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02.07.14

The Mobile (GNU/) Linux World is Growing Beyond Android

Posted in GNU/Linux at 7:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Growing all around the world, in every continent

Travel

Summary: Geeksphone, Firefox OS, Sailfish OS, Tizen, Ubuntu, COS and WebOS show that Linux is not a one-horse race in mobile

NOBODY can say with a straight face that Linux is a failure. It has grown dominant in servers, phones, and increasingly in desktops too. It is a decent platform for gaming and it is a popular platform for development.

Other than Android there are several strong contenders that can gain significant market share. A few days ago we learned about Geeksphone, which boasts Firefox OS [1,2] among other operating systems. It’s not just about Android anymore [3]. Sailfish OS too looks promising [4]. Jolla staff claims it will run Android apps. Sailfish OS now runs on Android devices [5] and makes headlines [6-7] because it sells very well in countries like Finland. Then there’s Tizen [8-9], Ubuntu [10,11], and COS [12], making it seem like Linux domination in mobile is quite secure [13]. Even if Android ever faltered, there would be several competitors that are based on Linux (and are Free/libre software) ready to fill the gap. Even WebOS is no longer proprietary.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. The New ‘MultiOS’ Handset From Geeksphone

    Currently the Geeksphone is referring to the Firefox OS option using the original “Boot2Gecko by Mozilla” name, since Geeksphone isn’t licensed to use the Firefox brand or logo.

  2. Geeksphone Revolution specs revealed
  3. It’s Not Just Android: 3 Upcoming Linux Mobile Operating Systems

    Of the many mobile operating systems in the marketplace, Android has the largest share of users, and Android is based on Linux. It’s not surprising then to know that Linux is also the basis for several new (if slow-moving) operating systems for mobile devices (phone, tablet, phablet). Some are in production today, but most are still in the development stages. Then again, this is the rule for most products in mobility today.

  4. Linux Video of the Week: Sailfish Mobile OS Updates

    Jolla’s Linux-based Sailfish project released its first handset in Finland this past November to favorable reviews. Since then the Meego-derived mobile operating system has publicized a few small, but interesting updates, including a new IRC client and a demo of the OS running on a Nexus 4 (watch the videos, below.)

  5. Sailfish OS Has Been Ported To The Google Nexus 4

    Hello Linux Geeksters. About an hour ago, a video of Sailfish OS running on a Google Nexus 4 smartphone has been uploaded on Youtube.

  6. Two Interesting Jolla Stories About The Icons And The “Do It Together” Ringtone From The Poppy Red
  7. Friends For Jolla’s Sailfish OS Has Been Updated Yet Again
  8. First Samsung Tizen smartphone makes an appearance

    It is known that Samsung has been working on Tizen-based smartphones since a long time now, but we have not seen any device emerge from that project yet. We might see the first Tizen smartphone launch at MWC this year. However before the official launch, a Korean website has already managed to publish an alleged picture of the Tizen-based Samsung ZEQ 9000 smartphone.

  9. Samsung has Tizen devices to show at MWC 2014

    Here is some good news for Tizen fans! Samsung has sent out invites for a February 23 event just ahead of the Mobile World Congress (MWC) at Barcelona. The invitation promises a sneak preview of the latest Tizen devices.

  10. Ubuntu not set for major mobile vendor backing until 2015 – report
  11. Ubuntu Touch and Tizen phones a no-show for 2014

    Will anyone ever be able to break Android and iOS’s stranglehold on the mobile landscape? Last year we saw signs that ‘someone’ might just be able to threaten them, with the first demonstrations of phones running Firefox OS, Tizen and Ubuntu Touch. But just when we were hoping that 2014 might be the breakthrough year, those hopes have quickly been dashed.

  12. New China-developed OS takes aim at Android, Windows
  13. How Linux dominates the mobile market

    Linux is a free and opensource operating system built by thousands of contributors across the world. The Linux kernel was developed by Linus Trovalds in 1991. Linux gained good traction after its release and in the years has become one of the most secure operating systems in the world. Linux is used by almost every organisation in the world at some point. Linux runs on mobile phones, tablets, servers, desktops, supercomputers and in embedded systems such as network routers, building automation controls, televisions and video game consoles. Linux was originally developed for Intel x86-based personal computers. Over the years, Linux been ported to other hardware platforms such as Arm, x86_64. It is a leading operating system on servers, mainframe computers and supercomputers.

Android Watch: Android/Linux Endorsed Again by Apple’s Co-founder

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft at 6:59 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Time is running out as Apple’s share slides

Mexico

Summary: A lot of Android news from the past week, focusing to some degree on the effect on Apple and Microsoft

WOZ (Steve Wozniak), who is best known for his technical role in the early days of Apple (he is not a marketing charlatan like Steve Jobs), has just made headlines [1,2] because he wants an Android phone from Apple. This is not the first time that Wozniak is publicly endorsing Android. Apple must not like it.

It is evident that Android is taking over many areas, some of which Apple really craved (television, watches and so on). Now that there is Android consolidation [3,4] and some old FUD becomes obsolete, there is increased focus on Android at LG [5] (which Apple imitated when it made its first iPhone) and the Nexus 5 runs on LG hardware too [6,7], making a highly affordable phone like much of the Nexus series (subsidised to a degree). At MWC 2014 almost everything was Android based [8] and the growth of Android benefits/improves greatly the presence of Linux on the Web (client side [9]). It’s not just about tablets and smartphones anymore. Android is now growing on desktops and all sorts of devices [10,11], including embedded ones [12]. Replicant is maturing [13], providing a freer and more privacy-respecting version of Android, perhaps obviating the need for a Linux-based Android counterpart [14]. Android has so many powerful apps [15,16] and such a huge developers base that other OSes try to latch onto (Sailfish for sure, maybe even Firefox OS and Tizen). Even Nokia, led by Microsoft, is trying to lean Android’s way [17] (going further than what Wozniak suggested). The reality of the matter is, Android is doing huge financial damage to Apple [18] and to Microsoft’s operating systems monopoly [19].

It oughtn’t be too shocking that Microsoft and Apple increasingly turn to the USPTO and ITC, trying to simply ban Android devices or at least tax them. Recently, a patent troll which Microsoft passed patents to did some serious damage to Google and as TechDirt put it, “Company That Does Nothing May Get Hundreds Of Millions Of Dollars From Google” (it should be noted that the one thing this company did was get patents from Microsoft).

To quote the article: “The patent system is completely broken. Towards the end of 2012, we wrote about how a patent troll named Vringo, using some patents (6,314,420 and 6,775,664), had won a lawsuit against Google. Vringo was a failed ringtone company that had bought those highly questionable patents from the failed search engine Lycos and then sued basically everyone who ran a search engine. Microsoft agreed to settle (with a bizarre stipulation promising to pay 5% of whatever Google finally had to pay), while Google agreed to indemnify a bunch of the others that were all using Google’s search under their own. The jury found that Google’s AdWords product infringed, and gave an award much lower than what Vringo had asked for.”

What’s missing from this analysis is the passage of patents from Microsoft to Vringo. There is a world war against Android, which has pretty much taken over the world.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Steve Wozniak wants an Android Phone from Apple

    Now, Wozniak wants Apple to work with Google and make Android iPhones. He says,“We could compete very well. People like the precious looks of stylings and manufacturing that we do in our product compared to the other Android offerings. We could play in two arenas at the same time.”

  2. Steve Wozniak thinks Apple should build an Android smartphone

    Yes, folks, this is real life. In an interview with Wired, at the Apps World North America conference, Steve Wozniak revealed his belief that Apple should create a phone using Google’s Android operating system. According to him, “There’s nothing that would keep Apple out of the Android market as a secondary phone market … We could play in two arenas at the same time.” As Wired’s Mat Honan notes, the idea of such a handset wouldn’t be technically impossible, but anyone who’s familiar with the Apple of today knows that the chances of this actually happening are slim to none.

  3. Jelly Bean spills onto 60 percent of Android devices

    Analyzing Google Play data from the seven days ending Tuesday, Google’s Android developer dashboard pegged Jelly Bean’s collective reach at about 60.5 percent. Breaking down those beans, 4.1.x held the highest share with 35.5 percent, followed by 4.2.x with 16.3 percent and Android 4.3 with 8.9 percent

  4. Android users running old OS versions? Not anymore, say latest stats

    On the contrary, fully 62.5 per cent of all Android devices are now running any of the three “Jelly Bean” iterations or “KitKat,” the brand-new version of the OS that launched last Halloween.

  5. Sprint Announces LG G2 OTA Update Enabling Sprint Spark Bands And The Accompanying Spinning Status Bar Icon

    Sprint’s mobile data is typically not the first, or the second, or even the third to come to mind when looking for a zippy connection in the US, but the company is looking to change this impression with its new tri-band LTE network, more memorably known as Sprint Spark. Unfortunately, only a limited number of the carrier’s phones are able to take advantage of this new capability, with some of them requiring an OTA before they’re ready. Today Sprint has announced that the LG G2′s update is on its way.

  6. The Red Nexus 5 is here in all its glory (Edited)

    In a released a statement, LG stated; “The Nexus line has always been about doing things differently and consumers who share this philosophy have been among our most loyal fans,” said Dr. Jong-seok Park, President and CEO of LG Electronics Mobile Communications Company. “We’re carrying this thinking over to the red Nexus 5, which we think will catch the eye of consumers who want to make an even bolder statement.”

  7. Google Nexus 5 vs. Apple iPhone 5s

    The Nexus line, which evolved from a developer’s device to a premium phone, is now a serious threat to iPhone. But, the consumers don’t care about the smartphone wars as much as we do. For them, it’s a lingering question as to which phone to invest their hard-earned money into given that both devices offer spectacular features. So, if you’re confused as to which smartphone to buy, here’s a quick comparison between the two giants.

  8. MWC 2014: What gadgets to expect at this year’s show

    After launching the super slim Huawei Ascend P6 all the way back in June 2013, the Chinese company may use MWC to showcase the Ascend P6S.

  9. Cambodia Is Rapidly Freeing Itself From Wintel

    Cambodia is an emerging market and that other OS is sinking into oblivion pretty rapidly. “8″ is already swamped by Android/Linux, XP too, and “7″ is sliding rapidly. There is just no way for Wintel to keep up with sales of small cheap computers. In January 2013, the entire share of page-views counting desktops, notebooks, tablets and smartphones was 64.4% Wintel. Now, it’s 51.7%. That’s a 20% per annum decline. The tax is too prohibitive. Bundling the OS with the hardware doesn’t hide anything when there’s competitive hardware and software in the market. The positive feedback that locked the world into Wintel is now pushing the world away from M$. A similar pattern is emerging in Malaysia, Indonesia, India, and many other regions although less dramatic. It’s all good.

  10. MOTA smartwatch goes on sale for $50 at Groupon

    Next week, the price of the MOTA returns to $80, which, considering the prices of other smart watches, is still a steal of a deal. At the moment, the MOTA does not support third party apps like the Pebble or the Gear but it will pair with your Android or iOS device over bluetooth, which is more than we can say for the Gear (the Gear only pairs with certain Samsung devices at the moment). The watch vibrates to notify users of incoming calls and can display the caller’s ID or the incoming number. As is expected, one may control media playback on a phone or tablet using the watch.

  11. Streaming speaker has built-in Android touchscreen

    Auris, which already sells an $80 “Skye” WiFi music receiver and a $50 “FreeDa” Bluetooth receiver, is now prepping an Android 4.2.2-based portable combination speaker and media-streamer called Wily. The Wily device is launching today on Kickstarter with pledges set at $149 for the 8GB version and $168 for the 16GB model, and will eventually move to a retail price of $239 and $269, respectively, once the funding round is over. The devices are set to ship in June.

  12. Can Android Challenge Embedded Linux?

    A line should be drawn between true embedded Linux distros and Android’s solitary distro adapted for embedded consumer functions, said Suse’s Matthias Eckermann. He does not see Android going into enterprise areas involving integrated systems. “With flexibility, Android is one stack and one purpose. That is not the case with a full-fledged embedded Linux used for multiple purposes.”

  13. Fully Free Android ROM Replicant Advances to Jelly Bean

    The Replicant project, which builds open source Android ROMs, has reached a major milestone in releasing its first Android 4.2 (“Jelly Bean”) version. Replicant 4.2 adds support for the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 and improves security, among other enhancements. Replicant is part of a larger movement to develop more open source smartphones, including the SHR mobile Linux OS project and the Fairphone and Neo900 hardware/software projects.

  14. Will Android lose market share to other versions of mobile Linux?
  15. Keep Tabs on Income and Expenses with My Expenses for Android

    There are several traits that set My Expenses apart from the myriad of other expense tracking apps for Android. Firstly, My Expenses is an open source app, and it’s available on both Google Play Store and F-Droid. More importantly, though, the app strikes a perfect balance between functionality and ease-of-use.

  16. 10 cool Android apps to start the year
  17. Nokia X (Normandy) specifications reveal entry-level Android phone

    We have been hearing rumours about an alleged Android-powered Nokia device for a long while. Until now we just had few random pics of the device codenamed Nokia Normandy. Our trusted source @evleaks has however managed to provide us with some idea about the internal specifications we can expect.

  18. Apple Results Q4 – Wow this was far worse than I thought…

    Ok then we have Apple (Samsung released Q4 numbers on Friday but as usual, they didnt’ give us their smartphone number other than the total smartphone shipments were up.. I am projecting over 90M but lets see what the big analyst houses count for our number in early February)

  19. Will Android PCs finally destroy Windows on the desktop?

    Android is going to become popular with home and SOHO users. It’s going to enable all those users who love Android on their tablets and smartphones to enjoy the same apps on their desktops.

Doing Business With Windows Now a Failed Strategy

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Windows at 6:16 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A losing game

Basketball

Summary: Sony is the latest large OEM which realises there’s no money in Windows, even on the desktop (or laptop)

“After years of losses, Sony is hacking off unprofitable parts of the company,” says this article, noting that “Sony sells off VAIO PC business amid prolonged industry slump” (VAIO was all about Windows).

Sony has been hostile towards Android in the sense that it sued Android players and also removed GNU/Linux from PS3 after it had falsely marketed PS3 for this capability. There are also the DRM and copyright wars. Few people out there would argue that Sony is an ethical company, but either way, Sony will need to increasingly rely on Android and Chrome OS or whatever, as it has already been doing in recent years. That’s where the money is, the growth area is Linux and mobile.

Samsung, which pays Microsoft for Linux or legitimises Microsoft’s extortion attempts, has also been quite unethical (committed crimes, too) and had business problems before it embraced Android/Linux to become hugely profitable. Recently, as Muktware covered quite well [1-4], Samsung has been introducing more new devices (all Linux based) and is now massively expanding in Europe [5].

Sony is not the first large OEM to quit the Windows business. Expect more of the same. Dell and HP are going down the same route, which Asian companies have generally been quicker to take.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Samsung cutting back on Android customizations: Report
  2. Samsung may announce Galaxy S5 at MWC

    If it is indeed the S5,then rumours have been circling for months about this device and it is going to cause millions to either love or hate it. I can’t wait to see what they have in store for the masses. This year is going to be awesome. Let us know if you’re interested in the fresh UI, the 3GB of memory or the rumoured 2K display that will be strapped to the front. This phone is definitely going to turn heads; provided that they do announce the S5.

  3. Galaxy Note 3 Neo has a hexa-core processor

    Galaxy Note 3 Neo, the long-rumored budget version of the Note 3, has been officially announced by Samsung Poland. The device will be available in two flavors — 3G and LTE+ (offering connectivity on higher-speed Category 4 networks up to 150 Mbps down/50 Mbps up) when it will be launched globally starting February in your choice of black, white or green.

  4. Samsung rumoured to release ‘Galaxy Glass’ IFA Berlin 2014

    Samsung Electronics Chief Financial Officer, Lee Sang-hoon stated that Samsung is currently developing their own Glass, and that it is tentatively called ‘Galaxy Glass’. He further stated that the market for smart glass is huge as it will be used in vehicles and several industries that can benefit from such a device. The release date for the Galaxy Glass seems to be IFA Berlin, and this takes in September between the 5th and the 10th.

  5. Samsung makes EU push via 60 Carphone Warehouse-Samsung exclusive stores

    Samsung shipped 320 million smart phones in 2013. Note, that’s 320 million. The Korean giant is the largest phone manufacturer in the world, and they post the numbers to back it up. Like all other smart companies though, they are not resting on their laurels. A recent announcement by Carphone Warehouse details the new venture that will see over 60 Samsung exclusive stores pop up across Europe throughout this year.

02.06.14

Don’t Let the Corporate Press Portray GNU/Linux as a Loser

Posted in GNU/Linux at 11:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Recent news items which demonstrate just how big and influential a platform GNU/Linux has become

A few days ago, albeit not for the first time, the Linux Foundation, essentially an advocacy group that allocates some wages, did some rather effective marketing, demonstrating to many that it has become inane to joke at Linux and dismiss it as a hobbyists’ project [1-4] (there is an OpenDaylight Summit at the moment [5-7]). Sure, this won’t prevent IDG, CBS and other corporate press (with payments from Microsoft) from belittling Linux, charactering it as an underdog in this age of Android domination. Good sites like Phoronix, LXer, Linux Foundation and others provide a news stream that contradicts the stigma, but bait-loving marketing companies like QuinStreet will continue to use “Linux”-named domains to delete old articled by the truckload. Other sites like LinuxPlanet and Datamation, a former employer of mine (before it was acquired), may carry on provoking and then spying on visitors to help drive sales (QuinStreet, a marketing company, bought “IT Business Edge, Datamation, Small Business Computing, Internet News, Server Watch, InfoStor, Enterprise Storage Forum, Enterprise Networking Planet, Enterprise Apps Today, CIO Update, Database Journal, eSecurity Planet, Webopedia and Linux Today”). It’s all business to them.

It’s just too easy to grow cynical and sceptical of the press when its top priority is to make money (by agenda, advertising, etc.) and we are still seeing some GNU/Linux FUD which is not hinged on facts, such as the fact that Chrome OS is a GNU/Linux distribution.

An article titled “What will drive mainstream desktop Linux?” [8] has come out from Red Hat and it mentions Chromebooks, which play a major role in making GNU/Linux mainstream on desktops and laptops. People should not feel like “zealots” or “deluded” when they say that GNU/Linux on many desktops and laptops is already a reality. Just go to a store and watch how many computers there have Chrome OS preinstalled. One of our readers sent us a message about his observations some days ago. He said: “I was in an appliance store today and noticed that none of the notebook computers mentioned OS either on the case or on the signage. There were none of the Windows stickers on the machines, most of which ran Vista8. There were CPU stickers though. Then the signs next to each machine with the price and some of the technical specifications mentioned just
about everything except OS. There were two Chromebooks hidden in all that.

“Two things might be happening and they are not mutually exclusive. One is that the name Windows is becoming a liability like the name Microsoft has become. The other is that they are trying to hide the Chromebooksby adopting the Chromebooks’ lack of stickers.

“The corresponding ad in the paper show off the Chromebooks but make it look like just another version of Vista. “anti-virus included” The two Chromebooks were snappy and responsive, even the ARM model.

“If only the Chromebooks lacked OS stickers, they would stand out and, worse, let people know that there are better non-MS options out there. By taking the OS stickers off their Vista8 machines, they are able to hide the Chromebooks in the crowd of other unlabeled machines.”

Chrome OS widely deployed now [9,10,11], it’s hardly an underdog anymore. And it’s not just Chrome OS, it’s other GNU/Linux distributions also [12], demonstrating that it pays to sell GNU/Linux hardware [13]. Sometimes GNU is omitted. For instance, Dell is working on Android PCs on a HDMI sticks [14], showing that combined Android and GNU/Linux will probably continue to surge in Web usage [15] (many such surveys come from US-based companies that are biased and receive payments from Apple, Microsoft, or both).

Sites like ZDNet (CBS) will continue to present a false choice between “Windows XP and Windows 8″ [16], whereas other sites may dare to suggest that “Windows XP home users should upgrade to Linux — not Windows 8.1″ [17]. It has become apparent that there’s an information war being fought; those who don’t want to see GNU/Linux succeeding will continue to deny the reality of Free software renaissance.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Who’s Writing Linux?

    About once a year, the Linux Foundation analyzes the online repository that holds the source code of the kernel, or core, of the Linux operating system. As well as tracking the increasing complexity of the ever-evolving kernel over a series of releases from versions 3.0 to 3.10, the report also reveals who is contributing code, and the dominant role corporations now play in what began as an all-volunteer project in 1991.

  2. Who actually develops Linux? The answer might surprise you

    To begin with, take a look at the chart above (which was compiled by IEEE Spectrum, incidentally). The graph shows the breakdown of all patches contributed to the Linux kernel, between versions 3.0 and 3.10. You can clearly see that over 80% of all contributions are from developers who are paid by a large, commercial company. The report says that the number of unpaid developers contributing to the Linux kernel has been slowly declining for many years, now sitting at just 13.6% (it was 14.6% in the last report).

  3. Foundation report looks at the who-and-what behind Linux

    “Who writes Linux? Corporations, more than ever,” said InfoWorld’s story headline on Monday. Out of all the highlights of the Linux Foundation’s latest Linux Kernel Development report, the corporate angle sang out as noteworthy, dispelling an old notion that Linux, the historic shining star of open source endeavor, is brought to you courtesy of impoverished programmers in post-midnight dens cranking out development work for free, and for the mere spirit of it all. The report, fully titled “Linux Kernel Development: How Fast It is Going, Who is Doing It, What They are Doing, and Who is Sponsoring It,” is the fifth update of this ongoing development story, which has been published since 2008. An increasing number of companies are working toward the improvement of the kernel.

  4. A closer look at who is responsible for developing Linux
  5. OpenDaylight, open-source, software-defined networking, gets real with first release

    Santa Clara, CA: When the Linux Foundation announced that it had gotten ever-warring networking vendors to agree to work together on the open-source software-defined network (SDN) project, OpenDaylight, the haters spoke loud and clear. The “OpenDaylight Project will likely delay the adoption of enterprise software-defined networking solutions and stifle innovation,” said Gartner.

  6. OpenDaylight Hydrogen SDN Platform Arrives
  7. OpenDaylight Summit: SDN Needs Open Source and Open Standards

    “A world without open source would be a pretty grim world,” Zemlin said. “85 percent of the world’s stock exchanges would shut down, you wouldn’t have any friends – Facebook runs on Linux, and you’d have to go the bookstore to buy books, since Amazon runs on Linux.”

  8. What will drive mainstream desktop Linux?

    There are a couple significant reasons why Linux is a distant third, which I’ve covered elsewhere. However, one important area that needs to be addressed, which I haven’t covered before, is product development. I’m going to pretend that I am a NFL analyst assessing each Linux distro’s product and explaining what each distro needs to improve on to be appealing enough for the average consumer. Now when I go through this analysis, I need to assess each distro as if I am buying a branded PC with that distro. Why? Because that’s how most consumers expect to purchase a PC. The difficult part with a lot of the Linux distros is that there is not that “appliance” that “works out of the box” perception that consumers get when they use it. After all, many people are used to using Windows PCs, Macs, and tablets that just work, including apps that came with each device. They expect that same kind of reliability when they use any PC. So let’s start the analysis with the latest device that comes very close to that, which is the Chromebook.

  9. ASUS Chromebox: Fanless Haswell in a NUC-like Form Factor, Starting at $179
  10. Asus mini-PC breaks Chrome OS price barrier

    When Asus jumps into the increasingly hot Chrome OS market by shipping its $179 Asus Chromebox in March, it will likely be the new price leader among computers that run Google’s Linux-based Chrome Operating System. It’s $20 cheaper than the hot-selling, $199 Acer C720 Chromebook, although it lacks the latter’s screen and keyboard. You get the same 4th Generation (“Haswell”) dual-core Intel Celeron 2955U, clocked at 1.4GHz, as you do with the C720, complete with integrated Intel HD graphics. Later this year, there will also be a Core i3-4010U version, as well as a Core i7 model that will not be offered in the U.S.

  11. Lenovo announces ThinkPad 11e laptops, Chromebooks for education market

    Dubbed the ThinkPad 11e family, it comprises four models: two traditional notebooks, and a pair of Yoga convertible systems that can function as either laptop or tablet. A Chromebook version of either form factor will be available. (Dell announced a education Chromebook last month.)

  12. CompuLab Utilite: A Tiny, Low-Power, Low-Cost, ARM Linux Desktop

    When it comes to Linux-friendly hardware vendors one of my favorite companies to deal with at Phoronix is CompuLab. The Israeli PC vendor isn’t just rebadging some OEM systems and slapping on a Tux sticker nor are they assembling some x86 systems that individuals could easily build at a lower cost. We have reviewed several interesting low-power Linux PCs from them in the past and today may be one of their most interesting products yet, the Freescale i.MX6-based Utilite. In this review is a look at the Utilite Pro, which is my new favorite pre-assembled ARM Linux desktop.

  13. It Pays To Sell GNU/Linux

    For years I have watched the web-stats for GNU/Linux languish in Mexico. No longer. In the summer of 2013, retailers, Dell, HP, Lenovo, Acer and Canonical got together in Mexico and sold PCs.It does pay to have actual salespeople and retail shelf-space. Obviously the PCs are selling. I hope other countries get going on this, mine, for instance…

  14. Dell cooks up an Android PC on a HDMI stick
  15. In 2014, Android/Linux Will Be The Big Dog In Client OS Page-views
  16. Windows XP and Windows 8: The worst possible combination for Microsoft

    But the old certainties are being swept away. PCs are no longer the automatic choice for business, thanks to the rise of the tablet. Neither is Windows, with Android desktops and Chromebooks also on an upward trajectory. And, thanks to BYOD, most firms are already used to staff turning up with iPads and Kindle Fire tablets; Microsoft’s desktop dominance is already fraying around the edges.

  17. Windows XP home users should upgrade to Linux — not Windows 8.1

    Yes, Linux is far less intensive than the arguably bloated Windows. And so, if a user wants a supported operating system that should work well on their existing, but aging hardware, a Linux-based OS may be the best choice. The problem is, what distribution should a user choose? What software is available? No worries, I’m here to help.

Note to the Press: Nvidia News is About Linux, Not Linus

Posted in GNU/Linux, Kernel at 7:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Photo by Alex Dawson, 2002

Linus

Summary: Cult of Personalities takes over the news again — news which, if anything, proves Stallman’s points to be valid

EARLIER this week Nvidia made an important announcement [1] that was picked up by the press [2-8]. Nvidia shows some signs of changing, conceding its purely proprietary culture. Finally there is a response with actions, not just words. Interestingly enough, a little message from Torvalds in Google+ almost generated more headlines than the original news [9-11] (a lot of the aforementioned links overemphasise Torvalds), especially because he previously gave Nvidia the finger (as in, “up your rectum”). Imagine what the reaction would be if Stallman had done that. When Torvalds does provocative stuff in order to attract attention then it’s portrayed as “cool” or “funny”, whereas the father of GNU gets smacked down if he even dares to try. The person who all along preached in favour of source code freedom is Stallman, not Torvalds, who had also created Linux as a proprietary kernel at first (so basically the same as Nvidia).

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. [RFC 00/16] drm/nouveau: initial support for GK20A (Tegra K1)
  2. drm/nouveau: initial support for GK20A (Tegra K1) Directly Rendered From Nvidia
  3. Nvidia gets even more open saucy

    This Tegra K1 Nouveau support is still proof-of-concept but it is a sign that Nvidia is getting more open saucy having committed to better open source graphics support in September.

  4. Nvidia deepens Linux Nouveau support for upcoming Tegra chips
  5. Nvidia Seeks Glasnost With Linux, Contributes Open Source Code
  6. Nvidia slips love letter to open source driver devs
  7. Nvidia startles Linux world with driver contribution
  8. NVIDIA offers initial open source support for K1 graphics

    Chip maker NVIDIA has a long history of making sure there are Linux drivers for its graphics cards. But they’re usually closed-source drivers which means they’re not easy for OS developers and open source enthusiasts to work with. Linux founder Linus Torvalds was not amused by this approach.

  9. Torvalds gives Nvidia software thumbs up, not middle finger

    “This time I’m raising a thumb for Nvidia. Good times,”Torvalds said Sunday night on Google+, a strong contrast to a June 2012 speech in which Torvalds instead offered Nvidia a middle finger for its non-cooperation. Nvidia has preferred to offer proprietary binary drivers to let operating systems use its graphics chips, not open-source software that others can adapt, modify, and debug.

  10. Linus Torvalds Applauds NVIDIA For Posting Early Tegra K1 Open Source Drivers To The Nouveau Project
  11. Nvidia opens Tegra K1 driver, wins Torvalds thumbs-up

The Mandriva Camp is Strong: Mageia, PCLinuxOS, and ROSA in the News

Posted in GNU/Linux, Mandriva at 6:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Mageia 4 is out, PCLinuxOS is promoted at the expense of Ubuntu, and ROSA is being reviewed

As we had noted a week or so in advance, Mageia 4 was released in time for FOSDEM [1] and it received some press coverage [2]. There are galleries of screenshots online [3,4] and also some reviews [5,6]. These are generally very positive and they serve to show that the team did good work.

Other than that, PCLinuxOS received a recommendation [7]. It is said to be better for Windows XP users and judging by my father’s experience it is probably true. Windows XP users easily and quickly get accustomed to PCLinuxOS. The similarity in structure and appearance sure helps.

Speaking of another Mandriva derivative, ROSA is being reviewed again [8,9] and it’s looking good. Mandriva is now based in Russia and ROSA is a Russian distribution, whereas Mageia is mostly French and PCLinuxOS is developed in the US.

Don’t dismiss the Mandriva camp. It may not have a strong brand like Ubuntu’s or a development community as vast as Debian’s, but it sure is doing well.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. New year, new resolutions and a new Mageia – here’s Mageia 4!

    Right on time, and just in time for the first day of FOSDEM 2014, we have the great pleasure of announcing Mageia 4. We’re still having a grand time doing this together, and we hope you enjoy this release as much as we’ve enjoyed making it. And if you’re at FOSDEM, come and help us celebrate!

  2. Mageia 4 Linux Desktop Distro Delivers Improved Performance, Features
  3. Mageia 4 GNOME Quick Screenshot Tour

    Default desktop of Mageia 4 GNOME has some flowery ornaments on the deep-blue background. As usual in GNOME, there is no dedicated menu, but there is an all-screen search tool. You may notice that there is no network indicator on the panel.

  4. Mageia 4
  5. Mageia 4.0, hands-on: Another excellent release

    A few years ago (September 2010 to be exact), when things got really crazy with the Mandriva distribution, some of the core developers and users announced that they were establishing a fork to continue the development and distribution with the new name Mageia. That has proven to be a very good decision, because they have just made their fourth major release.

  6. Mageia 4 Cinnamon, KDE and GNOME 3 screen shots

    Aside from the KDE and GNOME 3 desktop environments, Mageia 4 also features support for Cinnamon and MATE. This article presents screen shots from test installations of the Cinnamon, GNOME 3 and KDE desktops.

  7. 5 Reasons Why PCLinuxOS Is Better For Windows XP Users Than Ubuntu

    This is not an attempt to disparage Ubuntu as it is a very good operating system and I would recommend it to most people. It is definitely a better step forward for Windows 7 users than Windows 8 would be.

  8. ROSA Desktop Fresh R2 GNOME review

    ROSA Desktop is one of several distributions that are derived from Mandriva Linux. The others are Mageia and OpenMandriva. The latter has more in common with ROSA Desktop than Mageia does; many applications developed by ROSA labs are available in the OpenMandriva repositories, but not in the Mageia repositories.

  9. A look at ROSA Fresh R2 LXDE Edition

    However, in recent times the Russian company has introduced a new desktop lineup called ROSA “Fresh”. This desktop version is intended to be, as the name suggests, fresher in terms of software versions and therefore features etc whilst aiming to maintain stability and a good solid user experience and more than just KDE and Gnome versions have been made available.

Sure, GNU/Linux is Used Extensively by North Korea, But Why the Hate?

Posted in Asia, GNU/Linux at 6:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: New types of smears against GNU/Linux come from an unexpected angle which needs tackling

HATRED towards North Korea is cleverly being projected onto hatred against GNU/Linux. Nobody has done this as shamefully as the insidious BBC, which uses the news to insinuate that GNU/Linux is crazy, communist [1], or something like that (the BBC rarely covers GNU/Linux at all, perhaps because many managers in there came from Microsoft UK). It often seems like the BBC only ever covers GNU/Linux when it has something negative to say (we gave examples of this pattern before), or only when it’s “rogue” or associated with something rogue like a virus.

Interestingly enough, more hate towards GNU/Linux in North Korea comes from Apple fan sites [2-4] (not necessarily tied to Apple itself). Never mind the fact that North Korea in many ways resembles Apple and Android's founder/former chief seemingly compared Steve Jobs to North Korea's dead leader (Kim Il-sung). If something has got “North Korea” in it, then it’s automatically malicious. Generally speaking, if one wants to make peace with a country, then one should start by showing respect. To ridicule is to breed more tensions. The BBC’s smears are smears of hypocrisy. For instance, saying that North Korea counts years since the death of a leader neglects the fact that we in the West count the years since the death of Christ. Here is some North Korean coverage [5] and articles from IDG [6,7], the latter of which asking: “Should Linux look like Windows?”

It should probably look like neither Windows nor OS X for reasons we mentioned before. Users’ familiarity is probably outweighed by the need for unique and distinct identity. There are also associated risks, reinforced by Apple’s litigation over GUIs. Having seen North Korea’s operating system, I can’t say that it really resembles Apple’s. Apple did not invent the dock (it copied it), it was not the first with Brushed Metal and Aqua (I had those in GNU/Linux before OS X even existed), and North Korea’s operating system hardly even imitates those. When Apple accuses Android or Samsung (South Korean) of copying iOS it often turns out (in the courtroom) that it was actually Apple doing the imitation (of predecessors in Asia, for example LG in South Korea).

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Apple’s Mac OSX imitated in latest North Korea system

    North Korea has upgraded the operating system used in the country – and it bears a striking resemblance to Apple’s Mac OSX platform.

    [...]

    The Red Star OS is peppered with North Korean propaganda, and its calendar tells users it is not 2014, but 103 – the number of years since the birth of former North Korean leader Kim Il-sung.

    An earlier version of Red Star OS was made available worldwide in 2010 after a Russian student posted it online.

  2. North Korea’s Official ‘Red Star’ Operating System Borrows Heavily From OS X
  3. North Korea’s Home-Grown Operating System Mimics OS X
  4. North Korea Laughably Copies Apple With New Linux Distro

    Red Star Linux, a Linux distribution used in North Korea, has been upgraded to version 3.0. With it comes an entire UI revamp, one that looks extremely similar to that of OS X. The menu buttons are placed on the lefthand corner of each window and many UI buttons have an “aqua” effect as seen in previous versions of OS X. Most notably however, is the addition of a dock on the bottom of the desktop that is almost identical to the dock seen in OS X.

  5. North Korea’s Red Star OS goes Mac
  6. North Korea’s home-grown OS looks a lot like Apple’s OS X
  7. Should Linux look like Windows?

    The real question here though is: Should Linux look more like Windows? My initial thought is no, it certainly should not look like Windows. After all, one of the big attractions of using Linux is to get away from Windows. Who wants to be reminded of an operating system that they just dumped because they didn’t want to use it any more?

Mozilla is Preparing More Privacy-respecting (Than Android) Linux-powered Devices

Posted in Free/Libre Software at 6:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Phones and tablets with Firefox OS are said to be on their way and Firefox 27 is out

Mozilla has just released Firefox 27 [1,2], which is quickly improving owing to expansion features [3,4] (I find it a little buggy under Android, still). Firefox OS, which is based on Linux, has been making headlines and it is still coming along nicely [5] while Mozilla asks for help in delivering a tablet with Firefox OS [6]. To Mozilla’s credit, as we noted before, the company throws the P word around quite a lot (privacy is the P word), even in NPR [7]. Some readers noted that Mozilla is actually just pretending to care about privacy, but compared to Google, Apple, and especially Microsoft, Mozilla has shown a good track record on privacy. Sure, it relies to some degree on advertisers and Google, but Mozilla itself is not doing the spying. Moreover, it provides tools for blocking surveillance, even as part of the browser’s core.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Mozilla releases Firefox 27 for Android, Linux, Mac and Windows
  2. Mozilla Firefox 27 Delivers Better Security, Performance

    There are 13 security advisories attached to the Firefox 27 release, four of them ranked as being critical. As is common in nearly all Firefox release updates, one of the critical updates is for a group of vulnerabilities that Mozilla labels “Miscellaneous memory safety hazards.”

  3. Firefox Set to Get a New Look, Better Sync
  4. Best Firefox Add-ons for Social Media Junkies
  5. The state of Firefox OS – a report from FOSDEM

    The smartphone is currently dominated by two big systems; Android and iOS. But there are others in the run. With Microsoft struggling to get anyone to voluntarily use Windows Phone, maybe Sailfish OS, Ubuntu Touch and/or Firefox OS will make a difference. It’s this last one I attended a talk about at FOSDEM. So here it goes; The current state of Firefox OS, and what we can expect for the future.

  6. Mozilla Calls for Help in Delivering Firefox OS Tablets

    The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) took place recently in Las Vegas, and Mozilla officials made headlines there as they revealed plans to take the Firefox OS mobile platform to devices other than smartphones, and a new deal between Panasonic and Mozilla to drive smart, HTML 5-fluent televisions. It’s all part of Mozilla’s ongoing effort to focus on mobile technology and new platforms.

  7. Mozilla’s Privacy Chief Sounds Off on the “Balkanized” Internet

    The scandal over NSA snooping has caused many adverse reactions, but one of the more notable ones has just come from Mozilla’s chief privacy officer Alex Fowler. Speaking with NPR, with the interview coming just after President Obama’s public comments about government surveillance reform, Fowler said that the threat of a balkanized Internet is real. And indeed, some countries are proposing limitations on Internet use that would effectively keep users dealing with information produced within their own countries’ borders.

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