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Los Angeles schools need to think outside the iPad

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Microsoft
Mac

Foisting computers on schools has been a lucrative business, one easily disguised as charity. Among Pearson’s allies is the Gates Foundation, which works alongside Microsoft’s education arm to promote the Common Core in schools and support libraries, with Microsoft software in hand. Gates’ competitor for the richest-person-in-the-world slot, Mexican telecom monopolist Carlos Slim, has proposed to bypass schools altogether by bankrolling the online-only Khan Academy. Now Rupert Murdoch is trying to enter the education tech business with a tablet of his own.

[...]

One might, for instance, consider replacing the iPad with a little device called a Raspberry Pi. About the size of a credit card, it’s a fully featured computer, though a keyboard and screen need to be plugged in separately. It comes as a single circuit board with no casing, which reflects its philosophy; the basic parts of the machine are plain for a student to see — the video card, the CPU, the power system, the USB ports. The nonprofit Raspberry Pi Foundation sells it for as little as $25, compared with $299 to $929 for an iPad. One Laptop per Child (OLPC), another nonprofit project, produces low-cost laptops and tablets with education in mind.

Software can be even cheaper. The Raspberry Pi and OLPC run on Linux, a free, open-source operating system, which is constantly being improved and expanded by thousands of programmers around the world. An enormous variety of free, community-developed programs, including fully featured office suites, graphics tools and games — as well as popular commercial programs such as Skype and Dropbox — can be installed on the device. Apple and Microsoft often tell us that open-source software is unreliable and unfriendly to use, but that hasn’t stopped Linux from being the basis of Android phones, many everyday appliances and most of the Internet. The computer I used to write this article runs Linux.

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Google plans multiple Android Wear updates as Apple's wearable looms

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Android
Google
Mac

Google's first update to Android Wear is coming this week, and several more will follow it before the end of the year as Google moves to quickly iterate on its new wearable software platform. In an interview with CNET, two leading Android engineers lay out what we should expect to see in some future updates. This first one sounds as though it may not be much — just some navigation and voice control improvements — but a few useful features are coming down the road. That includes Google officially beginning to support custom watch faces from third-party developers: some developers have already figured out how to build them, but Google is working on a toolkit for developers that will allow watch faces to easily be made. Google previously teased details of this in a Google+ post.

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Ten Linux Desktops Showing Just How Far Behind Mac OS X and Windows Designs Are

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Linux
Microsoft
Mac

Linux doesn't have any kind of PR, and in the collective mind of the people, there is still an impression that Linux users spend their time inside the terminal and in dreary desktops. In fact, most of the current Linux desktops are much better than anything made by Apple of Microsoft.

When a new operating system is launched from Microsoft or Apple, it stays pretty much the same as long as it's supported, and even when updates are released, the desktops change very little. On the other hand, Linux developers are pushing the boundaries of what can be done in an operating system every day, and new ideas and applications that enhance the desktop experience are popping up all the time, regardless of the OS devs are doing on their front.

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Android L vs. iOS 8: The Battle for the Best Mobile OS Begins

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Android
Mac

While Android users everywhere are rejoicing at the announcement of what is perhaps the biggest revamp to the open-source mobile operating system, Apple users are impatiently twiddling their fingers for iOS 8 to land on their smartphones. Following its own major revamp last year with iOS 7, Apple seems to have found its voice by letting go of skeuomorphism and following a more holistic design that measures up to the latest trends of "flat design". Also, iOS 8 is a huge stepping stone for "convergence" the big utopia major operating systems are aiming for today. Where does Android L stand on all of this? Well, it matches iOS 8 in pretty much every department. And that is what makes this mobile OS battle so exciting.

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The top 14 hidden features in Windows, iOS, and Android

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OS
Android
Microsoft
Mac

You may think you're a high-tech power user who knows all the nooks and crannies of Windows, iOS, and Android, but let's be realistic: There could be at least a few undocumented (or poorly documented) commands, control panels, and apps that have slipped by you—maybe more than a few.

We've dived deep into each OS to uncover the best hidden tips and tricks that can make you more productive—or make common tasks easier. Got a favorite undocumented tip to share with readers? Add them in the comments section at the end of the article.

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The OS LinuX Desktop

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GNU
Linux
Mac

Reader Oliver wanted to make his Linux Mint desktop look as much like a Mac as possible so others would find it easy to use. Given some of our previous Linux featured desktops, we know it wasn't tough, but the end-result still looks great. Here's how it's all set up.

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Android, iOS gobble up even more global smartphone share

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Android
Mac

According to IDC, the total combined market share of Android and iOS swelled to 96.4 percent during the second quarter, up from 92.6 percent a year ago. That left just 2.5 percent of the market to Windows Phone, down from 3.4 percent in a year’s time.

In part, that’s because the worldwide smartphone market swelled to 301.3 million phones, moving past 300 million phones for the first time in its history, according to IDC. That represents 25.3 percent growth from a year ago.

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Teachers explain why they’re ditching iPads for ‘much more useful’ Chromebooks

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Google
Mac

As popular as the iPad has been for end consumers, schools have also been a major part of the tablet’s success. Ever since Apple launched the iPad in 2010, schools all over the country have experimented with placing them in classrooms or giving them to students to bring home with them. The Atlantic reports that although many institutions were initially satisfied with the results, many are now beginning to see the potential upshot of affordable laptops over expensive tablets.

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With Android L and iOS 8, is Ubuntu Phone OS Too Late to the Party?

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Android
Mac
Ubuntu

The party has begun. Everyone has arrived. The good ones, the bad ones, the pretty ones and the not-so-pretty ones are already here. Except for one. Yes, and it is the most promising one too. Android and iOS both have reached a level of maturity that has given them a huge stronghold over the mobile OS market space. Both of them have been for years, have millions of apps, and have a formidable presence that has managed to ward of competition even from big companies like Microsoft.

This battlefield for mobile operating systems is so heated up that even Samsung, who is one of the biggest mobile device makers in the world is having a hard time catching up with the latest trends. From flat design trend to perks for low-spec devices, both iOS and Android have conquered some of the major challenges that come in the way of making a great mobile operating system.

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China Issues Ban On iPad, MacBook Pro, And Other Apple Products For Government Use

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Mac

China seems to be on a mission to isolate itself from the world, at least in terms of technology. After banning Windows 8 on government PCs and raiding several of Microsoft's offices in China as part of an anti-trust investigation, Chinese officials have now prohibited to purchase of several Apple products for government use.

Reportedly, the list of banned Apple products include the iPad, iPad Mini, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and half a dozen other items, all of which were left off of a final government procurement list distributed in July. Interestingly, they appeared on the same list in draft form just a month ago. It's no surprise really, when you consider the Chinese state media already declared the iPhone a "threat to national security."

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More in Tux Machines

OSS and Sharing/Standards Leftovers

  • Linux Announces New Open Network Automation Platform Project
    The Linux Foundation has announced the creation of the new Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP) Project with the merger of Open Orchestrator Project (OPEN-O) and open source ECOMP. This new platform will help in designing, automating, orchestrating, and managing network services and virtual functions by creating a comprehensive and a harmonized framework that allows virtual network functions to be automated by using real-time, policy-driven software.
  • Open-Source Networking Is Coming of Age
    Service providers of all sizes and types should take note of some changes occurring across the open-source community—changes that promise to accelerate the adoption of software-defined networks (SDN). The first is a decision by AT&T to open source the ECOMP management and orchestration (MANO) framework it developed via the Linux Foundation. Through a variety of working groups, the foundation has been accelerating the development of core network function virtualization (NFV) software and associated SDN technologies. But a big piece missing from that equation has been the management plane.
  • CAVO Continues to Advance Open Source for Democracy [Ed: Remember what Microsoft did there]
    OSI Affiliate Member, the California Association of Voting Officials (CAVO), has shared some exciting news regarding their advocacy work in San Francisco: according to the San Francisco Examiner, the city of San Francisco is pushing forward with plans to develop their open source election system. In addition, the paper is reporting that the San Francisco Elections Commission voted unanimously on Feb 17th to request $4 million to fund the initial stages of the open source voting system. For many years board members of CAVO have been urging San Francisco to expedite, "the creation and deployment of a GPL v3 open source / paper ballot printing system that would set the standard for voting systems nationally." According to CAVO, currently only New Hampshire has deployed a voting system using open source software, Prime III.
  • Mozilla Acquires Pocket, Will Open Source Pocket Code
    Chances are you've heard the new: Mozilla has acquired Pocket, the go-to 'read it later' service, and says it plans to open-source Pocket code in due course.
  • The Speed Of LLVM's LLD Linker Continues Looking Good
    LLVM's LLD linker still isn't too widely used yet on Linux systems, but the performance of this linker alternative to GNU Gold and GNU ld are quite compelling. We've written many times before about the much progress and better performance of "the LLVM linker" while some new numbers were committed to the LLD documentation.
  • Welcome to Code.mil - an experiment in open source at the Department of Defense!
  • DoD Announces the Launch of “Code.mil,” an Experiment in Open Source
    The Department of Defense (DoD) announced the launch of Code.mil, an open source initiative that allows software developers around the world to collaborate on unclassified code written by federal employees in support of DoD projects.
  • An Introduction to Open Data Kit

Leftovers: Software

  • Linux Command Line Browser To Surf Internet
    Links is an open source text and graphical web browser with a pull-down menu system. It renders complex pages, has partial HTML 4.0 support (including tables and frames and support for multiple characters sets such as UTF-8), supports color and monochrome terminals and allows horizontal scrolling. It’s very useful for low resources computers because day by day the web pages are bigger and heavier. If your computer doesn’t have a suitable performance you’ll have some mistakes while you’re surfing. So, Links is much faster than any common web browser (with GUI) because it doesn’t load all the content of a website, for example, videos, flash, etc.
  • Stacer – The Linux System Optimizer You’ve Been Waiting For
    System optimizer apps are quite the thing on platforms such as Windows and Android. Their usefulness, however, is debatable considering how notorious they are when it comes to using system resources. On the Linux platform, however, we can almost always find the applications, a developer puts their time in developing to be mostly useful. Stacer is one such app created to better optimized your Linux PC in the sense that it packs quite the list of features you’d normally expect from an optimizer and more to give your system a refresh whenever you feel the need.
  • Ulauncher – A Lightweight Application Launcher for Linux
    Each Desktop environment has the own launcher and doing their job nicely but it take a while to launch the application whenever we are searching. Ulauncher is a lightweight application launcher that loads instant search results, usese low resources, and remembers your previous choices and automatically selects the best option for you. It’s written in Python and uses GTK as a GUI toolkit. When you are typing wrong application name, after few words or spelling, it will figure out what you meant. Use Ulauncher to open your files and directories faster with fuzzy search. Type ~ or / to start browsing. Press Alt+Enter to access the alt menu.

Linux Kernel and Graphics

Security News

  • Windows 10 least secure of Windows versions: study
    Windows 10 was the least secure of of current Windows versions in 2016, with 46% more vulnerabilities than either Windows 8 or 8.1, according to an analysis of Microsoft's own security bulletins in 2016. Security firm Avecto said its research, titled "2016 Microsoft Vulnerabilities Study: Mitigating risk by removing user privileges", had also found that a vast majority of vulnerabilities found in Microsoft products could be mitigated by removing admin rights. The research found that, despite its claims to being the "most secure" of Microsoft's operating systems, Windows 10 had 395 vulnerabilities in 2016, while Windows 8 and 8.1 each had 265. The research also found that while 530 Microsoft vulnerabilities were reported — marginally up from the 524 reported in 2015 — and 189 given a critical rating, 94% could be mitigated by removing admin rights. This was up from 85% in 2015.
  • Windows 10 Creators Update can block Win32 apps if they’re not from the Store [Ed: By Microsoft Peter. People who put Vista 10 on a PC totally lose control of that PC; remember, the OS itself is malware, as per textbook definitions. With DRM and other antifeatures expect copyright enforcement on the desktop soon.]
    The latest Windows 10 Insider Preview build doesn't add much in the way of features—it's mostly just bug fixes—but one small new feature has been spotted, and it could be contentious. Vitor Mikaelson noticed that the latest build lets you restrict the installation of applications built using the Win32 API.
  • Router assimilated into the Borg, sends 3TB in 24 hours
    "Well, f**k." Harsh language was appropriate under the circumstances. My router had just been hacked. Setting up a reliable home network has always been a challenge for me. I live in a cramped three-story house, and I don't like running cables. So my router's position is determined by the fiber modem in a corner on the bottom floor. Not long after we moved in, I realized that our old Airport Extreme was not delivering much signal to the attic, where two game-obsessed occupants fought for bandwidth. I tried all sorts of things. I extended the network. I used Ethernet-over-powerline connectors to deliver network access. I made a mystic circle and danced naked under the full moon. We lost neighbors, but we didn't gain a signal.
  • Purism's Librem 13 Coreboot Port Now "100%" Complete
    According to Purism's Youness Alaoui, their Coreboot port to the Librem 13 v1 laptop is now considered complete. The Librem 13 was long talked about having Coreboot over a proprietary BIOS while the initial models still had shipped with the conventional BIOS. Finally in 2017, they have now Coreboot at what they consider to be 100% complete for this Linux-friendly laptop.
  • The Librem 13 v1 coreboot port is now complete
    Here are the news you’ve been waiting for: the coreboot port for the Librem 13 v1 is 100% done! I fixed all of the remaining issues, it is now fully working and is stable, ready for others to enjoy. I fixed the instability problem with the M.2 SATA port, finished running all the tests to ensure coreboot is working correctly, fixed the headphone jack that was not working, made the boot prettier, and started investigating the Intel Management Engine issue.
  • Linux Update Fixes 11-Year-Old Flaw
    Andrey Konovalov, a security researcher at Google, found a use-after-free hole within Linux, CSO Online reported. This particular flaw is of interest because it appears to be situational. It only showed up in kernels built with a certain configuration option — CONFIG_IP_DCCP — enabled.