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There's a GHOST in Linux's Library
January 28, 2015
Patches for GHOST, a critical vulnerability in glibc, the Linux GNU C Library, now are available through vendor communities for a variety of Linux server and desktop distributions. Qualys earlier this week reported its discovery of GHOST, a vulnerability that allows attackers to remotely take control of an entire system without having any prior knowledge of system credentials.
Debian Forked: All for Devuan and Devuan for All?
January 26, 2015
A group of developers made good on their threats to fork Debian Linux late last year, after the community's leadership voted to replace sysvinit with systemd, making systemd the default init boot process. The Debian Technical Committee's decision spurred several key Debian developers and project maintainers to resign. Some of them formed a new community dedicated to forking Debian.
Microsoft's Windows Reboot Could Be Legendary
January 26, 2015
I was one of the launch analysts for Windows 95, and the launch of that product is widely held -- including by Bill Gates -- as the company's pinnacle. No launch before or since ever came close to that launch, and I remain amazed that no one, including Apple or Microsoft, has ever really attempted to duplicate that effort. Windows 10 has the potential to be even greater than Windows 95.
Zenwalk Linux - A Walk on the Quirky Side
January 23, 2015
The developmental path and sketchy developer website may cast an unfavorable impression about Zenwalk's trustworthiness as a serious computing platform. The ho-hum impression when first running the live edition does little to encourage users to take this Linux OS for a stroll. Zenwalk Linux becomes a bit more impressive once you get beyond the awkward first-time experience.
The Brave New World of Windows 10
January 23, 2015
Microsoft on Wednesday unveiled a slew of new features and capabilities coming in Windows 10: the convergence of the desktop and mobile; the advent of the killer universal app; more power and features for personal digital assistant Cortana, which will be on mobile as well as desktops and laptops; improvements to maps; a new browser; a strong emphasis on gaming; and holographic computing.
Acer Designs Chromebooks for Students' Rough Handling
January 22, 2015
Acer on Wednesday announced two new ruggedized Chromebooks geared for classroom use. Both will go on sale in February. The Acer Chromebook C910 and C740 have a durable design built around reinforced covers and hinges. The new models support multiple user sign-ons and offline file access. Security features include a Kensington lock to secure the laptop to a wireless cart or lab station.
Could Microsoft's Foggy Windows 10 Plan Be Any Smarter?
January 22, 2015
The most important and daring move that Microsoft made Wednesday is far and away making the upgrade to Windows 10 free. Seems dirt-simple and intuitive on the surface, but it represents a startling and abrupt shift in both how users will relate to Microsoft and how Microsoft innovates with Windows going forward. I'm an unabashed Apple fan -- but I can appreciate a smart move when I see one.
Ubuntu Aims to Make the IoT Snappy
January 21, 2015
Canonical on Tuesday unveiled Snappy Ubuntu Core, a new rendition of Ubuntu targeting the Internet of Things. Snappy Ubuntu Core offers a minimal server image with the same libraries as "traditional" Ubuntu, but Snappy apps and Ubuntu Core can be upgraded automatically and rolled back if necessary. Snappy runs on any device with an ARMv7 or Intel x86 processor and at least 256 MB of RAM.
Docker Security Questioned
January 15, 2015
Security questions recently have been raised about Docker, a promising technology for running applications in the cloud. Docker is an open source initiative that allows applications to be run in containers for flexibility and mobility only dreamt of in the past. "Since the 70s, programmers have been talking about reusable code and the ability to migrate applications," noted IDC analyst Al Gillen.
Samsung Tries Out Tizen in India
January 14, 2015
Samsung has released the first Tizen-powered smartphone for India, the Samsung Z1. The Tizen phone offers localized entertainment apps and a simpler user interface than Android, the company said. Tizen is an open source platform that Samsung has taken the lead in developing. It is an offshoot of the Linux OS. Tizen OS 2.3 enables faster boot time and quicker access to apps than other mobile OSes.
Loving Linux in a Touchscreen World
January 13, 2015
Well it was a fairly quiet week here in the Linux blogosphere, as much of the mainstream tech world staggered directly out of their New Year's revelries and into the halls of CES. Not that Linux didn't have a presence at the gargantuan show, mind you. It was there, all right -- not just in phones but in TVs, smartwatches and cars, to name just a few examples.
LG's WebOS: 3rd Time's the Charm?
January 13, 2015
LG Electronics turned up at last week's CES with a smartwatch that apparently runs webOS. LG used the watch to unlock an Audi at the show. "LG has never officially confirmed that we were planning a webOS smartwatch," said company spokesperson Ken Hong. "I think that is speculation based on the watch that Audi announced here at CES, which we developed but have not finalized the OS for."
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.
Linuxy Hopes and Dreams for an Inferno-Free 2015
January 08, 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.
Google Outs Unpatched Windows 8.1 Kernel Flaw
January 06, 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.
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.
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.
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 09, 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.

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