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Microsoft

Leaving Windows 7? Here are some non-Windows options.

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Microsoft

Then there’s my own favorite: the Linux desktop. But while I love it, I’m well aware of the Linux desktop’s many problems.

But recently the Linux community looks to be finally getting its act together. So now might be a good time to kick Linux’s tires.

Personally, when it comes to the many distros, I favor Linux Mint. It’s good, secure and fast. It also has the advantage, from your perspective, of looking a good deal like Windows 7. That makes switching over to it easier than you might expect.

But if you need corporate support, you’ll be better off with Red Hat Enterprise Linux Workstation or Canonical’s Ubuntu for desktop. You can, by the by, use Linux desktops with your existing Active Directory domains if that’s what’s stopping you from considering Linux.

Which is best for you? Only you can answer that question. What I can say, though, is that these days you don’t have to just grit your teeth and shift over to the next version of Windows. Thanks in large part to the move to a SaaS model for nearly all applications, you have real desktop OS choices.

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Vulnerability Exposed Microsoft Azure Users to Cyberattack

Filed under
Microsoft

New data from Check Point Research says dozens of vulnerabilities found in a commonly used protocol left millions of Microsoft cloud users open to attack.

In a presentation this week at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas, the firm noted that flaws in the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP)—routinely used to access remote Windows machines—could be exploited to execute arbitrary code on a target’s system, allowing them to view, change, and delete data or create new accounts with full administrative rights.

RDP was originally developed by Microsoft, and is frequently used by users looking to connect to a remote Windows machine. There’s several popular open-source clients for the RDP protocol utilized by Linux and Mac users as well.

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Proprietary: Microsoft, Apple and Google

Filed under
Google
Microsoft
Mac
  • Netherlands warns government employees not to use Microsoft's online Office apps

    In one example, it was found that some 300,000 top tier Office users, with the ‘365 Pro Plus' package were being sent back to the US for storage - exactly the sort of behaviour that got Dutch backs up.

    In a wider sense, this is a small but public battle in a much larger war, with the EU still leaning heavily on Microsoft to put its post-GDPR house in order.

  • The iPhone now makes up less than half of Apple’s business

    Apple today reported its fiscal third quarter 2019 earnings, earning $53.8 billion in revenue and earnings per share of $2.18. That revenue is a 1 percent jump year over year. iPhone revenue was $25.99 billion compared to $29.47 billion a year ago. That means the iPhone represented under half of Apple’s revenue for the first time since 2012.

    The all-important services unit took in $11.46 billion in revenue. Wearables saw a big boost, likely thanks to Apple’s second-generation AirPods. CEO Tim Cook said that when the services and wearables / home / accessories divisions are combined, they approach the size of a Fortune 50 company. Revenue from Mac sales was $5.82 billion, and iPads were $5.023 billion, up from $4.634 billion last year at this time.

  • Apple Finds Life After the iPhone While Still Banking on the iPhone

    Combined, Apple’s two major independent product lines not attached to the iPhone -- Mac computers and iPads -- made up only 20% of revenue in the fiscal third quarter, despite gains from the period a year ago, the Cupertino, California-based company reported Tuesday. Apple’s also working on a mixed augmented and virtual reality headset for the coming years, but that, too, is likely to be iPhone-reliant.

  • Chrome 76 for Mac, Windows rolling out: Flash blocked by default, Incognito loophole closed, Settings tweak

    As a big HTML5 proponent for the past decade, Google encouraged sites to switch away from Flash for faster, safer, and more battery-efficient browsing. In late 2016 and early 2017, Chrome blocked background Flash elements and defaulted to HTML5, with users having to manually enable the Adobe plug-in on a site-by-site basis.

  • Google Chrome 76 Released for Linux, Windows, and Mac with 43 Security Fixes

    Google promoted today the Chrome 76 web browser to the stable channel for all supported platforms, including GNU/Linux, Windows, and macOS.

    Google Chrome 76.0.3809.87 is now available as the latest stable version of the popular and cross-platform web browser from Google, based on the open source Chromium project. It contains various bug fixes and improvements, as well as no less than 43 security fixes for the latest vulnerabilities.

Dutch cheesed off at Microsoft, call for Rexit from Office Online, Mobile apps over Redmond data slurping

Filed under
Microsoft

A report backed by the Dutch Ministry of Justice and Security is warning government institutions not to use Microsoft's Office Online or mobile applications due to potential security and privacy risks.

A report from Privacy Company, which was commissioned by the ministry, found that Office Online and the Office mobile apps should be banned from government work. The report found the apps were not in compliance with a set of privacy measures Redmond has agreed to with the Dutch government.

The alert notes that in May of this year Microsoft and the government of the Netherlands agreed to new privacy terms after a 2018 report, also compiled by Privacy Company, found that Office 365 ProPlus was gathering personal information on some 300,000 workers via its telemetry features and storing them in the US. These included such things such as email addresses and translation requests.

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Microsoft Under Fire for GitHub Imperialism

Filed under
Microsoft
  • GitHub developers restricted in Crimea, Cuba, Iran, and other regions under U.S. sanctions

    GitHub placed new restrictions on developers in Crimea, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, and Syria. Developers face restrictions as a result of U.S. trade sanctions. Private repositories (repos) and paid accounts are under these new restrictions, but public repos are still available, and open-source repos are unaffected. Several reports surfaced over the weekend of developers being affected by the restrictions (via The Verge).

  • Yellow badges are back. This time not by Nazi Germany & not for Jews, but by U.S. tech companies

    Three days ago (Jul 25, 2019), when GitHub blocked my account, I noticed that there is an ugly fixed yellow warning on every single page of GitHub for me (as a blocked user). The warning message had no close button. I want to call it “Digital yellow badge” but this time it’s not for Jews, it’s for people who born & live in countries like Iran.

  • GitHub restricts developer accounts based in Iran, Crimea, and other countries under US sanctions

    At least one developer who was affected by the action was told that the company was not “legally able” to provide an export of the disabled repository content. Friedman added that the company does not believe it is legally able to provide advance notice of these restrictions, but he said that users can choose to make their private repos public to gain access and clone them.

Cautionary Tales About Hosting With Microsoft

Filed under
Server
Microsoft
  • GitHub confirms it has blocked developers in Iran, Syria and Crimea [Ed: Microsoft wants us to believe that all companies need to do what GitHub did. That’s a lie. But Microsoft knows that it needs to lick Trump’s and Bolton’s boots to keep getting those government contracts that ‘bail it out’. Microsoft made its choice [1, 2].]

    The impact of U.S. trade restrictions is trickling down to the developer community. GitHub, the world’s largest host of source code, is preventing users in Iran, Syria, Crimea and potentially other sanctioned nations from accessing portions of the service, chief executive of the Microsoft-owned firm said.

  • Migrating an Exchange Server to the Cloud? What could possibly go wrong?

    As users stared at useless login screens, Ben and his team floundered for a few hours, trying to work out how to restore access.

    The clue was in the word "restore" as one bright spark remembered there was a user account named "backup" used, well, to do backups.

    It had been missed in the Exchange account purge and so was still active.

    And the Linux connection? The Microsoft Certified Partner used a server running the open-source operating system to perform backup duties.

    The backup software used that Active Directory account, which just so happened to have enough privileges to re-enable the Windows users via Linux LDAP tools.

    After all, these days Microsoft just loves open source, right?

Security and Proprietary Software With Back Doors

Filed under
Microsoft
Security
  • Cyber expert who helped stop WannaCry sentenced to time served in malware case

    While Hutchins was sentenced to time served, he could have faced up to 10 years in prison and $500,000 in fines. He served a few days in jail after being arrested in 2017, but was then freed on bail on the condition that he remain in the U.S. while his case was pending.

  • The Latest: Cyber expert gets time-served in malware case

    U.S. District Judge J.P. Stadtmueller sentenced 25-year-old Marcus Hutchins on Friday in Milwaukee to time served, with a year of supervised release. Stadtmueller said the virus Hutchins helped stop was far more damaging than the malware he wrote.

  • Cyber-Crook Turned Global Hero Avoids Prison In Malware Case

    Marcus Hutchins was sentenced Friday by U.S. District Judge Nancy Joseph in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He pleaded guilty in April to two counts related to his marketing and distribution of malware called Kronos and UPAS, which his customers used to steal the bank details of unsuspecting victims around the world. Hutchins was arrested in July 2017 after he traveled to the U.S.

  • Boeing's Corporate Suicide

    Boeing's cost-cutting means it lacks the necessary in-house software expertise to develop and QA the fix.

Linux survival guide: These 21 applications let you move easily between Linux and Windows

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Microsoft

In this article, we're spotlighting 20 applications that are functionally identical (or at least pretty similar) between Windows and Linux.

While there aren't absolute brand-for-brand equivalents for about 30 percent of the applications, there are workable substitute solutions.

In the following slides, I'll show you the applications that are either exact matches across platforms, or which work as solid substitute solutions when jumping between platforms and still needing to get the job done.

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Microsoft Against Libraries and Literature

Filed under
Microsoft
  • Linkedin to libraries: drop dead

    For years, libraries across America have paid to subscribe to lynda.com for online learning content; four years ago, lynda.com became a division of Linkedin, and this year, the company has informed libraries that they're migrating all lynda.com users to Linkedin Learning, which would be fine, except Linkedin only allows you to access Linkedin Learning if you create and connect a Linkedin profile to the system.

    If libraries accept this change, it will mean that any patron who uses this publicly funded service will also have to have a publicly searchable Linkedin profile. Linkedin's explanation of why this is OK is purest tech-bro PR bullshit, condescending and dismissive.

  • ALA urges LinkedIn Learning to reconsider changes to terms of service that impair library users’ privacy rights

    Under LinkedIn Learning’s new terms of service, a library cardholder will need to create a LinkedIn profile in order to access LinkedIn Learning. In addition to providing their library card number and PIN, users will have to disclose their full name and email address to create a new LinkedIn profile or connect to their existing profile. New users will have their LinkedIn profile set to public by default, allowing their full name to be searched on Google and LinkedIn.

    ALA has long affirmed that the protection of library users’ privacy and confidentiality rights are necessary for intellectual freedom and are fundamental to the ethical practice of librarianship. ALA’s Library Bill of Rights and its interpretations maintain that all library users have the right to access library resources without disclosing their personally identifiable information (PII) to third parties, and to be free from unreasonable intrusion into, or surveillance of, their lawful library use.

    “The requirement for users of LinkedIn Learning to disclose personally identifiable information is completely contrary to ALA policies addressing library users’ privacy, and it may violate some states’ library confidentiality laws,” said ALA President Wanda Kay Brown. “It also violates the librarian’s ethical obligation to keep a person’s use of library resources confidential. We are deeply concerned about these changes to the terms of service and urge LinkedIn and its owner, Microsoft, to reconsider their position on this.”

Here's why Windows 10 users are switching to other platforms

Filed under
Linux
Microsoft

People have been dealing with Windows 10 issues since the OS was first introduced in 2015. There are many die-heart Windows fans who prefer to deal with these issues rather than looking for other platforms.

Well, Linux has been around for years but many people are still reluctant to adopt Linux.

Recently, YouTuber Chris Titus Tech published a video to discuss the matter. The video discusses why Windows 10 keeps getting worse with each passing day.

Read more

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More in Tux Machines

Raptor Computing Is Working On More AMD Radeon Driver Improvements For POWER

Similar to 64-bit ARM (AArch64) improvements we've seen with time for the Radeon Linux driver, Raptor's Timothy Pearson has been working to improve the Radeon support for PowerPC or more specifically POWER9. While NVIDIA offers a POWER9 graphics driver for IBM POWER servers, AMD Radeon graphics jive much better with Raptor's target customers thanks to the open-source driver stack -- allowing a fully open-source graphics/compute stack with the AMD hardware sans the closed-source microcode required by the GPUs, but much better than the completely closed-up NVIDIA driver stack. Read more

Using Menus For Command Line Programs and Scripts

THE holidays are coming (Christmas approaching), so I've taken advantage of some spare time to menu-ise commands that I use frequently. Those commands aren't the mere opening of an application and they often require dealing with input and output (in the command line). So I've created menu.sh and used dialog to craft the following menu, e.g. for operations associated with Techrights. I invoke this menu with the click of one button (of the mouse).

Rianne has a similar menu for commands she often runs (which are long and would otherwise need pasting or typing in length). Her menu looks something like this:

Rianne's menu

Here's the code (bash file) that renders the menu above (it's really that simple!):

#!/bin/bash

HEIGHT=15
WIDTH=40
CHOICE_HEIGHT=4
BACKTITLE="Aloha, Rianne"
TITLE="Rianne @ Ted"
MENU="Choose one of the following options:"

OPTIONS=(1 "Start VPN"
         2 "REDACTED"
         3 "REDACTED"
	4 "REDACTED"
	5 "REDACTED"
	6 "REDACTED"
	7 "REDACTED"
)

CHOICE=$(dialog --clear \
                --backtitle "$BACKTITLE" \
                --title "$TITLE" \
                --menu "$MENU" \
                $HEIGHT $WIDTH $CHOICE_HEIGHT \
                "${OPTIONS[@]}" \
                2>&1 >/dev/tty)

clear
case $CHOICE in
        1)
            echo "You chose Option 1"
sh ~/vpn.sh ;;

        2)
            echo "You chose Option 2"
REDACTED COMMAND ;;
        3)
            echo "You chose Option 3"
REDACTED COMMAND ;;
        4)
            echo "You chose Option 4"
REDACTED COMMAND ;;
        5)
            echo "You chose Option 5"
REDACTED COMMAND ;;
        6)
            echo "You chose Option 6"
REDACTED COMMAND ;;
        7)
            echo "You chose Option 7"
REDACTED COMMAND ;;

esac

Hopefully this inspires other people out there to do the same. It takes a while to set up, but it's a big time saver over the long run.

Android Leftovers

10 Years of Using Linux: How It Was Before, And How it Became

2020 Marks my 10 years of using Linux, a decade of my life that I also spent in supporting, promoting and developing free software both in my local community and globally. But the Linux ecosystem today was nothing like 10 years ago, and we are here today to take a look at the past and how both the Linux ecosystem and other open source software developed through the decade. If you asked anyone who used Linux in 2010, what was your biggest issue? They would tell you: Drivers. Back then, drivers for literally everything on Linux were not that good, and in a lot cases didn’t even exist. Read more