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Windows 10 Adoption Surges, but Many Users Cling to Windows 7
January 4, 2016
Microsoft on Monday announced that its Windows 10 operating system is now active on more than 200 million devices. Windows 10 adoption accelerated at the end of 2015, with more than 40 percent of new devices activated since Black Friday, said Microsoft's Yusuf Mehdi. However, it trails the more than decade-old Windows XP and Windows 8.1 in terms of overall Web traffic, NetMarketShare reported.
Hats Off to Chapeau Linux's Better Fedora Concept
January 4, 2016
The Chapeau project's latest version arrived last month and is a good choice for enterprise users who want something a step above the traditional Fedora distro. An iconic Linux distro, Fedora is a very popular choice in enterprise shops, but it's less than ideal for home and SMB use without an IT staff to make it work. That is where Chapeau 23 comes to the rescue.
Backspace Flaw Enables Linux Zero-Day Attack
December 28, 2015
Researchers last week revealed a zero-day flaw that lets attackers take over a Linux system by pressing the backspace key repeatedly. Pressing backspace 17 to 20 times will overwrite the highest byte of the return address of the grub_memset() function, ultimately causing a reboot by redirecting control flow to the 0x00eb53e8 address, according to the Cybersecurity Group at the Universitat Politecnica de Valencia.
GeckoLinux: This Baby Knows What It's Doing
December 11, 2015
GeckoLinux is a custom spin of the openSuse project. It offers an impressive variety of options and easier operation than typical Suse-based Linux distros provide. GeckoLinux is a newcomer. I mean very new. Its first release was last week. You shouldn't view this distro as a wailing infant, however. It's based on openSuse Leap 42.1 and was leapfrogged into near-instant maturity from Suse Studio.
Mozilla Gives Up Firefox Phone Ambitions
December 10, 2015
Mozilla on Wednesday confirmed that it has hung up on the Firefox OS mobile phone and will try using the operating system to dial into other connected device uses instead. The company spent several years developing a browser-based smartphone OS. It ended its sales program of the Firefox mobile operating system to carriers and will no longer develop the OS for smartphones, Mozilla said.
Apple Tweaks Music, Mail, News in iOS Update
December 10, 2015
Apple on Tuesday released a new version of iOS, and while it was largely a maintenance release of the mobile operating system, the upgrade included some treats for music and news enthusiasts. The release, iOS 9.2, improved Apple Music, the company's streaming music service, in a number of ways. For example, users can create new playlists when adding a song to a playlist.
Hot New BunsenLabs Linux Eases Pain of CrunchBang Loss
December 7, 2015
BunsenLabs Linux does a bang-up job of picking up where CrunchBang Linux left off. Developer Philip Newborough retired the popular minimalist distro earlier this year. In a world of feature-packed operating systems and bloated Linux distros, he felt his CrunchBang alternative served no further purpose. BunsenLabs is one of three CrunchBang replacements that mimic the lightweight but functional OS.
Steve Ballmer's Excellent Android Adventure
December 7, 2015
Steve Ballmer last week presented an interesting plan to kill Android -- or at least compete with it. What's ironic is that Ballmer's tenure at Microsoft wasn't short of good ideas -- it was short on execution. In contrast, Satya Nadella has shown strength in execution but -- so far -- hasn't come up with anything that represents the kind of risks that Ballmer was willing to take.
Ballmer Points Out Error of Microsoft's Ways
December 4, 2015
Former CEO Steve Ballmer on Wednesday called out Microsoft on finance reporting and its app strategy for Windows Phone. CEO Satya Nadella this summer laid out his vision for the company in a letter to employees. It included a Windows 10 strategy founded on universal apps, software that could be scaled to Xbox One, Window Phones, tablets and desktops. That's the wrong way to go, Ballmer asserted.
Sluggish Download and Install Subtract From Netrunner's Pluses
December 3, 2015
The Netrunner Rolling 2015.11 version is a disappointing release. It seems sluggish and unimpressive right from the start. Linux Picks and Pans last reviewed Netrunner in 2013 and gave it five stars. This was the standard Netrunner edition built upon Kubuntu, Ubuntu's KDE desktop version. The Netrunner Rolling edition, released in 2014, is based on packages from the Manjaro distribution.
Top 10 Open Source Developments of 2015
December 2, 2015
Open source is driving an ever-expanding market. The notion of community-driven development is a growing disruption to proprietary software controlled by commercial vendors, and the free open source software concept has become a major disruption in industry and technology. Open source is so pervasive that people overlook how it's the glue of modern communication and enterprise business models.
Android Studio 2.0 Aims to Rev App Development
December 1, 2015
Google last week released a preview of Android Studio 2.0 at the inaugural Android Dev Summit in Mountain View, California. The preview offers several updates, including Instant Run and a new GPU Profiler. Instant Run lets developers see changes to code running on their devices or emulators, while the GPU Profiler lets users profile their OpenGL ES Android code.
Vinux Enhances Productivity for Visually Impaired Users
November 23, 2015
Vinux 5.0 is a striking example of the flexibility and usability of the Linux OS. Vinux is a fully functional Linux distro that caters to blind and partially sighted users. It's based on Ubuntu Trusty Tahr 14.04.3 LTS and gives users support through 2019. The latest version was released earlier this month. It greatly improves on the usability features of other Linux distributions.
HPE Closes Ranks With Microsoft on Windows 10
November 23, 2015
Microsoft last week announced a collaboration with Hewlett Packard Enterprise to push Windows 10 solutions to enterprises worldwide. The collaboration will occur in three areas: cloud, productivity and mobility. The move harks back to the strategy Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella outlined last year, saying the company would focus on cloud, mobile and empowering users everywhere.
Microsoft Doubles Down on Open Source
November 20, 2015
Microsoft this week announced at its Connect conference in New York City an expansion of its developer tools with a focus on Linux, Android and open source. The move is an effort to help close the gap between Microsoft's developer platforms and the open source world. The programs include free access for developers who are getting started, updates to .NET, and the renaming of Visual Studio Online.
Nvidia Updates Shield Tablet, Shaves $100 Off Price
November 20, 2015
Nvidia this week revealed a refreshed Shield Tablet K1 and indicated that it isn't done updating the gaming slate. One of the biggest parts of the refresh is a cut of $100 off the price of the 16-GB tablet. The original Shield Tablet was available in a $299 16-GB version and a $399 32-GB variant. A new battery replaces the fire-prone cells that caused a recall of the original Shield Tablets.
Ubuntu Studio Is a Treasure Trove for Creative Types
November 17, 2015
Ubuntu Studio 15.10 is a one-stop Linux OS shop for most creative people. It bundles a nearly full range of multimedia content-creation applications for workflows involving audio, graphics, video, photography and publishing. The developers describe this distro as a multimedia content-creation hub for all five creative workflows. The last element -- publishing -- is the weakest link.
Linux Leaders Join HPC Devs on Open Source Framework
November 13, 2015
The Linux Foundation on Thursday announced that it's forming the OpenHPC Collaborative Project to push the software supply to support high-powered computing. The project will provide a new open source framework to meet HPC's application demands and parallel runtime requirements. The framework will provide upstream project components, tools and interconnections to enable the software stack.
Valve's Steam Gaming Hardware Hits Home
November 13, 2015
Valve this week rolled out the hardware phase of its road map from bedrooms and basements to living rooms and lounge areas with its long-awaited video game controller, PC link box and Steam boxes. Valve's road map to the living room began with Big Picture mode in 2011, continued with in-home streaming in 2014, and now includes the new Steam hardware.
Purism's Librem 13 Linux Laptop Is Sleek, Private and Secure
November 12, 2015
The combination of custom-made hardware paired with a tweaked Linux OS makes the Librem laptop lineup a unique offering with several innovative security features not offered in any other computer. The Librem line is a work in progress. The operating system just reached version 2.0 and comes preinstalled on the hardware built with the modified Linux kernel in mind.
iPad Pro: The Thrill Is Gone
November 12, 2015
Apple this week began selling its iPad Pro, but the newly introduced device is failing to evoke the enthusiasm the company's line of tablets traditionally has seen. Reviewers gave the device high marks for its battery life, screen, speakers, light weight and Pen, but panned the keyboard, the lack of a touchpad and 3D Touch, its long charging times and its price.
Google Opens Floodgates for TensorFlow Development
November 10, 2015
Google released TensorFlow, its second-generation machine learning system, to the open source community. It's offering TensorFlow as a standalone library with associated tools, tutorials and examples under the Apache 2.0 license. Google uses TensorFlow in deep learning, Google Search and other applications. Apps built with TensorFlow can move seamlessly from desktops to mobile phones.
BlackBerry's Priv Puzzles the Tech World
November 9, 2015
BlackBerry on Friday released its Priv smartphone, its first Android-based device. The Android 5.1.1 Lollipop slider is driven by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 hexa-core processor and an Adreno 418 GPU. It's stocked with 3 GB of low-power RAM and 32 GB of storage. There's an 18-MP shooter on its backside and a 2-MP chat cam on its face.
Why Tablets Are Tanking
November 9, 2015
Boy, we really have gone full circle on tablets -- and not just once. Back when the Windows tablets first came to market, a whole bunch of us predicted it wouldn't be long before they replaced all of the notebooks. I don't think they even made it to 10 percent before the tablet market collapsed, and the pre-existing forms reclaimed their shares. Then the iPad launched.
Microsoft and Red Hat Collaborate in the Cloud
November 6, 2015
Microsoft and Red Hat on Wednesday announced a deal that bridges their cloud technologies, which have been separated by the competing Windows and Linux platforms. The partnership lets customers migrate their data to either Microsoft Azure or Red Hat Enterprise Linux. It also integrates features in both cloud systems so customers can use them interchangeably.
Cortana for iOS Enters Beta Territory
November 4, 2015
Microsoft this week launched a survey for Windows Insiders, seeking candidates for a limited beta of Cortana for iOS. "We're testing the Cortana for iOS app with a limited number of users in the U.S. and China before releasing [it] publicly," said Microsoft spokesperson Jennifer Reynolds. The full app is slated for release later this year. Selected testers will get the app in the next few weeks.
GALPon MiniNo Makes Kid-Friendly Lightweight Linux
November 4, 2015
GALPon MiniNo is one of the strangest and most distinctive Linux distros to grace the Linux Picks and Pans computer screens. Those two traits make it an almost ideal option for anyone looking for a reliable operating system for youngsters and educational facilities that cater to early education students. PicarOS Diego 2015 is the latest in the GALPon MiniNo family of Linux products.
Chrome OS Is Dead, Long Live Chrome OS?
October 31, 2015
Google reportedly is two years into a plan to consolidate the Chrome operating system and Android and plans to roll out a combined OS in 2017. Chromebooks running the Chrome OS have gained adoption as entry-level computers for students and as a low-cost option for a growing number of corporate customers. "Chrome OS isn't being killed," said a source familiar with the company's strategy.
BackBox Takes Its Security Tools Seriously
October 30, 2015
BackBox Linux 4.4 is a great Linux distro for IT and other techies who want to do their own penetration tests and security assessments. The latest version, released this month, is an Ubuntu 14.04.3-based distribution that's speedy and simple to use. It's a fully functional Linux distro that comes well stocked with standard software and runs a desktop environment based on the Xfce window manager.
Plasma 5 Powers KaOS Productivity
October 27, 2015
KaOS is an efficient Linux distribution built around a refined KDE desktop environment that just keeps getting better. The KDE integration is more controlled than other Linux choices. I reviewed this distro last year, and I was impressed then with the solid performance of KaOS. The latest version takes it a step further, adding a calming, cleaner look and feel to the user interface.
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