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Reg readers take the Dell 'Open-source PC' challenge

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Hardware

Once upon a time, Michael Dell heard about this thing called Linux. The open-source operating system promised to sweep across PCs all over the world. Ever the low-cost, high-volume guy, Mikey figured he could sell a heck of lot of systems with Linux, and set to work pumping companies such as Red Hat and Eazel with money from Dell's Venture Fund, and even declared that Dell would be the very first major OEM to ship PCs with Linux already installed.

In Redmond, Mikey Dell's plan didn't go over so well. Of all Microsoft's OEMs, Dell was the most favored - because it sold the most boxes. The word came down from the top. Dell would need to put on a tutu and twirl its way back to the all-Windows camp.

"I'm thinking of hitting the OEMs harder than in the past with anti-Linux. ... they should do a delicate dance," Microsoft's OEM enforcer announced.

These days, even without a real Linux on the PC business, Dell still dances more delicately than a ceramic music box ballerina twirling under a Skycar.

Dell wants you to know about something called "Open-Source PCs," which ship with a copy of the widely popular FreeDOS operating system in the packaging material but not installed on the PCs. In theory, this provides an easy path for customers to install any OS they like on the systems.

But this whole public relations exercise in openness began to unravel when we discovered the Windows-less PCs cost more than similar Windows-equipped PCs, and when it's near impossible to purchase an "Open-Source PC," in the first place.

Full Story.

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today's leftovers

  • Linux Kernel Podcast for 2017/03/21
  • Announcing the Shim review process [Ed: accepting rather than fighting very malicious things]
    However, a legitimate criticism has been that there's very little transparency in Microsoft's signing process. Some people have waited for significant periods of time before being receiving a response. A large part of this is simply that demand has been greater than expected, and Microsoft aren't in the best position to review code that they didn't write in the first place.
  • rtop – A Nifty Tool to Monitor Remote Server Over SSH
    rtop is a simple, agent-less, remote server monitoring tool that works over SSH. It doesn’t required any other software to be installed on remote machine, except openSSH server package & remote server credentials.
  • Chakra GNU/Linux Users Get KDE Plasma 5.9.3 and KDE Applications 16.12.3, More
    Neofytos Kolokotronis from the Chakra GNU/Linux project, an open-source operating system originally based on Arch Linux and the KDE Plasma desktop environment, announced the availability of the latest KDE updates in the distro's repositories. Those of you using Chakra GNU/Linux as your daily drive will be happy to learn that the stable repos were filled with numerous up-to-date packages from the recently released KDE Plasma 5.9.3 desktop environment, KDE Applications 16.12.3 software suite, and KDE Frameworks 5.32.0 collection of over 70 add-on libraries for Qt 5.
  • YaST Team: Highlights of YaST development sprint 32
    One of the known limitations of the current installer is that it’s only able to automatically propose an encrypted schema if LVM is used. For historical reasons, if you want to encrypt your root and/or home partitions but not to use LVM, you would need to use the expert partitioner… and hope for the best from the bootloader proposal. But the new storage stack is here (well, almost here) to make all the old limitations vanish. With our testing ISO it’s already possible to set encryption with just one click for both partition-based and LVM-based proposals. The best possible partition schema is correctly created and everything is encrypted as the user would expect. We even have continuous tests in our internal openQA instance for it. The part of the installer managing the bootloader installation is still not adapted, which means the resulting system would need some manual fixing of Grub before being able to boot… but that’s something for an upcoming sprint (likely the very next one).
  • Debian stretch on the Raspberry Pi 3 (update) (2017-03-22)
    I previously wrote about my Debian stretch preview image for the Raspberry Pi 3.
  • Asus Tinker Board – Chromium YouTube Performance
    One of the many strengths of the Asus Tinker Board is its multimedia support. This 4K video capable machine is a mouthwatering prospect for the multimedia enthusiast. The machine has a respectable 1.8GHz ARM Cortex-A17 quad-core processor. It’s only 32-bit (unlike the Raspberry Pi 3) but has a higher clock speed. The Tinker Board also sports an integrated ARM-based Mali T764 graphics processor (GPU).

Microsoft vs GNU/Linux