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Microsoft's Vista 10 Disaster Returns, Privacy Violations, and Moving to GNU/Linux

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GNU
Linux
Microsoft
  • If at first or second you don't succeed, you may be Microsoft: Hold off installing re-released Windows Oct Update

    The 1809 build of Windows 10 and Windows Server is fast becoming infamous. Microsoft pulled it shortly after release when it started deleting people's files, and stumbling in other ways. Redmond reissued the software on Tuesday, and today it's clear you shouldn't rush into deploying it, if installing it at all, in its present state.

  • Microsoft Just Crammed Ads Into Windows 10 Mail. When Will They Stop? [Ed: With Vista 10 the users are the product. The spies from Microsoft spy on them (sometimes illegally, but these people are above the law) and their real clients are advertisers.]

    Whether it’s pre-installing Candy Crush Saga, showing full-screen ads on your lock screen, or displaying banner ads in File Explorer, Microsoft has been shoehorning ads into every inch of Windows 10. The Mail app is getting them next.

    Update: Microsoft’s head of communications, Frank Shaw, just backpedaled on Twitter. He said “this is an experimental feature that was never intended to be tested broadly and is being turned off.” As Mehedi Hassan notes over at Thurrott, this is a strange claim because Microsoft has a detailed support page explaining these advertisements.

  • Microsoft menaced with GDPR mega-fines in Europe for 'large scale and covert' gathering of people's info via Office

    Microsoft broke Euro privacy rules by carrying out the "large scale and covert" gathering of private data through its Office apps.

    That's according to a report out this month [PDF] that was commissioned by the Dutch government into how information handled by 300,000 of its workers was processed by Microsoft's Office ProPlus suite. This software is installed on PCs and connects to Office 365 servers.

    The dossier's authors found that the Windows goliath was collecting telemetry and other content from its Office applications, including email titles and sentences where translation or spellchecker was used, and secretly storing the data on systems in the United States. That's a no-no.

    Those actions break Europe's new GDPR privacy safeguards, it is claimed, and may put Microsoft on the hook for potentially tens of millions of dollars in fines. The Dutch authorities are working with the corporation to fix the situation, and are using the threat of a fine as a stick to make it happen.

  • How old were you when you first started using Linux?

    Whether you switched from another operating system, or are one of the lucky few who knew no OS before it, all of us were beginners at some point.

    How old were you when you started using Linux? Do you remember that time clearly, or is it so far in the past that it's but a faint memory?

    Regardless of the answer, let us know when it was, and maybe, a bit about what that experience has meant to you.

Nix – The Purely Functional Package Manager for Linux

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GNU
Linux
Software

Nix is a powerful, purely functional package management system designed for reliable and reproducible package management, released under the terms of the GNU LGPLv2.1. It is the primary package management system in NixOS, a lesser known Linux distribution.

Nix offers atomic upgrades and rollbacks, multiple versions of package installation, multi-user package management and effortless setup of build environments for a package, regardless of what programming languages and tools a developer is using.

Under Nix, packages are built from a functional package language called “Nix expressions”. This functional approach to package management guarantees that installing or upgrading one package cannot break other packages.

Nix also has multi-user support, which implies that normal (or non-privileged) system users can securely install packages and each user is identified by a profile (a collection of packages in the Nix store that appear in the user’s PATH).

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A "joke" in the glibc manual

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Development
GNU

A "joke" in the glibc manual—targeting a topic that is, at best, sensitive—has come up for discussion on the glibc-alpha mailing list again. When we looked at the controversy in May, Richard Stallman had put his foot down and a patch removing the joke—though opinions of its amusement value vary—was reverted. Shortly after that article was published, a "cool down period" was requested (and honored), but that time has expired. Other developments in the GNU project have given some reason to believe that the time is ripe to finally purge the joke, but that may not work out any better than the last attempt.

The joke in question refers to a US government "censorship rule" from over two decades ago regarding sharing of information about abortion. It is attached to documentation of the abort() call in glibc and the text of it can be seen in the patch to remove it. One might think that an age-old US-centric joke would be a good candidate for removal regardless of its subject matter. That it touches on a topic that is emotionally fraught for many might also make it unwelcoming—thus unwelcome in documentation. But, according to Stallman, that's not so clear cut.

[...]

When pressed for more information about what these larger issues are, as O'Donell did, Stallman counseled patience. He did not offer any more information than that; perhaps the discussion has moved to a private mailing list or the like.

For many, including me, it is a little hard to understand why there is any opposition to removing the joke at all. It is clearly out of place, not particularly funny, and doesn't really push the GNU anti-censorship philosophy forward in any real way even if you grant that anti-censorship is a goal of the project (which some do not). There are, of course, those who oppose removing it because they are opposed to "political correctness" and do not see how it could be "unwelcoming", but even they might concede that it is an oddity that is poked into a back corner of a entirely unrelated document. And it is not hard for many to see that tying the topic of abortion to a C function might be upsetting to some; why waste a bunch of project time defending it when it has effectively no impact in the direction that Stallman wants, while putting off some (possibly small) percentage of glibc manual readers?

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Zentyal 6.0 Released

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GNU
Linux
Server

A Journey on Budgie Desktop #2: Raven

Filed under
GNU
Linux

Raven, the Super+A menu, is the special right panel on Budgie Desktop Environment. It's represented by a white door icon with a left arrow on it beside the power icon on the top panel. It's interesting as it's fun to show/hide in end-user's perspective. It's unique, compared to same right-side panel concepts on BlankOn and deepin, it has own name Raven while being very minimal yet usable. See more below. This is the continuation after the first part talked about the Top Panel. Enjoy and please wait the next part about Applets!

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The Best Linux Distros For Beginners

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GNU
Linux

Everyone needs to start somewhere, and Linux is no different. Even though it became a meme, telling newcomers to install Gentoo isn’t very productive, and it harms the community as a whole.

There are distributions that work to make themselves accessible to people of every skill level and technical aptitude. They’re often called "Beginner distributions", but they aren’t just for beginners. Actually, any one of these choices would be great for everyone, but they’re also the best places for newbies to start.

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LibreELEC (Leia) v8.90.007 ALPHA

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GNU
Linux
Movies

The LibreELEC 9.0 Alpha cycle has continued and releases for Amlogic and Slice hardware have been added additionally to the test cycle. We official support now Khadas VIM (AML S905X) and the LePotato (AML S905X) too. Since the 8.90.006 release we support a wide range of Rockchip devices. There are no plans to release LibreELEC 9.0 images for NXP/iMX6 hardware as support was removed from Kodi some months ago. Support will be reinstated in a future LibreELEC, we wrote an dedicated article about the future of LibreELEC.

Alpha releases are important to the team because we cannot test every scenario and sometimes sidestep issues without realising. The project needs a body of regular testers to go find the problems we miss. Testing will be particularly important for LibreELEC 9.0 as Kodi v18 includes substantial internal changes to VideoPlayer and introduces new retro-gaming capabilities.

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GNU/Linux Skills, Raspberry Pi and FUD

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Security
  • Raspberry Pi's potential is wider than you think

    What do you get for the techie who has everything? How about giving them a Raspberry Pi and letting them make pretty much anything. Or better yet, do it for yourself with the Ultimate Raspberry Pi eBook Bundle.

  • Systems Engineer Salary Rises Even Higher with Linux Experience

    Some companies treat “systems engineer” and “systems administrator” almost interchangeably, but there are significant differences between the two positions. In broadest terms, systems engineers must design and implement a company’s system (comprising the network, servers, devices, etc.), whereas systems administrators are largely charged with keeping everything running.

    To frame it another way, system administration is a very reactive role, with sysadmins constantly monitoring networks for issues. Systems engineers, on the other hand, can build a system that anticipates users’ needs (and potential problems). In certain cases, they must integrate existing technology stacks (e.g., following the merger of two companies), and prototype different aspects of the network before it goes “live.”

  • New Linux-Targeting Crypto-Mining Malware Combines Hiding and Upgrading Capabilities [Ed: When your system gets cracked anything can happen afterwards; does not matter whether there's an upgrade or not? No.]

    Japanese multinational cybersecurity firm Trend Micro has detected a new strain of crypto-mining malware that targets PCs running Linux, according to a report published Nov. 8.
    The new strain is reportedly able to hide the malicious process of unauthorized cryptocurrency-mining through users’ CPU by implementing a rootkit component. The malware itself, detected by Trend Micro as Coinminer.Linux.KORKERDS.AB, is also reportedly capable of updating itself.

The Linux desktop: With great success comes great failure

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Microsoft

And what do roughly 95.6% of all websites run on? With the exception of Microsoft sites, the answer is Linux. Facebook? Linux. Google? Linux. Yahoo? Linux. Netflix? Linux. I can go on and on. You may use Windows on your desktop, but it’s effectively just a front end to Linux-based services and data. You might as well be using a Chromebook (running on Linux-based Chrome OS, by the way).

But as a matter of fact, Windows is no longer the top end-user operating system. Oh yes, it does still dominate the desktop, but the desktop hasn’t been king of the end-user hill for some time. By StatCounter’s reckoning, the most popular end-user operating system as of September 2018, with 40.85% market share, was — drum roll, please — Android. Which — guess what — is based on Linux.

So, in several senses, Linux has been the top end-user operating system for some time.

But not on the desktop, where Windows still reigns.

Why? There are many reasons.

Back when desktop Linux got its start, Microsoft kept it a niche operating system by using strong-arm tactics with PC vendors. For instance, when Linux-powered netbooks gave Microsoft serious competition on low-end laptops in the late ’00s, Microsoft dug XP Home up from the graveyard to stop it in its tracks.

But Microsoft’s avid competitiveness is only part of the story. In fact, Microsoft has gotten quite chummy with Linux lately. It’s fair to say that it’s no longer trying to stop the Linux desktop from gaining ground.

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Also: Palliative care for Windows 10 Mobile like a Crimean field hospital, but with even less effort

Spanish GNU/Linux Distribution Void Linux: New images now available!

Filed under
GNU
Linux

Void also comes in musl C flavors, which use the musl C library, a lightweight alternative to the popular glibc library.

Did you know you can run Void in the cloud? We provide ready to upload images for Google Cloud Platform that are compatible with the always free tier! You can also easily build images for other cloud providers from our ready to run x64 tarballs.

Our rootfs tarballs can also be used anywhere you want a Void Linux chroot and are available for all architectures we currently compile for.

You can find all images and rootfs tarballs at https://alpha.de.repo.voidlinux.org/live/current, or in the /live/current directory on any mirror near you.

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Security Leftovers

Ubuntu Mir's EGMDE Desktop Getting Experimental XWayland

Ubuntu's little known EGMDE example Mir desktop that is mostly a proving grounds for Mir development is now receiving support for XWayland for being able to run X11 applications within this example environment. Lead Mir developer Alan Griffiths posted about initial XWayland support for EGMDE but that it is "highly experimental, and can crash the desktop." This support is available via the "edge" EGMDE Snap. Read more

Devices: Coreboot, Toradex and Digi, Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+

  • Another Micro-ATX Haswell Era Motherboard Working With Coreboot But Needs Tiny Blob
    There are many Sandy Bridge era motherboards that have been freed by Coreboot while if you are looking for more options on something (slightly) newer, a micro-ATX Haswell-era motherboard from ASRock now works under this open-source BIOS implementation. The ASRock H81M-HDS is the latest motherboard port now mainline in Coreboot. The ASRock H81M-HDS supports Haswell Core and Xeon CPUs, supports two DDR3/DDR3L DIMMs, one PCI Express x16 slot, onboard display outputs, four SATA ports, and multiple USB3/USB2 ports. This motherboard can be found refurbished still from some Internet shops for about $70 USD.
  • Toradex and Digi launch i.MX8X-based Colibri and ConnectCore COMs
    Toradex and Digi have released Linux-friendly i.MX8X-based modules via early access programs. The Colibri iMX8X and Digi ConnectCore 8X each provide WiFi-ac and Bluetooth 4.2. NXP’s i.MX8X SoC has made quite a splash this week. Eight months after Phytec announced an i.MX8X-based phyCORE-i.MX 8X module, Variscite unveiled a VAR-SOM-MX8X module and then Congatec followed up with the Qseven form-factor Conga-QMX8X and SMARC 2.0 Conga-SMX8X. Now Toradex and Digi are beginning shipments of i.MX8X based modules for early access customers.
  • New Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+ launched for only $25

Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome: Net Neutrality Stance, Mozilla, a VR Work, Firefox Monitor and 5 Best Chrome Extensions For Productivity

  • Mozilla Fights On For Net Neutrality
    Mozilla took the next step today in the fight to defend the web and consumers from the FCC’s attack on an open internet. Together with other petitioners, Mozilla filed our reply brief in our case challenging the FCC’s elimination of critical net neutrality protections that require internet providers to treat all online traffic equally. The fight for net neutrality, while not a new one, is an important one. We filed this case because we believe that the internet works best when people control for themselves what they see and do online. The FCC’s removal of net neutrality rules is not only bad for consumers, it is also unlawful. The protections in place were the product of years of deliberation and careful fact-finding that proved the need to protect consumers, who often have little or no choice of internet provider. The FCC is simply not permitted to arbitrarily change its mind about those protections based on little or no evidence. It is also not permitted to ignore its duty to promote competition and protect the public interest. And yet, the FCC’s dismantling of the net neutrality rules unlawfully removes long standing rules that have ensured the internet provides a voice for everyone. Meanwhile, the FCC’s defenses of its actions and the supporting arguments of large cable and telco company ISPs, who have come to the FCC’s aid, are misguided at best. They mischaracterize the internet’s technical structure as well as the FCC’s mandate to advance internet access, and they ignore clear evidence that there is little competition among ISPs. They repeatedly contradict themselves and have even introduced new justifications not outlined in the FCC’s original decision to repeal net neutrality protections.
  • Virtual meeting rooms don’t have to be boring. We challenge you to design better ones!
    Mozilla’s mission is to make the Internet a global public resource, open and accessible to all, including innovators, content creators, and builders on the web. VR is changing the very future of web interaction, so advancing it is crucial to Mozilla’s mission. That was the initial idea behind Hubs by Mozilla, a VR interaction platform launched in April 2018 that lets you meet and talk to your friends, colleagues, partners, and customers in a shared 360-environment using just a browser, on any device from head-mounted displays like HTC Vive to 2D devices like laptops and mobile phones. Since then, the Mozilla VR team has kept integrating new and exciting features to the Hubs experience: the ability bring videos, images, documents, and even 3D models into Hubs by simply pasting a link. In early October, two more useful features were added: drawing and photo uploads.
  • New Raspbian Update, Qt Creator 4.8 Beta2 Released, Firefox Monitor Now Available in More Than 26 Languages, Chrome OS Linux Soon Will Have Access to Downloads Folder and Canonical Extends Ubuntu 18.04 Long-Term Support
    Firefox Monitor, the free services that tells you whether your email has been part of a security breach, is now available in more than 26 languages: "Albanian, Traditional and Simplified Chinese, Czech, Dutch, English (Canadian), French, Frisian, German, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Malay, Portuguese (Brazil), Portuguese (Portugal), Russian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish (Argentina, Mexico, and Spain), Swedish, Turkish, Ukranian and Welsh." Along with this, Mozilla also announced that it has added "a notification to our Firefox Quantum browser that alerts desktop users when they visit a site that has had a recently reported data breach". See the Mozilla blog for details.
  • 5 Best Chrome Extensions For Productivity That You Should Use In 2019
    Google is the most popular browser around and supports a vast number of extensions as well. Since there are a lot of Chrome addons available in the Chrome Web Store, picking the best Google Chrome extension can be quite a task. Also, it is quite easy to get distracted on the web and lose track of time. Thankfully, several good extensions for productivity are available that can help you focus on your tasks, save time by prioritizing them and skillfully manage your to-do list. So here is a list of excellent Google Chrome extensions for productivity for the year 2019 that will assist you in your work in.