Written by Thom Holwerda on Mon 15th Apr 2013 22:44 UTC
Almost exactly three years ago, I wrote about why OSNews was no longer OSNews: the alternative operating system scene had died, and OSNews, too, had to go with the times and move towards reporting on a new wave of operating systems - mobile, and all the repercussions that the explosion of smartphones and tablets have caused. Still, I was wondering something today: why aren't we seeing alternative operating systems on mobile?
You can say what you will about Windows Phone and Windows 8's Metro interface (I refuse to drop that name) - it's inefficient, unpopular, cumbersome, beautiful, ugly, organised, clean, limiting - but there's one thing we can all agree on: it's unique and distinctive. CNet has published a profile of Microsoft's Albert Shum, the man behind Metro, and he highlights what I think is at the very core of Microsoft's problems in mobile right now.
Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 12th Apr 2013 22:14 UTC
As I'm working on a long and detailed article about Psion and Symbian (similar in setup to the Palm article), I need to dive into a number of devices that I have never personally owned. One of the devices that was atop my list was what I think is the ultimate Symbian device: the Nokia E7 - the last of the long line of Communicators, released in early 2011. While more detailed information about it will find its way into the Psion/Symbian article, I figured it'd be interesting to give a few first impressions.
Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 9th Apr 2013 10:34 UTC
After Microsoft's extortion racket has failed to stop Android, and after Oracle's crazy baseless lawsuit failed to stop Android, and after Nokia adopting Windows Phone failed to stop Android, Microsoft, Nokia, and Oracle are now grasping the next straw in their fruitless efforts to stop Android: they've filed an antitrust complaint with the EU, claiming Google unfairly bundles applications with Android.
Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 8th Apr 2013 22:21 UTC
The reviews are universally positive, and virtually everyone seems to agree: the HTC One is one heck of an Android device, and quite possibly the best phone currently on the market. Outstanding build quality, great design, fast - and just like the One X before it, it looks like to me it's a far better phone than its Galaxy counterparts. Why, then, is no one buying HTC phones?
Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 5th Apr 2013 10:47 UTC
More and more evidence is pointing towards the next Xbox requiring an always-on internet connection in order to play any games - i.e., once you lose your connection, you can't play any game at all. Three minutes after losing your connection, "your" game will suspend itself and stop playing. Microsoft's Adam Orth took to Twitter to defend this anti-consumer practice, but he did so in the most ungraceful of ways.
Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 3rd Apr 2013 22:27 UTC
It's apparently browser engine day today. After Mozilla and Samsung announcing Servo, Google has just announced it's forking WebKit into Blink. Like WebKit, Blink will be open source, and it will also be used by other browser makers - most prominently, Opera has already announced it's not using WebKit, but Blink. Update: Courtesy of MacRumors, this graph illustrates how just how much Google contributed to WebKit. Much more than I thought. Also, Chrome developer Alex Russell: "To make a better platform faster, you must be able to iterate faster. Steps away from that are steps away from a better platform. Today's WebKit defeats that imperative in ways large and small. It's not anybody's fault, but it does need to change. And changing it will allow us to iterate faster, working through the annealing process that takes a good idea from drawing board to API to refined feature."
Written by Thom Holwerda on Wed 3rd Apr 2013 13:00 UTC
Joel Spolsky is ramping up the fight against patent trolls, the scourge of small companies and startups trying to advance technology in new and interesting ways. Sadly, while Spolsky is right on the money on everything, and even though the fight has to start somewhere, I think he - and others - are doing the industry a huge disservice by focussing entirely on pure patent trolls, without actually addressing the other side of the coin: medium and large business engaging in the same patent troll behaviour.
Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 1st Apr 2013 22:57 UTC
Last week, Facebook sent out an invite to a press event, to come check Facebook's 'New home on Android'. The press and bloggers went nuts, proclaiming that Facebook would fork Android and create its own phone. However, if you didn't wear the sensationalism-induced glasses, it was obvious from the invite itself that there would no forking of Android, and AndroidPolice confirmed it today.
Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 28th Mar 2013 23:16 UTC
Written by Howard Fosdick on Thu 28th Mar 2013 21:49 UTC
Like many OSNews readers, I use Ubuntu. I also use several less popular distros. What is it like to use these lesser-known distros compared to the dominant systems? How does running, say, VectorLinux or Puppy or PC-BSD, differ from using Ubuntu or Fedora? This article offers a few ideas. Obviously, it broadly generalizes about distros for the purpose of discussion.
Written by Thom Holwerda on Mon 25th Mar 2013 21:09 UTC
Late last week, Nokia dropped what many consider to be a bomb on the WebM project: a list of patents that VP8 supposedly infringes in the form of an IETF IPR declaration. The list has made the rounds around the web, often reported as proof that VP8 infringes upon Nokia's patents. All this stuff rang a bell. Haven't we been here before? Yup, we have, with another open source codec called Opus. Qualcomm and Huawei made the same claims as Nokia did, but they turned out to be complete bogus. As it turns out, this is standard practice in the dirty business of the patent licensing industry.
Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 22nd Mar 2013 14:20 UTC
This could potentially be quite big for Ubuntu and Linux in general. Canonical and the Chinese government have announced a collaboration to build a version of Ubuntu specifically for the Chinese market, which will become the reference architecture for standard operating systems in the country.
Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 22nd Mar 2013 09:56 UTC
If you don't live in the US, this is a pretty common source of irritation: US companies charging crazy markups on products sold in Europe, Asia, Australia, South America, and the rest of the world. The Australian government has had enough of this practice, and started an inquiry into the matter. Yesterday (or today? Timezones confuse me) Apple, Microsoft, and Adobe had to answer questions in a public hearing.
Written by Thom Holwerda on Thu 21st Mar 2013 21:06 UTC
Change platforms. Whenever you can. Ever since I got into computing, I've lived according to a very simple adage: change platforms all the time. For reasons I won't go into, the importance of this adage was reaffirmed today, and I figured I'd share it with you all - and hopefully, get a few of you to follow this adage as well.
Linked by KLU9 on Mon 18th Mar 2013 09:22 UTC
Every year on World Consumer Rights Day (March 15), government-controlled China Central Television (CCTV) broadcasts a special report (in Chinese) damning companies for abusing Chinese consumers. This year the targets included Apple. Apple was accused of giving Chinese consumers worse service than customers in other countries, specifically of giving them replacements that included cases from their old phone, while customers in the UK would get a 100% new product.
Written by Perry Helion on Fri 15th Mar 2013 18:20 UTC
Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 15th Mar 2013 17:09 UTC
Yesterday, during the most insane launch event in the history of technology, Samsung unveiled its next big flagship, the Galaxy S4. I really couldn't care less about this new phone - another plastic phone that looks exactly like its predecessor - but the flurry of interviews with Samsung executives that followed is far more interesting. With them, Samsung has repositioned Tizen - and if you connect the dots, something interesting is starting to appear.
Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 14th Mar 2013 10:26 UTC
In all honesty, this has taken far longer than I anticipated. Google, the world's largest internet advertising company, has removed several popular ad-blocking tools from the Play Store. While they are technically in the right to do so - they violate the Play Store developer distribution agreement - it's still a bit of a dick move. Luckily, though, unlike some other platforms, you can easily sideload the adblockers onto your Android device.
Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 13th Mar 2013 17:58 UTC
Andy Rubin, who created Android and has led its development both at Android Inc. and later at Google, has decided to step down as the big Android boss at Google. Having created the world's "most-used mobile operating system", as Google CEO Larry Page refers to it, I'd say his stint has been successful. Interestingly enough, he will be succeeded by Sundar Pichai - Chrome OS boss. Yes.