Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Microsoft

Patten: How to exorcise Windows from your old computer

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Microsoft

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.

Read more

Also: Kodi-fying an old computer

Openwashing

Filed under
Microsoft
OSS

Faulty Products

Filed under
Android
Microsoft

Microsoft Woes

Filed under
Microsoft
  • 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

Filed under
Linux
Microsoft
  • 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 Outlook.com email server grief

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

    Specifically, the baffling and unannounced change affects Outlook.com 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 Outlook.com 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 Outlook.com 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

Filed under
Microsoft
  • 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

Filed under
Microsoft
  • 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.

Microsoft Malware and Spyware, GNU/Linux Routers

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Microsoft
Security
  • ‘We’re From Microsoft and We’ve Been Remotely Watching Your Computer’

    We are going into our third year of living in the Gardens of Taylor. When you come off of the city street and onto this property, you can sometimes get a creepy feeling, like this is familiar in an unpleasant sort of way. It can feel like you’ve just stepped into Stepford Village. Every yard has been manicured to match the ones on either side of it. The edging along all driveways and sidewalks is a perfect two inches across and if a weed or mushroom happens to grow within that etched space, it is gone the next time you look for it.

    Stuff like that just vanishes. Spooky like.

    Fact is, the property manager pays the lawn service to make a drive through every other day in order to take care of any anomalies. Once I got used to it, I became comfortable with living here, being that it’s for people with physical disabilities and age 55 or over.

    On moving-in day, we hadn’t been there an hour before people began to take notice of us from across the street. They would stop just long enough to pretend they weren’t checking us out, then they would be on their way. Some even stopped to help.

    [...]

    Now Claude and Jane both run Linux. Their money is safe, and if anyone calls giving them instructions how to get a virus off of their Windows’ computer, they just laugh and hang up, but not before telling them they run Linux.

    There will come a day, maybe sooner than any of us think, when a scam like this might actually work on a Linux machine. In the past two years we’ve seen stories of Linux servers being compromised, and there is constant news that this or that piece of malicious code might be making its way to Linux computers soon.

    Being prudent, I run both Avast for day-to-day stuff and various Clam iterations for biweekly sweeps for rootkits. I exchange a lot of Windows stuff with my Reglue kids, so that’s only smart. Not that I expect anything to go south in the near future. Everything I’ve seen coming down the Linux pike demands hands-on the target computer to inject the badware.

    Here’s a Helios Helpful Hint: Don’t let someone you don’t know have access to your computer, sans the repair guy.

    However I do believe in preparedness. Jane’s Linux Mint install runs the same security as mine and I administrate it remotely (from home. I’ll get Claude up to speed on Wednesday.

    How long ago was it that many of us gave up on the “disconnected generation?” For a while I didn’t work with people who were so set in their ways that they bucked any suggestion of having to learn something new. And honest-to-goodness, a lady in the neighborhood asked me to make her computer the same way it was when she bought it. That would be the Windows Vista release. Sigh.

    “No ma’am. Not for any amount of money. Sorry.”

    I’m not into any more stress than necessary these days.

    Vista? Really?

  • Security Design: Stop Trying to Fix the User

    Every few years, a researcher replicates a security study by littering USB sticks around an organization's grounds and waiting to see how many people pick them up and plug them in, causing the autorun function to install innocuous malware on their computers. These studies are great for making security professionals feel superior. The researchers get to demonstrate their security expertise and use the results as "teachable moments" for others. "If only everyone was more security aware and had more security training," they say, "the Internet would be a much safer place."

    Enough of that. The problem isn't the users: it's that we've designed our computer systems' security so badly that we demand the user do all of these counterintuitive things. Why can't users choose easy-to-remember passwords? Why can't they click on links in emails with wild abandon? Why can't they plug a USB stick into a computer without facing a myriad of viruses? Why are we trying to fix the user instead of solving the underlying security problem?

  • Security Design: Stop Trying to Fix the User [It says (scroll down) "Getting a virus simply by opening an email was an urban legend, a technically impossible but scary sounding thing to frighten normies with, as late as the 90s. ...Microsoft made that myth real with the first release of Outlook"]
  • A tiny PC as a router

    We needed a router and wifi access point in the office, and simultaneously both I and my co-worker Ivan needed such a thing at our respective homes. After some discussion, and after reading articles in Ars Technica about building PCs to act as routers, we decided to do just that.

    The PC solution seem to offer better performance, but this is actually not a major reason for us.

    We want to have systems we understand and can hack. A standard x86 PC running Debian sounds ideal to use.

    Why not a cheap commercial router? They tend to be opaque and mysterious, and can't be managed with standard tooling such as Ansible. They may or may not have good security support. Also, they may or may not have sufficient functionality to be nice things, such as DNS for local machines, or the full power if iptables for firewalling.

    Why not OpenWRT? Some models of commercial routers are supported by OpenWRT. Finding good hardware that is also supported by OpenWRT is a task in itself, and not the kind of task especially I like to do. Even if one goes this route, the environment isn't quite a standard Linux system, because of various hardware limitations. (OpenWRT is a worthy project, just not our preference.)

Desktop: GNU/Linux Bug Reports, Creator of DirectX on the Demise of Microsoft, Vista 10 Share Falls

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Microsoft
  • The Bug Report

    So I get a bug report. It is on GNU/Linux, of course, because that is the only ecosystem that sends bug reports.

    So first I boot up my work box (Computer #1, Windows 10) which is the one that has the sweet monitor and try to VPN to the Server box (Computer #2, GNU/Linux Fedora Server, amd64). But, of course, at one point I'd stripped all the non-console-mode functionality off of the server, so VPN is a fail. I could have done the fix easily via ssh and emacs-nox, but, I figure it will only take a minute to get a graphical environment up and running.

    There's a GNU Linux VM running on VirtualBox on the work box, but, I get distracted from the actual problem when I can't figure out how to get VirtualBox to create a large screen. Totally not a problem, but, I get obsessed with this minutiae and can't let it go. I waste time tweaking the virtual graphics card settings with no effect.

  • Doom for Windows [Ed: by the creator of DirectX, who isn't pleased with Windows Update.]

    Windows failed to make the leap to new business models and new distributed computing paradigms such that now in the year 2016 Microsoft is on the cutting edge of adopting Apple’s 2007 business model for Windows 10. Here’s why Microsoft has reached the end of its road. They lost the mobile market, they lost search, they’re struggling to compete in the cloud and all they have left is a legacy OS with an architecture from the days of personal computing when connectivity was something only nerds and IT managers worried about. Now the idea of personal computer security is collapsing. It is readily becoming apparent that NOTHING can stop malicious attackers from eventually penetrating the best most advanced security measures of any personal device. Furthermore, as the Edward Snowden scandal has made plain to us all, if malicious attackers aren’t breaking into our computers, then the worlds governments are requiring companies to make their products vulnerable to intrusion. The idea that a lowly personal computer behind a frail consumer router… made in China… stands any chance of resisting serious hacking attempts is a fast fading dream.

    Back when I was making online game publishing DRM (Digital Rights Management) Solutions we measured the time it took Chinese and Russian hackers to crack our best latest security attempts in weeks. Today it can take a matter of days or hours.

    The Windows Operating system has become vast, bloated and cumbersome to maintain. It faces constant security bombardment by the entire worlds connected hacker community and government security agencies. The volume of patches it needs to maintain even the most rudimentary pretext of stability and security requires a constant and overwhelming flood of Windows updates. The seriousness of the situation and the sheer flood of data Microsoft is constantly sending to our computers is staggering. I wanted to show a screen shot of my HUGE Windows Update history but mysteriously, after this most recent disastrous update… Microsoft has seen fit to clear my machine of that information…

  • No Free Upgrades, No New Users: Windows 10 Declines for First Time Since Launch [Ed: based on Microsoft-connected firm]

    The latest batch of market share statistics provided by Net Applications for desktop operating systems puts Windows 10 on the second position in the rankings, but it also reveals something totally unexpected that happened last month.

    Windows 10 has actually lost market share last month despite the fact that everyone expected the operating system to continue its growth, which could be a sign that Microsoft’s 1 billion devices running Windows 10 goal might take a bit longer to become reality.

Syndicate content

More in Tux Machines

today's leftovers

  • How fast is KVM? Host vs virtual machine performance!
  • Kernel maintenance, Brillo style
    Brillo, he said, is a software stack for the Internet of things based on the Android system. These deployments bring a number of challenges, starting with the need to support a different sort of hardware than Android normally runs on; target devices may have no display or input devices, but might well have "fun buses" to drive interesting peripherals. The mix of vendors interested in this area is different; handset vendors are present, but many more traditional embedded vendors can also be found there. Brillo is still in an early state of development.
  • Reviewing Project Management Service `Wrike` And Seems Interesting
    I have been testing some services for our project and found this amazing service, thought why not share it with you guys, it might be useful for you. Project management is a term that in some respects appears common, yet in practice still seems to be limited to large companies. While this may be true, the foundations of project management are actually rather simple and can be adopted by anyone, in any industry. One of the major requirements you need to consider when selecting a good project management software is the ability to run and operate it on the go via your mobile devices. Other factors include the ability to access the software from any platform whether it be Linux, Mac, or Windows. This can be achieved when the project management software is web-based. Wrike is a software that does of all this.
  • World Wine News Issue 403
  • OSVR on Steam, Unity drops legacy OpenGL, and more gaming news
  • GNOME Core Apps Hackfest 2016
    This November from Friday 25 to Sunday 27 was held in Berlin the GNOME Core Apps Hackfest. My focus during this hackfest was to start implementing a widget for the series view of the Videos application, following a mockup by Allan Day.
  • Worth Watching: What Will Happen to Red Hat Inc Next? The Stock Just Declined A Lot
  • Vetr Inc. Lowers Red Hat Inc. (RHT) to Buy
  • Redshift functionality on Fedora 25 (GNOME + Wayland). Yes, it's possible!
    For those who can't live without screen colour shifting technology such as Redshift or f.lux, myself being one of them, using Wayland did pose the challenge of having these existing tools not working with the Xorg replacement. Thankfully, all is not lost and it is possible even right now. Thanks to a copr repo, it's particularly easy on Fedora 25. One of the changes that comes with Wayland is there is currently no way for third-party apps to modify screen gamma curves. Therefore, no redshift apps, such as Redshift itself (which I recently covered here) will work while running under Wayland.
  • My Free Software Activities in November 2016
  • Google's ambitious smartwatch vision is failing to materialise
    In February this year, Google's smartwatch boss painted me a rosy picture of the future of wearable technology. The wrist is, David Singleton said, "the ideal place for the power of Google to help people with their lives."
  • Giving Thanks (along with a Shipping Update)
    Mycroft will soon be available as a pre-built Raspberry Pi 3 image for any hobbyist to use. The new backend we have been quietly building is emerging from beta, making the configuration and management of you devices simple. We are forming partnerships to get Mycroft onto laptops, desktops and other devices in the world. Mycroft will soon be speaking to you throughout your day.
  • App: Ixigo Indian Rail Train PNR Status for Tizen Smart Phones
    Going on a train journey in India? Ixigo will check the PNR status, the train arrival and departure & how many of the particular tickets are left that you can purchase. You can also do a PNR status check to make sure that your seat is booked and confirmed.

Networking and Servers

  • How We Knew It Was Time to Leave the Cloud
    In my last infrastructure update, I documented our challenges with storage as GitLab scales. We built a CephFS cluster to tackle both the capacity and performance issues of NFS and decided to replace PostgreSQL standard Vacuum with the pg_repack extension. Now, we're feeling the pain of running a high performance distributed filesystem on the cloud.
  • Hype Driven Development
  • SysAdmins Arena in a nutshell
    Sysadmins can use the product to improve their skills or prepare for an interview by practicing some day to day job scenarios. There is an invitation list opened for the first testers of the product.

Desktop GNU/Linux

  • PINEBOOK Latest News: Affordable Linux Laptop at Only $89 Made by Raspberry Pi Rival, PINE
    PINE, the rival company of Raspberry Pi and maker of the $20 Pine A64, has just announced its two below $100-priced Linux laptops, known as PINEBOOK. The affordable Linux laptop is powered by Quad-Core ARM Cortex A53 64-bit processor and comes with an 11.6" or 14" monitor.
  • Some thoughts about options for light Unix laptops
    I have an odd confession: sometimes I feel (irrationally) embarrassed that despite being a computer person, I don't have a laptop. Everyone else seems to have one, yet here I am, clearly behind the times, clinging to a desktop-only setup. At times like this I naturally wind up considering the issue of what laptop I might get if I was going to get one, and after my recent exposure to a Chromebook I've been thinking about this once again. I'll never be someone who uses a laptop by itself as my only computer, so I'm not interested in a giant laptop with a giant display; giant displays are one of the things that the desktop is for. Based on my experiences so far I think that a roughly 13" laptop is at the sweet spot of a display that's big enough without things being too big, and I would like something that's nicely portable.
  • What is HiDPI and Why Does it Matter?

Google and Mozilla

  • Google Rolls Out Continuous Fuzzing Service For Open Source Software
    Google has launched a new project for continuously testing open source software for security vulnerabilities. The company's new OSS-Fuzz service is available in beta starting this week, but at least initially it will only be available for open source projects that have a very large user base or are critical to global IT infrastructure.
  • Mozilla is doing well financially (2015)
    Mozilla announced a major change in November 2014 in regards to the company's main revenue stream. The organization had a contract with Google in 2014 and before that had Google pay Mozilla money for being the default search engine in the Firefox web browser. This deal was Mozilla's main source of revenue, about 329 million US Dollars in 2014. The change saw Mozilla broker deals with search providers instead for certain regions of the world.