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Updated: 3 hours 38 min ago

More Android Apps Arriving for Chrome OS and Chromebooks

Tuesday 2nd of December 2014 05:08:50 PM

Just a few years ago, before Android marched to its dominant position in the mobile market, there was much speculation that Google might merge Chrome OS and Android. Early last year, I wrote a post on why that won't happen.

However, an interesting corollary trend is now appearing. Following an initial round of Android apps that can run on Chrome OS, more and more are arriving. The news was announced on a Chrome G+ page, bringing the total number of apps available across Chrome and Android to more than 40.

When Google announced that it would bring Android apps to Chrome OS, it was clear that Chromebook users would start getting much more choice when reaching for apps.

Some makers of Android apps have even confirmed that the best versions of their creations will run on Chrome OS. For example, here is a post from the Evernote blog:

"Whenever we see a major new platform on the horizon, we set a goal for ourselves: make sure Evernote is available on day one. This week’s launch of Google’s Chrome OS store was just that kind of opportunity."

"Evernote for Android is a full-featured app that was designed for a wide variety devices, screens and form-factors. For Chrome OS, we’ve adapted the app to work with a keyboard and mouse. You get the full desktop Evernote experience on a flexible, affordable device. We think it’s tremendous and we can’t wait to see how the Chrome OS market develops around the world."

Vine, Duolingo and Sight Words are other Android apps arriving for use with Chrome OS, and the Google Blog has noted the following:

 "These first apps are the result of a project called the App Runtime for Chrome (Beta), which we announced earlier this summer at Google I/O. Over the coming months, we’ll be working with a select group of Android developers to add more of your favorite apps so you’ll have a more seamless experience across your Android phone and Chromebook."

"In the meantime, please tell us which of your favorite Android apps you’d like to see on your Chromebook."

So which Android apps are new to arrive for Chrome OS? You can reach for Cookpad Recipes, Couchsurfing, and OverDrive, among others.

Google has pledged to bring many more of these apps to Chrome OS. If a Chromebook is on your gift wish list this holiday season, make sure to load yours with some of the better Android apps for it.

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Zenoss Survey Shows the Momentum of Open Source Clouds

Tuesday 2nd of December 2014 04:51:45 PM

There is now no question that countless IT departments are turning to open source cloud computing platforms instead of proprietary ones. Several recent roundups of survey results have illustrated that, and I recently covered cloud survey results from IDG Enterprise here.

Meanwhile, Zenoss, which focuses on cloud management is out with its 2014 State of the Open Source Cloud study which reports that 69 percent of 376 respondents to its survey have implemented a cloud computing platform, with 43 percent of them building on open source. Of these, 69 percent are using OpenStack, which is continuing to gain momentum.

Survey results on the cloud last year showed that many IT departments were still in evaluation mode when it came to open cloud platforms. For some departments, that is still the case.

Thirty percent of the Zenoss respondents are using an open source cloud platform now. That figure is up 72 percent since the last Zenoss survey in 2012.

 The Zenoss survey also provides insight into how various open cloud platforms are faring. OpenStack has grabbed 69 percent of the market. Meanwhile, CloudStack's share has dropped from 18 percent to 14 percent since 2012. Eucalyptus sank from 9 percent of open source deployments to three percent since 2012.

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Systemd to Free BSDs, Mint 17.1, and Coolest Things

Tuesday 2nd of December 2014 04:53:00 AM

Today was another busy day in Linuxland. Linux Mint 17.1 was released over the weekend and a couple of reviews have emerged already. Katherine Noyes says some Linuxers are thinking of heading towards the free *BSDs and Shawn Powers has a list of some of the coolest things folks do with Linux. Jasper St. Pierre explains what's wrong with package managers and Dedoimedo.com is running a best distro of 2014 poll. Ian Sullivan explains how to "De-Chrome" laptops and Bryan Lunduke has a holiday shopping guide.

Linux Mint 17.1, in MATE and Cinnamon versions, was released Saturday. This is just an update and current users can upgrade through the Update Manager. New users can download fresh images from Linuxmint.com. Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols posted a guide to setting up Mint "for the first time." Jamie Watson looks at the release and says it's typical Mint, "easy to install, easy to use, and solid as a rock." Jim Lynch covered the release and posted a few thoughts saying, "Cinnamon and MATE have both improved significantly, I don’t think you can go wrong with either."

Systemd continues to trouble many free and open software lovers and Katherine Noyes says the scuttlebutt is that some are considering not just moving to another distribution but all the way to a free BSD. While several sides of the issue are presented, Noyes quotes one blogger saying:

What amazes me is there is an angle nobody talks about. Namely, you have a boot system that frankly nobody was really complaining about, yet all of a sudden we are being told, 'oh the init is horrible, we MUST have Systemd, no question,' followed by voices silenced, threads erased, secret votes.

Does this sound like the normal way Linux does things? And who is it being pushed hard by? Red Hat. Okay, so where does Red Hat get THEIR finances from? Three-letter agencies: DoD, FBI, NSA, CIA.

Jasper St. Pierre, former Red Hat employee and developer, says dealing with package managers can be frustrating. He says sometimes systems get broke and package managers should never be able do that. Other times manual intervention is needed and that can be time consuming and, sometimes, beyond the user's ability. He then says that's because "package managers do not see the OS independently from the applications that make it up: all packages are just combined to create one giant filesystem tree. This scheme works great when you have a bunch of open-source apps you can rebuild at every ABI break, but it’s not great when trying to build a world-class OS."

In other news:

* The Linux holiday shopping guide

* De-Chroming the Acer c720 Chromebook

* Best Linux distribution of 2014 (poll)

* Coolest Things You've Done with Linux

* DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 587, 1 December 2014, Living free with Trisquel

* Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 394

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Report: Hortonworks Sets Terms for Hadoop-Centric IPO

Monday 1st of December 2014 04:30:42 PM

Hortonworks, the company focused on Big Data crunching platform Hadoop, has been much in the news lately regarding plans for an initial public offering (IPO) for its shares. Now, according to a post by Renaissance Capital on the NASDAQ site, the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company has announced plans to raise $78 million by offering 6 million shares at a price range of $12 to $14. "At the midpoint of the proposed range, Hortonworks would command a fully diluted market value of $659 million," notes the post.

It adds the following:

"Hortonworks, which was founded in 2011 and booked $42 million in sales for the 12 months ended September 30, 2014, plans to list on the NASDAQ under the symbol HDP. Hortonworks initially filed confidentially on June 27, 2014. Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse and RBC Capital Markets are the joint bookrunners on the deal."

During Hortonworks' short existence, Hadoop has emerged as a true open source success story, and Hortonworks' Hadoop distribution, as well as its lates traning and support options, have become very successful.

According to GigaOM, the Hortonworks IPO could be a bellwhether for Hadoop, and could benefit organizations that have invested in it:

"Teradata maintains an 8.3 percent equity share in Hortonworks. HP invested $50 million in Hortonworks in July to give it a 5.9 percent share."

And Matt Asay has written about the impact that Hortonworks' IPO could have on other Big Data players, and some concerns expressed by venture capitalists:

"Given its still shaky financials, the risk isn't merely that Hortonworks will struggle as a public company. The bigger risk is that a weak IPO will hold back other Big Data companies with better financials."

Hortonworks is young enough that these types of concerns will continue to arise, but the company is performing very well and it stands a chance of having a very successful IPO, given the buzz surrounding Hadoop and Big Data.

In enterprises as well as small businesses, the Big Data trend--sorting and sifting large data sets with new tools in pursuit of surfacing meaningful angles on stored information--is on the rise. As we've noted, the Hadoop project has been one of the big drivers of this trend, and has given rise to commercial companies that offer custom Hadoop distributions, support, training and more (with Hortonworks being a prime example). 

OStatic will continue to track the plans for the Hortonworks IPO as more details become available.

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Apple's iOS Platform Dominated Android Over the Holiday Weekend

Monday 1st of December 2014 04:06:44 PM

 Apple's iOS mobile platform has a history of dominating mobile shopping during the holiday season, and it once again did so over the long holiday weekend, beating Android as measured by three different metrics on Black Friday. Adobe tracks the platforms that online shoppers use, and has reported the following: "iOS users drove four times as much mobile sales revenue as Android users, 79 and 21 percent respectively."

 In addition to Adobe's data, IBM tracks holiday shopping and the mobile platforms that drive it, reporting this:

"Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday saw record online retail sales supported by strong mobile growth. Thanksgiving Day mobile traffic accounted for 52.1 percent of all online traffic – the first time mobile devices have outpaced their PC counterparts for online browsing. Black Friday mobile traffic reached 49.6 percent of all online traffic, an increase of 25 percent over last year. Black Friday mobile sales accounted for 27.9 percent of total online sales, up 28.2 percent over 2013."

"iOS once again led the way in mobile shopping this holiday season, outpacing Android across three key metrics on Black Friday:

- Average Order Value: iOS users averaged $121.86 per order compared to $98.07 for Android users, a difference 24.3 percent.

- Online Traffic: iOS traffic accounted for 34.2 percent of total online traffic, more than double that of Android, which drove 15 percent of all online traffic.

- Online Sales: iOS sales accounted for 21.9 percent of total online sales, nearly quadruple that of Android, which drove 5.8 percent of all online sales."

 Apple has much less total market share with iOS than Android does. Specifically, Apple has 12 percent of the smartphone market, according to Gartner, while Android has 82 percent. However, the data over the holiday weekend drives home the point that businesses and retailers must cater to the iOS platform first as they develop shopping experiences and ecommerce sites.

 

 

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Debian Forked, Ubuntu MATE Fabulous, and Fedora 21 RC1

Saturday 29th of November 2014 04:48:46 AM

Everybody went back to work today and there is so much news I hardly know where to start. The top story tonight is bound to be the official forking of Debian. In other news, Dediomedio.com says Ubuntu 14.10 MATE is "almost fabulous" and the Free Software Foundation released their 2014 gift buying guide. Mint 17.1 is almost here and a Fedora 21 release candidate has been released. Carla Schroder has an exclusive on Linux.com about being a maker instead of a user and, finally, a bunch of too-good-to-resist tidbits.

They did it. Despite all the known challenges the "Init-Freedom lovers" who recently threatened to fork Debian did just that. Roger Leigh, a former Debian developer, posted Thursday of the official fork. He said that because the general resolution to give users a choice of init failed he and his fellow "Veteran Unix Admin collective" members feel it indicates an even deeper issue. Leigh wrote:

The problem is obviously the lack of common ground between diverging perceptions of the Debian project, its governance and its mission.

We believe this situation is also the result of a longer process leading to the take-over of Debian by the GNOME project agenda. Considering how far this has propagated today and the importance of Debian as a universal OS and base system in the distribution panorama, what is at stake is the future of GNU/Linux in a scenario of complete homogeneization and lock-in of all base distributions.

Therefore, looking at how the situation stands today: we need to fork.

The new fork, dubbed Debuan and said to be pronounced "DevOne," has a home at https://devuan.org and a wiki at http://without-systemd.org. Besides a name and a home, they also have a plan. The site says they've started on the infrastructure and developmental tools and are planning the distribution itself as well. On the technical side a bit, it says:

The first package of Devuan is devuan-baseconf: a Debian installer with preseed of sysvinit-core and a couple of devuan packages containing a keyring, repository list files and pinnings. Once installed and updated this package avoids the requirement of systemd as PID 1 and adopts systemd-shim when strictly needed.

With the goal of protecting "the freedom of its community of users and developers. Its priority is to enable diversity, interoperability and backward compatibility." The new project hopes to have something by Spring 2015 so users can upgrade from Debian 7 to Devuan 1. One of their last statements says, 'Devuan will do its best to stay minimal and abide to the UNIX philosophy of "doing one thing and doing it well."'

Andre Robatino today announced Fedora 21 Release Candidate 1 on the Fedora project Test-Announce mailing list. The release schedule hasn't been updated in a while and doesn't list a release candidate. Nevertheless, Fedora fans and development watchers can now download RC1 from https://fedoraproject.org. Fedora 21 is currently scheduled for release on December 9, 2014. See the full announcement for all the individual links.

Clement Lefebvre yesterday wrote that it would just be a few more days until Linux Mint 17.1. Updates have been coming periodically for Mint 17 users with a lot of KDE and base updates day before yesterday. He said, "The ISO images for the Cinnamon and MATE editions of Linux Mint 17.1 “Rebecca” just passed QA testing and were approved for a stable release. This release should go public in the coming days." Those running the RC or version 17 can just update through the Update Manager.

In other news:

* Make Your Mark on the World With Linux

* Ubuntu 14.10 MATE edition - Almost fabulous

* The 2014 Giving Guide is here!

* Issue 10 of LinuxVoice Out Now

* Hands-on with the Raspberry Pi Model B+

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Inkscape: Go from Beginner to Expert for Free

Friday 28th of November 2014 04:13:35 PM

In the world of open source graphics tools, GIMP gets a great deal of attention, and there are many free online resources available for it, but if you're looking for a free drawing and illustration tool that can compete with Adobe Illustrator and is increasingly used by web designers for effects, logos and still graphics, give Inkscape a try. It runs on Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux, and is well-known as a powerful and flexible drawing and vector editing application. In this post, you'll find our newly updated collection of outstanding free resources for getting familiar with Inkscape's capabilities, and they'll help you get going quickly with the application.

Bethany Hiitola is the author of a popular book on Inkscape that is used by many web designers, and she has a very useful tutorial on the progam posted at the Packt site. It covers how vector graphics program works, walks through the many essential tools that Inkscape provides and more. It's a good first start if you're new to the program.

What can I do with Inkscape? Inkscape's site presents many galleries and screenshots showing what kinds of tasks it is good at. The Inkscape Tutorials blog also has an outstanding collection of videos and posts illustrating what the program is capable of.

 

 

 

Getting up to speed. You can find several types of documentation for Inkscape here, including a free online book with individual chapters posted as links, here. There is also a keyboard and mouse reference here, and an Inkscape User Manual in progress here.

Seeing it in action. As is true for Photoshop and many other graphics tools, YouTube is rich with instructional videos on using Inkscape, including many videos that present the steps for executing targeted tasks. Here is one that shows how to create a slick logo, and here is a whole collection of beginner's videos.

Our recommended guide. While the manuals referenced just above are more exhaustive, FLOSSManuals has by far the most accessible introduction to Inkscape's main features, found here. It begins with an introduction of the application's capabilities and moves on to individual discussions of how all the major tools in Inkscape work. You'll find links to the discussions of the tools running down the left rail of the online guide, and there are annotated screenshots to learn from, like the one seen below. Beginners can also get a lot out of this basic tutorial.

Inkscape is very useful, good for eye-catching graphics, and a lot of fun. If you haven't worked with it already, give it a try.


 

 

 

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5 Distros, 11 Tools, 800 Games, and 32 Bits

Thursday 27th of November 2014 04:37:51 AM

Today in Linux news, Swapnil Bhartiya features five distributions you might like. OMG!Ubuntu! found eleven utilities to beef up your Ubuntu experience and Steam now has over 800 Linux games. Larry Cafiero says he's "a 32-bit guy in a 64-bit world" and Docker users are urged to upgrade due to new found vulnerability.

Swapnil Bhartiya says with so much choice new Linux explorers might need a bit of guidance. He says Ubuntu should be a new user's first choice because it's "the most user friendly." He follows that with Mint and Kubuntu. openSUSE and Arch round out his selections, but he goes through the pros and cons of each, so check that out.

Speaking of Ubuntu, OMG!Ubuntu! says these eleven utilities will "supercharge your Ubuntu experience." These include tools like Unity Tweak Tool, Caffeine, Disk Space Visualizer, and BleachBit. So don't miss that if you run Ubuntu.

In other Linux related tidbits, Mageia folks reminded users of version 3 end of life, so upgrade that. Larry Cafiero thinks it's a mistake for all distributions to be abandoning their 32-bit architecture support. BoingBoing featured more hacker Barbie cartoons in the Computer Barbie style. Docker urges users to upgrade to version 1.3.2 due to major vulnerability.  Dietrich Schmitz says Fedora is the safest OS in the whole wide World. And Softpedia.com is covering another milestone at Steam, they now offer over 800 Linux games.

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Odoo, Open ERP and CRM, Continues to Build Out its Platform

Wednesday 26th of November 2014 03:34:52 PM

Each year when InfoWorld comes out with its Bossie awards, it honors the best open source applications. This year, one of the honorees was Odoo. As the publication's editors noted: "Formerly OpenERP, this project recently changed its name to Odoo. Newly released, version 8 brings many improvements, including a website builder, e-commerce, online events, Google Calendar sync and alerts, new warehouse management, a new reporting engine, better BI and data analysis, POS (point of sale) hardware integration, a new API, live chat/email marketing, and social media integration. The improvements are ambitious."

Indeed, Odoo deserves more attention from many businesses. Here is how it may work for you.

Odoo bills itself as an open source ERP and CRM platform. You can watch a video of it in action here

The platform is built on Python and web-based, including a PostgreSQL database. It also has a very robust ecosystem of third-party add-ons that you can use to extend the platform. You can add point-of-sale applications, financial applications and much more.

Odoo also has twin free and commercial arms. Two users can use the platform for free and evaluate it. Businesses that want support can opt for a commercial offering.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is also online training for Odoo available here, as well a complete library of documentation and even instructional YouTube videos.

Odoo was originally known as OpenERP until May of 2014. It was rebranded because version 8 of the software included apps including a website builder, e-commerce applications, and business intelligence modules. Essentially, it expaned beyond ERP and CRM.

It's worth watching some of the introductory videos and looking through the documentation. Every year, this platform gets a little more robust. 

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New Search Options Coming Soon in Firefox

Wednesday 26th of November 2014 03:07:08 PM

As covered here a few days ago, there is momentous news on the Mozilla front, as the company has moved away from its longstanding deal with Google, which has historically subsidized more than 90 percent of Mozilla's revenues, to the tune of more than $300 million per year at times. Instead, Yahoo and Mozilla have announced a "strategic five-year partnership" agreement which will make Yahoo the primary search option for Firefox.

As part of its partnership with Yahoo, Mozilla and Yahoo engineers are going to overhaul various aspects of search in the Firefox browser. And now, Mozilla is showing off the upcoming search interface for Firefox, which has an improved search suggestion scheme and a new "array of buttons" below search suggestions in the search box. Here is a look.

According to a Mozilla UX blog post:

 "When typing a search term into the Firefox search box, you will notice two new things: first, we improved the design of search suggestions to make them look a lot more organized. And second: there is an array of buttons below your search suggestions. These buttons allow you to find your search term directly on a specific site quickly and easily."

The screeshot here shows the search suggestions and array of buttons in action.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And in the following shot, you can see what kinds of choice Mozilla is going to offer in terms of search engines that users can select as defaults.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mozilla's post adds the following:

"But you shouldn’t be limited to any default set we provide. That’s why adding additional search engines is easy. Are you a web developer? Then how about adding MDN and Stack Overflow to your one click searches? Writing a paper and looking up synonyms every day? Add a dictionary site! Just click on the magnifying glass in the search field while on the site and select the search engine you’d like to add."

The new search interface for Firefox looks good and Mozilla does appear to be pursuing a strategy that emphasizes choices for users. You'll see all of this arrive in Firefox very soon.

 

 

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Fedora Good, Bad, & Ugly and Debian's Rise

Wednesday 26th of November 2014 05:59:39 AM

Pádraig Brady today offered up his assessment of Fedora 21 in comparison to Fedora 16 from which he upgraded. Bruce Byfield is back with a look at the "rise of Debian technology" and Softpedia is reporting that CentOS was used to make the black hole in hit movie Interstellar. Gunnar Hellekson refutes the assertions in a recent GCN article declaring Open Source poorly designed and, finally today, Linux powered submersible says polar caps thicker than estimated.

Debian is the basis for 132 other distributions listed on Distrowatch.com, according to Bruce Byfield, more than any other top tier distro. Byfield says Debian has become indispensable because it is perfectly suited for its new role as base for other distributions. He says its 50,000 packages help cement this position. Another factor for Byfield is the Debian project's independence from Free Software Foundation. But ultimately, Byfield thinks it's Debian package management that set it apart from the crowd.

Pádraig Brady just replaced his Fedora 16 system with a new Fedora 21 install and today posted his review. He says the good includes things like better icons, faster package management, "cleaner" bootup, and all around better performance. Some of the bad came in the installer itself, some individual applications, and missing desktop options. He added the default font is very ugly, but see Brady's full post for lots more.

The Westside Story today ran a piece saying a Linux powered submersible recently visited the Antarctic to measure the thickness of the ice shelves. Climate scientists have been estimating the thickness using core drilling and satellite images, but SeaBED has been able to travel to the actual locations and collect more accurate data. Westside quotes the operators saying:

Our surveys indicate that the floes are much thicker and more deformed than reported by most drilling and ship-based measurements of Antarctic sea ice.

Mean drafts range from 1.4 to 5.5 metres, with maxima up to 16 metres.

We suggest that thick ice in the near-coastal and interior pack may be under-represented in existing in site assessments of Antarctic sea ice and hence, on average, Antarctic sea ice may be thicker than previously thought.

In other news:

* Wormhole in Interstellar Movie Designed with Linux

* Open Source Software is Still Software

* Truly private surfing

* 9 Useful Gnome Shell Extensions for Linux

* Pear OS Linux Concept Revived as Pearl Linux 1.0

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Netflix Open Sources Sophisticated Messaging Tool

Tuesday 25th of November 2014 04:02:20 PM

Open cloud computing platforms are on all kinds of radars these days, including leading open source platforms such as OpenStack, but if you ask many folks which companies have top-notch expertise in the open cloud, you won't often hear Netflix mentioned. The company actually has an admirable history of open sourcing many of its most useful cloud tools and accompanying security tools--and it is a sophisticated user of cloud services.

We've reported on Netflix open sourcing a series of interesting "Monkey" cloud tools as part of its "simian army," and its release of three of its internal tools that help protect the security of its platform. Now, the company has announced the release of Message Security Layer protocol (MSL), billed as ‘A Modern Take on Securing Communication.'

The project is found on github under an Apache 2.0 license, with implementations in Java and JavaScript.  According to the company:

"When we first launched the Netflix streaming service we used a combination of HTTPS and a homegrown security mechanism called NTBA to provide that security. However, over time this combination started exhibiting growing pains. With the advent of HTML5 and the Media Source Extensions and Encrypted Media Extensions we needed something new that would be compatible with that platform. We took this as an opportunity to address many of the shortcomings of the earlier technology. The Message Security Layer (MSL) was born from these dual concerns."

"MSL is a plug-in architecture which allows for the easy integration of different device and user authentication schemes, session key negotiation schemes, and cryptographic algorithms...A typical MSL message consists of a header and one or more application payload chunks. Each chunk is individually protected which allows the sender and recipient to process application data as it is transmitted. A message stream may remain open indefinitely, allowing large time gaps between chunks if desired."

You can find a very complete technical discussion of how MSL works here.

"With MSL we have eliminated many of the problems we faced with HTTPS and platform integration," the company reports. "Its flexible and extensible design means it will be able to adapt as Netflix expands and as the cryptographic landscape changes. We are already using MSL on many different platforms including our HTML5 player, game consoles, and upcoming CE devices."

Netflix previously released Janitor Monkey and Chaos Monkey, which are cloud tools. You can peruse Netflix's overall open source software resource center on GitHub.  The company is steadily releasing proven tools that can be quite useful for administrators. Netflix has also said that it has more tools to be open sourced soon. 

 

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Fair Warning: Chrome Team Starts Final Countdown for NPAPI Extensions

Tuesday 25th of November 2014 03:48:04 PM

As we've reported several times, Google is introducing big changes in its Chrome browser, especially when it comes to how the browser handles extensions. If you've regularly used either or both of the most popular open source Internet browsers--Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox--then you're probably familiar with the performance and security problems that some extensions for them can cause.

In late 2013, Google decreed that the longstanding Netscape Plug-in API (NPAPI), which extensions have worked with for many years, is the source of many of the problems. And, Google decreed that extensions in the Chrome Web Store would be phasing out NPAPI support.  Now, Google has delivered an update on its plan to remove NPAPI from Chrome, and the hope is that the move will improve the browser’s speed and stability, and limit complexity in its code base.

Google plans to block all plugins by default in January 2015, remove support entirely in September of 2015.

According to the company:

"Currently Chrome supports NPAPI plugins, but they are blocked by default unless the user chooses to allow them for specific sites (via the page action UI). A small number of the most popular plugins are whitelisted and allowed by default. In January 2015 we will remove the whitelist, meaning all plugins will be blocked by default."

"In April 2015 NPAPI support will be disabled by default in Chrome and we will unpublish extensions requiring NPAPI plugins from the Chrome Web Store. Although plugin vendors are working hard to move to alternate technologies, a small number of users still rely on plugins that haven’t completed the transition yet...n September 2015 we will remove the override and NPAPI support will be permanently removed from Chrome. Installed extensions that require NPAPI plugins will no longer be able to load those plugins."

Of course, if you're worried that you won't be able to use your favorite extensions, Google has been vocal about these moves since 2013. Many extension developers are delivering new solutions and workarounds.

The bottom line is that Google continues to move significant parts of the Chrome ecosystem toward the Chrome Web Store, where it can exert control. These moves are going to make some extension developers unhappy, but will probably result in better raw browser performance over time. 

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Mint's the Best, Less Malware, and Debian vs Ubuntu

Tuesday 25th of November 2014 05:11:30 AM

The Register's Scott Gilbertson today said that Linux Mint 17.1 was the best distribution "hands down." Elsewhere, Bruce Byfield compares and contrasts Debian and Ubuntu to see which is right for you and Lucian Constantin reports on a new vulnerability found in less programs. There were several reviews in the feeds and Katherine Noyes tallies FOSS Thanksgivings. Linux.com has Linux gift ideas and Serdar Yegulalp summarizes rebootless kernel patching.

Scott Gilbertson today said, "Linux Mint 17.1 is the first example of what the Mint project team can do when they're focused on their own system rather than on making the latest Ubuntu work with Mint." Gilbertson said Cinnamon is quickly becoming the best desktop available in Linux and new version 2.4 brings more polish, performance, and refinement. Gilbertson said the MATE desktop is no longer an afterthought and with Compiz now available it's easy to "trick out." He looked at the other updates as well and concluded, "Having tested the latest releases of most major Linux distros in the past two months - Ubuntu, Fedora, openSUSE, Elementary and Mint, I can say confidently that Mint 17.1 with Cinnamon 2.4 is hands down the best of the bunch."

In other reviews, Jesse Smith had mixed impressions of Scientific Linux 7.0 but believes "the strengths of Scientific exist in its predictability and longevity." LinuxBSDos.com recently reviewed PC-BSD 10.1 and said, "PC-BSD obviously brings a lot to the table, but KDE is the best desktop for experiencing all the awesome features that PC-BSD 10.1 has to offer." Dedoimedo.com said of Netrunner Rolling 2014.09, "The installer, plus desktop effects and screenshots, plus the broken package manager, plus half a dozen other woes, and the subpar Flash performance, all of them contribute to the negative feeling about 2014.09." And finally, Linuxed reviewed Ubuntu Mate 14.10 saying, "Overall I am very happy with the performance of the distro. Ubuntu Mate 14.10 is definitely recommended from my side with a score of 9.4/10."

Bruce Byfield said deciding between Ubuntu and Debian depends on the chooser. "Although Ubuntu is derived from Debian, their differences are marked. From installation and desktop to package management and community, what everybody thinks they know about the two may be wrong." He runs down the supported architectures, installer considerations, desktop and software differences as well as administration and package management procedures before getting into the communities. In the end, much like many articles like this, you the reader must ultimately decide, although Byfield added you couldn't go wrong with either.

In other news:

* Thoughts of Thanksgiving for All That Is FOSS

* Four ways Linux is headed for no-downtime kernel patching

* Top 10 Linux Holiday Gifts for 2014 (Slideshow)

* System76 Sable Touch: The state of touch support in Linux

* 'Less' means more to malware authors targeting Linux users

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Surveys Show Continuing Interest in the Cloud, Confidence in Open Source

Monday 24th of November 2014 04:14:39 PM

The end of the year usually ushers in a few compelling surveys in the open source arena, and a few interesting findings on cloud computing and IT trends are arriving now. Zimbra, which specializes in collaboration software, has announced the results of the Ponemon Institute’s “The Open Source Collaboration Study: Viewpoints on Security and Privacy in the U.S. and EMEA” report. The study surveyed 1,398 IT and IT security practitioners to learn about their companies’ involvement in the use of open source messaging and collaboration solutions, and their views on security and privacy.

Meanwhile, IDG Enterprise is out with results from a survey it did involving 1,672 IT decision-makers, and they show that cloud adoption of all kinds continues apace.

According to the Ponemon Institute survey, over 70 percent of software engineers and administrators believe open source and open core software, respectively, are more reliable than proprietary alternatives. "This new research shows that cost savings are no longer the hallmark of open source in the minds of IT professionals, with the ability to lower costs ranking below quality in importance," the survey results report.

 The study also found that IT professionals are dissatisfied with their current collaboration and messaging platforms, the majority of which are proprietary software solutions. And, 55 percent of U.S. respondents and 52 percent of EMEA respondents said their organizations will be replacing their messaging and collaboration solutions within two years.

Among key findings in the survey:

 - Seventy-four percent of U.S. IT professionals agree that commercial open source software offers better continuity and control.

- Sixty-six percent of IT practitioners in the U.S. agree that commercial open source software means fewer bugs, and 63 percent believe it will boost quality compared to proprietary software.

- The ability to lower costs is no longer the main point of differentiation for open source software, according to IT professionals in the U.S. and EMEA; business continuity, control and quality rank above cost concerns, but all outperform proprietary software in the minds of IT professionals.

“There is significant opportunity for open source to play a central role in the future of security and privacy across the U.S. and EMEA,” said Rob Howard, Zimbra chief technology officer, in a statement. “And, the research supports a trend that we see in our own business; open source provides far more benefit than cost savings alone. It delivers on quality and control, and it empowers IT to make an impact on more than just the bottom line.”

The IDG Enterprise survey found that T managers are still surveying the lay of the land and planning cloud deployments. Overall, 56 percent of companies are still in the process of identifying IT operations that they want to migrate to the cloud, according to the findings. But more companies are done with the process now -- 38 percent compared to 33 percent last year.

The results also showed:

"More than two-thirds (69%) of companies have already made cloud investments. The rest plan to do so within the next three years. Companies appear to be moving steadily: Respondents anticipate their cloud usage will expand, on average, by 38% in the next 18 months. At the end of 2015, companies expect to be operating an average of 53% of their IT environments in the cloud."

You dan find an extended discussion of the IDG Enterprise results here, including a link for downloading a full report from IDG.

 

 

 

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Jolla Tablet Runs Android Apps, Gathers Crowdfunds

Monday 24th of November 2014 04:00:19 PM

A Finnish mobile technology startup company with an open source operating system called Sailfish OS has gathered more than $1.1 million in crowdsourced funding in an Indiegogo campaign.

The company, called Jolla, is working on an alternative iPad-style tablet and the interesting thing about its Sailfish OS is that it can run Android apps in addition to apps created specifically for Sailfish.

The Jolla tablet runs Sailfish 2.0 and is already sold in a couple of countries. According to Jolla, multitasking is one of the advantages of its device:

"Multitasking on Sailfish OS shows all your running apps conveniently in one single view. At a glance, you’ll see everything that’s going on, as well as easily switch between apps. You can also control Sailfish OS apps directly from the multitasking view – for example, change your music or play and pause your video stream without opening the app in full."

"Sailfish OS works with your natural hand movements via gestures, which makes using the tablet super-fast. You don’t have to push tiny buttons or search your way back home – everything is always under your thumb."

"Besides running its own native apps, Sailfish OS has the capability to run Android apps. You can continue using your favorite apps like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, as well as downloading all the latest ones via the Jolla Store and other Android app marketplaces. If an app doesn’t exist, you can always make it."

Jolla started its funding campaign on November 19, and it runs through December 9th. Contributors to the funding pool will have the option to purchase a Jolla tablet for $209--lower than the expected $249 retail price.

You can find some intriguing photos and animations of the Jolla tablet in action here

 

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