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GNU/Linux on Chromebooks

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Google
  • How to install Linux apps on your Chromebook

    Chromebooks are great because they're simple: there's a lot you can get done with web services without exposing yourself to the troubles and security issues that plague more complex platforms.

    But if you need to do a bit more with your Chromebook, you have a few options. Most Chromebooks these days allow you to install apps from the Google Play Store, which should fill most productivity gaps. If not, you'll soon have one more option: installing Linux apps. To be clear, you've been able to install Linux apps on Chromebooks for years because Chrome OS is Linux. But, it's about to get much easier.

  • Top 5 Features Still Missing From Chrome OS

    Google’s Chrome OS gets a lot of things right, and the platform has evolved considerably over the years. Not only does it offer an always up-to-date version of the Chrome browser, but there are also Android apps, stylus input, and even Linux support on some devices. However, Chrome OS is far from perfect. You have to make compromises if you choose to live with a Chromebook, but you shouldn’t have to make quite this many. Here are the top five things Google should fix.

  • Walmart's selling an all-aluminum Chromebook with a comfy keyboard for just $220

    If you’re not considering a Chromebook when you're shopping for a notebook, you’re doing it wrong. Google's low-cost laptops are typically light, fast, secure, and have almost everything you need for remote work a.k.a. the Internet. Today, you can get in on the action for a great price. Walmart is selling the Acer Chromebook 14 (CB3-431-C6ZB) for $220. That’s about $30 to $40 cheaper than you’d usually pay for this laptop.

Akademy Report and Final GSoC Reports

Filed under
KDE
Google
  • Akademy 2018 Monday BoF Wrapup

    Monday was the first day of Akademy BoFs, group sessions and hacking. There is a wrapup session at the end of the day so that what happened in the different rooms can be shared with everyone including those not present.

  • GSoC’18 - Final Report

    Some of the tasks I had originally planned took a lot more time than expected. My last task was to add stats to games that track and store your overall game statistics. I’ve already began working on this and will get it merged after thoroughly getting it reviewed by my mentors.

    [...]

    I had a wonderful time contributing to GNOME since I started this February. The amazing community and even more amazing mentors helped me learn new things and guided me all along the way which I would like to thank them for. I will surely keep contributing to GNOME.

  • Google Summer of Code 2018 Final Report: Automatic Builds with Clang using Open Build Service

    Debian package builds with Clang were performed from time to time through massive rebuilds of the Debian archive on AWS. The results of these builds are published on clang.debian.net. This summer project aimed to automate Debian archive clang rebuilds by substituting the current clang builds in clang.debian.net with Open Build System (OBS) builds.

    Our final product consists of a repository with salt states to deploy an OBS instance which triggers Clang builds of Debian Unstable packages as soon as they get uploaded by their maintainers.

GSoC Projects Under GNU's Umbrella: GNUnet and Guix

Filed under
GNU
Google
OSS
  • GSoC 2018 - GNUnet Web-based User Interface

    In the context of Google Summer of Code 2018, my mentor (Martin Schanzenbach) and I have worked on creating and extending the REST API of GNUnet. Currently, we mirrored the functionality of following commands:

    gnunet-identity
    gnunet-namestore
    gnunet-gns
    gnunet-peerinfo

    Additionally, we developed a website with the Javascript framework Angular 6 and the design framework iotaCSS to use the new REST API. The REST API of GNUnet is now documented with Sphinx.

  • GSoC 2018 report: Cuirass Web interface

    For the last three months I have been working with the Guix team as a Google Summer of Code intern. The title of my project is "GNU Guix (Cuirass): Adding a web interface similar to the Hydra web interface".

    Cuirass is a continuous integration system which monitors the Guix git repository, schedules builds of Guix packages, and presents the build status of all Guix packages. Before my project, Cuirass did not have a web interface. The goal of the project was to implement an interface for Cuirass which would allow a user to view the overall build progress, details about evaluations, build failures, etc. The web interface of Hydra is a good example of such a tool.

    In this post, I present a final report on the project. The Cuirass repository with the changes made during the project is located at http://git.savannah.gnu.org/cgit/guix/guix-cuirass.git. A working instance of the implemented interface is available at https://berlin.guixsd.org/. You can find more examples and demonstrations of the achieved results below.

KDE and GNOME GSoC: Falkon, WikiToLearn, Nautilus and Pitivi

Filed under
KDE
Google
GNOME
  • The Joy of GSoC Smile

    Wooo... this is the last day of coding phase of GSoC. I am writing this blog to share my experience and work done in the coding phase. I want to specially thank my mentor David Rosca for his help, suggestions and reviews. This was my first exposure to the KDE community and I am proud that it was great. I really enjoyed the whole program from proposal submission - intermediate evals - then now this final evaluation. Also, I had learned a lot working on my project. Frankly speaking, I didn't knew about i18n and l10n much but with the help of my mentor now I have a quite good understanding of how these works and are implemented. I can truly say this was one of my best summer vacations.

  • What’s next for WikiToLearn?

    Google Summer of Code is finishing and many things have been done on WikiToLearn since previous post. A little recap is needed.

    Talking with mentors has been crucial because they told me to focus on finishing CRUD interaction with API backend instead of working on “history mode” viewer.

  • GSoC 2018 Final Evaluation

    As GSoC is coming to an end, I am required to put my work altogether in order for it to be easily available and hopefully help fellow/potential contributors work on their own projects. 

    [...]

    At its prestige, through this project we will have tests both for most critical and used operations of Nautilus, and for the search engines we use. Further on, I’ll provide links for all of my merge requests and dwell a bit on their ins and outs while posting links to my commits:

  • GTK+ 4 and Nautilus </GSoC>

    Another summer here at GNOME HQ comes to an end. While certainly eventful, it unfortunately did not result in a production-ready Nautilus port to GTK+ 4 (unless you don’t intend to use the location entry or any other entry, but more on that later).

  • Pitivi Video Editor Gains UI Polish, Video Preview Resizing

    The latest Google Summer of Code 2018 is allowing some excellent work to be done on some excellent open source projects.

    Among them Pitivi, the non-linear video editor built using GTK and Gstreamer and offering up a basic video editing feature set.

    Over the past few months, Harish Fulara, a Computer Science student, has worked on improving the application’s greeter dialog and on adding support dynamic resizing of the video preview box.

GNU/Linux on Laptops

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Google
  • Dell's Thunderbolt TB16 Dock Can Work With Linux & Drive Dual 4K Displays

    When it came to settling on the latest-generation Dell XPS 13 as my main production workhorse with Fedora Workstation 28, besides the laptop's own traits like its build quality, specs relative to price, and other factors, another important requirement was the ability to drive two 4K displays when at my desk. The Dell XPS 13 has no issue driving dual 4K screens via the Dell Thunderbolt TB16 dock.

  • Chrome OS update makes installing Linux apps easier
  • Chrome OS update simplifies installing Linux applications

    A recent Chrome OS update has made the installation of Linux applications as simple as most of the popular distributions.

    Chrome OS is based on the Linux kernel and it’s been possible to install applications designed for the latter for some time using tools like Crouton.

    However, installing Linux apps on Chrome OS has never been friendly to beginners and required users to be in developer mode and have some knowledge of the command line. A recent OS update has changed matters.

    [...]

    Linux distros have been around since the 90s and continue to build up a roster of desktop-optimised apps. For Chrome OS to ever be considered a serious work platform to rival Windows and Mac, it needed to embrace Linux apps.

  • 28 older Chromebooks now support Linux apps

    More Chromebooks from Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo, and Samsung have received Linux app support. The change, which landed Thursday, will apply to some Chromebooks that released in 2015-2017, running Intel Braswell architecture and Kernel 3.18.

  • Chrome OS now supports installing arbitrary Linux packages

    Samsung recently presented the Galaxy Tab S4 as the ultimate productivity portable device but initial reviews have been rather scathing. Thanks to its timing, Samsung’s premium tablet is being compared to the likes of the cheaper iPad, the cheaper Surface Go, and, closer to home, Chromebooks. The latter, especially, is getting more and more talented and the latest experimental feature nearly turns it into that ultimate productivity OS. That is if you live and breathe Linux.

  • Linux Apps Coming To Older Braswell Chromebooks

    The addition of Linux apps to Chrome OS via the Crostini Project seems to be expanding at an exponential rate lately. Google has been content not sharing any insight into the project apart from the advantages it brings to developers but the latest update points at a larger target than just techies developing software.

    According to the commit, a decent number of Braswell-powered Chromebooks will soon be getting Linux app support.

Browsers That Spy

Filed under
Google
Moz/FF
Web
  • Firefox Advance Uses Your Browser History to Recommend Web Content

    If you’re short on things to read — seriously? — be sure to check out the latest experiment in the Firefox Test Pilot program.

    It’s called Advance and it aims to ‘advance’ you past the site you’re currently gawping at and on to the next. How? By giving you a list of articles and web pages based on your browsing history, of course.

    Don’t scream. Honestly. This feature is not part of the default browser (not yet, anyway). You have to explicitly choose to enable it.

    [...]

    Now, before anyone screams “I already use this! It’s called Google Chrome!” let me stress that this is an entirely optional, opt-in feature for Firefox. You have to go out of your way to install it. It is not part of the default install. If you don’t want it, you don’t have to use it.

    You remain in control when Advance is running. You can, at any point, see what browser history Laserlike has processed and — GDPR box check — request the deletion of that information.

    Advance by Firefox limits its remit to your search history, specifically web page addresses. It doesn’t monitor what you write/say/do when using a website, or the specific content that’s on it.

  • Dev Channel Update for Desktop

    The dev channel has been updated to 70.0.3514.0 for Windows & Linux, and 70.0.3514.2 for Mac.  

  • Chrome 70 Dev Release With Shape Detection API

    While Chrome 69 was released last week, today Google has shipped their latest "dev" release of Chrome 70 for interested testers.

    New Chrome 70 dev channel releases are available today for Linux, macOS, and Windows. Key features for Chrome 70 is the introduction of the Shape Detection API, disabling some touch event APIs by default on desktop hardware, CSS Grid Layout behavior updates, WebUSB support within dedicated worker contexts, several security enhancements, and various other minor updates.

Sharing open source alternatives to Google's online tools

Filed under
Google
OSS

In an earlier article, the crew from French non-profit Framasoft discussed their mission to help people slip the bonds of internet giants and take control of their own data. While promoting free and open source software is at the core of Framasoft's mission, the group is also dedicated to educating people about both free software and free culture. What's refreshing is that the group's approach isn't steeped in ideology. Instead, they're more concerned with helping people take back their privacy and digital freedom.

Read more

Can You Get By with a Chromebook in College?

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Google

When heading off to college, finding the right laptop for your money is a challenge—you don’t want to spend more than you have to, but not having enough laptop is arguably worse. That’s what makes Chromebooks so appealing.

Chromebooks have a relatively low entry point for everything they offer. Since the operating system is so lightweight, even modest hardware can keep everything running nice and snappy. Where a Windows laptop for a similar price can get bogged down quickly, a Chromebook will often remain zippy even during heavier use.

Given the low price point and very usable performance, Chromebooks are often looked at by college students—but it may not be that straightforward. There are several things to think about before jumping right into a Chromebook to make sure it’s the right choice for you.

Read more

Debian Linux Package Support Hits Chrome OS Canary, Android Leftovers

Filed under
Android
Google
Debian
  • Debian Linux Package Support Hits Chrome OS Canary

    Google’s Chrome OS can now install and run Debian Linux packages with the .deb extension, at least in the Canary channel. This happens by simply double-clicking the file in your file browser. From there, the automated installer takes over. Once a Linux application is installed, it will be available in your terminal, invoked in the same way as a Chrome OS app, and some apps may show up in your Chrome OS launcher, depending on the metadata present in them and whether they support such operations. Most Linux apps that have a graphical user interface fall into this category, though there are many command line utilities out there for Linux users to enjoy. Both are now available to Chrome OS users. You still cannot replace default Chrome OS utilities, so don’t expect to run an i3 desktop with a brand new ALSA media handler unless you’re willing to gut your Chromebook entirely and install Linux.

  • Debian Linux Packages Now Working In Chrome OS Developer Channel

    A recent update to the experimental Canary Channel of Chrome OS brought about the ability to install Debian packages with a simple double-click. The only prerequisite being you are on a Chromebook or Chromebox that has support for the Crostini Project.

    Now, thanks to our Brother in Chrome Kevin Tofel, we’ve learned this ability has already found its way into the Developer channel of Chrome OS. Again, there are some requirements but if your device supports the Crostini Linux project, you can have this feature up and running with just a few, simple steps.

  • Android Q Name Predictions: What’s Next “Dessert” For Android 10?

    Now that Google has officially released Android Pie marking August 6th as the new “Pie” day, we are wondering what will Google call its next Android version: Android Q. In the past, we’ve also prepared a list of Android P names.

  • 6 Best Song Finder Apps For Android To Identify Songs By Tune
  • Google introduces Android 9 Pie

Kernel: Linux 4.18, New Flaw and Potential Back Door (Google/NSA)

Filed under
Linux
Google
Security
  • The Best Features Of The Linux 4.18 Kernel

    Following a one week delay, the Linux 4.18 kernel is set to be released this coming weekend. In case you forgot about the new features and improvements since the Linux 4.18 cycle kicked off back in June, here's a look back at some of the most prominent additions for this latest kernel version.

  • Linux kernel bug: TCP flaw lets remote attackers stall devices with tiny DoS attack

    Security researchers are warning Linux system users of a bug in the Linux kernel version 4.9 and up that could be used to hit systems with a denial-of-service attack on networking kit.

    The warning comes from Carnegie Mellon University's CERT/CC, which notes that newer versions of the Linux kernel can be "forced to make very expensive calls to tcp_collapse_ofo_queue() and tcp_prune_ofo_queue() for every incoming packet which can lead to a denial of service (DoS)".

  • Speck Crypto Code Called For Removal From The Linux Kernel

    Now that Google will not be using the Speck crypto code for disk encryption on low-end Android devices but instead developing "HPolyC" as outlined in the aforelinked article, a plea has already been submitted to remove the current Speck code from the mainline Linux kernel.

    Following yesterday's mailing list announcement that Google has changed its mind on using Speck and instead investing in a new option, Linux developer Jason Donenfeld took the liberty of issuing a "request for comments" on removing the Speck crypto code. Donenfeld is the developer that's been working on WireGuard and the new Zinc crypto library.

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