posted about 12 hours ago on OSNews
It has been roughly a year and a half since the last release of the GNU Hurd operating system, so it may be of interest to some readers that GNU Hurd 0.6 has been released, along with GNU Mach 1.5 (the microkernel that Hurd runs on), and GNU MIG 1.5 (the Mach Interface Generator, which generates code to handle remote procedure calls). New features include procfs and random translators, cleanups and stylistic fixes, some of which came from static analysis, message dispatching improvements; integer hashing performance improvements, a split of the init server into a startup server and an init program based on System V init, and more.

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posted about 12 hours ago on OSNews
The next Sailfish OS version has been released for early access users. It's got a few very welcome changes - first and foremost, IMAP idle/push support, meaning emails will now arrive as the arrive, instead of on a schedule. There's also a new split landscape keyboard, and some gesture feedback has been added. In addition, there's a bunch of security updates, improvements to Android application support, and more. Assuming no big issues arise from the early access release, it'll be pushed to regular users.

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posted 2 days ago on OSNews
Rumors of a Microsoft and Cyanogen partnership have been making the rounds recently, and the Android mod maker is confirming them today. In an email to The Verge, Cyanogen says it's partnering with Microsoft to integrate the software giant’s consumer apps and services into the Cyanogen OS. Bing, Skype, OneDrive, OneNote, Outlook, and Microsoft Office will all be bundled later this year. As part of the partnership, Microsoft has committed to creating "native integrations" on Cyanogen OS. "Taking Android away from Google" to give it to Microsoft. Will these people never learn? Cyanogen just signed its own death warrant with this. I knew Cyanogen would be going down the drain the moment they started courting venture capitalists.

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posted 2 days ago on OSNews
Nearly 15 years ago, I wrote my first review of Mac OS X for a nascent “PC enthusiast's" website called Ars Technica. Nearly 15 years later, I wrote my last. Though Apple will presumably announce the next major version of OS X at WWDC this coming June, I won't be reviewing it for Ars Technica or any other publication, including the website you're reading now. The best software reviewer in the business calls it quits.

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posted 3 days ago on OSNews
Aside from the investigation into Google's search business, the EU is also investigating Android. The European Commission has been examining Google’s Android operating system for nearly three years, and it is now ready to launch a formal investigation into claims of unfair app bundling. Google services and apps like Maps, Chrome, and YouTube are often bundled with Android devices, and competitors have complained that it’s giving Google an unfair advantage. Regulators previously questioned telecom companies and phone manufacturers, to see whether Google forces them to bundle apps or services at the expense of competitors. I'm glad they're investigating this, if only to finally get all these secret agreements between Google and OEMs (and carriers!) out in the open. In fact, with mobile communications having become such a crucial utility in our society, I think all agreements related to the interplay between carrier, OEM, and software maker should be out in the open, ready to face public scrutiny. As consumers of this vitally important utility, we have a right to know what kind of shady stuff is going on between the T-Mobiles, Vodafones, Googles, Apples, and Samsungs of this world.

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posted 3 days ago on OSNews
Nokia - the actual Nokia back in Finland, not the failing smartphone part Microsoft was forced to buy to save Windows Phone - has decided to acquire Alcatel-Lucent for $16.6 billion. Combined, that's a lot of mobile IP in one place. The combined company will have unparalleled innovation capabilities, with Alcatel-Lucent's Bell Labs and Nokia's FutureWorks, as well as Nokia Technologies, which will stay as a separate entity with a clear focus on licensing and the incubation of new technologies. Another interesting tidbit: Nokia is not allowed to make smartphones for a while, but Alcatel-Lucent does make smartphones. On top of that - Alcatel-Lucent... Owns Palm.

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posted 3 days ago on OSNews
Feature-wise, 4.0 doesn't have all that much special. Much have been made of the new kernel patching infrastructure, but realistically, that not only wasn't the reason for the version number change, we've had much bigger changes in other versions. So this is very much a "solid code progress" release. Despite the version number, not a big deal.

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posted 3 days ago on OSNews
Google will on Wednesday be accused by Brussels of illegally abusing its dominance of the internet search market in Europe, a step that ultimately could force it to change its business model fundamentally and pay hefty fines. Margrethe Vestager, the EU's competition commissioner, is to say that the US group will soon be served with a formal charge sheet alleging that it breached antitrust rules by diverting traffic from rivals to favour its own services, according to two people familiar with the case. Could be a huge blow to Google - but at the pace the EU moves, this will take forever.

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posted 3 days ago on OSNews
The FCC officially published its new net neutrality rules to the Federal Register yesterday, opening the door to legal challenges. Opponents wasted no time. CTIA, the trade association that has represented the wireless industry since 1984, filed a lawsuit with the DC Circuit Court of Appeals today. In a blog post, the group wrote that it intends to push back against "the FCC’s decision to impose sweeping new net neutrality rules and reclassifying mobile broadband as a common carrier utility." The National Cable and Telecommunications Association and the American Cable Association also filed suits along similar grounds. The blatant and rampant corruption in the US cable/internet/etc. market has been going on long enough. The US' internet is barely better than that of a 3rd world country, and these despicable companies are to blame.

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posted 3 days ago on OSNews
Contrary to some news items posted on certain websites, Hyperion Entertainment CVBA is not in a state of bankruptcy. Due to an unfortunate set of cirucmstances, the company was temporally listed as "bankrupt" despite the fact that the conditions for bankruptcy were never met and that in the eyes of the law, the company was never bankrupt. Development of AmigaOS 4 (which recently culminated in the release of AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition) is and has been ongoing albeit that some resources had to be directed away to support the upcoming hardware of A-EON Technology. Good to have this mishap cleared up.

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posted 4 days ago on OSNews
Apple today announced ResearchKit, a software framework designed for medical and health research that helps doctors, scientists and other researchers gather data more frequently and more accurately from participants using mobile devices, is now available to researchers and developers. The first research apps developed using ResearchKit study asthma, breast cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and Parkinson’s disease, and have enrolled over 60,000 iPhone users in just the first few weeks of being available on the App Store. Starting today, medical researchers all over the world will be able to use ResearchKit to develop their own apps and developers can also contribute new research modules to the open source framework. It's on github.

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posted 4 days ago on OSNews
Microsoft has been keeping its promise on releasing more frequent builds of Windows 10, but this is not stopping private versions to leak onto the web. Windows 10 build 10056 was just spotted outside the walls of Redmond, and it shows significant cosmetic changes and various improvements coming to the operating system. Whether you like the changes or not - I personally do - it's interesting to see Windows 10 evolve this openly.

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posted 4 days ago on OSNews
To fully understand the Android rendering optimizations and pipeline a low-level understanding of GPUs graphics pipeline is necessary. Because no vendor is very specific about the internals of their GPU architecture, one has to sift through marketing presentations, blog posts and white papers to find the relevant pieces of information. Therefore, most of the information presented here is to be considered a simplification of what the hardware actually does. A very detailed look at Android's graphics pipeline.

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posted 5 days ago on OSNews
When Apple first showed off the Apple Watch, I was stunned. It looked glorious and larger than life. Shiny and precision-machined. Like an object from the future that time-traveled back to the present just to blow everyone away. This past Friday, the first day that the public was allowed to handle and play with the Apple Watch, everyone who had been obsessing over videos and photographs finally got the chance to use one firsthand. I made it to the Apple Store on Friday and was one of those people. I came away underwhelmed and a little disheartened. It's almost as if carefully orchestrated press events attended by nothing but employees and hand-picked, pre-approved press outlets, as well as fake renders on a company website, are not a good way to gauge a new product.

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posted 5 days ago on OSNews
How to improve user experience? How to invent new ideas? Why are some designs changing? How to ensure that new ideas actually improve the user experience (UX)? There are many more design related questions for sure. In this blog we will start to provide you with design insights, explain what is important to us, what is our way of working, our project objectives, evaluations and conclusions as well. In short: how we design Sailfish OS. A fluff piece, of course, but still somewhat interesting in the run-up to Sailfish OS 2.0.

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posted 7 days ago on OSNews
AnandTech has its usual in-depth review up for the HTC One M9, and it comes in two

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posted 8 days ago on OSNews
Google's Chrome is the best web browser for my needs. Apple's MacBooks are the best computers for my needs. So why is the combination of the two such a wretched and chronically compromised situation? Almost every advice column on how to improve MacBook battery life begins with the suggestion to avoid using Chrome in favor of Apple's more efficient Safari browser. The idea that Chrome is a big and profligate battery drain on MacBooks has existed almost as long as the browser has been available, and most benchmarks reiterate it by showing Chrome's gluttonous consumption of system resources for seemingly basic tasks. Does the same apply to Chrome for Windows or Linux? I don't have a laptop, so I have no way of testing it out.

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posted 8 days ago on OSNews
The folks over at WindowsMania.pl have gotten their hands on a new build of Windows 10 for phones; this latest build comes with a set of UI changes and enhancements; mainly a revamped multitasking screen. The new multitasking screen shown above displays open/recent apps in a card like manner, similar to how Meego or BB10 showed them, allowing you to quickly view all your open apps at once, while presumably still swiping them away (or simply pressing "x") to close them. Those screenshots remind me of this.

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posted 9 days ago on OSNews
Some folks like to call it fragmentation, others call it choice, but by any name there are certainly a lot of different Android phones. Building applications that need to work with all of them is no easy task. You have wildly different hardware configurations that make for a big difference in performance, and even though one apk file can work on every one of them, there's still the issue of needing an app to run smoothly on low-end devices without sacrificing features on high-end devices. When you're talking about an app as popular as Facebook, this can quickly become a nightmare for the folks doing the coding. Facebook showed everyone at the Big Android Meat and Greet a new solution that's simple - the Device Year Class component. A clever method for developers to tailor their applications for specific Android phones - and it's open source.

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posted 9 days ago on OSNews
Apple has released updates for both OS X and iOS today. OS X 10.10.3 adds Photos as a replacement for iPhoto, while iOS 8.3 updates and adds a whole bunch of emoji.

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posted 9 days ago on OSNews
The day Mariina Hallikainen received a communique detailing first day sales stats for Cities: Skylines, she was very happy. The numbers were wildly ahead of all projections. She decided to splurge on a decadent and indulgent treat. She ordered a strawberry cream cake. It's amazing that a small team from Finland managed to build the SimCity EA could not. Cities: Skylines is completely and utterly worth it, and the best city builder currently available, by a huge margin. On a related note, an artist who used to work on SimCity for Maxis/EA is currently earning a decent buck through donations because he's designing a lot of additional buildings for Cities: Skyines and releasing them to the community for free. Amazing.

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posted 9 days ago on OSNews
As of April 7th 2015, there are no IBM PC emulators in the world that can run the demo properly. Unless you have the exact hardware required (see below), this demo won't run properly; in fact, it hangs or crashes emulators before it is finished. To see what 8088 MPH looks like, I direct you to the video+audio capture of the demo running on real hardware. Impressive.

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posted 10 days ago on OSNews
The first Apple Watch reviews are coming out right now. The Verge's review is incredibly detailed, and also, brutally honest: the Apple Watch has major issues right now, but it does have a lot of potential. The biggest issue highlighted by The Verge is performance, and the video review shows stuttering, loading screens, and unregistered taps on the screen. But right now, it's disappointing to see the Watch struggle with performance. What good is a watch that makes you wait? Rendering notifications can slow everything down to a crawl. Buttons can take a couple taps to register. It feels like the Apple Watch has been deliberately pulled back in order to guarantee a full day of battery life. Improving performance is Apple's biggest challenge with the Watch, and it's clear that the company knows it. These seem like the same issues the Moto 360 had when it first came out. Android Wear updates eventually addressed most of these issues, while also increasing its battery life, so I'm sure Apple Watch updates will do the same. Still, it's disappointing that such an expensive, high-profile device suffers from performance issues, especially since it leads to a huge problem for the Apple Watch, highlighted perfectly by Nilay Patel: "there's virtually nothing I can't do faster or better with access to a laptop or a phone". The other major issue is one I also highlighted in my Moto 360 review and other smartwatch articles: smartwatches make you look like a jerk, and the Apple Watch is no exception. It turns out that checking your watch over and over again is a gesture that carries a lot of cultural weight. Eventually, Sonia asks me if I need to be somewhere else. We're both embarrassed, and I've mostly just ignored everyone. This is a little too much future all at once. I worded this in the form of the funeral test (or wedding test if you're not a cynical bastard), and it's a crucial flaw in the entire concept of a smartwatch. It is a major weakness of Android Wear, and also of the Apple Watch, made worse by the fact that, according to The Verge, notification settings simply aren't granular enough. The Verge also discussed the Apple Watch with their fashion-focussed sister site Racked, and the responses weren't particularly positive - it looks way too much like a gadget and computer, and too little like an actual fashion accessory. Of course, there are many people who have zero issues with that (I'm assuming the majority of OSNews readers do not care), but I personally do. I have enough computers and gadgets in my life, and I want my watch to look like a watch - not a computer. The Verge eventually concludes: There's no question that the Apple Watch is the most capable smartwatch available today. It is one of the most ambitious products I've ever seen; it wants to do and change so much about how we interact with technology. But that ambition robs it of focus: it can do tiny bits of everything, instead of a few things extraordinarily well. For all of its technological marvel, the Apple Watch is still a smartwatch, and it's not clear that anyone's yet figured out what smartwatches are actually for. It turns out that virtually everything I've said about smartwatches in the past - in my Moto 360 review as well as other smartwatch articles - remains accurate even with the introduction of the Apple Watch. It's important to note that I am not saying smartwatches are a bad idea - just that their current incarnations - be they Wear, Pebble, or Apple Watch - are the wrong answer to the wrong question. Nobody seems to have found out yet what a smartwatch is actually supposed to be.

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posted 11 days ago on OSNews
As I'm writing this, I'm worried I'm waking up the neighbors. I'm typing these sentences on a mechanical keyboard, one of the odder and more endearing hardware trends in the tech world right now. It's the kind of keyboard everyone used 20 years ago, and that can still be found in some old-school offices that haven't upgraded their IT in a while. You know the keyboards - the ones that have tall keys and emit a sharp, high-pitched click-clack with every keypress. Most tech nostalgia is misplaced. As much as we pretend to pine for the gadgets of the past, you wouldn't actually want to trade in your iPhone 6 for a Nokia, or sub your Chromebook out for a Commodore 64. But these days, a dedicated group of keyboard connoisseurs is trying to resurrect the mechanical keyboard. There are now a handful of dedicated mechanical keyboard manufacturers, like Code and Rosewill, and an active subreddit exists for mechanical keyboard fans to exchange tips and reviews. After using one for a week, I finally understand the hobbyist hype. Mechanical keyboards are loud, expensive, clunky, and cool as hell. For the life of me, I will never understand the affinity for mechanical keyboards. I've never liked them. I want my typing to require as little force as possible, and I want my keyboard to be as flat on the table as possible, while still having each keypress have a decent 'plop'. For me, there's only one keyboard, and that's Apple's current like of aluminium chicklet non-laptop keyboards. I've been using them since they came out, and I have one or two on back-up as well in case the one I'm using now dies. I find that the keys on mechanical keyboards require too much force to press down, which I quickly find incredibly tiring. Their travel is also quite long. They are also too 'fat', forcing me to turn my wrist in an unnatural and uncomfortable position (i.e. hands upwards). In short, I find the current revival of mechanical keyboards mystifying.

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posted 11 days ago on OSNews
Microsoft loves to use codenames and from the past few years, there are two in particular that you may recall; Blue and Threshold. With Windows 10 (Threshold) coming to market sometime this summer, Microsoft is already starting to work on the next update for the OS. Microsoft has said multiple times that Windows will be moving at a faster cadence than in the past and they are already working on a release for 2016. The codename for the project is 'Redstone', a popular item in the recently acquired game, Minecraft. So now we know why they acquired Mojang.

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