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What Happened in Mobile is Happening in Desktops

Filed under
Linux

Free software everywhere

Touchscreen computer
Photo by Barney Livingston from Brighton, UK

Summary: Tablets and smartphones, where Linux is the standard platform, are not the only form factors where freedom-respecting software is good enough for everyone

GNU/Linux is no underdog anymore. HP currently pre-installs GNU/Linux and it does not charge "Microsoft tax" [1]. As one who uses an HP laptop to write this, the feeling of saying it is pretty good, putting aside some of the negative sides of HP (no company is perfect). Almost any bit of hardware can run GNU/Linux [2], so excuses like technical difficulties (e.g. drivers) no longer pass muster and demand from the public is definitely growing (Google and its hardware partners sell many machines with GNU/Linux pre-installed). In this age of GNU/Linux with Steam and Android with Play, even gaming is hardly a valid excuse [3] (neither for game developers nor gamers). There are plenty of decent (user-friendly) desktop front ends, and even the notorious Unity is liked by some [4]. Some would go as far as saying that "Linux [became] too easy" [5,6] for the shrinking market which is desktops [7,8]. It is safe to say "shrinking" because even Intel, the company which cashed in on desktops, is feeling the pinch [9] as hardware becomes smaller and more efficient in the ours rooms and the back rooms also [10]. Tablets and smartphones, suffice to say, are an area dominated by Linux already. That is a growth area.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Workstation Computers From HP

    They do supply that other OS pre-installed but you can see the price difference between that and installing GNU/Linux.

  2. Create custom Linux-based systems regardless of the hardware

    Jeff Osier-Mixon is a community manager at Intel for The Yocto Project, an open source collaboration project that provides templates, tools and methods to help you create custom Linux-based systems for embedded products regardless of the hardware architecture. Basically: The Yocto Project allows development to happen without the worries of what hardware the code will run on.

  3. Windows 8.1, Linux, Android, and "The Next Big Thing"™

    Slightly off-topic from typical gaming related news, but I thought I would start a conversation since many devs and gamers I talk with often discuss this OS or that OS as “The Next Big Thing”™. The general consensus I get from the public is that Windows 8 got off to a rocky start given the changes they’ve made to the interface. From a gaming perspective Microsoft has only added incremental updates to DirectX 11 since the release of Windows 8.0. Microsoft today has released Windows 8.1 RTM and it comes with DX 11.2 (IMO nothing big, but some convenient updates). Despite public backlash against tiles and Windows apps, Microsoft decided to release the update via the Windows Store app (oh the irony). They also forgot to mention that you need a special update for Windows 8.0 in order to download 8.1. Not off to a good start. So I just finished the update and after waiting just a little over an whole hour for it to finish, I’m regretting it big time. My standard desktop account was replaced and I’m now logged in using my online Microsoft account. Seriously?

  4. The Linux Setup - Tynan, SETT Developer

    I just use the default Unity interface. It’s not perfect, but it doesn’t do anything egregiously bad like Windows does. I don’t like the launcher (I rely on Synapse instead), but I love the top bar with the unified messaging/audio/etc. The indicators on the sidebar are great, too.

  5. "Fed up with Windows? Linux too easy?"
  6. Fed up with Windows? Linux too easy? Get weird, go ALTERNATIVE

    It's hard to believe, looking at the modern computing world, but there is still more to life than Windows or Unix… and today, most of the alternatives run on vanilla x86 hardware and are free.

  7. The PC Industry Is Thriving

    Tablets and smartphones are PCs! The real problem, for some companies, is that they have been producing what Wintel wanted and not what consumers wanted, small cheap computers. Naturally, if you’re trying to sell these people big expensive computers, they won’t be buying. The market for personal computers is thriving, according Statista. Look at shipments per annum (millions):

  8. PC sales in spiralling death dive
  9. Intel to Play Fab for an ARM Chipmaker: Understanding What the Altera Deal Means

    Decision is puzzling given Intel's potential to catch up in the tablet market

  10. New supercomputer uses SSDs as alternative to DRAM, hard drives

    A new supercomputer being deployed this month in the U.S. is using solid-state drive storage as an alternative to DRAM and hard drives, which could help speed up internal data transfers.

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Today in Techrights

Security Leftovers

  • Thousands of FedEx customers' private info exposed in legacy server data breach

    Uncovered by Kromtech Security Center, the parent company of MacKeeper Security, the breach exposed data such as passport information, driver's licenses and other high profile security IDs, all of which were hosted on a password-less Amazon S3 storage server.

  • Correlated Cryptojacking

    they include The City University of New York (cuny.edu), Uncle Sam's court information portal (uscourts.gov), Lund University (lu.se), the UK's Student Loans Company (slc.co.uk), privacy watchdog The Information Commissioner's Office (ico.org.uk) and the Financial Ombudsman Service (financial-ombudsman.org.uk), plus a shedload of other .gov.uk and .gov.au sites, UK NHS services, and other organizations across the globe.

    Manchester.gov.uk, NHSinform.scot, agriculture.gov.ie, Croydon.gov.uk, ouh.nhs.uk, legislation.qld.gov.au, the list goes on.

  • Facebook using 2FA cell numbers for spam, replies get posted to the platform

    Replies ending up as comments appears to be a bizarre bug, but the spamming seems intentional.

  • Swedish Police website hacked [sic] to mine cryptocurrency

    Remember now, it is a Police Force that allowed their website to be hijacked by this simple attack vector. The authority assigned to serve and protect. More specifically, the authority that argues that wiretapping is totally safe because the Police is competent in IT security matters, so there’s no risk whatsoever your data will leak or be mishandled.

    This is one of the websites that were trivially hacked [sic].

    It gives pause for thought.

    It also tells you what you already knew: authorities can’t even keep their own dirtiest laundry under wraps, so the notion that they’re capable or even willing to protect your sensitive data is hogwash of the highest order.

  • New EU Privacy Law May Weaken Security

    In a bid to help domain registrars comply with the GDPR regulations, ICANN has floated several proposals, all of which would redact some of the registrant data from WHOIS records. Its mildest proposal would remove the registrant’s name, email, and phone number, while allowing self-certified 3rd parties to request access to said data at the approval of a higher authority — such as the registrar used to register the domain name.

    The most restrictive proposal would remove all registrant data from public WHOIS records, and would require legal due process (such as a subpoena or court order) to reveal any information supplied by the domain registrant.

  • Intel hit with 32 lawsuits over security flaws

    Intel Corp said on Friday shareholders and customers had filed 32 class action lawsuits against the company in connection with recently-disclosed security flaws in its microchips.

  • The Risks of "Responsible Encryption"

    Federal law enforcement officials in the United States have recently renewed their periodic demands for legislation to regulate encryption. While they offer few technical specifics, their general proposal—that vendors must retain the ability to decrypt for law enforcement the devices they manufacture or communications their services transmit—presents intractable problems that would-be regulators must not ignore.

  • Reviewing SSH Mastery 2nd Ed

    It’s finally out ! Michael W Lucas is one of the best authors of technical books out there. I was curious about this new edition. It is not a reference book, but covers the practical aspects of SSH that I wish everybody knew. Rather than aggregating different articles/blogs on SSH, this book covers 90% of the common use cases for SSH that you will ever encounter.