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  1. 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)
  2. 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
  3. 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)
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. visualbuffs

    Best Linux OS for you?

    what linux os is your favorite!? or the OS you tried before and present!
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. 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
  13. 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
  14. 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
  15. 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
  16. 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)
  17. 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)
  18. 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)
  19. Using Linux on a laptop used to be so tricky and tedious: that's clearly no longer the case It's been a month since I wrote about getting a new HP Pavilion 14 laptop and loading Linux on it. My experience with it so far has been extremely good – it has done exactly what I wanted, I haven't had any trouble with it, I have used it, traveled with it, updated all of the various Linux distributions I loaded on it, and even added another distribution to it. First, I broke one of my own basic rules – never travel with only a new and untested laptop. I left for a three-week-plus vacation in the US the day after my previous posting. I used the laptop pretty much every day during the trip. and never had a problem of any kind. It was fast and reliable, suspend/resume on closing/opening the lid worked perfectly. Battery life is extremely good – I've never actually managed to run the batteries completely out, but I can certainly say that they are good for 6-8 hours depending on your use. Durability has been good as well; although I never actually "drop-tested" it, I did carry it in my usual travel bag, which got tossed in and out of overhead bins, under seats, in and out of cars and other normal everyday abuse. The screen has been bright and easy to read in all sorts of different light conditions, and the brightness up/down and volume up/down F-keys worked on all of the distributions I have loaded on it. I kept it up to date as I was traveling (to be honest, that also breaks one of my personal rules – don't risk updates on your only laptop while traveling). That means openSUSE Tumbleweed got hundreds of updates; Debian, Fedora and Manjaro got a fair number as well, and I updated Linux Mint from 19.2 Beta to the final 19.2 release, all without problems. I also decided to install Ubuntu 19.04 on it one evening when I had a bit of extra time. That turned out to be just as easy as the other distributions I had already installed – download the ISO, dump it to a USB stick and then boot that and run the installer. As with the other distributions it didn't recognize the Realtek Wi-Fi card, but I was able to correct that the same way, and using the same downloads, as I had already done with Linux Mint and Debian. The one small problem that I ran into I already knew about, that Ubuntu and Linux Mint have a directory name conflict in the EFI boot directory. I avoided that by creating a tiny EFI partition specifically for the Ubuntu installation. Oh, one thing that I am starting to see in a slightly different light is the UEFI firmware and boot configuration on this HP laptop. I've had a lot of negative things to say about HP laptops in this regard before, the most serious of which was that the UEFI boot configuration was difficult to understand and manage. Maybe that has improved since the last time I tried an HP, and maybe I have learned a bit more about managing UEFI boot, but for whatever reason(s), I am starting to appreciate the predictability of the HP configuration. The boot sequence doesn't change no matter what any installed distribution does – it only changes when you go into BIOS setup and change it. This works out just fine for me, because I want Tumbleweed to be my default boot no matter what other distributions I install, so for example even when I installed Ubuntu, and it tried to make itself the default boot, when I rebooted the laptop it still brought up Tumbleweed. While I was traveling I was asked by several friends who keep up with my blog if I regretted having wiped Windows 10 from this laptop unnecessarily (see the comments on my previous post for details ). My answer was a very clear 'no', there was not a single situation where I needed or wanted to boot Windows, and I was happy to have the additional disk space. So, what's next for this system? Well, I return to Amsterdam on Monday, and I will be taking it with me there. I will be using it with the usual assortment of beamers and presenter controls, and using the browsers and application software that I need for that environment, and I don't expect to have any difficulty with that either. That's about all there is to report at this time. I'd love to pass along some really juicy 'tips and tricks' about keeping the laptop working properly with Linux, but there is honestly nothing to say. I bought the laptop, I wiped Windows, I loaded Linux, and it has been smooth sailing ever since. I guess that in itself is a pretty good 'tip', since using Linux on a laptop used to be so tricky and tedious that there was a dedicated website with model-specific information, advice and configuration tips. This is clearly no longer necessary. Source
  20. Last month I made a very unsubtle yawning sound in the direction of Skype due to a lack of updates to the official Skype Snap app. The popular VoIP sat unloved, with no stable updates, for six whole months. Fast forward a few weeks from calling them out and I’m pleased to report that whatever blockage was lodged in the build machine pipe-work has been well and truly flushed out. Not only is the Skype Snap app once again up to date on the Snapcraft store — hurrah! — but some freshly prepared ‘insider’ builds are available for the more adventurous to play with — double hurrah! The latest Skype Snap build is version, the same version as that available to download from their website. Among a bunch of general improvements, bug fixes, etc, this build debuts a brand new icon Left: old icon; Right: new logo The new Skype icon is dressed in Microsoft’s new ‘fluent’ design language, a style it has been slowly rolling out its core products, like Microsoft Office, since last November. The new Skype icon eschews the flat design of the former for a layered look using gradients and shadows. It’s no revolutionary, but I think it’s a subtle improvement over the original. Keep the updates coming, Skype! Skype and Spotify (which also had a recent hiccup to its update frequency) are two of the best known apps on the Snap store. Their lacklustre Snap maintainer (despite releasing new Linux builds through other methods) was both disappointing and discouraging — and not just to Snap app users! Indie app developers debating support for the format may have been put off, inferring that supporting the format is more work than (i’m told) it is. Hopefully things will continue tick along nicely hereon. Snaps might not be the packaging format ticking everyone’s tastebuds, but they’ve proven to be hugely successful so far — frequent updates to tentpole software like Skype will help ensure that this success continues. Source
  21. Two privacy-first, open-source platforms want to give consumers what the tech giants won’t. But starting from scratch isn’t easy. For years, the devices and services we use have ever more aggressively monitored our activities and mined our data. But as consumers have grown increasingly attuned to privacy concerns, solutions have been appearing to help them evade tracking. Browsers such as Brave and search engines such as DuckDuckGo play up their privacy-first design. When it comes to the dominant mobile operating systems, Google has talked about preserving privacy by providing more transparency and exposing opt-out controls. Apple, on the other hand, has sought to create services that remove the opt-out requirement by not collecting data in the first place, turning privacy preservation into a key differentiator. But many users aren’t comfortable even with Apple’s approach. Recently, two groups have created new platforms that avoid sharing data with Google, Apple, or any other entity behind the scenes. Nevertheless, their product-development approaches parallel the market strategies of Google and Apple, with some striking differences. One of these is the e Foundation. Its eOS aspires to be a Google-free version of Android that has a wide range of device support. It’s not a new idea: One existing alternative to Google’s flavor of Android is LineageOS, a fork of what had been the leading Google Android alternative, CyanogenMod. However, according to Gaël Duval, head of e Foundation, producing a version of Android that is completely Google-free requires far more effort than just stripping out Google apps such as Gmail; even LineageOS sends some data through Google’s servers or relies on its services. 20 years ago, Duval created Mandrake Linux, a more approachable distribution of the open-source operating system. Drawing on this experience, he wants to make replacing Google’s Android with the foundation’s eOS version as simple as clicking a button on an installer app. The software’s current beta version supports about 75 different smartphone models. For now, though, the process is similar to installing any custom ROM on an Android phone—that is, not very convenient. To bridge the gap, e Foundation is gearing up to sell a number of refurbished Android phones with the current version of eOS preinstalled. Next year, it intends to offer its own new, optimized smartphones with the OS preinstalled. Until e Foundation can offer its own hardware designed from scratch, it will have to rely on third-party hardware drivers that it doesn’t control. Avoiding that liability is one of the main goals of Purism and its forthcoming smartphone, the Librem 5. A social purpose corporation with a charter to consider goals beyond profit maximization, Purism has been shipping laptops with a strong focus on security and privacy since 2015. It’s used the revenue from its laptops to fund development of its first smartphone. Like its previous devices, the phone runs Purism’s own version of Linux, giving it even more distance from the Google ecosystem than e Foundation’s Android-based system. Image:LineageOS on Samsung Galaxy Note 3 With eOS, e Foundation is taking a Google-like approach, by trying to get its software on as many smartphones as possible in order to reach ubiquity. Purism, by contrast, is pursuing Apple-like vertical integration by developing its own operating system, optimizing hardware to run on it, and even launching a group of services under the banner of Librem One. While Purism’s product development approach has similarities to Apple’s, there are some critical differences. Unlike Apple, Purism makes software that’s open and free to be used by other developers. The company’s devices are endorsed by the Free Software Foundation, and it will only bundle apps on its smartphone that are similarly endorsed. Second, Purism has very different design goals than Apple. While Apple is obsessed with integration and sleek design, Purism’s smartphone will include dedicated hardware switches for the camera and microphone, allowing users to swiftly and definitively turn off those features in the interest of privacy. Instead of integrating as many functions as possible onto its CPU, the phone will err on the side of security with distinct CPU, GPU, and modem modules. It will also have a removable battery, a feature that Apple long ago abandoned in the interest of svelte devices. Purism’s design decisions help contribute to the Librem 5’s 14-mm profile, which is thick for a modern smartphone. Dissatisfied with the level of openness from leading smartphone chip vendors, Purism is using a processor from NXP Semiconductors. The Dutch company, which was long an acquisition target of Qualcomm, is generally known for automotive processors and sensors. Image: Librem 5 Linux smartphone Purism plans to start with the basics of phone calls and texting and add functionality from there. One advantage it has is that its smartphone runs the same Pure Linux distribution that its laptops use, so a pipeline of existing apps could be adapted to run on the smartphone once they’ve been rejiggered to work on a smaller display. The company seems unconcerned that its devices’ slow gestation and relatively high prices—it’s taking Librem 5 preorders for $699—will faze consumers. It believes other manufacturers will eventually adopt its open-source platform, but only after it has proven its viability. Both of these startups’ efforts are ambitious and thoughtful, but they’re taking on one of the most daunting challenges in all of consumer technology. From Windows Phone to the enthusiast-backed Sailfish OS, alternative platforms have failed to gain a foothold in the era of the Apple-Google smartphone OS duopoly. Even if Purism and e Foundation achieve all of their platform goals, they will still have to make their case for a mobile experience that lacks virtually all of the most popular apps that consumers use today. While both camps consider Apple an enemy, it’s done more than any other mainstream tech company to advocate for privacy, a move that could help these new entrants. On the other hand, apps that mine our data, such as Facebook and YouTube, remain some of the most popular offerings on iOS. Apple recognizes that it must balance the services consumers know they want with the privacy Apple believes they need. One way or another, these smartphone upstarts will also need to strike that balance, in a way that makes sense to a critical mass of consumers. Source
  22. So, This happened quite some time ago. When i installed Linux Mint onto a laptop which had BIOS, (Yes, quite old system.) And since then. I don't have access to the system BIOS. All i can do is select boot device and it boots into the os. The bios part essentially won't show up. For my understanding it is due to the installation going the UEFI way and messing something up, I tried to get it working by taking the hard drive out to see if there is something and it does not work that way. So Any way to get this thing fixed up? It's a lenovo g580 with an intel pentium dual core processor. What went wrong. and What can be done to get it back how it was. *I did successfully re-flash the bios via a bios file via usb. But still getting the same thing. Now the Linux installation have also gone haywire by booting into Initramfs adding more salt to the injury. and i want to get rid of this whole linux sh*t and install back windows again with normal accessible BIOS.
  23. Operating systems are dwindling towards irrelevance, and that’s no bad thing When PC Pro was born nearly 25 years ago, it didn't start life under that name: It entered the world as Windows Magazine. Magazines gathered in little tribes. There was PC Pro, PC Magazine, Computer Shopper and several others all vying for the Windows users, and then there were MacUser and MacFormat trying to tempt the Macolytes. Later on, the Linux mags came along, once the writers had managed to unjam their beards from the printer. There wasn't – with the possible exception of the ultra-snobby Wired – one magazine that served all those audiences, because why would they? What would a Mac owner want to know about the new advances in Windows 98? It just didn't compute. A quarter of a century later, the operating system is on the brink of irrelevance. Nothing much is defined by the OS that you use. You could be running macOS, Windows, Android or iOS, even desktop Linux, and to a large extent your day-to-day work would be unaffected. Files flow freely from one OS to another with compatibility rarely raising its ugly head. Computing's tribes have never rubbed along so harmoniously. This outbreak of peace has had a dramatic effect on the computing landscape, and nowhere more so than at Microsoft. The company's mantra used to be "Windows everywhere"; now it's getting harder to find mention of Windows anywhere. New Windows releases used to be huge staging posts, now they're little more than blog posts. The recent Build conference, once the place where we tech journalists flocked to get a full day's advanced briefing on all the new features in the next version of Windows, barely made mention of the W word, according to those who were there. Microsoft's embrace of Linux and its conversion to the Chromium engine for the Edge browser are based on a realisation that Microsoft failed to grasp for too long: despite those billion or so users, the world doesn't revolve around Windows anymore. It's hard to think of anything but niche software packages that could survive by chaining themselves to a single OS anymore. In the process of researching and writing this column, I've gone from Word on my Windows laptop to finishing it off on the train using Word on my iPad Pro. I read the background articles using Chrome on my Android phone, clipped quotes and notes to OneNote mobile, which I've accessed on the other platforms, and saved the copy itself in Dropbox. Had any of these applications or services been tied to a particular OS, I wouldn't be using them. Twenty years ago, Sun boss Scott McNealy used to lose his rag at every press conference when asked about Windows. "Who cares about operating systems?" he would bellow. "Nobody knows what operating system is running inside their car or their mobile phone," he would argue, in the days before iOS and Android were even conceived. They were, to his mind, an irrelevance. He was wrong at the time, but he would be entitled to say "I told you so" if he were still around to swagger into press conferences now. The OS is dwindling in importance. Like a good football referee, you barely notice it's there at all. Even Microsoft has sussed that the operating system just has to get out of the way, which is why it's worked hard to reduce unwanted interruptions from security software and the dreaded Windows Update. To use the favourite phrase of a former editor, Windows has learned to "just deal with it". While a small part of me misses the tribalism and the pub banter with the smug Mac brigade (they probably had reason to be smug, truth be told), the "anything for an easy life" part of me is relieved. I can pick up almost any device and be confident that it will let me get on with the day job. Only a few specialist apps are tied to a particular machine. Windows doesn't really matter any more – it's a good job we changed PC Pro's name all those years ago. Source
  24. A brand new version of Latte Dock, an application launcher and task switcher for the KDE Plasma desktop, is now available for download. Latte Dock v0.9 is the first update to the app this year, and follows a succession of alpha and beta releases. As such, all of the new features Latte Dock 0.9 boasts have been thoroughly tested by the dock’s die-hard user base — including:- Dock colour can change based on active window Selection of new ‘Running Indicator’ styles, including Unity Support for multiple layouts in different Plasma Activities Support for sharing dock layouts Various ‘settings’ usability tweaks Live editing mode Improved dock badges, including 3D design Ability to enable persistent shortcut badges Bug fixes Do you want a better look at all of the above? Of course you do — so the Latte Dock developers have duly obliged by creating this slick promo video to pimp the new release:- You can download Latte Dock 0.9 from the KDE website, Phabricator, and the KDE Store. Do note that Latte Dock 0.9 requires Qt 5.9 or later, and Plasma 5.12 and up. Source
  25. Heard of the Jade desktop environment? I’ll admit that, until this week, I hadn’t — but I like what I see! The Jade desktop (the ‘Jade’ standing for ‘Just Another Desktop Environment’) is a Linux desktop shell based (primarily) on web technologies (eek!). Currently the shell is only readily available on Manjaro Linux. But since its built using a mix of Webkit2, GTK, HTML, CSS, Javascript, and Python, it is (theoretically at least) easily transferable to other Linux distros, including Ubuntu. The Jade desktop shell is far from being a finished product. Indeed, its sole developer, Vitor Lopes, prefers to pitch it as a “fully functional prototype […] subject to changes [at] anytime”. Protoype or not, Jade desktop explores some interesting workflow dynamics that are (somewhat) hard to describe. You’ll get a better feel for how the Jade desktop environment works if you watch this video demo: An interesting, novel approach isn’t it? Admittedly the task-orientated workflow demoed above won’t suit everyone’s tastes — but that’s precisely why it’s cool! I love how easy open source makes it for folks to explore and experiment with daring desktop differentiations like this. Not that this effort is itching to become the Next Major Linux Desktop Environment™. The developer behind JADE says he built it just to “learn Python …and keep my coding skills sharp.” Somewhat satisfied with his effort, he chose to adapt it for desktop use make it freely available for others to use, hack on, or ignore as their leisure. If you’re keep to play more (but don’t fancy building it from source) you can grab an ISO of the alpha-quality “Manjaro WebDad” spin (which also features other web-centric technologies). If you like the look of this DE alternative you must check out the tiling Material GNOME Shell extension. It’s equally rough around the edges, but is doing some interesting things. Source
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