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OS

How a trip to China inspired Endless OS and teaching kids to hack

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OS
Interviews

Last year, I decided to try out Endless OS, a lightweight, Linux-based operating system developed to power inexpensive computers for developing markets. I wrote about installing and setting it up. Endless OS is unique because it uses a read-only root file system managed by OSTree and Flatpak, but the Endless company is unique for its approach to education.

Late last year, Endless announced the Hack, a $299 laptop manufactured by Asus that encourages kids to code, and most recently the company revealed The Third Terminal, a group of video games designed to get kids coding while they're having fun. Since I'm so involved in teaching kids to code, I wanted to learn more about Endless Studios, the company behind Endless OS, The Third Terminal, The Endless Mission, a sandbox-style game created in partnership with E-Line Media, and other ventures targeted at expanding digital literacy and agency among children around the world.

I reached out to Matt Dalio, Endless' founder, CEO, and chief of product and founder of the China Care Foundation, to ask about Endless and his charitable work supporting orphaned children with special needs in China.

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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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