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Update: Convictions Upheld, Sentences Extended In Romanian Microsoft Bribery Trial

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According to the blog post, the trial ended on October 3rd, and investigators found that more than 100 people, including former ministers, the mayor of Bucharest, and various businessmen were involved in this latest corruption scandal involving Microsoft. More than 20 million euros were paid by Microsoft there as bribes.


These bribery convictions are just the tip of the iceberg. Multiple news outlets are reporting on investigations of bribery in other countries as well as separate investigations by the US Department of Justice and the US Securities And Exchange Commission.

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Microsoft Corruption, Rejections, and Struggles

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  • Microsoft licensing corruption scandal in Romania has ended on October 3rd

    This scandal covers buying Microsoft licensees for Romanian administration from 2004 to 2012 for total 228 millions USD.

    During the investigation was found that more than 100 people, former ministers, mayor of Bucuresti and businessman are involved in this corruption scandal and more than 20 millions euro are paid as bribes.

  • 49ers Colin Kaepernick, Chip Kelly review Microsoft Surface tablets, which Bill Belichick is ‘done’ using

    Ranting about Microsoft’s unreliable, sideline tablets is not a top priority for 49ers coach Chip Kelly and quarterback Colin Kaepernick, not with a five-game losing streak in tow for Sunday’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

    But both Kelly and Kaepernick confirmed this week that they’ve experienced problems with the Microsoft Surface tablets. They’re just not as fed up with them as New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick, who’s lambasted the imperfect technology for years and finally declared this week: “I’m done with the tablets.”

  • Windows: When no growth is an improvement

    Research firms like IDC and Gartner have continued to forecast contraction, not expansion, in the PC business. Only when enterprise migrations to Windows 10 kick into gear do analysts see a reversal of the industry’s historic slump. That isn’t expected to happen until next year.

Patten: How to exorcise Windows from your old computer

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You may have heard of Linux (also known as GNU/Linux), but only as something that hackers use. It has a reputation for being unwieldy and hard. That reputation is deserved … sometimes.

But anyone can learn it. And if it’s good enough for Barbie, it should be good enough for you.

The best part: It’s free, free, free.

Linux is actually a kind of operating system, just as a mammal is a kind of animal. Linux systems are all similar or identical at the core (also known as the kernel). But they come in a lot of varieties, or distros. (Fun fact: Much of the Android operating system is based on Linux.)

The hard part about Linux isn’t learning. It’s choosing.

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Also: Kodi-fying an old computer


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Faulty Products

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Microsoft Woes

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  • Windows 10 market share fell in September

    Microsoft may have used its Ignite conference to trumpet Windows 10 now running on 400 million devices, but the operating system's market share went backwards in September according to two of three traffic-watchers we track each month.

    StatCounter Global Stats has Windows 10 at 24.42 per cent desktop OS market share for September, down just .01 per cent from its August share. Netmarketshare recorded a sharper dip, from August's 22.99 per cent to a September reading of 22.53 per cent.

    Both firms, as we've often pointed out, rely on sniffing web traffic for their numbers and that's far from a certain way of figuring out who's running what. Indeed, StatCounter has recently recorded a surge in “Unknown” desktop operating systems, up from 4.06 per cent in June to 6.42 per cent in September, suggesting tracking and/or methodological issues.

  • The Massive Windows 10 Update Failure

    The recent Microsoft Windows 10 Anniversary Update ruffled more than a few feathers as many users are experiencing a reboot cycle.

    These things are bound to happen when a company takes a cavalier attitude and constantly slipstreams updates. This is unlike the previous era of the neverending patch Tuesday. The difference: these Windows 10 updates are not optional.

Linux and Microsoft

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  • BIOS Problems and Solutions

    When Lenovo released the Yoga 900-13ISK2 it became apparent that Linux and BSD users could not rely on closed source BIOSes. Of course while it is rather naive to think that a Microsoft Signature Edition PC would be Linux friendly, one could hope that at least it would not be Linux or BSD hostile. On further analysis one can see that this is not the case, and any would-be Linux user is in for a very difficult time trying to load any operating system other than Windows 10.

    The exact reasons for this problem boil down to the inability of the BIOS to set Advanced Host Controller Interface (AHCI) mode for the SSD. Now I knew long ago that closed source BIOSes could become a problem back in the mid-1990s. I've spent considerable time researching the ways one can obtain a computer with FOSS firmware.

    Before I go into the specifics of which computers actually have a BIOS with freely available source code allow me to recap some computer history. When we look at the original IBM PC BIOS we can see that it's been well analyzed and that no other operating systems have been locked out. In addition to this there was no way to alter the BIOS save for swapping out the BIOS chip and putting in a different one. So for several years people didn't give much thought to the BIOS, as long as their computer booted they could load whatever operating system they wanted, be it Unix, Minix, MS-DOS, CP/M, etc.

  • OCI Announces New Tools Projects and 1.0 Release Candidates

    With ContainerCon Europe currently underway in Berlin, we want to share some of the great progress the Open Container Initiative (OCI) has made.

    The OCI was launched with the express purpose of developing standards for the container format and runtime that will give everyone the ability to fully commit to container technologies today without worrying that their current choice of infrastructure, cloud provider or tooling will lock them in.

  • Never explain, never apologize: Microsoft silent on email server grief

    A tweak to Microsoft's cloud service has blocked a good number of people from accessing their messages.

    Specifically, the baffling and unannounced change affects users with connected accounts: these are email accounts hosted on third-party servers (such as a company's private server or an ISP's mail server) that are accessed via the cloud. People with this setup are no longer able to send or receive mail through Redmond's webmail service.

    Reg reader David Barrett, who runs an internet-facing server for his friends and a UK health charity, said the issue has left those users who run with outside mail systems unable to get their email for days now.

    "It happened around the end of last week/over the weekend and seems to have been a gradual rollout," he told us.

Microsoft Wants Data, Loses Data

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  • Detested snooping patch KB 2952664 reappears

    Perhaps the world has gone truly mad. Or maybe Microsoft's trying to pull the wool over our eyes prior to its major shift in patching strategy -- the patchocalypse -- widely anticipated this month. It's even possible Microsoft wants to bring back the "Get Windows 10" campaign, to drive Windows' reputation even deeper into the dirt.

    A Microsoft spokesman says it isn't bringing back the "Get Windows 10" campaign, but our old nemesis KB 2952664 reappeared suddenly yesterday afternoon, and Windows users are livid -- and scared.

  • Microsoft's Skype locks out iTWire editor-in-chief

    Login issues at Skype have bitten iTWire, with editor-in-chief Stan Beer being told his account has been suspended. After 16 hours of waiting, he is still unable to log in, and Microsoft now says it has lost his account and all its data.

    A furious Beer would not rule out legal action. "This is unacceptable. I have been using my account practically every day for the past 10 years. It is vital to the operation of my company. If I do not have it reinstated immediately I will have no alternative but to consider my options and take legal action," he said.

    An email just received from Microsoft's support team said: "We have checked our records and your account does not exist in the Microsoft system. Please check the spelling of your account. If you are sure this is the correct Microsoft account, it is also possible that it has expired due to inactivity.

    "Your account will expire if you do not sign in regularly or within the first 10 days after registration. When the account is deleted, all messages, folders, and contacts are deleted as well. Incoming messages will be sent back to the sender as undeliverable, but the user name is immediately available for registration."

    After suffering repeated issues with Windows over many years, Beer thought he had escaped the clutches of Microsoft when he switched to OS X.

    But last evening he was given a sharp reminder that the Typhoid Mary of the Internet has a long reach and can still foul up one's day.

  • Data loss services: Microsoft leads all the way

    When you have data you want to get rid of forever, whom are you going to call? There's one sure place to go: Redmond. You are assured of losing your data when you hand it to Microsoft.

    The company is not in the habit of keeping backups. That's so yesterday.

    No, Microsoft is out there in front of them all, modern-looking chief executive Satya Nadella in the lead, preaching the gospel of getting rid of the old and welcoming in the new.

    The bitter truth must now be acknowledged: veteran tech journo Bob Cringely said it first and I have repeated it for some time, but never seen it up so close. Microsoft is a marketing company, not a technology company.

Vista 10 Woes

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  • Lenovo won’t make Windows 10 phones due to Microsoft’s commitment issues

    Lenovo’s COO, Gianfranco Lanci, has said that the Chinese tech giant doesn’t intend to release any new phones running Windows 10 Mobile. This is because he doubts Microsoft’s commitment to its floundering smartphone platform.

    Speaking at the Canalys Channel Forum 2016, Lanci said that while Windows 10 for desktops has been doing well in the business world, it has no plans to build smartphones using the operating system.

  • Latest Windows 10 Anniversary Update Build Sends Some Users To Reboot Loop Hell

    Those of you rocking a PC with the Windows 10 Anniversary Update may want to hold off on letting your system apply the latest round of fixes. There are several user complaints that Build 14393.222 (KB3194496), the seventh Cumulative Update since the Anniversary started flooding PCs in August, is borking systems by putting them into an endless reboot loop.

    The latest update package is supposed to deliver "quality improvements" in the form of several bug fixes for various issues, as well as improve the reliability of certain tasks, such as downloading and updating games from the Windows Store. Unfortunately, in many cases the installation fails somewhere along the way and rolls back the changes it made, as indicated by complaints posted to Microsoft's support forums and Twitter. It also happened to me when I tried installing the update on my primary desktop.

  • More than half of PCs don't have Windows 10 AU yet, and no one's quite sure why

    Just 34.5 percent of all PCs are running Windows 10 version 1607, aka the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, according to AdDuplex, maker of a Windows 10 SDK for third-party app makers. The majority, 59.9 percent, are still running Windows 10 version 1511, also known as the Fall Update.

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KNOPPIX 7.7.1 Distro Officially Released with Debian Goodies, Linux Kernel 4.7.9

Believe it or not, Klaus Knopper is still doing his thing with the KNOPPIX GNU/Linux distribution, which was just updated to version 7.7.1 to offer users the latest open source software and technologies. Read more

CentOS 6 Linux Servers Receive Important Kernel Security Patch, Update Now

We reported a couple of days ago that Johnny Hughes from the CentOS Linux team published an important kernel security advisory for users of the CentOS 7 operating system. Read more

Games for GNU/Linux

  • Why GNU/Linux ports can be less performant, a more in-depth answer
    When it comes to data handling, or rather data manipulation, different APIs can perform it in different ways. In one, you might simply be able to modify some memory and all is ok. In another, you might have to point to a copy and say "use that when you can instead and free the original then". This is not a one way is better than the other discussion - it's important only that they require different methods of handling it. Actually, OpenGL can have a lot of different methods, and knowing the "best" way for a particular scenario takes some experience to get right. When dealing with porting a game across though, there may not be a lot of options: the engine does things a certain way, so that way has to be faked if there's no exact translation. Guess what? That can affect OpenGL state, and require re-validation of an entire rendering pipeline, stalling command submission to the GPU, a.k.a less performance than the original game. It's again not really feasible to rip apart an entire game engine and redesign it just for that: take the performance hit and carry on. Note that some decisions are based around _porting_ a game. If one could design from the ground up with OpenGL, then OpenGL would likely give better performance...but it might also be more difficult to develop and test for. So there's a bit of a trade-off there, and most developers are probably going to be concerned with getting it running on Windows first, GNU/Linux second. This includes engine developers.
  • Why Linux games often perform worse than on Windows
    Drivers on Windows are tweaked rather often for specific games. You often see a "Game Ready" (or whatever term they use now) driver from Nvidia and AMD where they often state "increased performance in x game by x%". This happens for most major game releases on Windows. Nvidia and AMD have teams of people to specifically tweak the drivers for games on Windows. Looking at Nvidia specifically, in the last three months they have released six new drivers to improve performance in specific games.
  • Thoughts on 'Stellaris' with the 'Leviathans Story Pack' and latest patch, a better game that still needs work
  • Linux community has been sending their love to Feral Interactive & Aspyr Media
    This is awesome to see, people in the community have sent both Feral Interactive & Aspyr Media some little care packages full of treats. Since Aspyr Media have yet to bring us the new Civilization game, it looks like Linux users have been guilt-tripping the porters into speeding up, or just sending them into a sugar coma.
  • Feral Interactive's Linux ports may come with Vulkan sooner than we thought
  • Using Nvidia's NVENC with OBS Studio makes Linux game recording really great
    I had been meaning to try out Nvidia's NVENC for a while, but I never really bothered as I didn't think it would make such a drastic difference in recording gaming videos, but wow does it ever! I was trying to record a game recently and all other methods I tried made the game performance utterly dive, making it impossible to record it. So I asked for advice and eventually came to this way.

Leftovers: Software

  • DocKnot 1.00
    I'm a bit of a perfectionist about package documentation, and I'm also a huge fan of consistency. As I've slowly accumulated more open source software packages (alas, fewer new ones these days since I have less day-job time to work on them), I've developed a standard format for package documentation files, particularly the README in the package and the web pages I publish. I've iterated on these, tweaking them and messing with them, trying to incorporate all my accumulated wisdom about what information people need.
  • Shotwell moving along
    A new feature that was included is a contrast slider in the enhancement tool, moving on with integrating patches hanging around on Bugzilla for quite some time.
  • GObject and SVG
    GSVG is a project to provide a GObject API, using Vala. It has almost all, with some complementary, interfaces from W3C SVG 1.1 specification. GSVG is LGPL library. It will use GXml as XML engine. SVG 1.1 DOM interfaces relays on W3C DOM, then using GXml is a natural choice. SVG is XML and its DOM interfaces, requires to use Object’s properties and be able to add child DOM Elements; then, we need a new set of classes.
  • LibreOffice 5.1.6 Office Suite Released for Enterprise Deployments with 68 Fixes
    Today, October 27, 2016, we've been informed by The Document Foundation about the general availability of the sixth maintenance update to the LibreOffice 5.1 open-source and cross-platform office suite. You're reading that right, LibreOffice 5.1 got a new update not the current stable LibreOffice 5.2 branch, as The Document Foundation is known to maintain at least to versions of its popular office suite, one that is very well tested and can be used for enterprise deployments and another one that offers the latest technologies.