ChromeOS struggles with productivity due to its extremely limited app selection. Even editing a photo is more difficult than with others, and there’s no equivalent to Photoshop. Windows and MacOS both work in most situations, but Windows has the overall edge, due to the availability of quicker compatible hardware and the massive ecosystem of third-party applications. Gaming Windows is the only real choice for gamers. The Steam marketplace is the world’s largest seller of PC games, and while it’s available on MacOS, its selection on the platform is much more limited – as are games in general. ChromeOS has an extremely limited selection that consists entirely of web games and a few mobile applications ported over from Android. Hardware It’s impossible to deny that Apple makes some of the best computer hardware on the market, and many of its customers are faithful for this alone. MacOS an easy choice for a quality machine. That said, Apple’s staunch refusal to accept touchscreen designs is hurting it with users who want more flexibility, and recent Windows machines from Dell, Asus, and others are rivaling (and sometimes beating) Mac’s best offers for power and quality. Premium Chrome OS machines are few and far between. You’ll want Windows MacOS and ChromeOS have their purpose, but if you’re buying a new computer, you will probably be best served by Windows. This is true at every price point. This may come as a shock. Windows has a long history that hasn’t always been favorable. But Windows 10 is a great operating system. Its updated rapidly, packed with features, and has broad compatibility with software and hardware. Article source
  20. You’ve made the switch from Windows or Mac OS X, and now you’re looking for applications to install. Or maybe you’re a long-time Linux user who’s keeping an eye out for what’s new. Either way, you’ve come to the right place. You’ve already picked a Linux distro and have settled on a desktop environment. Those are the big choices that determine what software you start with and what will run best on your machine. But now it’s time to delve through your distro’s app repositories to see what’s worth installing. Most of the software below is free and open source. Some applications are proprietary, and one on this list costs a good deal of money. The vast majority only require you to open up a package manager (such as Ubuntu Software, GNOME Software, Muon Discover, or YaST) and perform a search. Or you can dish out a few commands. A few require you to download an installer from a website. If a link below doesn’t take you to a giant download button, then there’s a good chance the first approach will work just fine. So without further ado, here are the apps. Browsers Email Instant Messaging Office Suites Multimedia Editors Media Players Text Editors Development Maintenance Is That All? Hardly! There are plenty more apps where that came from. Linux has great options for managing your music library, browsing through photos, chatting over IRC, handling finances, tapping into your creative side, and so much more! These days, you can even turn a Linux PC into a decent gaming machine filled with big budget AAA titles and open source freebies alike. Article source
  21. 'Rather than you approving which patches you want, we are saying let them all flow' Interview At Microsoft's recent Ignite event in Atlanta, The Reg sat down with Brad Anderson, Corporate Vice President of Enterprise Client and Mobility. Brad Anderson is a Microsoft veteran who oversees how Windows and mobile devices are managed in business. A decade ago it was simple: firewall-protected network, Windows PCs, and System Center, Microsoft's suite of IT administration tools, managing those PCs through mechanisms like Group Policy, which lets you set PC configuration centrally and have it enforced on all PCs in the organisation. Things look different today. "Now I have got my cloud services outside of the perimeter and that network-based perimeter is no longer effective," says Anderson. Microsoft is pursuing an alternative idea, which it calls identity-based security. This is based on Azure Active Directory (AAD), as used by Office 365. Businesses using Active Directory on-premises can set up synchronisation with AAD using various tools. "All of our cloud services build on top of Azure Active Directory for authentication and access," says Anderson. "We do more than 45 billion authentications every month through AAD, which is largely driven by usage of office 365. "What we have been building is this concept of what we call the Microsoft security graph. With these cloud services, there are signals or telemetry that comes back, that allows us to see what is working, what is not working, what is being used. We have taken all that signal and we call that the intelligent security graph. "We know that more than 75 per cent of breaches come from compromised user credentials. So one of the core things that organisations have to do is to ensure that when someone presents a set of credentials it actually is who the person says they are. "We now have the ability to be able to assess risk based upon a whole list of factors. So we can take a look at the user’s identity, the device they are working on, the app that they are using on the device. We can also take a look at telemetry coming in from our partner ecosystem. You can now build a conditional access policy that says when you will allow access based upon all those risk factors. "If we think that there is something suspicious we can automatically pop up a multi-factor authentication challenge which then blocks any attacks that are coming in through compromised user credentials. A feature of Microsoft's Enterprise Mobility Suite, called Azure AD Application Proxy, lets businesses use this same mechanism for on-premises web applications, while still having them authenticate using Active Directory. A partnership with Ping Identity announced in September 2016 further extends the range of legacy applications that can be covered. Group Policy, or Mobile Device Management? Today most PCs are managed using a traditional approach based on Group Policy, whereas mobile devices use a more generic method called Mobile Device Management (MDM) which can be delivered from the cloud. Windows 10 can be managed using either technique, but does Microsoft see Group Policy declining in favour of MDM? “Our long term vision on Windows 10 management is that organisations should rely on Microsoft to do more for them on their behalf. Let us worry about your images. Let us keep your devices updated through Windows Update for Business. Rather than you approving which patches you want, we are saying let them all flow because the way organisations get the most secure, the most compliant, the most reliable and most performance devices is to stay updated with all of our updates,” says Anderson. What about when an update breaks compatibility? “There is years of experience that IT pros have, sometimes we release updates that break something. As we build confidence with IT pros around the world that our updates are solid they will get more comfortable with just letting the patches go through,” Anderson says, though he adds that “in Windows Update for Business you have the ability to say, I want to delay these updates, so you have some level of control. You don’t have the degree where you can say I want to deploy these three but not these 10.” Anderson says that System Center’s Configuration Manager offers a path towards this approach via its auto-approve setting. “What we are telling people is, as you get confident with us turn on auto-approve, let all the updates flow down because that is the way that you are going to have the most predictable, the most secure, the most reliable, the most compatible devices. Then as we continue to enrich that MDM layer, organisations will move to that model of management, but that is going to take them some time. There is a bit of a cultural change there. Because you can’t control the same number of settings that you can with Group Policy and Config Manager.” When Microsoft introduced management of iOS and Android devices in its Enterprise Mobility Suite, eyebrows were raised, but Anderson says take-up is substantial. “Of all the mobile devices that we manage 55% are iOS, 35% are android and 10 per cent are windows,” he told The Reg. Is Microsoft frustrated by the continuing love for Windows 7 in business, with many PCs still being delivered with Windows 7 pre-installed? If it is, Anderson will not admit it. “We are very pleased with the rate of adoption that we are seeing, it is the fastest that we have ever seen,” he said. The overall picture is confused though, because the figures Microsoft releases cover both consumer and business, and the consumer upgrade was both free and heavily promoted by the company. At Ignite, Microsoft refused to give the press numbers for Windows 10 Enterprise take-up alone. Anderson says there are strong reasons to upgrade. “Enterprises want the security. With things like Windows Hello you can eliminate passwords. Credential Guard stores your credentials in a way that it is impossible for an attacker to get credentials. There are things like secure boot, which as device comes up checks that something has not been injected into the boot sequence. The form factors are also driving a lot of it. Two-in-ones, Surface Pro, Surface Book, users want to have these modern touch devices. Article source
  22. One of the most essential components of a computer is its operating system. The almighty OS is the lifeblood of a rig, determining software compatibility, and interacting with both hardware and software. For many, it’s either Linux vs. Windows or Linux vs. Mac. Enter dual booting. Essentially, this is having two operating systems available from boot. Windows has its pros, Linux has its pluses. Linux draws include its customization, security, dedicated open source community, and that distributions are (usually) free. Windows or Mac of course have their devout followers, and certain situations, like native apps and less complexity, call for a non-Linux distro. But why not opt for both? Here are five reasons to dual boot and two reasons you shouldn’t. Reasons You Should Dual Boot 1. Gaming: Old and New Face it, there are pros and cons of both operating systems. Native gaming on Windows is better, while programming on Linux is much improved over Windows. Sure, thanks to Steam OS there’s been a push to optimize games for cross-compatibility. Such titles as Alien: Isolation and Half-Life 2 saw Linux versions alongside Windows and Mac iterations, and there are some fantastic gems hiding right there in the software center, but gaming is unarguably stronger on Windows. Want to play those old games (think 16-bit)? Well, modern (64-bit) Windows architecture can’t handle them. Linux gracefully offers support of 16-bit programs via both 32- and 64-bit operating systems. Thanks to WINE, many Windows apps run like a champ. Want the best of gaming, both old and new? Dual boot. 2. The Host When running an operating system natively on a system (as opposed in a virtual machine, or VM), that operating system has full access to the host machine. Thus, dual booting means more access to hardware components, and in general it’s faster than utilizing a VM. Virtual machines typically are more system-intensive, so running Linux or Windows inside a VM requires pretty beefy specs for decent performance. 3. Compatibility You may find that many of your favorite programs don’t function quite as well in one operating system versus the other. Case in point: Netflix. There are several workarounds for streaming Netflix on Linux, but they do require a bit of tinkering. While most of us own some set-top box like a Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast, or game console, there are many situations (such as traveling) where you may only have your laptop. Having two operating systems installed ensures surefire access to all your programs and services. 4. Programming Is (Sometimes) Better on Linux Want to get into programming? Linux has many advantages. It’s free, which is always a plus. Then there’s the bevy of languages including Java, PHP, Ruby, Perl, Python, and C/C++, loads of coding apps, and bash support. Oh, and knowledge of Linux looks fantastic on a resume. So familiarity with the ecosystem is in-demand. Want to develop for Windows or Mac? Sure, you can totally use Linux, but it’s typically preferable to code apps for an operating system natively. Windows, for example, has the ultra-powerful Visual Studio and it’s the go-to for Windows apps. Consider dual booting for programming, and use Linux as a development environment. 5. It’s Really, Really Easy There’s a misconception that Linux is ridiculously complex. Sure, the command line can be a bit daunting to the first-time user, and yes more tweaking is occasionally required when compared to using Windows or Mac. Ultimately Linux is merely an operating system, and may be used as simply that. Similarly, dual booting is a cinch. There are guidelines that ensure a smooth install. For instance, always make sure to install Linux second, after the primary operating system (failing to do so may result in problems booting). Sharing files is totally feasible as well, as Linux allows access to many Windows files. Reasons You Shouldn’t Dual Boot As with any installation scenario, there are some downsides that you should also consider. 1. Increased Complexity While installation is not terribly difficult, sharing files across the two operating systems can be a challenge. Linux usually provides ease of access to Windows files, but accessing the Linux file system via Windows is a bit trickier. Linux mostly uses the EXT4 file system, and Windows requires a third party app for EXT4 compatibility. Although installation might be fairly simple, uninstalling can create a mess. Overall, a dual boot set up is nowhere near as challenging as many tech tasks, but it will require a dash of patience and a side of ingenuity. If you’re not up to some mild troubleshooting, maybe skip the dual boot setup. 2. A VM Basically Accomplishes the Same Objective As discussed earlier, a virtual machine is a great solution for running an operating system within an operating system. This method may be used to run Linux on a VM within another operating system, or vice versa. Plus, installation and uninstallation are pretty easy as it’s like removing a program and doesn’t affect anything with boot loaders. Opting for the VM solution does take up more hard drive space, and resource allocation is much more than running just a Linux distro. Older hardware may not be suited to running a virtual machine, whether from lack of hard drive space or low system specs. Further, an operating system within a VM might not have full access to the host PC. When I first tried Ubuntu in a VM, I encountered problems using my DVD drive to install programs. Running Ubuntu natively on my hard drive (that is, installing it) alleviated this issue. There’s no shortage of reasons to use Linux and Windows or Mac. Dual booting vs. a singular operating system each have their pros and cons, but ultimately dual booting is a wonderful solution that levels up compatibility, security, and functionality. Plus, it’s incredibly rewarding, especially for those making the foray into the Linux ecosystem. Article source
  23. One OS to rule them all ... all them smartphones and laptops If you were to design a client operating system with the goal of being used by two billion people, what would it look like? We might soon find out what Alphabet’s looks like. Today’s announcement’s from Alphabet’s Google is expected to reveal "Andromeda", the merged Android/Chrome OS. Executives have been hyping today’s event as the most "significant" since the first Android device in 2008, and we already know they’re writing a new operating system from a clean slate. We can also have a good guess about what it looks like. Google’s goal for the successor is to unify the rival Chrome and Android platforms while providing a clean code base free of the Java legacy. Google’s big advantage here is that it now has a blank slate. After Google acquired Android in 2005, Sun Microsystems’ then CEO Jonathan Schwartz offered Google “congratulations on the announcement of their new Java/Linux phone platform”. Android founder Andy Rubin had already figured Java worked, and seen how it decreased time to market, and how much developers liked it. (Anything was preferable to writing for Symbian, the dominant smartphone platform of the time.) But Google doesn’t need Java any more, and the more distance it puts between itself and its Java-based legacy, the better, particularly if (as it is reasonable to expect) Oracle ultimately prevails in the litigation on appeal. Nor does it need, at least not quite so much, the VM-based architecture designed to make porting easy. If OS abstraction is sufficiently well designed, then an easily-ported microkernel can suffice. Microsoft took this approach designing Windows NT, although within three years Redmond had broken the microkernel design (moving graphics drivers into the kernel) and a couple of years after that, the last non-Intel port had been mothballed. By then it was, to all intents and purposes, a monolithic kernel Intel OS. Computer history is littered with “Second System” effects, but Google’s “second system” looks promising. We already know what it looks like. The open source Fuchsia project is led by QNX and BeOS veterans, with plenty of experience designing Android. Fuchsia code boots on x86 hardware, and the source tree indicates it’s going to be backwards-compatible with key Android libraries. Fuchsia has been touted as suitable primarily for embedded devices and its key developers have embedded experience. (And Fuchsia wouldn’t need to be running Android libraries if Google only wanted it to power watches and fridge magnets.) Strong ARMed tech You really need to look at demographics and the cost curve of client devices to see where Alphabet wants its Android successor to run. The ARM world is gradually superseding the x86/amd64 world, and PC sales are in a long-term decline. ARM has a huge cost advantage over Intel, and most first-time computer users are using ARM tablets and phones. So the opportunity here for “Andromeda” is to ensure the “next billion” coming on line, particularly in emerging economies, remain plugged into Google services, while expanding the capabilities of Android2 so it can run the next generation of creative and productivity applications. Why not just tweak Android to do that? Remix OS does just that, adding power management and overlapping windows to Android x86. The Android architecture is already unwieldy, with much code moving into the GMS (Google Mobile Services) binary. Android has distanced itself from Dalvik with its ART runtime, but this is still an optimised Dalvik. The really serious performance (and user experience) wins are made by moving away from a byte code architecture completely to a new microkernel. Users won’t get that “optimizing apps” wait after a platform update (that’s a sure sign of an archaic platform). Google will want to keep the Chrome brand and user base, but Chrome users themselves couldn’t really care less what it runs, as a Chromebook is just a dumb terminal for web-based Google services. That part is easy. I’d expect to see Fuchsia make its début today, perhaps by borrowing a few ideas from Continuum, allowing a device to act smarter when it’s plugged into a remote display. Article source
  24. Two older versions of Windows are approaching their mandatory retirement date in one month. If you want a new PC running Windows 7 or Windows 8.1, you'll have fewer options beginning on Nov. 1. Here's what the end-of-sales deadline means. This Halloween, you can decorate your front lawn with a casket containing a Windows 7 PC. While you're at it, throw in a PC running Windows 8.1, too. On that date, Oct. 31, 2016, Microsoft officially declares Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 dead, at least as far as large OEM PC makers are concerned. Beginning Nov. 1, Microsoft's largest partners, the so-called royalty OEMs like Dell and HP and Lenovo, will no longer be able to build and sell new PCs running any version of Windows except Windows 10. That's actually a two-year extension on what would have been the normal sales lifecycle for PCs running those earlier Windows versions. But the clock is finally running out. The end of the Windows 7/8.1 sales lifecycle doesn't mean that those older versions of Windows will be completely dead, of course. As I've explained in the past, the support and sales lifecycles are completely different. (See "What the Windows 7 Pro sales lifecycle changes mean to consumers and business buyers.") Windows 7 will continue to receive security fixes via Windows Update until Jan. 14, 2020. Windows 8.1 will be supported until Jan. 10, 2023. In addition, the fact that large OEMs will no longer be able to install older Windows versions on new PCs for sale through retail and commercial channels doesn't mean you're out of options. Here's a partial list of exceptions that will allow businesses and consumers to continue running their old, preferred Windows version: Existing inventory PCs that were built with older Windows versions before the deadline can still be sold. For months, at least, you'll be able to find those PCs on retail store shelves and in distributors' warehouses. Downgrade rights Any new PC you buy that has Windows 10 Pro preinstalled by the manufacturer comes with downgrade rights to Windows 8.1 Pro or Windows 7 Professional, for as long as Microsoft provides support for those earlier versions. You must supply your own installation media, and you have to activate manually. Custom images Corporate customers with volume licenses for Windows that include imaging rights can use custom images incorporating their preferred Windows version. For large customers, OEMs can assist in the installation of those images. System Builder OEMs White-box PC makers who purchase OEM System Builder media for installation on new PCs can continue to build and sell those PCs. Microsoft won't be stocking the channel with new OEM media, but past experience suggests there will be plenty of inventory for years to come. Retail upgrades If all else fails, do it yourself. Microsoft no longer manufactures retail copies of older Windows versions, but here too there's plenty of inventory in the channel and nothing to stop you from doing your own upgrade. Of course, there are perils and pitfalls associated with running the increasingly aging Windows 7, especially on newer hardware. System manufacturers have no economic incentive to develop drivers and support tools for older Windows versions. Most downgrades will work, but some components might not work properly, or at all. On new systems with Intel's Kaby Lake processors, versions of Windows before Windows 10 will not be supported at all. That doesn't prohibit you from trying to install Windows 7 on one of these new devices, but don't expect any support from the PC maker or from Microsoft when you inevitably run into problems. Article source
  25. Linux is awesome. In fact, I’ve already told you some of the reasons why Ubuntu is better than Windows. But if it’s so good, why do less than 2% of desktop computers actively run a Linux-based operating system? That’s a really tough question to answer. For a long time now, Linux users all over the world have been praying for the year of the Linux desktop. But if we’re ever going to see Linux gain serious traction, there is still a lot that Linux developers need to improve to be a true contender. Application Development Many Linux developers tend to devote their time to the core operating system, leaving application development to someone else. This leads to a huge disconnect between the operating system itself and the applications it runs. Countless open source applications have started life being the idea of one person, before growing into an unmissable app. Examples include Firefox, Filezilla, LibreOffice, VLC Media Player, and many more. We know it’s possible for the open source community to make great applications. So why are there so many poorly written applications that look awful, don’t work very well, or a have a combination of both these problems? This is seen time and again in the Linux community. You have a well-written operating system that is slick and looks beautiful. But apart from a few core applications, much of the software looks awful or is poorly written. Basically, the community needs to start looking beyond the the operating system. There is a reason why Microsoft and Apple develop many of their core applications in house. It’s the best way for users to have continuity in the experience that both the operating system and applications provide. Some Linux distributions are starting to think about continuity, like in the example above. But this is very much the exception, rather than the rule. Installing Applications If you want to install an application in Windows, you simply download the appropriate EXE file, then double click on it to start the installer. This is the same process no matter what version of Windows you are running. In Linux it’s a completely different ball game. Linux applications are installed and managed by repositories, which are one of greatest strengths of Linux. However, they are also one of its greatest weaknesses. There are a number of different ways to install applications in Linux, ranging from extremely simple to almost impossible. Some of these processes are: A software center — Similar to a mobile app store, where you can search for and install applications with ease. However, these are only as good as the repositories you have loaded. Usually, lots of applications are missing. Executable files — These work like EXE files in Windows. But there are different formats for different flavors of Linux. Ubuntu uses DEB, but Fedora and SUSE use RPM, so you need to know which executable files are compatible with your distro. Command line — You will need to know the correct repository for your flavor of Linux, as well as the correct install commands. All of which are completely different depending on which flavor of Linux you run. Compile from source — Download the source code, compile it and create an install script. However, these days this is rare. As you can see, the process of installing Linux applications can be convoluted, which can quickly put new users off. Linux is yearning for a simplified, universal way of installing applications. Sadly, this would require a huge overhaul of the fundamental way in which Linux works, so will probably never happen. Better Support, Less Elitism For the most part, the Linux community is a thriving, bustling beast that contains some extremely talented people. Installing Ubuntu (and most other flavors of Linux) is a very simple process for the most part, although this doesn’t mean that you won’t need help at some point. If this happens, you can head over to the Ubuntu Forums — or the appropriate forum for your flavor of Linux — and ask for help. This is where the problems start. People are busy, so depending on what your problem is, you may find that you get little to no response. This means you may have to work things out for yourself, which is never good if you’re new to the “community”. If you are lucky enough to get a response, you may find it’s not the response you were expecting. You see, there is a lot of elitism in Linux and this can sometimes spill over in to places like support forums were users of varying technical ability will be asking for help. So if a new user posts up a problem, they may be ridiculed for not providing enough information. Worse, they might be accused of wasting time with a mundane issue that can easily be Googled. Or mocked for just being a “noob”. Thankfully, this is becoming less and less frequent within the community, as seasoned users are starting to realize that new users need to be welcomed if we are to grow Linux to it’s full potential. But the problem still exists — I’ve seen it first hand — and really needs to be completely eradicated from all facets of the Linux community. We Need Fewer Choices Having the choice to pick which Linux distribution you should run is great, but you can have too much of a good thing. There are currently 827 Linux distributions listed on Distrowatch. Eight hundred and twenty seven! That’s a ridiculous number for anyone to sift through — even for seasoned Linux users, like myself, never mind new users. The problem is that Linux is open source. Simply, this means that anyone can download the source code for a Linux distribution and make their own version. If there’s something you don’t quite like, you can fork a project and start your own. This sounds great in principle, but in reality it is pointless. The huge list of distributions for the most part share the vast majority of code and applications. Imagine what could be accomplished if these of developers decided to contribute to a smaller pool of core distributions, rather than doing their own thing! I think we would end up with a more developed Linux ecosystem with fewer problems. The Boot Process When you first boot up Windows, you get a Windows splash screen, then soon after you get a prompt to log in. That’s not the case in Linux. Most distributions use the GRUB bootloader which by default asks how you want to boot the operating system, and it gives you 10 seconds to make the decision. So as a new user, the very first thing you’re greeted with after installing your distribution, is an ugly command line screen asking you make a decisions like which version of the kernel you want to boot. It’s a terrible first impression. GRUB is awesome, and it comes in really handy when dual-booting, as it allows you to select which operating system you wish to boot in to. But why does it have to be so unfriendly to users? Why can’t it be a GUI were the user clicks on which OS they want to boot, and if there is only one OS, skip the GRUB prompt all together. Apple do it, so there’s no reason why Linux can’t. Some distributions are making waves towards doing this, such as Elementary OS. But there is a still a long way to go in order to make the boot process more user friendly. We Need to Improve Linux This article may read like I’m bashing Linux, or that I hate it. Nothing could be further from the truth. I adore Linux and the open source community in general. However, if we’re ever going to have “the year of the Linux desktop” then things need to drastically improve. Is there anything else you think should be changed before Linux can truly go mainstream? Or is Linux fine just the way it is? Article source