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Two years of postmarketOS

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OS
Android

We've gotten Plasma Mobile to run on both the Librem 5 (video) and PinePhone (video) devkits — with fully free software GPU drivers! Please note that the ports to these devices are still early days and that the sluggish performance is due to the GPU drivers still being in development.
As usually, @PureTryOut has been keeping the Plasma Mobile stack up-to-date with the latest versions. He also created a postmarketos-ui-plasma-mobile-extras package which effectively allows users to choose whether they want only the base installation, or a fully blown one with extra apps like a PDF reader, calendar and music player.

We like to upstream everything that makes sense, so with help from our Alpine friends, @PureTryOut got all of the KDE and Plasma Frameworks as well as Plasma desktop into Alpine and is maintaining them there from now on. The only packages we plan to keep specifically in postmarketOS are either mobile specific or development versions.

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The OS/2 Operating System Didn't Die… It Went Underground

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OS

One problem with building things using state-of-the-art techniques is that sometimes those that look like they will be “the next big thing” turn out to be dead ends. Next thing you know, that hot new part or piece of software is hard to get or unmaintained. This is especially true if you are building something with a long life span. A case in point is the New York City subway system. Back in the 1990s the transit authority decided to adopt IBM’s new OS/2 operating system. Why not? It was robust and we used to always say “no one ever got fired for buying IBM.”

There was one problem. OS/2 was completely eclipsed by other operating systems, notably Windows and — mostly — has sunk from the public view. [Andrew Egan’s] post covers just how the conversion to a card-based system pushed OS/2 underground all over the Big Apple, and it is an interesting read.

The choice of OS/2 might seem odd today. However, you have to remember the operating system landscape back then. Unix wasn’t very commercial, for the most part, and the commercial versions like Xenix and SCO were often encumbered with odd and changing licensing arrangements. MSDOS was hardly suitable for any sort of reliable system, with a patchwork of hacks to get more memory, and multitasking including early versions of Windows which were little more than shells over MSDOS.

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Exclusive: Zorin OS And Star Labs Team Up To Offer A Beautiful Linux Laptop Experience

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OS
Linux

It's no secret I'm impressed with Zorin OS 15. The polished and user-friendly distro is worth paying attention to, especially as a gateway for beginners into the world of desktop Linux. In what, until today, would have been a totally unconnected observation, I'm also thrilled that Star Labs has popped up on my radar. The UK-based Linux laptop company has a worthy challenger to the Dell XPS 13, and Star Labs is beginning to make waves in the dedicated Linux hardware space. As someone who appreciates the efforts of both these entities, I'm thrilled to exclusively report that they'll be joining forces.

Beginning this Friday June 21 at 3pm UK time, Star Labs will begin offering Zorin OS 15 as a pre-loaded option on their entire range of laptop, which currently consists of the Star LabTop Mk III and Star Lite. Zorin OS compliments existing OS options of Ubuntu and Linux Mint.

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Wind River pumps new beans into embedded Linux

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OS
Linux
Hardware

It’s hard to know whether to pronounce software infrastructure company Wind River as wind (as in eaten too many beans, that thing that makes sails billow out) or wind (as in snakey, twisty) river.

It looks like its wind as in breezy mistrals on this link, so let’s go with that.

Whether it be winding or breezy, the company has this month updated its Wind River Linux with a release focused on ease of adoption of containers in embedded systems.

How do you make containers adoption easier? We’re glad you asked.

It’s all about offering pre-built containers, tools and documentation as well as support for frameworks such as Docker and Kubernetes.

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Enso OS Makes Xfce Elementary

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OS
Reviews

The most impressive aspect of Enso OS is the tweaked desktop that combines a somewhat modified Xfce environment with key elements from Elementary OS. The result could be a better alternative to Xubuntu, depending on your computing preferences.

For an early beta release of a relatively new Linux distribution, Enso OS has much going for it. This distro also has numerous areas where the developer must grow the infrastructure.

Enso OS is clearly a distro that bears watching over the next few releases.

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Huawei has an alternative for its Android alternative

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OS
Android

Following the US government trade ban last month, Huawei lost business ties with several American companies, including Google, dealing a huge blow to its Android smartphone business. The Chinese phonemaker is building an Android-based operating system of its own now. However, building an OS from the scratch is by no means an easy task. While it continues working on its OS, supposedly called HongMeng OS in China, the company is also exploring other options, in case it has to completely forego Android.

There aren’t many options out there, but Huawei still seems to have zeroed in on one of them. A report from Russia suggests that the Chinese company may make Aurora OS its Android alternative. Aurora OS is a Russian-made mobile OS based on the open-source Sailfish OS Linux distribution developed by Finnish company Jolla.

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Wind River Linux adds Docker and Kubernetes support for the edge

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OS
Hardware

The latest version of Wind River Linux debuts an “OverC” container stack that eases integration of frameworks such as Docker and Kubernetes on edge devices. The Yocto-based embedded distro is available in open source and commercial versions.

When reading about the latest, container-friendly version of the market-leading commercial Wind River Linux distribution, we were struck by the mention of an open source version of the commercial distro available for download on GitHub. We wondered if this was a new development after Intel sold off Wind River to investment firm TPG last year, but a Wind River spokesperson informed us that the open source version has been available since 2017.

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Also: Skylake box PC has 6x GbE with optional PoE and Myriad X support

5 Alternative Mobile Operating Systems To Android

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OS
Android

Android is dominating the mobile and there are no doubts regarding this. According to statistics, Android has a share of 75%, iOS has a share of 22% and remaining operating systems share the rest. We want to talk about these “remaining operating systems” which you probably have never heard of and you will perhaps want to have on your next phone.

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Huawei’s “Oak OS” may arrive as early as August

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OS
Android

Google, meanwhile, has warned the US government of potential security risks regarding the blacklisting of Huawei. Apparently, the web giant is worried that Huawei will roll out an OS that would be less secure than Android. Huawei’s system is likely to have more bugs in it than Android, making its phones more susceptible to hacks. “Our focus is protecting the security of Google users on the millions of existing Huawei handsets in the US and around the world,” Financial Times quoted Google as saying.

The Oak OS will be an Android-based system (via the Android Open Source Project). While most of the existing Android apps should be compatible with the new OS, it won’t have the access to Google Play Store. Of course Huawei have its own app store, but can it bring all apps from the Play Store to its store is something to look forward to. Reportedly, Facebook is stopping Huawei from pre-installing its apps on the company’s upcoming phones, further compounding its problems.

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PinePhone $149 Linux smartphone could support Ubuntu, Sailfish, Maemo, LuneOS and more

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OS
GNU
Linux
Gadgets

The PinePhone is a cheap, Linux-ready smartphone that’s expected to ship in limited quantities later this year. It’s not exactly a high-power device by modern smartphone standards, but with an expected starting price of $149, it will be a lot more affordable than some of the other Linux phones on the horizon.

It’s also starting to look like the PinePhone could be a very versatile device.

Pine64 has been sending out development kits for a while, and it looks like developers are porting a number of GNU/Linux-based operating systems to the platform.

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More in Tux Machines

There's A Professional Grade Digital Cinema Camera Powered By Linux

Digital camera startup Octopus Cinema has been designing the "OCTOPUSCAMERA" as a digital cinema camera that's professional grade yet is an open platform with removable/upgradeable parts and this camera platform itself is running Linux. The OCTOPUSCAMERA supports up to 5K full frame recording, weighs less than 1kg, and is powered by Linux. It's a rather ambitious device and they aim to be shipping in 2020. Read more Also: Old Linus Torvalds is back: Linux page caching sparks 'bulls**t' outburst [Ed: Anti-Linux writers of the CBS tabloid ZDNet are mobbing Torvalds into silence again]

Android Leftovers

One Mix Yoga 3 mini laptop demostrated running Ubuntu

If you are in interested in seeing how the Ubuntu Linux operating system runs on the new One Mix Yoga 3 mini laptop. You are sure to be interested in the new video created by Brad Linder over at Liliputing. “ I posted some notes about what happened when I took Ubuntu 19.04 for a spin on the One Mix 3 Yoga in my first-look article, but plenty of folks who watched my first look video on YouTube asked for a video… so I made one of those too.” The creators of the One Mix Yoga 3 have made it fairly easy to boot an alternative operating system simply by plugging in a bootable flash drive or USB storage device. As the mini laptop is powering up simply hit the delete key and you will be presented by the BIOS/UEFI menu. Simply change the boot priority order so that the computer will boot from a USB device and you are in business. Read more

Security: Curl, Fedora, Windows and More

  • Daniel Stenberg: openssl engine code injection in curl

    This flaw is known as CVE-2019-5443. If you downloaded and installed a curl executable for Windows from the curl project before June 21st 2019, go get an updated one. Now.

  • Fedora's GRUB2 EFI Build To Offer Greater Security Options

    In addition to disabling root password-based SSH log-ins by default, another change being made to Fedora 31 in the name of greater security is adding some additional GRUB2 boot-loader modules to be built-in for their EFI boot-loader. GRUB2 security modules for verification, Cryptodisk, and LUKS will now be part of the default GRUB2 EFI build. They are being built-in now since those using the likes of UEFI SecureBoot aren't able to dynamically load these modules due to restrictions in place under SecureBoot. So until now using SecureBoot hasn't allowed users to enjoy encryption of the boot partition and the "verify" module with ensuring better integrity of the early boot-loader code.

  • Fedora 31 Will Finally Disable OpenSSH Root Password-Based Logins By Default

    Fedora 31 will harden up its default configuration by finally disabling password-based OpenSSH root log-ins, matching the upstream default of the past four years and behavior generally enforced by other Linux distributions. The default OpenSSH daemon configuration file will now respect upstream's default of prohibiting passwords for root log-ins. Those wishing to restore the old behavior of allowing root log-ins with a password can adjust their SSHD configuration file with the PermitRootLogin option, but users are encouraged to instead use a public-key for root log-ins that is more secure and will be permitted still by default.

  • Warning Issued For Millions Of Microsoft Windows 10 Users

    Picked up by Gizmodo, acclaimed Californian security company SafeBreach has revealed that software pre-installed on PCs has left “millions” of users exposed to hackers. Moreover, that estimate is conservative with the number realistically set to be hundreds of millions. The flaw lies in PC-Doctor Toolbox, systems analysis software which is rebadged and pre-installed on PCs made by some of the world’s biggest computer retailers, including Dell, its Alienware gaming brand, Staples and Corsair. Dell alone shipped almost 60M PCs last year and the company states PC-Doctor Toolbox (which it rebrands as part of ‘SupportAssist’) was pre-installed on “most” of them. What SafeBreach has discovered is a high-severity flaw which allows attackers to swap-out harmless DLL files loaded during Toolbox diagnostic scans with DLLs containing a malicious payload. The injection of this code impacts both Windows 10 business and home PCs and enables hackers to gain complete control of your computer. What makes it so dangerous is PC-makers give Toolbox high-permission level access to all your computer’s hardware and software so it can be monitored. The software can even give itself new, higher permission levels as it deems necessary. So once malicious code is injected via Toolbox, it can do just about anything to your PC.

  • Update Your Dell Laptop Now to Fix a Critical Security Flaw in Pre-Installed Software

    SafeBreach Labs said it targeted SupportAssist, software pre-installed on most Dell PCs designed to check the health of the system’s hardware, based on the assumption that “such a critical service would have high permission level access to the PC hardware as well as the capability to induce privilege escalation.” What the researchers found is that the application loads DLL files from a folder accessible to users, meaning the files can be replaced and used to load and execute a malicious payload. There are concerns the flaw may affect non-Dell PCs, as well. The affected module within SupportAssist is a version of PC-Doctor Toolbox found in a number of other applications, including: Corsair ONE Diagnostics, Corsair Diagnostics, Staples EasyTech Diagnostics, Tobii I-Series Diagnostic Tool, and Tobii Dynavox Diagnostic Tool. The most effective way to prevent DLL hijacking is to quickly apply patches from the vendor. To fix this bug, either allow automatic updates to do its job, or download the latest version of Dell SupportAssist for Business PCs (x86 or x64) or Home PCs (here). You can read a full version of the SafeBreach Labs report here.

  • TCP SACK PANIC Kernel Vulnerabilities Reported by Netflix Researchers

    On June 17th, Researchers at Netflix have identified several TCP networking vulnerabilities in FreeBSD and Linux kernels.

  • DNS Security - Getting it Right

    This paper addresses the privacy implications of two new Domain Name System (DNS) encryption protocols: DNS-over-TLS (DoT) and DNS-over-HTTPS (DoH). Each of these protocols provides a means to secure the transfer of data during Internet domain name lookup, and they prevent monitoring and abuse of user data in this process. DoT and DoH provide valuable new protection for users online. They add protection to one of the last remaining unencrypted ‘core’ technologies of the modern Internet, strengthen resistance to censorship and can be coupled with additional protections to provide full user anonymity. Whilst DoT and DoH appear to be a win for Internet users, however, they raise issues for network operators concerned with Internet security and operational efficiency. DoH in particular makes it extremely difficult for network operators to implement domain-specific filters or blocks, which may have a negative impact on UK government strategies for the Internet which rely on these. We hope that a shift to encrypted DNS will lead to decreased reliance on network-level filtering for censorship.