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Exploring the Future of Computing
Updated: 9 min 26 sec ago

Has the internet killed curly quotes?

Wednesday 28th of December 2016 10:42:38 PM
The trouble with being a former typesetter is that every day online is a new adventure in torture. Take the shape of quotation marks. These humble symbols are a dagger in my eye when a straight, or typewriter-style, pair appears in the midst of what is often otherwise typographic beauty. It's a small, infuriating difference: "this" versus “this.” I'll stop replacing curly quotes with straight quotes on OSNews the day the tech industry gives me back my Dutch quotation marks („Like so”, he said) and adds multilingual support to Google Now and Siri and so on (which right now require a full wipe to change languages, making them useless for hundreds of millions of people who live bilingual lives). Yes, I can be petty.

Microsoft to require Precision Touchpads on new hardware

Wednesday 28th of December 2016 10:22:10 PM
Microsoft knows this, and have announced at WinHEC that they are looking at making the use of Precision Touchpads a requirement for devices part of the Hardware Compatibility Program, for future versions of Windows 10 after the Creators Update. This, in theory, would mean hardware makers would have no choice but to implement Precision Touchpads rather than touchpads from Synaptics or some other 3rd party trackpad maker if they wish to preload Windows 10 on their devices. I get the impression that most Windows laptops have perfectly decent trackpad hardware, but they just really suck at the software aspect of the story. More often than not, trackpads will function like a PS/2 mouse, with little to no regard for them actually being surfaces instead of rolling balls or bouncing lasers. Even when laptop makers include terrible third-party drivers with horrid configuration applications, the end result is still garbage. I've never actually used one of these fabled Precision Trackpads before, so I can't attest to their quality, but from what I hear, they're almost Apple-level in terms of quality. And honestly - even a potato would be better than the average Windows trackpad.

Microsoft Word for Windows version 1.1a source code

Wednesday 28th of December 2016 09:07:09 PM
Clearly there was something extraordinary about Word for Windows. Part of its success was due to Microsoft's marketing acumen. But it was also a stunning technical achievement, and its ability to run on ordinary PCs created the first popular vanguard of the new graphics-oriented style of document preparation. Remember, this was a time when a typical personal computer might have an 8 Mhz processor, 1 megabyte of memory, a 20 megabyte hard disk, and a floppy disk drive. How did Word accomplish so much with so little? There's only one way to understand the magic in detail: read the code. With the permission of Microsoft Corporation, the Computer History Museum is pleased to make available, for non-commercial use, the source code of Word for Windows version 1.1a as it was on January 10, 1991. Quite amazing that we're getting access to the source code for pivotal software like this.

Pixel for PC and Mac

Wednesday 28th of December 2016 12:24:19 AM
PIXEL represents our best guess as to what the majority of users are looking for in a desktop environment: a clean, modern user interface; a curated suite of productivity software and programming tools, both free and proprietary; and the Chromium web browser with useful plugins, including Adobe Flash, preinstalled. And all of this is built on top of Debian, providing instant access to thousands of free applications. Put simply, it's the GNU/Linux we would want to use. The Raspberry Pi's "own" Linux distribution is now also available for Windows and Mac - i.e., a live image you can run on your PC.

The little book about OS development

Tuesday 27th of December 2016 09:27:24 PM
This text is a practical guide to writing your own x86 operating system. It is designed to give enough help with the technical details while at the same time not reveal too much with samples and code excerpts. We've tried to collect parts of the vast (and often excellent) expanse of material and tutorials available, on the web and otherwise, and add our own insights into the problems we encountered and struggled with.

MacBook Battery time remaining

Tuesday 27th of December 2016 09:26:14 PM
Apple removed the "battery time remaining" indicator from the battery status menu in the latest version 10.12.2 of macOS. Apparently it wasn't accurate. Did you know that MacBook batteries have a dedicated chip that keeps track of how much energy goes in and out of the battery during all times? For example, the 13" MacBook Pro from 2015 uses a BQ20Z451 "battery fuel gauge chip" from Texas Instruments.

FreeDOS 1.2 released

Tuesday 27th of December 2016 11:54:47 AM
The FreeDOS 1.2 release is an updated, more modern FreeDOS. You'll see that we changed many of the packages. Some packages were replaced, deprecated by newer and better packages. We also added other packages. And we expanded what we should include in the FreeDOS distribution. Where FreeDOS 1.0 and 1.1 where fairly spartan distributions with only "core" packages and software sets, the FreeDOS 1.2 distribution includes a rich set of additional packages. We even include games. But the biggest change you are likely to notice in FreeDOS 1.2 is the updated installer. Jerome Shidel wrote an entirely new FreeDOS install program, and it looks great! We focused on keeping the new installer simple and easy to use. While many DOS users in 2016 are experienced DOS programmers and DOS power users, we often see many new users to FreeDOS, and I wanted to make the install process pleasant for them. The default mode for the installer is very straightforward, and you only have to answer a few questions to install FreeDOS on your system. There's also an "Advanced" mode where power users can tweak the install and customize the experience. Great Christmas gift.

World war three, by mistake

Saturday 24th of December 2016 08:46:19 PM
Every technology embodies the values of the age in which it was created. When the atomic bomb was being developed in the mid-nineteen-forties, the destruction of cities and the deliberate targeting of civilians was just another military tactic. It was championed as a means to victory. The Geneva Conventions later classified those practices as war crimes - and yet nuclear weapons have no other real use. They threaten and endanger noncombatants for the sake of deterrence. Conventional weapons can now be employed to destroy every kind of military target, and twenty-first-century warfare puts an emphasis on precision strikes, cyberweapons, and minimizing civilian casualties. As a technology, nuclear weapons have become obsolete. What worries me most isn’t the possibility of a cyberattack, a technical glitch, or a misunderstanding starting a nuclear war sometime next week. My greatest concern is the lack of public awareness about this existential threat, the absence of a vigorous public debate about the nuclear-war plans of Russia and the United States, the silent consent to the roughly fifteen thousand nuclear weapons in the world. These machines have been carefully and ingeniously designed to kill us. Complacency increases the odds that, some day, they will. The “Titanic Effect” is a term used by software designers to explain how things can quietly go wrong in a complex technological system: the safer you assume the system to be, the more dangerous it is becoming. Donald Trump, the next president of the United States and commander-in-chief of the most powerful nuclear arsenal in the world, said in a tweet this week: "The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes". He also told a TV host "let there be an arms race". In response to these remarks by the next president of the United States and commander-in-chief of the most powerful nuclear arsenal in the world, Vladimir Putin, president of the Russian Federation and supreme commander-in-chief of the other most powerful nuclear arsenal in the world, said "We need to strengthen the military potential of strategic nuclear forces, especially with missile complexes that can reliably penetrate any existing and prospective missile defence systems". Sleep tight, and merry Christmas.

Cyanogen shuts down CyanogenMod; CM forks into Lineage

Saturday 24th of December 2016 08:36:27 PM
The implosion of Cyanogen, Inc., has reached its zenith. The company is shutting down all services related to CyanogenMod, effectively killing the open source community project, and since Cyanogen, Inc., owns all the trademarks regarding Cyanogen, the community project can't continue operating as-is. As a result, CyanogenMod has forked itself into LineageOS, and plans to continue doing what it does best. Embracing that spirit, we the community of developers, designers, device maintainers and translators have taken the steps necessary to produce a fork of the CM source code and pending patches. This is more than just a 'rebrand'. This fork will return to the grassroots community effort that used to define CM while maintaining the professional quality and reliability you have come to expect more recently. I hate saying "I told you so" but... Who am I kidding - I love saying "I told you so". I told you so.

More in Tux Machines

Why Linux Installers Need to Add Security Features

Twelve years ago, Linux distributions were struggling to make installation simple. Led by Ubuntu and Fedora, they long ago achieved that goal. Now, with the growing concerns over security, they need to reverse directions slightly, and make basic security options prominently available in their installers rather than options that users can add manually later. At the best of times, of course, convincing users to come anywhere near security features is difficult. Too many users are reluctant even to add features as simple as unprivileged user accounts or passwords, apparently preferring the convenience of the moment to reducing the risk of an intrusion that will require reinstallation, or a consultation with a computer expert at eighty dollars an hour. Read more

Linus Torvalds Announces Subsurface 4.6 Open-Source Dive Log and Planning App

Linus Torvalds not only works on the Linux kernel, but he's also part of the development team behind the open-source dive log and dive planning application most of you out there know as Subsurface. Read more

openSUSE Tumbleweed Gets XOrg Server 1.19 & Irssi 1.0, PulseAudio 10 Coming Soon

openSUSE Project's Douglas DeMaio is informing the Tumbleweed community today, January 18, 2017, about the latest software updates and other improvements delivered by a total of two snapshots released last week. Read more

today's leftovers

  • Linux use on Pornhub surged 14% in 2016
    Pornhub is one of the preeminent porn sites on the web. Each year Pornhub releases a year in review post with anonymous details about the site’s users. More and more Linux users are visiting Pornhub, Linux saw an impressive 14% increase in traffic share in 2016.
  • Amdocs partners with Linux Foundation to accelerate OpenECOMP adoption in Open Source
  • Calamares 2.4.6 Distribution-Independent Linux Installer Delivers Improvements
    The Calamares team is proud to announce the availability of the sixth maintenance update to the 2.4 stable series of the open-source, distribution-independent system installer Calamares, for Linux-based operating systems. Calamares 2.4.6 comes approximately two months after the release of the previous version, namely Calamares 2.4.5, and, as expected, it's a bugfix release that only delivers various improvements and bug fixes for some of the issues reported by users during all this time.
  • Shotwell Photo Manager 0.25.3 Released
    Photography fans will be pleased to hear that a new bug-fix release of photo management app Shotwell is now available to download.
  • AntiX 16.1 is available for public
    AntiX is Debian based Linux distribution. It uses lightweight desktop environments like Fluxbox, Icewm, Xfce, etc. This distribution is originated in Greece and is typically ideal for old systems. Few hours ago AntiX team released new version named AntiX 16.1. It is based on Debian Jessie.
  • Tumbleweed Preps for PulseAudio 10, Gets Ruby, Python Updates
    Developers using openSUSE Tumbleweed are always getting the newest packages as well as updated languages and past week’s snapshots delivered update versions of Python and Ruby. The most recent snapshot, 20170112, brought Python 2.x users version 2.7.13, which updated cipher lists for openSSL wrapper and supports versions equal to or greater than OpenSSL 1.1.0. Python-unidecode 0.04.20 was also updated in the snapshot. Another update related to OpenSSL 1.1.0 was PulseAudio 9.99.1, which is a release in preparation for PulseAudio 10.0. PulseAudio 10.0 includes compatibility with OpenSSL 1.1.0, a fix for hotplugged USB surround sound cards and and automatic switching of Bluetooth profile when using VoIP applications.
  • Genode OS Framework Planning For Async I/O, App ABI, Qt5 Plans For 2017
    The Genode Operating System Framework has announced their planned roadmap for this year as the involved developers continue working on this original OS initiative. The overall theme of the Genode OS work in 2017 is to focus on stability and scalability, but there is also much more on their road-map for this calendar year.
  • PrestaShop
    Helping people overcome the challenges of building and growing an online business is what the PrestaShop open-source ecommerce platform is all about. The significant PrestaShop 1.7 release provides innovations focused on three themes: sell faster, create easier and code better.
  • This Week in Spring: Reactor 3.0, Open Source CD, and All Kinds of Cloud