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Google beefs Linux up kernel defenses in Android

Filed under
Android
Linux
Google

Future versions of Android will be more resilient to exploits thanks to developers' efforts to integrate the latest Linux kernel defenses into the operating system.

Android's security model relies heavily on the Linux kernel that sits at its core. As such, Android developers have always been interested in adding new security features that are intended to prevent potentially malicious code from reaching the kernel, which is the most privileged area of the operating system.

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LaunchKit Now FOSS

Filed under
Android
Google
OSS
  • Google acquires LaunchKit to make life easier for Android developers
  • LaunchKit team heads to Google and open-sources its tools for helping devs launch their apps

    The team behind LaunchKit, a set of tools that helps developers launch their apps, is heading to Google and joining the Developer Product Group.

    It doesn’t look like LaunchKit’s products are moving over to Google, so the team decided to open-source its products and make them available on GitHub. LaunchKit’s hosted services will be available for the next 12 months. After that, they will be discontinued.

    LaunchKit currently offers four tools and developers will now be able to take them and run them themselves: Screenshot Builder for easily creating annotated screenshots for Apple’s and Google’s store, App Website Builder for creating responsive landing pages for new apps, Review Monitor for — well… — tracking reviews in Apple’s App Store, and Sales Reporter for keeping track of sales. The team has also written a couple of how-to guides for developers, too.

In a Quiet Market for PCs, Chromebooks are Marching Steadily Forward

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Gentoo
Google

It's no secret that Chrome OS has not been the same striking success for Google that the Android OS has been. And yet, Chromebooks--portable computers running the platform--have not only found their niche, but they are also introducing a new generation to cloud computing. Chromebooks are firmly entrenched in the education market, where many young users have become used to the convention of storing apps and data in the cloud.

Now, according to new research from Gartner, Chromebooks are ready to hit new milestones. Analysts there report that Chromebook shipment growth will be in the double digits this year. At the same time, though, Chromebooks have not become fixtures in the enterprise, replacing Windows PCs.

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Linux and Graphics

Filed under
Graphics/Benchmarks
Linux
Google
  • Google Developers Improve Mesa's Android EGL Support
  • Nouveau DRM Code Updated For Linux 4.8

    The Nouveau open-source NVIDIA DRM driver changes have been queued in DRM-Next for the Linux 4.8 kernel.

    Nouveau updates this time around include GK20A/GM20B Tegra K1/X1 voltage and clock improvements as well as initial support for GP100 and GP104 GPUs. The latter provides initial KMS support for the GeForce GTX 1000 series. While NVIDIA did release some Pascal firmware, it ended up being only for the GP100 and not the GP104 or GP106. Thus with Linux 4.8 there isn't any hardware-accelerated support for the consumer GeForce GTX 1060/1070/1080 cards on the open-source driver stack. For those cards it comes down to un-accelerated kernel mode-setting support until NVIDIA releases the rest of the Pascal firmware in the future.

Managing your containers at Google scale

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Server
Google

The tooling around Linux containers has matured to the point that they are now a viable method of software packaging and deployment. The developer side of the containers equation has gotten a lot of emphasis. However, in order for containers to be a complete solution, they must not only be easy to build, but easy to deploy reliably at scale.

A company that arguably has more experience than any other company in deploying Linux containers at scale is Google. They have been running conatiners in their own datacenters for over a decade, contributing to the upstream Linux kernel in the areas of cgroups and namespaces. Using an internal system named Borg, Google deploys about 2 billion containers per week.

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Google “Project Bloks” education kit starts with RPi Zero

Filed under
Linux
Google

Google’s “Project Bloks” education platform is built around a Raspberry Pi Zero that controls baseboards that talk to “Puck” inputs via a capacitive sensor.

Google announced a Project Bloks hacker platform for kids, developed with IDEO and Paulo Blikstein of Stanford University. A prototype has been built based on the Linux-driven Raspberry Pi Zero SBC, and now Google is seeking researchers, developers, and designers who are interested in using the technology “to build physical coding experiences.” Later this year, Google will conduct a remote research study with the help of these partners.

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Android apps on Chromebook

Filed under
Android
Gentoo
Google
  • How to install Android apps on Chromebook

    A nice surprise landed on my Chromebook Flip when I checked for updates late last week. The dev channel running on Chromebook was ready with the much awaited 53.0.x update that brings the Google Play Store to Chrome OS devices. I updated it and I have been running Android apps on my Chromebook Flip since Friday.

  • How to run Android Apps on your Chromebook

    For now, there's only one Chromebook that will do it, the ASUS Chromebook Flip, but soon most newer models Chromebooks will be able to run most of the 1.5 million Android apps.

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Security Leftovers

10 hot Android smartphones that got price cuts recently

With numerous smartphone getting launched each month, brands always adjust prices to give slightly competitive edge to older smartphone models and also to clear inventories. Here are 10 smartphones that got price cuts recently. Read more

Debian and Ubuntu News

  • Debian Project News - July 29th, 2016
    Welcome to this year's third issue of DPN, the newsletter for the Debian community.
  • SteamOS Brewmaster 2.87 Released With NVIDIA Pascal Support
  • Snap interfaces for sandboxed applications
    Last week, we took a look at the initial release of the "portal" framework developed for Flatpak, the application-packaging format currently being developed in GNOME. For comparison, we will also explore the corresponding resource-control framework available in the Snap format developed in Ubuntu. The two packaging projects have broadly similar end goals, as many have observed, but they tend to vary quite a bit in the implementation details. Naturally, those differences are of particular importance to the intended audience: application developers. There is some common ground between the projects. Both use some combination of techniques (namespaces, control groups, seccomp filters, etc.) to restrict what a packaged application can do. Moreover, both implement a "deny by default" sandbox, then provide a supplemental means for applications to access certain useful system resources on a restricted or mediated basis. As we will see, there is also some overlap in what interfaces are offered, although the implementations differ. Snap has been available since 2014, so its sandboxing and resource-control implementations have already seen real-world usage. That said, the design of Snap originated in the Ubuntu Touch project aimed at smartphones, so some of its assumptions are undergoing revision as Snap comes to desktop systems. In the Snap framework, the interfaces that are defined to provide access to system resources are called, simply, "interfaces." As we will see, they cover similar territory to the recently unveiled "portals" for Flatpak, but there are some key distinctions. Two classes of Snap interfaces are defined: one for the standard resources expected to be of use to end-user applications, and one designed for use by system utilities. Snap packages using the standard interfaces can be installed with the snap command-line tool (which is the equivalent of apt for .deb packages). Packages using the advanced interfaces require a separate management tool.
  • Ubuntu 15.10 (Wily Werewolf) Reaches End Of Life Today (July 28)
  • Ubuntu MATE 16.10 Yakkety Yak Gets A Unity HUD-Like Searchable Menu
    MATE HUD, a Unity HUD-like tool that allows searching through an application's menu, was recently uploaded to the official Yakkety Yak repositories, and is available (but not enabled) by default in Ubuntu MATE 16.10.

Tablet review: BQ Aquaris M10 Ubuntu Edition

As employees have become more and more flexible in recent years thanks to the power and performance of mobile devices, the way we work has changed dramatically. We frequently chop and change between smartphones, tablets and laptops for different tasks, which has led to the growth of the hybrid market – devices such as Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3 and Apple’s iPad Pro – that provide the power and functionality of a laptop with the mobility and convenience of a tablet. Read more