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Microsoft

FOSS in Government

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Microsoft
OSS
  • Uganda eager to tap into open source

    Uganda's Ministry of ICT recently developed a FOSS (Free and Open Source Software) policy to regulate the deployment of open source software and use of open standards to accelerate innovation and develop local content.

    At the 7th African Conference on Free and Open Source Software (FOSS), organised in conjunction with Uganda's National Information Technology Authority (NITA-U) to encourage industry partnerships and uptake of OSS in East Africa, open software was recognised for its contribution to innovation.

    Frank Tumwebaze, Minister of ICT and National Guidance in Uganda, said, "Free and open software services will help my ministry to innovate better because it forms the platform (for) many of the innovative ideas. Free and open source software in Uganda is certainly something we have been talking about and I am sure we will do so even more in the next few days. Some of the things Uganda has put in place to harness the benefit from free and open source software include a Software Strategy and Policy in accordance with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development's (UNCTAD) Trade, Services and Development expert meeting's determination that free and open source software is an inseparable component of the global technology ecosystem."

  • Ireland's govt IT: Recession and job cuts forced us to adapt

    Ireland was hit hard by the global financial crunch of 2007 and 2008. It was the first of the EU member states to slip into recession immediately following the bursting of the economic bubble.

    As the economy contracted, banks faced default and government debt increased, with Ireland eventually taking an €67.5bn loan from the European Commission, European Central Bank (ECB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF)

    Falling tax income and the need to bail out banks saw the Irish government spending in other areas of public life.

    The government had introduced the Public Sector Recruitment Embargo in 2009, which stopped hiring of all civil servants across government and cut pay and pensions – in return for a promise of no compulsory redundancies.

  • Oh! The Horror! Ireland Stays Enslaved To MS

    For 15 years or so, I was in those same financial straits in schools where I taught and GNU/Linux and FLOSS (Free/Libre Open Source Software) was the obvious solution. Obviously, one is better off to have IT for all rather than paying monopolistic prices for IT for a few. In schools, that meant extending the life of IT, elimination of malware and re-re-reboots, freedom from paper, freight for paper, storage for paper, … For governments freedom from lock-in to M$ and “friends” saved huge sums which could have been better spent on hardware or employees. Sigh.

Liberating PCs and "Mac"-branded PCs

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GNU
Linux
Microsoft
Mac
  • Reviving Old Macs Using Linux

    All Macintosh computers from about 2006 onwards were made using Intel CPUs and installing Linux on these computers is a breeze. You don’t need to download any Mac specific distro — just choose your favorite distro and install away. About 95 percent of the time you’ll be able to use the 64-bit version of the distro. On CoreDuo Macs, from 2006, you’ll need to use a 32-bit version.

    Here is a screencast video I made on a revived Macbook that came into my hands recently. I downloaded Linux Mint 18 Xfce 64-bit ISO, burned it to DVD, inserted it into the Macbook (after the Macbook was turned on) and then booted the Macbook from DVD by holding the the letter “C” (which tells the Mac to boot from the optical drive).

  • Linux breathes new life into old Mac computers

    Apple is known for its planned obsolescence strategy that encourages customers to upgrade their Macs every so often. This can result in older Macs that can't update to the latest version of macOS, but are still perfectly functional computers that can perform many everyday computing tasks such as web browsing, word processing, image editing, etc.

    So what can you do with an older Mac that no longer gets macOS updates? You can install Linux and breathe new life into that old Mac computer. Distributions such as Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Fedora and others offer a way to continue using an older Mac that would otherwise be cast aside.

  • The EFF Calls Out Microsoft's Ongoing Bullshit On Windows 10 Privacy Concerns

    While Windows 10 is generally well-liked by reviewers and users, it's relatively clear that it's not the OS to choose if you actually want to control how much babbling your OS does over the network. While a lot of complaints about Windows 10 have been proven to be hyperbole or just plain wrong (like it delivers your BitTorrent behavior to Hollywood or it makes use of menacing keyloggers), Windows 10 is annoyingly chatty, sending numerous reports back to Microsoft even when the operating system is configured to be as quiet and private as possible.

    While Microsoft has been criticized for this behavior for some time now, the general response out of Redmond has been to tap dance over, under and around most of the key complaints.

    Enter the Electronic Freedom Foundation, which last week effectively called on Microsoft to stop bullshitting everybody in terms of what gets collected and why. The EFF does a good job reiterating how Microsoft used malware-esque tactics to get users to upgrade, then once installed, Windows 10 collects user location data, text input, voice input, touch input, web browsing history, and general computing telemetry data, including which programs you run and for how long -- which would be arguably less of an issue if you had full control over how much of this data was collected and funneled back to the Redmond mothership.

Paid-for Microsoft Openwashing at LinuxCon

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Desktop News

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Linux
Microsoft
  • Why Google plans to stop supporting your Chromebook after five years

    It’s worth noting that end-of-life doesn’t have to mean the end of useful hardware. If you have the know-how, you can install Linux on your Chromebook to extend its lifespan. Otherwise, users whose Chromebooks are still in fine working order just have to hope that end-of-life notification never comes.

  • EFF slams Microsoft's 'blatant disregard' for user privacy with Windows 10 [Ed: It's textbook definition of malware]

    THE ELECTRONIC FRONTIER FOUNDATION (EFF) has lashed out at Microsoft over the company's "blatant disregard" for user privacy with the pushy, data-slurping Windows 10 operating system.

    Following the launch of a petition in June, EFF has heard from thousands of pissed off people who are asked it to take action against Microsoft, and the privacy campaigners are doing just that. EFF is calling on Microsoft to listen to its users, of which more than 6,000 have signed the online petition, and incorporate their complaints into its operating system.

    "Otherwise, Microsoft may find that it has inadvertently discovered just how far it can push its users before they abandon a once-trusted company for a better, more privacy-protective solution," EFF's Amul Kalia said in a blog post.

    First on EFF’s radar is Microsoft’s backhanded tactics to get people to upgrade to Windows 10, which we here at the INQUIRER know about all too well.

The Linux Foundation Gives Microsoft (Paid-for) Keynote Position While Microsoft Extorts (With Patents) Lenovo and Motorola Over Linux Use

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Linux
Microsoft

This morning's reminder that Nadella is just another Ballmer (with a different face); Motorola and Lenovo surrender to Microsoft's patent demands and will soon put Microsoft spyware/malware on their Linux-powered products to avert costly legal battles

Read more

Microsoft Embrace and Extend

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OSS
  • initialsession: remove curl and wget aliases [iophk: “MS hobbles curl and wget unapologetically, and probably other tools too”]

    ...you do not create programs which intentionally have the same names as well known programs, especially when your programs do not provide exactly the same functionality as the originals. There is no way to view that sort of behavior in a positive light.

  • More Open Source is Good Open Source [Ed: openwashing is a problem (trying to make Windows look open), but some Novell/Red Hat staff disagrees]

Desktop News

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Linux
Microsoft
  • The aristocratic desktop (part 1)

    Still, there was some issues. And I discovered that some very basic concepts are harder to understand than I thought. Double-click, a window, a folder, the desktop, the taskbar, the trayicon. I also discovered that some users were using a computer for ten years without even understanding the minimize function for a window ! The only way to switch between a web page and a word processor was to close one and then opening the other. It was seen as normal !

  • Windows 10 needs proper privacy portal, says EFF

    The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has called on Microsoft to offer a “single unified screen” on which Windows 10 users can control how Windows 10 deals with their personal information and monitors their use of the OS.

    The organisation has listed the long list of nasty nagware tactics Microsoft used to get people running Windows 10, labelling some “questionable tactics to cause users to download a piece of software that many didn’t want.”

    It's not keen on the nagware bundled alongside patches, suggesting that tactic reduced trust in patches and therefore potentially exposed users who don't act promptly when important fixes arrive.

    It also rails against the telemetry Windows 10 collects and is especially harsh on Microsoft's insistence that if business users send it less data, Windows Update will be less effective and PCs will be less secure.

    The Foundation says “this is a false choice that is entirely of Microsoft’s own creation.”

    “There’s no good reason why the types of data Microsoft collects at each telemetry level couldn’t be adjusted so that even at the lowest level of telemetry collection, users could still benefit from Windows Update and secure their machines from vulnerabilities, without having to send back things like app usage data or unique Ids like an IMEI number.”

  • Microsoft wants to pay you to use its Windows 10 browser Edge [Ed: CNET's editor in chief called it "Bribery" last time Microsoft did such things. How to starve a lesser wealthy competitor, drive it out of the market...]

    Microsoft has a new browser. It launched with Windows 10 and it’s called Edge. The company says it’s faster, more battery efficient and all-round better than Chrome or Firefox. You can even draw on websites with a stylus. Trouble is, not very many people are using it. So now Microsoft’s trying to bribe you to switch.

    The newly rebranded Microsoft Rewards – formerly Bing Rewards, which paid people for using Bing as their search engine (another product Microsoft says is better than a Google product but that very few people actually use) – will now pay you for using Edge, shopping at the Microsoft store, or using Bing.

    Users of Edge who sign up to Microsoft Rewards, which is currently US-only, are then awarded points simply for using the browser. Microsoft actively monitors whether you’re using Edge for up to 30 hours a month. It tracks mouse movements and other signs that you’re not trying to game the system, and you must also have Bing set as your default search engine.

Openwashing of Microsoft (Portions of Proprietary Lock-in/Traps)

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GNU/Linux Desktop

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Linux
Microsoft
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More in Tux Machines

Leftovers: OSS and Sharing

  • Lenovo Cloud Director: Open Source Technologies Are The Glue That Binds The Hybrid Cloud
    Hardware giant Lenovo is banking on a future where both public and private clouds are critical in driving IT innovation, and the glue binding those hybrid environments is mostly open source technologies. Dan Harmon, Lenovo's group director of cloud and software-defined infrastructure, encouraged solution providers attending the NexGen Cloud Conference & Expo on Wednesday to explore opportunities to engage Lenovo as its products stock the next generation of cloud data centers. Both public and private clouds are growing rapidly and will dominate the market by 2020, Harmon told attendees of the conference produced by CRN parent The Channel Company.
  • Cloudera Ratchets Up its Training for Top Open Source Data Solutions
    Recently, we've taken note of the many organizations offering free or low cost Hadoop and Big Data training. MIT and MapR are just a couple of the players making waves in this space. Recently, Cloudera announced a catalog of online, self-paced training classes covering the company's entire portfolio of industry-standard Apache Hadoop and Apache Spark training courses. The courses, according to Cloudera, allow you to learn about the latest big data technologies "in a searchable environment anytime, anywhere." Now, Cloudera has announced an updated lineup of training courses and performance-based certification exams for data analysts, database administrators, and developers. The expanded training offerings address the skills gap around many top open source technologies, such as Apache Impala (incubating), Apache Spark, Apache Kudu, Apache Kafka and Apache Hive.
  • Netflix’s open-source project Hollow, NVIDIA’s deep learning kits for educators, and new IBM Bluemix integrations—SD Times news digest: Dec. 6, 2016
  • Open governance enhances the value of land use policy software
    In December 2015, the COP21 Paris Agreement saw many countries commit to reducing greenhouse gas emissions through initiatives in the land sector. In this context, emissions estimation systems will be key in ensuring these targets are met. Such solutions would not only be capable of assessing past trends but also of supporting target setting, tracking progress and helping to develop scenarios to inform policy decisions.
  • Blender Institute collaborate with Lulzbot in the name of open source
    Blender Institute, a platform for 3D design and animation, are collaborating with Lulzbot 3D printers. This project a continuation of Lulzbot and Blender Institute’s approach to open source and aimed at enhancing collaboration. The Blender Institute in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, is an important figure in the Free and Open Source Software community (FOSS). Providing open source design tool software for 3D movies, games, and visual effects. While Lulzbot, a product line of Aleph Objects take an open source approach to hardware through their 3D printers.
  • Bluetooth 5 Specification Released

Remembering Linux Installfests

Ah, yes. I remember the good old days when you had to be a real man or woman to install Linux, and the first time you tried you ended up saying something like “Help!” or maybe “Mommmmyyyyy!” Really, kids, that’s how it was. Stacks of floppies that took about 7,000 hours to download over your 16 baud connection. Times sure have changed, haven’t they? I remember Caldera advertising that their distribution autodetected 1,500 different monitors. I wrote an article titled “Monitor Number 1501,” because it didn’t detect my monitor. And sound. Getting sound going in Linux took mighty feats of systemic administsationish strength. Mere mortals could not do it. And that’s why we had installfests: so mighty Linux he-men and she-women could come down from the top of Slackware Mountain or the Red Hat Volcano and share their godlike wisdom with us. We gladly packed up our computers and took them to the installfest location (often at a college, since many Linux-skilled people were collegians) and walked away with Linuxized computers. Praise be! Read more

What New Is Going To Be In Ubuntu 17.04 'Zesty Zapus'

Right on the heels of Ubuntu 16.10 'Yakkety Yak' is Ubuntu 17.04 Zesty Zapus. Ubuntu 17.04 is currently scheduled for release on April 13, 2017 but know that this is only an estimate. One thing to know is that all things being equal, it is going to be released in April 2017. Ubuntu Zesty Zapus will be supported for only 9 months until January 2018 as it is not a LTS (long term support) release. Read
more

Security News

  • News in brief: DirtyCOW patched for Android; naked lack of security; South Korea hacked
  • Millions exposed to malvertising that hid attack code in banner pixels
    Researchers from antivirus provider Eset said "Stegano," as they've dubbed the campaign, dates back to 2014. Beginning in early October, its unusually stealthy operators scored a major coup by getting the ads displayed on a variety of unnamed reputable news sites, each with millions of daily visitors. Borrowing from the word steganography—the practice of concealing secret messages inside a larger document that dates back to at least 440 BC—Stegano hides parts of its malicious code in parameters controlling the transparency of pixels used to display banner ads. While the attack code alters the tone or color of the images, the changes are almost invisible to the untrained eye.
  • Backdoor accounts found in 80 Sony IP security camera models
    Many network security cameras made by Sony could be taken over by hackers and infected with botnet malware if their firmware is not updated to the latest version. Researchers from SEC Consult have found two backdoor accounts that exist in 80 models of professional Sony security cameras, mainly used by companies and government agencies given their high price. One set of hard-coded credentials is in the Web interface and allows a remote attacker to send requests that would enable the Telnet service on the camera, the SEC Consult researchers said in an advisory Tuesday.
  • I'm giving up on PGP
    After years of wrestling GnuPG with varying levels of enthusiasm, I came to the conclusion that it's just not worth it, and I'm giving up. At least on the concept of long term PGP keys. This is not about the gpg tool itself, or about tools at all. Many already wrote about that. It's about the long term PGP key model—be it secured by Web of Trust, fingerprints or Trust on First Use—and how it failed me.