posted 16 days ago on OSNews
The recent update to NetHack has been eagerly awaited by fans of that game for the last thirteen years. This shadowy group behind the update, known by fans simply as DevTeam, can be very tight-lipped about what they're up to. The community has generally viewed them with a sort of worshipful awe as they have slowly added new depth and sophistication to the game with each iteration. (A popular catchphrase is TDTTOE, or "The DevTeam Thinks of Everything.") The release of the update seemed like a great time to talk to the developers of this beloved title, about the past and future of the game, and the devotion of the fan community that makes its ongoing development possible. I've only ever played NetHack a few times, but I'm definitely aware of its status. Fascinating to see it has such a peculiar development.

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posted 16 days ago on OSNews
To emphasize this point, Apple shared a great statistic: their average users unlocks their phones 80 times a day. Other reports state people look at their phones upwards of 130 times a day but those are less of the average and more the heavier users. Regardless, the simple act of logging into our phone via a secure form of login like passcodes or fingerprints is now taken for granted in much of Apple's ecosystem when, just a few years ago, anyone could have stolen my phone and have access to my personal information. Here again, Apple shared that 89% of their users with a Touch ID-capable device have set it up and use it. While using a fingerprint reader or scanner for security purposes obviously wasn't invented by Apple, this is yet another one of those cases where Apple took an existing idea, made it incredibly user-friendly, improved the hardware a ton, and now it's the standard on every phone.

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posted 19 days ago on OSNews
The HTC 10 takes the HTC design formula and distills it down to its purest form. There's nothing but excellent smartphone here - no silly gimmicks or odd design decisions. Even the software was treated rather well, with any curiosities relegated to optional parts of the OS that can be turned off or replaced. HTC really seems to have taken the feedback from the One M9 to heart. The design is much more compact, with less bezel dead space dedicated to speakers and an HTC logo. The SoC is improved by dumping one of the first and hottest Snapdragon 810 implementations for the cooler, faster 820. The ugly side ridge design of the M9 is gone. The camera is a lot better, too, particularly when it comes to low light. I have a soft spot for HTC, but with Nexus phones being the Android enthusiasts' phones, and with Samsung taking everything else, it's going to be hard for them to sit somewhere in the middle. People who buy Samsung aren't going to suddenly buy an HTC, and toned-down Sense or no, this is still not Android-proper, so updates will be a mess (it's already running outdated software), so enthusiasts won't really be enticed either. I'm not really sure where HTC's smartphone business is going.

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posted 19 days ago on OSNews
Recently, I decided buy an iPhone 6S and turn on iMessage.1 iPhones are great! But in the process of setting it up, I ran into some hassles that reminded me that for all the advancements that Apple has made with iOS over the years, it still can feel like it's stuck in an old era of phones that were controlled by corporate politics. The iPhone is a computer, but sometimes it acts too much like a RAZR. Anything even remotely related to managing files is a complete disaster on iOS, and it's one of the main things Apple will need to address going forward, now that iOS is their future.

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posted 19 days ago on OSNews
When I visited Jordan at his home in New Jersey, he sat in his family's living room at dusk, lit by a glowing iMac screen, and mused on Minecraft's appeal. "It's like the earth, the world, and you’re the creator of it," he said. On-screen, he steered us over to the entrance to the maze, and I peered in at the contraptions chugging away. "My art teacher always says, 'No games are creative, except for the people who create them.' But she said, 'The only exception that I have for that is Minecraft.'" He floated over to the maze's exit, where he had posted a sign for the survivors: The journey matters more than what you get in the end. Minecraft is the digital age's Lego.

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posted 21 days ago on OSNews
This library is just a proof-of-concept of the windows kernel-mode drivers, which can be written in Rust programming language. It contains the types, constants and bindings for the Windows Driver Kit with target OS starting from Windows XP (x86/x64). Neat proof-of-concept.

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posted 21 days ago on OSNews
Namespaces and cgroups are two of the main kernel technologies most of the new trend on software containerization (think Docker) rides on. To put it simple, cgroups are a metering and limiting mechanism, they control how much of a system resource (CPU, memory) you can use. On the other hand, namespaces limit what you can see. Thanks to namespaces processes have their own view of the system's resources. The Linux kernel provides 6 types of namespaces: pid, net, mnt, uts, ipc and user. For instance, a process inside a pid namespace only sees processes in the same namespace. Thanks to the mnt namespace, it's possible to attach a process to its own filesystem (like chroot). In this article I focus only in network namespaces. If you have grasped the concept of namespaces you may have at this point an intuitive idea of what a network namespace might offer. Network namespaces provide a brand-new network stack for all the processes within the namespace. That includes network interfaces, routing tables and iptables rules.

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posted 22 days ago on OSNews
As Mark Twain famously wrote, "...the reports of my death are greatly exaggerated". So with OpenVMS. VMS Software, Inc. (VSI) today announced the worldwide availability of VSI OpenVMS Version 8.4-2 (Maynard Release) operating system for HPE Integrity servers. The Maynard Release is the second by VSI. The new OS is compatible with HPE Integrity servers running the latest Intel Itanium 9500 series processor, as well as most prior generations of the Itanium processor family. VSI also reconfirmed plans to offer OpenVMS on x86-based servers. "This second release reaffirms our long-term commitment to the OpenVMS platform, and builds upon our highly successful first release of OpenVMS in June of 2015," said Duane P. Harris, CEO of VMS Software. "It is the first of many exciting improvements planned for OpenVMS, including future updates to the file system, TCP/IP, and other major improvements that we look forward to sharing with our customers as we work our way through the planned roadmap."

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posted 23 days ago on OSNews
NICTA, Australia's Information and Communications Technology Research Centre, has published a paper on the lessons learned by 20 years of work around the L4 microkernel. Some of you may remember that NICTA has developped the seL4 microkernel, one of the first - if not the first - microkernel formally verified, an important stepstone in securing computing systems against whole classes of bugs and attacks. The L4 microkernel has undergone 20 years of use and evolution. It has an active user and developer community, and there are commercial versions that are deployed on a large scale and in safety-critical systems. In this article we examine the lessons learnt in those 20 years about microkernel design and implementation. We revisit the L4 design papers, and examine the evolution of design and implementation from the original L4 to the latest generation of L4 kernels. We specifically look at seL4, which has pushed the L4 model furthest and was the first OS kernel to undergo a complete formal verification of its implementation as well as a sound analysis of worst-case execution times. We demonstrate that while much has changed, the fundamental principles of minimality, generality and high inter-process communication (IPC) performance remain the main drivers of design and implementation decisions.

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posted 23 days ago on OSNews
In terms of planning our lives around what our TVs spit out, we've come a long way from the overly condensed pages of TV Guide. In fact, the magazine was already looking awful obsolete in the 1980s and 1990s, when cable systems around the country began dedicating entire channels to listing TV schedules. The set-top box, the power-sucking block that serves as the liaison between you and your cable company, is a common sight in homes around the country these days. But before all that was the Commodore Amiga, a device that played a quiet but important role in the cable television revolution. Absolutely fascinating - I don't think we had anything even remotely like this in The Netherlands.

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posted 23 days ago on OSNews
Android Studio 2.0 is the fastest way to build high quality, performant apps for the Android platform, including phones and tablets, Android Auto, Android Wear, and Android TV. As the official IDE from Google, Android Studio includes everything you need to build an app, including a code editor, code analysis tools, emulators and more. This new and stable version of Android Studio has fast build speeds and a fast emulator with support for the latest Android version and Google Play Services.

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posted 27 days ago on OSNews
RISC-V is a new general-purpose instruction-set architecture (ISA) that's BSD licensed, extensible, and royalty free. It's clean and modular with a 32-, 64-, or 128-bit integer base and various optional extensions (e.g., floating point). RISC-V is easier to implement than some alternatives - minimal RISC-V cores are roughly half the size of equivalent ARM cores - and the ISA has already gathered some support from the semiconductor industry.

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posted 27 days ago on OSNews
On May 15th, my house will stop working. My landscape lighting will stop turning on and off, my security lights will stop reacting to motion, and my home made vacation burglar deterrent will stop working. This is a conscious intentional decision by Google/Nest. To be clear, they are not simply ceasing to support the product, rather they are advising customers that on May 15th a container of hummus will actually be infinitely more useful than the Revolv hub. Google is intentionally bricking hardware that I own. This should be absolutely illegal. I'm pretty sure Google has some EULA bullshit that "allows" them to do it, but EULAs are legal wet sand, and honestly, I just don't care. The fact Google can just get away with this shows you just how utterly warped and inherently - I'm using that word again, it's been a while - evil they really are. These companies literally do not care about you. The sooner you accept that, the less attached and to and blinded by these companies you'll be.

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posted 27 days ago on OSNews
In this build, you can natively run Bash in Windows as announced last week at Build 2016. To do this, you first need to turn on Developer Mode via Settings > Update & security > For developers. Then search for "Windows Features" and choose "Turn Windows features on or off” and enable Windows Subsystem for Linux (Beta). To get Bash installed, open Command Prompt and type "bash". I'm really curious to find out what fans of Bash and Linux command line tools think of this after actually using it.

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posted 27 days ago on OSNews
And yet, from our collective memories, we all believe there was some sort of Commodore product in nearly half of US households that owned a home computer, not to mention sales worldwide. The "other people" had various Atari computers or green monochrome Apple II or II+, Tandy or, ultimately DOS Frankensteins. We'll be nice and not mention the sad Coleco Adam, since most everyone has forgotten this lonely child. But are our memories real? Was what we saw around us true, or were we living in a bubble? I played games on a C64 when I was very young, but I don't think I've ever seen a real Amiga (aside from this stuff).

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posted 27 days ago on OSNews
We are all absolutely unique and we want different things. Vivaldi web browser lets you do things your way by adapting to you and not the other way around. You prefer the browser tabs placed at the bottom or on the side of the window? - You prefer a different address bar location? Go ahead and customize your preferences be it your keyboard shortcuts, mouse gestures, appearance and so on. It's supposed to scratch that Opera itch, but I know just how demanding Opera users are. I am really curious to see if Vivaldi will ever be able to walk in those footsteps.

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posted 28 days ago on OSNews
Apple has added two new keys labeled "isFirstParty" and "isFirstPartyHideableApp" in iTunes metadata. These two new values started showing up a few weeks ago on every app in the App Store. The iTunes metadata is where all the information about an app is stored. It shows things like the date it was released, the App Store category it's in, its size, etc. The new keys suggest the ability to remove apps such as Stocks, Compass, and Voice Messages is coming very soon. Hiding is not removing, but at least this will solve part of the fast-growing unremovable crapware problem on iOS.

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posted 28 days ago on OSNews
It's been several weeks since Ray Tomlinson, best known for the invention of email, passed on. Email, however, represents only a very small portion of his work and contributions. While writing a research paper on possible new methods to reduce and eradicate malware, I came across a bit of intriguing history whose available details did not satisfy my curiosity, and I needed to know more than what the internet had to offer. The event in question was the creation of Creeper, a piece of software created in 1971 by Bob Thomas that, according to most sources, is the world's first computer virus. There hasn't been a lot of information available on the internet regarding Creeper except that it was created to "infect" computers running the TENEX operating system on ARPAnet. It would cause the machine to print "I'M THE CREEPER. CATCH ME IF YOU CAN." Then Ray Tomlinson created Reaper whose sole purpose was to seek out and remove Creeper from the machines it had "infected". I wanted to know more, though. Why was Creeper created in the first place? Did it cause problems? Was it an annoyance to those managing the machines it affected? Should it really be considered the first virus (technically worm, if that)? In late 2014 I ended up finding Ray Tomlinson on LinkedIn of all places and asked him if I could ask a few questions about Creeper and Reaper. He very kindly obliged. Read more on this exclusive OSNews article...

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posted 29 days ago on OSNews
Over the past year, we've been progressively rolling out Signal Protocol support for all WhatsApp communication across all WhatsApp clients. This includes chats, group chats, attachments, voice notes, and voice calls across Android, iPhone, Windows Phone, Nokia S40, Nokia S60, Blackberry, and BB10. As of today, the integration is fully complete. Users running the most recent versions of WhatsApp on any platform now get full end to end encryption for every message they send and every WhatsApp call they make when communicating with each other. This includes all the benefits of the Signal Protocol - a modern, open source, forward secure, strong encryption protocol for asynchronous messaging systems, designed to make end-to-end encrypted messaging as seamless as possible. WhatsApp is the most popular messaging protocol in the world (in my own country it's effectively at 100% market share), so to see it do end-to-end encryption is a huge deal.

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posted 29 days ago on OSNews
Subgraph, an open source security company based in Montreal, has published the alpha release of Subgraph OS, which is designed to with security, anonymity AND usability in mind. "Subgraph OS was designed from the ground-up to reduce the risks in endpoint systems so that individuals and organizations around the world can communicate, share, and collaborate without fear of surveillance or interference by sophisticated adversaries through network borne attacks," its creators say. Not the first time we've talked about it.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
The FreeBSD Release Engineering Team is pleased to announce the availability of FreeBSD 10.3-RELEASE. This is the third release of the stable/10 branch, which improves on the stability of FreeBSD 10.2-RELEASE and introduces some new features. It's got a ton of improvements to the UEFI boot loader, the Linux compatibility layer, and a whole lot more.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
You might be asking yourself, less stripes? No, not the colorful stripes on your breadbin badge. We're talking about the stripes on the video image. The same stripes that we've all become accustomed to over the many years of playing Commodore 64 games, watching demos and carrying on with modems and BBS's. These stripes, which are actually interference, come in a variety of flavors: horizontal, vertical, and checkerboard patterns. The intensity of the stripes also varies from machine to machine. Some say with that these stripes become even more apparent when using a C64 with a modern LCD monitor. Whether you love them or hate them, there is a solution for easing or even completely eliminating the stripes all together. The user e5frog on lemon64.com came up with a design for a carrier PCB that would sit between the VIC-II and the motherboard. It's purpose was to invert certain signals back into itself, each with an adjustable degree. These signals AEC, PHI0 and chroma are all thought to contribute to the stripes on the final output image of the C64. It's a fascinating discussion that I urge you to read.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
White male terrorism is the white underbelly of the gaming community, meant to terrify and disrupt the lives of those who threaten the status quo by race, gender, or sexuality. It succeeds because the majority of men in the community are too cowardly to stand against the bullies and the terrorists. At best, these cowards ignore the problem. At worst, they join the terrorists in blaming their victims for the abuse. The point of online terrorism is that it is endless, omnipresent, and anonymous. I have no way of knowing whether the person with whom I’m gaming is safe or the person who wants to “slit [my] throat and fuck the gash until [I] drown in cum”. Knowing that the person sending those e-mails could be anyone and the community will not support me if/when I am attacked keeps myself and many others from the hobby. Happy Sunday.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
In 2016 Apple has become a very different kind of company - the most valuable company in the world, it so happens. Over the past 40 years, Apple has gone from a struggling upstart challenging IBM and Microsoft to being a dominant platform vendor. A company founded by two friends who bonded over a love of hacking the long-distance phone network has become a major economic gatekeeper engaged in historic policy fights with the government. It is a remarkable, improbable success story. After forty years, Apple is doing better than ever before - yet to me, it feels like they are doing worse than ever. To me, they reached their zenith about 12-15 years ago. I don't like companies for how popular they are, how widespread they are, how successful they are. All those things are irrelevant to me. They have no bearing on my enjoyment of products. To me, the highpoint of Apple was the PowerPC G4 era. The iMac G4, the iBook G4, the PowerMac G4, and the Cube. I owned all four of those, and still feel remorse for getting rid of them. I liked Apple because of the soul and emotion it used to put into its machines. I like things that aren't perfect. I like things that are inherently broken. It takes imperfection to notice perfection. I like things that could be better - but make up for it with a sense of uniqueness, personality, charm, quirkiness. Apple doesn't make products like that anymore. Everything they make now is cold, calculated, beancounted. Their products no longer have any soul, any emotion, any individuality. It's an endless parade of cold, dead metal. I wish they'd loosen up a bit.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
Baldur's Gate is one of the most revered RPG series in video game history. It helped write the book on Western-style RPGs, putting a focus on memorable followers and party-based combat, and tossing it all in a blender with a dungeon and a dragon. Nearly two decades later, it's back. Beamdog is a small studio, but they have grand - verging on grandiose - plans. The company was founded by Trent Oster, BioWare co-founder, and Cameron Tofer, former BioWare lead programmer. They've been quietly tinkering away on Enhanced Editions of classic BioWare and Black Isle RPGs like Baldur's Gate, Baldur's Gate II, and Icewind Dale, culminating in today's release of an all-new expansion, Baldur's Gate: Siege of Dragonspear. Oh, and they also recently brought on David Gaider, aka That Guy Who Made A Lot Of The Best Words In Dragon Age And Other BioWare RPGs For 17 Years. The Infinity engine games - the Baldur's Gate games, Icewind Dale, and of course the best one, Planescape: Torment - all make up the first golden age of RPGs. And today, we are lucky enough to witness the second golden age of RPGs, with games like Pillars of Eternity, Wasteland II, and Torment: Tides of Numenera, and cleaned-up versions of the classics. It's a really great time to be a fan of classic RPGs. And it's about to get even better. "Basically, Baldur's Gate III, every two weeks when we call [Dungeons & Dragons publisher] Wizards of the Coast, something comes up," said Daigle. "The Baldur's Gate III thing, when are we going to do that? I think the answer is when the right people and the right partners line up, something big will happen." Yes please.

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