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Google

Google Code and Openwash

Filed under
Google
OSS

Detailed tests of search engines: Google, Startpage, Bing, DuckDuckGo, metaGer, Ecosia, Swisscows, Searx, Qwant, Yandex, and Mojeek

Filed under
Google
Reviews
Web

Since my last in-depth comparison review of alternative search engines in 2014, a lot has changed, and a lot has stayed the same. Google is appearing as a loan-verb in more and more languages due to its continued dominance in the search engine market. But at the same time, Google is being increasingly demonized by privacy focused users. An even more more interesting development is the trend of complaints that Google’s algorithm is producing results that are less relevant and more indicative of artificial stupidity than artificial intelligence. I belong in this latter camp, as I am more of a pragmatist than a privacy pundit. I simply want the best search results with minimal effort and no nonsense. Back in my 2014 article, I was hopeful that DuckDuckGo was quickly becoming a viable and attractive alternative to Google. While DuckDuckGo continues to be the darling of privacy conscious users and is enjoying more popularity than ever, I am concerned that its core search infrastructure and algorithms have largely stagnated. Since my last article, many other alternatives have cropped up, bringing some very interesting features and concepts, but it still remains to be seen if they offer acceptable results in the fundamentally important area of relevant search results. This comparison sets out to analyze and compare the current batch of alternatives in 2020.

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Google to Samsung: Stop messing with Linux kernel code. It's hurting Android security

Filed under
Android
Linux
Google
Security

Samsung's attempt to prevent attacks on Galaxy phones by modifying kernel code ended up exposing it to more security bugs, according to Google Project Zero (GPZ).

Not only are smartphone makers like Samsung creating more vulnerabilities by adding downstream custom drivers for direct hardware access to Android's Linux kernel, vendors would be better off using security features that already exist in the Linux kernel, according to GPZ researcher Jann Horn.

[...]

Incidentally, the February update also includes a patch for critical flaw in "TEEGRIS devices", referring to Trusted Execution Environment (TEE) on newer Galaxy phones that contain Samsung's proprietary TEE operating system. The Galaxy S10 is among TEEGRIS devices.

But Horn's new blogpost is focused on efforts in Android to reduce the security impact of vendors adding unique code to the kernel.

"Android has been reducing the security impact of such code by locking down which processes have access to device drivers, which are often vendor-specific," explains Horn.

An example is that newer Android phones access hardware through dedicated helper processes, collectively known as the Hardware Abstraction Layer (HAL) in Android. But Horn says vendors modifying how core parts of the Linux kernel work undermines efforts to "lock down the attack surface".

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Google's Chrome and Mozilla Firefox: HTTPS, Firefox 73, TenFourFox FPR19, Firefox for Android, Extensions in Firefox 73 and Firefox 73 New Contributors

Filed under
Google
Moz/FF
Web
  • Google Chrome to start blocking downloads served via HTTP

    Google has announced a timetable for phasing out insecure file downloads in the Chrome browser, starting with desktop version 81 due out next month.

    Known in jargon as ‘mixed content downloads’, these are files such as software executables, documents and media files offered from secure HTTPS websites over insecure HTTP connections.

    This is a worry because a user seeing the HTTPS padlock on a site visited using Chrome might assume that any downloads it offers are also secure (HTTP sites offering downloads are already marked ‘not secure’).

  • Mozilla Firefox 73 Is Now Available for Download, Here’s What’s New

    The Mozilla Firefox 73 open-source web browser is now available to download for all supported platforms, including GNU/Linux, Windows, and macOS.

    Scheduled to be released by Mozilla on February 11th, the Firefox 73 release can now be downloaded from the official servers for all supported platforms and architectures. Linux users can get the binaries for 64-bit and 32-bit systems, as well as a Snap package and the source tarball.

    This is the final version that will also be released by Mozilla tomorrow. If you can’t wait until then, or until Firefox 73 will land in the stable software repositories of your favorite GNU/Linux distribution, you can get a head start by downloading the official binaries.

  • TenFourFox FPR19 available

    Due to a busy work schedule and $REALLIFE, TenFourFox Feature Parity Release 19 final is just now available for testing (downloads, hashes, release notes). This version is the same as the beta except for a couple URL bar tweaks I meant to land and the outstanding security updates. If all goes well, it will go live tomorrow Pacific time in the evening.

  • The 7 best things about the new Firefox for Android

    The biggest ever update to Firefox for Android is on its way. Later this spring, everyone using the Firefox browser on their Android phones and tablets will get the update. Your favorite features — like your history, bookmarks, saved logins, and tab sharing — will stay the same.

  • Extensions in Firefox 73

    As promised, the update on changes in Firefox 73 is short: There is a new sidebarAction.toggle API that will allow you to open and close the sidebar. It requires being called from a user action, such as a context menu or click handler. The sidebar toggle was brought to you by Mélanie Chauvel. Thanks for your contribution, Mélanie!

    On the backend, we fixed a bug that caused tabs.onCreated and tabs.onUpdated events to be fired out-of-order.

  • Firefox 73 new contributors

    With the release of Firefox 73, we are pleased to welcome the 19 developers who contributed their first code change to Firefox in this release, 18 of whom were brand new volunteers!

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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FSFellowship releases sticker set 1.0 for download

Filed under
GNU
Google

FSFellowship is releasing our first stickers. These are licensed CC-BY for you to use as you see fit.

You can download an A4 PDF with four stickers to a page and then print it onto A4 label paper in your printer.

These stickers were produced with free software using LibreOffice. You can download the LibreOffice document here.

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Flashing Builds from the Android Open Source Project

Filed under
Android
Google
OSS
  • Flashing Builds from the Android Open Source Project

    AOSP has been around for a while, but flashing builds onto a development device has always required a number of manual steps. A year ago we launched Android's Continuous Integration Dashboard, which gives more visibility into the continuous build status of the AOSP source tree. However, these builds were not available for phones and flashing devices still required a manual command line process.

  • Google Makes It Easier To Flash Android Open-Source Project On Phones

    Flashing the Android Open-Source Project (AOSP) onto devices is now a lot easier thanks to the Android Flash Tool.

    Deploying the open-source build of Android onto smartphones/tablets has been a chore with various manual steps involved from the command line, but now the Android Flash Tool makes it easy to flash builds produced via the Android Continuous Integration Dashboard onto supported devices. Android Flash Tool makes it much easier for those wanting to run AOSP builds on hardware.

  • Google Android Flash Tool Allows You to Flash AOSP From a Web Browser

Latest in GNU/Linux-Chromebook Integration (Crostini)

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Google
  • Chrome OS 81 to allow Linux username selection for Crostini

    I’m not judging but apparently, some Chromebook users have some strange email addresses. And by strange, I mean they don’t allow you to set up the default user when installing Linux in Chrome OS.

    I’m joking a little here. However, this is a real issue for certain Gmail addresses because it’s that account that’s used to create the default user.

    [...]

    Based on the current code merge, when starting the Linux installation process, users will be prompted to supply a username, which is then applied to the Linux container system settings.

  • Linux on Chrome OS: Disk resizing and custom username now working in Canary Channel

    A couple of weeks ago, we unearthed work being done that will give users the ability to set a custom size for the allotted amount of disk space used by Crostini Linux on Chrome OS. Still disabled via a flag, the resizing feature was still just a placeholder at that time. Today, after an update to the Canary Channel, it looks like the resizing function is now live. It’s still behind a flag and disabled by default but enabling it and starting Crostini from scratch now gives you the option to pick the amount of disk space you want to use for Linux.

    [...]

    The renaming feature, like the resizing one, was disabled behind a flag and wasn’t working as of yesterday. With the latest update to Canary, the custom username feature is now working when the flag is enabled and it appears right above the resizing option when you install Crostini for the first time. Some users may like this feature simply because they want to create a unique username for Linux but for others, this will be a crucial update when it hits the Stable Channel in the coming months.

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.

All new Chromebooks will get at least 8 years of automatic updates

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Google

One of the nice things about buying a Google Chromebook is that the operating system receives automatic security and feature updates delivered straight from Google — which means that it’ll stay up to date years after your Android phone stops receiving official updates.

But up until recently, Google only promised 5 to 6.5 years of updates… which might seem fine if you spend $200 or less on a cheap Chrome OS laptop, but which can be rather frustrating if you drop $999 or more on a premium model.

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More in Tux Machines

Games: Dad Quest, Unrailed, SteamWorld, Dying Light, Steam and SGT Puzzles Collection

  • Children are indestructible weapons in 'Dad Quest' - Linux Beta out now

    Possibly one of the quirkiest platformers I've ever come across, Dad Quest is now officially in Beta for Linux on Steam. A story-based platformer, with what developer Sundae Month claim is their own 'unique brand of comedy'. It's set in a world where children are indestructible weapons, ready to be hurled towards enemies. As a parent, I will admit it sounds amusing. According to the description you will teach your child new combat skills using 'a variety of deadly toys'.

  • Hilarious co-op train track building game 'Unrailed!' is now officially on Linux

    After a little while being in Beta, Indoor Astronaut have today released the Linux (and macOS) versions of Unrailed! so they're officially supported.

  • The full SteamWorld series is heading to Google Stadia "soon"

    While they're seemingly not giving an exact date just yet, Thunderful Publishing and Image & Form announced today that multiple SteamWorld titles are heading to Google Stadia.

  • Dying Light gets a massive update with a 'Story Mode' plus a free weekend

    Techland are keeping their baby alive a while longer (especially after delaying Dying Light 2), and it appears they didn't forget it turned 5 last month with a huge update and celebration. Since Dying Light has been out five years they're kicking off a big celebration. It's having a Free Weekend on Steam for the first time! A really good opportunity to see what the fuss is all about and I sure do fuss about it a lot. It really is a great game! One of my absolute favourites.

  • How to use community control schemes in Steam for Linux

    Sick of plugging your gaming controller into your Linux PC, only to find that the game does not have any gamepad controls set up? As it turns out, Steam has a solution for that. Did you know that you can add custom controller layouts for your Steam games on Linux? It’s true! Thanks to Steam’s stellar controller support on Linux, anyone can bind custom controls to their gaming controller! Follow along to learn how to do it on your system!

  • SGT Puzzles Collection 0.2.5 Released

    SGT Puzzles Collection, or simply sgt-launcher, is a game launcher and wrapper for Simon Tatham’s Portable Puzzle Collection, a popular collection of logic games by the developer of PuTTY. Joining the Xubuntu package set way back in Xubuntu 17.10 "Artful Aardvark", SGT Puzzles Collection has quietly provided Xubuntu users with a variety of distracting games for several releases. If you want to learn more about the project, check out my introductory blog post.

Linux Foundation: LF Networking, Xen Project Outreachy Connected to Microsoft, FUD Against FOSS Connected to Snyk and Synopsys (Black Duck, Microsoft 'Outposts')

  • LF Networking Expands Ecosystem — Adds Members, Leads Initiatives to Automate 5G deployments and accelerate Automation

    LF Networking (LFN), which facilitates collaboration and operational excellence across open networking projects, today announced the addition of nine new members.The project welcomes new Silver members A10 Networks, AMD, Codilime, Mirantis, Robin.io, Solutions by STC, ULAK, and Xilinx, and Associate members University of California San Diego, and University of Surrey. “It’s great to kick off 2020 by welcoming a new swath of global members to the LFN community,” said Arpit Joshipura, general manager, Networking, Edge & IoT, the Linux Foundation. “We’re expanding our member ecosystem in tandem with growth across initiatives that harmonize open source an open standards, enable automated testing and deployment, and further Cloud Native Network Functions as open source becomes more mainstream.” The newest LFN members will work alongside the 100+ existing member organizations to drive development, testing and implementation of LFN’s networking projects, including FD.io, ONAP, OpenDaylight, OpenSwitch, OPNFV, PNDA, SNAS, and Tungsten Fabric.

  • Xen Project is Participating in May 2020 to August 2020 Outreachy Internships Round [Ed: Microsoft continues to 'buy the agenda' of the 'Linux' Foundation]

    The Xen Project is excited to be participating in the Outreachy internship program which supports diversity in free and open source software. The Xen Project’s participation in this round is being sponsored by Microsoft (1 internship). Interns have to make an initial application which primarily verifies eligibility to the Outreachy program by February 25 at 4pm UTC: for more information see here. Applicants with an approved initial application can start to enquire about projects from March 5th and can then formally apply. During the application period, applicants are expected to contribute to the Xen Project while in parallel working on the detailed application. The final application deadline is April 7, 2020 at 4pm UTC. Applicants interested in becoming a Xen Project Intern can see our projects here and here (link not live until March 5th).

  • New Linux Foundation | Harvard Study Reveals Hard Truths, Actionable Steps for Open Source Security [Ed: Linux Foundation now works with Microsoft proxies/allies Snyk and Black Duck to smear FOSS]

    Open source has made its way into almost every server farm, consumer device and service we use, and it’s done so without most people even realizing it. Almost no one knows what is in their phones, apps or business data centers. This is wreaking havoc on the global supply chain, so much so that the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee sent a letter to the Linux Foundation inquiring about it. The Linux Foundation did its best to summarize a very complex situation in its response. So with the help of Harvard researchers and companies like Snyk and Synopsys, we set out to produce our second Census of open source software but this time, with a focus on what open source software projects show up in production applications. At the heart of this is a desire to understand how we take a preventative care approach to security, rather than a reactionary one.

Android Leftovers

Supporting an open source operating system: a Q&A with the FreeBSD Foundation

When discussing alternative operating systems to Microsoft’s Windows or Apple’s macOS, Linux often comes to mind. However, while Linux is a recreation of UNIX, FreeBSD is more of a continuation. The free and open source operating system was initially developed by students at the University of California at Berkeley which is why the BSD in its name stands for Berkeley Software Distribution. FreeBSD runs on its own kernel and all of the operating system’s key components have been developed to be part of a single whole. This is where it differs the most from Linux because Linux is just the kernel and the other components are supplied by third parties. To learn more about FreeBSD and its ongoing development, TechRadar Pro spoke to the executive director of the FreeBSD Foundation, Deb Goodkin. Read more