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Exploring the Future of Computing
Updated: 1 hour 31 min ago

Windows 10 bumps kernel version to 10.0

Thursday 27th of November 2014 03:24:44 PM
A long-standing oddity of Windows is that its branded number has for some years now not matched the version number stamped into the kernel and other parts of the operating system. Windows 7, for example, reported itself to software as being version 6.1. Windows 8 is 6.2, and Windows 8.1 is 6.3. Current public builds of Windows 10 repeat this trend - they purport to be version 6.4 - but not for much longer. Chinese site ITHome published a picture showing the version number to be 10.0. Version number 10.0 is also cropping up on BuildFeed which tracks build numbers, and has been further corroborated elsewhere. Interesting little tidbit of information.

Google should be broken up, say European MPs

Thursday 27th of November 2014 03:19:27 PM
The European Parliament has voted in favour of breaking Google up, as a solution to complaints that it favours is own services in search results. Politicians have no power to enforce a break-up, but the landmark vote sends a clear message to European regulators to get tough on the net giant. I'm glad they're keeping a close watch on these powerful companies, but a break-up? Good luck with that.

New ReactOS Explorer merged

Thursday 27th of November 2014 12:29:49 PM
The new ReactOS Explorer is much more compatible, stable, and comes with more features than the current (and now old) explorer. We expect it to be a big quality jump in terms of usability, and the rockstar feature of the upcoming 0.4 release. Just keep reading to discover more about it! The new shell has been merged today.

Businessweek on Anita Sarkeesian

Thursday 27th of November 2014 10:24:57 AM
"People are talking about women and games seriously; people are taking the critiques seriously," Sarkeesian says as she stirs her tea. "It's been a huge shift. This discussion is becoming more mainstream." A blond woman sitting at the next table before an array of New York City street maps begins squirming excitedly in her seat. "Are you talking about the article about gaming in the New York Times yesterday? I read it!" she says excitedly. "Did you write that? It was great!" Fantastic article, horrible title (hence why I'm using a generic placeholder title instead). She's not gaming's "greatest adversary". In fact, Sarkeesian - and people like her, trying to create more diversity in every aspect of gaming - are gaming's greatest asset.

DragonFly BSD 4.0 released

Wednesday 26th of November 2014 08:55:59 PM
The DragonFly BSD operating system is a server oriented project. Though originally forked from FreeBSD, DragonFly BSD is an independent operating system that carries a number of unique features, foremost among them is the HammerFS file system. DragonFly BSD 4.0 was released on November 25th and offers several new features. Version 4 of DragonFly brings Haswell graphics support, 3D acceleration, and improved performance in extremely high-traffic networks. DragonFly now supports up to 256 CPUs, Haswell graphics (i915), concurrent pf operation. The latest version of DragonFly BSD no longer supports 32-bit x86 machines and is designed to work exclusively on the 64-bit x86 architecture.

Apple could ditch Google for Bing or Yahoo next year

Tuesday 25th of November 2014 11:38:14 PM
Google risks losing its spot as the default search provider in Apple's Safari browser next year, according to a report from The Information. The latest extension of a deal that's put Google Search in the hands of iPhone owners since 2007 is set to expire in 2015, and Mountain View rivals Microsoft and Yahoo are already making a case for change with Apple's leadership. Per the report, each company has pitched Apple SVP Eddy Cue on the idea of replacing Google as the default iOS search provider; Microsoft wants Bing to be the default option out of the box, and Yahoo is vying for the same spot. This will be an interesting claim of Apple's claim that they care about consumers. If they renew the deal, they place their customer's interests first, because their customers massively prefer Google Search. However, if they ditch Google and replace it with some inferior nonsense like Bing or Yahoo, they care more about their personal vendetta than their customers' best interests. If they go the privacy angle, switching to Bing or Yahoo is even more laughable, since those companies track just as much as Google does. If Apple opts for DDG as default - well, then they earn some respect.

God's lonely programmer

Tuesday 25th of November 2014 08:49:57 PM
TempleOS is more than an exercise in retro computing, or a hobbyist's space for programming close to the bare metal. It's the brainchild - perhaps the life's work - of 44-year-old Terry Davis, the founder and sole employee of Trivial Solutions. For more than a decade Davis has worked on it; today, TempleOS is 121,176 lines of code, which puts it on par with Photoshop 1.0. (By comparison, Windows 7, a full-fledged modern operating system designed to be everything to everyone, filled with decades of cruft, is ​about 40 million lines.) If you read just one article today, make sure it's this one.

FreeBSD improves arm64 support

Tuesday 25th of November 2014 08:46:52 PM
The FreeBSD Foundation published a report yesterday on the status of FreeBSD running on 64-bit ARM processors. Work to port FreeBSD to the 64-bit ARM architecture has been progressing quickly and it is now possible to boot a FreeBSD installation into single user mode on the young architecture. The kernel bring-up portion of the project is nearing completion; FreeBSD/arm64 boots to single-user mode on ARM's reference simulator. Work is underway on the remaining kernel drivers, and on userland support. This project's overall goal is to bring FreeBSD/arm64 to a Tier-1 status, including release media and prebuilt package sets. More information about the arm64 port can be found on the FreeBSD wiki.

WSJ: Galaxy S5 sales 40 percent below Samsung's expectations

Tuesday 25th of November 2014 12:24:20 AM
Samsung's mobile business has been having a rough year - it's still one of the biggest and most profitable players in the Android ecosystem, but profits are down. That can be attributed at least in part to lower than expected sales of the company's flagship Galaxy S5. The Wall Street Journal reports that Samsung increased production by 20 percent relative to last year's Galaxy S4, but that it actually sold 40 percent less than it expected to. The S4 sold around 16 million phones in its first three months on the market, compared to just 12 million for the S5. Samsung was becoming far too dominant, so I'm glad they're being taken down a notch on both the high and the low end. Other Android manufacturers (and Apple, but that's nothing new) are putting the squeeze on Samsung, and that leads to more choice for consumers, as well as lower prices, and in many cases, better quality for the same or less money. We all benefit.

The final countdown for NPAPI in Chrome

Monday 24th of November 2014 07:43:09 PM
Currently Chrome supports NPAPI plugins, but they are blocked by default unless the user chooses to allow them for specific sites (via the page action UI). A small number of the most popular plugins are whitelisted and allowed by default. In January 2015 we will remove the whitelist, meaning all plugins will be blocked by default. In April 2015 NPAPI support will be disabled by default in Chrome and we will unpublish extensions requiring NPAPI plugins from the Chrome Web Store. Although plugin vendors are working hard to move to alternate technologies, a small number of users still rely on plugins that haven’t completed the transition yet. We will provide an override for advanced users (via chrome://flags/#enable-npapi) and enterprises (via Enterprise Policy) to temporarily re-enable NPAPI while they wait for mission-critical plugins to make the transition. Definitely a big chance some Chrome users will have to account for.

iMac with Retina display vs. the original Apple Macintosh

Monday 24th of November 2014 07:41:35 PM
When first released in 1984, the Apple Macintosh shipped with a black-and-white 512 x 342 display. Fast forward 30 years to the release of the iMac with Retina 5K display, which ships with a 5,120 x 2,880 display with support for millions of colours. That's an increase from 175,000 pixels to more than 14.7 million - an 8,400% increase. 80 of the original Macintosh displays fit within a single Retina 5K display. The picture really does speak a thousand words. This post turns everything around.

NetBSD launches stability updates

Saturday 22nd of November 2014 10:18:36 AM
The NetBSD project has announced two important stability updates for its highly portable operating system. The NetBSD Project is pleased to announce NetBSD 5.1.5, the fifth security/bugfix update of the NetBSD 5.1 release branch, and NetBSD 5.2.3, the third security/bugfix update of the NetBSD 5.2 release branch. They represent a selected subset of fixes deemed important for security or stability reasons, and if you are running a prior release of either branch, we strongly suggest that you update to one of these releases. Details on the two updated branches of NetBSD can be found in the release notes for NetBSD 5.1.5 and NetBSD 5.2.3.

Quartz OS aims to bring Material Design to the desktop

Saturday 22nd of November 2014 10:17:13 AM
Quantum OS aims to build a new operating system based on Linux, with a user interface built on Qt and designed according to Google's Material Design guidelines. We plan to develop the desktop shell and applications primarily using Qt 5 and QML, which will allow us to build highly polished and dynamic user interfaces and will work well for implementing Material Design. If possible, we will build the desktop shell in as much QML as possible built on top of the QtCompositor API, which provides a Qt framework for building a Wayland compositor. As for the base system, they're still not sure if they're going for Ubuntu or Arch. We plan to initially leverage an existing operating system, most likely Arch or Ubuntu. Arch is a strong possibility because of the simple packaging manager, lightweight base system, and the rolling release concept. Our goal is to base our work on the latest upstream versions available, with no patches or modifications, so our work will run on any base Linux distro that supports Wayland.

Adobe's got Photoshop running in Chrome

Friday 21st of November 2014 06:22:32 PM
Using Photoshop usually requires lugging a typically cumbersome, expensive computer around, and changing that experience has been the dream of many creatives for years. As we found out back in September, it's a problem that Adobe has been actively working with Google to solve. The two companies have been working together for almost two years to bring Photoshop to the browser, and they finally have a working version called Photoshop Streaming that they're letting educational institutions apply to test over the next six months. Yesterday, I got a look at it in action when Adobe's director of engineering, Kirk Gould, remotely ran me through a brief demo of the program.

How to add a dedicated number row to the Android keyboard

Friday 21st of November 2014 06:20:02 PM
Here's one of those things that's been around for a little bit, but well hidden. If you're a fan of the stock Google keyboard but would love to have a dedicated number row - particularly given the size of many of today's smartphones - you can do it. It's not just an Android 5.0 Lollipop feature, so you're able to do this on the Nexus 6 or LG G3 or HTC One or whatever. You will, however, have to do a little digging in the keyboard settings. One of those little tips that can really make your phone better.

Haiku progress update towards beta 1

Thursday 20th of November 2014 09:54:44 PM
This week I continued work on moving Beta1 forward, fixing some important and less important bugs. To make things clear about what to expect in the upcoming weeks, I will spend more time on Beta1 tasks, but I'll also continue working on WebKit. However, my work there will focus on fixing bugs, rather than adding new features. Haiku gives some insights into recent progress towards the first beta release. Definitely worth a read if you want to keep up with how far along they are.

Windows 10 Technical Preview first impressions

Thursday 20th of November 2014 09:48:37 PM
AnandTech on the Windows 10 Technical Preview: Although we have only seen the Technical Preview and a single update to it so far, you can see the potential for Windows 10 and what it will be able to accomplish. It is an ambitious goal to provide a single platform across such a swath of different devices, and one that was held back by the user interface before. With Continuum, it appears that it may be the best of both worlds. Even more exciting is how much more upfront and open Microsoft has been on this entire process, with not just the technical preview but also soliciting and requesting user feedback on the changes. One of the biggest change requests was a simple animation on the Start Menu, and that has already been implemented, so this really is a different world than when Windows 8 was given a sneak peek. From a technical point of view, Windows 8 was great. However, it was hampered by bad user interface and interaction design at virtually every level. If Windows 10 will undo at least some of the damage done, then it's a great leap forward.

Google and Rockstar wind down their year-long patent war

Thursday 20th of November 2014 09:44:37 PM
Good news, I guess. The patent troll Rockstar - a consortium lead by Apple, Microsoft, and a few others - has kissed and made up with Google. A court document (PDF) filed Monday revealed that Google and Rockstar had settled, "in principle, all matters in controversy between the parties," and the two sides signed a term sheet. It isn't clear if the deal will also resolve Rockstar's allegations of infringement against Google's Android partners who got sued, including Samsung and HTC. One patent troll lawsuit less.

Mageia 3 reaches its end of life

Thursday 20th of November 2014 09:32:13 PM
Version 3 of the Mageia distribution reaches its end of life on November 26, 2014. The developers of this user friendly Linux distribution are turning their efforts toward working on the upcoming Mageia 5 and urge users of Mageia 3 to upgrade their installations to continue receiving security updates. The Mageia blog reports: As you all know, we can’t maintain Mageia releases forever. And it’s time to say goodbye to Mageia 3. After Wednesday the 26th of November, this release won’t benefit from any more security or bugfix updates. This will allow QA team to give more time for polishing our coming Mageia 5. So you have only one week left to upgrade to Mageia 4 if you want to keep an up-to-date system. People who wish to upgrade their Mageia 3 installations without performing a fresh install of the operating system can follow the upgrade instructions on Mageia's website.

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