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EU Levels Antitrust Charges Against Abusive Android
April 20, 2016
The European Commission has charged that Google breached EU antitrust rules by seeking to maintain and expand the dominance of its Android operating system. "A competitive mobile Internet sector is increasingly important for consumers and businesses in Europe," said the EC's antitrust chief, Margrethe Vestager. "We believe that Google's behavior denies consumers a wider choice of mobile apps."
LXLE Gives Aging Hardware a New Lease on Life
April 18, 2016
LXLE is an ideal distro for out-of-the-box functionality to handle your everyday computing needs. It's a well-oiled lightweight distribution based on Ubuntu's long-term support releases for Debian and Lubuntu Linux from a community originating in the U.S. The latest version is 14.04.4, released last month. It runs an optimized LXDE that has a comfortable look and feel.
Robust New FreeOffice Suite Proves Free Can Be Just as Good
April 12, 2016
SoftMaker's FreeOffice Linux office suite is a LibreOffice look-alike that provides strong performance compatibility with Microsoft Office documents. SoftMaker offers a line of open source offerings that compete with its commercial suite. It's a Windows/Linux cross-platform office suite with integrated applications for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations and email management.
Adobe Issues Emergency Patch to Head Off Flash Ransomware Attacks
April 11, 2016
Adobe last week issued an emergency security patch to fix a vulnerability in Flash that could leave users vulnerable to a ransomware attack. The vulnerability exists in Adobe Flash Player 21.0.0.197 and earlier versions for Windows, Macintosh, Linux and Chrome operating systems. It can cause a crash and leave the computer vulnerable to attackers, the company said.
Volkswagen Picks Mirantis to Build Massive OpenStack Cloud
April 7, 2016
Mirantis on Wednesday announced that Volkswagen Group has selected Mirantis OpenStack to power its cloud applications. The selection process involved a series of cloud-to-cloud performance trials between Red Hat and Mirantis, one of the last pure-play OpenStack companies. It's ideally positioned to pursue and win large-scale deals like the Volkswagen project, analyst Charles King said.
Qubes' Xen-Like Security Requires a Leap of Faith
April 6, 2016
If you want an effective and different approach to computer platform security, turn to the Qubes OS. Be prepared to adjust your expectations and your computing comfort zone, however. The Qubes OS does not work the way other Linux distros work in adding extra layers of security. It is based on the Fedora Linux desktop but goes well beyond Fedora's approach.
HP Debuts Skinniest Laptop Ever
April 5, 2016
HP on Tuesday unveiled its latest challenger to Apple's laptops, touting it as the thinnest laptop in the world. At 10.4 mm, the HP Spectre's chassis is as thin as a triple-A battery, the company noted. The Spectre is powered by Intel Core i5 and i7 processors and weighs in at 2.45 pounds. It has a 13.3-inch Gorilla glass display, and stereo speakers from Bang & Olufsen.
Microsoft Guns for Cloud Devs at Build 2016
April 4, 2016
Microsoft last week at its Build 2016 conference announced innovations in mobile app development, the Internet of Things, microservices and intelligence designed to help developers create apps for the cloud. One is Azure App Service, which offers back-end capabilities for Web, native Windows, iOS and Android platforms. Microsoft also announced five Azure IoT starter kits, starting at $50.
Ubuntu Goes to Microsoft's Windows 10 Bash
April 1, 2016
Microsoft on Wednesday unwrapped a major open source coup for Canonical when it announced that Ubuntu Linux will be able to run on Windows 10. Kevin Gallo, Microsoft's director of Windows developer platform, announced the development during a keynote address at Microsoft's Build 2016 conference in San Francisco. The Linux Bash command-line tool will run natively within Windows 10.
Oracle Ups Java Damages Demand to $9.3B
March 30, 2016
Oracle has asked for $9.3 billion in damages in its multiyear lawsuit against Google over the use of Java in Android, according to a report filed last week in federal court. That amount is reportedly about 10 times what it had initially asked for. The next hearing in the case is scheduled for May 9 in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
Latest iOS Upgrade Drives Users Buggy
March 30, 2016
Apple has been deluged with complaints from users who say the latest version of its mobile operating system is breaking links and crashing apps. "Following iOS 9.3 on iPhone 6splus update links in safari no longer open, then safari crashes -- any ideas how to fix? Same problem in Chrome," user John MacDonald posted Monday on Apple's support page on Twitter.
Apricity OS Is Clean and Classy
March 29, 2016
If you're looking for a quick, clean and classy Linux distro, look no further than the Apricity OS beta. Either of the two available flavors -- GNOME or Cinnamon -- is sure to give you a pleasant computing experience. The latest beta version was released last month. Betas can be frustrating and Arch Linux can be challenging, but Apricity's developers ease that pain.
Hard-Pressed Pebble Sheds 25 Percent of Workforce
March 29, 2016
Pebble -- once viewed as the little smartwatch company that could -- last week cut its worldwide workforce by 25 percent, according to news reports. That's reportedly about 40 people, but actual figures are hard to come by because Pebble is privately held. The company has raised $46 million, but CEO Eric Migicovsky blamed the layoffs on the difficulty of raising funds in Silicon Valley these days.
Google Aims to Build a Better iOS Keyboard
March 24, 2016
Google has been developing a third-party keyboard for Apple devices in an effort to increase the number of Google searches on iOS, according to a news report published Tuesday. The keyboard, which is being tested internally, reportedly would incorporate a number of search options and a Swype-like feature to guess the intended word when a user slides a finger from one letter to another.
Google Says Sayonara to Chrome App Launcher
March 23, 2016
Google on Tuesday announced that it was shutting down the Chrome app launcher everywhere but in the Chrome OS. That means users who like to launch their favorite Google apps from a menu will have to settle for launching them only within the Google Chrome browser or through shortcuts in their bookmark bar. Windows, Mac and Linux users prefer launching their apps within Chrome.
New Stagefright Exploit Takes a Bow
March 22, 2016
Stagefright, a multimedia library in Android 2.2 and higher, has been exploited again, according to news reports published last week. Zimperium last year reported a Stagefright exploit that it said exposed 95 percent of Android devices. Details of the latest exploit, named "Metaphor," were published earlier this month in a paper from NorthBit. Metaphor affects Android 2.2-4.0 and 5.0-5.1.
Hopkins Boffins Break iMessage Encryption
March 22, 2016
A team of researchers at Johns Hopkins University has found a way to crack open files sent as encrypted instant messages in Apple's iMessage app, according to news reports published Monday. Although it took months to do, the researchers, led by Professor Matthew Green, were able to brute force a 64-bit encryption key, allowing them to unscramble an image file stored in Apple's iCloud.
Android, iOS on Opposite Sides of Encryption Divide
March 18, 2016
Consumers' understanding of what encryption does apparently doesn't determine whether they use the technology, as iPhone owners are much more likely to use encryption than Android users. Most Android phones are not encrypted, either by user choice or manufacturer design. About 95 percent of all iPhones reportedly are encrypted, compared with less than 10 percent of Android phones.
Apple Ransomware Reveals Cert Problem
March 17, 2016
Researchers last week discovered the first ransomware in the wild aimed at Apple's hardware platform. While the threat was subdued quickly, it exposed the weakness of digital certificates in authenticating software to devices. The ransomware appeared as a legitimate application because it contained a digital certificate stolen from a bona fide Mac developer in Turkey.
Remix OS Fills Android Desktop Void
March 15, 2016
The ability to run the Android OS as a fully functional desktop on PCs took a giant leap forward this month with a release that merges the Android-x86 Project with Jide Technology's Remix OS distribution. Android-x86 Project developer Chih-Wei Huang late last month announced on the project's website a partnership with Jide. He started the Android-x86 Project in 2009.
Devs Get to Noodle With Android N
March 14, 2016
Google last week announced a developer preview of Android N, the forthcoming release of its mobile operating system. The release comes early; it was widely expected to be announced in May at Google I/O 2016, the Google developers conference. Releasing a work-in-progress build earlier in the development cycle will give Google more time to incorporate feedback from developers.
SQL Server on Linux Shows Microsoft's More Flexible Side
March 9, 2016
Microsoft on Tuesday announced plans to release a version of SQL Server 2016 for Linux. "Bringing SQL Server to Linux is another way we are making our products and new innovations more accessible to a broader set of users," said Microsoft's Scott Guthrie. SQL Server will be able to deliver a consistent data platform across Windows Server and Linux, in the cloud and on-premises.
Ransomware Plague Spreads to Macs
March 8, 2016
Researchers at Palo Alto Networks last week announced that they had found the first ransomware in the wild aimed at Macintosh computers, but Apple and one of its developers quickly neutered it. The ransomware -- a malware program that scrambles data on a computer and won't unscramble it unless a ransom is paid -- was embedded in software for installing an OS X app for sharing files on BitTorrent.
Epic Games Founder Rails Against Microsoft's Walled Garden
March 8, 2016
Epic Games founder Tim Sweeney last week called on Microsoft to remove the walls it's building around the Windows Store with its Universal Windows Platform initiative. The problem is that it is impossible to install and update UWP apps from third-party publishers outside of the Windows Store, he wrote in an op-ed. Microsoft could remove the option to support apps that haven't been approved.
FBI Would Hurtle Us Back to Encryption Jurassic, Apple Warns
March 8, 2016
The FBI's efforts to compel Apple to unlock an iPhone used by one of the slain San Bernardino terrorists could threaten national security, charged Craig Federighi, Apple's SVP of engineering, in an op-ed piece published Monday. Terrorists and criminals could launch attacks on vital infrastructure through access "to just one person's smartphone," he maintained.
Amazon Flip-Flop Lands Fire OS Back in Encryption Camp
March 7, 2016
Amazon last week announced that it had reversed a previous decision to drop support for local encryption on version 5 of its Fire tablet operating system. The disclosure came one day after the company joined 14 others to support Apple in its fight against the FBI, which wants the company to create a tool or code to unlock an iPhone that belonged to one of the San Bernardino, California, terrorists.
If You Like Fedora, You'll Love Korora
March 4, 2016
The Korora Linux desktop is a solid computing platform that's loaded with options to suit a wide range of user needs. Korora 23 final was released last month. It's a Fedora-based distribution featuring many user-friendly enhancements as well as a choice of five desktop environments. Unless you are looking for bleeding-edge desktop environments, Korora gives you all the top contenders.
RebeccaBlackOS Is a Class Act
February 26, 2016
RebeccaBlackOS is a Debian Testing-based live distribution that offers a developmental view of Wayland-based Linux desktop sessions. A few other distro makers have prototypes of Wayland running, but the options for different desktop environments available all from one live-session DVD caught my attention. Anyone curious about where Wayland development is headed can get a first look from RBOS.
Microsoft Buys Xamarin to Boost Cross-Platform Development
February 25, 2016
Microsoft on Wednesday announced that it has reached an agreement to acquire Xamarin, a platform provider for mobile app development. Xamarin's platform will be used in conjunction with Microsoft's Visual Studio, enabling developers to build apps using C# to deliver fully native mobile app experiences across platforms, including Android and iOS, said Microsoft's Scott Guthrie.
The Downside of Linux Popularity
February 25, 2016
Popularity is becoming a two-edged sword for Linux. The open source operating system has become a key component of the Internet's infrastructure, and it's also the foundation for the world's largest mobile OS, Google's Android. Widespread use of the OS, though, has attracted the attention of hackers looking to transfer the dirty tricks previously aimed at Windows to Linux.
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