posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
Canonical announced today it will release Ubuntu 16.04 LTS on 21st April, featuring the new 'snap' package format and LXD pure-container hypervisor. This is the latest version of the world’s most widely used Linux platform across desktop, IoT and cloud computing. The images are available for download now, but no official announcement just yet.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
The European Commission has formally lodged an antitrust complaint regarding Android. The European Commission has informed Google of its preliminary view that the company has, in breach of EU antitrust rules, abused its dominant position by imposing restrictions on Android device manufacturers and mobile network operators. The Commission's preliminary view is that Google has implemented a strategy on mobile devices to preserve and strengthen its dominance in general internet search. First, the practices mean that Google Search is pre-installed and set as the default, or exclusive, search service on most Android devices sold in Europe. Second, the practices appear to close off ways for rival search engines to access the market, via competing mobile browsers and operating systems. In addition, they also seem to harm consumers by stifling competition and restricting innovation in the wider mobile space. Google has already responded in a blog post (read the whole thing): The European Commission has been investigating our approach, and today issued a Statement of Objections, raising questions about its impact on competition. We take these concerns seriously, but we also believe that our business model keeps manufacturers’ costs low and their flexibility high, while giving consumers unprecedented control of their mobile devices. That's how we designed the model. This EU antitrust complaint is one of the biggest jokes in EU antitrust history; an even bigger joke than the Windows N editions. Not only is Android open source, the operating system has created a vastly more open and consumer- and competition friendly mobile operating system than anything else that has ever existed on the market. The situation before Android was absolutely dreadful - dozens, if not hundreds, of closed little feature phone platforms, the closed-source Windows Mobile, the completely locked-down iOS, the heavily fragmented, obtuse, and effectively locked-down Symbian. The situation after Android is that any user has a lot of control over the software they run on their phone, with tons of cheap, yet high quality devices to choose from. You can install whatever software you want, from whatever source you want, without having to go through Google or anyone else. Developers can target a vast segment of the market - Android has 80% market share in Europe - without being beholden to the nonsensical whims of a single corporation. In addition, users can run Android on pretty much any phone without any additional Google software or services. The situation clearly isn't perfect by any means, but the real problems with mobile software are not in Android - or iOS for that matter - but in the baseband processors, firmware, and similar software. Far less sexy, of course, and yet a far bigger problem that needs to be tackled. This entire antitrust complaint is a complete waste of money and taxpayer resources - which, coincidentally, makes it a very EU thing to do.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
Earlier this year, rumors began to fly that Sony would release an upgraded version of the PlayStation 4, a console often called the PS4.5 or the PS4K by fans and press. Today, multiple sources have confirmed for us details of the project, which is internally referred to as the NEO. No price was provided, but previous reports indicate that the NEO would sell at $399. At time of publishing, Sony has not returned our request for comment, but we will update this story if the company responds. The NEO will feature a higher clock speed than the original PS4, an improved GPU, and higher bandwidth on the memory. The documents we've received note that the HDD in the NEO is the same as that in the original PlayStation 4, but it's not clear if that means in terms of capacity or connection speed. Starting in October, every PS4 game is required to ship with both a "Base Mode" which will run on the currently available PS4 and a "NEO Mode" for use on the new console. I'm not sure what to think of this. It just feels like this wouldn't go down well with consumers who just bought a regular PS4, and developers would have to actually worry about all of this, do additional testing, possibly extra coding, and so on. It feels needlessly convoluted, especially since the PS4 isn't that old to begin with. Meanwhile, Microsoft claims it isn't interested in doing this, but you can bet your vanilla red pinky that Microsoft would follow suit in a heartbeat if this turns out to be a success.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
There is something special happening in a generic office park in an uninspiring suburb near Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Inside, amid the low gray cubicles, clustered desks, and empty swivel chairs, an impossible 8-inch robot drone from an alien planet hovers chest-high in front of a row of potted plants. It is steampunk-cute, minutely detailed. I can walk around it and examine it from any angle. I can squat to look at its ornate underside. Bending closer, I bring my face to within inches of it to inspect its tiny pipes and protruding armatures. I can see polishing swirls where the metallic surface was “milled.” When I raise a hand, it approaches and extends a glowing appendage to touch my fingertip. I reach out and move it around. I step back across the room to view it from afar. All the while it hums and slowly rotates above a desk. It looks as real as the lamps and computer monitors around it. It’s not. I’m seeing all this through a synthetic-reality headset. Intellectually, I know this drone is an elaborate simulation, but as far as my eyes are concerned it’s really there, in that ordinary office. It is a virtual object, but there is no evidence of pixels or digital artifacts in its three-dimensional fullness. If I reposition my head just so, I can get the virtual drone to line up in front of a bright office lamp and perceive that it is faintly transparent, but that hint does not impede the strong sense of it being present. This, of course, is one of the great promises of artificial reality - either you get teleported to magical places or magical things get teleported to you. And in this prototype headset, created by the much speculated about, ultrasecretive company called Magic Leap, this alien drone certainly does seem to be transported to this office in Florida - and its reality is stronger than I thought possible. The video is very cool, but the rig they're using makes it very clear this is still very early days. That being said - it looks amazing.

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posted about 1 month 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 about 1 month 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 about 1 month 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 about 1 month 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 about 1 month 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 about 1 month 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 about 1 month 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 about 1 month 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 about 1 month 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 about 1 month 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 about 1 month 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 about 1 month 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 about 1 month 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 about 1 month 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 about 1 month 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 about 1 month 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 about 1 month 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 about 1 month 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 about 1 month 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 about 1 month 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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