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Google Announces 2014-2015 Dates for Student Centered Open Source Code Programs

Filed under
Development
Google
OSS

AH Google Logo Colored 1.6Each year Google facilitates contests and mentorships to help students from all over the world gain valuable experience in the field of open source code development. Google has recently revealed some of the information regarding their upcoming Code-In and Summer of Code events. The Code-In will begin this upcoming December and last until mid- January. The Summer of Code will begin in May of 2015 and last until August. According to their official statement regarding these programs, Google states that “we are passionate about introducing students to open source software development. Since 2005, the Open Source Programs team at Google has worked with over 10,000 students and over 485 open source projects in a variety of fields to create more code for us all.”

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Acer Chromebook 13 (FHD): Initial impressions

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Google

The performance of the device is about acceptable (unfortunately, I do not have any comparison in this device class). Even when typing this blog post in the visual wordpress editor, I notice some sluggishness. Opening the app launcher or loading the new tab page while music is playing makes the music stop for or skip a few ms (20-50ms if I had to guess). Running a benchmark in parallel or browsing does not usually cause this stuttering, though.

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5 powerful things you didn't know Chromebooks could do

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Google

This last feature isn’t for the novice users that just buy Chromebooks for their simplicity. But this is World Beyond Windows, where I tout the benefits of Linux, so I can’t leave it out.

Flip the developer mode switch (it’s in software now, but it used to be a hardware switch) and you can get full access to your Chromebook’s internals. You can install a full desktop Linux system (like Ubuntu) alongside your Chrome OS system. Flip over to the Linux system when you want to do some work with traditional desktop apps and powerful terminal commands.

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Google reportedly tried to buy Cyanogen

Filed under
Android
Google

A report from The Information (subscription required) claims that Google tried to buy Cyanogen, Inc, the maker of the custom Android ROM CyanogenMod. According to the report, Cyanogen's chief executive told shareholders that Sundar Pichai, the head of Chrome and Android at Google, met with the company and "expressed interest in acquiring the firm." The report says Cyanogen Inc. declined the offer, saying that it was still growing.

It's unclear what Google would want to do with Cyanogen. The company basically does the same software work any other OEM does: it takes AOSP, customizes it, and ports it to devices. It doesn't have a ton of features that replicate Google services, so without a Google Play license, it's just as poor as any other AOSP-derived Android distribution. Buying Cyanogen would give Google an in-house Android distribution and a team of engineers, both of which it already has in abundance. We suppose the plan could be to buy it and shut it down, but we're not sure what that would accomplish, either.

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Google posts Android Auto design guidelines

Filed under
Android
Google

Google posted a developer overview for Android Auto, offering guidelines for designing extensions to existing Android apps for customized IVI interactions.

Google announced Android Auto with relatively few details at Google I/O in June, following the formation of an Open Automotive Alliance (OAA) in January. These related efforts are designed to standardize integration with Android devices and in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) systems, as opposed to designing an Android IVI stack that runs the whole show. In some ways, Android Auto is similar to the Car Connectivity Consortium’s MirrorLink technology and Apple’s CarPlay.

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Chrome OS gets Android apps: Merging Chrome OS and Android gets closer

Filed under
Android
Google

Bringing Android apps to Chrome OS pushes the two platforms closer together. This sets the stage for Google to merge them completely down the road to have one OS for both mobile and desktop. This is similar to what Microsoft has done with Windows 8, but Google has the advantage of doing it with two existing solid bases that already run well on mobile devices.

Google may not intend to merge the two OSes into one, but they've set the stage to make it easier. They will likely keep sharing features between the two in any event, making both OSes more appealing.

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Six Clicks: Androids Apps on Chromebooks

Filed under
Android
Google

Recently Google started making it possible to run Android apps on Chromebooks. For now, there are only four applications, but developers looking into the code have already found that porting their applications to Android on Chrome will require almost no effort.

With over a million Android apps waiting in the wings, Chromebooks are about to become even more of a true rival to Windows PCs.

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Newest Androids will join iPhones in offering default encryption, blocking police

Filed under
Android
Google
Mac

The next generation of Google’s Android operating system, due for release next month, will encrypt data by default for the first time, the company said Thursday, raising yet another barrier to police gaining access to the troves of personal data typically kept on smartphones.

Android has offered optional encryption on some devices since 2011, but security experts say few users have known how to turn on the feature. Now Google is designing the activation procedures for new Android devices so that encryption happens automatically; only somebody who enters a device's password will be able to see the pictures, videos and communications stored on those smartphones.

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Google's Chrome Strategy Heads in New Directions, Draws Linux Comparisons

Filed under
Linux
Google

Google's Chrome browser and Chrome OS operating system are grabbing headlines this week for several reasons. As Susan reported here, Matt Hartley said recently, 'Anyone who believes Google isn't making a play for desktop users isn't paying attention.' Hartley favors putting Linux in front of a lot of potential Chrome OS users, and says "I consider ChromeOS to be a forked operating system that uses the Linux kernel under the hood."

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ChromeOS vs Linux: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Filed under
OS
Google

Anyone who believes Google isn't "making a play" for desktop users isn't paying attention. In recent years, I've seen ChromeOS making quite a splash on the Google Chromebook. Exploding with popularity on sites such as Amazon.com, it looks as if ChromeOS could be unstoppable.

In this article, I'm going to look at ChromeOS as a concept to market, how it's affecting Linux adoption and whether or not it's a good/bad thing for the Linux community as a whole. Plus, I'll talk about the biggest issue of all and how no one is doing anything about it.

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In wake of Anonabox, more crowdsourced Tor router projects make their pitch

Last week, Ars reported on the story of Anonabox, an effort by a California developer to create an affordable privacy-protecting device based on the open source OpenWRT wireless router software and the Tor Project’s eponymous Internet traffic encryption and anonymization software. Anonabox was pulled from Kickstarter after accusations that the project misrepresented its product and failed to meet some basic security concerns—though its developers still plan to release their project for sale through their own website. But Anonabox’s brief campaign on Kickstarter has demonstrated demand for a simple, inexpensive way to hide Internet traffic from prying eyes. And there are a number of other projects attempting to do what Anonabox promised. On Kickstarter competitor Indiegogo there’s a project called Invizbox that looks almost identical to Anonabox—except for the approach its team is taking to building and marketing the device. Read more

Debian Now Defaults To Xfce On Non-x86 Desktops

Back in September Debian switched back to the GNOME desktop by default in place of Xfce for the upcoming Debian 8.0 "Jessie" release. However, as of today, the non-x86 versions of Debian have flip-flopped once again back to Xfce. Debian switched back to GNOME in September over reasons dealing with accessibility, systemd integration, and other factors when seeing what was the best fit to be the default for Debian 8 Jessie. However, now for platforms aside from x86 and x86_64, Xfce has returned to the default over poor experiences in using the GNOME Shell. Read more

Phoenix Is Trying To Be An Open Version Of Apple's Swift

Apple unveiled the Swift programming language at this year's WWDC event but sadly it's still not clear whether Apple will "open up" the language to let it appear on non-Apple platforms. Swift is built atop LLVM and designed to be Apple's successor to Objective-C in many regards while suppoorting C/Obj-C/Obj-C++ all within a single program. With non-Apple folks being interested in the language, it didn't take long before an open-source project started up around it. Ind.ie has today announced their Phoenix project that aims to be a free and open version of Apple's Swift programming language. The work is being led by Greg Casamento who is also the leader of GNUStep, the common open-source implementation of Apple's Cocoa frameworks. Read more

Google Chromebook quietly takes aim at the enterprise

Google's Chromebook is a cheap alternative to a more expensive Windows or Mac PC or laptop, but up until recently it lacked any specific administrative oversight tools for enterprise IT. While IT might have liked the price tag, they may have worried about the lack of an integrated tool suite for managing a fleet of Chromebooks. That's changed with release of Chromebook for Work, a new program designed to give IT that control they crave for Chromebooks. Read more