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Google

Five reasons Chromebooks are better than Windows laptops

Filed under
OS
Google

Today, Windows users hold off for as long as possible before "updating" their PCs. Chrome OS users, on the other hand, have their systems updated every six weeks without a hitch. And, I might add, these updates take a minute or two instead of an hour or two.

Chrome OS is also more secure than Windows. WIndows security violations pop up every blessed month. Sure, Chrome OS has had security holes, but I can't think of one that's been significantly exploited.

Want a nightmare? Try migrating from an old Windows PC to a new one. Even if you're jumping from Windows 10 to Windows 10, there are no easy ways to do it. If you have a Microsoft account, rather than a local account, you must manually move your local files from third-party programs such as Photoshop

On Chrome OS, you log in to your new Chromebook and -- ta-da! -- you're back in business. No fuss, no muss.

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Chromebooks Switching Over To The BFQ I/O Scheduler

Filed under
Linux
Google

On Chromebooks when moving to the latest Chrome OS that switches over to a Linux 4.19 based kernel, BFQ has become the default I/O scheduler.

BFQ has been maturing nicely and as of late there's been an uptick in interest around this I/O scheduler with some also calling for it to be used by default in distributions. Google has decided BFQ is attractive enough to enable by default for Chromebooks to provide better responsiveness.

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Google brings Linux app support to some older Chromebooks (including Chromebook Pixel 2015)

Filed under
Linux
Google

Chrome OS started out as a browser-based operating system that could run web apps only. Eventually Google added support for Android apps, and then for Linux apps, making Chromebooks more useful as general-purpose laptops.

But while most new Chromebooks feature out-of-the-box support for Android and Linux apps, many older models do not… and it looked like they never would.

It turns out that may not be true after all: 9to5Google reports that Google seems to be testing an update that would bring Linux app support to the 2015 Chromebook Pixel, along with a number of other models released that year.

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Google and Android Code

Filed under
Android
Google
OSS
  • Google releases source code for I/O 2019 app with Android Q gesture nav, dark theme

    The Google I/O companion app for Android often takes advantage of the latest design stylings and OS features. It demoed Android Q’s gesture navigation and dark theme this year, with the company today releasing the I/O 2019 source code.

  • Introducing Coil, an open-source Android image loading library backed by Kotlin Coroutines

    Yesterday, Colin White, a Senior Android Engineer at Instacart, introduced Coroutine Image Loader (Coil). It is a fast, lightweight, and modern image loading library for Android backed by Kotlin.

  • Google open-sources Live Transcribe’s speech engine

    Google today open-sourced the speech engine that powers its Android speech recognition transcription tool Live Transcribe. The company hopes doing so will let any developer deliver captions for long-form conversations. The source code is available now on GitHub.

    Google released Live Transcribe in February. The tool uses machine learning algorithms to turn audio into real-time captions. Unlike Android’s upcoming Live Caption feature, Live Transcribe is a full-screen experience, uses your smartphone’s microphone (or an external microphone), and relies on the Google Cloud Speech API. Live Transcribe can caption real-time spoken words in over 70 languages and dialects. You can also type back into it — Live Transcribe is really a communication tool. The other main difference: Live Transcribe is available on 1.8 billion Android devices. (When Live Caption arrives later this year, it will only work on select Android Q devices.)

Chrome murders FTP like Jeffrey Epstein

Filed under
Google
Web

What is it with these people? Why can't things that are working be allowed to still go on working? (Blah blah insecure blah blah unused blah blah maintenance blah blah web everything.)

This leaves an interesting situation where Google has, in its very own search index, HTML pages served by FTP its own browser won't be able to view...

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Goodbye PCs, it's been nice knowing you. Hello, desktop as a service

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Google
Microsoft

I don't think we'll see Windows 10 as a standalone desktop operating system fold. After all, you'll still need something to log into the virtual desktop -- and Microsoft and its partners won't want that to be a Chromebook, but you can see it from here.

Now, all that is fine with some people. They love their SaaS programs. I don't blame them. I love them, too. My Chrome OS-powered Pixelbook with Google Docs has become my go-to business laptop. They don't see why -- for all the good that you get with DaaS and SaaS -- this trend has a dark side, as well.

If we go all-in on SaaS, we're returning our power to large corporate IT firms. We're walking back to the 70s when IBM and DEC called the computing shots. Today, it will be Google and Microsoft, but it's the same model.

Going forward, if you want to call your own work shots at the keyboard, you're going to need either a Mac or a Linux desktop. That's one reason why I've always preferred the Linux desktop. On Linux, with open-source software such as LibreOffice, ultimately, I'm in charge of my computing experience.

The conventional Microsoft/Intel-based PC, that most of you have used for decades? It's on its way out. I'll miss it.

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Proprietary: Microsoft, Apple and Google

Filed under
Google
Microsoft
Mac
  • Netherlands warns government employees not to use Microsoft's online Office apps

    In one example, it was found that some 300,000 top tier Office users, with the ‘365 Pro Plus' package were being sent back to the US for storage - exactly the sort of behaviour that got Dutch backs up.

    In a wider sense, this is a small but public battle in a much larger war, with the EU still leaning heavily on Microsoft to put its post-GDPR house in order.

  • The iPhone now makes up less than half of Apple’s business

    Apple today reported its fiscal third quarter 2019 earnings, earning $53.8 billion in revenue and earnings per share of $2.18. That revenue is a 1 percent jump year over year. iPhone revenue was $25.99 billion compared to $29.47 billion a year ago. That means the iPhone represented under half of Apple’s revenue for the first time since 2012.

    The all-important services unit took in $11.46 billion in revenue. Wearables saw a big boost, likely thanks to Apple’s second-generation AirPods. CEO Tim Cook said that when the services and wearables / home / accessories divisions are combined, they approach the size of a Fortune 50 company. Revenue from Mac sales was $5.82 billion, and iPads were $5.023 billion, up from $4.634 billion last year at this time.

  • Apple Finds Life After the iPhone While Still Banking on the iPhone

    Combined, Apple’s two major independent product lines not attached to the iPhone -- Mac computers and iPads -- made up only 20% of revenue in the fiscal third quarter, despite gains from the period a year ago, the Cupertino, California-based company reported Tuesday. Apple’s also working on a mixed augmented and virtual reality headset for the coming years, but that, too, is likely to be iPhone-reliant.

  • Chrome 76 for Mac, Windows rolling out: Flash blocked by default, Incognito loophole closed, Settings tweak

    As a big HTML5 proponent for the past decade, Google encouraged sites to switch away from Flash for faster, safer, and more battery-efficient browsing. In late 2016 and early 2017, Chrome blocked background Flash elements and defaulted to HTML5, with users having to manually enable the Adobe plug-in on a site-by-site basis.

  • Google Chrome 76 Released for Linux, Windows, and Mac with 43 Security Fixes

    Google promoted today the Chrome 76 web browser to the stable channel for all supported platforms, including GNU/Linux, Windows, and macOS.

    Google Chrome 76.0.3809.87 is now available as the latest stable version of the popular and cross-platform web browser from Google, based on the open source Chromium project. It contains various bug fixes and improvements, as well as no less than 43 security fixes for the latest vulnerabilities.

Chrome 76

Filed under
Google
Software
Web
  • Stable Channel Update for Desktop

    The Chrome team is delighted to announce the promotion of Chrome 76 to the stable channel for Windows, Mac and Linux. This will roll out over the coming days/weeks.
    Chrome 76.0.3809.87 contains a number of fixes and improvements -- a list of changes is available in the log. Watch out for upcoming Chrome and Chromium blog posts about new features and big efforts delivered in 76.

  • Chrome 76 Released With Flash Blocked By Default

    Google today promoted their Chrome 76 web-browser to stable for all supported platforms, including Linux.

    The Chrome 76 release isn't the most exciting update in recent times, but is notable for now no longer auto-loading Flash content when Flash is active/available to the browser. It's another step towards eliminating Flash on the web.

  • Chrome 76 arrives with Flash blocked by default, detecting Incognito mode disabled, and PWA improvements

    Google today launched Chrome 76 for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS. The release includes Adobe Flash blocked by default, Incognito mode detection disabled, multiple PWA improvements, and more developer features. You can update to the latest version now using Chrome’s built-in updater or download it directly from google.com/chrome.

Linux for Chromebooks 101: Getting started with the command line

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Google
HowTos

So where does one start with Linux on a Chromebook?
I’ll be writing up a series of posts to help answer that question, starting today with the basics of the Linux command line. You may not need all of these commands as Linux becomes even more integrated with Chrome OS, but they’re good to know regardless. In the future, I’ll share some more advanced useful Linux features, some of the apps you might want to use for certain instances and more.
To level-set everyone, here’s a high-level explanation of what you actually have – and what you don’t – when it comes to Linux on a Chromebook.
When most non-Linux users think about the open-source platform, they imagine something that doesn’t quite look like Windows nor macOS but can be similar.

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Crostini/Google Update

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Google
  • Acer Chromebook R 13

    It has Android Apps (Google Play) and Linux Apps (crostini) support and it will receive auto-updates until September 2021.

  • HP Chromebook x360 14

    It has Android Apps (Google Play) and Linux Apps (crostini) support and it will receive auto-updates until June 2024.

  • Linux disk resizing on Chromebooks pushed back to Chrome OS 78

    Back in March, I reported on an effort that would enable resizing of the Linux partition for Crostini-supported Chromebooks. At that time, I expected the feature to land in Chrome OS 75. I’ve checked for the feature now that Chrome OS 75 is available (again) and it’s nowhere to be seen. That’s because it was recently pushed back to Chrome OS 78.

    [...]

    However, other aspects need to be considered: Storage of large media files, for example, or enabling Google Drive synchronization with the Chrome OS Files app for offline file access. And then there are Android apps, so of which – particularly games – can require one or two gigabytes of space.

    So far, I haven’t run into any storage issues on my Pixel Slate with 128 GB of data capacity. But it’s easy to see that the Linux container is using up the bulk of my tablet’s storage: As I understand it, /dev/vdb is the Crostini container with Linux, which is 88 GB in size with 58 GB free.

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More in Tux Machines

Security: Sphinx, Ransomware, Webmin, YubiKey

  • Exposed Sphinx Servers Are No Challenge for Hackers [Ed: That’s the same agency and the same troll site that initially promoted the lies and the FUD about VLC]

    A popular open-source text search server, Sphinx offers impressive performance for indexing and searching data in databases or just in files. It is cross-platform, available for Linux, Windows, macOS, Solaris, FreeBSD, and a few other operating systems. [...] CERT-Bund posted the warning on Twitter today alerting network operators and providers about the risk of running Sphinx servers with a default configuration that are open on the web. The organization highlights that Sphinx lacks any authentication mechanisms. Exposing it on the web gives an attacker the possibility "to read, modify or delete any data stored in the Sphinx database."

  • Ransomware Hits Texas Local Governments [iophk: Windows TCO]

    The attack was observed on the morning of August 16 and appears to have been launched by a single threat actor, the DIR announcement reads.

    The State Operations Center (SOC) was activated soon after the attack reports started to come in, and DIR says that all of the entities that were actually or potentially affected appear to have been identified and notified.

    A total of twenty-three entities have been confirmed as impacted so far, and the responders are working on bringing the affected systems back online.

  • Webmin Backdoored for Over a Year

    The security hole impacts Webmin 1.882 through 1.921, but most versions are not vulnerable in their default configuration as the affected feature is not enabled by default. Version 1.890 is affected in the default configuration. The issue has been addressed with the release of Webmin 1.930 and Usermin version 1.780.

  • The YubiKey 5Ci is the 'first' iOS-compatible security key

    Like other YubiKey options in the 5 series, the YubiKey 5Ci supports multiple authentication protocols, including IDO2/WebAuthn, FIDO U2F, OTP (one-time-password), PIV (Smart Card), and OpenPGP.

Android Leftovers

Analysis of the state of play of Open Source policies in EU Member States

The study on OSS policies will answer the following research questions, each of which will be elaborated upon in dedicated chapters: [...] Read more

Android Leftovers