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Kim Komando: Buy a computer for less than $100

Filed under
Android
GNU
Linux
Microsoft

Instead you could try an operating system based on Linux. These are free, come with everything you need for basic computing, and will run great on older hardware. If you’re going to give this a whirl, check out Linux Mint. The MATE edition should run better than XP, in fact.

[...]

And in the last few years, it has been made easier for beginners to use, thanks to its whimsically named New Out of Box Software, or NOOBS, system. This helps you install a few of the various operating systems it runs, which are based on the free Linux.

You might still end up doing some tweaking, but fortunately, the Raspberry Pi site has excellent tutorials for beginners.

Via’s APC Rock ($79) and Paper ($99) are similar systems with a bit more oomph.

When you’re poking around for DIY computers, you might come across the Arduino board. While this is a fantastic system for hobbyists, it won’t work as a computer.
Android computers

Android isn’t just for smartphones and tablets.

There are a few companies making Android “sticks.” These are the size of a USB and plug right into the HDMI port on your TV — similar to a Chromecast or Roku Streaming Stick.

However, these run a full version of Android, which means you can surf the Web, install apps and anything else you’d do on an Android tablet.

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Interview with Ciaran Gultnieks of F-Droid

Filed under
Android
GNU
Legal

This is the latest installment of our Licensing and Compliance Lab's series on free software developers who choose GNU licenses for their works.

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Open Source Android ALYT Security And Smart Home Manager (video)

Filed under
Android
Security

ALYT is a smart home manager that runs Google’s Android operating system and is completely open source allowing you to tailor it to your exact requirements.

ALYT has been designed to allow users to control home security systems as well as energy usage, entertainment systems as well as providing home automation via an Android powered smartphone or tablet device. Check out the video after the jump to learn more about this new and innovative smart home management system.

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Vixtel Unity Tries To Be An Android + Ubuntu Tablet

Filed under
Android
Ubuntu

The reported Vixtel Unity tablet is to be a 10.1-inch Retina tablet, dual boots to Ubuntu and Android, supports keyboard connections, is backed by a quad-core processor, boasts 2GB of RAM, and provides 64GB of storage. The company informed us of their existence after we recently wrote on Phoronix about Canonical not actively working on Ubuntu for Android.

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Using Qt to make Native Android apps

Filed under
Android
Development
KDE

Much of the new work planned covers porting existing Qt classes to interface with the Android provided APIs. If you need access to non-Qt provided functionality, you’ll probably need to dip into JNI and call the appropriate Android Java APIs. (That topic is too deep for a 60 minute webinar, but is something that BogDan will be talking about it in depth in the hands-on Coffee & Code sessions. There are still open spots for the North American tour, but space is limited and it’s free, so register and save your seat.)

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Dangerous Decision in Oracle v. Google: Federal Circuit Reverses Sensible Lower Court Ruling on APIs

Filed under
Android
Google
Legal

We're still digesting today's lengthy decision in the Oracle v. Google appeal, but we're disappointed—and worried. The heart of the appeal was whether Oracle can claim a copyright on Java APIs and, if so, whether Google infringed that copyright. According to the Federal Circuit today, the answer to both questions was a qualified yes—with the qualification being that Google may have a fair use defense.

Quick background: When it implemented the Android OS, Google wrote its own version of Java. But in order to allow developers to write their own programs for Android, Google relied on Java APIs. Application Programming Interfaces are, generally speaking, specifications that allow programs to communicate with each other. So when you type a letter in a word processor, and hit the print command, you are using an API that lets the word processor talk to the printer driver, even though they were written by different people.

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CyanogenMod finally hits HTC One M8

Filed under
Android

CyanogenMod is a free and open source alternative to Google‘s Android. The addition of HTC’s One M8 to CyanogenMod’s list of officially supported devices is a huge step for future custom roms. The number of community-driven custom roms is expected to increase quickly, as most of these are build from CyanogenMod’s sources.

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Google Play Services 4.4 now rolling out

Filed under
Android
Google

A new version of Google Play Services with several new features has been released and has begun rolling out. The added features and improvements in Google Play Services 4.4 can enhance your user experience while using Android apps.

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ASUS launches Intel powerd Android tablet MeMO Pad 8

Filed under
Android

ASUS has launched the new MeMO Pad 8 version in Japan, which features the new Intel Atom Processor Z3580 (“Moorefield”). The MeMO Pad 8 is the first Moorefield-based device to be announced. ASUS is one of Intel’s biggest customers, when we talk about use of Atom Processor SoCs (System-On Chips) in Smartphones and tablets.

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AMD to enter Android space with ARM based chip

Filed under
Android

AMD announced a roadmap of near- and mid-term computing solutions that harness the best characteristics of both the x86 and ARM ecosystems, called “ambidextrous computing.” The important point of this roadmap is the announcement of AMD’s 64-bit ARM architecture license for the development of custom high-performance cores for high-growth markets.

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More in Tux Machines

Browsing the web with Min, a minimalist open source web browser

Does the world need another web browser? Even though the days of having a multiplicity of browsers to choose from are long gone, there still are folks out there developing new applications that help us use the web. One of those new-fangled browsers is Min. As its name suggests (well, suggests to me, anyway), Min is a minimalist browser. That doesn't mean it's deficient in any significant way, and its open source, Apache 2.0 license piques my interest. Read more

Security: Patches, FUD and Voting Machines

  • libssh 0.8.4 and 0.7.6 security and bugfix release

    libssh versions 0.6 and above have an authentication bypass vulnerability in the server code. By presenting the server an SSH2_MSG_USERAUTH_SUCCESS message in place of the SSH2_MSG_USERAUTH_REQUEST message which the server would expect to initiate authentication, the attacker could successfully authentciate without any credentials.

  • A Cybersecurity Weak Link: Linux and IoT [Ed: Blaming "Linux" for companies that put default passwords on all their products? Windows has back doors.]
  • Undetectably bypass voting machines' anti-tamper mechanism with a bit of a soda-can

    But University of Michigan grad student Matt Bernhard has demonstrated that he can bypass the tamper-evident seals in seconds, using a shim made from a slice of a soda can. The bypass is undetectable and doesn't damage the seal, which can be resecured after an attacker gains access to the system.

  • Security Seals Used to Protect Voting Machines Can Be Easily Opened With Shim Crafted from a Soda Can

    Bernhard, who is an expert witness for election integrity activists in a lawsuit filed in Georgia to force officials to get rid of paperless voting machines used in that state, said the issue of security ties and seals came up in the lawsuit earlier this year when Fulton County Elections Director Richard Barron told the court that his Georgia county relies on tamper-evident metal and plastic ties to seal voting machines and prevent anyone with physical access to the machines from subverting them while they sit in polling places days before an election.

    [...]

    He noted that defeating ties and seals in non-tamper-evident ways isn’t the only method to wreak havoc on an election in Michigan. The state has a unique law that prohibits ballots from being used in a recount if the number of voters doesn't match the number of ballots cast at a precinct or if the seal on a ballot box is broken or has a different serial number than what it should have. Someone who wanted to wreak havoc on an election or alter an election outcome in Michigan could purposely tamper with ballot box seals in a way that is evident or simply replace them with a seal bearing a different serial number in order to get ballots excluded from a recount. The law came into sharp relief after the 2016 presidential election when Green Party candidate Jill Stein sought to get a statewide recount in Michigan and two other critical swing states and found that some precincts in Wayne County couldn't be recounted because the number of voters who signed the poll books—which get certified with a seal signed by officials—didn't match the number of ballots scanned on the voting machines.

OSS: Hedera Hashgraph, Service Providers, and Renaming the Bro Project

  • Hedera Hashgraph Distributed Ledger Technology Shares New Open-Source SDK [Ed: Hedera needs to delete GitHub, however, as the new head of GitHub killed Java projects like Hedera's]
    Hedera Hashgraph, one of the DApp facilitators within the blockchain industry recently announced that it has released its Software Development Kit (SDK) in Java.
  • Service Providers Should Adapt to Open Source World
    Finding differing opinions on open source with the telecom industry isn't hard to do, especially where orchestration is concerned. That's why a panel discussion on open source and MANO at the Light Reading NFV-Carrier SDN event in Denver seemed an odd place to find such outspoken agreement on that topic, but there it was. Four smart guys, none shy with their opinions, all seemed to agree on key points around open source, the need for standards, the role of vendors and the lack of internal software skills. But they also agreed that telecom service providers are struggling a bit to understand how to proceed in an open source world and still need some fundamental internal changes.
  • Renaming the Bro Project
    More than 20 years ago I chose the name "Bro" as "an Orwellian reminder that monitoring comes hand in hand with the potential for privacy violations", as the original Bro paper put it. Today that warning is needed more than ever ... but it's clear that now the name "Bro" is alas much more of a distraction than a reminder. On the Leadership Team of the Bro Project, we heard clear concerns from the Bro community that the name "Bro" has taken on strongly negative connotations, such as "Bro culture". These send a sharp, anti-inclusive - and wholly unintended and undesirable - message to those who might use Bro. The problems were significant enough that during BroCon community sessions, several people have mentioned substantial difficulties in getting their upper management to even consider using open-source software with such a seemingly ill-chosen, off-putting name.

Back End: Apache Kafka, 'Serverless'