Just days before its first Project Ara Developer Conference is scheduled to begin, Google has released the device's Module Developers Kit (MDK), a set of plans and documentation designed to get hardware hackers started building modules for the componentized, mix-and-match experimental smartphone.
Google first unveiled Project Ara in 2013 as a research project within its Motorola Mobility division. But although it's in the process of selling off most of Motorola to Lenovo, the Chocolate Factory has kept Ara in-house, where it appears to be moving full steam ahead.
Chromebooks are also getting support for folders in launcher. What it means is that now, like Android, you can create folders and club your apps in a much organzied manner. Google has also implemented the “OK Google” search feature with the launcher and the voice search can be triggered with hotword “Ok Google”. Google has also implemented support for ‘Captive Portal’ which makes it easier for users when they try to connect to the wireless of cafes, hotels, airports, and other locations which requiers them to go to an authentication page.
Firefox OS, currently available in version 1.3, has never been known for its good looks. However, it has jumped out to an early, if modest, lead among mobile Linux operating systems for other reasons. For example, it has already shipped in commercial phones, and is quite usable. It’s dead simple, and re-imagines mobile phones from the start as browser devices. It also manages to squeeze every ounce of power from modest, earlier generation Snapdragon processors.
A second Git pull request has been made for the ACPI and power management code within the kernel for Linux 3.15.
This computer-assisted engineering (CAE) distro clearly is not for the vast majority of Linux users, but it certainly has all the features you would expect in any mature Linux OS -- and then some.
The extra ingredients make CAELinux a unique Linux distro for engineers and engineering students, as well as scientists. It offers an unusual mix of Xubuntu 12.04 LTS 64-bit with a customized Xfce desktop environment. An enhanced run mode gives good performance directly from the DVD or from a USB drive without any hard drive installation.
The Document Foundation has announced the release of LibreOffice 4.2.3 which is available for free download. The foundation says “LibreOffice 4.2.3 ‘Fresh’ is the most feature rich version of the software, and is suited for early adopters willing to leverage a larger number of innovations. For enterprise deployments and for more conservative users, The Document Foundation suggests the more mature LibreOffice 4.1.5 ‘Stable’.”
Today in Linuxville, Jack Germain reviews CAELinux, a distribution with "specialized software for printing, graphical display, engineering and electronics." Elsewhere, Sam Varghese says the Linux community should have never buckled to Microsoft's UEFI Secure Boot pressure. And finally, Matt Hartley says tech journalists are always getting Linux technical details wrong.
I decided that 2014 for me was going to be the year of the Network Attached Storage (NAS). Last year was the year that I finally abandoned my desktops and went all laptop for both my Mac-based iOS development workflow and general purpose computing (i.e, everything else on my Acer i5 running Lubuntu). This year I wanted to have a massive centralized storage where I could put all my videos and photos so I can access it from any laptop or mobile device. What follows is what I chose and how to hook it up to Lubuntu.
It has been about 3 years since my primary hardware machine has been upgraded. I already had 16GB of RAM, two 1920 x 1200 monitors, a Filco mechanical keyboard, and a graphics tablet. OK, I admit that the CPU is showing a little age, but it was an AMD Phenom II X4 965 quad-core processor, and that still has some life left in it.
So I decided to update my graphics card, which was an Nvidia GeForce 440.
Google Chrome, a browser built on the Blink layout engine that aims to be minimalistic and versatile at the same time, has been upgraded yet again, has just received a new update, promoting the 35 development branch to Beta.
Announced by Marvell as a double design win, the Swisscom TV 2.0 set-top box (STB) runs on the Armada 1500 Plus system-on-chip unveiled by Marvell back in December. The SoC is an upgrade to the Armada 1500, which was the designated SoC for Google TV 2.0 set-tops and smart TVs. It is expected that the Armada 1500 Plus will be one of the principle SoC pairings with the upcoming successor to GoogleTV, rumored to be called Android TV. However, it is also likely Google will work with a variety of SoC platforms as part of a move to loosen up previous Google TV requirements that many vendors found too restricting.
FFmpeg developers have released a major 2.2 update only a few weeks ago, and a lot of new features have been added such as HNM version 4 demuxer and video decoder, Live HDS muxer, a complete Voxware MetaSound decoder, WebP encoding via libwebp, VP8 in Ogg demuxing, libx265 encoder, and more.
Firefox OS 2.0 plans include copy and paste support, a new mechanism for launching apps and switching among them, a more useful lock screen, a find-my phone system, and more. Those features will be crucial to the success of the nascent OS, which lags Android and iOS by years but which is critical to Mozilla's continued relevance.
As Chromebooks--portable computers based on Google's Chrome OS platform--continue to carve out a healthy niche for themselves, there are strong signs that we are soon going to see Chrome OS tablets. This, of course, has been in the rumor mill for some time. Last October, I reported on a developer-focused version of Chrome OS that included an on-screen keyboard, which of course would be ideal for use on a tablet. Now, the Chrome OS team has confirmed that the latest Stable Channel version of Chrome OS has such a keyboard, and it's likely we'll see tablets based on Google's operating system soon.
With OpenArena the frame-rate went from just 8 FPS on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS to 19 FPS when using the Linux 3.14 kernel. Linux 3.14 allows for the R3 Graphics to re-clock to their highest performance state compared to Linux 3.13 where DPM isn't enabled by default for GCN GPUs. When going to Mesa 10.2-devel that will be officially released in about one month, the frame-rate rose to 25 FPS... That's over a three-fold performance improvement when pulling in the bleeding edge latest code.
Frankly, I’ve never liked Windows XP. I found the interface to be an eyesore way back when it was first released and using it never improved the experience. I’m very glad to see that it’s going away finally, it’s demise has been been long overdue. I’m rather surprised that it has hung on this long, given that it was never all that anyway. It’s almost become like some sort of a disease you can’t quite get rid of, it just goes on and on and on.
GParted Live, a small bootable GNU/Linux distribution for x86-based computers that can be used for creating, reorganizing, and deleting disk partitions with the help of tools that allow managing filesystems, is now at version 0.18.0-2.
“Once VortexBox has been loaded on an unused PC, it will automatically rip CDs to FLAC and MP3 files, ID3 tag the files , and download the cover art. Vortexbox will then serve the files to network media players such as Logitech Squeezebox, Sonos, or Linn. The music files can also be streamed to a Windows or Mac OSX system,” notes the developer of VortexBox.
Another round of features have been approved by the Fedora Engineering and Steering Committee for this year's Fedora 21 release.
Android 4.4.3, also known as KitKat MR2 (Android 4.4.1 and 4.4.2 are known as KitKat MR1), has entered the dogfooding stage and has started rolling out to 1% of Google employees outside of the Android team. Currently, the dogfooding rollout is limited to the supported Nexus line (Nexus 4, Nexus 5, Nexus 7 2012, Nexus 7 2013, and Nexus 10), with GPE and Moto X updates to follow.
The final public releases should be out in coming weeks. Unsurprisingly, the exact schedule is unknown at this point because it depends on the success of the dogfooding tests which will presumably first have to expand from the limited 1% to a larger portion of employees. The point is - don't expect an OTA just yet.