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Microsoft

Microsoft headlined a major Linux conference

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Microsoft

Earlier today (March 10th, 2018), Microsoft delivered the headlining keynote of the Southern California Linux Expo — one of the largest Linux and Free Software conferences in the world. I repeat: Microsoft. Headlined. A Linux Festival. It was confusing to many. And Microsoft did not disappoint… they managed to say some distinctly anti-Open Source things in their 1 hour on stage.

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As Debian comes to Windows 10, should we worry Microsoft will 'embrace, extend, and extinguish' Linux?

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Microsoft
Debian

Vista 10 Adoption Too Low

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Microsoft
  • Windows 10 has had no overall growth in the last month. None

     

    This month's Netmarketshare figures are almost static, but are still worth a look. The very fact that they are so static will be frustrating, particularly for Microsoft, which is still desperately trying to find the carrot to bring businesses on to Windows 10.
     

    Unlike with Windows 8, which was just terrible for businesses, Windows 7 remains not broken and so there's no rush to fix it. Mild threats like Office 2019 not being available outside Windows 10, or withdrawing the old Skype client, are just not a big enough deal to a big enough group to get people invested in the switch.

  • Windows 10 Browser's Struggle Continues for Another Month

    Microsoft is betting big on Edge browser in Windows 10, and this is one of the reasons the company has become rather aggressive in its attempt to convince users to give it a try, but all these efforts seem to be failing due to the popularity of Google Chrome.

  • Is Microsoft Getting Ready to Kill Off Windows Media Player?

    Windows Media Player appears to be the next name on the list of features to be deprecated from Windows 10, as Microsoft has started pushing users to the Movies & TV UWP app that comes pre-installed on the operating system.

    A screenshot posted on reddit reveals that Microsoft is now showing popups to users launching Windows Media Player to highlight the capabilities of Movies & TV app, most likely in an attempt to migrate them to the new app in anticipation of a possible demise of the classic player.

Microsoft Attacks Computer Recyclers

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Microsoft

A pending case against recycler Eric Lundgren has now moved to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. Lundgren pled guilty to criminal copyright infringement and was sentenced to 15 months incarceration. The basics are that he manufactured over 28,000 discs containing Dell/Microsoft Restore Discs and shipped them from China to the U.S. Lundgren argued that the discs should be seen as publicly available since they don’t work without an access code and his actual plan involved using legitimate access codes that he had obtained from purchasers. Microsoft apparently pushed the Miami FBI to pursue Lundgren for counterfeiting and last year he pled guilty to both Criminal Copyright Infringement and Conspiracy to Traffic in Counterfeit Goods.

[...]

The conspiracy to traffic in counterfeit goods is, I imagine, what really drove the charges — the problem with the discs was not only that they were Microsoft Restore discs, but that he had printed on them the Dell and Microsoft logos. Of course, one trick with Conspiracy is that it is a future-crime – an agreement to commit a crime at some time in the future.

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Linux Domination and Bill Gates Domination

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GNU
Linux
Microsoft
  • Hackers Turn the Nintendo Switch into a Linux Tablet with KDE Plasma Desktop
  • Nintendo Switch has been hacked to run full-fat Linux

    The fail0verflow nerds got Linux running on the Switch by using code execution, though they didn't say how they got around Nintendo's own operating system and boot process to load up Linux.

  • Now Just Five Men Own Almost as Much Wealth as Half the World’s Population

    Why Do We Let Unqualified Rich People Tell Us How To Live? Especially Bill Gates!

    In 1975, at the age of 20, Bill Gates founded Microsoft with high school buddy Paul Allen. At the time Gary Kildall’s CP/M operating system was the industry standard. Even Gates’ company used it. But Kildall was an innovator, not a businessman, and when IBM came calling for an OS for the new IBM PC, his delays drove the big mainframe company to Gates. Even though the newly established Microsoft company couldn’t fill IBM’s needs, Gates and Allen saw an opportunity, and so they hurriedly bought the rights to another local company’s OS — which was based on Kildall’s CP/M system. Kildall wanted to sue, but intellectual property [sic] law for software had not yet been established. Kildall was a maker who got taken.

    So Bill Gates took from others to become the richest man in the world. And now, because of his great wealth and the meritocracy myth, MANY PEOPLE LOOK TO HIM FOR SOLUTIONS IN VITAL AREAS OF HUMAN NEED, such as education and global food production.

Google, Windows and Outlook

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Google
Microsoft
  • Google's Octopus Is A Gemini Lake Chromebook

    While we're still waiting on an AMD-powered Chromebook as well as for Cannonlake to materialize, it appears Google is prepping support for a Geminilake Chromebook as well.

    Gemini Lake was launched back in December and makes use of Goldmont Plus CPU cores with Gen9 (Kabylake) class graphics. The current Gemini Lake mobile parts are the Celeron N4000/N4100 and Pentium Silver N5000. The Celeron models are dual core while the Pentium Silver N5000 is quad-core, all of them have a 6 Watt TDP, 1.1GHz base frequency, and turbo frequency in the 2.4~2.7GHz range while the graphics clock up only to 650~750MHz.

  • Windows 10 Update KB4058043 Causing BSODs, Some PCs Unable to Boot

    Botched updates keep making the rounds these days, and here’s a new one that was actually released in December, but whose effects haven’t been spotted until this month.

    Windows 10 update KB4058043, which is released to systems running the Fall Creators Update, brings reliability improvements to the Microsoft Store and fixes an issue which Microsoft says could cause app update failures and unnecessary network requests.

    But as it turns out, it also brings new problems to a number of systems installing it. A post on Microsoft’s Community forums, which got pinned earlier this week – meaning that it’s really an issue that all users should be aware of, reveals that Windows 10 update KB4058043 caused BSODs on a system before eventually pushing it to an unbootable state.

  • A Life Lesson in Mishandling SMTP Sender Verification

    Whenever I encounter incredibly stupid and functionally destructive configuration errors like this I tend to believe they're down to simple incompetence and not malice.

    But this one has me wondering. If you essentially require incoming mail to include the contents of spf.outlook.com (currently no less than 81 subnets) as valid senders for the domain, you are essentially saying that only outlook.com customers are allowed to communicate.

    If that restriction is a result of a deliberate choice rather than a simple configuration error, the problem moves out of the technical sphere and could conceivably become a legal matter, depending on what outlook.com have specified in their contracts that they are selling to their customers.

Annoying Windows 10 sounds could mean deeper problem, or a reason to switch to Linux

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GNU
Linux
Microsoft

If none of these tips work and you don’t really want to spend a few hundred dollars to fix the machine, I’d suggest switching to a different operating system, like Linux. A version called Ubuntu is more Windows-like and user friendly — and it’s free.

And a good resource is a Denver company called System 76, which I wrote about a few years ago: “System 76 in Denver shows how easy it is to use Ubuntu Linux computers.” The company sells Linux Ubuntu computers, but last year, it unveiled its own Linux-based operating system called Pop!_os, a trend PCWorld proclaimed “Exciting.”

Also, if you’re the type of person who prefers hand-holding when it comes to technology, System 76 does offer customer service with their machines — for life.

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Also: What Microsoft’s Antitrust Case Teaches Us About Silicon Valley

Openwashing and Microsoft

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Microsoft

Security: Windows/NSA Back Doors and 'Joys' of Cryptocurrency Malware

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Microsoft
Security
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EU Law Threatens Free/Open Source Software

  • EU votes on copyright law that could kill memes and open source software
    The European Union has passed an initial vote in favour of the Copyright Directive, a legislation experts say "threatens the internet". As reported by Wired, the mandate is designed to update internet copyright law but contains two controversial clauses. Ultimately, it could force prominent online platforms to censor their users' content before it's posted—which could impact everyone from meme creators to open source software designers and livestreamers. Despite passing a vote yesterday—held by the EU's Legal Affairs Committee (JURI)—the directive needs parliamentary approval before becoming law.
  • The EU Parliament Legal Affairs Committee Vote on Directive on Copyright, David Clark Cause and IBM's Call for Code, Equus' New WHITEBOX OPEN Server Platform and More
    Yesterday the European Parliament Legal Affairs Committee voted in favor of "the most harmful provisions of the proposed Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market", Creative Commons reports. The provisions include the Article 11 "link tax", which requires "anyone using snippets of journalistic content to first get a license or pay a fee to the publisher for its use online." The committee also voted in favor of Article 13, which "requires online platforms to monitor their users' uploads and try to prevent copyright infringement through automated filtering." There are still several steps to get through before the Directive is completely adopted. See EDRi for more information.
  • GitHub: Changes to EU copyright law could derail open source distribution
  • The E.U. votes to make memes essentially illegal
    On Wednesday, European Parliament’s Committee on Legal Affairs voted to essentially make memes illegal. The decision came as part of the approval process for the innocuously named “Article 13,” which would require larger sites to scan all user uploads using content recognition technology in an attempt to flag any and all remotely copyrighted material in photos, text, music, videos, and more. Meaning memes using stills from copyrighted films could be auto-blocked, along with remixes of viral videos, and basically anything that’s popular on live-streaming sites like Twitch.
  • Europe takes step towards 'censorship machines' for internet uploads
    A key committee at the European Parliament has voted for a new provision in a legislative act that forces tech giants and other online platforms to share revenues with publishers. It is known as Article 13, and is part of an updating of the Copyright Directive. Article 13 proposes that large websites use “content recognition technologies” to scan for copyrighted materials, though it doesn’t explain how this works in practice. This means texts, sounds and even code which get uploaded have to go through an automated filtering system, potentially threatening the creation of memes and open-source software developers.

The EC’s Expected Decision Against Android Is an Unfortunate Attack on Open Source Software

The European Commission (“EC”) is preparing to release its decision against Android, and its framing of the issues makes clear that successful open source software will have a hard time in Europe. In its Statement of Objections, the Commission signaled that Apple’s iOS, Android’s fiercest rival, would be excluded from the market definition because it is closed source and not available to other hardware makers. The decision is expected to declare unlawful strategies to monetize a free product, provide a consistent user experience to customers expecting the Google brand, and to maintain code consistency to minimize problems for developers using the platform. The decision is not expected to contain any indication on how open source platform developers can solve these problems that are fundamental to their success. Read more

Google, IBM and Microsoft

  • Five Common Chromebook Myths Debunked
    When Chromebooks first came out in 2011, they were basically just low-spec laptops that could access web apps – fine for students maybe, but not to be regarded as serious computers. While they’ve become more popular (the low cost, simplicity, and dependability appeal to businesses and education systems), as of 2018 Chromebooks still haven’t managed to become widely accepted as a Windows/Apple/Linux alternative. That may be about to change. The humble Chromebook has gotten a lot of upgrades, so let’s get ourselves up to speed on some things that just aren’t true anymore. [...] The 2011 Chrome OS was pretty bare-bones, but it’s gone to the opposite extreme since then. Not only is it steadily blurring the line between Chrome and Android, it can now install and run some Windows programs as well, at the same time as a Chrome and an Android app, if you like. And hey, while you’re at it, why not open a Linux app as well? You can already install Linux on a Chromebook if you want, but one of the next versions of Chrome OS is going to include a Linux virtual machine accessible right from your desktop (which is already possible, just not built-in and user-friendly). In sum, Chrome OS has gone from barely being an operating system to one that can run apps from four other OSes at the same time.
  • Like “IBM’s Work During the Holocaust”: Inside Microsoft, Growing Outrage Over a Contract with ICE
  • Ubuntu Podcast from the UK LoCo: S11E15 – Fifteen Minutes - Ubuntu Podcast
    ...Microsoft getting into hot water over their work with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Plus we round up the community news.