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Exploring the Future of Computing
Updated: 1 hour 6 min ago

LG releases webOS as open source again

Tuesday 20th of March 2018 06:33:07 PM
Pretty big news out of LG - they're releasing their variant of webOS - the TV and smartwatch one - as open source. webOS is a web-centric and usability-focused software platform for smart devices. The operating system has constantly evolved, passing through its journey from Palm to HP, and most recently to LG Electronics. Now, we are releasing webOS as an open source project, named webOS Open Source Edition (OSE). This marks the second time webOS has been released as open source. It's released under the Apache License, version 2, and there's instructions for getting it to run on a Raspberry Pi 3. We are a truly open project. You will see us working in the open like any community member, so you can see what we're doing in real time. We operate using typical open practices: the Project uses the Apache 2.0 license, is hosted on GitHub, and accepts contributions via a Contributor License Agreement (CLA) approach. As the community grows and individuals and organizations emerge who make significant contributions, it is our intention to invite them into the governance of the Project. It seems like a truly open project, but at the same time, one has to wonder what this means for webOS' commercial future at LG. The cold and harsh truth is that moves like this generally mean the end of commercial viability, not the beginning. This isn't necessarily a problem though - at least this move ensures the code and operating system will continue to exist.

How (and why) we ported Shenzen Solitaire to MS-DOS

Tuesday 20th of March 2018 06:14:23 PM
Can two programmers who are accustomed to making games for modern computers with gigabytes of RAM and high-color HD displays port one of their games to MS-DOS? Neither of us had any experience developing on such old hardware, but since working within artificially limited systems is something of a Zachtronics game design specialty, we felt compelled to try!

Microsoft to force Mail links to open in Edge

Saturday 17th of March 2018 01:47:59 AM
For Windows Insiders in the Skip Ahead ring, we will begin testing a change where links clicked on within the Windows Mail app will open in Microsoft Edge, which provides the best, most secure and consistent experience on Windows 10 and across your devices. With built-in features for reading, note-taking, Cortana integration, and easy access to services such as SharePoint and OneDrive, Microsoft Edge enables you to be more productive, organized and creative without sacrificing your battery life or security. I'm one of those weird people who actually really like the default Windows 10 Mail application, but if this absolutely desperate, user-hostile move - which ignores any default browser setting - makes it into any definitive Windows 10 release, I won't be able to use it anymore. As always, we look forward to feedback from our WIP community. Oh you'll get something to look forward to alright.

iOS 11 bugs are so common they now appear in Apple ads

Saturday 17th of March 2018 01:40:41 AM
If you blink during Apple’s latest iPhone ad, you might miss a weird little animation bug. It’s right at the end of a slickly produced commercial, where the text from an iMessage escapes the animated bubble it’s supposed to stay inside. It’s a minor issue and easy to brush off, but the fact it’s captured in such a high profile ad just further highlights Apple’s many bugs in iOS 11. The fact Apple's marketing department signed off on this ad with such a bug in it is baffling.

Google renames Android Wear to Wear OS

Saturday 17th of March 2018 01:36:27 AM
As our technology and partnerships have evolved, so have our users. In 2017, one out of three new Android Wear watch owners also used an iPhone. So as the watch industry gears up for another Baselworld next week, we’re announcing a new name that better reflects our technology, vision, and most important of all - the people who wear our watches. We’re now Wear OS by Google, a wearables operating system for everyone. If a company changes the name of one of its operating system, but nobody cares - has the name really been changed?

The Amiga Consciousness

Thursday 15th of March 2018 12:52:38 AM
There exists a global community, a loosely knit consciousness of individuals that crosses boundaries of language and artistic disciplines. It resides in both the online and physical space, its followers are dedicated, if not fervent. The object and to some extent, philosophy that unites these adherents, is a computer system called the Commodore Amiga. So why does a machine made by a company that went bankrupt in 1994 have a cult like following? Throughout this essay I will present to you, the reader, a study of qualitative data that has been collected at community events, social gatherings and conversations. The resulting narrative is intended to illuminate the origins of the community, how it is structured and how members participate in it. Game industry professionals, such as the person interviewed during the research for this paper, will attest to the properties, characteristics and creative application of the machine, and how this creativity plays a role in the sphere of their community. I will examine the bonds of the society, to determine if the creative linage of the computer plays a role in community interactions. The Amiga community is probably one of the most fascinating technology subcommunity out there. Lots of infighting, various competing Amiga operating systems, incredibly expensive but still outdated hardware, dubious ownership situations - it's all there. Yet, they keep going, they keep pushing out new software and new hardware, and they're in no danger of falling apart. Amazing.

A $1.6 billion Spotify lawsuit is based on player pianos

Thursday 15th of March 2018 12:46:21 AM
Spotify is finally gearing up to go public, and the company’s February 28th filing with the SEC offers a detailed look at its finances. More than a decade after Spotify’s launch in 2006, the world’s leading music streaming service is still struggling to turn a profit, reporting a net loss of nearly $1.5 billion last year. Meanwhile, the company has some weird lawsuits hanging over its head, the most eye-popping being the $1.6 billion lawsuit filed by Wixen Publishing, a music publishing company that includes the likes of Tom Petty, The Doors, and Rage Against the Machine. So, what happened here? Did Spotify really fail to pay artists to the tune of a billion dollars all the while losing money? Is digital streaming just a black hole that sucks up money and spits it out into the cold vacuum of space? The answer is complicated. The answer involves something called "player pianos". You can't make this stuff up.

Security researchers publish Ryzen flaws

Wednesday 14th of March 2018 12:49:51 AM
Through the advent of Meltdown and Spectre, there is a heightened element of nervousness around potential security flaws in modern high-performance processors, especially those that deal with the core and critical components of company business and international infrastructure. Today, CTS-Labs, a security company based in Israel, has published a whitepaper identifying four classes of potential vulnerabilities of the Ryzen, EPYC, Ryzen Pro, and Ryzen Mobile processor lines. AMD is in the process of responding to the claims, but was only given 24 hours of notice rather than the typical 90 days for standard vulnerability disclosure. No official reason was given for the shortened time. Nothing in technology is safe. As always, my advice is to treat any data on a phone or computer as potentially compromisable.

Trump blocks Broadcom's bid for Qualcomm

Wednesday 14th of March 2018 12:43:59 AM
President Trump on Monday blocked Broadcom's $117 billion bid for the chip maker Qualcomm, citing national security concerns and sending a clear signal that he was willing to take extraordinary measures to promote his administration’s increasingly protectionist stance. In a presidential order, Mr. Trump said "credible evidence" had led him to believe that if Singapore-based Broadcom were to acquire control of Qualcomm, it "might take action that threatens to impair the national security of the United States." The acquisition, if it had gone through, would have been the largest technology deal in history. This US administration would eventually stumble onto doing the right thing - infinite monkeys and all that - so here we are. To explain why this is a good move, Ben Thompson's article about this issue is a fantastic, must-read explainer. There is a certain amount of irony here: the government is intervening in the private market to stop the sale of a company that is being bought because of government-granted monopolies. Sadly, I doubt it will occur to anyone in government to fix the problem at its root, and Qualcomm would be the first to fight against the precise measures - patent overhaul - that would do more than anything to ensure the company remains independent and incentivized to spend even more on innovation, because its future would depend on innovation to a much greater degree than it does now. The reality is that technology has flipped the entire argument for patents - that they spur innovation - completely on its head. The very nature of technology - that costs are fixed and best maximized over huge user-bases, along with the presence of network effects - mean there are greater returns to innovation than ever before. The removal of most technology patents would not reduce the incentive to innovate; indeed, given that a huge number of software patents in particular are violated on accident (unsurprising, given that software is ultimately math), their removal would spur more. And, as Qualcomm demonstrates, one could even argue such a shift would be good for national security.

Looking at Lumina Desktop 2.0

Tuesday 13th of March 2018 01:10:10 AM
TrueOS, formerly PC-BSD, has a desktop environment called Lumina. It's getting a big overhaul for Lumina 2.0, and this short interview gives some more details about what's coming. With Lumina Desktop 2.0 we will finally achieve our long-term goal of turning Lumina into a complete, end-to-end management system for the graphical session and removing all the current runtime dependencies from Lumina 1.x (Fluxbox, xscreensaver, compton/xcompmgr). The functionality from those utilities is now provided by Lumina Desktop itself. [...] The entire graphical interface has been written in QML in order to fully-utilize hardware-based GPU acceleration with OpenGL while the backend logic and management systems are still written entirely in C++. This results in blazing fast performance on the backend systems (myriad multi-threaded C++ objects) as well as a smooth and responsive graphical interface with all the bells and whistles (drag and drop, compositing, shading, etc).

New guts bring new processors, DDR4, USB3 to old ThinkPads

Tuesday 13th of March 2018 01:03:29 AM
We often see people funneling their passion into keeping beloved devices in operation long past their manufacturer’s intent. These replacement Thinkpad motherboards [Chinese] bring old (yet beloved) Thinkpads a much desired processor upgrade. This is the work of the user [HOPE] on the enthusiast forum 51nb. The hack exemplifies what happens when that passion for legendary gear hits deep electrical expertise and available manufacturing. This isn’t your regular laptop refurbishment, [HOPE] is building something new. This is incredible. I wish someone could do this with an iBook G4 or a 12.1" PowerBook.

Google releases first Android P preview

Sunday 11th of March 2018 10:07:02 PM
Google has released the first preview for Android P - again, apologies for the late coverage - and it contains some interesting improvements. Here's a few things that jumped out at me: To better ensure privacy, Android P restricts access to mic, camera, and all SensorManager sensors from apps that are idle. While your app's UID is idle, the mic reports empty audio and sensors stop reporting events. Cameras used by your app are disconnected and will generate an error if the app tries to use them. In most cases, these restrictions should not introduce new issues for existing apps, but we recommend removing these requests from your apps. This is a very good move, and I doubt anyone will have any objections. In line with these changes, Android P will warn users with a dialog when they install an app that targets a platform earlier than Android 4.2 (targetSdkVersion less than 17), and future platform versions will continue to increment that lower bound. Expect scary warning dialogs when installing older applications. This should encourage developers to update their applications as users complain in the review sections of the Play Store. Hopefully. You can now access streams simultaneously from two or more physical cameras on devices running Android P. On devices with either dual-front or dual-back cameras, you can create innovative features not possible with just a single camera, such as seamless zoom, bokeh, and stereo vision. The API also lets you call a logical or fused camera stream that automatically switches between two or more cameras. Definitely neat. There's a lot more stuff in this preview release, and more features will certainly follow over the coming months.

A lot can happen in a decade

Sunday 11th of March 2018 10:00:32 PM
I came down with a nasty cold last week and this weekend, so I'm a bit behind on some of the stories that made the rounds last week. In other words, forgive the tardiness here. Whether you’re a developer who's working on mobile apps, or just someone enjoying the millions of apps available for your phone, today is a very special day. It's the ten year anniversary of the original iPhone SDK. I don't think it's an understatement to say that this release changed a lot of people's lives. I know it changed mine and had a fundamental impact on this company's business. So let's take a moment and look back on what happened a decade ago. The smartphone revolution - caused by the iPhone - came in two big waves, in my view; the iPhone itself, and, followed a year or so later, by the release of the iPhone SDK. It's easy to forget just how limited the original iPhone really was in terms of software, and I honestly doubt it would've been as big of a hit had it not been for the SDK.

Genode 18.02 introduces Sculpt OS

Friday 9th of March 2018 01:02:00 AM
The just released version 18.02 of the Genode OS Framework features the first version of Sculpt, which is a Genode-based general-purpose operating system. To our knowledge, it is the first usable open-source general-purpose OS that facilitates capability-based security from the ground up. Being currently targeted at users that are close to the project, this initial version is named Sculpt for Early Adopters (EA). It is accompanied with detailed documentation that covers everything needed to install Sculpt on a real machine. The topics include the creation of the boot image, disk preparation, wireless networking, storage, software installation and deployment, and virtualization. Along the way, many concepts that are unique to Genode are explained. Without any doubt, most topics of Genode 18.02 were motivated by the work on Sculpt. Most importantly, the release introduces new infrastructure for installing, updating, and deploying software from within a running Genode system. The underlying concepts are very much inspired by Git and the Nix package manager, enabling the installation of multiple software versions side by side, or the ability to roll back the installation to an earlier state. Also the on-target tooling breaks with the traditional notion of package management. Instead of executing package-management steps with vast privileges, each single step, for example extracting downloaded content, is executed in a dedicated sandbox. Besides Sculpt, the Genode release 18.02 also includes many other noteworthy improvements. E.g., the user-level networking stack received a lot of attention, the Nim programming language can now be used for implementing Genode services, there are new tracing facilities, and improved drivers support for NXP i.MX hardware. Furthermore, many 3rd-party software packages received updates. All the improvements are covered by the detailed release documentation.

Microsoft adds new Windows 10 privacy controls

Tuesday 6th of March 2018 08:12:12 PM
Microsoft is once again tackling privacy concerns around Windows 10 today. The software giant is releasing a new test build of Windows 10 to Windows Insiders today that includes changes to the privacy controls for the operating system. While most privacy settings have been confined to a single screen with multiple options, Microsoft is testing a variety of ways that will soon change. There have been some concerns that Windows 10 has a built-in “keylogger,” because the operating system uses typing data to improve autocompletion, next word prediction, and spelling correction. Microsoft’s upcoming spring update for Windows 10 will introduce a separate screen to enable improved inking and typing recognition, and allow users to opt-out of sending inking and typing data to Microsoft. I doubt any of these changes will reassure people who refuse to use Windows because of privacy concerns.

Clang is now used to build Chrome for Windows

Tuesday 6th of March 2018 08:08:43 PM
As of Chrome 64, Chrome for Windows is compiled with Clang. We now use Clang to build Chrome for all platforms it runs on: macOS, iOS, Linux, Chrome OS, Android, and Windows. Windows is the platform with the second most Chrome users after Android according to statcounter, which made this switch particularly exciting.

History of the browser user-agent string

Tuesday 6th of March 2018 12:17:05 AM
In the beginning there was NCSA Mosaic, and Mosaic called itself NCSA_Mosaic/2.0 (Windows 3.1), and Mosaic displayed pictures along with text, and there was much rejoicing. I've always wondered why every user agent string starts with Mozilla, and now I know. Fun read, too.

Bad iPhone notches are happening to good Android phones

Tuesday 6th of March 2018 12:13:38 AM
I’ve been coming to Mobile World Congress for close to a decade now, and I’ve never seen the iPhone copied quite so blatantly and cynically as I witnessed during this year’s show. MWC 2018 will go down in history as the launch platform for a mass of iPhone X notch copycats, each of them more hastily and sloppily assembled than the next. No effort is being made to emulate the complex Face ID system that resides inside Apple’s notch; companies like Noa and Ulefone are in such a hurry to get their iPhone lookalike on the market that they haven’t even customized their software to account for the new shape of the screen. More than one of these notched handsets at MWC had the clock occluded by the curved corner of the display. I have an iPhone X, and the notch doesn't bother me at all. Face ID works reasonably well - not as good as Touch ID, but good enough - and thus, gives the notch a reason to exist in the first place. I don't feel particularly strongly towards either Samsung's small chin/forehead solution, or Essential's/Apple's notch solution, and I'm glad it at least creates some visual difference between phones. However, if you decide to go with a notch, don't just copy Apple's shape while not actually putting anything underneath it. I can't believe this is truly going to be a thing.

WP 8.1 users are having trouble downloading apps

Monday 5th of March 2018 10:09:14 PM
While Microsoft ended mainstream support for Windows Phone 8.1 more than six months ago, there are some users that still utilize the platform as their daily driver. Although the company's overall mobile initiative isn't faring too well either, most users on older platforms are still there because they prefer it over the competition or weren't offered an upgrade path to Windows 10 Mobile. However, it now appears that Windows Phone 8.1 users are facing some unforeseen problems with the Store - and no, it isn't regarding the dearth of apps. According to reports, people on the platform have been unable to download apps from the Store since yesterday. While I'm sure this particular case is just some weird bug, it does highlight a real problem - what happens to a perfectly fine phone phone running a walled garden platform when its creator ceases to offer application store services? In an ideal world, such a platform would be opened up and set free, but I highly doubt that's going to happen here. The reality will be that a lot of perfectly fine phones will end up in the trash.

European Union plans to tax tech giants on local revenue

Monday 5th of March 2018 09:01:58 PM
After months of speculation, France's economy minister Bruno Le Maire announced in an interview with the JDD that Europe's new tax model for tech giants is happening. The plan will be unveiled in the next few weeks. This is long overdue, but I have little faith that it won't be riddled with new loopholes and vague exceptions only accessible to a selec few.

More in Tux Machines

today's howtos

Games Chronicon, BROKE PROTOCOL, Internet Archive

  • 2D action RPG 'Chronicon' to arrive on Linux with the next big update
    The colourful action RPG Chronicon [Steam, Official Site] should arrive on Linux with the next big update, the developer has said.
  • BROKE PROTOCOL is like a low-poly GTA Online and it's coming to Linux
    BROKE PROTOCOL [Steam], a low-poly open-world action game that's a little like GTA Online and it's coming to Linux.
  • The Internet Archive Just Uploaded a Bunch of Playable, Classic Handheld Games
    The non-profit Internet Archive is perhaps best known for its Wayback Machine that takes snap shots of web sites so you can see what they looked like in the past. However, it also has a robust side project where it emulates and uploads old, outdated games that aren’t being maintained anymore. Recently, the organization added a slew of a unique kind of game that’s passed into memory: handheld LCD electronic games. The games–like Mortal Kombat, depicted above–used special LCD screens with preset patterns. They could only display the exact images in the exact place that they were specified for. This meant the graphics were incredibly limited and each unit could only play the one game it was designed to play. A Game Boy, this was not.
  • Internet Archive emulator brings dozens of handheld games back from obscurity
    Over the weekend, the Internet Archive announced it was offering a new series of emulators. This time, they’re designed to mimic one of gaming’s most obscure artifacts — handheld games. When I say a “handheld game,” I don’t mean the Game Boy or the PSP — those are handheld consoles. These are single-game handheld or tabletop devices that look and feel more like toys. The collection includes the very old, mostly-forgotten games sold in mini-handhelds from the 80s onward.

Linux Foundation Videos and Projects

LibrePlanet free software conference celebrates 10th anniversary, this weekend at MIT, March 24-25

This weekend, the Free Software Foundation (FSF) and the Student Information Processing Board (SIPB) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) present the tenth annual LibrePlanet free software conference in Cambridge, March 24-25, 2018, at MIT. LibrePlanet is an annual conference for people who care about their digital freedoms, bringing together software developers, policy experts, activists, and computer users to learn skills, share accomplishments, and tackle challenges facing the free software movement. LibrePlanet 2018 will feature sessions for all ages and experience levels. LibrePlanet's tenth anniversary theme is "Freedom Embedded." Embedded systems are everywhere, in cars, digital watches, traffic lights, and even within our bodies. We've come to expect that proprietary software's sinister aspects are embedded in software, digital devices, and our lives, too: we expect that our phones monitor our activity and share that data with big companies, that governments enforce digital restrictions management (DRM), and that even our activity on social Web sites is out of our control. This year's talks and workshops will explore how to defend user freedom in a society reliant on embedded systems. Read more Also: FSF Blogs: Friday Free Software Directory IRC meetup time: March 23rd starting at 12:00 p.m. EDT/16:00 UTC