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Exploring the Future of Computing
Updated: 57 min 38 sec ago

Chinese iCloud user data is now handled by a state-owned telco

1 hour 27 min ago
If you're an Apple customer living in China who didn't already opt out of having your iCloud data stored locally, here's a good reason to do so now. That information, the data belonging to China-based iCloud users which includes emails and text messages, is now being stored by a division of China Telecom, the state-owned telco. The operator’s Tianyi cloud storage business unit has taken the reins for iCloud China, according to a WeChat post from China Telecom. Apple separately confirmed the change to TechCrunch. Privacy is very important to us at Apple. Unless you're Chinese - then you're shit out of luck.

Windows 10 getting support for leap seconds

1 hour 29 min ago
Microsoft is bringing support for leap seconds - yes, that one extra second - to Windows, starting with Windows 10 Redstone 5 and Windows Server 2019. With the upcoming updates for Windows 10, Microsoft's operating system now deals with leap seconds in a way that is incredibly accurate, UTC-compliant, and traceable. Leap seconds typically occur every 18 months, resulting in one extra second. The extra leap second occurs to adjust with the earth’s slowed down rotation, and an extra second is added to UTC in order to keep it in-sync with mean solar time. To deal with the extra second more appropriately, Windows 10 will now display that extra second, instead of directly jumping to the next one, making it the world's first OS to have full support for leap seconds. I didn't know operating systems didn't fully support leap seconds. That is a big surprise to me.

Google CEO responds to EU Android fine

1 hour 32 min ago
Google's CEO Sundar Pichai has responded to the EU's antitrust fine regarding Android. The blog post is exactly what you'd expect - a lot of fluffy language about how amazing Android is and how it helps little kids pet bunnies and all that stuff, with remarkably little substance. There's really no actual reply to the three core claims in the EU ruling, which makes the response rather weak. One part stood out to me though. The phones made by these companies are all different, but have one thing in common - the ability to run the same applications. This is possible thanks to simple rules that ensure technical compatibility, no matter what the size or shape of the device. No phone maker is even obliged to sign up to these rules - they can use or modify Android in any way they want, just as Amazon has done with its Fire tablets and TV sticks. This hits at the core of the ruling, because according to the EU, established through years of research and verifiable through leaked copies of the agreements Google signs with Android device makers, the very problem is that Android bans Android device makers from making or shipping Android devices that do not use Google's version of Android. Pichai seems to claim here that that's not true, but this is something that ought to be easily verifiable, and I doubt the EU would hand down this fine if the agreements between Android device makers and Google didn't clearly specify this. We'll have to wait and see if Google can substantiate all of this, because if not, Pichai just flat-out lied in an official statement from the company.

Microsoft announces preview of Windows 10 IoT Core Services

1 hour 41 min ago
The Internet of Things (IoT) is transforming how businesses gather and use data to develop competitive insights and create new financial opportunities. As IoT technology matures and our partners gain more experience, they are evolving their business models to increase the overall return on investment of their IoT solutions. This includes adding recurring revenue, enhancing security, and reducing support costs. At Computex a few weeks back, we announced Windows 10 IoT Core Services, which enables our IoT partners to commercialize their solutions running on Windows 10 IoT Core. We are now excited to announce the public preview of this service along with details on purchasing and pricing. As described in our previous blog, IoT Core Services provides 10 years of operating system support along with services to manage device updates and assess device health. I have no idea what any of this means, but I'm just the copier and paster.

EU fines Android for $5 billion for Android antitrust violations

12 hours 36 min ago
Update: here's the full press release. Here's the three main violations: In particular, Google: has required manufacturers to pre-install the Google Search app and browser app (Chrome), as a condition for licensing Google's app store (the Play Store); made payments to certain large manufacturers and mobile network operators on condition that they exclusively pre-installed the Google Search app on their devices; and has prevented manufacturers wishing to pre-install Google apps from selling even a single smart mobile device running on alternative versions of Android that were not approved by Google (so-called "Android forks"). Original article continues below. Google has been hit with a record-breaking €4.3 billion ($5 billion) fine by EU regulators for breaking antitrust laws. The European Commission says Google has abused its Android market dominance by bundling its search engine and Chrome apps into the operating system. Google has also allegedly blocked phone makers from creating devices that run forked versions of Android, and "made payments to certain large manufacturers and mobile network operators" to exclusively bundle the Google Search app on handsets. I'm okay with bundling applications, but I'm 100% opposed to large corporations like Google blocking competing companies from running forked versions of Android - allowed through Android's licensing - and wealthy corporations basically buying dominance by sending large sums of money to in this case carriers and manufacturers that smaller companies could never afford. That being said, I do feel like the way we determine what is and is not corporate behaviour damaging to consumers and the market needs some serious overhaul. I've asked this question on OSNews before, but even though Apple doesn't have the market share to qualify as a monopoly, does anyone really want to argue that Apple - which sucks up virtually all of the profits in the handset market, despite its small marketshare - does not have power and influence over the mobile market akin to Google's? Which player has more influence over a market - the player with 10% market share sucking up 90% of the profits, or the player with 90% marketshare sucking up only 10% of the profits? I'm no economist so I'm not going to claim I know the answer, but it sure does seem like relying solely on market share to evaluate market dominance seems shortsighted, at best.

Do you really need to properly eject a USB drive?

Tuesday 17th of July 2018 10:45:14 PM
Pull a USB flash drive out of your Mac without first clicking to eject it, and you'll get a stern, shameful warning: "Disk Not Ejected Properly." But do you really need to eject a thumb drive the right way? Probably not. Just wait for it to finish copying your data, give it a few seconds, then yank. To be on the cautious side, be more conservative with external hard drives, especially the old ones that actually spin. That's not the official procedure, nor the most conservative approach. And in a worst-case scenario, you risk corrupting a file or - even more unlikely - the entire storage device. This is terrible advice for regular users, but I have to admit that I, too, don't really use the safe eject features of operating systems, unless I want to eject right after completing a write operation.

Chinese researchers achieve quantum-entanglement record

Tuesday 17th of July 2018 10:42:29 PM
Scientists have just packed 18 qubits - the most basic units of quantum computing - into just six weirdly connected photons. That's an unprecedented three qubits per photon, and a record for the number of qubits linked to one another via quantum entanglement. So why is this exciting?

Riot's approach to anti-cheat

Tuesday 17th of July 2018 10:40:01 PM
Combating cheats is an ever-evolving arms race. The scope and complexity of cheat development grows every year along with the stakes in online gaming. The pressure is on for game studios to level up when it comes to detecting and preventing bad actors. I'm Michael "Perma" VanKuipers, and I used to be one of those bad actors; I spent over a decade developing cheats for various games and earned the ire of at least one large game studio in the process. These days I work on Riot's Anti-Cheat team, helping secure League of Legends from scripts, bots, and exploits. In this article, I'm going to show you some of the details and strategies behind our latest anti-cheat initiative, including a technical overview of the steps we took to mitigate certain types of cheating. I've been playing League of Legends for six years, and I may (I wasn't sure) have seen cheating once or twice. Riot's work seems to be paying off.

Slackware turns 25

Tuesday 17th of July 2018 10:37:26 PM
On July 16th, 1993, Slackware Linux distribution was officially released. Based entirely on the Softlanding Linux System (SLS) system, it was designed for the machines with a 3.5" boot floppy. Over the past 25 years, Slackware has turned out to be one of the most influential Linux distros around. Truly a staple of the Linux world.

Microsoft kills Win32 Skype client in favour of UWP version

Tuesday 17th of July 2018 10:35:10 PM
Coming over the summer, Microsoft is going to add integrated call recording (something that previously required third-party applications and a deprecated API), read receipts to show when a message recipient has read a message, and end-to-end encryption of text and audio chat using the Signal protocol. Microsoft is also making Skype audio and video calls easier to integrate into streams such as those used on Mixer and Twitch. Support for the NDI API means that streaming applications such as Xsplit and OBS can use a Skype call as an audio/video source. That means they can be overlaid on games or other content, just as is already done with webcam input. [...] There is, however, a price to pay for this: the traditional Win32 Skype client is being end-of-lifed and will not be supported beyond the end of August this year. Users of the Win32 client will have to upgrade to Skype 8.0 (the desktop version of the new unified app) in order to be able to continue to use the network. Another staple Win32 application bites the dust. Don't read anything into it though, since people still seem convinced Win32 has a future.

NVIDIA unifies GeForce Now across PCs and Shield TV

Monday 16th of July 2018 06:43:27 PM
NVIDIA this month is unifying its GeForce NOW service across all platforms that it supports, extending the latest iteration of the service for PCs and Macs to include NVIDIA's SHIELD TV consoles. From now on, all 225 games supported by the game streaming service will also run on the Android TV STB. The gaming industry's wet dream: no physical media, no downloaded games - just streaming.

The Twitch streamers who spend years broadcasting to no one

Monday 16th of July 2018 06:41:05 PM
Twitch, the leading live streaming platform where people play games, make crafts, and showcase their day-to-day lives, attracts over two million broadcasters every month. The number grows each year, thanks in part to how easy it has become to live stream, and platforms like Facebook, Instagram and YouTube also increasingly encourage people to share and watch live stories. With the push of a button on your game console or phone, you can share whatever you’re doing at that exact moment with friends and strangers alike. The rise of popular (and profitable) influencers on platforms like YouTube and Twitch has also made the idea of being an online influencer aspirational. Some parents note that their children pretend to unbox toys to a nonexistent audience, and teachers report that their students often say they want to pursue YouTubing as a career. But when seemingly everyone wants to record footage or live stream, who ends up watching the content? Starting a career on platforms like Twitch often means spending some time broadcasting to absolutely no one. Discoverability is an issue: when you log into Twitch, the most visible people are those who already have a large following. While there are tools to find lesser-known streamers, most people starting out without built-in audiences from other platforms or supportive friends and family end up staring at a big, fat zero on their viewership counter. This lonely live stream purgatory can last anywhere from a few days, weeks, months, sometimes even years, depending on your luck. According to people who have gone through it, lacking an audience is one of the most demoralizing things you can experience online. This story feels so sad. Building and maintaining an audience is really hard, especially when you're dependent on platforms like YouTube and Twitch who can pull the rug out from underneath you at any time.

Running Amiga-like operating systems on QEMU

Sunday 15th of July 2018 10:04:09 PM
These are some notes on how to run Amiga like OSes (like AROS, AmigaOS and MorphOS) on QEMU that I've written to have some up to date info on the status and help new users. All this emulation in QEMU comes without any support and it's not expected to be complete or do everything one may desire or dream about. It's not a commercial product with a roadmap or any goal and still a work in progress which may never get finished. I'm doing it for personal interest and in my (limited) free time, no donations are solicited or accepted. So don't expect it to be anything more than a curiosity at the moment and its future depends on what the open source community makes of it. Keep this in mind when trying this. I'm giving this visibility so hopefully QEMU's PowerPC support for these Amiga-like operating systems can be improved.

Microsoft is updating Windows Notepad

Sunday 15th of July 2018 10:00:47 PM
Microsoft is giving its Notepad app for Windows a surprising amount of new features. While the software giant hasn’t updated Notepad for years, the next Windows 10 update will include some highly requested additions. Microsoft is clearly listening to Windows 10 users who use notepad for development, logs, or simple text manipulation. You’ll soon be able to do wrap around find and replace alongside the ability to zoom into text by holding down the ctrl key and using the mouse wheel to zoom in and out. Microsoft is also adding in extended line ending support so that Unix/Linux line endings (LF) and Macintosh line endings (CR) are supported in Notepad. The status bar will now be enabled by default in Notepad, and it includes the ability to display line and column numbers when word-wrap is enabled. I'd like to make a request for what Windows 3.11-esque application Microsoft should tackle next.

Nokia 6.1: best answer to "What Android phone should I buy?"

Sunday 15th of July 2018 09:55:20 PM
As someone who spends a lot of time with smartphones, I often get asked, "Hey Ron, what Android phone should I buy?" The high-end answer is usually easy: buy a Pixel phone. But not everyone is willing to shell out $650+ for a smartphone, especially the types of casual users that ask for advice. Beyond the flagship smartphones, things get more difficult within the Android ecosystem. Motorola under Google used to be great at building a non-flagship phone, but since the company was sold to Lenovo (which gutted the update program), it has been tough to find a decent phone that isn't super expensive. Enter HMD's Nokia phones, an entire lineup of cheap smartphones ranging from $100 to $400. HMD recently launched the second generation of its lineup, with phones like the Nokia 2.1, 3.1, and 5.1. We recently spent time with the highest end phone in this series that happens to be one of the few HMD devices for sale in the US: the Nokia 6.1. And for $269, you get a pretty spectacular-sounding package of a Snapdragon 630, a 5.5-inch 1080p screen, stock Android 8.1, fast updates, and a metal body. Nokia's Android phones seem well underway to become the default choice for people who want a good Android phone with fast updates at a decent price.

Debian 9.5 "released"

Sunday 15th of July 2018 09:52:52 PM
The Debian project is pleased to announce the fifth update of its stable distribution Debian 9 (codename stretch). This point release mainly adds corrections for security issues, along with a few adjustments for serious problems. Security advisories have already been published separately and are referenced where available. Please note that the point release does not constitute a new version of Debian 9 but only updates some of the packages included. There is no need to throw away old stretch media. After installation, packages can be upgraded to the current versions using an up-to-date Debian mirror. I'm not a fan of publishing items for every single distribution release - other sites do that way better than I ever could - but there are a few distributions I do try to keep up with, and considering just how fundamental Debian is to many popular Linux distributions, it's always been an exception.

A look at Chrome's new tab design

Sunday 15th of July 2018 09:50:16 PM
Chrome is getting a major redesign soon, and this week new changes have started to land in the Chrome's nightly "Canary" build. Google is launching a new version of Material Design across its products, called the "Google Material Theme," and after debuting in Android P and Gmail.com, it's starting to roll out across other Google's major products. On Chrome, this means major changes to the tab and address bar. I haven't tried the new redesign yet - I don't use Chrome anyway - but judging by the screenshots, I can't say I'm a fan.

A single typo wrecked Aliens: Colonial Marines

Sunday 15th of July 2018 02:26:10 PM
In what feels like The Games Story Of The Year, during the Steam summer sale the much reviled Gearbox title Aliens: Colonial Marines was marked down to a stupidly low three dollars. A modder happened to notice that in the INI file for the game, there is a single typo that is - get this - responsible for many of the awful AI choices that the xenomorphs make in the game... Like running directly at you on their hind legs instead of crawling on the walls and using ducts to surprise you. A once horribly broken game is now... Functioning? Thanks to a single letter? Sure. That's about at 2018 as a games industry story can get. This is amazing.

Global PC shipments grew 1.4% in Q2 2018, first time in 6 years

Saturday 14th of July 2018 12:19:24 AM
The PC market has seen its first growth quarter in six years, according to research firm Gartner. The streak is over: Gartner found PC shipments were up globally in Q2 2018, the first quarter of year-over-year global PC shipment growth since the first quarter of 2012. Gartner estimates that worldwide PC shipments grew 1.4 percent to 62.1 million units in Q2 2018. The top five vendors were Lenovo, HP, Dell, Apple, and Acer. Lenovo in particular saw big gains (its highest growth rate since the first quarter of 2015), although that's largely due in part to the inclusion of units from its joint venture with Fujitsu. The economic crisis is over, and people and companies are buying PCs again.

The Andromeda journey continues

Friday 13th of July 2018 10:28:44 PM
Multiple sources have told me that Microsoft plans to overhaul the software and hardware before releasing the device. At this time, the software and hardware do not create a compelling solution that would move the needle for Microsoft and more importantly the Surface brand which is why when it came to the ‘go, no go’ decision earlier this year, it was not given the green light. [...] What you need to know about Andromeda is that the project is still alive inside of Microsoft but that it will not be released anytime soon. The company will re-work the hardware and software, see if it will move the needle, and if not, re-work again, until they find the right formula. Microsoft will not ship a project simply because the first phase is done, they are trying to get this right so that they don’t have another Lumia/Surface RT project on their hands. There's just not enough UWP applications at this point in time to support such a device.

More in Tux Machines

Public money, public code? FSFE spearheads open-source initiative

Last September, the non-profit Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) launched a new campaign that calls for EU-wide legislation that requires publicly financed software developed for the public sector to be made publicly available under a free and open-source software license. According to the ‘Public Money, Public Code’ open letter, free and open-source software in the public sector would enable anyone to “use, study, share, and improve applications used on a daily basis”. The initiative, says the non-profit, would provide safeguards against public sector organizations being locked into services from specific companies that use “restrictive licenses” to hinder competition. The FSFE also says the open-source model would help improve security in the public sector, as it would allow backdoors and other vulnerabilities to fixed quickly, without depending on one single service provider. Since its launch, the Public Money, Public Code initiative has gained the support of 150 organizations, including WordPress Foundation, Wikimedia Foundation, and Tor, along with nearly 18,000 individuals. With the initiative now approaching its first anniversary, The Daily Swig caught up with FSFE spokesperson Paul Brown, who discussed the campaign’s progress. Read more

Best Tools to Access Remote Linux Desktop

Nowadays, you can’t carry your system or laptop everywhere. So to make the things more manageable, there is a service of remote access that gives you full access to your system from anywhere. It is made possible by the Microsoft that developed a remote desktop protocol (RDP), which offers a graphical interface to connect to a remote system over a network connection. Read more

Ubuntu: Server Installer, IoT Security, Snaps, Xubuntu

  • The improved 18.04.1 LTS Server Installer - Call for testing!
    With the release of 18.04 LTS Bionic Beaver the new server installer was introduced. At the time, it still lacked certain critical features which have now been implemented.
  • Ubuntu 18.04.1 LTS Introducing Revised Server Installer, Adds Missing Features
    With the April release of Ubuntu 18.04 LTS on the server front was a brand new, in-house developed server installer created by Canonical to differentiate it from Debian's long-used text installer for the Ubuntu Server images. While it offered a fresh look and some new features, it shipped without many features common to Linux server installers. Fortunately, that is changing with the upcoming Ubuntu Server 18.04.1 release. As expected, Canonical is filling in the gaps with their new server installer dubbed Subiquity. With the upcoming Ubuntu 18.04.1 LTS release they will be shipping a new version of this installer. This updated installer now supports LVM, RAID, VLAN, and bonds -- important features missing originally from Ubuntu Server 18.04.0. The functionality is now in place with the latest daily images although the text-based user-interface is still being refined.
  • IoT Security at Scale: Managing end-to-end security
  • Perfectly Formed Snaps Challenge
    Snaps are perfect for the smaller things in life too. Looking away from the graphical flagship apps, the snap store hosts lightweight server daemons, command line utilities, developer tools and even tiny games. Recently, a couple of petite snaps were published in the store. Sparky is a simple game played in a terminal, and a modest 32KB on disk. Bash-Shell-RPG is similarly diminutive at only 8KB. Neither contain an excess of additional libraries, just the absolute minimum needed to function everywhere.
  • What’s New in Xubuntu 18.04 LTS
    Xubuntu 18.04 LTS is the latest release of Xubuntu, it now available to download and install on your laptop and PC. This release features latest version of Xfce 4.12 as default desktop, include latest Xfce components. Xubuntu 18.04 LTS also comes with an updated Greybird GTK+ theme that includes a new dark style, better HiDPI support, greater consistency between GTK+ 2 and GTK+ 3 apps, GTK+ 3 styles for Google Chrome and Chromium web browsers, smaller switches, and improved scales. However, the GTK Theme Configuration tool was removed and it’s no longer possible to override colors in themes.

Software: Latte Dock, Emacs, Ick, REAPER

  • Latte Dock 0.8 Released with Widget Separators, Setup Sharing, More
    A new version of Latte Dock, an icon-based task bar for the KDE desktop, is available to download. Latte Dock 0.8 is the first stable release of the app switching software in almost a year and is the third stable release overall.
  • 3 Emacs modes for taking notes
    No matter what line of work you're in, it's inevitable you have to take a few notes. Often, more than a few. If you're like many people in this day and age, you take your notes digitally. Open source enthusiasts have a variety of options for jotting down their ideas, thoughts, and research in electronic format. You might use a web-based tool. You might go for a desktop application. Or, you might turn to the command line. If you use Emacs, that wonderful operating system disguised as a text editor, there are modes that can help you take notes more efficiently. Let's look at three of them.
  • Ick version 0.53 released: CI engine
    I have just made a new release of ick, my CI system. The new version number is 0.53, and a summary of the changes is below. The source code is pushed to my git server (git.liw.fi), and Debian packages to my APT repository (code.liw.fi/debian). See https://ick.liw.fi/download/ for instructions.
  • REAPER 5.93 Brings New Linux-Native Builds
    Since 2016 we have been looking forward to the REAPER digital audio workstation software for Linux while with this week's v5.93 release, the experimental Linux-native builds are now officially available.
  • Digital Audio Workstation REAPER Adds Experimental Native Linux Builds
    REAPER, a popular music production tool, added experimental native Linux builds to its download page with the latest 5.93 release. Initially released in 2005, REAPER (Rapid Environment for Audio Production, Engineering, and Recording) is a powerful digital audio workstation (DAW) and MIDI sequencer, available for Windows, macOS and Linux. Cockos, the company that develops REAPER, was founded by Justin Frankel of Winamp and Gnutella peer-to-peer network fame. The application uses a proprietary license and you can evaluate it for free for 60 days without having to provide any personal details or register. After the free trial ends, you can continue to use it but a nag screen will show up for a few seconds when the application starts. A license costs $225 for commercial use, or $60 for a discounted license (details here).