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Google-Huawei case highlights the importance of free software

Filed under
Android
Google
OSS

[...] The current case demonstrates that even tech giants like Huawei face similar dependencies and vendor lock-in effects as any individual users if they rely on proprietary software.

The following lessons can be drawn from this case: [...]

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Huawei and other mobile “tech giants”: you should (really) break free from Google/Android

Filed under
OS
Android
Google

Huawei has probably played a questionable game with user data and corporate data. This has led governments to discourage the usage of Huawei devices, which is a fair and understandable attitude.

However, what Huawei really didn’t understand is that their dependency on Google/Android technology and services would put them into this terrible situation. Discussions have moved out beyond regular commercial and trade arguments, and are now clearly out of control.

They should have learned from the past: USA has a significant track record when it comes to embargoes and export restrictions. They don’t even hesitate to force their allies to apply the same restrictions, by threatening them more or less directly, commercially and financially.

For Huawei, what we witness today is the result of 10 years of strategic blindness. They should have realized that when they sell a smartphone, most of the value is in the software, not in the hardware. Therefore, they shouldn’t have become so reliant on Google/Android for the software: this hard dependency is a major risk for any mobile business.

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KDE and GNOME Progress: Krita, KIOFuse, Rust

Filed under
KDE
Google
GNOME
  • My Project for Google Summer of Code

    I was accepted to Google Summer of Code and now I need to start planning and doing research to help the best way I can.

    My project is an Animated Vector Brush (AVB) for Krita. This might not say much, so allow me to explain what my project is and what are my objectives.

  • KIOFuse – GSoC 2019

    It’s been a great pleasure to be chosen to work with KDE during GSoC this year. I’ll be working on KIOFuse and hopefully by the end of the coding period it will be well integrated with KIO itself. Development will mainly by coordinated on the #kde-fm channel (IRC Nick: feverfew) with fortnightly updates on my blog so feel free to pop by! Here’s a small snippet of my proposal to give everyone an idea of what I’ll be working on:

  • Guillaume Desmottes: Rust+GNOME hackfest in Berlin

    Last week I had the chance to attend for the first time the GNOME+Rust Hackfest in Berlin. My goal was to finish the GstVideoDecoder bindings, keep learning about Rust and meet people from the GNOME/Rust community. I had some experience with gstreamer-rs as an user but never actually wrote any bindings myself. To make it even more challenging the underlying C API is unfortunatelly unsafe so we had to do some smart tricks to make it safe to use in Rust.

    I'm very happy with the work I managed to do during these 4 days. I was able to complete the bindings as well as my CDG decoder using them. The bindings are waiting for final review and the decoder should hopefully be merged soon as well.

Mozilla WebThings, Mozilla VR and Google Surveillance

Filed under
Google
Moz/FF
  • Empowering User Privacy and Decentralizing IoT with Mozilla WebThings

    Smart home devices can make busy lives a little easier, but they also require you to give up control of your usage data to companies for the devices to function. In a recent article from the New York Times’ Privacy Project about protecting privacy online, the author recommended people to not buy Internet of Things (IoT) devices unless they’re “willing to give up a little privacy for whatever convenience they provide.”

    This is sound advice since smart home companies can not only know if you’re at home when you say you are, they’ll soon be able to listen for your sniffles through their always-listening microphones and recommend sponsored cold medicine from affiliated vendors. Moreover, by both requiring that users’ data go through their servers and by limiting interoperability between platforms, leading smart home companies are chipping away at people’s ability to make real, nuanced technology choices as consumers.

    At Mozilla, we believe that you should have control over your devices and the data that smart home devices create about you. You should own your data, you should have control over how it’s shared with others, and you should be able to contest when a data profile about you is inaccurate.

  • Mozilla VR Blog: Making ethical decisions for the immersive web

    One of the promises of immersive technologies is real time communication unrestrained by geography. This is as transformative as the internet, radio, television, and telephones—each represents a pivot in mass communications that provides new opportunities for information dissemination and creating connections between people. This raises the question, “what’s the immersive future we want?”

    We want to be able to connect without traveling. Indulge our curiosity and creativity beyond our physical limitations. Revolutionize the way we visualize and share our ideas and dreams. Enrich everyday situations. Improve access to limited resources like healthcare and education.

  • Google finds ways to cover your mobile in even more advertising

     

    This week's Google Marketing Live event produced several new options to make Android and iOS just that little bit more ad-heavy. For 'little', read 'understatement'.
     

    They include 'gallery ads' which will allow you to swipe through images, which will become part of the search process on mobile. They'll also form part of the 'Discover' option in the Google Assistant screen and on Google's mobile home page.

So Long Dual-Booting Windows on a Chromebook: Project Campfire is deprecated

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Google
Microsoft
  • So Long Dual-Booting Windows on a Chromebook: Project Campfire is deprecated
  • So long dual-booting Windows on a Chromebook: Project Campfire is deprecated

    Project Campfire turned up in the Chromium world this past August. The intent was to let a Chromebook boot not just into Chrome OS but directly into another operating system such as Linux or Windows. I thought the latter was a positive outcome since it would allow Chromebooks to natively run Windows desktop apps on a Chromebook, and add value to devices.

  • 'Project Campfire' effort for dual-booting Windows on Chromebooks is shutting down

    Google's "Project Campfire" -- a project to allow Chromebooks to natively run Windows desktop and Linux apps -- is being deprecated before it ever debuted. As noted on AboutChromebooks.com on May 15, code removals from "AltOS" (the more official name of Campfire) are indicative that the project is closed.

    Since December 2018, activity on the Project Campfire front had gone quiet, according to AboutChromebooks.

    If Pixelbooks and other Chromebooks were able to run Windows, users who still want and need Windows to run certain apps would have had a new laptop option available to them.

    Google still would have had to pass Microsoft's hardware certification process for Windows 10 before such a feature could come to market. But throughout much of last year, many thought this development was at least somewhat likely to happen.

  • Windows dual booting no longer looking likely on Pixelbooks

    Just under a year ago, there were signs that Google was modifying the firmware of its Pixelbook laptop to enable dual booting into Windows 10. The firmware was updated to give the Pixelbook the ability to boot into an "Alternative OS" ("AltOS" mode). The work included references to the Windows Hardware Certification Kit (WHCK) and the Windows Hardware Lab Kit (HLK), Microsoft's testing frameworks for Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 respectively.

GNOME Chromecast Extension "Cast to TV" v9 Adds Subtitle Configuration, Nautilus Integration

Filed under
Google
GNOME

For the latest Cast to TV v9, the extension settings were redesigned, and there are some new options. The most important change is in my opinion, the addition of Chromecast subtitle settings - you can now change the subtitle font family, style, size, color, outline or background color.

The new version ships with an easier way of installing the required npm modules - a button to install the modules was added to the Modules tab.

Yet another new option allows hiding the remote label (the text shown on the top bar for the Chromecast remote when casting), a useful addition since the text was quite long and it wasn't showing any useful information.

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Google and Collabora Add Major Change to Linux Kernel 5.1 for Chrome OS Devices

Filed under
OS
Linux
Google

According to Collabora's latest report on their contributions to the Linux 5.1 kernel, which arrived last week, it is now possible to mount and boot a mapped device by adding a kernel parameter via command-line at boot time, thus bypassing initramfs image. For Linux kernel 5.1, twelve Collabora's developers also contributed 64 commits and 111 sign-offs, along with lots of bug reports and testing.

"Helen Koike contributed a major change, providing a mechanism to mount a mapped device at boot time through a kernel command line parameter, removing the current initramfs requirement," said Collabora's André Almeida. "This change is the result of the combined effort of both Google and Collabora engineers to push upstream a feature that is shipped on Chrome OS devices and Android devices using AVB 2.0."

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ChromeOS and 'Proper' GNU/Linux

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Google
  • Every Chromebook sold this year will support Linux apps

    If the ability to run desktop Linux apps on Chromebooks is something that interests you, but you’re yet to bite on buying a device to do it, it sounds like your patience has paid off!

    Google has apparently said that every Chromebook launched in 2019 will support Linux apps out of the box, according to an Android Police update on Google I/O 2019 happenings.

    Linux Apps on Chrome OS (codenamed “Crostini”) made their formal debut last year when they entered beta with the release of ChromeOS 69.

    The feature is still in beta as of the most recent Chrome OS release, v75, but is already proving popular with users, with particular appeal amongst developers.

  • Linux-Ready Chromebooks To Launch This Year With Android Studio

    Google has confirmed that all laptops running Chrome OS this year will be Linux-Ready Chromebooks. The news comes after the main keynote at Google I/O which introduced a number of features to Google Search, Google Assistant and a lot more.

    Google also confirmed that Linux-Ready Chromebooks will have an easy time installing Android Studio. Earlier this wasn’t the case as developers struggled with developing Android apps on Chromebooks.

  • All Chromebooks launched this year will be Linux-ready

    Last year, Google brought Linux support to Chromebooks. It's a really nifty feature, and it's only been improving since I/O 2018. But this year, Google announced that all Chromebooks launched in 2019 will be Linux-ready right out of the box, which is great for developers, enthusiasts, and newbies alike.

    These announcements have been quick and brief, but at least this news is straight to the point, though every Chromebook I've tested recently had Linux support. As someone who regularly distro hops on my personal machines, the Linux installation process on Chrome OS is top-notch for ease of use, I must say.

Google's GNU/Linux Take and EMUI 9 Review

Filed under
Android
GNU
Linux
Google
  • Polish the Chrome

    Using Chromebooks is a bittersweet experience; it feels as if we’re so close to using a successful Linux-based ecosystem, and yet it never comes close to feeling like a fully fledged FOSS solution. In spite (or despite?) of our misgivings about Google Chromebooks, the platform has become a hit – not just in educational circles, but businesses are also picking them up for a number of reasons. Not least their ease of maintenance, low cost, lightweight software footprint and the built-in integration with the flourishing Google ecosystem.
    There are bonuses to running the shared Linux heritage. It has enabled Google to expand the the Chromebook’s basic abilities to running not just Android apps (in a clever containerised system), but now fully fledged desktop Linux software too.

  • EMUI 9 Review [Part 2]: Huawei/Honor’s Android Pie Software Packs a Ton of Useful Features Mistaken for Gimmicks

    Among the various Android forks, Huawei’s EMUI is second only to Samsung’s One UI in terms of customization. There’s a staggering amount of features and pre-installed apps to meet your needs. In part 2 of my EMUI 9 review, I’ll go over all the features and apps that Huawei and Honor offer on their latest smartphones. If you haven’t already checked out part 1 of the review which covers EMUI 9’s Design and Behavioral changes over stock Android 9 Pie, then I recommend you click the link below to read that part.

GSoC Funds for Krita Development and Outreachy for Summer 2019

Filed under
KDE
Google
  • Our 2019 Google Summer of Code Students

    Krita, part of KDE, takes part in the fourteenth edition of Google Summer of Code. Four students will be working on a wide variety of  projects. Here’s the shortlist:

    Sharaf Zaman will be working on porting Krita to Android. In fact, he already has a port of Krita for Android that already starts on some devices! The port is still missing libraries, scripts to automate building the dependencies and Krita: the first goal of the project is have a dependable, reproducible way of building Krita for Android. Initially, we won’t do much if any work on a nice tablet GUI.

  • Outreachy Summer 2019 Participants & Projects Announced

    In addition to Google announcing the accepted GSoC 2019 summer projects, the Outreachy organization on Monday also announced their accepted participants and projects for this internship effort that encourages women and other under-represented groups in technology to get involved in the open-source movement.

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