posted 21 days ago on OSNews
The latest Haiku activity report has been published, and this one is heavy on the driver work. The intel_extreme driver has received quite a bit of love, and Haiku now has an RNDIS USB ethernet driover, which Android uses to share its WiFi connection, so you can now use an Android phone’s hotspot to get Haiku online (only a few devices have been tested so far, though. Another big improvement is the overhauled MTU. waddlesplash overhauled MTU (“maximum transmission unit”) and also receive size handling in the network stack and the FreeBSD compatibility layer. Previously, we always stayed at the default ethernet MTU of 1500, which was fine but suboptimal (as ethernet can usually support jumbo frames up to size 9000 or so), but more problematic was that we could not handle receiving anything larger than this, as it would trigger errors in the ethernet handler related to scattered I/O operations. This required a number of changes: first to the stack itself and to the IPv4 & IPv6 handlers to check the correct MTU value, then to the ethernet module to use larger buffers if necessary when reading or writing data, and finally to the FreeBSD compatibility layer to activate the larger MTUs. These changes had a side effect of fixing “high packet loss” on some devices (or at least PulkoMandy’s very recent Intel ethernet device, anyway.) This is just a small selection – there’s tons more, such as further improvements to the ARM and RISC-V ports, the addition of the OpenBSD WiFi stack to further widen Haiku’s WiFi driver pool, and tons more.

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posted 23 days ago on OSNews
Variable rate refresh (VRR / FreeSync / Adaptive-Sync) support for GNOME’s Mutter compositor is closer to being merged. The native back-end support for VRR that has been in development the past two years is no longer considered a work-in-progress and it’s believed there are no longer any blocking issues that would prevent this code from landing. Every modern compositor should support this.

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posted 23 days ago on OSNews
The European Union (EU) has reached an agreement that will make USB-C charging no longer just a convenience but a requirement for iPhones and all other mobile phones by the fall of 2024. The plan extends to additional consumer electronics using wired charging, including digital cameras, tablets, and, at a later date, laptops.Today’s announcement shows the EU Parliament and Council agreeing to terms for universal USB-C charging, something the parliament has spent 10 years arguing for. In September, the European Commission announced its intent to enact legislation requiring USB-C charging. The next step will be for the EU Parliament and Council to formally approve the agreement. A long time coming, but now it’s finally happening.

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posted 23 days ago on OSNews
With macOS 13, Apple has announced that Apple Silicon systems running ARM Linux virtual machines will now be able to access Rosetta for translating of x86_64 Linux binaries… In other words, great Linux x86_64 support when running within Linux (Arm-based) VMs. This is a neat addition.

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posted 24 days ago on OSNews
The OS/2 Museum has made available the first version of a display driver disk for Windows 9x running on VirtualBox. The driver uses a linear framebuffer and supports 8/16/24/32bpp modes with resolutions up to 1920×1200 pixels. The driver is not accelerated but tends to be very speedy on modern hardware. I cannot wait to try this out. The linked article also includes a few notes about the development of the driver in question – it won’t come as a surprise that this wasn’t an easy process.

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posted 24 days ago on OSNews
macOS wasn’t the only platform in Apple’s spotlight today, of course. First, iOS 16 comes with an entirely new lock screen, moving notifications from the top to the bottom of the screen, and adding tons of customisability. Craig Federighi says that iOS 16 includes “the biggest update ever to the lock screen, completely reimagining how it looks and how it works for you.” You can add widgets to the lock screen, adjust the depth of field with your background image, and much more. The iMessage application, a messaging service popular in the United States, has also received many new features, many of which were long-awaited by its users. Most notably, iOS 16 introduces the ability to edit or unsend recently sent iMessages, as well as mark iMessage conversations as unread after opening them. These features will bring iMessage more in line with third-party messaging services like WhatsApp and Telegram. A very important and welcome new feature is Safety Check, which is designed specifically for people in abuse relationships. It’s of course sad that features like this are needed, but I’m glad this may make the process of escaping an abusive relationship just a little bit easier for victims. A new privacy tool called Safety Check can be helpful to users whose personal safety is at risk from domestic or intimate partner violence by quickly removing all access they’ve granted to others. It includes an emergency reset that helps users easily sign out of iCloud on all their other devices, reset privacy permissions, and limit messaging to just the device in their hand. It also helps users understand and manage which people and apps they’ve given access to. Apple also unveiled new versions of iPadOS and watchOS, with the iPad getting access to the same Stage Manager feature as macOS for easier multitasking.

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posted 24 days ago on OSNews
As expected, Apple has used the stage at its WWDC 2022 keynote to reveal the features and changes coming to macOS in the next major software update for the platform, macOS 13 Ventura.Ventura’s headlining feature is a new multitasking interface called Stage Manager. It’s being billed as a way to fight window clutter on a busy desktop—enter Stage Manager mode, and one of your windows floats to the center of the screen, pushing your other windows into a compressed navigation column on the left of the screen. Click a different app window on the left, and it will fly to the center of the screen, knocking the app you were using before into the navigation column. I’m not entirely sure if adding a second dock to the Mac is going to be a pleasant experience, but I at least like the throwback to a very deep cut – looks-wise, this reminded me a lot of Sun’s Project Looking Glass, a weird, fully 3D *NIX desktop environment with flippable and rotatable windows built in Java. Then again, Apple’s Expose is still one of the best window management features of the past two decades, so after some use this new Stage Manager feature might be of the same pedigree.

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posted 24 days ago on OSNews
From MacRumors: Apple today announced the M2 chip, the second-generation Apple silicon chip for the Mac, offering improved efficiency and performance, as well as support for up to 24GB of memory.M2 is built using second-generation 5nm technology with 20 billion transistors, 25 percent more than the M1 chip. ‌M2‌ features a 18 percent faster CPU, a 35 percent more powerful GPU, and a 40 percent faster Neural Engine compared to the ‌M1‌ chip.The ‌M2‌ supports up to 24GB of LPDDR5 unified memory and features four performance and four efficiency cores. The chip supports 100GB/s of unified memory bandwidth, up 50 percent from the ‌M1‌. We’ll have to wait for the independent benchmarks, but considering the M1 still runs circles around the competition – especially in the laptop space – I think it’s safe to say the M2 will be running those same circles at least a little bit faster. The M2 can be found in the brand new MacBook Air, which Apple also announced today.

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posted 27 days ago on OSNews
webOSArchive (WOSA) is the unofficial repository of information, restoration efforts, and archives for Palm/HP’s mobile webOS operating system. This site does not provide material or information about the spin-off operating systems, webOS Open Source Edition (wOSE) or LG’s webOS for TVs.It’s the position of the curator, and the remaining webOS community, that Palm and HP’s webOS devices, including the Pre series phones, the Veer and Pixi phones, and the TouchPad, remain useful devices that both provide value to their users and education to the rest of the industry. In fact, many webOS innovations have been copied by modern mobile OS developers. You can follow the ongoing efforts to restore and retain the usefulness of the platform here, or join the community and participate! This includes the entire application catalog, SDK, developer information, documentation, and a lot more. Impressive effort, and a great resource for people still using and/or playing with their webOS devices.

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posted 27 days ago on OSNews
If you have a 2013- or 2014-era iPad sitting around unused because it’s not getting updates from Apple anymore and has stopped running the apps you need, some developers are working on an alternative software solution for you. Developer Konrad Dybcio and a Linux enthusiast going by “quaack723” have collaborated to get Linux kernel version 5.18 booting on an old iPad Air 2, a major feat for a device that was designed to never run any operating system other than Apple’s. This is an amazing achievement, and further goes to show that given enough time, someone will port Linux to it.

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posted 29 days ago on OSNews
Functionality-wise, the added support for WireGuard-based virtual private networks is certainly the flagship feature of the release. Section WireGuard briefly introduces the new component while leaving in-depth information to a dedicated article.Among the other topics of the release, our continued work on device drivers stands out. We managed to bring Genode’s lineup of PC drivers ported from the Linux kernel up to the kernel version 5.14.21 using Genode’s unique DDE-Linux porting approach. As described by Section New generation of DDE-Linux-based PC drivers, this work comprises complex drivers like the wireless LAN stack including Intel’s Wifi driver and the latest Intel display driver. At the framework’s side, the modernization of Genode’s platform driver for PC hardware is in full swing. Even though not yet used by default, the new driver has reached feature parity with the original PC-specific platform driver while sharing much of its code base with the growing number of ARM platform drivers such as the FPGA-aware platform-driver for Xilinx Zynq (Section Xilinx Zynq). Excellent progress, and as always, exquisite release notes.

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posted 29 days ago on OSNews
As part of the design process for what ended up becoming GNOME 40 the design team worked on a number of experimental concepts, a few of which were aimed at better support for tablets and other smaller devices. Ever since then, some of us have been thinking about what it would take to fully port GNOME Shell to a phone form factor. Say about GNOME what you want, but this looks kind of amazing. Of course, the issue will always be application support – or lack thereof – but as a UI for a true Linux smartphone, this is totally workable.

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posted 29 days ago on OSNews
Thirty years ago, on May 29, 1992, Apple announced its most groundbreaking and revolutionary product yet, the Newton MessagePad. It was released to great fanfare a year later, but as a product, it could only be described as a flop. Widely mocked in popular culture at the time, the Newton became a poster child for expensive but useless high-tech gadgets. Even though the device improved dramatically over time, it failed to gain market share, and it was discontinued in 1997. Yet while the Newton was a failure, it galvanized Apple engineers to create something better—and in some ways led to the creation of the iPad and the iPhone. I have one of the earlier Newtons and it really isn’t a very good product, even in context. It tried to do a lot of groundbreaking things, but it suffered from feature creep and the hardware just not being ready. I’ve read later, more powerful Newton devices are a lot more pleasant to use, so I might snap one up.

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posted 29 days ago on OSNews
A collection of hexagon tiles that magnetically snap together to create a Settlers of Catan board of any shape or size. Each tile features a large round LCD and a custom magnetic pogo connector on each edge. Linking up a bunch of tiles creates a position-aware partial mesh network. This is just excellent. I want this.

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posted 30 days ago on OSNews
RealityOS — the name Apple is reportedly using for the operating system running on its rumored virtual and augmented reality headset — has appeared in a trademark filing spotted by Parker Ortolani. Bloomberg News was first to report the “reality operating system” branding back in 2017, and references to the name have appeared in Apple’s software.The trademark application hasn’t officially been filed by Apple, but it’s common practice for large companies to apply for trademarks under one-off company names — like Realityo Systems LLC, in this case — in the state of Delaware for the sole purpose of maintaining anonymity. Never bet against Apple, but I just have a hard time seeing a very big consumer market for virtual reality headsets. It feels like far too many people still get nausea and headaches from using these things, and save for a relatively small number of games, I simply don’t understand what anyone at home would use it for. Of course, in professional settings, VR could have a huge impact. Augmented reality, on the other hand, seems like a much more widely applicable technology that also happens to be further away than even decent VR. Still, the problem of convincing people who otherwise would not wear glasses to, in fact, wear glasses every day seems like a steep hill to climb.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
At its Build developer conference Tuesday, Microsoft made a few announcements aimed at bolstering Windows on Arm. The first is Project Volterra, a Microsoft-branded mini-desktop computer powered by an unnamed Qualcomm Snapdragon SoC. More relevant for developers who already have Arm hardware, Volterra will be accompanied by a fully Arm-native suite of developer tools.According to Microsoft’s blog post, the company will be releasing ARM-native versions of Visual Studio 2022 and VSCode, Visual C++, Modern .NET 6, the classic .NET framework, Windows Terminal, and both the Windows Subsystem for Linux and Windows Subsystem for Android. Arm-native versions of these apps will allow developers to run them without the performance penalty associated with translating x86 code to run on Arm devices—especially helpful given that Arm Windows devices usually don’t have much performance to spare. I actually wouldn’t mind one of these as an actual product for regular end users. Windows on ARM needs a big push, and while I’m not sure these announcements constitute such a big push, it’s at least something.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
When we last heard from Perl, Perl 6 was going off on its own becoming Raku, Perl 5 was going to continue until version 5.36 which would serve as the basis for Perl NG, and Perl NG would be known as Perl 7 because Raku burned the Perl 6 namespace. No one saw the humor in “not that Perl 6, the other Perl 6”. Anyway, the Perl Steering Committee (PSC) decided to write a blog post about the future of Perl and Perl 7. The first PSC was elected in late 2020, and one of our first tasks was to create a plan for the future of Perl, and to put that in motion. A lot of discussion and iteration followed, but the strategy we agreed is:1. Existing sensibly-written Perl 5 code should continue to run under future releases of Perl. Sometimes this won’t be possible, for example if a security bug requires a change that breaks backward compatibility.2. We want to drive the language forwards, increasing the rate at which new features are introduced. This resulted in the introduction of the RFC process, which anyone can use to propose language changes.3. We want to make it easy for people to use these new features, and want to do what we can to encourage their adoption.[…]At some point in the future, the PSC may decide that the set of features, taken together, represent a big enough step forward to justify a new baseline for Perl. If that happens, then the version will be bumped to 7.0. So basically, nothing is going to change. Perl 5 will continue on into infinity adding features as it has been doing.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
The Register reports: Broadcom has confirmed it intends to acquire VMware in a deal that looks set to be worth $61 billion, if it goes ahead: the agreement provides for a “go-shop” provision under which the virtualization giant may solicit alternative offers. That “go-shop” provision: However, the merger agreement has a “go-shop” provision under which VMware may seek alternative offers from other interested parties and potentially enter negotiations with them during the next 40 days. VMware has a backup, maybe? Broadcom is a weird one to buy VMware, but it makes some sort of sense. Broadcom make chips which are widely used, specifically networking equipment, and baking VMware support into their chips is probably the value proposition, or vice versa. Let’s see what happens. I would think another company (Microsoft, IBM, or Cisco?) would be interested in VMware enough to top the $61 billion Broadcom has on the table.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
Alexander Popov, Linux kernel developer and security researcher, takes a very detailed look at Fuchsia and its kernel. Fuchsia is a general-purpose open-source operating system created by Google. It is based on the Zircon microkernel written in C++ and is currently under active development. The developers say that Fuchsia is designed with a focus on security, updatability, and performance. As a Linux kernel hacker, I decided to take a look at Fuchsia OS and assess it from the attacker’s point of view. This article describes my experiments. This is a long, detailed account of his findings, much of which goes over my head – but probably not over the heads of many of you.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
Joshua Strobl, the lead developer of Budgie, the (currently) Gtk+-based desktop, posted a lengthy article about the state of the project and the future it’s embarking on. Budgie had been in a feature-freeze and maintenance mode for a long time, but now that Strobl is no longer involved with the Linux distribution Solus, Budgie has become truly independent, and development can pick up again. The article touches upon a lot – such as the way the Budgie developers intend to lead the project, how they want to involve the community as much as they can, and similar things. They don’t want to mandate defaults or force distributions into “stock” Budgie. They intend to take this pretty far. We have made technical decisions for Budgie 11 and beyond that focuses on a clear separation between the “data layer” that enables complex Budgie functionality, and the visual / “presentation layer”. This reduces our reliance on any one given upstream for a toolkit or related libraries, allowing us to potentially explore different models for achieving the presentation layer, and even enabling other developers to build on top of Budgie’s data layer with their own presentations. As for actual plans for future versions – they intend to first nip and tuck Budgie 10.x, the current version, before diving fully into Budgie 11. The idea is that they want Budgie 10.x to be a solid base for distributions to work with while Budgie 11 is being developed. When I created Buddies of Budgie, my first priority was “unlocking” Budgie 10.x so everyone from Ubuntu Budgie to GeckoLinux, myself and other independent contributors – could get it into a state we were all happy with, and that users would be even happier with. I was not happy with the state it was in and there was a lot of catching up for us to do on fixing a thousand papercuts. Some of the major points that need to be addressed is adding full Wayland support to Budgie, since Budgie 11 is intended to be Wayland first. They also intend to remove a whole bunch of GNOME technologies they’re currently relying on. Budgie 11, meanwhile, will be a big change. Budgie 11 will take this much further. All data-related logic, collating, and reformatting possible will be in daemon, allowing the presentation layer (panel, applets, Raven, and more) to be much simpler. We will likely be leveraging protobuf to create more structured messages that is supported in more programming languages.. Not only that but this actually minimizes the impact that the toolkit choice will actually have and will even pave the way for other developers, should they choose, to leverage the data layer of Budgie and build their own “presentations” on top of that and in the toolkit of their choice! Budgie / its libraries / window manager will be written in a mix of Rust and C – with Rust being the choice for aspects of Budgie that are more mission critical (like the window manager, which may leverage smithay).Budgie Desktop itself will always be designed for the “desktop” metaphor. I’m getting mild KDE vibes from this. There’s definitely room in the market for a Gtk+ desktop that embraces more of the user choice first mentality of KDE, especially now that GNOME has forced that ship to sail. It’s fascinating to read all of these musings, and it provides a great insight into a project trying to reinvigorate itself.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
Can’t get enough of porting old software? How about getting Doom ported to and running on an old version of AIX for PowerPC? You know what ever computer needs? DOOM. Do you know what I couldn’t find? DOOM for the IBM RS/6000, but that’s not surprising. These machines were never meant for gaming, but that’s doesn’t mean you can’t do it. If you like pain anyway.[…]In this extra long NCommander special, we’re going to explore AIX, discuss the RS/6000 Model 150 43p I’m running it on. Throughout this process, I’d explore the trouble in getting bash to build, getting neofetch to work, then the battle for high colors, SDL, and more. This video is over an hour long, but incredibly detailed and lovingly obscure.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
I’ll cut to the chase; through a combination of unlikely discoveries, crazy hacks and the 90s BBS warez scene I’ve been able to port Lotus 1-2-3 natively to Linux – an operating system that literally didn’t exist when 1-2-3 was released!If you want to hear how a proprietary application could be ported to new operating systems 30 years after release, read on! This isn’t running through an emulator or a VM – this is a real port. Amazing work.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
Windows XP Delta Edition is a modification of Windows XP which aims to recreate the Windows XP Beta 2 aesthetic and bring back lost features, functions, and programs from previous versions of Windows, along with prerelease versions of Windows XP. I like these community releases for Windows XP. While I never really liked XP when it was current, and while you really shouldn’t be using XP in any serious capacity today, it can be a ton of run to try and see how far you can get in the modern world with XP on old hardware or in a VM.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
Peter Czanik did an interview with Timothy Pearson of Raptor Engineering, the company behind POWER9 systems like the Talos II and Blackbird, which I reviewed last year. There’s some good stuff in there, most importantly the reasoning as to why there isn’t any POWER10 hardware from Raptor yet. At this time we do not have plans to create a POWER10 system. The reasoning behind this is that somehow, during the COVID19 shutdowns and subsequent Global Foundries issues, IBM ended up placing two binary blobs into the POWER10 system. One is loaded onto the Microsemi OMI to DDR4 memory bridge chip, and the other is loaded into what appears to be a Synopsis IP block located on the POWER10 die itself. Combined, they mean that all data flowing into and out of the POWER10 cores over any kind of high speed interface is subject to inspection and/or modfication by a binary firmware component that is completely unauditable – basically a worst-case scenario that is strangely reminiscent of the Intel Management Engine / AMD Platorm Security Processor (both have a similar level of access to all data on the system, and both are required to use the processor). Our general position is that if IBM considered these components potentially unstable enough to require future firmware updates, the firmware must be open source so that entities and owners outside of IBM can also modify those components to fit their specific needs.Were IBM to either open source the firmware or produce a device that did not require / allow mutable firmware components in those locations, we would likely reconsider this decision. This information isn’t new, but you had to read Twitter posts or forum messages to get at it, so it’s nice to see it all laid out like this. IBM really missed the mark here, and it’s incredibly sad we won’t be seeing any POWER10 workstations from Raptor any time soon. I do admire Raptor’s uncompromising stance here, though, since it’s rare to find a company with principles they’re willing to stand by. And these principles matter – as the story about the problems getting Linux to run on the Rock64 showed. As Pearson puts it: An owner-controlled device is best defined as a tool that answers only to its physical owner, i.e. its owner (and only its owner) has full control over every aspect of its operation. If something is mutable on that device, the owner must be able to make those changes to alter its operation without vendor approval or indeed any vendor involvement at all. This is in stark contrast with the standard PC model, where e.g. Intel or AMD are allowed to make changes on the device but the owner is expressly forbidden to change the device’s operation through various means (legal restrictions, lack of source code, vendor-locked cryptographic signing keys, etc.). In our opinion, such devices never really left the control of the vendor, yet somehow the owner is still legally responsible for the data stored on them – to me, this seems like a rather strange arrangement on which to build an entire modern digital economy and infrastructure. He’s not wrong.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
Apple this week celebrated Global Accessibility Awareness Day by announcing new accessibility features that will be available later this year with iOS 16 and other software updates. However, while we wait for those updates, the company has been promoting accessibility tips that anyone can take advantage of.[…]One of the new accessibility features teased by Apple this week is called “Door Detection,” and it uses the LiDAR scanner on supported iPhone and iPad models to help users understand how far away they are from a door. It can also read signs and symbols around the door.For Apple Watch users, a new option will mirror the watch’s screen on the iPhone so that people with physical and motor disabilities can interact with features such as ECG, Blood Oxygen, and Heart Rate. Also, live captions are finally coming to FaceTime on iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Apple’s dedication to accessibility is second to none in the operating system market, and that’s the reason virtually every single visually impaired person I’ve ever seen uses an iPhone. This certainly isn’t something that makes them tons of money, and it also isn’t something that’s easy to design and implement, so hats off to Apple for placing accessibility high on the list. Making sure everyone – regardless of ability – can use modern devices should be the norm, not the exception.

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