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Exploring the Future of Computing
Updated: 1 hour 6 min ago

Windows Kernel-mode drivers written in Rust

Wednesday 13th of April 2016 11:16:46 PM
This library is just a proof-of-concept of the windows kernel-mode drivers, which can be written in Rust programming language. It contains the types, constants and bindings for the Windows Driver Kit with target OS starting from Windows XP (x86/x64). Neat proof-of-concept.

Network namespaces in the Linux kernel

Wednesday 13th of April 2016 11:09:54 PM
Namespaces and cgroups are two of the main kernel technologies most of the new trend on software containerization (think Docker) rides on. To put it simple, cgroups are a metering and limiting mechanism, they control how much of a system resource (CPU, memory) you can use. On the other hand, namespaces limit what you can see. Thanks to namespaces processes have their own view of the system's resources. The Linux kernel provides 6 types of namespaces: pid, net, mnt, uts, ipc and user. For instance, a process inside a pid namespace only sees processes in the same namespace. Thanks to the mnt namespace, it's possible to attach a process to its own filesystem (like chroot). In this article I focus only in network namespaces. If you have grasped the concept of namespaces you may have at this point an intuitive idea of what a network namespace might offer. Network namespaces provide a brand-new network stack for all the processes within the namespace. That includes network interfaces, routing tables and iptables rules.

VMS Software releases OpenVMS 8.4-2

Wednesday 13th of April 2016 09:36:31 AM
As Mark Twain famously wrote, "...the reports of my death are greatly exaggerated". So with OpenVMS. VMS Software, Inc. (VSI) today announced the worldwide availability of VSI OpenVMS Version 8.4-2 (Maynard Release) operating system for HPE Integrity servers. The Maynard Release is the second by VSI. The new OS is compatible with HPE Integrity servers running the latest Intel Itanium 9500 series processor, as well as most prior generations of the Itanium processor family. VSI also reconfirmed plans to offer OpenVMS on x86-based servers. "This second release reaffirms our long-term commitment to the OpenVMS platform, and builds upon our highly successful first release of OpenVMS in June of 2015," said Duane P. Harris, CEO of VMS Software. "It is the first of many exciting improvements planned for OpenVMS, including future updates to the file system, TCP/IP, and other major improvements that we look forward to sharing with our customers as we work our way through the planned roadmap."

L4: lessons from 20 years of research and deployments

Monday 11th of April 2016 05:30:55 PM
NICTA, Australia's Information and Communications Technology Research Centre, has published a paper on the lessons learned by 20 years of work around the L4 microkernel. Some of you may remember that NICTA has developped the seL4 microkernel, one of the first - if not the first - microkernel formally verified, an important stepstone in securing computing systems against whole classes of bugs and attacks. The L4 microkernel has undergone 20 years of use and evolution. It has an active user and developer community, and there are commercial versions that are deployed on a large scale and in safety-critical systems. In this article we examine the lessons learnt in those 20 years about microkernel design and implementation. We revisit the L4 design papers, and examine the evolution of design and implementation from the original L4 to the latest generation of L4 kernels. We specifically look at seL4, which has pushed the L4 model furthest and was the first OS kernel to undergo a complete formal verification of its implementation as well as a sound analysis of worst-case execution times. We demonstrate that while much has changed, the fundamental principles of minimality, generality and high inter-process communication (IPC) performance remain the main drivers of design and implementation decisions.

How the Amiga powered your cable system in the '90s

Monday 11th of April 2016 05:29:30 PM
In terms of planning our lives around what our TVs spit out, we've come a long way from the overly condensed pages of TV Guide. In fact, the magazine was already looking awful obsolete in the 1980s and 1990s, when cable systems around the country began dedicating entire channels to listing TV schedules. The set-top box, the power-sucking block that serves as the liaison between you and your cable company, is a common sight in homes around the country these days. But before all that was the Commodore Amiga, a device that played a quiet but important role in the cable television revolution. Absolutely fascinating - I don't think we had anything even remotely like this in The Netherlands.

Android Studio 2.0 released

Monday 11th of April 2016 05:27:17 PM
Android Studio 2.0 is the fastest way to build high quality, performant apps for the Android platform, including phones and tablets, Android Auto, Android Wear, and Android TV. As the official IDE from Google, Android Studio includes everything you need to build an app, including a code editor, code analysis tools, emulators and more. This new and stable version of Android Studio has fast build speeds and a fast emulator with support for the latest Android version and Google Play Services.

'RISC-V offers simple, modular ISA'

Friday 8th of April 2016 01:11:48 AM
RISC-V is a new general-purpose instruction-set architecture (ISA) that's BSD licensed, extensible, and royalty free. It's clean and modular with a 32-, 64-, or 128-bit integer base and various optional extensions (e.g., floating point). RISC-V is easier to implement than some alternatives - minimal RISC-V cores are roughly half the size of equivalent ARM cores - and the ISA has already gathered some support from the semiconductor industry.

The time that Tony Fadell sold me a container of hummus

Thursday 7th of April 2016 10:19:24 PM
On May 15th, my house will stop working. My landscape lighting will stop turning on and off, my security lights will stop reacting to motion, and my home made vacation burglar deterrent will stop working. This is a conscious intentional decision by Google/Nest. To be clear, they are not simply ceasing to support the product, rather they are advising customers that on May 15th a container of hummus will actually be infinitely more useful than the Revolv hub. Google is intentionally bricking hardware that I own. This should be absolutely illegal. I'm pretty sure Google has some EULA bullshit that "allows" them to do it, but EULAs are legal wet sand, and honestly, I just don't care. The fact Google can just get away with this shows you just how utterly warped and inherently - I'm using that word again, it's been a while - evil they really are. These companies literally do not care about you. The sooner you accept that, the less attached and to and blinded by these companies you'll be.

Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 14316 released, includes Bash

Thursday 7th of April 2016 10:08:58 PM
In this build, you can natively run Bash in Windows as announced last week at Build 2016. To do this, you first need to turn on Developer Mode via Settings > Update & security > For developers. Then search for "Windows Features" and choose "Turn Windows features on or off” and enable Windows Subsystem for Linux (Beta). To get Bash installed, open Command Prompt and type "bash". I'm really curious to find out what fans of Bash and Linux command line tools think of this after actually using it.

The mysterious sales numbers of Commodore computers

Thursday 7th of April 2016 10:05:15 PM
And yet, from our collective memories, we all believe there was some sort of Commodore product in nearly half of US households that owned a home computer, not to mention sales worldwide. The "other people" had various Atari computers or green monochrome Apple II or II+, Tandy or, ultimately DOS Frankensteins. We'll be nice and not mention the sad Coleco Adam, since most everyone has forgotten this lonely child. But are our memories real? Was what we saw around us true, or were we living in a bubble? I played games on a C64 when I was very young, but I don't think I've ever seen a real Amiga (aside from this stuff).

Vivaldi browser officially launched

Thursday 7th of April 2016 09:59:19 PM
We are all absolutely unique and we want different things. Vivaldi web browser lets you do things your way by adapting to you and not the other way around. You prefer the browser tabs placed at the bottom or on the side of the window? - You prefer a different address bar location? Go ahead and customize your preferences be it your keyboard shortcuts, mouse gestures, appearance and so on. It's supposed to scratch that Opera itch, but I know just how demanding Opera users are. I am really curious to see if Vivaldi will ever be able to walk in those footsteps.

Users will soon be able to remove Apple's stock iOS apps

Wednesday 6th of April 2016 10:13:06 PM
Apple has added two new keys labeled "isFirstParty" and "isFirstPartyHideableApp" in iTunes metadata. These two new values started showing up a few weeks ago on every app in the App Store. The iTunes metadata is where all the information about an app is stored. It shows things like the date it was released, the App Store category it's in, its size, etc. The new keys suggest the ability to remove apps such as Stocks, Compass, and Voice Messages is coming very soon. Hiding is not removing, but at least this will solve part of the fast-growing unremovable crapware problem on iOS.

*Interview with Ray Tomlinson on Creeper/Reaper*

Wednesday 6th of April 2016 05:00:47 PM
It's been several weeks since Ray Tomlinson, best known for the invention of email, passed on. Email, however, represents only a very small portion of his work and contributions. While writing a research paper on possible new methods to reduce and eradicate malware, I came across a bit of intriguing history whose available details did not satisfy my curiosity, and I needed to know more than what the internet had to offer. The event in question was the creation of Creeper, a piece of software created in 1971 by Bob Thomas that, according to most sources, is the world's first computer virus. There hasn't been a lot of information available on the internet regarding Creeper except that it was created to "infect" computers running the TENEX operating system on ARPAnet. It would cause the machine to print "I'M THE CREEPER. CATCH ME IF YOU CAN." Then Ray Tomlinson created Reaper whose sole purpose was to seek out and remove Creeper from the machines it had "infected". I wanted to know more, though. Why was Creeper created in the first place? Did it cause problems? Was it an annoyance to those managing the machines it affected? Should it really be considered the first virus (technically worm, if that)? In late 2014 I ended up finding Ray Tomlinson on LinkedIn of all places and asked him if I could ask a few questions about Creeper and Reaper. He very kindly obliged. Read more on this exclusive OSNews article...

WhatsApp is now fully encrypted, end-to-end, on all platforms

Tuesday 5th of April 2016 10:23:01 PM
Over the past year, we've been progressively rolling out Signal Protocol support for all WhatsApp communication across all WhatsApp clients. This includes chats, group chats, attachments, voice notes, and voice calls across Android, iPhone, Windows Phone, Nokia S40, Nokia S60, Blackberry, and BB10. As of today, the integration is fully complete. Users running the most recent versions of WhatsApp on any platform now get full end to end encryption for every message they send and every WhatsApp call they make when communicating with each other. This includes all the benefits of the Signal Protocol - a modern, open source, forward secure, strong encryption protocol for asynchronous messaging systems, designed to make end-to-end encrypted messaging as seamless as possible. WhatsApp is the most popular messaging protocol in the world (in my own country it's effectively at 100% market share), so to see it do end-to-end encryption is a huge deal.

Subgraph OS: open source OS that prioritizes security, anonymity

Tuesday 5th of April 2016 10:12:39 PM
Subgraph, an open source security company based in Montreal, has published the alpha release of Subgraph OS, which is designed to with security, anonymity AND usability in mind. "Subgraph OS was designed from the ground-up to reduce the risks in endpoint systems so that individuals and organizations around the world can communicate, share, and collaborate without fear of surveillance or interference by sophisticated adversaries through network borne attacks," its creators say. Not the first time we've talked about it.

FreeBSD 10.3 released

Monday 4th of April 2016 06:05:06 PM
The FreeBSD Release Engineering Team is pleased to announce the availability of FreeBSD 10.3-RELEASE. This is the third release of the stable/10 branch, which improves on the stability of FreeBSD 10.2-RELEASE and introduces some new features. It's got a ton of improvements to the UEFI boot loader, the Linux compatibility layer, and a whole lot more.

LumaFix64: Commodore 64 with less stripes

Monday 4th of April 2016 05:59:51 PM
You might be asking yourself, less stripes? No, not the colorful stripes on your breadbin badge. We're talking about the stripes on the video image. The same stripes that we've all become accustomed to over the many years of playing Commodore 64 games, watching demos and carrying on with modems and BBS's. These stripes, which are actually interference, come in a variety of flavors: horizontal, vertical, and checkerboard patterns. The intensity of the stripes also varies from machine to machine. Some say with that these stripes become even more apparent when using a C64 with a modern LCD monitor. Whether you love them or hate them, there is a solution for easing or even completely eliminating the stripes all together. The user e5frog on came up with a design for a carrier PCB that would sit between the VIC-II and the motherboard. It's purpose was to invert certain signals back into itself, each with an adjustable degree. These signals AEC, PHI0 and chroma are all thought to contribute to the stripes on the final output image of the C64. It's a fascinating discussion that I urge you to read.

Tabletop gaming has a white male terrorism problem

Sunday 3rd of April 2016 10:36:27 PM
White male terrorism is the white underbelly of the gaming community, meant to terrify and disrupt the lives of those who threaten the status quo by race, gender, or sexuality. It succeeds because the majority of men in the community are too cowardly to stand against the bullies and the terrorists. At best, these cowards ignore the problem. At worst, they join the terrorists in blaming their victims for the abuse. The point of online terrorism is that it is endless, omnipresent, and anonymous. I have no way of knowing whether the person with whom I’m gaming is safe or the person who wants to “slit [my] throat and fuck the gash until [I] drown in cum”. Knowing that the person sending those e-mails could be anyone and the community will not support me if/when I am attacked keeps myself and many others from the hobby. Happy Sunday.

Apple turns 40

Friday 1st of April 2016 04:22:01 PM
In 2016 Apple has become a very different kind of company - the most valuable company in the world, it so happens. Over the past 40 years, Apple has gone from a struggling upstart challenging IBM and Microsoft to being a dominant platform vendor. A company founded by two friends who bonded over a love of hacking the long-distance phone network has become a major economic gatekeeper engaged in historic policy fights with the government. It is a remarkable, improbable success story. After forty years, Apple is doing better than ever before - yet to me, it feels like they are doing worse than ever. To me, they reached their zenith about 12-15 years ago. I don't like companies for how popular they are, how widespread they are, how successful they are. All those things are irrelevant to me. They have no bearing on my enjoyment of products. To me, the highpoint of Apple was the PowerPC G4 era. The iMac G4, the iBook G4, the PowerMac G4, and the Cube. I owned all four of those, and still feel remorse for getting rid of them. I liked Apple because of the soul and emotion it used to put into its machines. I like things that aren't perfect. I like things that are inherently broken. It takes imperfection to notice perfection. I like things that could be better - but make up for it with a sense of uniqueness, personality, charm, quirkiness. Apple doesn't make products like that anymore. Everything they make now is cold, calculated, beancounted. Their products no longer have any soul, any emotion, any individuality. It's an endless parade of cold, dead metal. I wish they'd loosen up a bit.

The struggle to bring back Baldur's Gate after 17 years

Friday 1st of April 2016 04:18:30 PM
Baldur's Gate is one of the most revered RPG series in video game history. It helped write the book on Western-style RPGs, putting a focus on memorable followers and party-based combat, and tossing it all in a blender with a dungeon and a dragon. Nearly two decades later, it's back. Beamdog is a small studio, but they have grand - verging on grandiose - plans. The company was founded by Trent Oster, BioWare co-founder, and Cameron Tofer, former BioWare lead programmer. They've been quietly tinkering away on Enhanced Editions of classic BioWare and Black Isle RPGs like Baldur's Gate, Baldur's Gate II, and Icewind Dale, culminating in today's release of an all-new expansion, Baldur's Gate: Siege of Dragonspear. Oh, and they also recently brought on David Gaider, aka That Guy Who Made A Lot Of The Best Words In Dragon Age And Other BioWare RPGs For 17 Years. The Infinity engine games - the Baldur's Gate games, Icewind Dale, and of course the best one, Planescape: Torment - all make up the first golden age of RPGs. And today, we are lucky enough to witness the second golden age of RPGs, with games like Pillars of Eternity, Wasteland II, and Torment: Tides of Numenera, and cleaned-up versions of the classics. It's a really great time to be a fan of classic RPGs. And it's about to get even better. "Basically, Baldur's Gate III, every two weeks when we call [Dungeons & Dragons publisher] Wizards of the Coast, something comes up," said Daigle. "The Baldur's Gate III thing, when are we going to do that? I think the answer is when the right people and the right partners line up, something big will happen." Yes please.

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