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Opposition grows to Microsoft's make-Chrome-use-Bing plan for Office 365 customers

Filed under
Google
Microsoft
Web

Resistance has mounted over the last several days to Microsoft's decision to change the default search engine of Google's Chrome to Bing on personal computers running Office 365 ProPlus.

Microsoft quietly announced the move Jan. 21 on its Microsoft 365 Roadmap page, then on Jan. 22 published support documents with additional information and a blog post that stated the company's rationale.

Commentary on Microsoft's blog, the support document and elsewhere — including an Office 365 website dedicated to user requests — was almost universally negative.

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Spring the mouse trap: don't fall for Disney+

Filed under
GNU
Movies
Web

It's common to feel a little uneasy when it comes to Disney. Most people know that the mouse didn't get to where he is now by himself, and that behind him there are more shadowy people wearing suits than their cheerful advertising admits. Likewise, the intricate control and extensive surveillance they have over their parks can be seen as a playground for dystopia.

Over the last few decades, the company has grown tremendously, with billion dollar franchises such as Star Wars and the Marvel universe making up only a fraction of the Disney empire, in addition to the complete film catalog of 20th Century Fox. Disney's leadership in the movie world has given them immense power that they have a rich history of abusing, as we've seen with the "Mickey Mouse Protection Act," and the notorious Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

Like the witch with her cauldron, Disney executives were concocting something evil when they were brewing up Disney+. It needed just the right amount of poison to be palatable: not enough to where it would turn everyone away, but not so little that users would be able to actually take a screenshot of the film that they are watching. Maleficent is more than just a character in a Disney film; it's an apt descriptor for the behavior of Disney itself when it comes to their attack on culture through Digital Restrictions Management (DRM).

Along with the steady wave of advertising, Disney+ drew early comments from concerned free software developers like Hans de Goede, who was among the first to point out that Disney+ would be using the highest restriction level of Widevine DRM. Widevine is a scheme that's familiar to anti-DRM activists, and is one commonly embedded in Encrypted Media Extensions (EME), the World Wide Web's Consortium's initiative to create a Hollyweb out of the Internet. For a short time, this made the Disney+ "service" incompatible with all GNU/Linux systems, Chromebooks, and many older Android devices. Though public comment led them to loosen the shackles a little, that doesn't mean that your favorite films are any less imprisoned.

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Internet Wars: Microsoft EEE Against Mozilla's Rust, Moving From Chrome to Mozilla Firefox, Cake PR and Microsoft Still Playing Dirty

Filed under
Google
Microsoft
Moz/FF
Web
  • Developers love Rust programming language: Here's why

    In fact, Rust has been voted the most-loved language for the past four years in Stack Overflow's annual developer surveys, even though 97% of respondents haven't used it. So how has it become the most-loved programming language?

    "The short answer is that Rust solves pain points present in many other languages, providing a solid step forward with a limited number of downsides," explains Jake Goulding on Stack Overflow's blog.

    [...]

    Mozilla Research describes Rust as a "systems programming language that focuses on speed, memory safety, and parallelism".

    It's often seen as an alternative to systems programming languages like C and C++ that developers use to create game engines, operating systems, file systems, browser components, and VR simulation engines. Mozilla, which continues to sponsor the project, says programmers can use Rust to make software that's less prone to bugs and attacks.

  • I finally switched from Chrome to Mozilla Firefox — and you should too

    I have been in an on-and-off relationship with Mozilla Firefox for the past five years. Every time I’d get ecstatic over a major new Firefox update — hoping to, at long last, break free from the hegemony of Google Chrome — my hopes would be crushed as soon as I began browsing the web like I normally do.

    Firefox’s performance would fall noticeably short and struggle to keep up with my workflow, sending me scurrying back to Google Chrome after a few minutes of poking around. No matter how compelling the rest of Mozilla’s offerings were, they could never convince me to hit that “Yes” button whenever Firefox asked whether I’d like to set it as my default browser. Catching up to Chrome almost started to seem like a far-fetched goal for Firefox — until recently.

    [...]

    Today, in addition to being fast, Firefox is resource-efficient, unlike most of its peers. I don’t have to think twice before firing up yet another tab. It’s rare that I’m forced to close an existing tab to make room for a new one. On Firefox, my 2015 MacBook Pro’s fans don’t blast past my noise-canceling headphones, which happened fairly regularly on Chrome as it pushed my laptop’s fans to their helicopter-like limits to keep things running.

    This rare balance of efficiency and performance is the result of the countless under-the-hood upgrades Firefox has rolled out in the last couple of years. One of the recent major performance updates arrived in May when Mozilla natively integrated a handful of clever optimizations for which users previously had to rely on third-party extensions.

  • Passive aggressive baking at its finest

    Cakes are a long standing weapon in the browser wars. Whenever a major browser hits a new milestone or makes an important release, cakes are rapidly exchanged.

  • Microsoft will never win the search engine wars by forcing people to use Bing

    Bing is known as the default search engine for Windows, and not much else. Microsoft’s solution? To forcibly install a Bing search extension in Chrome for Office 365 ProPlus users.

    The company says that this is designed for enterprise and business users to find relevant workplace information directly from the browser address bar, but we all know Microsoft is desperate to get more people using its search engine. It sounds harmless, but here’s why forcing people to use Bing won’t help Microsoft in the long run.

    [...]

    Fast forward to today, Bing still has a few problems that need to be addressed, and where Microsoft should put some extra attention towards, instead of forcing Bing down people’s throats. These include both search relevance and design — the two core areas of any search engine.

    First of all, there is a search relevance. In our testing, searching for Digital Trends on Google and Bing provide two different results. On Bing, we get a look at some older Digital Trends articles, which at the time of this writing, were older stories from 4, 6, and 3 hours ago. Compared that to Google, and articles are more relevant pulled from a most recent time frame.

Content Management: Alfresco, Document Management Software and Drupal 8.8.0

Filed under
OSS
Drupal
Web
  • Alfresco Helps George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust Begin Its Paperless Journey

    Alfresco Software, an open source content, process and governance software company, has announced the successful implementation of its Digital Business Platform by George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust to enable paperless processes. By digitising clinical and non-clinical forms, the Trust is able to make creation and changes quicker and easier, as well as give patients more control over their health and well-being. After just four months, patients and staff are seeing such a positive difference that there are plans to expand the usage of the Alfresco Digital Business Platform to digitise more processes.

  • Should You Use Open-Source Document Management Software?

    A document management system (DMS) can play an integral role in the organization and efficiency of your business. Companies that want a paperless office or a streamlined way to store and access digital documents turn to document management software. The most useful systems allow you to perform a variety of tasks like scan paper documents, control file versions, organize various folders, set user permissions and collaborate with other team members.

    Not all applications are created equal; you must, therefore, choose a DMS that serves your needs and integrates with your other business platforms. Business owners and developers who want added flexibility and customization often turn to open-source DMS solutions.

  • Drupal 8.8.0 is available

    The last normal feature release of Drupal 8 includes a stable Media Library as well as several improvements to workspaces and migrations. The new experimental Claro administration theme brings a fresh look to site management. This is also the first release to come with native Composer support.

  • Drupal 8.8.0 Released, Acquia Acquires AgilOne and More Open Source CMS News

    Drupal 8.8.0 — the last normal feature release of Drupal 8 — is now available for download. Some of the updates in this release include:

11 Best Web Browsers I Discovered for Linux in 2020

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Web

Web Browser is a software that provides an interface to surf the web. With an introduction in around 1991, there development and advancement have advanced many folds till the current stage which we see today.

Earlier there used to be mostly text-based sites with few having images and graphical content, hence only text-based browsers sufficed with some of the early browsers being: Lynx, Netscape, and Opera.

But, with the advancement of technology to support audio, video, images and even flash content, browsers also need to be that advanced to support such content. This has pushed the advancement of browsers to what we see today.

A modern browser requires the support of many software which include: web browser engines like Geeko, Trident, WebKit, KHTML, etc, Rendering engine to render the web site content and display in a proper format.

Linux being an open-source community gives freedom to developers across the globe to experiment with features they expect from an ideal browser.

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Tails 4.2.2 is out

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Security
Web
Debian

This release is an emergency release to fix a critical security vulnerability in Tor Browser.

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Mozilla on CRLite

Filed under
Moz/FF
Web
  • Introducing CRLite: All of the Web PKI’s revocations, compressed

    CRLite is a technology proposed by a group of researchers at the IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy 2017 that compresses revocation information so effectively that 300 megabytes of revocation data can become 1 megabyte. It accomplishes this by combining Certificate Transparency data and Internet scan results with cascading Bloom filters, building a data structure that is reliable, easy to verify, and easy to update.

    Since December, Firefox Nightly has been shipping with with CRLite, collecting telemetry on its effectiveness and speed. As can be imagined, replacing a network round-trip with local lookups makes for a substantial performance improvement. Mozilla currently updates the CRLite dataset four times per day, although not all updates are currently delivered to clients.

  • The End-to-End Design of CRLite

    CRLite is a technology to efficiently compress revocation information for the whole Web PKI into a format easily delivered to Web users. It addresses the performance and privacy pitfalls of the Online Certificate Status Protocol (OCSP) while avoiding a need for some administrative decisions on the relative value of one revocation versus another. For details on the background of CRLite, see our first post, Introducing CRLite: All of the Web PKI’s revocations, compressed.

    To discuss CRLite’s design, let’s first discuss the input data, and from that we can discuss how the system is made reliable.

Opera 66 Makes it Easier for Users to Reopen Closed Tabs and Access Add-Ons

Filed under
Software
Web

Opera Software kicked off 2020 with a new stable release of its cross-platform, Chromium-based Opera web browser for GNU/Linux, macOS, and Windows platforms.

Opera 66 has been released earlier this week as the latest and greatest version of this Chromium-based web browser, adding various enhancements to the user interface to make it easier for users to access sidebar extensions, as well as to help them more quickly reopen tabs that were closed by accident.

"We have an easy solution for this, one that doesn’t require going to the full history section. When you click the clock icon that takes you to history, your browser will ask if you would like to reopen your recently closed tabs. If you click yes, they will come back as if you had never closed them in the first place," said Opera Software's Joanna Czajka.

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5 best Google Chrome alternatives on Linux

Filed under
Software
Web

Brave is an open-source, privacy-focused web browser for Mac, Linux, Windows, iOS, and Android. It automatically blocks advertisements and trackers out of the box and replaces them with “Brave Ad Replacement,” a program that lets users directly contribute to their favorite websites.

The Brave browser is the brain-child of former Firefox CEO Brendan Eich and Firefox CTO Brian Bondy. Under the hood, it uses Chromium, ensuring that users get privacy as well as access to their favorite Google services, and extensions. If you’re a privacy geek, ditch Chrome and check out Brave!

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App Highlight: Falkon Open Source Web Browser from KDE

Filed under
KDE
OSS
Web

First thing first, Falkon is not a new web browser. It has been in development since 2010 but it was known as Qupzilla.

In 2017, QupZilla moved under KDE umbrella and changed its name to Falkon. Being under KDE umbrella means that project is actively maintained following KDE standards.

It uses the QtWebEngine rendering engine – which is a striped down version of Chromium core.

In this article, I shall take a closer look at what it offers and how it’s different than other dominant web browsers on Linux out there.

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FreeBSD 11.4-RC2 Now Available

-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
Hash: SHA256

The second RC build of the 11.4-RELEASE release cycle is now available.

Installation images are available for:

o 11.4-RC2 amd64 GENERIC
o 11.4-RC2 i386 GENERIC
o 11.4-RC2 powerpc GENERIC
o 11.4-RC2 powerpc64 GENERIC64
o 11.4-RC2 sparc64 GENERIC
o 11.4-RC2 armv6 BANANAPI
o 11.4-RC2 armv6 BEAGLEBONE
o 11.4-RC2 armv6 CUBIEBOARD
o 11.4-RC2 armv6 CUBIEBOARD2
o 11.4-RC2 armv6 CUBOX-HUMMINGBOARD
o 11.4-RC2 armv6 RPI-B
o 11.4-RC2 armv6 RPI2
o 11.4-RC2 armv6 WANDBOARD
o 11.4-RC2 aarch64 GENERIC

Note regarding arm SD card images: For convenience for those without
console access to the system, a freebsd user with a password of
freebsd is available by default for ssh(1) access.  Additionally,
the root user password is set to root.  It is strongly recommended
to change the password for both users after gaining access to the
system.

Installer images and memory stick images are available here:

    https://download.freebsd.org/ftp/releases/ISO-IMAGES/11.4/

The image checksums follow at the end of this e-mail.

If you notice problems you can report them through the Bugzilla PR
system or on the -stable mailing list.

If you would like to use SVN to do a source based update of an existing
system, use the "releng/11.4" branch.

A summary of changes since 11.4-RC1 includes:

o The wpa_supplicant.conf(5) file has been fixed in bsdinstall(8).

o An update to the leap-seconds file.

o An update to mlx5_core to add new port module event types to decode.

o SCTP fixes.

o LLVM config headers have been fixed to correctly add zlib support.

o The ena(4) driver has been updated to version 2.2.0.

o loader(8) fixes for userboot.

o Fixes for compliance with RFC3168.

o A ps(1) update to permit the '-d' and '-p' flags to be used mutually.

o A knob to flush RSB on context switches if the machine has SMEP has
  been added.

o A fix to Vagrant images requiring the shells/bash port.

A list of changes since 11.3-RELEASE is available in the releng/11.4
release notes:

    https://www.freebsd.org/relnotes/11-RC2/relnotes/article.html

Please note, the release notes page is not yet complete, and will be
updated on an ongoing basis as the 11.4-RELEASE cycle progresses.

=== Virtual Machine Disk Images ===

VM disk images are available for the amd64, i386, and aarch64
architectures.  Disk images may be downloaded from the following URL
(or any of the FreeBSD download mirrors):

    https://download.freebsd.org/ftp/releases/VM-IMAGES/11.4-RC2/

The partition layout is:

    ~ 16 kB - freebsd-boot GPT partition type (bootfs GPT label)
    ~ 1 GB  - freebsd-swap GPT partition type (swapfs GPT label)
    ~ 20 GB - freebsd-ufs GPT partition type (rootfs GPT label)

The disk images are available in QCOW2, VHD, VMDK, and raw disk image
formats.  The image download size is approximately 135 MB and 165 MB
respectively (amd64/i386), decompressing to a 21 GB sparse image.

Note regarding arm64/aarch64 virtual machine images: a modified QEMU EFI
loader file is needed for qemu-system-aarch64 to be able to boot the
virtual machine images.  See this page for more information:

    https://wiki.freebsd.org/arm64/QEMU

To boot the VM image, run:

    % qemu-system-aarch64 -m 4096M -cpu cortex-a57 -M virt  \
	-bios QEMU_EFI.fd -serial telnet::4444,server -nographic \
	-drive if=none,file=VMDISK,id=hd0 \
	-device virtio-blk-device,drive=hd0 \
	-device virtio-net-device,netdev=net0 \
	-netdev user,id=net0

Be sure to replace "VMDISK" with the path to the virtual machine image.

=== Amazon EC2 AMI Images ===

FreeBSD/amd64 EC2 AMIs are available in the following regions:

  eu-north-1 region: ami-0e03245dc3ecc5d35
  ap-south-1 region: ami-0100269e4d1a56492
  eu-west-3 region: ami-04d69369363a0d91f
  eu-west-2 region: ami-054fee32718b85ae0
  eu-west-1 region: ami-0b4ed21ce2fcffb67
  ap-northeast-2 region: ami-0ab69ea831245c032
  ap-northeast-1 region: ami-014ed1c7002845dae
  sa-east-1 region: ami-0779883a279143da5
  ca-central-1 region: ami-03526c4e41fbc5c0c
  ap-southeast-1 region: ami-0a1526319c431a535
  ap-southeast-2 region: ami-07b5f0fabb533a3ca
  eu-central-1 region: ami-0538d62ee3be9f769
  us-east-1 region: ami-059d76ab6e6e4063a
  us-east-2 region: ami-0c46e32a6eb527e29
  us-west-1 region: ami-0d46479f45e84d1f2
  us-west-2 region: ami-04d001870b4236742

=== Vagrant Images ===

FreeBSD/amd64 images are available on the Hashicorp Atlas site, and can
be installed by running:

    % vagrant init freebsd/FreeBSD-11.4-RC2
    % vagrant up

=== Upgrading ===

The freebsd-update(8) utility supports binary upgrades of amd64 and i386
systems running earlier FreeBSD releases.  Systems running earlier
FreeBSD releases can upgrade as follows:

	# freebsd-update upgrade -r 11.4-RC2

During this process, freebsd-update(8) may ask the user to help by
merging some configuration files or by confirming that the automatically
performed merging was done correctly.

	# freebsd-update install

The system must be rebooted with the newly installed kernel before
continuing.

	# shutdown -r now

After rebooting, freebsd-update needs to be run again to install the new
userland components:

	# freebsd-update install

It is recommended to rebuild and install all applications if possible,
especially if upgrading from an earlier FreeBSD release, for example,
FreeBSD 11.x.  Alternatively, the user can install misc/compat11x and
other compatibility libraries, afterwards the system must be rebooted
into the new userland:

	# shutdown -r now

Finally, after rebooting, freebsd-update needs to be run again to remove
stale files:

	# freebsd-update install
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