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Exploring the Future of Computing
Updated: 10 min 51 sec ago

Debian 8 Jessie released

5 hours 42 min ago
After almost 24 months of constant development the Debian project is proud to present its new stable version 8 (code name Jessie), which will be supported for the next 5 years thanks to the combined work of the Debian Security team and of the Debian Long Term Support team. Jessie ships with a new default init system, systemd. The systemd suite provides many exciting features such as faster boot times, cgroups for services, and the possibility of isolating part of the services. The sysvinit init system is still available in Jessie. Screenshots and a screencast are available.

Steam charging for mods: for and against

Saturday 25th of April 2015 02:49:47 PM
It used to be that the only way to make money from a mod was a) make a standalone sequel or remake b) use it as a portfolio to get hired by a studio or c) back in the pre-broadband days, shovel it onto a dodgy CD-ROM (and even then, it almost certainly wasn't the devs who profited). As of last night, that changed. Mod-makers can now charge for their work, via Steam. It's far too soon to know the long-term outcome of Valve offering the option for mod creators to charge for their work, which went live yesterday using Skyrim as a test case. Everyone has an opinion, and I'll try to cover the main angles below, but first I simply want to express simple sadness. Not fatalistic sadness - I'm genuinely curious as to how this will play out, and there's high potential for excitement - but End Of An Era sadness. The backlash Valve is facing over this whole thing is immense. Every gaming website, and sites like Reddit, are swamped with people lashing out against this new Valve policy. This kind of universal backlash is incredibly rare, and it's kind of interesting to see it unfold. Whatever goodwill Valve had with PC gamer - they managed to throw it all away in a day. Absolutely amazing. As for my personal opinion on this matter - I'm used to mods being free, but considering some of the insane amounts of work people have put into incredibly complex, vast, and terrific mods for games like Skyrim, it does seem more than reasonable to give mod makers the possibility to charge for their work. And let's be absolutely clear here: Valve is forcing nobody to charge for their mods - mod makers choose to make their mods for-pay themselves. That being said, introducing money into an previously pretty much money-less scene is bound to have a lot of negative results - for instance, free mods from Nexus are being offered for sale on Steam; not by their authors, but by pirates. As a result, mod makers are removing their content from Nexus to prevent others from profiting off their work. It's a huge mess right now, and it'll be hard for Valve to regain all the goodwill they threw away in just a day.

Ubuntu Desktop to eventually switch to Snappy by default

Saturday 25th of April 2015 11:49:54 AM
Ubuntu Desktop will eventually switch to Snappy packages by default, while continuing to provide deb-based images as an alternative, at least for a while. I'm sure this doesn't come as a surprise for some of you, but further details regarding this have been revealed today. They're slowly moving away more and more from Debian packages.

EU antitrust case against Google based on 19 complainants

Saturday 25th of April 2015 11:45:55 AM
The European Union's decision to take on Google last week stems from official complaints by 19 companies in Europe and the United States, including Microsoft and a number of small firms, people familiar with the matter said on Friday. Microsoft is actually twice on the list; first as Microsoft-proper, but also as part of a lobby group also on the list. There's also a complaint from a party who remains anonymous.

Pebble is working with Apple to prevent Pebble app rejections

Friday 24th of April 2015 11:45:00 PM
Good news for Pebble and iOS users: Pebble has just posted on Reddit that it is working with Apple to make sure that rejections like this will no longer happen. Still a work-in-progress, but we're working with Apple to clear up any misunderstandings to make sure rejections like the handful of recent ones don't happen again - they're being super responsive the concerns that bubbled up (much appreciated!). Apps are still getting approved with mentions of Pebble support in the description or metadata (e.g. RunKeeper). For now, developers should continue with their iOS app update plans and approval submissions to the iTunes store as normal (i.e. include Pebble support in your app info if that was your original intent).

How photography was optimized for white skin color

Friday 24th of April 2015 11:40:01 PM
As mentioned earlier, in film photography, color balance has a lot to do with the chemical composition of the film. For many decades, color film in the United States was calibrated to highlight Caucasian skin tones. This was the most fundamental problem. With an unusual degree of skill and attention, a photographer could compensate for the biases in most stages of production. But there was nothing they could do about the film’s color balance. When the famous New Wave filmmaker Jean Luc Godard was commissioned to make a film about Mozambique, he reportedly refused to use Kodachrome film - the most popular color film at the time. He complained the film, developed for a predominantly white market, was "racist." Positively fascinating story.

MenuetOS 0.99.98 released

Friday 24th of April 2015 11:24:28 PM
An update for an actual alternative operating system from the good old days of yore. Yes, it still happens. MenuetOS 0.99.98 has been released, with "MediaPlayer demo, Updated 3DS viewer, Midiplayer, FTP". Here's some of the settings to help you on your way in VirtualBox, an in case you'r eunfamiliar with MenuetOS: MenuetOS is a real-time and multiprocessor Operating System in development for the PC written entirely in 32/64 bit assembly language. Menuet64 is released under License and Menuet32 under GPL. Menuet supports 32/64 bit x86 assembly programming for smaller, faster and less resource hungry applications.

Comcast plans to drop Time Warner Cable deal

Thursday 23rd of April 2015 09:40:31 PM
Comcast Corp. is planning to walk away from its proposed $45.2 billion takeover of Time Warner Cable Inc., people with knowledge of the matter said, after meeting with opposition from U.S. regulators. Comcast’s board will meet to finalize the decision on Thursday, and an announcement may come as soon as Friday, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. Great news for American consumers.

Will the Apple Watch apps be any good?

Thursday 23rd of April 2015 07:50:52 PM
The trouble is, no one really knows what makes a good Watch app yet. Apple can hand guidelines to developers, but even it doesn't know for certain how people are going to want to use the watch. Developers almost have to code for it, though - waiting means losing ground, users, and publicity to other apps - so thousands are now taking a crack at it and hoping that they get it right. Even of they aren't any good yet, they will improve rapidly once the Apple Watch is in the hands of the millions of users who have pre-ordered them (and the many millions more buying them over the coming months). We'll have to wait for the real applications to arrive later this year, when the native SDK arrives. The current ones are just small shells who have to beam virtually everything over from your iPhone, causing lots of performance issues across the board. I do hope they get better looking though, because my god, the current crop is clunky, busy, and ugly. Those dark transparent backgrounds everywhere remind me of old Android widgets.

The new releases of Ubuntu, Kubuntu, etc. are now available

Thursday 23rd of April 2015 07:33:59 PM
The new Ubuntu, Kubuntu, etc. are now available and include the change to systemd as the init system, new versions of LibreOffice, Firefox, Chromium, etc. The big change in Kubuntu is KDE Plasma 5 as the default desktop, and also KDE Applications 14.12.

"Apple now rejecting applications with Pebble support"

Thursday 23rd of April 2015 02:43:25 PM
In what is surely to surprise no one, and in what will surely be waved away by the usual people, Apple seems to be rejecting applications from the iOS App Store that mention "Pebble". We have just had the latest version of our SeaNav US iOS app rejected by Apple because we support the Pebble Smartwatch and say so in the app description and meta-data (we also state in the review notes that "This application was approved for use with the Pebble MFI Accessory in the Product Plan xxxxxx-yyyy (Pebble Smartwatch)". See copy of rejection reason below. SeaNav US has previously been approved by Apple with no problem, we have had Pebble support in SeaNav for nearly 2 years and there are no changes to our support for the Pebble in this version. What are Apple doing? Have they gone Apple Watch crazy? What can we do? This application has been in the App Store for two years with the same mentions of Pebble and Pebble support, but now that the Apple Watch is here, that's magically no longer allowed. Further down in the comments, another developer has had to remove Pebble screenshots from his application's description page. About a month ago, I already predicted this kind of bevahiour, mostly because I'm really good at pattern recognition. I think this calls for an official EU investigation into Google's behaviour.

A new documentary asks: will e-sports ever go mainstream?

Wednesday 22nd of April 2015 09:50:59 PM
A work-in-progress cut of All Work All Play, a documentary that focuses on the rise of e-sports and some of the best competitive teams in the world, just premiered at the TriBeCa Film Festival. All Work All Play profiles a few professional League of Legends teams as well as the programming director of the Electronic Sports League, Michal "Carmac" Blicharz. The film attempts to bring the viewer into the world of competitive gaming while constantly making comparisons to other professional sports by highlighting team changes, grandiose spectacles, intense crowds, and broadcasters. I watch a lot of let's plays on YouTube, and as far as e-sports go, I only watch the various League of Legends championships, most notably the European and North-American leagues. The idea of watching other people play games is easier to explain if you dig back into your gaming childhood, which for me, meant playing games on the NES, SNES, and PC with friends. A large portion of the time, you would not be the one playing; you'd be one of the people watching. I have a feeling the surge in let's plays and e-sports has its roots in that. There's something relaxing - and in the case of e-sports, exhilarating - about watching other people play the games you love.

GCC 5.1 released

Wednesday 22nd of April 2015 09:46:00 PM
GCC 5.1 has been released, and you can browse through the changes, improvements, new features, updates, and fixes. I feel no shame in admitting that compilers go way, way over my head, so I can't make much sense of all this.

Google announces its virtual carrier program

Wednesday 22nd of April 2015 06:37:41 PM
Google just officially announced its virtual carrier, Google Fi. The pricing: Project Fi takes a fresh approach to how you pay for wireless, manage your service, and get in touch when you need help. We offer one simple plan at one price with 24/7 support. Here's how it works: for $20 a month you get all the basics (talk, text, Wi-Fi tethering, and international coverage in 120+ countries), and then it's a flat $10 per GB for cellular data while in the U.S. and abroad. 1GB is $10/month, 2GB is $20/month, 3GB is $30/month, and so on. Since it's hard to predict your data usage, you'll get credit for the full value of your unused data. Let's say you go with 3GB for $30 and only use 1.4GB one month. You'll get $16 back, so you only pay for what you use. The pricing scheme is very interesting, but it's limited to US Nexus 6 owners for now. It intelligently switches between wifi, T-Mobile, and Sprint.

Twitter details new measures to combat abuse

Tuesday 21st of April 2015 10:50:41 PM
We believe that users must feel safe on Twitter in order to fully express themselves. As our General Counsel Vijaya Gadde explained last week in an opinion piece for the Washington Post, we need to ensure that voices are not silenced because people are afraid to speak up. To that end, we are today announcing our latest product and policy updates that will help us in continuing to develop a platform on which users can safely engage with the world at large. They're trying, and that's commendable. This must be an incredible engineering problem.

BlackBerry Leap review

Tuesday 21st of April 2015 10:40:48 PM
At the end of the day, BlackBerry needed to make this device happen, even if fans are screaming from the rooftops that they want a high-end all-touch device. Despite whether or not you personally decide to pick one up, the BlackBerry Leap is a pretty solid and very capable device that comes at a reasonable price, it just so happens that BlackBerry had to make a few compromises to make it all come together. I get the Passport (still want one!), I get the Classic. I do not, however, get a generic BlackBerry phones that looks like any other default Android device - but with an operating system nobody (except people like me) is asking for.

Sony's Xperia Z4 is the flagship nobody asked for

Tuesday 21st of April 2015 10:37:09 PM
Let's talk about the Sony Xperia Z4. The Japanese electronics giant announced the latest in its line of premium Z-series smartphones recently for its home market. And it's fair to say the popular reaction to the device has fallen somewhere between bewilderment and outright derision. Consumers and critics alike seem confused as to why this phone exists, questioning the priorities Sony's taken with what appears to be its early-2015 flagship. With questionable hardware priorities and no word of any global launch, it's a bizarre turn for Sony, coming as the company looks to restructure and streamline its smartphone offerings and focus primarily on the high end of the market. The Xperia Z4 can boast only a couple of meaningful improvements over its six-month-old predecessor, and in one or two important areas it may actually be a regression from the Z3. Now that the Nexus 5 is being phased out without replacement (could you get on that, Google?), and the Nexus 6 is ugly and huge, I consider the Z3 and Z3 Compact to be the phones to get if you want Android. They're only six months old, modern in every respect, look great, have minimal software customisations, better battery life than the competition, and thanks to Sony's progressive open source efforts, great third party ROM support (mostly). Hence, it's sad to see that, in the pursuit of thinness, the Z4 actually has a smaller battery, and possibly, shorter battery life.

From Metro to Microsoft Design Language 2

Tuesday 21st of April 2015 06:41:40 PM
When Microsoft releases Windows 10 later this year, it will come with a new design language which has slowly been uncovered with the latest builds of Windows 10 for phones. One member of the Windows community has put together a massive guide that shows the transitions from Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8.1 to both Windows 10 and Windows 10 for phones. While the appearance is still decidedly Metro, it all feels a lot more dark Material Design-ish.

John Oliver: patents

Tuesday 21st of April 2015 06:36:31 PM
For inventors, patents are an essential protection against theft. But when patent trolls abuse the system by stockpiling patents and threatening lawsuits, businesses are forced to shell out tons of money. I honestly did not expect John Oliver to touch this subject.

iOS 8.3 and desktop file managers

Monday 20th of April 2015 11:25:25 PM
I missed this when reports first came out last week: with iOS 8.3, file managers such as iMazing and iExplorer can no longer access the document libraries of iOS apps over a USB connection. Stop hitting yourself and start using a platform that actually fits your needs.

More in Tux Machines

Leftovers: KDE Software

  • Let’s take a look to Kde Plasma 5.3 beta
    A couple of days ago I spoke about the new release of the Kde Applications 15.04 which represents a great and important step towards the completion of the passage from the old Kde 4 to the new Plasma 5 environment.
  • Dusting KMouth
    Besides gardening lately (more on that next time) lately I've been looking into what needs and used to use KSpeech/KTTS/Jovie. As QtSpeech will replace the functionality Jovie provided I thought I'd look at what needs doing to get stuff using QtSpeech.
  • My experiences at conf.kde.in 2015
    Last year I really wanted to attend conf.kde.in but couldn’t because my train tickets were not confirmed by the time it started. So, I had made up my mind right then, that I will definitely attend it the next year by all means. So, this year I applied and was accepted as a speaker too. But tragedy struck again, when some college issues clashed with the date of my flight, so I had to reschedule it once, and then one more time due to one more clash, after which I could finally reach Amritapuri in the evening of Day 1 of conference when it was already over. So, yes I was sad as I had missed the first day, but that also meant that I should make the best of the second day for sure.
  • conf.kde.in ’15 – My views
    This year’s conf.kde.in – KDE India’s annual conference on KDE/Qt technologies, was hosted in Amrita University’s Amritapuri campus and it still feels kinda surreal indeed. Thankfully, it all unfolded well enough. It was the first time a KDE conference was being hosted in Southern India or at least in Kerala to the best of my knowledge. I think one of the main reasons for this to happen was my experience with the previous edition of the same conference, which was held in Gandhinagar, Gujarat. Back then, I had just started to contribute to KDE and was very keen on attending the conference. However, it’d take me at least 5 days to travel back and forth and attend the conference – something which seemed improbable, if not possible given the schedule of classes any engineering student would have. It was also back then that I’d met Pradeepto Bhattacharya, Founder of KDE-India and had an informal chat and it motivated me to try contributing to KDE. He also wanted to see me attend the conference in Gujarat. However, I was unable to, despite wanting to.
  • Use Geofix to Geotag Photos in digiKam
  • Cross Platformity
    Several years ago we started porting Calligra to Windows. Supported by NLNet. Some time later, Intel also supported KO to create two Windows versions of Krita, one for tablets, one for convertible ultrabooks and later still, a new version of Calligra Words, Stage and Sheets for convertible ultrabooks. Meanwhile, the Krita Foundation has been publishing Krita on Windows and OSX for some time now. That's a fair amount of experience in puslishing software originally written on Linux on other platforms.
  • Building on new pillars: Activities and KPeople in Plasma 5.3
    With the release of Plasma 5.3 only days away, it's time to start talking about some of the new features users of Plasma Desktop will get their hands on in the new version.

Xubuntu 15.04: quick screenshot tour

The 23rd of April 2015 was the date when Canonical released the set of their new operating systems: Ubuntu 15.04 family. It includes Ubuntu itself, Ubuntu MATE and GNOME editions, Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Lubuntu and so on. Read more

Another Surprise: Mageia 5 RC is available!

I don't know why DistroWatch seemed to have missed it, but Mageia 5 RC is available for download. Read more

Another Surprise: Mageia 5 RC is available!

I don't know why DistroWatch seemed to have missed it, but Mageia 5 RC is available for download. Read more