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Split Screen is Coming to Google's Pixelbook Chromebook, Here's a Sneak Peek

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GNU
Linux
Google

Good news for PixelBook owners today as Chromium evangelist at Google François Beaufort informs the community via his Google+ page that split screen support is coming to the Chromebook Pixel.

In an attempt to improve the multitasking capabilities of Chromebooks, Google implemented split screen support in the latest Chrome OS Dev channel via a new flag called "Split view in Tablet mode," which can be enabled only on the Google Pixelbook.

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Samsung Demo of GNU/Linux on Phones

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GNU
Linux
Gadgets
  • Watch: Ubuntu Linux Running on Galaxy S8 with Samsung DeX - Concept Demo

    Samsung recently published a new video on its YouTube channel demoing the recently launched "Linux on Galaxy" concept it introduced last month for Galaxy S8, S8+, and Note8 smartphones.

    Promising to bring the full Linux PC experience to your mobile device, the "Linux on Galaxy" concept relies on the Samsung DeX dock station, which transforms a Samsung Galaxy S8, S8+, or Note8 smartphone into a full-fledged desktop or workstation if you attach a monitor, keyboard, and mouse.

    Basically, Samsung DeX offers convergence for your Galaxy smartphone, something that Canonical wanted to create with its Ubuntu Linux operating system and the Unity 8 user interface that it's no longer under development. And now, Samsung wants to give you the full Linux PC experience on your smartphone.

  • Samsung Demos Ubuntu Running on a Galaxy Smartphone

    Samsung has shared a video of its 'Linux on Galaxy' app that lets developers run full desktop Linux distributions on select Galaxy smartphones.

  • Samsung cuts Windows from the loop, shows Ubuntu Linux running on the Samsung Galaxy Note 8

    Now Samsung has uploaded a concept video of what they want Linux on Galaxy to be like when it matures, allowing the sophisticated development of Android apps on an Android phone itself (and cutting Windows and MacOS completely out of the loop.)

GNU Linux-libre 4.14-gnu Released, Still A Battle Deblobbing Driver Firmware

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GNU
Linux

The Free Software Foundation Latin America team are once again punctual in delivering their updated GNU Linux-libre kernel.

Just hours after Linus Torvalds released Linux 4.14, the libre downstream released GNU Linux-libre 4.14-gnu. This kernel remains focused on removing code dependent upon binary-only/non-free firmware, including drivers needing such support, if they can't run without any firmware blobs nor any free software alternative, they are stripped from this tree. The libre kernel also prevents loading of non-free drivers.

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Also: GNU Linux-libre 4.14-gnu: -ENOFIRMWARE is now available

GNU/Linux Desktop: Mint, DeX, and Microsoft's Campaign to Undermine LiMux in Munich

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GNU
Linux
  • [Mint] Monthly News – November 2017

    Many thanks for your donations. Your help and support is greatly appreciated. It empowers us of course but it’s also a huge boost in confidence and motivation. Many thanks to all of you who help our project.

    Linux Mint 18.3 BETA

    The BETA for the Cinnamon and the MATE editions will be released this week.

    We hope you’ll enjoy them and we look forward to receiving your feedback. We’ll announce their official release in a couple of days.

  • Samsung Linux on Galaxy might run full, graphical Linux desktops

    Samsung sometimes tries to be too much like Google and engages in moonshot projects that are often abandoned quickly. So when it launched its new DeX “phone as a desktop” platform, it was natural for some people to wonder how long it would last. At least, for now, it seems that Samsung is investing a sizeable amount of resources to expand its coverage, like its upcoming Linux on Galaxy feature. Samsung just posted a concept video hinting that it could be more than what others have been able to do.

  • Munich council: To hell with Linux, we're going full Windows in 2020

    Hübner said "no final decision has yet been made" on whether LibreOffice will be swapped out for Microsoft Office. "That will be decided at the end of next year when the full cost of such a move will be known."

    Peter Ganten, CEO of Univention in Bremen and a member of the Open Source Business Alliance, told El Reg: "The council of the city of Munich has just executed a decision which they have made long before."

    Not all agree that it is a good decision.

    Ganten said "of course nobody in the open-source community is happy that this decision has been made" and the city will spend "decades of man power" and "millions of euros" on migration (as it did with the LiMux project) while client OSes "becomes more and more unimportant and other organisations are wisely spending their money for platform neutral applications."

    Matthias Kirschner, president of Free Software Foundation Europe in Berlin, said "there were never any studies" pinpointing what people were "unhappy" about. It might have been the LiMux client itself, or perhaps the migration process or lack of support.

    He said he was also not aware of a comparison of the unhappiness of staffers in cities using Windows.

SparkyLinux 5.1

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GNU
Linux
Reviews

SparkyLinux is a Debian-based distribution for 32- and 64-bit computers. According to Sparky's website, the distro aims to "provide a ready to use, out of the box operating system with a set of slightly customised, lightweight desktop environments." There are no less than 24 desktops to choose from, as well as various "Special" editions. Like Debian, Sparky has three branches, which Sparky refers to as 'editions': Stable, Rolling and Development. For each edition there is a "Home" and "Minimal" version and, to make your choice yet more overwhelming, for each version various ISOs are available. Among others, the Home versions include ISOs for four different desktop environments and the Minimal versions include a "Linux Freedom" ISO. I couldn't find any information about the Linux Freedom version on the Sparky website but I am assuming that it ships with a libre kernel and no non-free packages.

If the download options sound complicated then that is because they are complicated. It doesn't help that the download section on the Sparky website is poorly designed. The pages feature long lists with links to dozens of ISOs and virtually no information to help you pick a suitable image. Worse, what little information is available is ambiguous. Various pages on the Sparky website state that the distro uses Debian's Testing branch while it is in fact built on all three Debian branches. Also, the download page suggests that the Stable editions are recommended - the link to the Stable ISOs is listed first and features an icon of a computer with a green monitor. The Rolling ISOs use the same icon with a red monitor, while the Development branch uses the colour black.

While trying to decide which version of Sparky to install I made the following table, which might make the available flavours a little easier to digest.

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Desktop: Galaxy Smartphones and MacBook Pro

Filed under
GNU
Linux
  • Linux is coming to Samsung Galaxy smartphones

    The idea of putting Linux on a smartphone is not new but the fact that Samsung is testing the operating system on its smartphones is.

    Samsung made the announcement that it would be possible to run Linux on a Galaxy smartphone at SDC 2017 earlier this year.

  • Linux Distros On Smartphone: The First “Linux On Galaxy” Demo Is Here

    Technology companies involved in desktop and mobile space have been trying hard to achieve a perfect sense of convergence. Microsoft has been doing it with the help of Continuum; Apple has its own approach to make the iPad workflow more PC-like. Along the same lines, Samsung launched the new DeX dock with its flagship Galaxy S8.

  • Apple's Late-2016 MacBook Pro Is Still A Wreck With Linux

    At the end of last year we had a brief encounter with the new at the time MacBook Pro with Touchbar to see how well it would run under Linux. It was a mess with SSD difficulties, non-working touchpad/keyboard, WiFi issues, and more. It's a bit better using the newly-released Ubuntu 17.10, but would still advise against Linux for the Apple MacBook Pro Late-2016 model / Mac-A5C67F76ED83108C / MacBookPro 13,3 model.

OpenChain and copyleft

Filed under
GNU
Legal
  • How OpenChain can transform the supply chain

    OpenChain is all about increasing open source compliance in the supply chain. This issue, which many people initially dismiss as a legal concern or a low priority, is actually tied to making sure that open source is as useful and frictionless as possible. In a nutshell, because open source is about the use of third-party code, compliance is the nexus where equality of access, safety of use, and reduction of risk can be found. OpenChain accomplishes this by building trust between organizations.

    Many companies today understand open source and act as major supporters of open source development; however, addressing open source license compliance in a systematic, industry-wide manner has proven to be a somewhat elusive challenge. The global IT market has not seen a significant reduction in the number of open source compliance issues in areas such as consumer electronics over the past decade.

    [...]

    The OpenChain Project, hosted by The Linux Foundation, is intended to make open source license compliance more predictable, understandable, and efficient for the software supply chain. Formally launched in October 2016, the OpenChain Project started three years earlier with discussions that continued at an increasing pace until a formal project was born. The basic idea was simple: Identify recommended processes for effective open source management. The goal was equally clear: Reduce bottlenecks and risk when using third-party code to make open source license compliance simple and consistent across the supply chain. The key was to pull things together in a manner that balanced comprehensiveness, broad applicability, and real-world usability.

  • Software Freedom Strategy with Community Projects

    All of those led me to understand how software freedom is under attack, in particular how copyleft in under attack. And, as I talked during FISL, though many might say that "Open Source has won", end users software freedom has not. Lots of companies have co-opted "free software" but give no software freedom to their users. They seem friends with free software, and they are. Because they want software to be free. But freedom should not be a value for software itself, it needs to be a value for people, not only companies or people who are labeled software developers, but all people.

    That's why I want to stop talking about free software, and talk more about software freedom. Because I believe the latter is more clear about what we are talking about. I don't mind that we use whatever label, as long as we stablish its meaning during conversations, and set the tone to distinguish them. The thing is: free software does not software freedom make. Not by itself. As Bradley Kuhn puts it: it's not magic pixie dust.

    Those who have known me for years might remember me as a person who studied free software licenses and how I valued copyleft, the GPL specifically, and how I concerned myself with topics like license compatibility and other licensing matters.

    Others might remember me as a person who valued a lot about upstreaming code. Not carrying changes to software openly developed that you had not made an effort to put upstream.

    I can't say I was wrong on both accounts. I still believe in those things. I still believe in the importance of copyleft and the GPL. I still value sharing your code in the commons by going upstream. But I was certaily wrong in valuing them too much. Or not giving as much or even more value to distribution efforts of getting software freedom to the users.

Lakka 2.1 RC6 released with new Allwinner and Rockchip images and Kiosk mode

Filed under
GNU
Linux

Lakka 2.1 RC6 is available for download. It’s a very important update that brings support for a lot of new boards and fixes many compatibility issues.

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32 European ministers call for more Free Software in governmental infrastructure

Filed under
GNU
OSS

On 6 October, 32 European Ministers in charge of eGovernment policy signed the Tallinn Declaration on eGovernment that calls for more collaboration, interoperable solutions, and sharing of good practices throughout public administrations and across borders. Amongst other things, the EU ministers recognised the need to make more use of Free Software solutions and Open Standards when (re)building governmental digital systems with EU funds.

The Tallinn Declaration, lead by the Estonian EU presidency, has been adopted on 6 October 2017. It is a ministerial declaration that marks a new political commitment at European Union (EU) and European Free Trade Area (EFTA) level on priorities to ensure user-centric digital public services for both citizens and businesses cross-border. While having no legislative power, the ministerial declaration marks a political commitment to ensure the digital transformation of public administrations through a set of commonly agreed principles and actions.

The FSFE has previously submitted its input for the aforementioned declaration during the public consultation round, asking for greater inclusion of Free Software in delivering truly inclusive, trustworthy and interoperable digital services to all citizens and businesses across the EU.

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GNU Pioneer Stallman to Speak to CWDS Lunch

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GNU

Richard Stallman founded the free software movement 34 years ago and announced the GNU Project, the thrust of which wasn’t software’s cost but its ability to be shared, changed and shared again. One offshoot of the project was GNU/Linux, software created and inspired by the movement’s open-source principles.

CWDS is hosting Stallman because it, too, is trying to foster innovation in state IT while freely sharing the products of its best efforts with the city, county and other state agencies it supports through tech.

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Android Leftovers

FreeBSD-Based TrueOS 17.12 Released

The FreeBSD-based operating system TrueOS that's formerly known as PC-BSD has put out their last stable update of 2017. TrueOS 17.12 is now available as the latest six-month stable update for this desktop-focused FreeBSD distribution that also offers a server flavor. TrueOS continues using OpenRC as its init system and this cycle they have continued improving their Qt5-based Lumina desktop environment, the Bhyve hypervisor is now supported in the TrueOS server install, improved removable device support, and more. Read more

An introduction to Joplin, an open source Evernote alternative

Joplin is an open source cross-platform note-taking and to-do application. It can handle a large number of notes, organized into notebooks, and can synchronize them across multiple devices. The notes can be edited in Markdown, either from within the app or with your own text editor, and each application has an option to render Markdown with formatting, images, URLs, and more. Any number of files, such as images and PDFs, can be attached to a note, and notes can also be tagged. I started developing Joplin when Evernote changed its pricing model and because I wanted my 4,000+ notes to be stored in a more open format, free of any proprietary solution. To that end, I have developed three Joplin applications, all under the MIT License: for desktop (Windows, MacOS, and Linux), for mobile (Android and iOS), and for the terminal (Windows, MacOS, and Linux). All the applications have similar user interfaces and can synchronize with each other. They are based on open standards and technologies including SQLite and JavaScript for the backend, and Terminal Kit (Node.js), Electron, and React Native for the three front ends. Read more

Open Source OS Still supporting 32-bit Architecture and Why it’s Important

One after the other, Linux distributions are dropping 32-bit support. Or, to be accurate, they drop support for the Intel x86 32-bit architecture (IA-32). Indeed, computers based on x86_64 hardware (IA-64) are superior in every way to their 32-bits counterpart: they are more powerful, run faster, are more compact, and more energy efficient. Not mentioning their price has considerably decreased in just a few years. If you have the opportunity to switch to 64 bits, do it. But, to quote a mail I received recently from Peter Tribble, author of Tribblix: “[… ] in the developed world we assume that we can replace things; in some parts of the developing world older IA-32 systems are still the norm, with 64-bit being rare.” Read more