posted 2 months ago on OSNews
Arrakis is a research operating system from University of Washinton, built as a fork of Barrelfish. In Arrakis, we ask the question whether we can remove the OS entirely from normal application execution. The OS only sets up the execution environment and interacts with an application in rare cases where resources need to be reallocated or name conflicts need to be resolved. The application gets the full power of the unmediated hardware, through an application-specific library linked into the application address space. This allows for unprecedented OS customizability, reliability and performance. The first public version of Arrakis has been released recently, and the code is hosted on GitHub.

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posted 2 months ago on OSNews
Microsoft has unveiled a new Surface Pro 3 device at a press event in New York City today. Like the previous Surface tablets it still includes a kickstand, but Surface chief Panos Panay says it's designed to remove the conflict of buying a laptop or a tablet. The kickstand on the device is multi-stage, and the device is just 9.1mm thick. "This is the tablet than can replace your laptop," claims Panay. Microsoft has moved to a 12-inch screen on the Surface Pro 3 with a 3:2 aspect ratio and HD display, but the new tablet also has thin bezels with a silver and black design. Microsoft will start accepting pre-orders on the Surface Pro 3 tomorrow starting at $799. It's an amazing piece of hardware, and Microsoft really deserves praise for the amount of power it has managed to pack in such a slim and light package, but the same could be said of the previous Surface Pro - and that one hasn't exactly taken the market by storm either. The problem, is software - something Microsoft was remarkably hush-hush about during the unveiling. Something else Microsoft was hush-hush about: Windows RT and ARM. No new RT/ARM-based Surface device, and I have a feeling that particular experiment has met its end today.

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posted 2 months ago on OSNews
Now this is interesting. The WarMUp Association, the world association of MorphOS users, publishes a webzine with a whole lot of information and news about MorphOS. There's a whole lot of cool stuff in the latest issue about new software releases - low-level and user-facing - but what jumped out at me is a very detailed breakdown of MorphOS sales. In total, 2275 MorphOS licenses were sold until 14 April, and the detailed history of sales is quite, quite interesting. This seems like a low number - and technically, it is - but considering that one, the AmigaOS scene is small enough as it is, and MorphOS is a subsection of that already small scene, and two, that it is not a cheap investment, requiring both hardware and software, I'm actually surprised they have managed to sell this many copies thus far, and that sales are clearly not slowing down. No, it won't make any of the developers rich, but it's not bad either.

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posted 2 months ago on OSNews
Google's YouTube has reached a deal to buy Twitch, a popular videogame-streaming company, for more than $1 billion, according to sources familiar with the pact. The deal, in an all-cash offer, is expected to be announced imminently, sources said. If completed the acquisition would be the most significant in the history of YouTube, which Google acquired in 2006 for $1.65 billion. I watch a lot of YouTube and Twitch for gaming, and in an ideal world, I can definitely see the potential for a great close cooperation between the two. Sadly, the world is not ideal, and I have a bad feeling about this. One of the reasons Twitch is so good at what it does is that it doesn't deal with stuff like Content ID. If Twitch is to be part of Google, it suddenly becomes an incredibly attractive target for all kinds of lawyers - and thus, Content ID-like crap.

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posted 2 months ago on OSNews
Apple Inc and Google Inc's Motorola Mobility unit have agreed to settle all patent litigation between them over smartphone technology, ending one of the highest profile lawsuits in technology. In a joint statement on Friday, the companies said the settlement does not include a cross license to their respective patents. Good news. "Apple and Google have also agreed to work together in some areas of patent reform," the statement said. Bad news. Two of the largest technology companies in the world working on "patent reform"? Translated to Standard English, that reads: "working together to strengthen the position of large, established companies to make it even harder for newcomers to challenge us".

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posted 2 months ago on OSNews
One side effect of the iTunes 11.2 update on Thursday, May 15th 2014 has been that some but not all Macs were seeing the /Users and /Users/Shared folders disappear. The permissions on the /Users folder were also changed to be world-writable, so that anyone could read and write to the /Users folder. As far as bugs go, this is a very fascinating one. Initially, people thought the OS X 10.9.3 update was the culprit, but as it turns out - it's the iTunes 11.2 update. I'm interested to (eventually) hear the root cause of all this, but for now, the linked article contains a temporary workaround.

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posted 2 months ago on OSNews
The hardest thing about learning a new programming language is that there are usually at least one or two novel features that break the mold of our current mental framework. If not, the language may not be worth learning in the first place. So, given that learning new languages can be challenging, I would like to share a tip that has served me well over the years. One of the best ways to really understand a new or novel language feature is to think of ways to twist and abuse it.

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posted 2 months ago on OSNews
Apple has released OS X Mavericks 10.9.3 Update, which brings a pixel-doubled Retina mode to external 4K displays and restores contact and calendar syncing between Mac and iOS devices in iTunes. The Retina mode makes content much sharper, rather than just using all the pixels to create a truly huge desktop. You know where to get it.

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posted 2 months ago on OSNews
Despite our dislike of DRM, we have come to believe Firefox needs to provide a mechanism for people to watch DRM-controlled content. We will do so in a way that protects the interests of individual users as much as possible, given what the rest of the industry has already put into place. We have selected Adobe to provide the key functionality. Adobe has been doing this in Flash for some time, and Adobe has been building the necessary relationships with the content owners. We believe that Adobe is uniquely able to bring new value to the setting. Talk about being between a rock and a hard place. Don't include DRM, and see your userbase erode further. Do include DRM, and you go against your organisation's core values. If you go for the former, and your userbase erodes, you run the risk of not being able to express your core values at all.

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posted 2 months ago on OSNews
KDE today releases the first Beta version of the next-generation Plasma workspace. The Plasma team would like to ask the wider Free Software community to test this release and give any feedback . Plasma Next is built using QML and runs on top of a fully hardware-accelerated graphics stack using Qt 5, QtQuick 2 and an OpenGL(-ES) scenegraph. Plasma Next provides a core desktop experience that will be easy and familiar for current users of KDE workspaces or alternative Free Software or proprietary offerings.

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posted 3 months ago on OSNews
It's been a while since we've done one of these, so here we go: some detailed platform and browser statistics for OSNews. They're collected using Google Analytics, between 12 April and 12 May. As always, these statistics are only relevant for OSNews, and can, in no way, be extrapolated to any other site. Read more on this exclusive OSNews article...

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posted 3 months ago on OSNews
iOS 8 is likely to supercharge the functionality of Apple's iPad with a new split-screen multitasking feature, according to sources with knowledge of the enhancement in development. These people say that the feature will allow iPad users to run and interact with two iPad applications at once. Up until now, each iPad application either developed by Apple or available on the App Store is only usable individually in a full-screen view. The ability to use multiple applications simultaneously on a tablet's display takes a page out of Microsoft's playbook. Microsoft's Surface line of tablets has a popular "snap" multitasking feature that allows customers to snap multiple apps onto the screen for simultaneous usage. The feature is popular in the enterprise and in environments where users need to handle multiple tasks at the same time. No, this is not a "page out of Microsoft's playbook". What is wrong with these people that features that have been part of computing for decades are now magically new just because they're on a mobile device? Please, stop this madness.

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posted 3 months ago on OSNews
The SD Times reports about Cider, which allows iOS applications to run on Android. From the research paper: We present Cider, an operating system compatibility architecture that can run applications built for different mobile ecosystems, iOS or Android, together on the same smartphone or tablet. Cider enhances the domestic operating system, Android, of a device with kernel-managed, per-thread personas to mimic the application binary interface of a foreign operating system, iOS, enabling it to run unmodified foreign binaries. This is accomplished using a novel combination of binary compatibility techniques including two new mechanisms: compile-time code adaptation, and diplomatic functions. Compile-time code adaptation enables existing unmodified foreign source code to be reused in the domestic kernel, reducing implementation effort required to support multiple binary interfaces for executing domestic and foreign applications. Diplomatic functions leverage per-thread personas, and allow foreign applications to use domestic libraries to access proprietary software and hardware interfaces. We have built a Cider prototype, and demonstrate that it imposes modest performance overhead and runs unmodified iOS and Android applications together on a Google Nexus tablet running the latest version of Android. It's developed by the Department of Computer Science at Columbia University. They have a video of it too.

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posted 3 months ago on OSNews
For years, the US government loudly warned the world that Chinese routers and other internet devices pose a "threat" because they are built with backdoor surveillance functionality that gives the Chinese government the ability to spy on anyone using them. Yet what the NSA's documents show is that Americans have been engaged in precisely the activity that the US accused the Chinese of doing. What surprises me the most is that there are still people who are surprised by this.

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posted 3 months ago on OSNews
At its TechEd conference today, Microsoft announced the next step in its "mobile first, cloud first" strategy with a preview of Apache Cordova support in Visual Studio. Cordova is a toolkit for building apps for iOS, Android, and Windows using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. With the Cordova integration, Visual Studio will directly support building apps for all of these platforms. This new thing Microsoft's got going on takes a bit of getting used to. I hope it sticks for once, because this company has changed direction more often than a politician in need of campaign funding.

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posted 3 months ago on OSNews
Matthew Garrett: So, in the face of a technical mechanism designed to enforce the author's beliefs about the copyright status of callers of this function, Oracle deliberately circumvent that technical mechanism by simply re-exporting the same function under a new name. It should be emphasised that calling an EXPORT_SYMBOL_GPL() function does not inherently cause the caller to become a derivative work of the kernel - it only represents the original author's opinion of whether it would. You'd still need a court case to find out for sure. But if it turns out that the use of ktime_get() does cause a work to become derivative, Oracle would find it fairly difficult to argue that their infringement was accidental. Aside from the obvious jab at Oracle for being an untrustworthy company, what I found interesting about this story is how legal concerns have crept all the way down to the very lowest levels of the Linux kernel. It must be a nightmare to keep track of all this stuff and having to develop Oracle's DTrace for Linux. You can't just have fun coding away creating the best, most efficient, and most optimal code - nope, you have to code the best, most efficient legal workaround.

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posted 3 months ago on OSNews
oday, Silicon Valley companies - especially Google - give generously to right-leaning think tanks that publish writing skeptical of copyright protection. Google has donated to almost every right-leaning think tank in Washington, including the R Street Institute, the Cato Institute, the Mercatus Center, the American Enterprise Institute, and the Heritage Foundation. So if you're a right-leaning copyright skeptic, it's easy to find organizations to publish your work. Even for if it's for a good cause, this kind of stuff still leaves a dirty taste in my mouth.

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posted 3 months ago on OSNews
My area of interest is broadly defined kernel development. In the spring of 2013 I implemented ASLR and DEP which caused minor confusion due to "activation" of bugs that have been hidden but I think that overall it worked out well for Haiku. Later I tinkered a bit with RTM (Restricted Transactional Memory), new extension introduced in Haswells but the code will need a lot of work before it will become usable. From October to mid-January, I was employed by Haiku, Inc. to work on the scheduler and adaptating Haiku for work on systems with more than one logical processor. Among other things, I got rid of the 8 processors limit, which was quite firmly rooted in the ABI inherited from BeOS. Great interview with a low-level Haiku developer.

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posted 3 months ago on OSNews
Disclosures by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden about the agency's vast capability for spying on Americans' electronic communications prompted a number of tech executives whose firms cooperated with the government to insist they had done so only when compelled by a court of law. But Al Jazeera has obtained two sets of email communications dating from a year before Snowden became a household name that suggest not all cooperation was under pressure. I'm so surprised.

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posted 3 months ago on OSNews
Despite the fact that even some of Samsung's own devices with just 512MB RAM run KitKat just fine, the company still claims the international Galaxy SIII's and SIII mini's 1GB of RAM is not enough to run KitKat. In order to facilitate an effective upgrade on the Google platform, various hardware performances such as the memory (RAM, ROM, etc.), multi-tasking capabilities, and display must meet certain technical expectations. The Galaxy S3 and S3 mini 3G versions come equipped with 1GB RAM, which does not allow them to effectively support the platform upgrade. As a result of the Galaxy S3 and S3 mini 3G versions’ hardware limitation, they cannot effectively support the platform upgrade while continuing to provide the best consumer experience. Do not buy Samsung phones.

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posted 3 months ago on OSNews
A San Francisco federal judge had decided that Oracle could not claim copyright protection on parts of Java, but on Friday the three-judge Federal Circuit panel reversed that ruling. "We conclude that a set of commands to instruct a computer to carry out desired operations may contain expression that is eligible for copyright protection," Federal Circuit Judge Kathleen O'Malley wrote. This is terrible news for the technology industry and us enthusiasts. This case should have ended with this. Everything after that is a sham.

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posted 3 months ago on OSNews
Apple is close to striking a deal with Dr. Dre. In what would be the largest-ever purchase by the iPhone maker, Apple is in advanced talks to acquire headphone maker and music-streaming service Beats Electronics LLC for $3.2 billion, people with knowledge of the matter said. It's been corroborated by just about any major news outlet, so it has merit. I'm in no way an Apple expert, but this acquisition seems completely random and weird. Beats is essentially the Monster of headphones.

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posted 3 months ago on OSNews
LXQt is the Qt port and the upcoming version of LXDE, the Lightweight Desktop Environment. It is the product of the merge between the LXDE-Qt and the Razor-qt projects: A lightweight, modular, blazing-fast and user-friendly desktop environment. LXQt 0.7.0 brings you a fast and stable desktop environment, already usable in production desktop machines. It will not get in your way. It will not hang or slow down your system. It is focused on being a Classic Desktop with a modern Look & Feel. Already available on most mainstream distributions and with partial FreeBSD support. This is exactly what I've been wanting in this department: a straightforward, no-nonsense Qt desktop environment that doesn't shove touch nonsense in my face and, doesn't try to impose upon me a very specific way of working, and doesn't try to be everything to all people at all times.

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posted 3 months ago on OSNews
Engadget is one of the first large sites to review the OnePlus One. For $300, no other phone comes close to what the OnePlus One offers. Not only does it look and feel like a premium device, but it also comes with specs similar to what you'd find in a flagship smartphone. If you want a high-end phone on a budget, look no further. At this point, you really have to wonder why you would want to shell out twice as much for a Samsung or an HTC. Lack of an SD card slot becomes a moot point with the OnePlus One, as the version with 64 GB of storage is only $349. I obviously haven't used it yet, but from all the information that's out there, the OnePlus One and the Find 7/7a really seem to be the best Android flagships of the year. I feel like a broken record at this point, but if I were Samsung or HTC, I'd be very, very afraid of these Chinese manufacturers.

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posted 3 months ago on OSNews
A large research project in the physical sciences usually involves experimenters, theorists, and people carrying out calculations with computers. There are computers and terminals everywhere. Some of the people hunched over these screens are writing papers, some are analyzing data, and some are working on simulations. These simulations are also quite often on the cutting edge, pushing the world’s fastest supercomputers, with their thousands of networked processors, to the limit. But almost universally, the language in which these simulation codes are written is Fortran, a relic from the 1950s. Ars looks at three possible replacements for Fortran.

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