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Opposition grows to Microsoft's make-Chrome-use-Bing plan for Office 365 customers

Filed under
Google
Microsoft
Web

Resistance has mounted over the last several days to Microsoft's decision to change the default search engine of Google's Chrome to Bing on personal computers running Office 365 ProPlus.

Microsoft quietly announced the move Jan. 21 on its Microsoft 365 Roadmap page, then on Jan. 22 published support documents with additional information and a blog post that stated the company's rationale.

Commentary on Microsoft's blog, the support document and elsewhere — including an Office 365 website dedicated to user requests — was almost universally negative.

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FSFellowship releases sticker set 1.0 for download

Filed under
GNU
Google

FSFellowship is releasing our first stickers. These are licensed CC-BY for you to use as you see fit.

You can download an A4 PDF with four stickers to a page and then print it onto A4 label paper in your printer.

These stickers were produced with free software using LibreOffice. You can download the LibreOffice document here.

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Flashing Builds from the Android Open Source Project

Filed under
Android
Google
OSS
  • Flashing Builds from the Android Open Source Project

    AOSP has been around for a while, but flashing builds onto a development device has always required a number of manual steps. A year ago we launched Android's Continuous Integration Dashboard, which gives more visibility into the continuous build status of the AOSP source tree. However, these builds were not available for phones and flashing devices still required a manual command line process.

  • Google Makes It Easier To Flash Android Open-Source Project On Phones

    Flashing the Android Open-Source Project (AOSP) onto devices is now a lot easier thanks to the Android Flash Tool.

    Deploying the open-source build of Android onto smartphones/tablets has been a chore with various manual steps involved from the command line, but now the Android Flash Tool makes it easy to flash builds produced via the Android Continuous Integration Dashboard onto supported devices. Android Flash Tool makes it much easier for those wanting to run AOSP builds on hardware.

  • Google Android Flash Tool Allows You to Flash AOSP From a Web Browser

Latest in GNU/Linux-Chromebook Integration (Crostini)

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Google
  • Chrome OS 81 to allow Linux username selection for Crostini

    I’m not judging but apparently, some Chromebook users have some strange email addresses. And by strange, I mean they don’t allow you to set up the default user when installing Linux in Chrome OS.

    I’m joking a little here. However, this is a real issue for certain Gmail addresses because it’s that account that’s used to create the default user.

    [...]

    Based on the current code merge, when starting the Linux installation process, users will be prompted to supply a username, which is then applied to the Linux container system settings.

  • Linux on Chrome OS: Disk resizing and custom username now working in Canary Channel

    A couple of weeks ago, we unearthed work being done that will give users the ability to set a custom size for the allotted amount of disk space used by Crostini Linux on Chrome OS. Still disabled via a flag, the resizing feature was still just a placeholder at that time. Today, after an update to the Canary Channel, it looks like the resizing function is now live. It’s still behind a flag and disabled by default but enabling it and starting Crostini from scratch now gives you the option to pick the amount of disk space you want to use for Linux.

    [...]

    The renaming feature, like the resizing one, was disabled behind a flag and wasn’t working as of yesterday. With the latest update to Canary, the custom username feature is now working when the flag is enabled and it appears right above the resizing option when you install Crostini for the first time. Some users may like this feature simply because they want to create a unique username for Linux but for others, this will be a crucial update when it hits the Stable Channel in the coming months.

Internet Wars: Microsoft EEE Against Mozilla's Rust, Moving From Chrome to Mozilla Firefox, Cake PR and Microsoft Still Playing Dirty

Filed under
Google
Microsoft
Moz/FF
Web
  • Developers love Rust programming language: Here's why

    In fact, Rust has been voted the most-loved language for the past four years in Stack Overflow's annual developer surveys, even though 97% of respondents haven't used it. So how has it become the most-loved programming language?

    "The short answer is that Rust solves pain points present in many other languages, providing a solid step forward with a limited number of downsides," explains Jake Goulding on Stack Overflow's blog.

    [...]

    Mozilla Research describes Rust as a "systems programming language that focuses on speed, memory safety, and parallelism".

    It's often seen as an alternative to systems programming languages like C and C++ that developers use to create game engines, operating systems, file systems, browser components, and VR simulation engines. Mozilla, which continues to sponsor the project, says programmers can use Rust to make software that's less prone to bugs and attacks.

  • I finally switched from Chrome to Mozilla Firefox — and you should too

    I have been in an on-and-off relationship with Mozilla Firefox for the past five years. Every time I’d get ecstatic over a major new Firefox update — hoping to, at long last, break free from the hegemony of Google Chrome — my hopes would be crushed as soon as I began browsing the web like I normally do.

    Firefox’s performance would fall noticeably short and struggle to keep up with my workflow, sending me scurrying back to Google Chrome after a few minutes of poking around. No matter how compelling the rest of Mozilla’s offerings were, they could never convince me to hit that “Yes” button whenever Firefox asked whether I’d like to set it as my default browser. Catching up to Chrome almost started to seem like a far-fetched goal for Firefox — until recently.

    [...]

    Today, in addition to being fast, Firefox is resource-efficient, unlike most of its peers. I don’t have to think twice before firing up yet another tab. It’s rare that I’m forced to close an existing tab to make room for a new one. On Firefox, my 2015 MacBook Pro’s fans don’t blast past my noise-canceling headphones, which happened fairly regularly on Chrome as it pushed my laptop’s fans to their helicopter-like limits to keep things running.

    This rare balance of efficiency and performance is the result of the countless under-the-hood upgrades Firefox has rolled out in the last couple of years. One of the recent major performance updates arrived in May when Mozilla natively integrated a handful of clever optimizations for which users previously had to rely on third-party extensions.

  • Passive aggressive baking at its finest

    Cakes are a long standing weapon in the browser wars. Whenever a major browser hits a new milestone or makes an important release, cakes are rapidly exchanged.

  • Microsoft will never win the search engine wars by forcing people to use Bing

    Bing is known as the default search engine for Windows, and not much else. Microsoft’s solution? To forcibly install a Bing search extension in Chrome for Office 365 ProPlus users.

    The company says that this is designed for enterprise and business users to find relevant workplace information directly from the browser address bar, but we all know Microsoft is desperate to get more people using its search engine. It sounds harmless, but here’s why forcing people to use Bing won’t help Microsoft in the long run.

    [...]

    Fast forward to today, Bing still has a few problems that need to be addressed, and where Microsoft should put some extra attention towards, instead of forcing Bing down people’s throats. These include both search relevance and design — the two core areas of any search engine.

    First of all, there is a search relevance. In our testing, searching for Digital Trends on Google and Bing provide two different results. On Bing, we get a look at some older Digital Trends articles, which at the time of this writing, were older stories from 4, 6, and 3 hours ago. Compared that to Google, and articles are more relevant pulled from a most recent time frame.

All new Chromebooks will get at least 8 years of automatic updates

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Google

One of the nice things about buying a Google Chromebook is that the operating system receives automatic security and feature updates delivered straight from Google — which means that it’ll stay up to date years after your Android phone stops receiving official updates.

But up until recently, Google only promised 5 to 6.5 years of updates… which might seem fine if you spend $200 or less on a cheap Chrome OS laptop, but which can be rather frustrating if you drop $999 or more on a premium model.

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UN working group asking about corruption: is there any in open source?

Filed under
Google
OSS

For example, why have so many organizations like Linux Foundation and the FSFE simultaneously eliminated their elections, shifting the balance of power towards certain corporations like Google? Why are messages about corporate influence routinely censored from the mailing lists of open source groups who claim to be both transparent and independent of the corporations funding them? Voting and censorship are both human rights issues. If we can't get these things right in an organization of professionals, how can there be any hope for the developing world?

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Google Killing Things (Chrome Cookies and Chrome Apps)

Filed under
Google
  • Google to kill third-party Chrome cookies in two years

    So it’ll slowly squish third-party cookies, but only after it’s found alternatives. What does that squishing look like, and what are those alternatives?

    The company already announced that it would limit third-party cookies to HTTPS connections, which will make them more secure. It plans to start doing that next month.

    It will also treat cookies that don’t use the SameSite label as first-party only. SameSite is a tag that developers can include with cookies. It sets the rules for exchanging the cookie with other sites. A bank could use it to avoid sending session cookies to another site that links to a customer’s transaction page, for example, so that a third party couldn’t harvest session information. So in future, developers have to be upfront about how third-party cookies will work, or Chrome won’t send them between sites at all.

  • Chrome's Move To Stomp Out Third Party Cookies? Good For Privacy, Good For Google's Ad Business... Or Both?

    We've talked in the past how efforts solely focused on "protecting privacy" without looking at the wider tech ecosystem and the challenges its facing may result in unintended consequences, and now we've got another example. Google has announced that it's beginning a process to phase out support for third-party cookies in Chrome. Looking at this solely through the lens of privacy, many privacy advocates are celebrating this move, saying that it will better protect user privacy. But... if you viewed it from a more competitive standpoint, it also does much to give Google significantly more power over the ad market and could harm many other companies. Former Facebook CSO, Alex Stamos' take is pretty dead on here:

  • Windows 10 users: Google reveals when it's killing off Chrome apps

    Chrome apps that work offline for Windows, Mac, and Linux have been around since 2013, but Google has now committed firm dates for switching off support for them.

  • Google sets final timeline for killing and replacing Chrome Apps

    Back in 2016, Google announced that it was killing Chrome Apps in favor of the web. This process began with that category disappearing from the Web Store in late 2017, and Google now has a final timeline for the deprecation.

    Chrome Apps launched in 2013 to a different state of the web. “Packaged Apps” were built with HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript to offer an “experience comparable to a native application.” They were touted as allowing for a wider user base than just one OS, and targeted towards device manufacturers and educators.

    Citing “substantial progress” since then, Google believes that “modern browsers puts the Web in a good position to answer the vast majority of use cases.” Touted first-class experiences include Google Earth and Figma for designers, as well as Progressive Web Apps.

Laptops With GNU/Linux Support: Galaxy Chromebook and the Razer Laptop Control Project

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Google
  • Samsung Debuts Sleek Galaxy Chromebook

    Samsung on Monday introduced a high-end Galaxy Chromebook at CES 2020 in Las Vegas. The new model could serve as an extension of the company's smartphone lineup and spawn a premium device demand in the category.

    Samsung aims to position it as the company's flagship Chromebook to meet potential demand for a more useful and powerful multipurpose premium mobile device.

    That could amount to little more than wishful thinking, suggested Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT. Demand for ultra powerful Chromebooks has yet to develop much traction.

    "Every couple of years, some vendor rolls the dice in hopes that the healthy business for Chromebooks in education and other markets will result in demand for premium products," he told TechNewsWorld. "So far, that has not panned out. See the modest commercial success of Google's Pixelbooks for proof points."

  • Have a Razer laptop and use Linux? Keep a close eye on this new open source project

    Many hardware developers sadly don't provide official drivers for Linux, even when they do there's no decent interface for them. One user got "sick" of Razer's "lack of Linux support for laptops" so they made their own driver.

    The Razer Laptop Control Project was created from this, with a focus on Razer laptops fan and power mode modifications and to eventually do everything Razer Synapse does but on Linux. While there is already Openrazer, that has a focus on the RGB lighting. We may also see RGB controls being added to this project too, according to what the developer has said. They've already been able to recreate Razer's "ambient RGB mode", which they showed off in a video and it actually looks very cool...

Google soon adding Linux support to older Chromebooks running on Intel Broadwell chips

Filed under
Linux
Google

Not all of the latest Chromebook news is happening at CES 2020, although the latest Chromebooks are appearing there. In fact, there’s some great news for Chromebooks that first launched in 2015: All nine Chrome OS devices running on the Intel Broadwell chipset are getting the ability to run Linux via Project Crostini.

The standout device here, at least to me, is the Google Chromebook Pixel 2015 as many folks still own and run that 2-in-1. In fact, that was the first of the Broadwell-based Chrome OS devices to get experimental Crostini support back on Chrome OS 77 as part of the “kernelnext” software effort. The eight other devices should be following suit soon.

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Also:CES 2020: Samsung introduces enterprise-ready Galaxy Chromebook

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