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SCOTUS Seeks DoJ Input on Google-Oracle Java Dispute
January 13, 2015
The Supreme Court of the United States on Monday invited the Obama administration to weigh in on whether it should hear arguments in the ongoing dispute between Google and Oracle over Java copyrights. U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, Jr. "is invited to file a brief in this case expressing the views of the United States," reads the SCOTUS memo.
Data Breach Law Tops Obama Privacy Initiatives
January 12, 2015
A proposed national data breach reporting law, aimed primarily at protecting consumer privacy, headlined several initiatives the Obama administration announced Monday. The Personal Data Notification & Protection Act clarifies the obligations of companies when there's been a data breach. It includes a requirement to notify customers within 30 days of the discovery of a breach.
Samsung Smart TVs Hint at Tizen-Run IoT
January 12, 2015
Samsung announced at last week's International CES a new line of smart TVs powered by the open source Tizen operating system. Beginning with this year's models, all of Samsung's smart TVs will run on Tizen. Samsung has taken the lead in developing Tizen, which is a derivative of Linux, and this is its first deployment as a smart TV platform. Tizen supports the Web standard for TV app development.
Researchers Turn Computer Into Poker Shark
January 9, 2015
A computer program dubbed "Cepheus" has solved the game of poker, researchers at the University of Alberta announced. The Computer Poker Research Group, which created Cepheus, claims it not only can play heads-up limit Texas hold'em poker, but also beat human opponents. Games such as poker and chess have been used as test beds by researchers developing new concepts in artificial intelligence.
Linuxy Hopes and Dreams for an Inferno-Free 2015
January 8, 2015
It's the dawn of a new year here in the Linux blogosphere, and that means the power is in our hands to make 2015 better than the last one. At least in theory, the Systemd Inferno possibly, could be extinguished over these next 12 months; Devuan could thrive -- or not; and Linux in general could see its best year yet. What actually will happen? That is the subject of more than a few musings.
Will Apple's 12-inch MacBook Air Use One Port to Rule Them All?
January 8, 2015
There is a hot new MacBook Air rumor that's got the tech press all in a flutter, and get this: It's not about a long-awaited Retina display for the MacBook Air. Instead, the rumor claims that Apple's redesigned MacBook Air will be remarkably smaller, with a 12-inch screen -- and just one port. The new MacBook Air design reportedly will drop the current MacBook Air's USB 3 ports.
The Long Slog to Level the Document Playing Field
January 6, 2015
Free open source office suites to read, write, convert or replace the industry-standard Microsoft Office document formats are in ample supply. Yet their use in business and government, especially in the U.S., lags far behind proprietary products. The Document Foundation, creator of the LibreOffice variant of the free OpenOffice suite, recently joined the Open Source Business Alliance.
Google Outs Unpatched Windows 8.1 Kernel Flaw
January 6, 2015
Microsoft got a fiery start to 2015 when Google last week publicized a kernel vulnerability in Windows 8.1 Update. Google Project Zero's James Forshaw, who discovered the flaw, ranked it as a high-severity issue. Although Forshaw reported it to Microsoft last September, the company had not yet fixed the problem when Google published it. The vulnerability lets people falsely pose as administrators.
HP Debuts 2 Wee Desktop PCs
January 5, 2015
HP on Monday announced two tiny desktop PCs, the Pavilion Mini and the Stream Mini, to be demoed at the International CES being held Tuesday through Friday in Las Vegas. Both will be available in the United States via HP's website on Jan. 14 and from select retailers on Feb. 8. Pricing for the Pavilion Mini starts at $320 and for the Stream Mini at $180. Both run Windows 8.1.
FOSS' Shining Moments of 2014
December 29, 2014
Well we're into the last few days of 2014 here in the Linux blogosphere, and fortunately the tequila supplies down at the Broken Windows Lounge continue to hold strong. The weather outside may be frightful, but the refreshments -- like the software -- remain nothing short of delightful. It didn't take long for bloggers to slip into a sentimental mood as they reminisced about the waning year.
The Big Tech Stories of 2015
December 29, 2014
Last week, we looked back at the largely untold, or under told, stories of 2014. This week, let's look ahead to some of the stories that are coming in 2015. We'll have robots, self-driving cars, armed autonomous drones, the professional proliferation of head mounted cameras, some scandals, and some interesting political implications. I'll close with my product of the year, which even surprised me.
The Curious Case of the Disappearing Distros
December 22, 2014
Well the holidays are pretty much upon us at last here in the Linux blogosphere, and there's nowhere left to hide. The next two weeks or so promise little more than a blur of forced social occasions and too-large meals, punctuated only by occasional respite down at the Broken Windows Lounge. Perhaps that's why Linux bloggers seized with such glee upon a good old-fashioned mystery.
Defending the Free Linux World
December 19, 2014
The Open Invention Network, or OIN, is waging a global campaign to keep Linux out of harm's way in patent litigation. Its efforts have resulted in more than 1,000 companies joining forces to become the largest defense patent management organization in history. The Open Invention Network was created in 2005 as a white hat organization to protect Linux from license assaults.
Docker CTO Solomon Hykes to Devs: Have It Your Way
December 18, 2014
Docker has moved from an obscure Linux project to one of the most popular open source technologies in cloud computing. Project developers have witnessed millions of Docker Engine downloads. Hundreds of Docker groups have formed in 40 countries. Many more companies are announcing Docker integration. Even Microsoft will ship Windows 10 with Docker preinstalled.
Experts Forecast the End of Privacy as We Know It
December 18, 2014
Privacy's future appears muddy at best, judging from a survey released Thursday by the Pew Research Center and Elon University's Imagining the Internet Center. More than 2,500 Internet experts and analysts were narrowly divided on whether policy makers and technology innovators would create a secure, popularly accepted and trusted privacy-rights infrastructure by 2025.
Tech Industry Rallies Around Microsoft in Data Privacy Battle With US
December 18, 2014
A coalition of supporting organizations filed 10 amicus briefs with the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals in a case challenging a U.S. government search warrant for Microsoft customer data stored on a server based in Ireland. The coalition includes 28 technology and media companies, 35 computer scientists, and 23 trade associations and advocacy organizations.
Skype Begins Dismantling the Language Barrier
December 16, 2014
Microsoft on Monday announced the first phase of its Skype Translator preview program, which initially will facilitate conversations between English and Spanish speakers. It will convert spoken words both ways. It also will translate instant messages in 40 languages. Translations occur in near-real time. Participants must run Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 Technical Preview on a desktop or tablet.
Have Intel and Microsoft Discovered the Fountain of Corporate Youth?
December 15, 2014
This has been an interesting quarter. After Andy Grove left, Intel often seemed to struggle with its place in the world and seemed at odds with the computing OEMs. Now, though, it seems more and more like it did when it was 20 years younger. It's not alone, either. Microsoft, which seemed to have forgotten why there were OEMs, suddenly is acting much more like the firm we knew in the early 90s.
2015: The IoT, Big Data and Cloud Come Together
December 12, 2014
Since December 'tis the season when industry prognosticators provide their predictions for the year to come, I'll offer my ideas about how three major tech forces -- cloud computing, big data the Internet of Things -- will converge in 2015, and four ways organizations can capitalize on this convergence. The various ways in which they will interact truly will be transformational.
4MLinux Is So Lightweight It's Anemic
December 11, 2014
4MLinux is a unique mini Linux distribution that tries to be what it is not. Its limited-purpose design is too basic for even lightweight distro functions. Much of any benefit users might derive from 4MLinux mimics what already is available from USB-launched pocket Linux distros such as Puppy Linux, Porteus and Knoppix. However, much of their advanced functionality is missing from 4MLinux.
How Linux Works Is an OS Mechanic's Mainstay
December 10, 2014
How Linux Works: What Every Superuser Should Know offers an unglamorous view of the Linux OS. It takes readers behind the GUI into the bowels of command line operations. This second edition of Brian Ward's classic Linux reference book is completely revised. Though it offers something for everyone, casual Linux users run a slight risk of getting lost in some of the verbiage.
Turla Trojan Unearthed on Linux
December 9, 2014
Turla, a Trojan that has infected hundreds of 32- and 64-bit Windows computers at government institutions, embassies, military installations, educational institutions, and research and pharmaceutical companies over the years, has been found on Linux systems, Kaspersky Lab reported. The company has discovered two variants of the malware running on Linux.
Devuan: Unto Us a Fork Is Born
December 8, 2014
Well, it happened. We knew it was possible; the signs were all there -- but more than a few of us were still holding out hope. "Things will surely get better," we thought. Then the news came. The rumored Debian fork has now become real, and its name is "Devuan." Dev-what, you may say? "I hate the name; I love the idea," said Hyperlogos blogger Martin Espinoza.
An iPod Moment Is About to Make Your PC Obsolete
December 8, 2014
I was at Dell's thin client briefing earlier this week at its new facility in California's Silicon Valley, and it clearly is feeling very confident, in light of HP's plan to split its company. There really have been only two major players in the thin client space for a few years, and they are HP and Dell, but HP's split would seem to make its offering obsolete.

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