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Microsoft

FOSS in Government

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Microsoft
OSS
  • Uganda eager to tap into open source

    Uganda's Ministry of ICT recently developed a FOSS (Free and Open Source Software) policy to regulate the deployment of open source software and use of open standards to accelerate innovation and develop local content.

    At the 7th African Conference on Free and Open Source Software (FOSS), organised in conjunction with Uganda's National Information Technology Authority (NITA-U) to encourage industry partnerships and uptake of OSS in East Africa, open software was recognised for its contribution to innovation.

    Frank Tumwebaze, Minister of ICT and National Guidance in Uganda, said, "Free and open software services will help my ministry to innovate better because it forms the platform (for) many of the innovative ideas. Free and open source software in Uganda is certainly something we have been talking about and I am sure we will do so even more in the next few days. Some of the things Uganda has put in place to harness the benefit from free and open source software include a Software Strategy and Policy in accordance with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development's (UNCTAD) Trade, Services and Development expert meeting's determination that free and open source software is an inseparable component of the global technology ecosystem."

  • Ireland's govt IT: Recession and job cuts forced us to adapt

    Ireland was hit hard by the global financial crunch of 2007 and 2008. It was the first of the EU member states to slip into recession immediately following the bursting of the economic bubble.

    As the economy contracted, banks faced default and government debt increased, with Ireland eventually taking an €67.5bn loan from the European Commission, European Central Bank (ECB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF)

    Falling tax income and the need to bail out banks saw the Irish government spending in other areas of public life.

    The government had introduced the Public Sector Recruitment Embargo in 2009, which stopped hiring of all civil servants across government and cut pay and pensions – in return for a promise of no compulsory redundancies.

  • Oh! The Horror! Ireland Stays Enslaved To MS

    For 15 years or so, I was in those same financial straits in schools where I taught and GNU/Linux and FLOSS (Free/Libre Open Source Software) was the obvious solution. Obviously, one is better off to have IT for all rather than paying monopolistic prices for IT for a few. In schools, that meant extending the life of IT, elimination of malware and re-re-reboots, freedom from paper, freight for paper, storage for paper, … For governments freedom from lock-in to M$ and “friends” saved huge sums which could have been better spent on hardware or employees. Sigh.

Liberating PCs and "Mac"-branded PCs

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GNU
Linux
Microsoft
Mac
  • Reviving Old Macs Using Linux

    All Macintosh computers from about 2006 onwards were made using Intel CPUs and installing Linux on these computers is a breeze. You don’t need to download any Mac specific distro — just choose your favorite distro and install away. About 95 percent of the time you’ll be able to use the 64-bit version of the distro. On CoreDuo Macs, from 2006, you’ll need to use a 32-bit version.

    Here is a screencast video I made on a revived Macbook that came into my hands recently. I downloaded Linux Mint 18 Xfce 64-bit ISO, burned it to DVD, inserted it into the Macbook (after the Macbook was turned on) and then booted the Macbook from DVD by holding the the letter “C” (which tells the Mac to boot from the optical drive).

  • Linux breathes new life into old Mac computers

    Apple is known for its planned obsolescence strategy that encourages customers to upgrade their Macs every so often. This can result in older Macs that can't update to the latest version of macOS, but are still perfectly functional computers that can perform many everyday computing tasks such as web browsing, word processing, image editing, etc.

    So what can you do with an older Mac that no longer gets macOS updates? You can install Linux and breathe new life into that old Mac computer. Distributions such as Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Fedora and others offer a way to continue using an older Mac that would otherwise be cast aside.

  • The EFF Calls Out Microsoft's Ongoing Bullshit On Windows 10 Privacy Concerns

    While Windows 10 is generally well-liked by reviewers and users, it's relatively clear that it's not the OS to choose if you actually want to control how much babbling your OS does over the network. While a lot of complaints about Windows 10 have been proven to be hyperbole or just plain wrong (like it delivers your BitTorrent behavior to Hollywood or it makes use of menacing keyloggers), Windows 10 is annoyingly chatty, sending numerous reports back to Microsoft even when the operating system is configured to be as quiet and private as possible.

    While Microsoft has been criticized for this behavior for some time now, the general response out of Redmond has been to tap dance over, under and around most of the key complaints.

    Enter the Electronic Freedom Foundation, which last week effectively called on Microsoft to stop bullshitting everybody in terms of what gets collected and why. The EFF does a good job reiterating how Microsoft used malware-esque tactics to get users to upgrade, then once installed, Windows 10 collects user location data, text input, voice input, touch input, web browsing history, and general computing telemetry data, including which programs you run and for how long -- which would be arguably less of an issue if you had full control over how much of this data was collected and funneled back to the Redmond mothership.

Paid-for Microsoft Openwashing at LinuxCon

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Microsoft

Desktop News

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GNU
Linux
Microsoft
  • Why Google plans to stop supporting your Chromebook after five years

    It’s worth noting that end-of-life doesn’t have to mean the end of useful hardware. If you have the know-how, you can install Linux on your Chromebook to extend its lifespan. Otherwise, users whose Chromebooks are still in fine working order just have to hope that end-of-life notification never comes.

  • EFF slams Microsoft's 'blatant disregard' for user privacy with Windows 10 [Ed: It's textbook definition of malware]

    THE ELECTRONIC FRONTIER FOUNDATION (EFF) has lashed out at Microsoft over the company's "blatant disregard" for user privacy with the pushy, data-slurping Windows 10 operating system.

    Following the launch of a petition in June, EFF has heard from thousands of pissed off people who are asked it to take action against Microsoft, and the privacy campaigners are doing just that. EFF is calling on Microsoft to listen to its users, of which more than 6,000 have signed the online petition, and incorporate their complaints into its operating system.

    "Otherwise, Microsoft may find that it has inadvertently discovered just how far it can push its users before they abandon a once-trusted company for a better, more privacy-protective solution," EFF's Amul Kalia said in a blog post.

    First on EFF’s radar is Microsoft’s backhanded tactics to get people to upgrade to Windows 10, which we here at the INQUIRER know about all too well.

The Linux Foundation Gives Microsoft (Paid-for) Keynote Position While Microsoft Extorts (With Patents) Lenovo and Motorola Over Linux Use

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GNU
Linux
Microsoft

This morning's reminder that Nadella is just another Ballmer (with a different face); Motorola and Lenovo surrender to Microsoft's patent demands and will soon put Microsoft spyware/malware on their Linux-powered products to avert costly legal battles

Read more

Microsoft Embrace and Extend

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Microsoft
OSS
  • initialsession: remove curl and wget aliases [iophk: “MS hobbles curl and wget unapologetically, and probably other tools too”]

    ...you do not create programs which intentionally have the same names as well known programs, especially when your programs do not provide exactly the same functionality as the originals. There is no way to view that sort of behavior in a positive light.

  • More Open Source is Good Open Source [Ed: openwashing is a problem (trying to make Windows look open), but some Novell/Red Hat staff disagrees]

Desktop News

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GNU
Linux
Microsoft
  • The aristocratic desktop (part 1)

    Still, there was some issues. And I discovered that some very basic concepts are harder to understand than I thought. Double-click, a window, a folder, the desktop, the taskbar, the trayicon. I also discovered that some users were using a computer for ten years without even understanding the minimize function for a window ! The only way to switch between a web page and a word processor was to close one and then opening the other. It was seen as normal !

  • Windows 10 needs proper privacy portal, says EFF

    The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has called on Microsoft to offer a “single unified screen” on which Windows 10 users can control how Windows 10 deals with their personal information and monitors their use of the OS.

    The organisation has listed the long list of nasty nagware tactics Microsoft used to get people running Windows 10, labelling some “questionable tactics to cause users to download a piece of software that many didn’t want.”

    It's not keen on the nagware bundled alongside patches, suggesting that tactic reduced trust in patches and therefore potentially exposed users who don't act promptly when important fixes arrive.

    It also rails against the telemetry Windows 10 collects and is especially harsh on Microsoft's insistence that if business users send it less data, Windows Update will be less effective and PCs will be less secure.

    The Foundation says “this is a false choice that is entirely of Microsoft’s own creation.”

    “There’s no good reason why the types of data Microsoft collects at each telemetry level couldn’t be adjusted so that even at the lowest level of telemetry collection, users could still benefit from Windows Update and secure their machines from vulnerabilities, without having to send back things like app usage data or unique Ids like an IMEI number.”

  • Microsoft wants to pay you to use its Windows 10 browser Edge [Ed: CNET's editor in chief called it "Bribery" last time Microsoft did such things. How to starve a lesser wealthy competitor, drive it out of the market...]

    Microsoft has a new browser. It launched with Windows 10 and it’s called Edge. The company says it’s faster, more battery efficient and all-round better than Chrome or Firefox. You can even draw on websites with a stylus. Trouble is, not very many people are using it. So now Microsoft’s trying to bribe you to switch.

    The newly rebranded Microsoft Rewards – formerly Bing Rewards, which paid people for using Bing as their search engine (another product Microsoft says is better than a Google product but that very few people actually use) – will now pay you for using Edge, shopping at the Microsoft store, or using Bing.

    Users of Edge who sign up to Microsoft Rewards, which is currently US-only, are then awarded points simply for using the browser. Microsoft actively monitors whether you’re using Edge for up to 30 hours a month. It tracks mouse movements and other signs that you’re not trying to game the system, and you must also have Bing set as your default search engine.

Openwashing of Microsoft (Portions of Proprietary Lock-in/Traps)

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Microsoft

GNU/Linux Desktop

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GNU
Linux
Microsoft
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More in Tux Machines

KDE and GNOME

  • A Simple, Straightforward Clipboard Manager for GNOME
    Clipboard Manager extension for Gnome Shell is a no-frills clipboard manager for GNOME. It adds an indicator menu to the top panel and caches your clipboard history. There’s nothing extra; no regex searching, or cross-device, multi-sync or pan-dimensional magic. Just a simple, easy to access clipboard history. I’ve never been a particularly big clipboard fan. I typically only need to access whatever I copy as I copy it.
  • First GNOME 3.26 Development Release Out, Some Apps Ported to Meson Build System
    GNOME Project's Michael Catanzaro just informed us via an email announcement that the first unstable release of the upcoming GNOME 3.26 desktop environment is out now for public testing and early adopters. Yes, we're talking about GNOME 3.25.1, the first development in the release cycle of GNOME 3.26, which is currently scheduled to launch later this year, on September 13. Being the first unstable release and all that, GNOME 3.25.1 doesn't ship with many changes, and you can check out the CORE NEWS and APPS NEWS for details.
  • Features To Look Forward To In Next Month's KDE Plasma 5.10
    We are just one month away from seeing the next KDE Plasma 5 desktop release.
  • User Question: With Some Free Software Phone Projects Ending, What Does Plasma Mobile's Future Look Like?
    Rosy. While it is true that Plasma Mobile used to be built on the Ubuntu Phone codebase, that was superseded some time ago. The recent events at Ubuntu and other mobile communities have not modified the pace of the development (which is pretty fast) or the end goal, which is to build frameworks that will allow convergence for all kinds of front-ends and apps on all kinds of devices.

Google in Devices

  • Glow LEDs with Google Home
    For the part one, the custom commands were possible thanks to Google Actions Apis. I used API.AI for my purpose since they had good documentation. I wont go into detail explaining the form fields in Api.ai, they have done a good job with documentation and explaining part, I will just share my configurations screenshot for your quick reference and understanding. In Api.ai the conversations are broken into intents. I used one intent (Default Welcome Intent) and a followup intent (Default Welcome Intent – custom) for my application.
  • Google Assistant SDK preview brings voice agent to the Raspberry Pi
    Google has released a Python-based Google Assistant SDK that’s designed for prototyping voice agent technology on the Raspberry Pi 3. Google’s developer preview aims to bring Google Assistant voice agent applications to Linux developers. The Google Assistant SDK is initially designed for prototyping voice agent technology on the Raspberry Pi 3 using Python and Raspbian Linux, but it works with most Linux distributions. The SDK lets developers add voice control, natural language understanding, and Google AI services to a variety of devices.
  • Huawei, Google create a high-powered single board computer for Android
    The Raspberry Pi is very popular with DIY enthusiasts because of the seemingly endless possibilities of how you can design devices with it. Huawei and Google have created their own single board computer (SBC), but this will probably benefit Android developers more than DIY enthusiasts. The HiKey 960 is a very robust SBC aimed at creating an Android PC or a testing tool for Android apps.
  • Huawei’s $239 HiKey 960 wants to be a high-end alternative to Raspberry Pi
    12.5 million sales in five years – Linaro and Huawei have unveiled a high-end (read: expensive) rival.

Mobile, Tizen, and Android

Leftovers: OSS

  • Is The Open Source Software Movement A Technological Religion?
  • Experts weigh in on open source platforms, market
    In this Advisory Board, our experts discuss the pros and cons of open source virtualization and which platforms are giving proprietary vendors a run for their money.
  • Light a fire under Cassandra with Apache Ignite
    Apache Cassandra is a popular database for several reasons. The open source, distributed, NoSQL database has no single point of failure, so it’s well suited for high-availability applications. It supports multi-datacenter replication, allowing organizations to achieve greater resiliency by, for example, storing data across multiple Amazon Web Services availability zones. It also offers massive and linear scalability, so any number of nodes can easily be added to any Cassandra cluster in any datacenter. For these reasons, companies such as Netflix, eBay, Expedia, and several others have been using Cassandra for key parts of their businesses for many years.
  • Proprietary Election Systems: Summarily Disqualified
    Hello Open Source Software Community & U.S. Voters, I and the California Association of Voting Officials, represent a group of renowned computer scientists that have pioneered open source election systems, including, "one4all," New Hampshire’s Open Source Accessible Voting System (see attached). Today government organizations like NASA, the Department of Defense, and the U.S. Air Force rely on open source software for mission critical operations. I and CAVO believe voting and elections are indeed mission-critical to protect democracy and fulfill the promise of the United States of America as a representative republic. Since 2004, the open source community has advocated for transparent and secure—publicly owned—election systems to replace the insecure, proprietary systems most often deployed within communities. Open source options for elections systems can reduce the costs to taxpayers by as much as 50% compared to traditional proprietary options, which also eliminates vendor lock-in, or the inability of an elections office to migrate away from a solution as costs rise or quality decreases.
  • Microsoft SQL Server on Linux – YES, Linux! [Ed: Marketing and PR from IDG's "Microsoft Subnet"; This headline is a lie from Microsoft; something running on DrawBridge (proprietary Wine-like Windows layer) is not GNU/Linux]