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  1. The PinePhone starts shipping—a Linux-powered smartphone for $150 For now it's for developers only, and you'll need to flash your own OS. First image of article image gallery. Please visit the source link to see all 9+ images. Pine64 has announced that it is finally shipping the PinePhone, a smartphone that takes the rare step outside the Android/iOS duopoly and is designed to run mainline Linux distributions. The PinePhone starts shipping January 17 in the "Braveheart" developer edition. This initial "Braveheart" batch of devices is meant for "developer and early adopter" users, according to the Pine64 Store. The phone doesn't come with an end-user OS pre-installed and instead only comes with a factory test image that allows for easy verification that the hardware works. Users are expected to flash their own OS to the device. There are several available, from Ubuntu Touch to Sailfish OS, but they are all currently in an unfinished alpha state. Pine64 says that only enthusiasts with "extensive Linux experience" are the intended customers here—this isn't (yet?) a mainstream product. It's hard to mention PinePhone without mentioning that other Linux smartphone, the Purism Librem 5. They could both end up running the same software one day, but the two companies are taking totally different approaches to hardware. Purism has a hardline requirement for the hardware: it needs to be as open and freedom-focused as possible, which means the company couldn't use the typical supply chain that exists for Android phones. Purism has only a limited amount of open source-compatible vendors to choose from, and it uses M.2 socketed chips for the closed-source Wi-Fi/Bluetooth and Cell modem. The result is a device that is very thick (16mm), hot, and expensive, at $750. The PinePhone is less averse to binary blobs and is a lot closer to a normal smartphone. It's a more reasonable thickness (9mm) and a more reasonable price: $150. The PinePhone is powered by an Allwinner A64 SoC, which features four Cortex A53 CPUs at 1.2GHz, built on a pretty ancient 40nm process. This is the same chip the company uses on the PINE A64 single board computer, a Raspberry Pi competitor. The device has 2GB of RAM, a Mali-400 GPU, 16GB of storage, and a 2750mAh battery. The rear camera is 5MP, the front camera is 2MP, the display is a 1440×720 IPS LCD, and the battery is removable. There's a headphone jack, a USB-C port, and support for a MicroSD slot, which you can actually boot operating systems off of. The cellular modem is a large separate chip that is soldered onto the motherboard: a Quectel EG25-G. When the back of the phone is peeled off, the innards actually have some special components. Near the top right corner is a 2x3 grid of gold pogo pins that can provide power, I2C, and GPIO to an attached accessory. Pine64 says that a keyboard case attachment is planned for "sometime in 2020," and for now, the company is still working on the design. The company says it is "making a keyboard heavily inspired by Psion Series 5 keyboards from the 1990s. We hope to not only replicated [sic] the usability of the Psion Series 5 keyboard but also the tactile feel it is known for. " The Psion 5 was a clamshell PDA that ran the EPOC operating system (which was later renamed "Symbian OS") and was powered by 2 AA batteries. Smartphone keyboards from the Moto Droid era would use a single sheet of rubbery keys that squished down onto a contact, but the Psion 5 keyboard was different. The Psion 5 has a scaled-down version of a cheap desktop keyboard, with individual hard, plastic keys that each sat on top of a membrane switch. Also under the removable back is a set of six dip switches that act as privacy kill switches. Users can kill the Modem/GPS, Wi-Fi/Bluetooth, microphone, rear camera, and front camera. The last one, which isn't a privacy feature, is a switch for the headphone jack. The headphone jack switch toggles from the normal mode of operation to a UART (Universal asynchronous receiver-transmitter) port. With this wild-looking male-3.5mm-to-male-USB-A wire, you can get a serial connection out of the PinePhone and do some debugging. With the phone shipping, Pine64 isn't resting on its laurels. The company is also working on a "PineTab" Linux tablet with a detachable keyboard and a "PineTime" smart watch. Soon, you'll be able to run mainline Linux on everything, provided the software actually gets developed. Listing image by Pine64 Source: The PinePhone starts shipping—a Linux-powered smartphone for $150 (Ars Technica) (To view the article's 9+ image gallery, please visit the above link)
  2. The Pepperment team published sad news this week, reporting one of the distribution's lead developers, Mark Greaves, passed away earlier this month. "With a heavy heart I unfortunately have to inform you that Mark is no longer with us. Shane and I received word from one of Mark's sons that he passed away this morning after a 10 day hospital stay. Mark was among the best of us. His contributions to both Peppermint and to the desktop Linux world as a whole are incalculable and he will be sorely missed. There are many unanswered questions at the moment and I'll try to be diligent in relaying relevant information." Greaves will be missed - by his family, the Peppermint community, and the DistroWatch team who got to correspond with him. Source
  3. What Apps Do You Wish Linux Had, Or Can’t Find a Replacement For? If you could magically, instantly, create any sort of app for the Linux desktop right now, what would it be? This question has been tumbling around my brain all weekend thanks to some new (totally spammy) comments being left on an article of mine from 2013 — an article in which I decried the lack of “simple, purposeful” Linux desktop apps. Now, don’t misunderstand my intention in asking you what you’d create if you could. I am not saying Linux has an app gap. I am not implying that open-source suffers from any sort of major software malaise. Those of us who use Linux full time know that we’re not short of drop-in replacements for a broad range of well-known software types. GIMP is, for most of us, every bit as capable as Adobe Photoshop; Kdenlive, Blender and Lightworks all cater to different types of Linux-based video editors; and between Geary, Nylas N1, Evolution, Thunderbird, Sylpheed, K9, there’s barely any e-mail need left uncatered for. No, I’m asking more about tools that fill a specific need in a specific way. “App” apps if you will. What sort of app do you find yourself searching for only to come up empty? LINUX Y U NO MEME APP? There are apps on my phone I can’t wait to use on the desktop I used to really, really long for a desktop meme-maker. Why? App envy. I subscribe to many awesome sites, like Lifehacker, that spotlight awesome apps. I used to see really nifty meme generators that were Windows and Mac OS X only. I really wanted someone to create a simple GTK+ app that could let me hammer out impact bold witticisms over a well established meme template, and let me quickly upload my creations to sites like imgur, in-app. I’ve since outgrown that desire. A desktop meme maker would be overkill now that many competent online tools exist for the job. But I feel the point I was making still (somewhat) stands: there are apps that I love using on mobile platforms for which a decent, comparable alternative on the Linux desktop is (currently) missing. Hope for the future There’s reason to be hopeful. Though I’d wager that native app development for Ubuntu on Phones and Tablets is far scarcer than it should be, the lure of Convergence is poised to bring apps like Dekko, Music and Calendar to the Ubuntu desktop. One of my favorite Ubuntu Touch apps is Pockit, an offline-equipped Pocket reader, one I’d dearly love to see make the transition (Pocket offer a native desktop app for OS X). Snaps will also offer app makers a really clean, sane way to distribute software free of the usual packaging hurdles and distribution headaches. Back to the question, and over to you But back to the question: If you could make any sort of native app for your Linux desktop what would it be? Share your app ideas, inspirations, rants, wants, mockups, etc. in the comments section of source article and please do mention in the comments section below. To keep this a realistic discussion — app developers be lurking — let’s avoid the usual clamour for Adobe products and focus on more general themes, such as “a photo manager comparable to iPhoto”, “a native GTK+ Pocket app” , “an e-mail client that handles Exchange”, etc. Source
  4. Torvalds doesn't want to be hounded by Oracle's legal team for merging ZFS filesystem code into the Linux kernel. Linux kernel head Linus Torvalds has warned engineers against adding a module for the ZFS filesystem that was designed by Sun Microsystems – and now owned by Oracle – due to licensing issues. As reported by Phoronix, Torvalds has warned kernel developers against using ZFS on Linux, an implementation of OpenZFS, and refuses to merge any ZFS code until Oracle changes the open-source license it uses. ZFS has long been licensed under Sun's Common Development and Distribution License (CDDL) as opposed to the Linux kernel, which is licensed under GNU General Public License (GPL). Torvalds aired his opinion on the matter in response to a developer who argued that a recent kernel change "broke an important third-party module: ZFS". The Linux kernel creator says he refuses to merge the ZFS module into the kernel because he can't risk a lawsuit from "litigious" Oracle – which is still trying to sue Google for copyright violations over its use of Java APIs in Android – and Torvalds won't do so until Oracle founder Larry Ellison signs off on its use in the Linux kernel. "If somebody adds a kernel module like ZFS, they are on their own. I can't maintain it and I cannot be bound by other people's kernel changes," explained Torvalds. "And honestly, there is no way I can merge any of the ZFS efforts until I get an official letter from Oracle that is signed by their main legal counsel or preferably by Larry Ellison himself that says that yes, it's OK to do so and treat the end result as GPL'd," Torvalds continued. "Other people think it can be OK to merge ZFS code into the kernel and that the module interface makes it OK, and that's their decision. But considering Oracle's litigious nature, and the questions over licensing, there's no way I can feel safe in ever doing so." The licensing problem is explained on an FAQ from the developers of ZFS on Linux. "While both are free open-source licenses they are restrictive licenses. The combination of them causes problems because it prevents using pieces of code exclusively available under one license with pieces of code exclusively available under the other in the same binary," the ZFS developers write. "In the case of the kernel, this prevents us from distributing ZFS on Linux as part of the kernel binary. However, there is nothing in either license that prevents distributing it in the form of a binary module or in the form of source code." Torvalds addressed this issue too in his response and dismissed the idea of a proposed 'ZFS shim layer' to address problems combining two projects with different licenses, particularly due to Oracle's Java API copyright lawsuit. "And I'm not at all interested in some 'ZFS shim layer' thing either that some people seem to think would isolate the two projects. That adds no value to our side, and given Oracle's interface copyright suits (see Java), I don't think it's any real licensing win either," he explained. His final words on the matter: "Don't use ZFS. It's that simple. It was always more of a buzzword than anything else, I feel, and the licensing issues just make it a non-starter for me." Source
  5. In a few short days, millions of Windows 7 users will reach the end of the line. Or at least, the end of crucial security updates from Microsoft. While Redmond is pushing those users to upgrade to Windows 10, many in the Linux community are vying for attention by pitching their respective distribution (aka Linux desktop OS) as a superior alternative to Windows 10. One such example is KDE Plasma, a desktop I’ve praised in the past for its surprising leanness and wealth of customization options. The KDE Community has just launched #Switch2Plasma, a social campaign targeted equally at Windows 7 users and Linux advocates who want to help spread the word. Instead of migrating to Windows 10 and putting up with hours of updates, intrusions on your privacy and annoying ads built into your apps, install a Linux operating system with Plasma. In 30 minutes you will be up and running and you will have all the security and stability of a Linux system, with all the features and ease of use of Plasma. ~KDE Community, via YouTube For those unaware, KDE Plasma is one of several “Desktop environments” you can install on your Linux distribution of choice, giving your experience much more flexibility than what’s possible on Windows. Linux distributions like Kubuntu and Feren OS offer KDE Plasma pre-installed. Here’s some extended reading if you want to learn more: The focus of KDE’s #Switch2Plasma campaign centers around the following video, which highlights a small slice of the customization options by demonstrating a KDE Plasma desktop that resembles Windows 7 in look and feel: If you’re currently a Windows 7 user and are curious about what you’re seeing in the video, I recommend taking Kubuntu 19.10 for a test drive. If you don’t want to mess with downloads, installation, or anything technical, you can take it for a spin (along with many other Linux distributions) right inside your current desktop or mobile browser here. I made the switch from Windows to Linux in 2018, and have been consistently amazed at how easy it is to install and use as my daily driver. You’ll find a lot to appreciate, from the seamless, annoyance-free system updates to AAA gaming to familiar apps like Spotify, Discord, Blender, Slack, Steam and Telegram among thousands of others. Even Microsoft is beginning to develop native Linux versions of its Office products. For those Linux ricers who are curious how this Windows 7 theme came together, this is for you: Dominic Hayes, the creator of Feren OS, used the following freely available themes and elements to create the Windows 7-like desktop experience inside of KDE Plasma: Plasma Theme: Seven Black Window Decorations: Seven Black Application Style: gtk2 GTK Theme: Windows Se7en by Elbullazul Icons: Darkine Colours: Breeze Light Cursors: DMZ White Splash Screen: Feren OS Panel: 38 height Widgets: Default Apps Menu, I-O Task Manager, Stock System Tray, Feren Calendar or Event Calendar, Win7 Show Desktop If you want to get involved and help the KDE Community spread the word, here are two resources to check out: Plasma: A Safe Haven for Windows 7 Refugees KDE.news ⚓ T12444 Advertise Plasma to Windows 7 refugees Kde Source
  6. Systemd? It's the proper technical solution, says kernel maintainer The Linux kernel has around 27.8 million lines of code in its Git repository, up from 26.1 million a year ago, while systemd now has nearly 1.3 million lines of code, according to GitHub stats analysed by Michael Larabel at Phoronix. There were nearly 75,000 code commits to the kernel during 2019 which is actually slightly down on 2018 (80,000 commits), and the lowest number since 2013. The top contributors by email domain were Intel and Red Hat (Google's general gmail.com aside) and the top contributing individuals were Linus Torvalds, with 3.19 per cent of the commits, followed by David Miller (Red Hat) and Chris Wilson (Intel). There were 4,189 different contributors overall. Another point of interest is that systemd, a replacement for init that is the first process to run when Linux starts, is now approaching 1.3 million lines of code thanks to nearly 43,000 commits in 2019. Top contributor was not systemd founder Lennart Poettering (who was second), but Yu Watanabe with 26.94 per cent of the commits. Systemd is used by many of the most popular Linux distributions, but not all. It is evolving rapidly and there are now plans to extend it to manage home folders with a new systemd-homed daemon. Despite its wide adoption, systemd is controversial – with its large size and increasing scope among the contentious aspects. Kernel developer Greg Kroah-Hartman, who is also a major contributor to systemd, defended the approach when we broached the subject at an event late last year. "Everybody who has ever worked at that level in the operating system has agreed that systemd is the proper solution. It solves a problem that people have. Distros have adopted it because it solves a problem for them. If you don't want to use it, you don't have to use it. There's other init replacements out there. Android doesn't use it because they use other things," he said. Larabel has published statistics on coding activity for the Linux kernel here and for systemd here. Source
  7. Brief: Ubuntu Cinnamon is a new distribution that utilizes Linux Mint’s Cinnamon desktop environment on top of Ubuntu code base. It’s first stable release is based on Ubuntu 19.10 Eoan Ermine. Cinnamon is Linux Mint’s flagship desktop environment. Like MATE desktop, Cinnamon is also a product of dissatisfaction with GNOME 3. With the GNOME Classic like user interface and relatively lower hardware requirements, Cinnamon soon gathered a dedicated userbase. Like any other desktop environment out there, you can install Cinnamon on Ubuntu and other distributions. Installing multiple desktop environments (DE) is not a difficult task but it often leads to conflicts (with other DE’s elements) and may not always provide the best experience. This is why major Linux distributions separate spins/flavors with various popular desktop environments. Ubuntu also has various official flavors featuring KDE (Kubuntu), LXQt (Lubuntu), Xfce (Xubuntu), Budgie (Ubuntu Budgie) etc. Cinnamon was not in this list but Ubuntu Cinnamon Remix project is trying to change that. Ubuntu Cinnamon distribution Ubuntu Cinnamon Desktop Screenshot Ubuntu Cinnamon (website under construction) is a new Linux distribution that brings Cinnamon desktop to Ubuntu distribution. Joshua Peisach is the lead developer for the project and he is being helped by other volunteer contributors. The ex-developer of the now discontinued Ubuntu GNOME project and some members from Ubuntu team are also advising the team to help with the development. Ubuntu Cinnamon Remix Screeenshot 1 Do note that Ubuntu Cinnamon is not an official flavor of Ubuntu. They are trying to get the flavorship but I think that will take a few more releases. The first stable release of Ubuntu Cinnamon is based on Ubuntu 19.10 Eoan Ermine. It uses Calamares installer from Lubuntu and features Cinnamon desktop version 4.0.10. Naturally, it uses Nemo file manager and LightDM. It supports EFI and UEFI and only comes with 64-bit support. You’ll get your regular goodies like LibreOffice, Firefox and some GNOME software and games. You can of course install more applications as per your need. I downloaded it and tried it in a live session. Here’s what this distribution looks like: Download and install Ubuntu Cinnamon Do note that this is the first ever release of Ubuntu Cinnamon and the developers are not that experienced at this moment. If you don’t like troubleshooting, don’t use it on your main system. I expect this release to have a few bugs and issues which will be fixed eventually as more users test it out. You can download Ubuntu Cinnamon ISO from Sourceforge website: Here What next from here? Download Ubuntu Cinnamon Wallpaper HD Here As several readers asked for the default wallpaper of Ubuntu Cinnamon, I am adding it on the website here. You can download it from the link below and use it on your current desktop. The dev team has a few improvements planned for the 20.04 release. The changes are mostly on the cosmetics though. There will be new GRUB and Plymouth theme, layout application and welcome screen. Source
  8. Google is bringing a Tab Strip to Chrome for Windows and Linux If you have used the Microsoft Edge web browser, classic or new, you may have stumbled upon the browser's Tab Strip feature. Just click on the arrow icon on the tab bar to display thumbnail images of the sites and resources open in the browser. It appears that Google is attempting to bring a similar feature to the company's Chrome web browser. Already in Chrome OS, Google engineers are working on introducing Tab Strip functionality in the Chrome browser. The feature introduces an option in the Chrome browser to display a strip of tabs. While it is unclear yet how it would be activated by the user, it is likely that Google is adding an icon to the browser's tab bar to activate and deactivate the Tab Strip view in the browser. The following screenshot shows the Tab Strip in the Microsoft Edge web browser. The arrow icon next to the plus icon in the Tab Bar displays and hides the Tab Strip interface. When activated, it pushes the activate site down as it needs room to display the thumbnails. Edge users may use drag and drop to change the order of tabs or jump to any open site with a click on the tab. The video that is embedded below demonstrates how the Tab Strip looks like in Chrome OS. All tabs open in the web browser are displayed with thumbnails when users activate the Tab Strip functionality. Since thumbnails use a wider area than tabs, scrolling is available to go through the list of open sites and resources in the browser. It is furthermore possible to drag and drop tabs to reorder them just like it is the case in Chrome's Tab Bar (and any other browser's for that matter). The visualization may improve use on touch-enabled devices and help users locate tabs quicker. Google did not reveal when the new functionality will land in Chrome; it is likely that it will be introduced behind a flag that users need to enable to activate the functionality. Closing Words While I'd like to see options to scroll the tab bar in Chrome, as the browser still becomes unusable when too many tabs are opened, it is clear that the Tab Strip would offer users some resource as it supports scrolling. Chrome users who cannot identify tabs anymore could use it for navigational purposes. Source: Google is bringing a Tab Strip to Chrome for Windows and Linux (gHacks - Martin Brinkmann)
  9. The Debian Project has announced the availability of Debian 10.2. The announcement means that you can download new Debian 10 ISO images that include all the latest updates, this is good as clean installs will have fewer updates to install and the new ISOs can be installed on offline machines to ensure they have all the latest updates. In its announcement, the Debian Project said: The new update brings several new bug fixes for some popular packages including Flatpak, Emacs, GNOME Shell, LibreOffice, Python 2.7, systemd, uBlock, Thunderbird, PHP 7.3, the Linux kernel, Firefox, and Chromium. Unfortunately, older 32-bit ARM devices running the armel Debian port have lost the Firefox package as it is no longer supportable due to a NodeJS build dependency. If you already have Debian 10 installed, there is no need to throw away your old installation media or do a clean installation. In order to upgrade to Debian 10.2 just apply all of the available updates, if you regularly keep your system up to date anyway then you won’t have many more updates to install. Debian 10 was released earlier this year. With the mainline security support and the extended support, you can expect to receive updates for this version until 2024. Source: Debian 10.2 released with the latest bug fixes (via Neowin)
  10. Ignite 2019: Microsoft details its efforts to level the playing field against cyber attackers. Microsoft announced the brand change from Windows Defender to Microsoft Defender in March after giving security analysts the tools to inspect enterprise Mac computers for malware via the Microsoft Defender console. Rob Lefferts, corporate vice president for Microsoft's M365 Security, told ZDNet that Microsoft Defender for Linux systems will be available for customers in 2020. Application Guard is also coming to all Office 365 documents. Previously, this security feature was only available in Edge and allowed users to safely open a webpage in an isolated virtual machine to protect them from malware. Now, users who open Office 365 apps, like Word or Excel, will have the same protection. "It's coming in preview first, but when you get an untrusted document with potentially malicious macros via email, it will open in a container," he said. It means when an attacker attempts to download more code from the internet and then install malware on the machine, the machine is a VM, so the victim never actually installs the malware. The move should help protect against phishing and other attacks that attempt to trick users into exiting from Protected View, which prevents users from running macros by default. Lefferts will also discuss how Microsoft is protecting organizations from sophisticated malware attackers who are exploiting the 'information parity problem' – a highbrow term for how aspects of a network can influence its overall design. "Defenders have to know everything perfectly and attackers only need to know one thing kind of well. The point is, it's not a level playing field and it's getting worse," said Lefferts. Key to this ability is the Microsoft Security Intelligent Graph that Microsoft is selling to enterprise customers. But what exactly is the Microsoft Intelligent Security Graph? "It's built into Defender ATP, Office 365, and Azure. We have signals built into events, behaviors, and things as simple as a user logged on to a machine or as complicated as the behavior of the memory layout in Word on this device is different to what it normally looks like," explained Lefferts. "Essentially we have sensors across all the identities, endpoints, cloud apps, and infrastructure and they're sending all of this to a central place inside Microsoft's cloud." Microsoft doesn't mean physical sensors in the context of its Intelligent Security Graph but rather pieces of code sitting inside its various applications that feed into to the Intelligent Security Graph. The idea is to assist security teams to solve challenges differently to the way humans would do it. "Humans aren't great at huge numbers, but this is the place where machines can provide new insight." Microsoft's evidence that it is making a difference is that it has helped prevent 13.5 billion malicious emails so far in 2019, and Lefferts expects Microsoft to have blocked 14 billion by the end of the year. The company has highlighted its work in defending US and European political organizations against cyberattacks ahead of the 2020 US presidential mid-term elections. "Defending democracy is a big point for us because we're making sure we take all the capabilities we're building here and use it to help organizations and governments around the world," he said. "The goal is to help defenders cut through the noise and prioritize important work and be ready to help protect and respond, both smarter and faster using signals from Windows, Office, and Azure." The key tool Microsoft is introducing now is automated remediation for Office 365 customers that have Microsoft Threat Protection. "There's a kill chain that represents every step an attacker takes as they move through the organization. When you find that going on, you want to ensure that you clean up the whole thing," said Lefferts. For example, a hacker breaches a network through a phishing email, installs malware on the device, and then moves laterally to critical infrastructure, such as an email server or domain controller. The hacker can maintain a presence on the network for potentially years. "The whole point about automation is finding all the compromised accounts and resetting those passwords, finding all the users who got malicious emails and scrubbing them out of inboxes, and finding all the devices that were impacted and isolating them, quarantining them, and cleaning them." Lefferts was careful not to use the word artificial intelligence and stressed that Microsoft's technologies are aimed at "augmentation of people" in security teams or "exoskeletons" for people rather than robots. So how would it help enterprise organizations respond to the next NotPetya ransomware outbreak? NotPetya spread initially through a poisoned update from a Ukraine-based accounting software firm, crippling several global firms, including Maersk and Mondelez. "The first thing is that it happens faster than the vendors can respond, which is a huge issue. [Responders] really need the augmentation that we're talking about so that they can go faster. There are also so many opportunities for defenders to intermediate and break the kill chain and fix everything. And we want to make sure we can work across that kill chain." Microsoft will also roll out new features for customers using Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection, offering admins a better overview of targeted phishing attacks. The idea is to subvert typical strategies that attackers use to avoid detection, such as sending email from different IP addresses. "However they pick their targets, they're going to have a factory where they're going to build a campaign that they're going to direct at those targets. And they will keep iterating on all the pieces of that campaign to see what's most effective at getting past the defenders and how they best trick the user into clicking something," said Lefferts. "It shows up as an onslaught of email across multiple users within the organization – sometimes just a few, sometimes in the hundreds. What we give defenders is a view of what's happening. There's email coming from different IP addresses and different sender domains and it's got different components in it because they keep running different experiments. We put the whole picture together to show you the flow, how it evolved over time." Source
  11. Microsoft's Edge browser is officially coming to Linux soon Back in May at Microsoft's Build 2019 developer conference, the company teased that its new Chromium-based Edge browser might be coming to Linux. At the time, public testing of the new browser was in its infancy, so there were a lot of uncertainties. In fact, back then, we didn't even have a Beta channel, and there weren't any builds for macOS yet, or older versions of Windows. Microsoft has teased Edge coming to Linux a couple of times since then, and today, it's finally official. During its State of the Browser session at its Ignite 2019 conference in Orlando, the Redmond firm finally said that there's a version of Edge coming to Linux. As for the timeline, it's the most familiar for those that follow Microsoft: it's coming soon. The Edge team rarely provides actual details for when the browser will hit a major milestone, so it was a bit surprising that it actually announced a general availability date today. Edge Chromium will be available for Windows and macOS beginning on January 15. While it's possible that the Linux variant could be in the Canary and Dev channels by then, it won't be generally available, just like the ARM64 flavor for Windows 10. Source: Microsoft's Edge browser is officially coming to Linux soon (Neowin)
  12. In a discussion about Linux and programming, Linux's founder, Linus Torvalds talks about what he does today and his own doubts about his work. Linus Torvalds, Linux's creator, doesn't make speeches anymore. But, what he does do, and he did again at Open Source Summit Europe in Lyon France is have public conversations with his friend Dirk Hohndel, VMware's Chief Open Source Officer. In this keynote discussion, Torvalds revealed that he doesn't think he's a programmer anymore. So what does the person everyone thinks of as a programmer's programmer do instead? Torvalds explained: I don't know coding at all anymore. Most of the code I write is in my e-mails. So somebody sends me a patch ... I [reply with] pseudo code. I'm so used to editing patches now I sometimes edit patches and send out the patch without having ever tested it. I literally wrote it in the mail and say, 'I think this is how it should be done,' but this is what I do, I am not a programmer. So, Hohndel asked, "What is your job?" Torvalds replied, "I read and write a lot of email. My job really is, in the end, is to say 'no.' Somebody has to say 'no' to [this patch or that pull request]. And because developers know that if they do something that I'll say 'no' to, they do a better job of writing the code." Torvalds continued, "Sometimes the code changes are so obvious that no messages really required, but that is very very rare." To help your code pass muster with Torvalds it helps to ''explain why the code does something and why some change is needed because that in turn helps the managerial side of the equation, where if you can explain your code to me, I will trust the code." In short, these days Torvalds is a code manager and maintainer, not a developer. That's fine with him: "I see one of my primary goals to be very responsive when people send me patches. I want to be like, I say yes or no within a day or two. During a merge, the day or two may stretch into a week, but I want to be there all the time as a maintainer." That's what code maintainers should do. "I think that's one of the main things you want to do is to be responsive so that the people who are sending code, either as patches or as requests feel like their work is -- maybe not appreciated because sometimes it's not -- but at least they get feedback." This may not sound like much fun. Hohndel reminded him that, after all, Torvalds' early autobiography was entitled Just for Fun. True, while he's no longer getting his hands dirty with coding on PCs with 4MBs of RAM and simple libraries and tools, Torvalds is still having fun. Torvalds said, "In many respects, development has gotten much easier. … We have much better tools, and we have much better documentation, we have a lot more community where people feel that it's part of their jobs and that's the primary part of their job to help new people come in." Still, Torvalds admitted, "What is maybe slightly not fun is we have to have a lot of rules in place. It was much more freewheeling back in the days and there were more banter and you could try things. There is a lot of seriousness, but the reason I'm still doing it is, it's the right thing. So right, I may spend most of my time reading email, but part of the reason I do that is [otherwise] I'd be really bored." Torvalds also admitted that while he's pleased with what he's doing with Linux today, he, like so many of us, has had doubts about his ability. Even he has felt some imposter syndrome. True, with the exception of the desktop, Linux runs pretty much everything in the world now, but what makes Torvalds "happy about Git is not that its taken over the world. It's that we all have self doubt, right, we all think 'are we actually any good?' And one of the self doubts I had with Linux was, it was just a reimplementation of Unix, right? Can I give you something that isn't just a better version of something else and Git proved to me that I can. Having two projects that made a big splash means that I'm not a one-trick pony." Oh, I think we all knows he's more than that. Source
  13. Last week the laptop I use for macOS development said that there is an XCode update available. I tried to install it but it said that there is not enough free space available to run the installer. So I deleted a bunch of files and tried again. Still the same complaint. Then I deleted some unused VM images. Those would free a few dozen gigabytes, so it should make things work. I even emptied the trash can to make sure nothing lingered around. But even this did not help, I still got the same complaint. At this point it was time to get serious and launch the terminal. And, true enough, according to df the disk had only 8 gigabytes of free space even though I had just deleted over 40 gigabytes of files from it (using rm, not the GUI, so things really should have been gone). A lot of googling and poking later I discovered that all the deleted files had gone to "reserved space" on the file system. There was no way to access those files or delete them. According to documentation the operating system would delete those files "on demand as more space is needed". This was not very comforting because the system most definitely was not doing that and you'd think that Apple's own software would get this right. After a ton more googling I managed to find a chat buried somewhere deep in Reddit which listed the magical indentation that purges reserved space. It consisted of running tmutil from the command line and giving it a bunch of command line arguments that did not seem to make sense or have any correlation to the thing that I wanted to do. But it did work and eventually I got XCode updated. After my blood pressure dropped to healthier levels I got the strangest feeling of déjà vu. This felt exactly like using Linux in the early 2000s. Things break at random for reasons you can't understand and the only way to fix it is to find terminal commands from discussion forums, type them in and hope for the best. Then it hit me. This was not an isolated incidence. The parallels are everywhere. Observe: External monitors Linux 2000: plugging an external monitor will most likely not work. Fanboys are very vocal that this is the fault of monitor manufacturers for not providing modeline info. Apple 2019: plugging an external projector will most likely not work. Fanboys are very vocal that this is the fault of projector manufacturers for not ensuring that their HW works with every Apple model. Software installation Linux 2000: There is only One True Way of installing software: using distro packages. If you do anything else you are bad and you should feel bad. Apple 2019: There is only True Way of installing software: using the Apple store. If you do anything else you are bad and you should feel bad. Hardware compatibility Linux 2000: only a limited number of hardware works out of the box, even for popular devices like 3D graphics cards. Things either don't work at all, have reduced functionality, or kinda work but fail spuriously every now and then for no discernible reason. Apple 2019: only a limited number of hardware works out of the box, even for popular devices like Android phones. Things either don't work at all, have reduced functionality, or kinda work but fail spuriously every now and then for no discernible reason. Technical support Linux 2000: if your problem is not google-trivial, there's nothing you can do. Asking friends for assistance does not help, because they will just type your problem description into Google and read the first hit. Apple 2019: if your problem is not google-trivial, there's nothing you can do. Calling Apple's tech support line does not help, because they will just type your problem description into Google and read the first hit. Laptop features Linux 2000: it is very difficult to find a laptop with more than two USB ports. Apple 2019: it is very difficult to find a laptop with more than two USB ports. Advocate behaviour Linux 2000: fanboys will let you know in no uncertain terms that their system is the best and will take over all desktop computer usage. Said fanboys are condescending elitist computer nerds. Apple 2019: fanboys will let you know in no uncertain terms that their system is the best and will take over all desktop computer usage. Said fanboys are condescending elitist hipster latte web site designers. Source
  14. By Asha Barbaschow Microsoft Australia's CTO told Red Hat Forum his company is committed to open source, and that the fundamental mission driven by Satya Nadella is best achieved through democratisation. Microsoft has copped a lot of flack over comments it has made regarding open source in the past; with one in particular made by its former CEO Steve Ballmer back in 2002 that described Linux and the General Public License as cancers. Highlighting the irony that Microsoft was presenting during Red Hat Forum 2019 in Melbourne on Tuesday, Redmond's Australian CTO Lee Hickin said the company has come a long way since those comments were made. "I recognise the irony of Microsoft here at an open source community event. I'm really proud to do that, and I'm humbled and privileged that we can be on the stage with Red Hat to share our story," Hickin said. Hickin has been with Microsoft on and off since 2005, saying that he's seen three leaders and three very different companies. "We're in an amazing place right now with a leader like Satya who really understands what it means to think about where we need to be for our customers, to really transform the company from being essentially the proprietary software company, to being an open source company," he said. "And I say that with my hand on my heart in a very serious way: We are an open source company, we are committed to open source, we're committed to Red Hat, and we're committed to continuing our engagement and our support to a broad open source community through a range of technologies, not least of which GitHub is one." Hickin touched on the mission that Satya Nadela set for Microsoft when he joined as CEO, which was to empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more. "We try to put that in context of how we, or at least I, internalise that thinking, which is [that] it's about democratising access. As a company, our vision is to democratise access to technology so that the rich power of AI, of data platforms, of services, and tools, and technologies -- whether they be ours, our competitors, our partners, open source, non-open source -- making sure that all of that technology is available to everybody in the best, most efficient, most cost effective way," he said. "So that democratisation, that ability, we want to give our customers the tools they need to make them where they are. "I think it's very aligned with how Red Hat operates." While Hickin said the suite of tools that are currently available under Microsoft would have been previously "unthinkable", he said he's proud to say they now exist. According to Hickin, more than 50% of what goes into Azure is from open source partners. "We are not the proprietary Windows company; we are the open source cloud that has a range of services across a whole bunch of tools and technologies," he said. "Azure is an open source platform and open source stack." Asha Barbaschow travelled to Red Hat Forum as a guest of Red Hat. Source
  15. And you shouldn't be either. Every company wants to rule Linux -- none of them can or ever will. Every time I write a story about Microsoft and Linux, I can guarantee I'll be buried under such comments as "Microsoft is buying control of Linux!" or "Microsoft is just practicing it old embrace, extend, and extinguish tactics to destroy Linux" or "Microsoft is a wolf in sheep's clothing -- it will wreck Linux." Here's the truth of the matter: Yes, Microsoft wants to profit from Linux. And, yes, Microsoft wants to extend and control Linux. Guess what? Everyone does, and none of them can. At the 2019 Linux Plumbers Conference, I talked to Linus Torvalds and several other of the Linux kernel's top programmers. They universally agreed Microsoft wants to control Linux, but they're not worried about it. That's because Linux, by its very nature and its GPL2 open-source licensing, can't be controlled by any single third-party. Torvalds said: "The whole anti-Microsoft thing was sometimes funny as a joke, but not really. Today, they're actually much friendlier. I talk to Microsoft engineers at various conferences, and I feel like, yes, they have changed, and the engineers are happy. And they're like really happy working on Linux. So I completely dismissed all the anti-Microsoft stuff." But that doesn't mean the Microsoft leopard can't change its spots. Sure, he hears, "This is the old Microsoft, and they're just biding their time." But, Torvalds said, "I don't think that's true. I mean, there will be tension. But that's true with any company that comes into Linux; they have their own objectives. And they want to do things their way because they have a reason for it." So, with Linux, "Microsoft tends to be mainly about Azure and doing all the stuff to make Linux work well for them," he explained. Torvalds emphasized this is normal: "I mean, that's just being part of the community." As Eric Raymond pointed out in his seminal open-source work, The Cathedral and the Bazaar: "Every good work of software starts by scratching a developer's personal itch." And, these days, a great deal of Linux work starts by scratching a company's itch. In the most recent 2017 State of Linux Kernel Development report, those companies are, in order: Intel, Red Hat, Linaro, IBM. Samsung, SUSE, and Google. Each has its own itch and each tries to scratch it as well as they can. While some unpaid volunteers -- 8.2 percent in 2017 -- work on Linux, the kernel is largely the work of developers working for corporations. Besides the proof of Microsoft working on the code, Torvald thinks it's interesting "how Microsoft went from basically extorting licensing for FAT (patents) from Android vendors to now making all the patents available. It really isn't just nice. It's real action. I'm pretty happy." James Bottomley, an IBM Research Distinguished Engineer and top Linux kernel developer, sees Microsoft as going through the same process as all other corporate Linux supporters: "This is a thread that runs through Linux. You can't work on the kernel to your own proprietary advantage. A lot of companies, as they came in with the proprietary business mode,l assumed they could. They have to be persuaded that, if you want something in Linux, that will assist your business -- absolutely fine. But it has to go through an open development process. And if someone else finds it useful, you end up cooperating or collaborating with them to produce this feature." That means, to get things done, even Microsoft is "eventually forced to collaborate with others.". Bottomley explained: "So a lot of what you see at the top, and what comes out of the Linux Foundation, is driven by the larger companies. And they're always fighting over, you know, who gets what feature and how it's done. But it's never been any different from the fact that development has to be done in the open. If somebody else finds a benefit, you end up collaborating." Bottomley concluded: "So it doesn't matter if Microsoft has a competing agenda to Red Hat or IBM or anybody else. Developers are still expected to work together in the Linux kernel with a transparent agenda." In short, Microsoft may be big, but no one is bigger than the entire Linux community. Besides, as the Linux stable branch maintainer, Greg Kroah-Hartman, told Swapnil Bhartiya, in an interview: "The Linux kernel development process is not about who you work for, it's about individuals. It's funny, KY [Srinivasan], head of Microsoft's open-source group, came from Novell, and before that, he was an ex-AT&T engineer. And he's a solid engineering manager who's been involved in Linux for 20 years." No one doubts that he's working for Linux's benefit. Also, Microsoft is a Linux company now. Kroah-Hartman continued: "Over 50% of their Azure workloads are Linux now. It's amazingly huge." He said Microsoft now has a Linux distribution, just like Amazon with AWS, which is a Linux distribution, and Oracle. Heck, you could even argue, thanks to Windows Subsystem for Linux 2.0, a Linux distro that runs on Windows 10, that Microsoft might be the largest Linux distributor. None of these Linux leaders, or anyone else I talked to at Plumbers, were the least bit worried about Microsoft taking over Linux. It's the other way around. Linux is now the driving force for almost all technology companies -- and that includes Microsoft. Source
  16. visualbuffs

    Best Linux OS for you?

    what linux os is your favorite!? or the OS you tried before and present!
  17. All Linux users are the same, right? Oh, hell no! Linux users are a diverse bunch, with differing opinions, tastes, and personalities. In fact, that is probably a contributing factor to the fragmentation of the Linux community. Linux users have lots of options between distributions, desktop environments, and more -- they are not stuck in a box like Windows 10 users. To highlight how different Linux users can be, Canonical has released some data about the installation of snaps, categorized by distro. It chose six of the most popular Linux-based operating systems for its analysis -- Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora, CentOS, Arch Linux, and Manjaro. It then shared the top five most popular snaps for each distribution. "From a distance, Linux is one big, confusing ball of passionate users and hardcore technical jargon. But as you zoom in, you can start seeing patterns -- and differences. Indeed, the individual and vastly varied choice of a favorite distribution has played a major part in shaping the community conversation in the Linux space. But does this also reflect on the application usage patterns? We wanted to have a look at how users on different distributions consume snaps. So we crunched some numbers and checked the top five snaps for Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora, CentOS, Arch Linux, and Manjaro users," says Igor Ljubuncic, Canonical. Ljubuncic further says, "As we can see from the data, the diversity that exists in the Linux distro world also propagates into how people use their software. Snaps offer an interesting insight into the specific needs across distributions. We do see that there are some common, universal cases, but also specific, custom things that are tied into the distribution choice." Canonical shares the chart below. While the chart does show that Linux users are very different, it also shows their similarities. With the exception of CentOS, the top snap is media related -- VLC or Spotify. I am a bit surprised that Spotify has so many installations, as the web interface is more than fine. Microsoft should be very happy to see its popular Skype showing up in the top five for three of the distributions. Source
  18. Ubuntu developers have detailed the process by which 32-bit library and app compatibility will be maintained in Ubuntu 19.10 and up. Even this image isn’t 32-bit You may recall that Ubuntu planned to drop the 32-bit archive fully in Ubuntu 19.10 — if you don’t, I didn’t know holidays on the moon were a thing — only to u-turn following user outcry. The sheer scale of the community reaction to their plans (which had been public knowledge for a while) coupled with Valve disavowing Ubuntu support should things come to pass, quickly induced a rethink. Well, partial rethink anyway. The plan isn’t to maintain the entire 32-bit archive as is for 19.10 and on, but instead switch to maintaining the most popular packages, oft-used libraries, and critical dependencies. Based on our commitment to continue to support i386 userspace in Ubuntu, we have assembled a list of packages for which we have been able to determine there is user demand [for],” Canonicals Steve Langasek writes in an update to the 32-bit drama on the Ubuntu Discourse. And it’s the packages Langasek lists that Ubuntu devs will “commit to carry forward to 20.04 on parity with amd64” versions. To compile a list of “keepers” Ubuntu devs ran this: join -j1 -v1 <(sed -n -e’s/^Package: //p’ /var/lib/apt/lists/archive.ubuntu.com_ubuntu_dists_eoan_binary-i386_Packages | sort -u) <(sed -n -e’s/^Package: //p’ /var/lib/apt/lists/archive.ubuntu.com_ubuntu_dists_eoan_binary-amd64_Packages | sort -u) | grep -vE ‘^lib64|amd64$|linux-gnu|ia32$|signed-template$|mkl|sse|^strace64$|^xserver-xorg’ “This [command] gives us a list of 52 i386-only binary packages, including certain well-known ones such as wine and steam,” Langasek notes. A further 43 runtimes and ‘dependencies of the third-party 32-bit-only programs known to us’ were added, resulting in a pretty comprehensive catch-net of compatibility enablers. And yes, software like steam, fenix, wine32, and zsnes is among the 199 source packages and dependencies that Ubuntu devs say they’ll maintain in Ubuntu 19.10 and on to 20.04 LTS. Anything crucial libraries missing off the list can be flagged for inclusion on the forum thread. What does this mean? The “tl;dr” of this announcement is this: the most popular 32-bit Linux apps, drivers, and utilities will continue to work on 64-bit Ubuntu in the same manner they do now. Steam will support Ubuntu 19.10. Wine apps will work in Ubuntu 19.10. Pretty much anything vital you rely on will continue to work. Ubuntu is simply relieving itself of the burden of maintaining the oodles of libfoo32-dev packages that (virtually) no-one uses. And for those corner cases where the sanctified list doesn’t reach? Well, that’s what Snappy is for! Source
  19. By Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols Computerworld With Microsoft embracing Linux ever more tightly, might it do the heretofore unthinkable and dump the NT kernel in favor of the Linux kernel? No, I’m not ready for the funny farm. As it prepares Windows 11, Microsoft has been laying the groundwork for such a radical release. I’ve long toyed with the idea that Microsoft could release a desktop Linux. Now I’ve started taking that idea more seriously — with a twist. Microsoft could replace Windows’ innards, the NT kernel, with a Linux kernel. It would still look like Windows. For most users, it would still work like Windows. But the engine running it all would be Linux. Why would Microsoft do this? Well, have you been paying attention to Windows lately? It has been one foul-up after another. Just in the last few months there was the registry backup fail and numerous and regular machine-hobbling Windows updates. In fact, updates have grown so sloppy you have to seriously wonder whether it’s safer to stay open to attacks or “upgrade” your system with a dodgy patch. Remember when letting your Windows system get automatic patches every month was nothing to worry about? I do. Good times. Why is this happening? The root cause of all these problems is that, for Microsoft, Windows desktop software is now a back-burner product. It wants your company to move you to Windows Virtual Desktop and replace your existing PC-based software, like Office 2019, with software-as-a-service (SaaS) programs like Office 365. It’s obvious, right? Nobody in Redmond cares anymore, so quality assurance for Windows the desktop is being flushed down the toilet. Many of the problems afflicting Windows do not reside in the operating system’s upper levels. Instead, their roots are deep down in the NT kernel. What, then, if we could replace that rotten kernel with a fresh, healthy kernel? Maybe one that is being kept up to date by a worldwide group of passionate developers. Yes, my bias is showing, but that’s Linux, and it’s a solution that makes a lot of sense. What’s that? You can’t run your Windows applications on Linux? Wrong. CrossOver and Wine have been doing it for decades now. This works by translating Windows system calls into Linux calls. Ah, you know about Windows compatibility layers, but you can’t get past the fact that CrossOver doesn’t work with everything? Think about this: Its developers don’t have access to Windows’ full APIs and system calls. Microsoft’s software engineers, of course, do. Is this just the pipe dream of a hard-core Linux aficionado with little basis in reality? No. For one thing, I’m quite content using my Mint laptop, and what happens in Windows world is of little real concern to me. But more importantly, Microsoft has already been doing some of the needed work. Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) developers have been working on mapping Linux API calls to Windows, and vice versa. With the first version of WSL, Microsoft connected the dots between Windows-native libraries and programs and Linux. At the time, Carmen Crincoli tweeted: “2017 is finally the year of Linux on the Desktop. It’s just that the Desktop is Windows.” Who is Carmen Crincoli? Microsoft’s manager of partnerships with storage and independent hardware vendors. Since then, Microsoft has been drawing Windows and Linux ever closer. With WSL 2, Microsoft started including within Windows Insiders releases its own in-house, custom-built Linux kernel to underpin WSL. In other words, Microsoft is now shipping its own Linux kernel, which works hand-in-glove with Windows. Why not take the next natural step? Microsoft could continue to encourage users to stop using traditional desktops at all and go with the cloud, while offering the foot-draggers a far more stable and secure old-school version of Windows that just happens to run on top of Linux. Crazy? Well, so was the idea that a Microsoft CEO would get up and say, “Microsoft loves Linux.” So was the very thought that the most used operating system on Microsoft Azure would be Linux, not Windows Server. And who would have ever thought Microsoft would open up its profitable patent portfolio to open-source and Linux developers — for free? As I’m fond of saying, whenever people refuse to believe that Microsoft is now open-source-friendly: “This is not your dad’s Microsoft.” Will Microsoft release a Linux-based Windows? I don’t know. What I do know is that it has been taking the necessary steps to make such a desktop operating system possible. And unlike with the Microsoft of old, surprises do happen. Source
  20. And it’s here; the new GNOME 3.34 release is now officially available, six months after development first began. And the biggest change on offer in GNOME 3.34 isn’t one you can see, but it is one you can feel: speed. Now, yes: each new release of this particular desktop environment comes carrying claims of “faster” or “better performance”. And those claims don’t always feel accurate. But this time around the performance improvements are supposedly more tangible. In fact, GNOME developers say they’ve been able to “drastically improve the responsiveness and consistency of the desktop”, even on slower or older hardware — which is pretty impressive. Early feedback I’ve heard from folks who’ve sampled GNOME 3.34 over the course of the past few months far, is that yup: things feel more fluid. While there aren’t any major memory reductions, window animations in particular are said to be smoother. In all, GNOME 3.34 is a milestone thanks to its balance of form and function, look and that all-important feel. I recommend reading our full rundown of the best GNOME 3.34 features for more detail on what else is new in this particular release (from the revised Shell theme and new app icons to the ‘drag and drop’ folder creation in the Applications grid). How to Get GNOME 3.34? Wondering how to upgrade to GNOME 3.34? Well, source code is available now should you fancy building it from scratch (though I imagine you don’t). Rolling release distros like Arch and Manjaro will package the whole GNOME 3.34 stack and make it available within the next few days. Alas, for those of us on a regular release Linux distribution like Ubuntu and Fedora, we’ll need to be a little more patient. GNOME 3.34 will be included in Ubuntu 19.10, due for release on October 18. Source
  21. Huawei is selling three models of MateBook systems with Deepin Linux preinstalled, available at the company's Chinese shopping site. Despite the trade blacklisting of Huawei by the US government, the Chinese electronics giant's notebook division is plugging along, despite reports of component order cancellations in June, prompting concern they could exit the PC OEM market. Huawei is now selling the Matebook 13, Matebook 14, and Matebook X Pro at VMALL, Huawei's ecommerce marketplace in China, with Deepin Linux preinstalled. Deepin is a Chinese-domestic distribution, with their own desktop environment—appropriately also called Deepin—called "the single most beautiful desktop on the market" by TechRepublic's Jack Wallen. Huawei is passing along the savings to consumers as well, with the Matebook 13 and 14 models receiving a 300 yuan ($42 USD) price cut, though the Linux version of the MateBook X Pro is listed at 600 yuan ($84) higher. This pricing should be considered tentative, as the products are listed on VMALL, though only allow users to be notified when they are in stock. It is possible that Huawei may lose the ability to purchase Windows licenses from Microsoft due to their placement on the "entity list," restricting companies dealing in US-origin technology from conducting business with Huawei, constituting an effective blacklisting by the US government. Sales of Linux laptops to consumers—by Huawei, and in general—could result in better driver support for fingerprint readers and other hardware with inconsistent Linux support. Huawei's MateBook products are available outside of China, though Huawei has made no announcement of making Linux versions available in the West. The Matebook series is well-received by reviewers, though—as is practically the case for the entire PC industry, to some extent—the products follow Apple's design footsteps quite closely. ZDNet's Matthew Miller praised the inaugural Windows 10 tablet, saying "it's great to see manufacturers challenge Microsoft's Surface devices that I used to think set the bar for well designed computers," while Adrian Kingsley-Hughes said "the MateBook oozes quality." Miller called the 2017 MateBook X "a fantastic piece of hardware," and praised the 2018 MateBook X Pro for having a 91% screen-to-body ratio, and high quality speakers. The Deepin desktop, likewise, is available in English, the Deepin desktop environment is also packaged in Fedora 30, which may be a more comfortable distribution for Linux users in the West. Deepin's business model is similar to Canonical, the company charges for desktop support, and releases sources for much of their internally-developed programs, like Deepin desktop environment. For more, check out "Lenovo shipping Ubuntu Linux on 2019 ThinkPad P-series models" and "South Korean government planning Linux migration as Windows 7 support ends" on TechRepublic. Source
  22. For years, Microsoft has profited from its FAT file system patents. Now the company is making it explicit that it's freeing its remaining exFAT patents for Open Invention Network members. For years, Microsoft used its patents as a way to profit from open-source products. The poster-child for Microsoft's intellectual property aggression were the File Allocation Table (FAT) patents. But the Microsoft of then is not the Microsoft of now. First, Microsoft open-sourced 60,000 patents of its patent portfolio and now Microsoft is explicitly making its last remaining FAT intellectual property, the exFAT patents, available to Linux and open source via the Open Invention Network (OIN). Microsoft announced that it now loves Linux and "we say that a lot, and we mean it! Today we're pleased to announce that Microsoft is supporting the addition of Microsoft's exFAT (Extended File Allocation Table) technology to the Linux kernel." ExFAT is based on FAT, one of the first floppy disk file systems. Over time, FAT became Microsoft's files ystem of choice for MS-DOS and Windows. It would become the default file system for many applications. Microsoft extended FAT to flash memory storage devices such as USB drives and SD cards in 2006 with exFAT. While FAT isn't commonly used today, exFAT is used in hundreds of millions of storage device. Indeed, exFAT is the official file system for SD Card Association's standard large capacity SD cards. Now, Microsoft states: It's important to us that the Linux community can make use of exFAT included in the Linux kernel with confidence. To this end, we will be making Microsoft's technical specification for exFAT publicly available to facilitate the development of conformant, interoperable implementations. We also support the eventual inclusion of a Linux kernel with exFAT support in a future revision of the Open Invention Network's Linux System Definition, where, once accepted, the code will benefit from the defensive patent commitments of OIN's 3040+ members and licensees. Specifically, according to a Microsoft representative, "Microsoft is supporting the addition of the exFAT file system to the Linux kernel and the eventual inclusion of a Linux kernel with exFAT support in a future revision of the Open Invention Network's Linux System Definition." When Microsoft first started loosening its grip on Linux-related patents, Bradley Kuhn, president of the Software Freedom Conservancy, asked for "Microsoft, as a sign of good faith and to confirm its intention to end all patent aggression against Linux and its users, to now submit to upstream the exfat code themselves under GPLv2-or-late." Microsoft isn't doing that. Instead, said a Microsoft representative, "We are supporting the inclusion of exFAT in the Linux kernel and to facilitate that, we are making Microsoft's technical specification for exFAT publicly available. We will also support the eventual inclusion of a Linux kernel with exFAT support in a future revision of the OIN's Linux System Definition." But while "we are supporting the inclusion of exFAT in the Linux kernel, the code submission is being performed by other members of the community." The Microsoft speaker added the company has "no on-going patent litigation involving exFAT." Why is Microsoft doing this considering over the years it's made tens of millions from its FAT patents? Stephen Walli, Microsoft's principal program manager for Azure, explained at Open Source Summit Europe last year that "Open source changed everything. Customers have changed. Fifteen years ago, a CIO would have said, 'we have no open source, they would have been wrong, but that's what they thought.' Now, CIOs know open source's essential … Microsoft has always been a company by, of, and for developers. At this point in history, developers love open source." Keith Bergelt, OIN's CEO, welcomed this news. "We're happy and heartened to see that Microsoft is continuing to support software freedom. They are giving up the patent levers to create revenue at the expense of the community. This is another step of Microsoft's transformation in showing it's truly committed to Linux and open source." When the next edition of the Linux System Definition is released in the first quarter of 2020, any member of the OIN will be able to use exFAT without paying a patent royalty. Bergelt noted that membership in the open-source patent protection consortium is free for any company willing to share its patents with others. However, a company need not have patents to join the OIN. Source
  23. Bookworm is a light-weight eBook reader for Linux While Calibre has a built-in reader, and is the absolute best when it comes to managing and converting eBooks, some people may prefer an alternative when it comes to reading ebooks. Bookworm, a lightweight ebook reader for Linux, offers a minimalist experience. Developed for Elementary OS, Bookworm is also available for other Linux distributions such as Ubuntu or OpenSUSE. Options to install from source or flatpack are provided as well. Bookworm does have some basic editing options such as editing the metadata (Author name and tags) but it is not a full-fledged ebook editor. To edit the data that it supports, highlight a book and left click on the author name or the tag field. The book Library There are 2 views that you can switch to in the Library; grid view and list view. Grid view displays the books with their cover art (if they have any), list view shows a list of the books with their title, author, last opened date, rating and tags. The search bar on the top lets you quickly find the book you want. The toolbar at the bottom left corner of Bookworm's Library has 3 icons: the Check mark button is used for selecting multiple books, the + button is for adding books to your library, and the -icon is for deleting books. You can batch import books to the library by using the shift key in the add book window. I used it to add about 100 books and it worked fine. Reader view Left-click on any book listed in the library to read the book; this view consists of a toolbar and the reading pane. The application supports three different reading themes and additional customization options. The Library button takes you back to your bookshelf, the info button displays the contents, bookmarks, search results, annotations (that you add), and word meaning (of a selected word). You can use the A icon on the toolbar to change the font size, and to increase/decrease the margin and line width, or to switch between the 3 background colours (white, sepia and dark); these options remind me of the Kindle app. You can right-click anywhere in the book view to check the meaning of a word, to annotate text, or switch to full screen (keyboard shortcut: F11). Use the arrow icons at the bottom of the screen or the left/right arrow keys on your keyboard to turn the pages. The gear icon next to the search bar lets you modify some settings including a dark mode (for the interface/toolbar), and a toggle for 2-page reading mode which is nice. You can change the font type, background colour, text colour, and highlight colour from the Preferences pane. These changes are saved to the selected profile, but you can reset it anytime. Bookworm supports eBooks in EPUB, PDF, MOBI (Kindle), FB2 formats, and CBR & CBZ comic book formats. Note: Bookworm worked fine when reading all formats except CBR during my usage. I tried different books, and it kept throwing an error. The default document viewer in Mint could open the same books though. Speaking of eBook readers, Microsoft Edge Chromium looks set to be the default browser in Windows 10, but won't support the EPUB format. Shockingly, no user asked about it in the AMA hosted by the dev team yesterday. The regular Edge browser can read EPUB books, but will be retired soon. Back to Calibre on Windows I suppose. Check out our EPUB Reader overview for Windows. Source: Bookworm is a light-weight eBook reader for Linux (gHacks)
  24. Microsoft continues to embrace Linux by bringing Trusted Execution Environment to the open source OS As expected, only good things came from Microsoft joining the Linux Foundation. Together with the consortium of other companies that use Linux extensively, such as Intel and IBM; Microsoft has helped bring support for trusted execution environment to the Linux OS under the umbrella of “Confidential Computing”. The Confidential Computing push would allow applications to execute in protected environments in the operating system, such that data and code would be protected, even if the OS itself was compromised. Readers will, of course, be familiar with the similarities between this and the various DRM schemes that Microsoft attempted to build into Windows. As part of the effort, Microsoft is contributing the Open Enclave SDK that can be used by developers to build apps that will run in the trusted execution environment. Using the SDK, each application will consist of two components- one untrusted part that will run in the untrusted OS, and a trusted part, that’s protected inside the enclave. These trusted computing initiatives, of course, very much rely on hardware support; and Intel will be contributing their software guard extension chip feature, that will enforce the security of the Open Enclave code. Open-source company Red Hat is contributing its Enrax framework, which is similar to Microsoft’s Open Enclave but is targeted more at public cloud services. As Microsoft continues to embrace and extend the Linux operating system to make it more suitable for their cloud computing needs, it seems the only thing at risk of being extinguished is Linux’s long, irrelevant reputation as a “toy operating system”. Read more about the trusted execution environment initiative at Microsoft here. Source: Microsoft continues to embrace Linux by bringing Trusted Execution Environment to the open source OS (MSPoweruser)
  25. Flameshot is a brilliant screenshot tool for Linux The default screenshot tool in Ubuntu is alright for basic snips but if you want a really good one you need to install a third-party screenshot app. Shutter is probably my favorite, but I decided to give Flameshot a try. Packages are available for various distributions including Ubuntu, Arch, openSuse and Debian. You find installation instructions on the official project website. The app sits in the system tray and can be accessed with a double-click. You can use it to capture the on-screen content drawing a rectanglular area and letting go of the mouse just like you do in most screenshot apps. Global keyboard shortcuts are not set up by default but you find a configuration file to enable them on KDE Plasma desktop. Once set up, you may use the Print key to take a full screenshot or Shift-Print to take fullscreen captures of all monitors. Once you have captured part or all of the screen you will see the built-in editor of Flameshot which displays the screenshot's content. There is a toolbar at the bottom of the screen, which has the following tools: Pencil, Line, Arrow, Selection, Rectangle, Circle, Marker, Blur, Move, Undo, Copy, Save, Leave, Upload to imgur and Open the capture in another app. The blur tool is priceless when you have to redact information from a screenshot. The arrow/marker and rectangle tools are also useful for creating tutorial images. You can view the dimensions of the selection right on the Flameshot toolbar. The copy option saves the screenshot to the clipboard which you can paste in another app to edit, or share. The upload to imgur option saves the screenshot anonymously and displays three options: Copy url, open url and image to clipboard. The colour of the paint tool can be changed while editing a screenshot by holding the right mouse button. Doing sot displays a colour wheel to pick another colour; this can be useful if you want a different colour for each element that you add to a screenshot. For e.g. you can use 1 colour for arrows, another one for the marker and yet another for the rectangle. You can use the mouse-wheel to change the paint brush's thickness as well. Depending on the selection size (screenshot area), the toolbar arranges the icons partially at the sides (for smaller snips) or at the bottom (for larger snips). Flameshot saves the screenshots in the PNG format, but you can manually save them in JPG, BMP, etc. Right-click on the taskbar icon to access the app's configuration menu. You can use it to manage any of the buttons that are available in the editor's interface. It also has options to change the colour of the buttons and to set the opacity of the area outside the screenshot. The only other options that I found useful were in the filename editor. Flameshot saves snips using the name "screenshot" by default but you can set a custom name from the filename editor. It also has many time-stamp options that can be added to the filename. Closing Words Flameshot is impressive at what it does, and is very user-friendly. It kind of reminds me of ScreenPresso in many ways. Though the editing options in Flameshot are amazing, you can't edit existing images using the application. There are only 2 areas where Flameshot lacks behind: it cannot capture screenshots by selecting a window and there is no option for delayed screenshots other than using the global shortcuts configuration file as it unlocks an option to capture a screenshot with a 3-second delay. But I think you can workaround these by using the built-in screenshot tool in Ubuntu. The program is also available for Windows but it is still in early beta. Source: Flameshot is a brilliant screenshot tool for Linux (gHacks)
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