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From Windows to GNU/Linux

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GNU
Linux
Microsoft
  • Turn an old laptop into a Chromebook-Linux hybrid

    Common scenario: You buy a new laptop, thinking you'll sell, donate or hand down the old one... but it never happens. Maybe you don't want to deal with the hassles of Craigslist or Ebay, not to mention wiping all your data, reinstalling Windows and so on.

    Whatever the case, now it's just taking up space. But it doesn't have to: You can give that old laptop new life.

    With Linux, right? Wrong! I mean, yes, you could install Linux, which has always been the go-to option, but not everybody needs or wants the complexity of that operating system. For some, Chromium might be the better choice.

    Chromium is the OS that's at the heart of Chromebooks -- those fast-booting, cloud-powered devices that are so popular these days. Think about it: For whatever reason, no one buys Linux laptops. They buy Chromebooks.

    If you like the idea of giving your old system a Chromebook-like lease on life, good news: It's fast, free and easy. And it's not even permanent unless you want it to be.

  • When Peer Pressure Nukes Linux for Windows

    Several months ago, my 16-year-old grandson decided he wanted a powerful computer for gaming. I showed him Steam and some other stuff in Linux and he thought that looked good, so I started accumulating parts. If it was substantially more powerful than anything I have for myself, it was on the list. Sorry I don’t have the details list nearby, but it had a motherboard with a name I had heard, a fairly fast AMD processor with six cores, maxed out RAM, 1TB hard drive, video that took up two slots and had two fans, power supply you could use for welding, and a pair of 22″ monitors.

    I installed Mint 17.3 KDE in less than half an hour (the usual), including separate swap and home partitions (it’s a neurotic thing), setting wallpaper and the like, and doing whatever came to mind at the time. It ran flawlessly and I was happy, so I played with it a while. I really liked it. If I could think of a use, I’d build one for myself.

  • That Other Operating System Continues Its Decline

    The big winner is the Linux kernel. The vociferous opponents of GNU/Linux who haunt this blog can’t have it both ways. If GNU/Linux is not “GNU” and is Linux, then Android/Linux can’t be just Android. It’s Linux underneath.

SUSE and Microsoft E.E.E.

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Microsoft
SUSE
  • openSUSE Tumbleweed – Review of the Week 2017/02

    I hope you all ended up well fed and healthy in the new year. For the last few weeks we have seen quite a slow pace for Tumbleweed, just as pre-announced in my last review of the year 2016. We can surely expect an increased pace again as people from all around the world resume their regular life rhythms. For completeness sake I will cover in this weeks’ review not only this week, but also the few snapshots since my last review. That means, we cover 8 snapshots: from 2016: 1216, 1217, 1219, 1222 and 1226 and from 2017: 0104, 0109 and 0110. Sadly, 0111 and 0112 ran into some issues on openQA – but the issues are to most parts in the testing framework, not the product (from what we know). But not being able to fully confirm it, I did not feel comfortable releasing them into the wild onto you. After all, I know some of you are still having issues with the kernel 4.9 series (but good new on that part is on the horizon). 0112 might still cut it, if we solve the openQA issues in time.

  • Forget Ubuntu, now OpenSuse Linux comes to Windows 10

    If you have been following Techworm, you will know that you can run Ubuntu Apps on Windows using Bash. Microsoft brought the fun and power of Linux to Windows 10 with Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL). This allowed the Windows 10 users to run Bash on Ubuntu on Windows 10 and enjoy Ubuntu Apps without having to install the Ubuntu distro separately.

  • You can now install SUSE Linux distribution inside WSL on Windows 10
  • It's Now Possible to Use openSUSE Inside Windows 10, Here's How to Install It
  • Microsoft celebrates ChakraCore's first anniversary with an update on the road to parity on Linux [Ed: Another example of Microsoft hijacking projects' (e.g. GNU/Linux projects') names]

Tired of Windows? Switching to Linux Will Be Easy If You Know This

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GNU
Linux
Microsoft

Linux sounds intimidating, but it’s essentially just another operating system. When you buy a pre-built PC, it arrives with an operating system pre-installed, usually Windows or Mac. But Linux distros such as Ubuntu are just as capable as Windows.

The process of installing Linux is rather simple. But actually using Linux is a bit different. There are many incentives for migrating from Windows to Linux. For instance, Linux variants often use less RAM or offer a lightweight environment.

Overall, there’s simply more choice. If you’re tired of Windows, switching to Linux will be pretty easy if you know these things.

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Microsoft and Openwashing

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Microsoft

Today's most popular operating systems

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GNU
Linux
Microsoft

The Federal Digital Analytics Program (DAP) reports that while Windows is the most popular end-user operating system, it's dropped below 50 percent to 49.2 percent. This is based on 2.17 billion visits over the past 90 days to more than 400 executive branch government domains across about 5,000 total websites, including every cabinet department.

That's quite a drop. According to DAP, Windows accounted for 58.4 percent of all government website visitors in March 2015.

Looking closer, you can see Windows' loss didn't come because users are switching to other desktop operating systems. MacOS still comes in at No. 2, with 9.2 percent. All other operating systems, with Chrome OS leading the way at 1.1 percent, amount to only 2 percent.

True, other sites show desktop Linux gaining serious market share. NetMarketShare reports Linux has held more than two percent of the market since June 2016, while W3counter reports that Linux accounted for 3.80 percent of desktops in December 2016. However, since neither site broke out Chrome OS, I suspect that vast majority of these gains go to Chrome OS' credit rather than traditional Linux desktops.

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GNU/Linux Desktop

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GNU
Linux
Microsoft
Mac
  • Want a Windows 10 PC in your pocket? GPD's tiny laptop will also run Ubuntu

    The maker of the GPD WIN, a 5.5-inch Windows 10 handheld game console released last year, is planning to launch a tablet-sized laptop, dubbed 'Pocket', which will run Windows or Ubuntu.

  • Troubleshooting tips for the 5 most common Linux issues

    Although Linux installs and operates as expected for most users, inevitably some users will run into problems. For my final article in The Queue column for the year, I thought it would be interesting to summarize the most common technical Linux issues people ran into in 2016. I posted the question to LinuxQuestions.org and on social media, and I analyzed LQ posting patterns. Here are the results.

  • Microsoft’s OS supremacy over Apple to end in 2017

    Apple will steal a march on Microsoft this year when for the first time this century shipments of devices powered by its operating systems outnumber those running Windows, research firm Gartner said today.

Microsoft Cuts

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Microsoft

Microsoft Finally Admits Its Malware-Style Windows 10 Upgrade Sales Pitch Went Too Far

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Microsoft

We've talked a lot about how Microsoft managed to shoot Windows 10 (and consumer goodwill) squarely in the foot by refusing to seriously address OS privacy concerns, and by using malware-style tactics to try and force users on older versions of Windows to upgrade. While Microsoft's decision to offer Windows 10 as a free upgrade to Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 made sense on its surface, the company repeatedly bungled the promotion by making the multi-gigabyte upgrade impossible to avoid, which was a huge problem for those on capped and metered broadband connections.

But at times Microsoft made things even worse by engaging in behavior that would make even the lowest scumware peddlers proud. Like that time the Redmond-giant began pushing Windows 10 upgrade popups that pretended to let users close the popup dialogue by pressing X, only to have that begin the upgrade anyway against the user's wishes.

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Openwashing

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Microsoft

Broken Connections

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Microsoft
Security
  • A Ton of Popular Netgear Routers Are Exposed—With No Easy Fix

    A vulnerability in some popular Netgear routers has gone unpatched for months. Left unchecked, it leaves thousands of home networking devices exposed to full control by hackers, who can then ensnare them in havoc-wreaking botnets. While Netgear has finally released a tentative fix for some models, the delays and challenges in patching all of them help illustrate just how at risk the Internet of Things is—and how hard it is to patch up when things go wrong.

    Andrew Rollins, a security researcher who also goes by Acew0rm, notified Netgear about the flaw on August 25, but says that the company never responded to him. After waiting more than three months, he went public with the vulnerability, and the Department of Homeland Security’s CERT group released an advisory about it on Friday. Its advice? Pull the plug.

  • Windows 10 is dropping WiFi connections, with no fix from Microsoft yet

    WINDOWS 10 is back to its old tricks again, with a recurrence of problems with WiFi connections dropping, something we’ve not seen since the early days.

    Although Microsoft has released a new version of Windows 10 in the last few days (1607) it doesn’t seem to be that, because most of the complaints predate the code drop by two days.

    KB3201845 was released on 9 December, but the problems started on 7 December and appear to be affecting some Windows 7 and 8.1 machines as well. There’s no pattern in terms of ISPs, routers, and WiFi cards - at the moment, at least, it’s all random.

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Leftovers: BSD

Security Leftovers

  • Stop using SHA1 encryption: It’s now completely unsafe, Google proves
    Security researchers have achieved the first real-world collision attack against the SHA-1 hash function, producing two different PDF files with the same SHA-1 signature. This shows that the algorithm's use for security-sensitive functions should be discontinued as soon as possible. SHA-1 (Secure Hash Algorithm 1) dates back to 1995 and has been known to be vulnerable to theoretical attacks since 2005. The U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology has banned the use of SHA-1 by U.S. federal agencies since 2010, and digital certificate authorities have not been allowed to issue SHA-1-signed certificates since Jan. 1, 2016, although some exemptions have been made. However, despite these efforts to phase out the use of SHA-1 in some areas, the algorithm is still fairly widely used to validate credit card transactions, electronic documents, email PGP/GPG signatures, open-source software repositories, backups and software updates.
  • on pgp
    First and foremost I have to pay respect to PGP, it was an important weapon in the first cryptowar. It has helped many whistleblowers and dissidents. It is software with quite interesting history, if all the cryptograms could tell... PGP is also deeply misunderstood, it is a highly successful political tool. It was essential in getting crypto out to the people. In my view PGP is not dead, it's just old and misunderstood and needs to be retired in honor. However the world has changed from the internet happy times of the '90s, from a passive adversary to many active ones - with cheap commercially available malware as turn-key-solutions, intrusive apps, malware, NSLs, gag orders, etc.
  • Cloudflare’s Cloudbleed is the worst privacy leak in recent Internet history
    Cloudflare revealed today that, for months, all of its protected websites were potentially leaking private information across the Internet. Specifically, Cloudflare’s reverse proxies were dumping uninitialized memory; that is to say, bleeding private data. The issue, termed Cloudbleed by some (but not its discoverer Tavis Ormandy of Google Project Zero), is the greatest privacy leak of 2017 and the year has just started. For months, since 2016-09-22 by their own admission, CloudFlare has been leaking private information through Cloudbleed. Basically, random data from random sites (again, it’s worth mentioning that every site that used CloudFlare in the last half year should be considered to having fallen victim to this) would be randomly distributed across the open Internet, and then indefinitely cached along the way.
  • Serious Cloudflare bug exposed a potpourri of secret customer data
    Cloudflare, a service that helps optimize the security and performance of more than 5.5 million websites, warned customers today that a recently fixed software bug exposed a range of sensitive information that could have included passwords and cookies and tokens used to authenticate users. A combination of factors made the bug particularly severe. First, the leakage may have been active since September 22, nearly five months before it was discovered, although the greatest period of impact was from February 13 and February 18. Second, some of the highly sensitive data that was leaked was cached by Google and other search engines. The result was that for the entire time the bug was active, hackers had the ability to access the data in real-time by making Web requests to affected websites and to access some of the leaked data later by crafting queries on search engines. "The bug was serious because the leaked memory could contain private information and because it had been cached by search engines," Cloudflare CTO John Graham-Cumming wrote in a blog post published Thursday. "We are disclosing this problem now as we are satisfied that search engine caches have now been cleared of sensitive information. We have also not discovered any evidence of malicious exploits of the bug or other reports of its existence."

Security Leftovers

  • Change all the passwords (again)
    Looks like it is time to change all the passwords again. There’s a tiny little flaw in a CDN used … everywhere, it seems.
  • Today's leading causes of DDoS attacks [Ed: The so-called 'Internet of things' (crappy devices with identical passwords) is a mess; programmers to blame, not Linux]
    Of the most recent mega 100Gbps attacks in the last quarter, most of them were directly attributed to the Mirai botnet. The Mirai botnet works by exploiting the weak security on many Internet of Things (IoT) devices. The program finds its victims by constantly scanning the internet for IoT devices, which use factory default or hard-coded usernames and passwords.
  • How to Set Up An SSL Certificate on Your Website [via "Steps To Secure Your Website With An SSL Certificate"]
  • SHA-1 is dead, long live SHA-1!
    Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you heard that some researchers managed to create a SHA-1 collision. The short story as to why this matters is the whole purpose of a hashing algorithm is to make it impossible to generate collisions on purpose. Unfortunately though impossible things are usually also impossible so in reality we just make sure it’s really really hard to generate a collision. Thanks to Moore’s Law, hard things don’t stay hard forever. This is why MD5 had to go live on a farm out in the country, and we’re not allowed to see it anymore … because it’s having too much fun. SHA-1 will get to join it soon.
  • SHA1 collision via ASCII art
    Happy SHA1 collision day everybody! If you extract the differences between the good.pdf and bad.pdf attached to the paper, you'll find it all comes down to a small ~128 byte chunk of random-looking binary data that varies between the files.
  • PayThink Knowledge is power in fighting new Android attack bot
    Android users and apps have become a major part of payments and financial services, carrying an increased risk for web crime. It is estimated that there are 107.7 million Android Smartphone users in the U.S. who have downloaded more than 65 million apps from the Google App Store, and each one of them represents a smorgasbord of opportunity for hackers to steal user credentials and other information.
  • Red Hat: 'use after free' vulnerability found in Linux kernel's DCCP protocol IPV6 implementation
    Red Hat Product Security has published details of an "important" security vulnerability in the Linux kernel. The IPv6 implementation of the DCCP protocol means that it is possible for a local, unprivileged user to alter kernel memory and escalate their privileges. Known as the "use-after-free" flaw, CVE-2017-6074 affects a number of Red Hat products including Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 and Red Hat Openshift Online v2. Mitigating factors include the requirement for a potential attacker to have access to a local account on a machine, and for IPV6 to be enabled, but it is still something that will be of concern to Linux users. Describing the vulnerability, Red Hat says: "This flaw allows an attacker with an account on the local system to potentially elevate privileges. This class of flaw is commonly referred to as UAF (Use After Free.) Flaws of this nature are generally exploited by exercising a code path that accesses memory via a pointer that no longer references an in use allocation due to an earlier free() operation. In this specific issue, the flaw exists in the DCCP networking code and can be reached by a malicious actor with sufficient access to initiate a DCCP network connection on any local interface. Successful exploitation may result in crashing of the host kernel, potential execution of code in the context of the host kernel or other escalation of privilege by modifying kernel memory structures."

Android Leftovers