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Chrome OS Will Soon Allow All Chromebook Owners to Rename USB Flash Drives

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Google's Chromium evangelist François Beaufort is back with more goodies for Chromebook owners, recently revealing the fact that future versions of Chrome OS will allow users to rename attached USB flash drives.

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Solaris to Linux Migration 2017 Amid Layoffs

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  • Solaris to Linux Migration 2017

    Many people have contacted me recently about switching from Solaris (or illumos) to Linux, especially since most of the Solaris kernel team were let go this year (including my former colleagues, I'm sorry to hear). This includes many great engineers who I'm sure will excel in whatever they choose to work on next. They have been asking me about Linux because I've worked for years on each platform: Solaris, illumos, and Linux, in all cases full time and as a subject matter expert. I've also done some work on BSD, which is another compelling choice, but I'll discuss that another time. The following is my opinion and not an official guide to any OS.

    Switching from Solaris to Linux has become much easier in the last two years, with Linux developments in ZFS, Zones, and DTrace. I've been contributing (out of necessity), including porting my DTraceToolkit tools to Linux, which also work on BSD. What follows are topics that may be of interest to anyone looking to migrate their systems and skillset: scan these to find topics that interest you.

  • Oracle staff report big layoffs across Solaris, SPARC teams
  • Sun set: Oracle closes down last Sun product lines

    None of this is a real surprise. Oracle had cut former Sun engineers and developers by a thousand employees in January. In Oracle's most recent SPARC/Solaris roadmap, the next generation Solaris 12 had been replaced by Solaris and SPARC next -- incremental upgrades.

    Former Sun executive Bryan Cantrill reported, based on his conversations with current Solaris team members, that Oracle's latest layoffs were, "So deep as to be fatal: The core Solaris engineering organization lost on the order of 90 percent of its people, including essentially all management." James Gosling, Java's creator, summed it up: "Solaris ... got a bullet in the head from Oracle on Friday."

postmarketOS is a Touch-Optimized Linux Distro for Smartphones and Tablets

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The same situation does not happen with old computers, though, mainly thanks to GNU/Linux distributions. You can actually take a 2007 computer and install a basic Linux distro on it, and it’ll run through most tasks (including web searching, multimedia playback, social networks and more) without a hitch. You will even get the latest security patches and most new features on your old computer. These distros also keep resource usage to a minimum, so while it definitely won’t be faster than a newer computer, it will work just fine for most of your casual needs. There is a small project hoping to bring that kind of support to Android phones and tablets, and that project is called postmarketOS

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Oracle Layoffs and Analysis of Impact on Solaris

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  • Solaris update plan is real, but future looks cloudy by design

    Ever since Oracle quietly announced it would not deliver any more point-zero upgrades to its Solaris operating system and instead move to continuous delivery, The Register has wondered exactly what Big Red plans to deliver, and when. Our interest grew after Solaris boss John Fowler left Oracle and then grew again as soon-to-be-former Oracle staffers told us of big cuts to he Solaris and SPARC teams.

  • Oracle Cuts More Jobs in Its Hardware and Solaris Units

    Oracle has laid off what appears to be a significant number of employees working on its hardware and Solaris operating system efforts, according to anonymous posts on, the gist of which were confirmed to Fortune by former Oracle employees.
    Both Oracle's server and Solaris efforts emanated out of Sun Microsystems, a company Oracle acquired in 2010 for $7.4 billion. Before then Oracle had been a software company specializing in databases and financial applications, so jumping into computer servers and SPARC microprocessors—another Sun business—was a stretch. Solaris was Sun's version of Unix, a powerful operating system that powered its servers.

The sudden death and eternal life of Solaris

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As had been rumored for a while, Oracle effectively killed Solaris on Friday. When I first saw this, I had assumed that this was merely a deep cut, but in talking to Solaris engineers still at Oracle, it is clearly much more than that. It is a cut so deep as to be fatal: the core Solaris engineering organization lost on the order of 90% of its people, including essentially all management.

Of note, among the engineers I have spoken with, I heard two things repeatedly: “this is the end” and (from those who managed to survive Friday) “I wish I had been laid off.” Gone is any of the optimism (however tepid) that I have heard over the years — and embarrassed apologies for Oracle’s behavior have been replaced with dismay about the clumsiness, ineptitude and callousness with which this final cut was handled. In particular, that employees who had given their careers to the company were told of their termination via a pre-recorded call — “robo-RIF’d” in the words of one employee — is both despicable and cowardly. To their credit, the engineers affected saw themselves as Sun to the end: they stayed to solve hard, interesting problems and out of allegiance to one another — not out of any loyalty to the broader Oracle. Oracle didn’t deserve them and now it doesn’t have them — they have been liberated, if in a depraved act of corporate violence.

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Oracle Layoffs and Sun Projects/Staff

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  • Oracle Layoffs Hit Longtime Solaris Developers Hard

    It looks like the Oracle layoffs just before the US Labor Day indeed hit the SPARC and Solaris groups hard.

    There hasn't been any official announcement from Oracle, but unconfirmed reports put it at 1,000~1,500 Oracle staff losing their jobs, particularly in the Solaris and SPARC divisions.

    Solaris has been slowly dieing and these latest layoffs seem to further reinforce that and some anonymous reports as well that Solaris 11.4 isn't going to happen, or at least not as planned, and Solaris 12 can definitely be kissed goodbye.

  • Oracle could leave Java EE to an open source foundation and more news

    Database giant Oracle wants to hand Java EE over to an open source foundation. With this move, Oracle hopes a foundation will be able to "adopt more agile processes, implement more flexible licensing and change the governance process." Possible candidates are the Apache Software Foundation and the Eclipse Foundation, to which Oracle has passed software in the past. Oracle got Java EE as part of its acquisition of Sun Microsystems back in 2010.

ReactOS 0.4.6 released

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The ReactOS Project is pleased to release version 0.4.6 as a continuation of its three month cadence.

0.4.6 is a major step towards real hardware support. Several dual boot issues have been fixed and now partitions are managed in a safer way avoiding corruption of the partition list structures. ReactOS Loader can now load custom kernels and HALs.

Printing Subsystem is still greenish in 0.4.6, however Colin Finck has implemented a huge number of new APIs and fixed some of the bugs reported and detected by the ReactOS automated tests.

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Petition Asks the Developers of Phoenix OS to Open Source the Kernel

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Android is mainly considered an open source mobile operating system, but there are a number of closed source elements that hundreds of millions of people use every day. The actual requirements of Android is that the kernel be open sourced for the public. This is enforced by the GPL but sadly this is one of those gray areas where someone actually needs to take legal action to enforce it. Some companies have violated this time and time again, and a new petition is calling for the developers of Phoenix OS to do the right thing.

For those who are unaware, Phoenix OS is one of the only full desktop versions of Android that is still being maintained. We’ve covered another popular platform, RemixOS, on a number of occasions but even they dropped out recently to focus on being a 2B2 company. This has left a lot of people to look towards Phoenix OS as their desktop Android solution, but there’s one glaring flaw here. The developers have yet to release the source code for the kernel that’s being used.

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Operating Systems Genode and Haiku

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  • Release notes for the Genode OS Framework 17.08

    The flagship feature of Genode 17.08 has been in the works for more than a year: The support for hardware-accelerated graphics on Intel Gen-8 GPUs. This is an especially challenging topic because it is riddled with terminology, involves highly complex software stacks, carries a twisted history with it, and remains to be a moving target. It took up a lot of patience to build up a profound understanding of the existing driver architectures and the mechanisms offered by modern graphics hardware. On the other hand, with the proliferation of hardware-based sandboxing features like virtual GPU memory and hardware contexts, we found that now is the perfect time for a clean-slate design of a microkernelized GPU driver. Section Hardware-accelerated graphics for Intel Gen-8 GPUs introduces this work, which includes our new GPU multiplexer as well as the integration with the client-side Mesa protocol stack.

  • Genode 17.08 Now Supports Broadwell Graphics, Xen DomU Support

    Version 17.08 of the Genode open-source operating system framework is now available with a variety of changes.

    Genode OS 17.09 now features support for Intel "Gen 8" Broadwell graphics thanks to its ported open-source Intel Linux driver code and also upgrading to Mesa 11.2.2. They have made other improvements too for their graphics driver stack in Genode, including an experimental GPU multiplexer.

  • BeOS-Inspired Haiku OS Had A Successful GSoC 2017: Swift, Btrfs, Preferences GUI

    With Google Summer of Code 2017 now in the books, the final reports on the various projects carried out within the BeOS-inspired Haiku operating system are now available.

Jolla demos Sailfish OS on Sony Xperia X, software ready for sale soon

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At MWC 2017, Jolla announced that the company was determined to see Sailfish OS in phones of more users this year, and it came up with a plan to put the Android alternative in Sony Xperia devices. Now we have a video from Jolla showing just what Sailfish OS can do on a Sony Xperia device.

Jolla was one of the companies that sprung from the old Finnish giant Nokia, after it decided to stop selling phones. Jolla made Sailfish OS, a software for mobile devices that was based on Linux, but also combining some elements from Android – all the while being totally different from Google’s mobile platform. If you want to see what Sailfish OS can do, check out the video below.

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lkml: remove eight obsolete architectures

In the end, it seems that while the eight architectures are extremely different, they all suffered the same fate: There was one company in charge of an SoC line, a CPU microarchitecture and a software ecosystem, which was more costly than licensing newer off-the-shelf CPU cores from a third party (typically ARM, MIPS, or RISC-V). It seems that all the SoC product lines are still around, but have not used the custom CPU architectures for several years at this point. Read more

If you hitch a ride with a scorpion… (Coverity)

I haven’t seen a blog post or notice about this, but according to the Twitters, Coverity has stopped supporting online scanning for open source projects. Is anybody shocked by this? Anybody? [...] Not sure what the story is with Coverity, but it probably has something to do with 1) they haven’t been able to monetize the service the way they hoped, or 2) they’ve been able to monetize the service and don’t fancy spending the money anymore or 3) they’ve pivoted entirely and just aren’t doing the scanning thing. Not sure which, don’t really care — the end result is the same. Open source projects that have come to depend on this now have to scramble to replace the service. [...] I’m not going to go all RMS, but the only way to prevent this is to have open tools and services. And pay for them. Read more

Easily Fund Open Source Projects With These Platforms

Financial support is one of the many ways to help Linux and Open Source community. This is why you see “Donate” option on the websites of most open source projects. While the big corporations have the necessary funding and resources, most open source projects are developed by individuals in their spare time. However, it does require one’s efforts, time and probably includes some overhead costs too. Monetary supports surely help drive the project development. If you would like to support open source projects financially, let me show you some platforms dedicated to open source and/or Linux. Read more

KDE: Kdenlive, Kubuntu, Elisa, KDE Connect

  • Kdenlive Café #27 and #28 – You can’t miss it
    Timeline refactoring, new Pro features, packages for fast and easy install, Windows version and a bunch of other activities are happening in the Kdenlive world NOW!
  • Kubuntu 17.10 Guide for Newbie Part 9
    This is the 9th article, the final part of the series. This ninth article gives you more documentations to help yourself in using Kubuntu 17.10. The resources are online links to certain manuals and ebooks specialized for Kubuntu basics, command lines usage, software installation instructions, how to operate LibreOffice and KDE Plasma.
  • KDE's Elisa Music Player Preparing For Its v0.1 Released
    We have been tracking the development of Elisa, one of several KDE music players, since development started about one year ago. Following the recent alpha releases, the KDE Elisa 0.1 stable release is on the way. Elisa developers are preparing the Elisa v0.1 release and they plan to have it out around the middle of April.
  • KDE Connect Keeps Getting Better For Interacting With Your Desktop From Android
    KDE Connect is the exciting project that allows you to leverage your KDE desktop from Android tablets/smartphones for features like sending/receiving SMS messages from your desktop, toggling music, sharing files, and much more. KDE Connect does continue getting even better.
  • First blog & KDE Connect media control improvements
    I've started working on KDE Connect last November. My first big features were released yesterday in KDE Connect 1.8 for Android, so cause for celebration and a blog post! My first big feature is media notifications. KDE Connect has, since it's inception, allowed you to remotely control your music and video's. Now you can also do this with a notification, like all Android music apps do! So next time a bad song comes up, you don't need to switch to the KDE Connect app. Just click next on the notification without closing you current app. And just in case you don't like notifications popping up, there's an option to disable it.