Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 13th Dec 2018 01:06 UTC
Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu

Compiz can quickly get you the desktop you deserve: a desktop with a very high degree of customizability, on top of being faster than the default GNOME Shell, and (as far as I can tell) faster than Mac or Windows.

The best part is that it takes no time at all to get up and running! I’ll show you how to transform Ubuntu into a desktop that is functionally similar to Mac.

I doubt any of this is news to many OSNews readers, but it's still a nice introduction into the functionality offered by Compiz.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 13th Dec 2018 01:03 UTC
Windows

The OpenSSH client and server are now available as a supported Feature-on-Demand in Windows Server 2019 and Windows 10 1809! The Win32 port of OpenSSH was first included in the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update and Windows Server 1709 as a pre-release feature. In the Windows 10 1803 release, OpenSSH was released as a supported feature on-demand component, but there was not a supported release on Windows Server until now.

 



Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 12th Dec 2018 23:34 UTC, submitted by Ruben
FreeBSD

The FreeBSD Release Engineering Team is pleased to announce the availability of FreeBSD 12.0-RELEASE. This is the first release of the stable/12 branch.

The full release notes have all the details.

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Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 12th Dec 2018 23:26 UTC
Intel

It has been hard to miss the fact that Intel has been vacuuming up a lot of industry talent, which brings with them a lot of experience. Renduchintala, Koduri, Keller, Hook, and Carvill, are just to name a few. This new crew has decided to break Intel out of its shell for the first time in a while, holding the first in a new tradition of Intel Architecture Days. Through the five hours of presentations, Intel lifted the lid on the CPU core roadmaps through 2021, the next generation of integrated graphics, the future of Intel's graphics business, new chips built on 3D packaging technologies, and even parts of the microarchitecture for the 2019 consumer processors. In other words, it's many of the things we've been missing out on for years. And now that Intel is once again holding these kinds of disclosures, there's a lot to dig in to.

AnandTech's coverage of the event.

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Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 12th Dec 2018 23:13 UTC
Linux

It was just several years ago that the open-source ecosystem began supporting the x32 ABI, but already kernel developers are talking of potentially deprecating the support and for it to be ultimately removed.

The Linux x32 ABI as a reminder requires x86_64 processors and is engineered to support the modern x86_64 features but with using 32-bit pointers rather than 64-bit pointers. The x32 ABI allows for making use of the additional registers and other features of x86_64 but with just 32-bit pointers in order to provide faster performance when 64-bit pointers are unnecessary.

This headline confused me for a second, because at first I thought the Linux team was removing 32 bit support - which obviously made little sense to me. As the quoted blurb explains, that's not the case.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 12th Dec 2018 23:10 UTC
Hardware, Embedded Systems

It's pretty simple to archive Commodore 64 tapes, but it's hard if you want to do it right. Creating the complete archive of the German "INPUT 64" magazine was not as easy as getting one copy of each of the 32 tapes and reading them. The tapes are over 30 years old by now, and many of them are hardly readable any more.

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Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 10th Dec 2018 19:17 UTC
In the News

Doug Engelbart was the first to actually build a computer that might seem familiar to us, today. He came to Silicon Valley after a stint in the Navy as a radar technician during World War II. Engelbart was, in his own estimation, a "naive drifter", but something about the Valley inspired him to think big. Engelbart's idea was that computers of the future should be optimized for human needs - communication and collaboration. Computers, he reasoned, should have keyboards and screens instead of punch cards and printouts. They should augment rather than replace the human intellect. And so he pulled a team together and built a working prototype: the oN‑Line System. Unlike earlier efforts, the NLS wasn't a military supercalculator. It was a general‑purpose tool designed to help knowledge workers perform better and faster, and that was a controversial idea. Letting non-engineers interact directly with a computer was seen as harebrained, utopian - subversive, even. And then people saw the demo.

Engelbart is one of the greatest visionaries of this industry.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 10th Dec 2018 19:11 UTC
Windows

Last week, Microsoft began the relaunch of the Windows 10 October 2018 Update after pulling it more than a month ago due to a file deletion bug that somehow crept into the shipping build. While Microsoft has since gone into extensive detail as to how it's making sure something like this doesn't happen again, it's still unclear how such an issue made its way into the final release. So I did some digging.

Short version: Microsoft conflated two different bugs.

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Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 8th Dec 2018 02:12 UTC
Google

With yesterday's Flutter Live event and the stable release of Flutter, one of the primary ways to create Fuchsia apps, Google is one step closer to possibly unveiling their in-development operating system. Another unexpected step is coming, in the form of the official Android Emulator from Android Studio gaining the ability to boot Fuchsia's Zircon kernel.

While Google can be quite fickle, I feel every step forward for Fuchsia is a step towards the grave for Android/Linux.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 8th Dec 2018 01:43 UTC
Android

The Android Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) platform is seven years old and the active device count has been below 1% for some time. Consequently, we are deprecating support for ICS in future releases of Google Play services. For devices running ICS, the Google Play Store will no longer update Play Services APK beyond version 14.7.99.

Seven years seems reasonable.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 8th Dec 2018 00:42 UTC
General Development

This is a 8086 assembler written in MSDOS batch. It depends on just two utilities: RPN.COM and APPFB.COM, the rest is completely in batch.

This is wizardry, right?

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 8th Dec 2018 00:39 UTC
Mozilla & Gecko clones

Mozilla's response to Microsoft adopting Chromium.

Microsoft is officially giving up on an independent shared platform for the internet. By adopting Chromium, Microsoft hands over control of even more of online life to Google.

This may sound melodramatic, but it's not. The "browser engines" - Chromium from Google and Gecko Quantum from Mozilla - are "inside baseball" pieces of software that actually determine a great deal of what each of us can do online. They determine core capabilities such as which content we as consumers can see, how secure we are when we watch content, and how much control we have over what websites and services can do to us. Microsoft's decision gives Google more ability to single-handedly decide what possibilities are available to each one of us.

The question is now how long Firefox will be able to survive. The cold and harsh truth is that Firefox usage hasn't exactly been trending upwards, and with even Microsoft throwing its full weight behind Chromium, even more web developers won't even bother to test against anything other than Chromium and Apple's WebKit. How long can Mozilla and Firefox survive this reality?

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 8th Dec 2018 00:33 UTC
General Development

For decades, PC users have been able to relax by watching the computer defragment a disk. Now C64 users can do the same! Introducing "defrag1541", a disk defragmentation tool for C64 and 1541.

Once I manage to procure a proper fully kitted-out C64, there's a whole world of 'modern' software written long after the computer's lifespan to experience.

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Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 8th Dec 2018 00:22 UTC
Hardware, Embedded Systems

Due to their size and lack of portability, 17-inch notebooks are not exactly popular among road warriors. Instead this is largely the domain of desktop replacement-class machines, which in turn has caused 17-inch laptops to be built bigger still in order to maximize their performance and emphasize the replacement aspect. Every now and then however we see a 17-inch laptop that still tries to be reasonably portable, and this is the case with LG's latest gram laptop, which hit the market this week.

Equipped with a 17.3-inch screen featuring a 2560×1600 resolution, the LG gram 17 comes in a dark silver Carbon Magnesium alloy chassis that is only 17.8 mm (0.7 inches) thick, which is thinner than most 15-inch notebooks (in fact, this even thinner than the ASUS ZenBook Pro 15). Meanwhile, the laptop weighs 1.33 kilograms (2.95 pounds), which is in line with many 13-inch mobile PCs. As a result, while the 17-inch gram still has a relatively large footprint, its still a relatively portable laptop.

I'm genuinely surprised LG decided to put this 17-incher on the market - consider it a sort of spiritual successor to the 17" PowerBook G4, in my view one of the best laptops ever made. It seems like the market has pretty much settled on 12"-13", with a few professional and low-end laptops offering a 15" screen. I hope this LG laptop is at least even a modest success, because I'd love for more 17" laptops to make it to market.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 6th Dec 2018 17:12 UTC
Microsoft

It's official.

For the past few years, Microsoft has meaningfully increased participation in the open source software (OSS) community, becoming one of the world's largest supporters of OSS projects. Today we're announcing that we intend to adopt the Chromium open source project in the development of Microsoft Edge on the desktop to create better web compatibility for our customers and less fragmentation of the web for all web developers.

As part of this, we intend to become a significant contributor to the Chromium project, in a way that can make not just Microsoft Edge - but other browsers as well - better on both PCs and other devices. The new Edge

Microsoft also has plans to bring Edge to other platforms, such as macOS. In addition, and perhaps most surprisingly, the new Edge will not be a UWP application - it will be a Win32 application that will also be available to Windows 7 and 8 users.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 6th Dec 2018 01:43 UTC
Windows

Microsoft is working on a new version of Windows that may not actually be Windows. It's currently called Lite, based on documentation found in the latest build, and I can confirm that this version of the OS is targeting Chromebooks. In fact, there are markings all over the latest release of the insider builds and SDK that help us understand where this OS is headed.

If you have heard this before, it should sound a lot like Windows 10 S and RT; Windows 10 Lite only runs PWAs and UWP apps and strips out everything else. This is finally a truly a lightweight version of Windows that isn’t only in the name. This is not a version of the OS that will run in the enterprise or even small business environments and I don’t think you will be able to ‘buy’ the OS either; OEM only may be the way forward.

[...]

And there's something a bit different about Lite that we haven't seen from every attempt at launching this type of software in the past: it may not be called Windows. With a new name and a different UI, uses WCOS, and is going to be Microsoft's next 'big bet' in the Windows space.

All I'll say is that you should keep an eye on Build 2019.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 5th Dec 2018 23:36 UTC
Google

Waymo, the self-driving subsidiary of Alphabet, launched its first commercial autonomous ride-hailing service here in the Phoenix suburbs on Wednesday - a momentous moment for the former Google self-driving project that has been working on the technology for almost a decade. I was one of the lucky few to test out the company's robot taxi experience a week before the launch. And I say "lucky" because to ride in one of Waymo's autonomous minivans, not only do you have to live in one of four suburbs around Phoenix, but you also have to be in a very exclusive, 400-person club called the Early Riders.

I want this technology to work.

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Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 5th Dec 2018 23:09 UTC
Hardware, Embedded Systems

Today is the second day of Qualcomm's Snapdragon Technology Summit in Maui, and while yesterday was all about 5G and a teaser for its new chipset, today is all about the Snapdragon 855. The new chipset is built on a 7nm architecture, promising faster speeds, better battery life, and improved connectivity.

[...]

But as far as general performance goes, Qualcomm says that its Kryo 485 cores will offer a 45% boost, and the Adreno 640 GPU will show a 20% increase. With the firm's Snapdragon Elite Gaming Platform, gamers will be able to play in HDR with physically based rendering (PBR).

If these numbers hold up - only independent benchmarking will tell - this will go a ways to closing the wide gap with Apple's current offering at least partially.

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Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 5th Dec 2018 22:22 UTC
Google

The filter bubble is particularly pernicious when searching for political topics. That's because undecided and inquisitive voters turn to search engines to conduct basic research on candidates and issues in the critical time when they are forming their opinions on them. If they're getting information that is swayed to one side because of their personal filter bubbles, then this can have a significant effect on political outcomes in aggregate.

[...]

Now, after the 2016 U.S. Presidential election and other recent elections, there is justified new interest in examining the ways people can be influenced politically online. In that context, we conducted another study to examine the state of Google's filter bubble problem in 2018.

Interesting study into the very real problem of Google's filter bubble, but do note that the study is performed by DuckDuckGo, a competitor to Google Search (one that I use myself, I might add). That being said, all the results, methodology, and data is freely available, and the code used to analyse the data is available on GitHub.

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Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 4th Dec 2018 21:28 UTC
Microsoft

Today, in the Microsoft Connect(); 2018 keynote, Scott Guthrie announced the availability of Visual Studio 2019 Preview 1. This is the first preview of the next major version of Visual Studio. In this Preview, we've focused on a few key areas, such as making it faster to open and work with projects stored in git repositories, improving IntelliSense with Artificial Intelligence (AI) (a feature we call Visual Studio IntelliCode), and making it easier to collaborate with your teammates by integrating Live Share. With each preview, we'll be adding capabilities, improving performance, and refining the user experience, and we absolutely want your feedback.

It seems like we have a lot of developer-oriented news today. As I've repeatedly said, I'm not a programmer in any way, shape, or form, so I tend to stick to just shutting up entirely (and there was much rejoicing). Luckily, knowledgeable folk usually step up in the comments.