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Microsoft

4 of the Best Linux Distros for Windows Users

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GNU
Linux
Microsoft

For the past year Microsoft has offered free upgrades to their latest operating system, Windows 10. This was mainly due to the fact that Windows 8 and 8.1 were poorly received, especially when compared to Windows 7. Unfortunately the free upgrade period has passed, so if you want to give Windows 10 a try, you’ll have to dig into your wallet to do it. If your faith in the tech giant has waned over the years, you’re not alone. The latest versions of Windows have all been heavily criticized, proving that they have been a far cry from the world dominance of Windows XP.

If you’re one of the many people turned off by the latest iterations of Windows, the jump to Linux might look very appealing. Unfortunately, a new OS often comes with a steep learning curve. Windows, with the exception of the fumble that was 8, has more or less looked and behaved the same for years. Having to re-learn everything can be a daunting task, one that could pressure you into staying with Windows forever.

However, you do have options. There are many different distributions of Linux out there, with some aiming to replicate the look and feel of Windows. The goal of this is to make transitioning relatively painless. With Linux boasting improved hardware support, long term stability and a wider range of software applications, there is no better time to try it out!

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Related (Microsoft exodus): Microsoft Applications and Services chief Qi Lu leaves the company<

More on Russia Moving to FOSS

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Microsoft
OSS
  • Moscow Drops Microsoft on Putin’s Call for Self-Sufficiency

    Moscow city will replace Microsoft Corp. programs with domestic software on thousands of computers in answer to President Vladimir Putin’s call for Russia’s authorities to reduce dependence on foreign technology amid tensions with the U.S. and Europe.

    The city will initially replace Microsoft’s Exchange Server and Outlook on 6,000 computers with an e-mail system installed by state-run carrier Rostelecom PJSC, Artem Yermolaev, head of information technology for Moscow, told reporters Tuesday. Moscow may expand deployment of the new software, developed by Russia’s New Cloud Technologies, to as many as 600,000 computers and servers, and may also consider replacing Windows and Office, Yermolaev said.

  • Why Microsoft is getting the cold shoulder from Moscow

    Since the German city of Munich decided to ditch Microsoft Windows and Office, a growing number of European agencies have followed suit - from France's national police force to the Italian military.

    The latest authority to turn its back on Microsoft is reportedly Moscow City Hall, which is transferring employee email from Microsoft Exchange Server and Outlook to the Russian-built MyOffice Mail.

    About 6,000 Moscow state employees will be switched over, including teachers, doctors and civil servants. If the move is a success, the city will consider shifting 600,000 PCs and servers away from Microsoft, and may also replace Windows and Office, according to Bloomberg.

  • Moscow will replace Microsoft's products with local offerings

    Microsoft might lose a whole city of customers in Russia. According to Bloomberg, Moscow will begin replacing Redmond's products with homegrown software as a result of Vladimir Putin's urging to stop depending on foreign tech. Artem Yermolaev, the city's head of information technology, told reporters that Moscow will begin by dropping Microsoft's Exchange Service and by replacing Outlook on 6,000 computers with state-run carrier Rostelecom PJSC's email system. Authorities are looking to deploy the email software to as many as 600,000 computers in the future. They might even replace Windows and the Office suite entirely, though there seems to be no solid plan for that at the moment.

Microsoft is no longer Russia’s first choice of technology provider

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Microsoft

The city of Moscow is contemplating ditching Microsoft’s technology as president Vladimir Putin urges state officials and local businesses to scale down their reliance on foreign software providers.

In turn, the city is replacing Microsoft’s products with solutions from local competitors.

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Lenovo Anti-Linux, Layoffs, and Openwashing

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Android
GNU
Linux
Microsoft
  • Microsoft, Lenovo Accused Of Blocking Linux On Signature Edition PCs

    Laptops today are increasingly powerful. Right now, if you get a new laptop, the probability is that it comes with the new Windows 10 operating system but there are some people that prefer to have a choice when it comes to OS selection. While some people are fine with Windows 10, there are those who might want to have a dual OS system running. A few people who bought Lenovo laptops like the Yoga 900, 910S, and 710S, found that Lenovo was blocking Linux.

  • Motorola, Lenovo lay off over a thousand more people
  • New Lenovo layoffs at Moto, company has now lost over 95% of employees in four years

    Speaking to Droid-life, both sources inside the company and Motorola itself confirmed today that Lenovo has conducted a brutal round of layoffs at Moto. According to DL, over 50% of Motorola's existing US staff have lost their jobs. A 20-year veteran of the company allegedly posted on Facebook that he had been laid off, so it looks like Lenovo is cutting deep at the device-maker.

    One source told them that over 700 employees would be asked to leave of the over 1200 Motorola currently employs. No doubt Lenovo hopes to cut costs by integrating much of Motorola's software and hardware development into its own smartphone unit. Sensible or not, it's still rather sad to watch the once-proud brand slowly be swallowed by The Great Lenovo Monster. The lack of critical or consumer hype around the company's new Moto Z line hasn't helped matters, and while the refreshed Moto G franchise was generally well-received, it's the expensive phones that make the money, and I have a hard time believing the Z series is a runaway sales success.

  • Lenovo Courts Devs WIth Moto Z Source Code Release

    Lenovo, which owns Motorola, last week released the kernel source code for the Moto Z Droid smartphone on Github. The move follows the company's posting of the Moto Z Droid Moto Mods Development Kit and Moto Mods on Github this summer. This is the first kernel source code made available for the Moto Z family of devices. Releasing the kernel source code seems to be another step in Lenovo's attempt to get devs to build an iPhone-like ecosystem around the Moto Z family. The Z family is modular.

Letter to the Federal Trade Commission regarding Lenovo blocking Linux and other operating system installations on Yoga PCs.

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GNU
Linux
Microsoft
  • Letter to the Federal Trade Commission regarding Lenovo blocking Linux and other operating system installations on Yoga PCs.

    Lenovo just updated the BIOS for the Yoga 710, another system that doesn't allow Linux installs. Wanna know what they changed? Update to TPM (secret encryption module used for Digital Restrictions Management) and an update to the Intel Management Engine, which is essentially a backdoor rootkit built into all recent Intel processors (but AMD has their version too, so what do you do?). No Linux support. Priorities...

  • Microsoft told to compensate customers for Windows 10 breaking computers

    Microsoft has been urged to pay compensation to customers that have suffered computer malfunctions when upgrading to its new software Windows 10.

    Since the company released the software last year it has been plagued by complaints, with customers claiming their computers upgraded without their permission and, in some cases, completely stopped working.

    Which?, the consumer watchdog, has told Microsoft to "honour consumers' rights" and compensate those who have suffered from problems, including lost files, email accounts no longer syncing and failed WiFi connection.

    It said Microsoft customers had also complained that their webcams suddenly stopped working, as did speakers and printers in the wake of the upgrade.

  • Veteran Windows journo slams Microsoft over Surface Pro issues

    Microsoft's tardiness and lack of communication in relation to battery issues affecting its Surface Pro PC/tablet hybrid has been slammed by well-known journalist Ed Bott who has been writing about the company for 25 years.

    In a column titled "Shame on Microsoft for leaving Surface Pro customers in the dark", Bott wrote that Microsoft had not shown any appreciation of the users who had helped put its Surface business on a solid footing.

    He wrote that after the Surface Pro 3 had been in the market for more than a year, users began noticing a steady drop in battery capacity.

    In March 2016, the company's support lines began fielding calls about the issue, with complaints that batteries that should have held a charge for five or more hours were going dead in 20 or 30 minutes and refusing to charge fully.

My Mom Runs Linux!

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GNU
Linux
Microsoft

People are coming to Linux in droves these days. They each have their own reasons. It could be a desire to get out from under the thumb of proprietary software’s limitations, privacy concerns or just plain old economics. Some of them find a whole new world of computing happiness and others walk away frustrated. Why is that?

How you approach learning something new usually will determine just how successful you are at learning it. It’s all about attitude. Learning is a journey and those who cling to the fear of not reaching a pleasant destination usually quit before they start and stay right where they are. Those who are born with an innate curiosity and a sense of adventure often find that learning something new brings great rewards. Thus, they are constantly looking for new things to learn. It’s the naturally curious ones who tend to do well with Linux.

If you sit a child in front of a Linux computer, they usually just start using it. It’s an amazing thing to watch. Kids are curious by nature and they also have the added advantage of not having any preconceived notions when it comes to how a computer ought to work. I have found, on the other hand, that the hardest kind of person to teach Linux is the crusty old Windows power user. They are lost from the start and tend to get easily frustrated when they come across something they don’t understand. Their outbursts of anger can be quite animated! The Internet’s public forums are full of vitriol flung at the Linux Community by these sorts of folks. I learned a long time ago that the best way to deal with them is to simply ignore them. The psychological reasons for their bitter negativity are beyond my expertise to deal with, therefore, I don’t. What I try to do is focus on the positive and help folks who want to learn.

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Also: Windows 10 Might Soon Track Absolutely Everything You Do for Your Own Good

Classic Damage Control: Lenovo and Microsoft Got Their 'Official' Lie/Denial Together, Now Engage in Revisionism by Contacting Journalists

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Linux
Microsoft

Vista 10 Under Attack From Media, UNIX/Linux Under Attack From Microsoft

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GNU
Linux
Microsoft
  • Linux "lockout" tangle snarls Lenovo

    After failing to install Linux on a recent Lenovo laptop, a Reddit user claims to have received a short reply from Lenovo's support team: "This system has a Signature Edition of Windows 10 Home installed. It is locked per our agreement with Microsoft."

    The company is reportedly shutting discussion threads on its official forums to prevent "disruption," though the snarl of links and outrage flying around makes everything rather murky. The core facts at hand appear to be that a) the BIOS is programmed to enforce a RAID setup that is currently compatible only with Windows 10, and Cool there's no technical rationale for it, it's just there to prevent other operating systems being installed. A is, of course, more plausibly true than B.

  • Which? slams Microsoft for Windows 10 update woes

    Which? has called on Microsoft to honour the rights of its customers after a survey found that 12 per cent of those who upgraded to Windows 10 from an earlier version had rolled back and that many more were annoyed with the update.

    More than half of those who rolled back to a previous edition said it was because the new version had caused problems with their devices.

    The problems included printers, WiFi cards and speakers no longer working, files being lost and emails no longer syncing. In some cases the computer required professional repair.

    Many complained that the only reason they upgraded in the first place was to get rid of the constant nagware employed by Microsoft through the GWX system installed on machines that qualified for a free upgrade.

    Many said that they had actually turned down the nagware offers and found that Windows 10 had installed anyway.

  • Windows 10 software condemned by Which? [Ed: Microsoft should stand trial for it]

    Microsoft has been criticised over its Windows 10 software by consumer rights group Which?.

    The body said it had received hundreds of complaints about the upgrade, including lost files, emails no longer syncing and broken wi-fi and printing.

    In some cases, it said, users had had to pay for their computer to be repaired.

    Microsoft defended its software and highlighted that it provided help online and by phone.

    "The Windows 10 upgrade is a choice designed to help people take advantage of the most secure and most productive Windows," said a spokesman.

    "Customers have distinct options. Should a customer need help with the upgrade experience, we have numerous options including free customer support."

    Which? surveyed more than 5,500 of its members in June, and said that 12% of the 2,500 who had upgraded to Windows 10 had later reverted to an earlier version.

True Love...and Microsoft Love

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GNU
Linux
Microsoft

Stop the patent blackmail

Microsoft has been going to licensees of Android and threatening the licensees with suit if the licensees do not pay Microsoft money for using software that Microsoft says violates their patents. When the companies agree to settle out of court, Microsoft then requires them not to discuss publically which patents are claimed in violation or anything about the settlement. Of course this means that the FOSS community can not study the patents (to see if they are valid or not) or know which sections of code could be re-written to avoid the patents.

This is more important than Microsoft just getting their pound of flesh for some code that they did not write, which may have existed as “prior art” while Bill Gates was still getting speeding tickets in New Mexico.

When companies start to develop products they want to know about as many risks as possible. Therefore they worry about patents that exist in code that could be used to block their product, or make it more expensive than they thought the product would be.

Not knowing what the patents are, or how much Microsoft will charge for them, or even if they are valid, the companies can not make that decision easily. Therefore they might avoid a FOSS (particularly Android) solution.

Another problem with software patents is that it makes it expensive, difficult and/or dangerous for companies to distribute code over the Internet or on some media. If there is patent-bearing code in the distribution, a distribution could not afford even a penny royalty if there are going to be millions of copies of their code downloaded, with (perhaps) only 100,000 actually installed. This is why some distributions have a separate package for royalty bearing code (usually multimedia codecs), and others have a version for the USA and other countries that recognize software patents and another version for “the rest of the world”.

The problem with this technique being applied to Microsoft's claimed patents is that the patents claimed appear to be in the kernel, and the Linux community does not know which patents or to what code the patents apply.

For Microsoft to show their love for FOSS, I would recommend them joining the Open Invention Network, or simply agree to license these questionable patents free of charge to organizations using FOSS. Microsoft could still charge royalties for their patents used in closed, proprietary software. I have heard Apple has a lot of cash on hand.

Allow FOSS proponents to keynote at major Microsoft events.

Microsoft has been coming to FOSS events for many years now. At first there was always the question of whether a FOSS event should allow someone who has been calling you a “virus”, or “a communist” or talking about your “crappy software” to come to their events, but normally it was felt that for FOSS people to exclude Microsoft personnel from attending or to eliminate them from speaking, or even to refuse to take their sponsorship money was not being very “open”. So Microsoft started coming to FOSS events, having booths, speaking, and trying to hire FOSS programmers.

On the other hand I remember several times where I was chased out of a general purpose computer event by event managers because Microsoft had complained that we were handing out free CDROMs of GNU/Linux to show attendees. At one event I was even forbidden to hand them out on the street corner in front of the event because the side walk also belonged to the venue (or so they said).

One time we allowed a Microsoft product manager to participate in a panel with Linus, and about ten seconds before we went on the stage the Microsoft manager pulled out the results of software tests to prove that for some obscure function Microsoft Windows was some percentage faster than Linux. Linus, of course, could not refute this, but he did go home and investigate the issue, and in the next release of Linux that function was two or three times faster than Microsoft Windows.

Nevertheless, I do not remember Microsoft ever allowing a FOSS person to discuss the benefits of the FOSS model of software at a major Microsoft customer or developer event, and if Microsoft really “loved Linux” (and their customers) you would think Microsoft would want their developer and customer base to know about those values and benefits.

So for Microsoft to really show its love, I think they should invite recognized FOSS advocates to speak as keynote speakers at Convergence, //Build, the Worldwide Partner Conference and Microsoft Ignite. I am sure I could find the time in my schedule to attend one or two of them and there are other FOSS people who could also help out.

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Leftovers: OSS

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    Reactide is an Integrated Development Environment built for React, which intends to make React development easier for Software Engineers. The project has been widely praised, amassing over 6,000 stars on GitHub.
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    Today, Airbnb’s design team open sourced its internal library for writing React components that easily render directly to Sketch. Instead of trying to get Sketch to export to code, the Airbnb team spent its time on the opposite — putting the paintbrush in the hands of the engineer.
  • [Older] Telecoms copying cloud providers make beeline for open source, say analysts
    The supersonic growth of Amazon Web Services and other cloud providers in the past few years owes much to open-source communities that fed them cutting-edge tech free-of-charge. Now telecom is mimicking this strategy through involvement with the Linux Foundation, according to Scott Raynovich (@rayno) (pictured, right), guest host of theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s mobile live streaming studio.
  • Get a Preview of Apache IoT Projects at Upcoming ApacheCon
    The countdown until ApacheCon North America has begun. The blockbuster event will be in Miami this year and runs May 16-18. The Apache community is made up of many niche communities and ApacheCon offers something for all of them. Here, Roman Shaposhnik, Director of Open Source, Pivotal Inc., who is heading the Apache IoT track at the ApacheCon conference, gave us a sneak peek of what the Apache Internet of Things community can look forward to at the event.
  • Free Webinar on Starting a Collaborative Open Source Project
  • Oracle draws curtains on OmniOS
    With its openly stated operational remit of ‘aggressive acquisitions’ (albeit positively aggressive), Oracle is (very) arguably a firm known for buying, swallowing, acquiring those companies it decides to consume.
  • Partners Healthcare, Persistent Systems to develop open-source platform
  • Libreboot Applies to Rejoin GNU
    Last week we reported that after reorganization, Libreboot was considering rejoining GNU and was seeking input from its community to determine the amount of support it had for such a move. From reading the comments posted both on our article on FOSS Force and on Libreboot’s website, it comes as no surprise that the project’s core members feel they have the necessary consesus to proceed. Last night, FOSS Force received an email — sent jointly to us and Phoronix — letting us know of the decision. Rather than repeat what’s already been written and said on the subject (for that, follow the first link above), we’re publishing a slightly edited version of the email, which will pretty much bring everyone up to date on the situation.

Security updates and no more patches from grsecurity (without a fee)

  • Security updates for Wednesday
  • GrSecurity Kernel Patches Will No Longer Be Free To The Public
    The GrSecurity initiative that hosts various out-of-tree patches to the mainline Linux kernel in order to enhance the security will no longer be available to non-paying users. GrSecurity has been around for the better part of two decades and going back to the 2.4 kernel days. In 2015 the stable GrSecurity patches became available to only commercial customers while the testing patches had still been public. That's now changing with all GrSecurity users needing to be customers.
  • Passing the Baton: FAQ
    This change is effective today, April 26th 2017. Public test patches have been removed from the download area. 4.9 was specifically chosen as the last public release as being the latest upstream LTS kernel will help ease the community transition.
  • grsecurity - Passing the Baton
    Anyone here use grsecurity and have any thoughts about this?

Microsoft-Connected Forrester and Black Duck Continue to Smear FOSS

More Coverage of Kali Linux 2017.1 Release

  • Kali Linux 2017.1 Security OS Brings Wireless Injection Attacks to 802.11 AC
    Offensive Security, the developers of the BackTrack-derived Kali Linux open-source, security-oriented operating system announced the availability of the Kali Linux 2017.1 rolling release. Since Kali Linux become a rolling distro, the importance of such updated images was never the same, but Kali Linux 2017.1 appears to be a major release of the ethical hacking distro, adding a bunch of exciting new features and improvements to the Debian-based operating system.
  • Kali Linux 2017.1 Released With New Features | Download ISO Files And Torrents Here
    Offensive Security has updated the Kali Linux images with new features and changes. Termed Kali Linux 2017.1, this release comes with support for wireless injection attacks to 802.11ac and Nvidia CUDA GPU. You can simply update your existing installation by running few commands if you don’t wish to download the updated images from Kali repos.