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04.11.14

Replicating the Destruction of Dual Boot (GNU/Linux) by Microsoft-Friendly UEFI Implementations

Posted in Antitrust, Hardware, Microsoft, Windows at 7:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Hammer

Summary: Reports of “loss of Linux dual-booting” due to Windows Update are investigated further; FSF award to Garrett faces opposition

IT WAS recently reported in Reddit that UEFI was used by Microsoft Windows to wipe out GNU/Linux. Windows Update rendered GNU/Linux unbootable and allegedly turned ‘secure’ boot on to achieve this.

According to this new analysis from Jamie the UEFI explorer, it’s not an isolated incident. He starts by stating: “I can finally report that yes, there is a problem — but it’s generally not as serious as has been reported.” He also writes: “While I found that I was able to ‘fix’ the loss of Linux dual-booting on both of my systems, I am NOT trying to say that everyone who has posted claims about dual-boot being ‘destroyed’ by Windows Update is wrong. I certainly have enough experience with UEFI boot configuration to know that all sorts of strange things are possible, and it may well be that some systems, with some configurations, really do get more seriously damaged by Windows Update than mine have. One very obvious example might be that the Linux items could get deleted from the boot object list. If that happened you would have to use efibootmgr to put them back again.”

But who would know how to do this and how many people would just turn away from GNU/Linux at this stage? This is why UEFI should face a boycott and antitrust complaints against Microsoft get bolstered. I wholeheartedly disgree with FSF for giving Garrett an award. This can be a PR disaster waiting to happen, a bit like Miguel de Icaza and Theo de Raadt and getting such an award before their FSF bashing. Apparently I am not alone in disagreeing with the FSF; Sam Varghese expressed similar concerns, having opposed ‘secure’ boot for quite some time along with many others. He writes: “The Free Software Foundation has given an annual award this year for work that enslaves people to the demands of Microsoft – something that flies in the face of all that the organisation has stood for since its founding.”

This has indeed been a bizarre move and it can help weaken existing complaints (in Europe) over Microsoft’s UEFI tricks.

04.01.14

UEFI is Bricking Computers When One Removes Spyware With Back Doors (Microsoft Windows)

Posted in GNU/Linux, Hardware, Microsoft at 5:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

UEFI logo with monopoly

Summary: UEFI ‘secure’ boot is bricking laptops again, showing that there are worse aspects to UEFI than the anti-competitive (anti-GNU/Linux) nature of it

THERE IS a new UEFI nightmare scenario, which relates somewhat to the fact that the NSA can remotely destroy (as in brick) computers with UEFI, provided they use a ‘faulty’ implementation of UEFI [1] (UEFI ‘secure’ boot is faulty by design). “”Beware Samsung laptops” is a lesson the Linux community has already learned,” says the author of the article, but why not name UEFI also? “For Swedish Linux users,” he says, “the main lesson seems to be “Ask your big-box store salesperson to certify in writing that the machine she sells you is capable of running Linux equally well as it runs Windows”.”

This is becoming a serious issue. Germany has already pretty much banned machines with UEFI ‘secure’ boot, perhaps realising the potential hazards. Here in the UK there is concern about Windows in general, even among CESG staff (the CESG’s Web site has been down for half a day now, seemingly after getting cracked, following a migration to Windows 2 years ago). To quote CESG: “Local authorities connect to central government systems through a Public Services Network (PSN), via which they can share essential services in an effort to drive efficiency. GCHQ IT security arm CESG provides advice and certification for councils using the PSN.

“According to Gartner’s public sector research director Neville Cannon, CESG rules state that in order to connect to the PSN, authorities must run “patchable” software, which means those running XP after D-day could be in serious trouble.”

This again is an NSA back door. The security panic leads some major entities to migrating to Linux [2,3] and Microsoft’s UEFI-equipped (and Linux-hostile) hardware is now declared dead, perhaps because nobody really wanted it and it self-bricked, due to UEFI 'secure' boot'. This is a “so-so article but points to an interesting attitude,” iophk said, but it basically shows that the ‘new’ “Surface” is a failure as big as the ‘old’ and clumsy “Surface”, which was dubbed a “big ass table” and vanished quietly about half a decade ago.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Swedish Linux Users: Avoid Elgiganten

    As detailed here before, a few Samsung laptop models have a firmware bug that makes them liable to becoming inert bricks if you install Linux. It’s a one-way process. This happened to me when I bought an ultrabook from the Elgiganten big-box store last summer. Both Samsung and the store refused to reimburse me for the loss of my machine’s use. At the suggestion of my home municipality’s consumer advisor (konsumentrådgivare), I took the matter to Allmänna reklamationsnämnden, the National Board for Consumer Disputes (complaint no 2013-10081).

  2. The Death of Windows XP Won’t Kill the ATM Industry, or Help Bitcoin

    The second alternative is to go for an alternative OS altogether.

    This is not as farfetched as it sounds: Linux has a much smaller footprint than Windows 7 and, as a result, some ATM operators are considering a switch to Linux rather than the Microsoft product.

    This would not be the first time ATMs have transitioned to a different OS. Before the industry moved to XP, most ATM’s were running IBM’s OS/2 operating system.

  3. Banks turning to Linux to replace Windows XP on their ATMs

03.27.14

Chih-Wei Huang is Trying to Start Misguided Antitrust Case Against Android/Linux (Through Google)

Posted in Antitrust, GNU/Linux, Google, Hardware, Microsoft at 7:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Chih-Wei Huang, widely known for his role in the Chinese Linux Documentation Project and Chinese Linux Extensions, wants the Justice Department to investigate Google because Asus, his employer, does not ship Android on Intel hardware

ECT, going by the name Linux Insider, has just published this article about Android-x86 — a project that mostly helps a convicted monopoly abuser (Intel) interject itself into Linux/Android.

The article is very negative about Google and it speaks of complaints for abuse in a Free software project. We have seen such stuff before and it usually turns out to be provocation. It has been very typical for Microsoft people to do so, or even Microsoft proxies such as Nokia. It’s often provocation against Google using forks that don’t obey simple rules, or simply lead to FUD, patent taxation, and even severe privacy issues like NSA/Microsoft Skype.

“Sadly enough, ECT only quotes people who are against Google. No balance is offered, not even an attempt at balance.”Dealing with the core of the article from ECT, it says that the “maintainer of the Android-x86 Project has suggested that the Justice Department should investigate whether Google has been interfering with adoption of the open source code his community is developing.”

This is attributed to Chih-Wei Huang, which is a common name in places like Taiwan. There is Dr. Chih-Wei Huang, who worked 5+ years in Washington/Redmond (with Microsoft payroll), but he is not to be confused with this guy (same full name and even the same username in the same country) that has a good track record when it comes to Free software in China and Taiwan. We already know of former Microsoft staff like Xuxian Jiang, who pretend to be researching Android but are actually FUD mills against Android. But this one guy has nothing to do with Microsoft, unlike Dr. Chih-Wei Huang (see his revealing CV).

According to ECT, Huang said (to ECT): “Asus announced the dual OS laptop TD300LA in the CES and got very positive feedback. However, Google asked to stop the product so Asus are unable to ship it, sadly.”

This doesn’t sound right. Days ago we covered this and it was actually Microsoft that put the kibosh on the project (see the links here), not just Google as previously (and perhaps even falsely) reported. Neither party wanted to support this product. Several publications reported on that. So why is Huang picking only on Google?

Sadly enough, ECT only quotes people who are against Google. No balance is offered, not even an attempt at balance. There is no approach for comment from Google. It only says: “Asus executives did not respond to repeated requests for comment on Huang’s assessment of the alleged thwarted hardware release. Google officials several times declined requests for interviews to discuss the Android-x86 Project.”

What about Asus then? Maybe he should ask Asus (according to Wikipedia his current employer) for more information before accusing Google. What does Google have to lose here? Motivation is too weak for this theory to make sense. If anyone has reasons to interfere here, it would be ARM (UK-based) or Nvidia (also external to Asus).

Asus already ships a lot of Android (e.g. the Nexus 7), so only hardware limitation is the mystery here. Intel’s x86 is notoriously unsuitable for mobile devices, especially due to heat, size, and energy consumption. Intel’s “Atom” was a massive failure; heads were rolling. In fact, Google would generally be wise to avoid or to dodge those chipsets that put Windows to shame (heavy, clumsy, not running for long). But it doesn’t mean that Google intervened; in fact, maybe Asus reached those same conclusions on its own.

Five years ago when Asus announced a Linux-booting device (Android Eee PC, running Linux/Android) is was most seemingly killed because pressure from Microsoft, not Google (just read what the head of Asus said at the time).

It seems likely that Huang is barking up the wrong tree. We are eager to give Google the benefit of the doubt here because looking at the track record of Android, there tend to be provocations every now and then, trying to portray Android as “not open” (common line from Apple and Microsoft), abusive, monopolistic, etc. Almost every time this type of claims floods the media it eventually turns out to be bogus and often it ends up revealing an embarrassing link to Microsoft (which shamelessly runs anti-Google smear campaigns).

03.18.14

Xbox Last: Chief Product Officer Abruptly Quits Microsoft

Posted in DRM, Hardware, Microsoft at 2:16 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

In Sovietised West, Xbox watches YOU!

Xbox

Summary: Xbox “One” so big a failure — not just a surveillance device — that its chiefs continue to jump ship, leaving Microsoft in disarray

THERE has been an exceptionally major departure of high-level staff inside Microsoft and we mostly covered it years ago (well before Ballmer stepped down). These days we cover additions to this list only when readers send us links such as this one, which says that the Xbox Chief Product Officer is quitting Microsoft and canceling his appearance at GDC. “Infecting wireless Hi-Fi and audio company Sonos now,” says our reader, alluding to a culture of moles such as Elop.

Xbox-related departures are frequent and many. Recent posts noted that Xbox One was failing to sell. It is far behind the competition, which almost doubles it in terms of sales (Sony easily holds the crown).

Why would anyone at all ever buy anything that’s branded “Xbox”? It’s not only burning down houses, killing people inside those houses (due to design flaws in Xbox 360). It’s an abusive piece of DRM in a box. Those who buy Xbox are in essence paying for what we know to be surveillance equipment that spies on the buyer [1, 2, 3] for various governments such as Britain’s. If more people knew what Xbox is really doing, then nobody would be foolish enough to buy it anymore and the whole product line would have to be cancelled, just like Microsoft’s many failed platforms for mobile.

02.25.14

Android/Linux is Smashing Wintel/Atom to Pieces

Posted in GNU/Linux, Hardware, Microsoft at 8:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: How Android and energy-efficient hardware have taken the inertia away from Windows and Intel (Wintel)

Intel, which just like Microsoft is in bed with the NSA and the whole intelligence apparatus (see this recent response from Intel's chief and what Microsoft does with Lync, essentially spying on businesses), simply deserves no business. Intel not only helped Microsoft’s abusive monopoly but also engaged in a lot of expensive crime (expensive to the public). Karma is well overdue. Vista 8 has not been a hot seller of Intel/x86 hardware; quite the opposite. In fact, Intel recently laid off many employees.

Mr. Pogson has a decent take on it and he argues: ‘I don’t know whether or not it’s wishful thinking but rumours have it that ‘Microsoft plans to further decrease Windows 8.1 licensing rates for entry-level PCs priced below US$250 and tablets, from nearly US$50 currently to about US$15, according to Taiwan-based PC supply chain makers.’ (source)

We covered the lowering of prices yesterday. It shows that Microsoft has almost given up, especially in low-end devices. This is where Android reigns.

Android has been a boon for Linux. The NSA-proof Blackphone is said to be running Android [1], some new rugged devices run Android [2], and the world’s biggest phones (big screens) run Android [3]. Chrome OS and Android now threaten Windows on the desktop as well [4,5]. It’s not just Taiwanese phone makers [6] that follow this trend; Taiwanese PC makers have been doing the same thing as of late.

Android is of course based on Linux [7] — a fact that Linux bashers miserably like to deny. As the release of version 4.4 is approaching [8] Intel tries hard to interject itself into it [9], but it’s not going to work because Intel hardware is not just designed for energy efficiency. Leading devices, such as the Android 4.5-based Nexus device that’s expected to come out in the summer [10], do not use x86. Intel is a misfit in the mobile world. It’s a niche!

Intel missed the boat when it comes to Android. It knows it. Innovation is now centered around Android (new example in [11-13]) and some of the best applications target Linux [14-17], showing that the only rival Google has now is its own ego [18]. Microsoft and Apple cannot catch up. With large backers like Visa, MasterCard, and Sony [19,20] (howevr unethical they can be) it is clear that there are big powers driving Linux inertia, stealing the thunder away from the middle ages of clumpsy “PCs”.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. $629 Blackphone aims to hide you from the NSA

    Like the idea of using a pocket-sized computer to make calls, send messages, surf the web, and smash birds into pigs… but don’t like the idea of government agencies snooping on your communications?

  2. Rugged Android tablet offers IP65 ingress protection

    Aaeon announced a rugged, 10.1-inch tablet running Android 4.0 on a Tegra 2 SoC, and featuring IP65 ingress protection and industrial temperature operation.

  3. Are Android phones too big?

    You don’t have to look too hard at the slate of new smartphones to see Android’s “bigger is better” ethos. While iPhones have remained resolutely conservatively sized, Android manufacturers continue to push the limits with phones like the 5.5-inch LG Optimus G Pro or the 6.3-inch Samsung Galaxy Mega.

  4. Will Chrome OS and Android dominate the 2014 Linux desktop?

    Android phone and tablet users have now become accustomed to the immense functionalities and level of comfort that the platform offers

  5. Chrome OS and Android may be top desktop Linux distros in 2014

    How ironic that Android Desktop and Chrome OS are two of the first slides in the article. Did anybody ever really think that Google would be the one that might introduce Linux to the broader desktop market? And yet it seems to be happening as Android moves to the desktop and Chromebooks explode in popularity.

    The Windows 8 fiasco has opened the door to Linux in a way that hasn’t happened before. Many Windows users took one look at Windows 8 and immediately cast about for alternatives for their computers that didn’t lead them to Apple. So the time is ripe for Chromebooks and Android Desktop.

  6. Acer teases next Liquid smartphone ahead of MWC

    Featuring Android 4.2.2 operating system, it is said to shoot detailed 4K video–the next generation of ultra-high-definition video.

  7. The Linux Kernel: Android?

    Now that we have studied the Linux kernel very well and learned how to make our own, we will move on to a slightly different direction in this series. Many of you may be unaware of this, but Android is Linux. True, they are not quite the same, but Android is Linux. For example, Ubuntu is “GNU/Linux” while Android is “Dalvik/Linux”. If an operating system uses the Linux kernel, then it is a Linux system. The userland (GNU and Dalvik) does not determine whether an OS is Linux or not. Android uses a modified Linux kernel. As we know, Android runs on phones. As you may remember from configuring the kernel, there were no drivers for phone devices (like small keypads, 3G/4G cards, SIM cards, etc.). The Linux kernel used in Android lacks drivers that would not be in phones and instead has drivers for phone devices. In other words, no Android system uses a Vanilla Kernel.

  8. Android-x86 4.4 RC1
  9. Intel aims 2.3GHz quad-core 64-bit SoC at Android 4.4

    Intel launched a 64-bit dual-core Atom Z34xx mobile processor and announced an upcoming quad-core “Moorefield” version, promising Android 4.4.2 support.

  10. Android 4.5 to arrive on Nexus 8 in July

    Google surprised everyone at last year’s I/O when it didn’t announce any new devices or updates for Android. This year too, Google I/O conference scheduled for June 25-26 is expected to focus on new services. Taking this to be true, Android Geeks reports that Nexus 8 will be launched in July running Android 4.5.

  11. Google’s Project Tango Struts Into the Spotlight

    The prototype device has a 5-inch display, runs Android, and uses the Unity Game Engine. It is loaded with developer tools, including application programming interfaces, or APIs, that offer depth, orientation and position data to standard Android applications that are written in Java or C/C++ programming languages.

  12. Project Tango: Google’s all-ringing, all-dancing 3D-sensing smartphone

    Google hasn’t just kept Motorola’s patents in its deal with Lenovo, it’s also keeping the mobile manufacturer’s skunkworkish Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) group.

  13. Project Tango 3D-sensing Android phone demoed

    Project Tango was announced yesterday by Google and Motorola’s Advanced Research and Projects” (ATAP) group, which Google will retain when it sells Motorola Mobility to Lenovo. The 5-inch Project Tango smartphone prototype augments a basic Android phone with a pair of Myriad 1 vision co-processors from Movidius. It also integrates a variety of sensors, including a compass, gyros, and Kinect-like 3D visual sensors for integrated depth sensing and motion tracking.

  14. Best Android Apps For Finding and Sharing New Recipes

    Love cooking? Then you know how hard it is to find new recipes. Furthermore, it’s even harder to share those recipes with your friends or family, especially when you are on the move. If you are into cooking, let go of all your worries about finding new recipes as we have curated some of the best recipe apps that you can download on your Android smartphone or tablet. These applications will not only help you find new recipes but also share them with the people that matter.

  15. Review of Clumsy Bird: A Flappy bird clone with Angry Bird flavor
  16. BitTorrent’s revamped Android apps let you download just the files you want
  17. Android App Development for Beginners: Navigation Tabs
  18. Google’s Tim Bray steps down in the name of working remotely

    Web guru and Android enthusiast Tim Bray has announced he’s leaving Google. Why? Because he wants to work from home.

    “It’s an amicable separation in the face of irreconcilable differences: I wouldn’t move to California and Google wouldn’t open a Vancouver office,” Bray wrote in a blog post. “Both before and after being hired, I had been asked to consider moving south. I didn’t want to and politely declined. Eventually, the group I’m in politely informed me that staying remote wasn’t an option.”

  19. Visa, MasterCard start using Android for mobile payments

    MasterCard and Visa want to make it easier for you to pay for goods at retail stores with a tap of a smartphone. The US credit card groups on Wednesday separately announced two Internet-based technologies providing merchants and banks with more options to make mobile payments happen in a big way.

  20. Sony Xperia Z2 tablet specs leaked

    Tipped to measure 6.4mm thick in a waterproof body, the tablet will feature Android 4.4 Kitkat OS (it’s is expected to be skinned with Sony’s custom user interface). It will also pack a 3GB of RAM, a 6,000mAh battery, an 8MP rear-facing camera, a 2MP front-facing camera, and 16GB of onboard storage expandable via microSD card.

02.17.14

UEFI Booster Intel Could Not Even Bother Making GNU/Linux Bootable on NUC

Posted in Hardware at 7:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Intel had released Linux-hostile hardware before it finally fixed this

OVER THE PAST week or two there has been a lot of media hype about Intel NUC [1,2] (a lot of it was purely marketing), in part because Linux support was improved [3-5] (it was hard to install GNU/Linux on these machines) and there was a benchmark too [6]. One angle that was scarcely explored in the media should have included the simple question: why did Intel release a Linux-hostile machine in the first place?

Let’s expand that question.

Was it not properly tested? Does Intel not care about Linux? Recall how Microsoft fought Linux affinity at Intel.

There’s a lot of food for thought here, especially now that Intel wants to impose UEFI on everyone (with security risks). For ethical computing with no surveillance, no back doors, and no monopoly abuse people should avoid everything from Intel (where possible). They should say NUC you to Intel.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Install Fedora on Intel NUC: A Low-Power, x86-Ready Mini PC With Grunt

    The Intel Next Unit of Computing (NUC) is a very compact computer with an Intel CPU at its heart. The NUC reviewed here has mini DisplayPort and mini HDMI ports, two memory slots, mSATA, USB 3.0, mini PCI Express, an IR receiver, and an internal SATA connector among other things.

  2. Intel sees strong growth in its NUC mini-desktop business
  3. New Intel NUC BIOS update fixes Linux installation woes

    The future of the desktop, Intel says, lies in the extremes: enormous tabletop all-in-ones and itty-bitty PCs like the company’s own diminutive Next Unit of Computing. And indeed, we were mighty impressed when we got our hands on Intel’s Core i5-powered NUC, which managed to crack PCWorld’s top products of 2013 despite being a bare-bones system that requires users to BYO RAM, SSD, and OS.

  4. New Intel NUC BIOS update fixes SteamOS, other Linux booting problems

    To recap briefly, UEFI-based systems all have a small partition on their hard drives where bootloader files are stored. These bootloaders, which usually have an .EFI file extension, direct the computer to begin loading the operating system from the drive’s main OS partition. The problem with older NUC BIOSes is that they didn’t always know where to look for Linux bootloader files. Linux distributions would install to the computer just fine, but by default the computer wouldn’t be able to tell that the internal hard drive could boot the system, and you would have to manually move the bootloader file where the computer could find it. The NUC team tells us that further improvements to the boot process are coming, but this update appears to at least fix the problems that we had—Ubuntu, Mint, and SteamOS all install and boot just fine with the latest BIOS update installed.

  5. Intel updates NUC for better Linux support

    While there’s plenty to recommend Intel’s teeny-tiny NUC desktops, early adopters have been experiencing one or two problems. The biggest show-stopped: a flaw in the BIOS which could prevent Debian-derived Linux distributions from booting correctly, by looking for the wrong bootloader. With Debian one of the longest serving Linux distributions around, and being the parent distribution of everything from Ubuntu Linux to Valve’s Steam OS, that wasn’t great news – even if the work-around, moving the bootloader, was a relatively speedy fix.

  6. Intel Bay Trail NUC Linux Performance Preview

    A full and proper comparison of the NUC DN2820FYK performance under Linux is forthcoming that will closely examine all areas of performance from Ubuntu 14.04 with the Linux 3.13~3.14 kernel. There will also be many other interesting Bay Trail Linux tests. Those results though are not done today and due to many Phoronix readers asking for some Bay Trail results, I quickly ran some tests this week against the CompuLab Utilite review numbers from the recent review of that nice ARM Linux PC.

02.07.14

Devices Watch: Linux Growth in Embedded Systems and Devices

Posted in GNU/Linux, Hardware at 8:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Revisiting the important role of Linux in devices, based on some of the latest news

THANKS to news sites like Linux Gizmos, it has been fairly easy to keep track of the growth of Linux (often with GNU) in embedded systems and devices. There are news updates about in-vehicle infotainment systems [1,2], embeddable Web servers [3], rugged scanners [4], systems with improve real-time support [5], Intel devices [6-8], and Raspberry Pi [9-13] among other single board computers [14-17].

It is interesting that devices where the operating system is less visible (if visible at all) have been scarcely explored by the press. This helped people belittle Linux, denying its important role not just in server rooms but also in devices that people are using every day around their houses and offices.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Automotive Technology Platform Developed for Linux-Based Systems

    The new Mentor Graphics’ Embedded Automotive Technology Platform (ATP) for Linux-based in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) system development is now available and aimed at automotive tier-one suppliers for better graphics and optimized functionality. It’s the latest innovation to aid in the development of more responsive user interfaces.

  2. Celebrating the Marriage of Automotive and Consumer Electronics at CES
  3. Embeddable webserver adds source and NAS plugin

    Mako Server was announced last June. Based on Barracuda and Lua, the embeddable webserver is sufficiently compact to run on a Raspberry Pi. Like the other RTL technologies, it’s cross-platform, but is focused primarily on Linux.

  4. SDG Systems Announces Yocto Project Participation and Rugged Linux Scanner

    SDG Systems announced today that the company has been approved to be a Yocto Project Participant. SDG Systems also announced the availability of the Janam XG series rugged, gun-type scanner running a Linux implementation built using the Yocto Project.

  5. RT-enhanced Linux stack aims at comms gear

    Like Enea Linux 3.0, the new Enea LWRT focuses on real-time Linux support. Enea LWRT is primarily aimed at cellular base stations and media gateways that require real-time features like determinism, minimal interrupt latency, and high throughput, says the company. The solution is said to be optimized for integrating Linux with Enea’s OSEck.

  6. An Intel Galileo Walkthrough

    “Galileo” is software compatible with Arduino’s IDE, the operating system is a GNU/Linux distribution, which “runs” on the board only processor. The Arduino sketches are run as processes in the user space of the GNU/Linux operating system. The available IDE compiles the sketches in “.elf” format, an executable binary format, originally developed by UNIX System Laboratories and commonly used in GNU/Linux.

  7. Wireless enabled rugged box-PC runs Linux on Haswell

    Adlink has launched a compact, rugged industrial PC, featuring a 4th Generation Intel Core i7 processor, dual MiniPCIe slots, a uSIM socket, and Linux support.

  8. Intel headgear to offer fast offline voice processing

    So far, Linux is the only supported OS Intel has mentioned for either the original single-core Quark or the dual-core model.

  9. Raspberry Pi: Extending the life of the SD card

    SD cards are said to have a finite life. If you are planning on running a Raspberry Pi 24x7x365, there are some steps that you can take with GNU/Linux to extend the life of the card: here are some ideas.

  10. Video: Two Years of Raspberry Pi
  11. Setting Up Our Voice-Over-IP Phone System

    The brains live in a model B Raspberry Pi. I installed the GNU/Linux distribution Raspbian using the easy NOOBS on an SD card, then installed RasPBX — FreePBX and Asterisk — using the Pi Store via the desktop as that was easiest.

  12. Smart Home Automation with Linux and Raspberry Pi

    Home automation is a hot topic at the moment but it isn’t an easy area to work in. Can a book on Linux and Raspberry Pi sort it all out?

  13. Master the amazing Raspberry Pi

    As the Raspberry Pi Foundation rockets towards producing its Pi-millionth board, it’s bringing with it an eager and innovative new generation of computer scientists. If educating an entire generation of children isn’t exciting enough, Linux just so happens to be the software smarts that underpins the whole venture.

    But it can’t all be Pi for tea; we still have a huge main helping of desktop Linux goodness to tuck in to. We’re very excited about our roundup of VoIP clients, to embrace a world of fully-digital communication. From the now oddly Microsoft- owned Skype to the fantastic Jitsi, instant text, voice and video messaging is a slick and fast Linux affair.

  14. Tiny $14 ARM9 module runs Linux

    Back in 2006, Italian embedded Linux manufacturer Acme Systems shipped a penguin-shaped Tux Case for its original Fox single board computer (SBC). The new Arietta G25 computer-on-module (COM) is equipped with the same Atmel AT91SAM9G20 processor used by an updated Fox G20 SBC, as well as a newer 24-Euro Aria G25 COM that is more closely related to the Arietta G25 (see farther below). The Tux Case is still available, as well.

  15. HMI-focused ARM9 SBC features 7-inch touchscreen
  16. Linux-ready SBC debuts tiny stackable PCIe bus
  17. Tiny hacker SBC offers robot-friendly Linux distro

    The Kickstarter-backed “Rex” is a $99 robotics SBC with a DSP-enabled Cortex-A8 SoC, camera and audio I/O, dual I2C ports, and an Arduino-friendly “Alphalem OS” Linux distro.

    A recent Georgia Tech study found that Kickstarter projects often find success thanks to the use of effective marketing buzzwords like “guaranteed.” That word never shows up the Rex project’s Kickstarter page, which is perhaps one reason why this promising project has yet to reach a third of its $90,000 funding goal, with less than two weeks to go. We think Rex is worth a closer look. (Satisfaction guaranteed!)

01.30.14

Journalists Report Issues With UEFI, Cannot Install GNU/Linux

Posted in Antitrust, Hardware, Microsoft at 3:06 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Lock

Summary: Calls for boycott against UEFI receive supportive proof from journalists who are unable to install GNU/Linux because of Microsoft/Intel locks

WE HAVE already published many articles about UEFI because it is clearly a Linux-hostile plot to remove users’ control over their PCs. It’s about limiting the ability to boot operating systems, usually by giving authorisation powers to some third party like Microsoft. Novell (ex-)employees in particular — suffice to say because of their Microsoft ties — have been friendly towards this agenda and they laid inside Linux some of the endorsing code which weakens antitrust action.

Based on this new report from one who knows his way around GNU/Linux, UEFI is a pain in the neck. To quote his article’s summary: “Opinions vary on whether the UEFI standards are helping or hurting the migration to Linux. Enterprise users can select a Linux distro certified to work with UEFI standards, but not all Linux distros have keys that allow it to install. Despite the intent of the UEFI standards, the process so far is not universally successful. It should “just work,” said the Linux Foundation’s Greg Kroah-Hartman.”

Well, not quite. Novell’s Kroah-Hartman played a key role in pushing Microsoft-serving code into Linux and this includes UEFI restricted boot. UEFI should never have been embraced by Linux; it should be shunned because it’s a patent trap that serves a rapidly-shrinking criminal entity known as Intel as well as its partner Microsoft (they are jointly known as “Wintel”). Intel cannot keep up with mobile revolution according to the latest news [1], so it must be fighting to keep the old abusive duopoly/oligopoly going. To quote more from the above article: “I have extensive practice with installing various Linux distros on older and new computers. I am handy at setting up disk partitions and dual booting to maintain a working Microsoft Windows OS alongside numerous Linux distros. I also have routinely installed Linux on older and new computers by removing the Windows OS and replacing the entire drive with one or more Linux distros.

“However, it was not until I attempted to do a Linux installation on a new Gateway Series DX desktop with Windows 8 installed that I stared that UEFI monster down. At first I nearly ran back to the big box store to return the shiny new Windows box. I was not able to get the BIOS settings for the UEFI and Secure Boot permissions to even see USB and DVD live sessions for Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Korora 19 or Puppy Linux. That made routine installation of Linux impossible.

“The current use of UEFI and Secure Boot technologies might all too conveniently lock down the hard drive to lock out the installation of other operating systems — like Linux. Successfully installing Linux on UEFI/Secure Boot hardware controls depends on which computer brand or model you buy. Some of the newest BIOS versions effectively lock down any other OS access.”

Advice to the author: join the effort to enforce antitrust action. The European authorities have already received a formal complaint from lawyers. In the mean time, boycott hardware that comes with UEFI. Voting with one’s wallet is casting a strong vote.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Intel could abandon smartphone market: Report

    Intel’s deal with Chinese manufacturer Lenovo to supply chips for its smartphones has now ended. The processor giant, however, is reportedly working on other partnerships to replace the deal. Asus also released the Intel-powered Asus Zenfone series at CES. The new line of smartphones—featuring 4-inch, 5-inch and 6-inch models—will be released in March, mainly aimed at the China and Southeast Asia markets.

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