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Exploring the Future of Computing
Updated: 1 hour 49 min ago

Federal Trade Commission wins antitrust case against Qualcomm

Thursday 23rd of May 2019 11:16:57 PM
One of the key points of this case is that “In numerous cases Qualcomm threatened with a disruption of chipset supplies unless OEMs accepted its patent licensing terms, and there were various agreements under which OEMs paid a higher patent royalty when using third-party modem chips than Qualcomm’s products.” The judge found that “Qualcomm’s licensing practices have strangled competition in the CDMA and premium LTE modem chip markets for years, and harmed rivals, OEMs, and end consumers in the process.” As a remedy, Qualcomm is ordered to take several steps which will reduce the amount of power it holds over its customers and will need to renegotiate new license terms without the threats that had accompanied previous negotiations.

Haiku switches system allocator to rpmalloc

Thursday 23rd of May 2019 11:08:17 PM
As of hrev53136, we’ve finally replaced the aging hoard2 with a shiny new mmap-based allocator – mjansson’s rpmalloc. Thanks to @pulkomandy and @mmlr for helping out with that work! The main benefit here will be on 64-bit Haiku, as applications will now (finally) be able to use more than 1.5GB of RAM each, a limitation of the old allocator. But there are some pretty nice (10-15%) performance benefits over the old allocator, too. More of the technical details can be found in the commit message 5, but essentially the only thing to be concerned about is if things start suddenly crashing more often. It’s already known to exacerbate a few pre-existing WebKit crashes (mostly around Google Maps or the like, which were already so unstable as to be unusable anyway).

Why Linux on Desktop ‘Failed’: A discussion with Mark Shuttleworth

Thursday 23rd of May 2019 11:06:02 PM
In an interesting video interview, Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth shares his thoughts on desktop Linux. Some of his most prominent statements include: “I think the bigger challenge has been that we haven’t invented anything in the Linux that was like deeply, powerfully ahead of its time” and, “if in the free software community we only allow ourselves to talk about things that look like something that already exists, then we’re sort of defining ourselves as a series of forks and fragmentations.”

Buying an IBM mainframe

Thursday 23rd of May 2019 09:02:00 PM
I bought an IBM mainframe for personal use. I am doing this for learning and figuring out how it works. If you are curious about what goes into this process, I hope this post will interest you. Is it just me, or is everyone buying an IBM mainframe these days? What’s with the sudden resurgence in interest?

OpenVMS x86-64 port achieves first DIR command

Thursday 23rd of May 2019 08:59:06 PM
VSI is porting OpenVMS to x86-64. The company has done a lot of work, and it is beginning to bear fruit. Recently they’ve managed to boot the kernel and perform a DIR command. Grand steps indeed. Truly amazing work!

Apple and Amazon cut a deal that upended the Mac resale market

Wednesday 22nd of May 2019 11:25:22 PM
When John Bumstead looked at listings for his products on in early January, he was waiting for the guillotine to fall. A small online business owner from Minneapolis, Minnesota, Bumstead specializes in refurbishing and selling old MacBooks, models he typically buys from recyclers and fixes up himself. But on January 4th, Bumstead’s entire business dwindled into nonexistence as his listings were removed from the platform due to a new policy limiting all but the largest companies and specially authorized providers from selling Apple products. Apple made a special deal with Amazon to basically exterminate all third party repair services and used Apple product sellers that aren’t specifically approved by Apple. The result is a sharp increase in pricing on used Apple products sold on Amazon – exactly what Apple wants, of course – and smaller, non-Apple approved resellers are dying off. Charming. And people actually claim Apple has morals and values.

The US DOC gives Huawei a 90-day window to support existing devices

Wednesday 22nd of May 2019 11:13:52 PM
The Trump administration is working to ban Huawei products from the US market and ban US companies from supplying the Chinese company with software and components. The move will have wide-ranging consequences for Huawei’s smartphone, laptop, and telecom-equipment businesses. For the next 90 days, though, Huawei will be allowed to support those products. The US Department of Commerce (DOC) has granted temporary general export license for 90 days, so while the company is still banned from doing business with most US companies, it is allowed to continue critical product support. Meanwhile, ARM has also cut ties with Huawei. This story is far, far from over.

Linux distributions without systemd

Wednesday 22nd of May 2019 11:11:22 PM
If you are reading this post you’re very much likely not a fan of systemd already. So we won’t preach on why systemd is bad, but today we’ll focus more on what are the alternatives out there. Our approach is obviously not for settling for less but for changing things for the better. We have started the world after systemd project some time ago and the search isn’t over. So what are the non-systemd distros out there? I’ll be honest and say that I completely missed the systemd controversy back when it happened, and while I’ve tried reading up on the criticism of systemd, I clearly lack the technical acumen to say anything meaningful about it either way. But hey, for those of you out there who don’t like systemd – this one’s for you.

Google pulls Huawei’s Android license

Monday 20th of May 2019 09:23:32 PM
Big news over the weekend. Following The United States government’s ban on importing products from Huawei, Google had to suspend Huawei’s Android license. Alphabet’s Google has suspended business with Huawei that requires the transfer of hardware, software and technical services except those publicly available via open source licensing, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters on Sunday, in a blow to the Chinese technology company that the U.S. government has sought to blacklist around the world. Holders of current Huawei smartphones with Google apps, however, will continue to be able to use and download app updates provided by Google, a Google spokesperson said, confirming earlier reporting by Reuters. This means that from now on, Huawei only has access to the AOSP parts of Android – it no longer has access to the Google Play Store and other Google Play Services. This is a major blow to Huawei’s business in the United States. Other companies, like Intel and Qualcomm, have also complied with the US government’s ban and are also blacklisiting Huawei. Huawei’s response doesn’t say much: Huawei has made substantial contributions to the development and growth of Android around the world. As one of Android’s key global partners, we have worked closely with their open-source platform to develop an ecosystem that has benefitted both users and the industry. Huawei will continue to provide security updates and after-sales services to all existing Huawei and Honor smartphone and tablet products, covering those that have been sold and that are still in stock globally. It’s important to note that the US government has as of yet been unable to provide any evidence that Huawei devices contain backdoors or are somehow used to spy on people. That being said, it wouldn’t be hard to imagine such a scenario – all countries spy on all other countries, and China is in a unique position, as the manufacturing centre of the world, to do so. I do wish to point out, though, that devices from other companies – Apple, Google, Dell, and virtually everyone else – are manufactured in the same factories by the same people led by the same managers owned by the same Chinese government as Huawei devices. Singling out Huawei, while trusting your Pixel 3 or iPhone X which rolls off the same assembly line, seems naive, at best. China will, probably, retaliate, especially since Chinese people themselves seem to solidly back Huawei. The totalitarian government has many ways it can strike back, and with a growing sentiment in China to boycott Apple, it wouldn’t be surprising to see China target Apple, specifically, in its response.

Translating an ARM iOS app to Intel macOS using Bitcode

Monday 20th of May 2019 09:07:58 PM
What is Bitcode? Well, bitcode with a small b is an architecture-specific intermediate representation used by LLVM, and capital-B Bitcode pertains to a set of features allowing you to embed this representation in your Mach-O binary and the mechanisms by which you can provide it to Apple in your App Store submissions. Of course, the specter of macOS on ARM has been in the public psyche for many years now, and many have pondered whether Bitcode will make this transition more straightforward. The commonly held belief is that Bitcode is not suited to massive architectural changes like moving between Intel and ARM. I was unconvinced, so I decided to test the theory! By Steven Troughton-Smith, so you know you’re going to learn more than you bargained for.

Wide color photos are coming to Android

Monday 20th of May 2019 09:03:14 PM
Android is now at the point where sRGB color gamut with 8 bits per color channel is not enough to take advantage of the display and camera technology. At Android we have been working to make wide color photography happen end-to-end, e.g. more bits and bigger gamuts. This means, eventually users will be able to capture the richness of the scenes, share a wide color pictures with friends and view wide color pictures on their phones. And now with Android Q, it’s starting to get really close to reality: wide color photography is coming to Android. So, it’s very important to applications to be wide color gamut ready. This article will show how you can test your application to see whether it’s wide color gamut ready and wide color gamut capable, and the steps you need to take to be ready for wide color gamut photography.

IBM 360 Model 20 rescue and restoration

Monday 20th of May 2019 02:14:02 PM
In late April of 2019 Adam Bradley and Chris Blackburn were sitting in a pub on a Monday night when Chris happened across a somewhat unusual eBay listing for an IBM 360 Model 20. This eBay listing was unusual mainly because it didn’t actually list the computer as an IBM 360, but rather as an “seltene Anlage “Puma Computer IBM 2020” which roughly translates from German into “rare plant “Puma Computer IBM 2020”. Amazing story.

Three big reasons why Americans aren’t upgrading their phones

Friday 17th of May 2019 11:47:21 PM
Last month, Verizon and AT&T made official something you’ve probably been aware of for a while: American smartphone owners are upgrading a lot less than they used to. In fact, they’re hitting record lows at the two biggest US carriers, with people apparently more content than ever to keep hold of their existing device. This is a global trend, as the smartphone market is reaching maturity and saturation in many developed nations, and yet it’s most pronounced in the United States for a few reasons particular to the country. The article focuses on the United States, but correctly points out this is a global trend in the developed world. Not only are phones quite expensive, they have also been more than good enough for quite a few years now, and there’s very little in the sense of revolutionary progress being made form generation to generation. Earlier this year, I dropped my OnePlus 6T on a sharp rocky edge, and it broke the glass back. I sent it in for repairs – €40, not bad – and while it was being repaired, I dusted off my old Nexus 6P and used it instead. I was surprised by just how perfectly fine and usable it was – sure, it was a little slower here and there, the screen isn’t as nice, those sorts of things, but as a whole, if I hadn’t had the 6T to compare it to, I would be none the wiser. It makes perfect sense for general consumers to stick with their expensive phones for longer, especially now that the market has pretty much saturated.

How the first smartphone came out in 1994, but flopped

Friday 17th of May 2019 11:40:27 PM
Silicon Valley’s favorite mantra goes “Fail often, fail fast.” It captures the tech industry’s long history of dismantled startups, lost jobs, demoralization, and bankruptcy. One casualty was General Magic, an offshoot of Apple that strove to develop the next level in personal computing: a handheld computer. At the time they considered the project an advanced PDA, but today we’d recognize it as a smartphone. Before the iPhone, General Magic created the operating system for the Sony Magic Link in 1994. Sandy Kerruish and Matt Maude’s new documentary General Magic details the colossal failure that ensued. Apple, Microsoft, General Magic, and Palm were all working on PDAs at the time. Only one of them succeeded.

The 101 of ELF files on Linux: understanding and analysis

Friday 17th of May 2019 12:33:26 AM
Some of the true craftsmanship in the world we take for granted. One of these things is the common tools on Linux, like ps and ls. Even though the commands might be perceived as simple, there is more to it when looking under the hood. This is where ELF or the Executable and Linkable Format comes in. A file format that used a lot, yet truly understood by only a few. Let’s get this understanding with this introduction tutorial! Some light reading for the weekend.

Introducing Translatotron: an end-to-end speech-to-speech translation model

Thursday 16th of May 2019 11:34:15 PM
In “Direct speech-to-speech translation with a sequence-to-sequence model”, we propose an experimental new system that is based on a single attentive sequence-to-sequence model for direct speech-to-speech translation without relying on intermediate text representation. Dubbed Translatotron, this system avoids dividing the task into separate stages, providing a few advantages over cascaded systems, including faster inference speed, naturally avoiding compounding errors between recognition and translation, making it straightforward to retain the voice of the original speaker after translation, and better handling of words that do not need to be translated (e.g., names and proper nouns). As a translator, I feel less and less job-secure every time Google I/O rolls around.

Sony and Microsoft set rivalry aside for cloud gaming alliance

Thursday 16th of May 2019 10:41:31 PM
Sony and Microsoft, bitter rivals in the video game console wars, will team up in on-demand gaming to better compete with newcomers like Google as the industry’s main battlefield looks poised to shift to the cloud, Nikkei learned Thursday. During a recent trip to the U.S., Sony President and CEO Kenichiro Yoshida signed a memorandum of understanding with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella on a strategic tie-up. While details have yet to be hammered out, the partnership will center on artificial intelligence and the cloud, according to an announcement by Microsoft early Friday Japan time. They must be quite worried about Google Stadia to actually work together to try and counter it. Enemy of my enemy and all that.

It’s time to pay attention to Intel’s Clear Linux OS project

Wednesday 15th of May 2019 11:55:41 PM
Intel’s Clear Linux Project has been on my radar for months, mainly because of its sheer dominance over traditional Linux distributions — and often Windows — when it comes to performance. From time to time I check in on the latest Phoronix benchmarks and think to myself “I really need to install that.” Up until recently though, the installer for Clear Linux was anything but intuitive for the average user. It also looked considerably dated. Version 2.0 gives the installer a complete overhaul. Aside from the fact it runs Gnome – which is not something I’d want to use – the main issue I have with this project is that it’s from Intel. The processor giant has had many Linux projects in the past, but it often just abandons them or doesn’t really know what to do with them.

Behind Twitter’s plan to get people to stop yelling at one another

Wednesday 15th of May 2019 11:47:09 PM
Over several days this spring, BuzzFeed News met with Twitter’s leadership and watched as twttr’s team worked on its first big push: helping people better understand what’s being said in often chaotic conversations. The team thinks that if people took more time to read entire conversations, that would help improve their comprehension of them. Maybe they wouldn’t jump to react. Maybe they’d consider their tone. Maybe they’d quit yelling all the time. Or maybe, not even thousands of deeply studied, highly tested product tweaks will be enough to fix the deep-seated issues with a culture more than 13 years in the making. I don’t think hippy ideals such as described will fix Twitter – or online discourse in general. There are bad actors actively stirring up trouble and pitting us against each other, and no amount of UI changes or whatever is going to fix that.

WhatsApp voice calls used to inject Israeli spyware on phones

Tuesday 14th of May 2019 12:45:36 AM
A vulnerability in the messaging app WhatsApp has allowed attackers to inject commercial Israeli spyware on to phones, the company and a spyware technology dealer said. WhatsApp, which is used by 1.5bn people worldwide, discovered in early May that attackers were able to install surveillance software on to both iPhones and Android phones by ringing up targets using the app’s phone call function. The malicious code, developed by the secretive Israeli company NSO Group, could be transmitted even if users did not answer their phones, and the calls often disappeared from call logs, said the spyware dealer, who was recently briefed on the WhatsApp hack. I never answer phone calls from telephone numbers I am not familiar with, let alone when the incoming callers his their number blocked. Apparently, though, not even protects you from attacks such as these.

More in Tux Machines

Today in Techrights

today's leftovers

  • Zombieload, Nextcloud, Peppermint 10, KDE Plasma, IPFire, ArcoLinux, LuneOS | This Week in Linux 67
    On this episode of This Week in Linux, we’ll check out some Distro News from Peppermint OS, ArcoLinux, LuneOS & IPFire. We got a couple apps to talking about like Nextclou0…d and a new Wallpaper tool that has quite a bit of potential. We’ll take a look at what is to come with the next version of KDE Plasma. Intel users have gotten some more bad news regarding a new security vulnerability. Later in the show, we’ll cover some interesting information regarding a couple governments saving money by switching to Linux. Then finally we’ll check out some Linux Gaming News. All that and much more on your Weekly Source for Linux GNews!
  • Ubuntu Podcast: S12E07 – R-Type
    This week we’ve been installing Lineage on a OnePlus One and not migrating Mastodon accounts to We round up the Ubuntu community news from Kubuntu, Ubuntu MATE, Peppermint OS and we discuss some tech news. It’s Season 12 Episode 07 of the Ubuntu Podcast! Alan Pope, Mark Johnson and Martin Wimpress are connected and speaking to your brain.
  • OpenGL 4.6 / SPIR-V Support Might Be Inching Closer For Mesa Drivers
    We're quickly approaching the two year anniversary of the OpenGL 4.6 release and it's looking like the Intel/RadeonSI drivers might be inching towards the finish line for that latest major revision of the graphics API.  As we've covered many times, the Mesa drivers have been held up on OpenGL 4.6 support due to their SPIR-V ingestion support mandated by this July 2017 version of the OpenGL specification. While there are the Intel and Radeon RADV Vulkan drivers already with the SPIR-V support that is central to Vulkan, it's taken a long time re-fitting the OpenGL drivers for the likes of ARB_gl_spriv. Then again, there aren't many (actually, any?) major OpenGL games requiring version 4.6 of the specification even with its interoperability benefits thanks to SPIR-V.

Software: Left, Samba, LaTeX, PyRadio and More

  • Left Is A Minimalist, Distraction-Free Text Editor For Writers
    Left is a free and open source distraction-free text editor for Linux, Windows and Mac. The main goal of Left is to get you to focus on writing. It comes with writing essentials like autocomplete, synonym suggestions and writing statistics, but it doesn't support text formatting, and doesn't have all the bells and whistles found in applications like LibreOffice Writer or Microsoft Office Word. This minimalist text editor may not be particularly exciting, and it's not for everyone, but if you're working on a long writing project, a clean interface that allows you to focus exclusively on your work may be for you.
  • Samba 4.10.4 Released With 40 Bug fixes
    The Samba Team announced the availability of Samba 4.10.4. This is the latest stable release of the Samba 4.10 release series. Also, they released a patch against Samba 4.10.3. This release comes with close to 40 bug fixes.
  • 8 Best latex editors for Linux, Windows or MacOS
    LaTeX project is a programming language with which scientific and mathematical texts can be created. The full form of LaTeX here is Lamport TeX. In simple words, it is a document preparation system for high-quality typesetting but for special purposes where you need scientific and mathematical texts like scientific formulas for some academic books or PDF… Using packages or libraries, you can extend the scope of functions to create graphics and formulas. Now, what exactly is the LaTex editor? In simple words, the editor that supports LaTeX programming to create documents is called LaTeX editors. Thus, it is not like our normal word editor where we get formatted text in WYSIWYG (“what you see is what you get”) such as OpenOffice, LibreOffice or Microsoft Office. LaTeX is totally opposite uses a command line interface to format text for books or documents need an extensive text system that is intended for books, scientific papers and articles. Particularly in the mathematical-technical area, the system offers itself because of the formulas contained. You can simply install LaTeX on your system and then text can be entered in a simple editor and saved in a source text file, similar to a script. This text is supplemented by LaTeX commands, which, for example, identify chapters, sections, headings, and quotes. In addition, a LaTeX document can be spread over several files, so that each chapter is a separate file. However, there are a good number of best LaTeX backed editors are available for online to download with both open sources as well as a free license for Windows, Linux and MacOS. Thus, here we are with some best open source or free LaTeX editors but before installing them remember they are not simple text editors and to operate them, first, you must get familiar with the LaTeX commands…
  • PyRadio – curses based internet radio player
    On my roadmap is to review all actively maintained internet radio players. To date, I’ve covered odio, Shortwave, and Radiotray-NG. While there’s lots to admire in these projects, I feel that an internet radio player meeting all my requirements is still out there waiting to be discovered. For this review, I’ll run through PyRadio. Unlike the other radio players I’ve covered, PyRadio is curses based software.
  • Insync 3 Beta Available With OneDrive Syncing Support On Linux [Ed: Give all your files to Microsoft (which bribes officials to dump GNU/Linux, puts back doors in everything arrests whistleblowers etc.)]
  • GNOME 3.34's Mutter Gets Important Fix To Avoid Stuttering / Frame Skips
    In addition to GNOME's Mutter compositor / window manager seeing an important fix recently lowering the output lag under X11 so it matches GNOME's Wayland performance, another important Mutter fix also landed. The Mutter/Clutter change to avoid skipping over the next frame to render has landed. This is yet another big deal contribution by Canonical's Daniel van Vugt as part of their GNOME desktop enhancements.
  • Firefox brings you smooth video playback with the world’s fastest AV1 decoder
    Tuesday’s release of Firefox 67 brought a number of performance enhancing features that make this our fastest browser ever. Among these is the high performance, royalty free AV1 video decoder dav1d, now enabled by default on all desktop platforms (Windows, OSX and Linux) for both 32-bit and 64-bit systems. With files more than 30% smaller than today’s most popular web codec VP9 [1], and nearly 50% smaller than its widely deployed predecessor H.264 [2], AV1 allows high-quality video experiences with a lot less network usage, and has the potential to transform how and where we watch video on the Internet. However, because AV1 is brand new and more sophisticated, some experts had predicted that market adoption would wait until 2020 when high-performance hardware decoders are expected. Dav1d in the browser upends these predictions.
  • GNU Binutils Begins Landing eBPF Support
    The GNU Binutils is finally getting wired up around the Extended BPF (eBPF) as the modern, in-kernel virtual machine that stretches the Berkeley Packet Filter beyond the networking subsystem.  Compiling for eBPF has most commonly been done by the LLVM eBPF back-end to allow compiling C into the eBPF bytecode but it looks like the GNU toolchain developers are looking to increase their support around the increasingly common eBPF use-cases for this in-kernel VM.

Distros: Draco in Sparky, Fedora Issues and Optional Dependencies in Debian

  • Draco Desktop
    There is a new desktop available for Sparkers: Draco
  • Archiving 26 500 community Q&As from Ask Fedora
    Ask Fedora is the Fedora Linux community’s questions-and-answers portal, and it recently transitioned from a forum software called Askbot to Discourse. Changing the underlying forum software doesn’t have to be destructive but Ask Fedora decided to go with a nuke-and-pave migration strategy: They decided to start from scratch instead of copying user accounts and the user-contributed content to the new software. The first time I learned of the migration was a few days after it had happen. I’d run into an issue with my Fedora installation and went online looking for solutions. Every useful search result was from the old Ask Fedora site and every link returned an HTTP 404 Not Found error message as those answers hadn’t been migrated to the new Ask Fedora website.
  • Attention epel6 and epel7 ppc64 users
    If you are a epel6 or epel7 user on the ppc64 platform, I have some sad news for you. If you aren’t feel free to read on for a tale of eol architectures. ppc64 (the big endian version of power) was shipped with RHEL6 and RHEL7 and Fedora until Fedora 28. It’s been replaced by the ppc64le (little endian) version in Fedora and RHEL8.
  • Optional dependencies don’t work
    In the i3 projects, we have always tried hard to avoid optional dependencies. There are a number of reasons behind it, and as I have recently encountered some of the downsides of optional dependencies firsthand, I summarized my thoughts in this article. [...] Software is usually not built by end users, but by packagers, at least when we are talking about Open Source. Hence, end users don’t see the knob for the optional dependency, they are just presented with the fait accompli: their version of the software behaves differently than other versions of the same software. Depending on the kind of software, this situation can be made obvious to the user: for example, if the optional dependency is needed to print documents, the program can produce an appropriate error message when the user tries to print a document. Sometimes, this isn’t possible: when i3 introduced an optional dependency on cairo and pangocairo, the behavior itself (rendering window titles) worked in all configurations, but non-ASCII characters might break depending on whether i3 was compiled with cairo. For users, it is frustrating to only discover in conversation that a program has a feature that the user is interested in, but it’s not available on their computer. For support, this situation can be hard to detect, and even harder to resolve to the user’s satisfaction.