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Mozilla Policy, Firefox for Android and Death of Internet Explorer (10)

Filed under
Microsoft
Moz/FF
Web
  • [Mozilla] Online content regulation in Europe: a paradigm for the future #1

    Lawmakers in the European Union are today focused on regulating online content, and compelling online services to make greater efforts to reduce the illegal and harmful activity on their services. As we’ve blogged previously, many of the present EU initiatives – while well-intentioned – are falling far short of what is required in this space, and pose real threats to users rights online and the decentralised open internet. Ahead of the May 2019 elections, we’ll be taking a close look at the current state of content regulation in the EU, and advancing a vision for a more sustainable paradigm that adequately addresses lawmakers’ concerns within a rights- and ecosystem-protective framework.

    Concerns about illegal and harmful content online, and the role of online services in tackling it, is a policy issue that is driving the day in jurisdictions around the world. Whether it’s in India, the United States, or the European Union itself, lawmakers are grappling with what is ultimately a really hard problem – removing ‘bad’ content at scale without impacting ‘good’ content, and in ways that work for different types of internet services and that don’t radically change the open character of the internet. Regrettably, despite the fact that many great minds in government, academia, and civil society are working on this hard problem, online content regulation remains stuck in a paradigm that undermines users’ rights and the health of the internet ecosystem, without really improving users’ internet experience.

  • Firefox 65 for Android Improves Security and Performance, Adds Faster Scrolling

    With the release of the Firefox 65 web browser today, Mozilla begin the rollout of its latest and most advanced web browser to all supported platforms, including Android, Linux, macOS, and Windows.

    We already talked about the new features available on the desktop (Linux, Mac, and Windows) here and here, so now it's time to take a look at the enhancements implemented by Mozilla in Firefox for Android as the Firefox 65 release promises improved performance and web compatibility, as well as better security.

  • Microsoft decides Internet Explorer 10 has had its fun: Termination set for January 2020

    Microsoft has warned that it isn't only Windows 7 for the chop in 2020. Unloved Internet Explorer 10 will be joining it. Finally.

    Internet Explorer 10 first appeared back in 2012 and in 2016 Microsoft made a concerted effort to kill the thing by focusing its support efforts on Internet Explorer 11. Anything not Edge-related or without "11" after it would no longer be supported.

    However, not every operating system was capable of actually running Internet Explorer 11 and Microsoft infamously restricted its Edge browser to Windows 10 (and later iOS and Android). Notable exceptions to the IE10 crackdown were Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8 Embedded.

Web Browser Debacles

Filed under
Google
Microsoft
Moz/FF
Web
  • Microsoft and Mozilla engineers battle over Chromium adoption via Twitter

    Microsoft may have waved the proverbial flag of surrender when it announced its new direction for its web browsing development, but one of the last remaining Chromium-adoption holdouts, Mozilla, just got some help from staunch advocates of competition, when faced by offbeat pressure from Microsoft engineers to convert.

  • Microsoft engineer spanked for proposing Mozilla gives up on Gecko Firefox rendering engine

    Microsoft’s recent decision to abandon their EdgeHTML rendering engine in favour of Google’s Chromium rendering engine has been somewhat controversial, not due to the (likely positive) impact on their users, but due to the effects it would have on the level of competition there is exists in the web rendering engine area. With Microsoft capitulating to Google, and Opera already using Chromium, it leaves Mozilla’ Gecko as the lone stand-out flying the banner of open web standards.

    It was therefore rather brave of Kenneth Auchenberg, a Microsoft program manager working for the Code team, to suggest it was time for Mozilla to already throw in the towel.

  • Google Chrome to add drive-by-download protection

    Firefox and Internet Explorer already have this feature, since at least 2015.

Microsoft cripples Windows Media Player on Windows 7 -- a seemingly dirty tactic to increase Windows 10 upgrades

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Microsoft

Windows 7 is still a great operating system -- one that millions of people use every day. Understandably, Microsoft cannot support the OS forever, so it will stop doing so in less than a year. While I would urge many Windows 7 users to switch to a Linux-based operating system, Microsoft would rather these folks upgrade to Windows 10 instead. The problem? Many Windows 7 purposely avoided the newest version of Windows due to overall bugginess and a perception of spying due to aggressive telemetry. Embarrassingly, Windows 10 -- initially released in 2015 as a free upgrade -- only recently overtook Windows 7 in marketshare. Yikes!

The right thing to do at this point, is to allow Windows 7 to function as it has until support runs out, right? I mean, why add stress to the lives of existing Windows 7 users? Sadly, Microsoft has a different idea. You see, the company has decided to purposely cripple both Windows Media Player and Windows Media Center on Windows 7, and Windows Media Center on 8.x. Microsoft will stop supplying metadata for media through these much-used programs. As you can guess, Windows Media Player on Windows 10 will continue to offer this capability. Hmm, I wonder why that is...

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Which is better, Ubuntu 16.04 or Windows?

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Microsoft

As you all know, Microsoft is a world-popular brand. Windows is a product of Microsoft. Almost everyone knows about Windows and critics say it is a great operating system and no one can beat Windows or doubt about it. Microsoft has launched so many mind-blowing versions of Windows over the years. It is evident that Microsoft Windows holds even more than half of the market share. There is a high chance that everyone will definitely choose Windows over any other operating system since Microsoft was able to create an amazing brand name in front of its users. There is a high chance that anyone would recommend Windows over any other operating system. However, everyone must admit the fact that no operating system in the market is perfect even this lovable Windows. Every operating system has its own flaws. As you all know, Microsoft its new version called Windows 10 which came out with a lot of unique and new features that attracted many hearts. The latest news that Microsoft announced was about their partnership with Linux. Microsoft has added Linux Command Line to its latest version of Windows which is also known as Windows 10. Microsoft never fails to do unexpected things.

Kevin Gallo, the vice president of Windows developer Platform finally announced at the Build 2016, regarding their partnership with the Linux developers. Windows 10 now can run Linux BASH command even without the need to use Linux in the machine. Is not it cool? However, Ubuntu is not far from Windows. Even Ubuntu comes with amazing apps while the productivity of the software has increased in the latest installment.

This article will provide you with some of the best options and features that differentiate Ubuntu in comparison to most beloved Windows operating system. Here are some differences between Ubuntu and Windows.

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GNU/Linux Salaries Go up While Microsoft Goes Down (Downtimes)

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GNU
Linux
Microsoft

Change of Fedora Strategy (IBM) and Microsoft EEE of Fedora

Filed under
Red Hat
Microsoft

This Week in Linux, Chrome OS, and Death of Windows 10 Mobile

Filed under
OS
Linux
Microsoft
  • Episode 51 | This Week in Linux

    On this episode of This Week in Linux, we got some new announcements from Inkscape, Purism, Solus, Mozilla, and Steam. We’ll also check out some new Distro releases from Netrunner, Deeping, Android X86 and more. Then we’ll look at some new hardware offerings from Purism and Entroware. Later in the show will talk about some drama happening with a project’s licensing issues and then we’ll round out the episode with some Linux Gaming news including some sales from Humble Bundle. All that and much more!

  • Chrome OS 73 Dev Channel adds Google Drive, Play Files mount in Linux, USB device management and Crostini backup flag

    On Tuesday, Google released the first iteration of Chrome OS 73 for the Dev Channel and there are quite a few new items related to Project Crostini, for Linux app support. Some things in the lengthy changelog only set up new features coming soon while others add new functionality. Here’s a rundown on some of the Crostini additions to Chrome OS 73.

  • Tens to be disappointed as Windows 10 Mobile death date set: Doomed phone OS won't see 2020

    Microsoft has formally set the end date for support of its all-but-forgotten Windows 10 Mobile platform.

    The Redmond code factory said today that, come December 10, it's curtains for the ill-fated smartphone venture. The retirement will end a four-year run for a Microsoft phone effort that never really got off the ground and helped destroy Nokia in the process.

    "The end of support date applies to all Windows 10 Mobile products, including Windows 10 Mobile and Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise," Microsoft declared.

Microsoft Traps, Surveillance, and Openwashing

Filed under
Microsoft
  • Ockam provides easy to deploy identity, trust, and interoperability for IoT developers [Ed: Ockam is Azure surveillance.]
  • SD Times Open-Source Project of the Week: Ockam [Ed: Ockam is connected to the NSA surveillance complex through Microsoft (their “dedicated technical partner”), so it's hardly surprising SD Times promotes this given its history.]
  • How to Install MS SQL on Ubuntu Server 18.04 [Ed: Jack Wallen explains how to install proprietary malware on Ubuntu; this Microsoft blob doesn't even run on GNU/Linux but on DrawBridge (also proprietary)]
  • Should Construction Become Open-Source?
  • How open source software took over the world [iophk: "article full of mistakes"]

    While the products of these Gen 3 companies are definitely more tightly controlled by the host companies, the open source community still plays a pivotal role in the creation and development of the open source projects. For one, the community still discovers the most innovative and relevant projects. They star the projects on Github, download the software in order to try it, and evangelize what they perceive to be the better project so that others can benefit from great software. Much like how a good blog post or a tweet spreads virally, great open source software leverages network effects. It is the community that is the source of promotion for that virality.

  • A EULA in FOSS clothing?

    Now, what Jay said is true to a degree in that (as with many different kind of expression), software has code specific to it; this can be found in 17 U.S.C. § 117. But the fact that Jay also made reference to digital books was odd; digital books really have nothing to do with software (or not any more so than any other kind of creative expression). That said, digital books and proprietary software do actually share one thing in common, though it’s horrifying: in both cases their creators have maintained that you don’t actually own the copy you paid for. That is, unlike a book, you don’t actually buy a copy of a digital book, you merely acquire a license to use their book under their terms. But how do they do this? Because when you access the digital book, you click “agree” on a license — an End User License Agreement (EULA) — that makes clear that you don’t actually own anything. The exact language varies; take (for example) VMware’s end user license agreement:
    [...]

Microsoft Will Forcibly Delete Files

Filed under
Microsoft
  • Windows 10 Will Reserve 7GB Storage Before Installing An Update

    With Windows 19H1, all unnecessary files will move towards the reserved storage to pave the way for the new Windows feature update. This will also automate the task of cleaning desktop before getting a new update.

  • Windows 10 Will Soon “Reserve” 7 GB of Your Storage for Updates [Ed: That space could instead be used to install GNU/Linux for free]

    Windows Updates need a lot of disk space, which is a problem on devices with small amounts of internal storage. Microsoft is fixing this by “reserving” some disk space for updates in the next version of Windows 10, codenamed 19H1.

    Microsoft has been pushing cheap laptops with small hard drives for years now. But anyone who has ever used one has quickly run into a major issue: They usually don’t have enough storage left over to install major updates. This leaves them without important patches, security fixes, and new features. While you shouldn’t update to the latest version of Windows on the first day, you do want to eventually get there. So this is a serious problem.

  • Excuse me, sir. You can't store your things there. Those 7 gigabytes are reserved for Windows 10

    Microsoft has announced that it is formalising the arrangement whereby Windows 10 inexplicably swipes a chunk of disk space for its own purposes in the form of Reserved Storage.

    The theory goes like this – temporary files get generated all the time in Windows, either by the OS or apps running on the thing. As a user's disk fills up, things start getting sticky as space for this flighty data becomes short and reliability suffers.

    Microsoft has tried a few ways over the years to help users manage disk space – Windows will start to whinge as disks reach capacity and built-in tools exist to clear unwanted files. The latest, Storage Sense, will quietly "dehydrate" OneDrive files to free up space.

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Games: Surviving Mars and OpenMW

Kernel and Security: BPF, Mesa, Embedded World, Kernel Address Sanitizer and More

  • Concurrency management in BPF
    In the beginning, programs run on the in-kernel BPF virtual machine had no persistent internal state and no data that was shared with any other part of the system. The arrival of eBPF and, in particular, its maps functionality, has changed that situation, though, since a map can be shared between two or more BPF programs as well as with processes running in user space. That sharing naturally leads to concurrency problems, so the BPF developers have found themselves needing to add primitives to manage concurrency (the "exchange and add" or XADD instruction, for example). The next step is the addition of a spinlock mechanism to protect data structures, which has also led to some wider discussions on what the BPF memory model should look like. A BPF map can be thought of as a sort of array or hash-table data structure. The actual data stored in a map can be of an arbitrary type, including structures. If a complex structure is read from a map while it is being modified, the result may be internally inconsistent, with surprising (and probably unwelcome) results. In an attempt to prevent such problems, Alexei Starovoitov introduced BPF spinlocks in mid-January; after a number of quick review cycles, version 7 of the patch set was applied on February 1. If all goes well, this feature will be included in the 5.1 kernel.
  • Intel Ready To Add Their Experimental "Iris" Gallium3D Driver To Mesa
    For just over the past year Intel open-source driver developers have been developing a new Gallium3D-based OpenGL driver for Linux systems as the eventual replacement to their long-standing "i965 classic" Mesa driver. The Intel developers are now confident enough in the state of this new driver dubbed Iris that they are looking to merge the driver into mainline Mesa proper.  The Iris Gallium3D driver has now matured enough that Kenneth Graunke, the Intel OTC developer who originally started Iris in late 2017, is looking to merge the driver into the mainline code-base of Mesa. The driver isn't yet complete but it's already in good enough shape that he's looking for it to be merged albeit marked experimental.
  • Hallo Nürnberg!
    Collabora is headed to Nuremberg, Germany next week to take part in the 2019 edition of Embedded World, "the leading international fair for embedded systems". Following a successful first attendance in 2018, we are very much looking forward to our second visit! If you are planning on attending, please come say hello in Hall 4, booth 4-280! This year, we will be showcasing a state-of-the-art infrastructure for end-to-end, embedded software production. From the birth of a software platform, to reproducible continuous builds, to automated testing on hardware, get a firsthand look at our platform building expertise and see how we use continuous integration to increase productivity and quality control in embedded Linux.
  • KASAN Spots Another Kernel Vulnerability From Early Linux 2.6 Through 4.20
    The Kernel Address Sanitizer (KASAN) that detects dynamic memory errors within the Linux kernel code has just picked up another win with uncovering a use-after-free vulnerability that's been around since the early Linux 2.6 kernels. KASAN (along with the other sanitizers) have already proven quite valuable in spotting various coding mistakes hopefully before they are exploited in the real-world. The Kernel Address Sanitizer picked up another feather in its hat with being responsible for the CVE-2019-8912 discovery.
  • io_uring, SCM_RIGHTS, and reference-count cycles
    The io_uring mechanism that was described here in January has been through a number of revisions since then; those changes have generally been fixing implementation issues rather than changing the user-space API. In particular, this patch set seems to have received more than the usual amount of security-related review, which can only be a good thing. Security concerns became a bit of an obstacle for io_uring, though, when virtual filesystem (VFS) maintainer Al Viro threatened to veto the merging of the whole thing. It turns out that there were some reference-counting issues that required his unique experience to straighten out. The VFS layer is a complicated beast; it must manage the complexities of the filesystem namespace in a way that provides the highest possible performance while maintaining security and correctness. Achieving that requires making use of almost all of the locking and concurrency-management mechanisms that the kernel offers, plus a couple more implemented internally. It is fair to say that the number of kernel developers who thoroughly understand how it works is extremely small; indeed, sometimes it seems like Viro is the only one with the full picture. In keeping with time-honored kernel tradition, little of this complexity is documented, so when Viro gets a moment to write down how some of it works, it's worth paying attention. In a long "brain dump", Viro described how file reference counts are managed, how reference-count cycles can come about, and what the kernel does to break them. For those with the time to beat their brains against it for a while, Viro's explanation (along with a few corrections) is well worth reading. For the rest of us, a lighter version follows.

Blacklisting insecure filesystems in openSUSE

The Linux kernel supports a wide variety of filesystem types, many of which have not seen significant use — or maintenance — in many years. Developers in the openSUSE project have concluded that many of these filesystem types are, at this point, more useful to attackers than to openSUSE users and are proposing to blacklist many of them by default. Such changes can be controversial, but it's probably still fair to say that few people expected the massive discussion that resulted, covering everything from the number of OS/2 users to how openSUSE fits into the distribution marketplace. On January 30, Martin Wilck started the discussion with a proposal to add a blacklist preventing the automatic loading of a set of kernel modules implementing (mostly) old filesystems. These include filesystems like JFS, Minix, cramfs, AFFS, and F2FS. For most of these, the logic is that the filesystems are essentially unused and the modules implementing them have seen little maintenance in recent decades. But those modules can still be automatically loaded if a user inserts a removable drive containing one of those filesystem types. There are a number of fuzz-testing efforts underway in the kernel community, but it seems relatively unlikely that any of them are targeting, say, FreeVxFS filesystem images. So it is not unreasonable to suspect that there just might be exploitable bugs in those modules. Preventing modules for ancient, unmaintained filesystems from automatically loading may thus protect some users against flash-drive attacks. If there were to be a fight over a proposal like this, one would ordinarily expect it to be concerned with the specific list of unwelcome modules. But there was relatively little of that. One possible exception is F2FS, the presence of which raised some eyebrows since it is under active development, having received 44 changes in the 5.0 development cycle, for example. Interestingly, it turns out that openSUSE stopped shipping F2FS in September. While the filesystem is being actively developed, it seems that, with rare exceptions, nobody is actively backporting fixes, and the filesystem also lacks a mechanism to prevent an old F2FS implementation from being confused by a filesystem created by a newer version. Rather than deal with these issues, openSUSE decided to just drop the filesystem altogether. As it happens, the blacklist proposal looks likely to allow F2FS to return to the distribution since it can be blacklisted by default. Read more

gitgeist: a git-based social network proof of concept

Are you tired of not owning the data or the platform you use for social postings? I know I am. It's hard to say when I "first" used a social network. I've been on email for about 30 years and one of the early ad-hoc forms of social networks were chain emails. Over the years I was asked to join all sorts of "social" things such as IRC, ICQ, Skype, MSN Messenger, etc. and eventually things like Orkut, MySpace, Facebook, etc. I'll readily admit that I'm not the type of person that happily jumps onto every new social bandwagon that appears on the Internet. I often prefer preserving the quietness of my own thoughts. That, though, hasn't stopped me from finding some meaningfulness participating in Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and more recently Google+. Twitter was in fact the first social network that I truly embraced. And it would've remained my primary social network had they not killed their own community by culling the swell of independently-developed Twitter clients that existed. That and their increased control of their API effectively made me look for something else. Right around that time Google+ was being introduced and many in the open source community started participating in that, in some ways to find a fresh place where techies can aggregate away from the noise and sometimes over-the-top nature of Facebook. Eventually I took to that too and started using G+ as my primary social network. That is, until Google recently decided to pull the plug on G+. While Google+ might not have represented a success for Google, it had become a good place for sharing information among the technically-inclined. As such, I found it quite useful for learning and hearing about new things in my field. Soon-to-be-former users of G+ have gone in all sorts of directions. Some have adopted a "c'mon guys, get over it, Facebook is the spot" attitude, others have adopted things like Mastodon, others have fallen back to their existing IDs on Twitter, and yet others, like me, are still looking. Read more