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Can Android Give BlackBerry New Life?
June 16, 2015
BlackBerry could be considering equipping an upcoming smartphone with Google's Android operating system, Reuters reported last week. The move would be consistent with BlackBerry's strategy to focus on software and device management instead of handsets. Such a pivot would take the company away from its current strategy to regain lost market share with a new generation of BlackBerry smartphones.
antiX Linux Doesn't Fool Around
June 15, 2015
The antiX distro is both something old and something new. It is a handy and innovative approach to keeping aging computers fast and active. It is also an energy infuser for new computers. I started playing around with antiX when looking for something different to keep some older computers out of the trash heap. antiX is a fast, lightweight distro that is easy to install.
Patch Tuesday Sunset Will Be a Mixed Bag for Windows Security
June 11, 2015
Microsoft will phase out Patch Tuesday -- its monthly potpourri of software product fixes -- when it rolls out Windows 10, which could be a mixed bag for the operating system's security. Patches will be applied automatically as they're ready. That means users no longer will have to wait until the second Tuesday in the month to secure their systems from potentially troublesome vulnerabilities.
Apple Gives Open Source a Swift 2 Kick
June 10, 2015
Apple this week announced Swift 2 and said it would open-source it later this year. Swift 2 is a programming language for iOS, OS X and watchOS. It has a new error-handling model. Two new features in Objective-C -- nullability annotations and generics -- make Swift 2 work better with Apple SDKs. Swift is "a modern language where memory management is internalized," said IDC's Al Hilwa.
Cisco, IBM Bet Big on OpenStack
June 9, 2015
OpenStack, a free and open source cloud controller package that has been struggling to gain acceptance in the enterprise, took a giant stride forward when IBM and Cisco opened up their wallets last week. IBM announced it would buy hosted OpenStack private cloud provider Blue Box Cloud. Cisco announced plans to purchase Piston Cloud Computing, developer of the CloudOS operating system.
Apple Music Steals WWDC's Scattershot Show
June 9, 2015
To cap off Monday's wide-ranging keynote at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco, Apple CEO Tim Cook introduced a three-pronged music initiative -- a streaming service, a live radio broadcast station, and an app that lets artists connect with fans. "Music is such an important part of our lives and our culture," Cook said, showing off Apple's famous "one more thing" slide.
The Best Unsung Features of Windows 10
June 8, 2015
There are things about working with large companies that can be really frustrating. For instance, when both Windows Vista and Windows 8 were coming to market, a number of us pointed out that things needed to be fixed before the product was released, but we were ignored, with catastrophic results. This time, however, Windows 10 is looking better than any OS I've ever reviewed.
ConnochaetOS Makes Slackware Truly Free and a Bit Easier
June 4, 2015
ConnochaetOS is a nice entry into a pure, free Linux experience. Most people mistakenly equate open source with "free," as in pay nothing. Experienced Linux users know, however, that the open source concept separates the price of the software from the cost of obtaining enterprise-level modifications and support. The notion of "free" does not mean there's no cost to get it.
It's Hard to See WWDC Through My Apple TV Tears
June 4, 2015
By the time you read this, I'll have finished swearing in the privacy of my office, and likely will have entered the acceptance stage of grief. Already, realization is dawning that I was right to withhold hope that Apple would reveal a new Apple TV at its WorldWide Developers Conference on Monday. I hate it when pessimism wins. But how can I know that Apple isn't going to introduce a new Apple TV?
Google's Android Permissions Get Granular
June 4, 2015
Google appears to be heeding warnings of security experts who say Android users need better control over what apps do with information from their phones. At I/O, its worldwide shindig for developers held last week, the company announced that the next version of its mobile operating system, Android M, would take a more granular approach to permissions for data requested by apps.
Auto Grade Linux Steers Closer to an In-Car Infotainment Standard
June 3, 2015
Automotive Grade Linux on Monday announced the industry's first open in-vehicle infotainment, or IVI, software specification requirements. The release of AGL Requirements Specification 1.0 is a major milestone. It moves the auto industry toward adoption of a de facto platform that uses open source development methodologies to create a safe and reliable connected-car experience.
Nintendo Scotches Android Console Rumor
June 2, 2015
Nintendo not only has embraced the idea of releasing its iconic intellectual properties for mobile devices, but also is planning to base its next videogame console on a version of the Android operating system, according to a Japanese-language business publication. The publication claimed an inside source revealed that Nintendo's next console, code named "NX," will run on Android.
Microsoft Starts Taking Windows 10 Reservations
June 1, 2015
Windows 10 will be available for free to users running Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 on their PCs or tablets. However, it's likely that once they've been exposed to the full range of possibilities, many of those users will opt to buy a new device that can take full advantage of the operating system. Using the biometric authentication in Windows Hello, for example, likely will require a new PC.
Chromixium Adds Polish to Chrome
May 29, 2015
Chromixium is a new Linux distro that goes one big step further than the few existing distros catering to the Chrome OS. It one-ups Google's semi-proprietary Chrome OS locked into the popular Chromebook hardware. Chromixium sole developer Rich Jack's innovative version 1.0, released last month, is a Chrome OS clone that runs on nearly any aging or newer computer.
Google's I/O Steers Devs to Photos, IoT, Maps and More
May 28, 2015
Google on Thursday kicked off its I/O developers conference with the introduction of a new app for better managing, organizing and storing photos, as well as an Android spinoff for the Internet of Things, and an offline feature for Maps. The new Google Photo application allows shutterbugs to back up photos automatically from any device to a personal home site on the Net.
Linux/Moose Malware Wreaks Havoc on Social Networks
May 27, 2015
Internet security researchers at Eset on Tuesday published a security research paper on Linux/Moose, a major threat to social networks that turns routers into conduits for grabbing users' log-in credentials, employing them for network fraud and to further spread malware to client devices that connect through them to the Internet. The paper, "Dissecting Linux/Moose," details a months-long investigation.
Phone Companion App Lets Cortana Get Around
May 27, 2015
Microsoft advanced its "if you can't beat'em, join'em" mobile strategy with Tuesday's announcement of Phone Companion, an app built into Windows 10 that's designed to synchronize information across multiple platforms, including Android and iOS. Windows 10 Phone Companion works like a hub on a PC for a user's mobile devices, allowing apps like Cortana to work across multiple platforms.
Simplicity Linux Makes Good on Its Easy-Peasy Promise
May 22, 2015
The latest edition of Simplicity Linux, version 15.4, recently became available for download. Simplicity Linux delivers just what its name suggests: It is a simpler way to run a fully powered Linux desktop on any computer you touch. Simplicity lets you carry your entire desktop, favorite installed applications, and complete collection of documents and files in your pocket everywhere you go.
Russia Aims to Build US-Free Mobile OS
May 20, 2015
Russia wants to develop alternatives to proprietary or partly closed mobile operating systems by using open source tools as a foundation, Minister of Telecom and Mass Communications Nikolay Nikiforov said last week. "Success would make a fairly significant impact on the go-to market plans of numerous IT vendors," said Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT.
Venom Less Toxic Than Heartbleed
May 20, 2015
It was a little over a year ago that the Heartbleed bug shocked the Internet with its potential for mischief. Now another flaw in open source code has sent network administrators into damage control mode. The bug, called "Venom" for "Virtualized Environment Neglected Operations Manipulation," allows an intruder to jump out of a virtual machine and execute malicious code on its host.
Makulu Gives Unity a Good Name
May 18, 2015
Makulu Linux now is one of the first major distros to integrate the Unity desktop. It was more than worth the wait! The Unity desktop is Ubuntu's flagship desktop environment. Canonical pushed through its development several years ago as a way of introducing users to its "unifying" computing platform for all devices. It removed the traditional panel bar and two-column application menu.
Arduboy Could Spark Retro Gaming Revolution
May 13, 2015
Arduboy, a new pocket-sized 8-bit game device, has ignited a firestorm of interest on Kickstarter. With 27 days to go, the campaign already has drawn contributions of more than eight times its modest $25k goal. The rapid funding response could spark a miniature retro revolution. The handheld Arduboy has the potential to divert gamers from smartphones and tablets.
$9 Debian-Based C.H.I.P. Computer Is a Kickstarter Smash
May 11, 2015
C.H.I.P., a Linux-based mini-PC priced at just $9, is receiving an overwhelming response on Kickstarter. Launched last Thursday with a funding goal of $50,000, it has chalked up more than 16,000 backers who have shelled out upwards of $815,000. The project still has 25 days to go. The tiny open source device, made by Next Thing Co., has been dubbed the "Raspberry Pi killer."
Cyanogen Taps Truecaller in Effort to Build a Better Mobile OS
May 8, 2015
Cyanogen, best known for its FOSS Android-based OS, CyanogenMod, soon will provide caller ID screening and spam blocking directly from the native dialer on Cyanogen OS, the commercial version of its operating system. These capabilities will be provided through the company's global partnership with Truecaller. They will be baked into future smartphone devices preloaded with Cyanogen OS.

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