Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 7th Apr 2016 21:59 UTC, submitted by HAL
Internet & Networking

We are all absolutely unique and we want different things. Vivaldi web browser lets you do things your way by adapting to you and not the other way around. You prefer the browser tabs placed at the bottom or on the side of the window? - You prefer a different address bar location? Go ahead and customize your preferences be it your keyboard shortcuts, mouse gestures, appearance and so on.

It's supposed to scratch that Opera itch, but I know just how demanding Opera users are. I am really curious to see if Vivaldi will ever be able to walk in those footsteps.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 6th Apr 2016 22:13 UTC
Apple

Apple has added two new keys labeled "isFirstParty" and "isFirstPartyHideableApp" in iTunes metadata. These two new values started showing up a few weeks ago on every app in the App Store. The iTunes metadata is where all the information about an app is stored. It shows things like the date it was released, the App Store category it's in, its size, etc. The new keys suggest the ability to remove apps such as Stocks, Compass, and Voice Messages is coming very soon.

Hiding is not removing, but at least this will solve part of the fast-growing unremovable crapware problem on iOS.

 



Written by Jordan Spencer Cunningham on Wed 6th Apr 2016 17:00 UTC
Original OSNews Interviews

It's been several weeks since Ray Tomlinson, best known for the invention of email, passed on. Email, however, represents only a very small portion of his work and contributions.

While writing a research paper on possible new methods to reduce and eradicate malware, I came across a bit of intriguing history whose available details did not satisfy my curiosity, and I needed to know more than what the internet had to offer. The event in question was the creation of Creeper, a piece of software created in 1971 by Bob Thomas that, according to most sources, is the world's first computer virus. There hasn't been a lot of information available on the internet regarding Creeper except that it was created to "infect" computers running the TENEX operating system on ARPAnet. It would cause the machine to print "I'M THE CREEPER. CATCH ME IF YOU CAN." Then Ray Tomlinson created Reaper whose sole purpose was to seek out and remove Creeper from the machines it had "infected".

I wanted to know more, though. Why was Creeper created in the first place? Did it cause problems? Was it an annoyance to those managing the machines it affected? Should it really be considered the first virus (technically worm, if that)? In late 2014 I ended up finding Ray Tomlinson on LinkedIn of all places and asked him if I could ask a few questions about Creeper and Reaper. He very kindly obliged.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 5th Apr 2016 22:23 UTC
Privacy, Security, Encryption

Over the past year, we've been progressively rolling out Signal Protocol support for all WhatsApp communication across all WhatsApp clients. This includes chats, group chats, attachments, voice notes, and voice calls across Android, iPhone, Windows Phone, Nokia S40, Nokia S60, Blackberry, and BB10.

As of today, the integration is fully complete. Users running the most recent versions of WhatsApp on any platform now get full end to end encryption for every message they send and every WhatsApp call they make when communicating with each other. This includes all the benefits of the Signal Protocol - a modern, open source, forward secure, strong encryption protocol for asynchronous messaging systems, designed to make end-to-end encrypted messaging as seamless as possible.

WhatsApp is the most popular messaging protocol in the world (in my own country it's effectively at 100% market share), so to see it do end-to-end encryption is a huge deal.

 

Linked by HAL on Tue 5th Apr 2016 22:12 UTC
OSNews, Generic OSes

Subgraph, an open source security company based in Montreal, has published the alpha release of Subgraph OS, which is designed to with security, anonymity AND usability in mind.

"Subgraph OS was designed from the ground-up to reduce the risks in endpoint systems so that individuals and organizations around the world can communicate, share, and collaborate without fear of surveillance or interference by sophisticated adversaries through network borne attacks," its creators say.

Not the first time we've talked about it.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 4th Apr 2016 18:05 UTC
FreeBSD

The FreeBSD Release Engineering Team is pleased to announce the availability of FreeBSD 10.3-RELEASE. This is the third release of the stable/10 branch, which improves on the stability of FreeBSD 10.2-RELEASE and introduces some new features.

It's got a ton of improvements to the UEFI boot loader, the Linux compatibility layer, and a whole lot more.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 4th Apr 2016 17:59 UTC
Amiga & AROS

You might be asking yourself, less stripes? No, not the colorful stripes on your breadbin badge. We're talking about the stripes on the video image. The same stripes that we've all become accustomed to over the many years of playing Commodore 64 games, watching demos and carrying on with modems and BBS's. These stripes, which are actually interference, come in a variety of flavors: horizontal, vertical, and checkerboard patterns. The intensity of the stripes also varies from machine to machine. Some say with that these stripes become even more apparent when using a C64 with a modern LCD monitor.

Whether you love them or hate them, there is a solution for easing or even completely eliminating the stripes all together. The user e5frog on lemon64.com came up with a design for a carrier PCB that would sit between the VIC-II and the motherboard. It's purpose was to invert certain signals back into itself, each with an adjustable degree. These signals AEC, PHI0 and chroma are all thought to contribute to the stripes on the final output image of the C64. It's a fascinating discussion that I urge you to read.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 3rd Apr 2016 22:36 UTC
Games

White male terrorism is the white underbelly of the gaming community, meant to terrify and disrupt the lives of those who threaten the status quo by race, gender, or sexuality. It succeeds because the majority of men in the community are too cowardly to stand against the bullies and the terrorists. At best, these cowards ignore the problem. At worst, they join the terrorists in blaming their victims for the abuse. The point of online terrorism is that it is endless, omnipresent, and anonymous. I have no way of knowing whether the person with whom I’m gaming is safe or the person who wants to “slit [my] throat and fuck the gash until [I] drown in cum”. Knowing that the person sending those e-mails could be anyone and the community will not support me if/when I am attacked keeps myself and many others from the hobby.

Happy Sunday.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 1st Apr 2016 16:22 UTC
Apple

In 2016 Apple has become a very different kind of company - the most valuable company in the world, it so happens. Over the past 40 years, Apple has gone from a struggling upstart challenging IBM and Microsoft to being a dominant platform vendor. A company founded by two friends who bonded over a love of hacking the long-distance phone network has become a major economic gatekeeper engaged in historic policy fights with the government. It is a remarkable, improbable success story.

After forty years, Apple is doing better than ever before - yet to me, it feels like they are doing worse than ever. To me, they reached their zenith about 12-15 years ago. I don't like companies for how popular they are, how widespread they are, how successful they are. All those things are irrelevant to me. They have no bearing on my enjoyment of products.

To me, the highpoint of Apple was the PowerPC G4 era. The iMac G4, the iBook G4, the PowerMac G4, and the Cube. I owned all four of those, and still feel remorse for getting rid of them. I liked Apple because of the soul and emotion it used to put into its machines.

I like things that aren't perfect. I like things that are inherently broken. It takes imperfection to notice perfection. I like things that could be better - but make up for it with a sense of uniqueness, personality, charm, quirkiness. Apple doesn't make products like that anymore. Everything they make now is cold, calculated, beancounted. Their products no longer have any soul, any emotion, any individuality. It's an endless parade of cold, dead metal.

I wish they'd loosen up a bit.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 1st Apr 2016 16:18 UTC
Games

Baldur's Gate is one of the most revered RPG series in video game history. It helped write the book on Western-style RPGs, putting a focus on memorable followers and party-based combat, and tossing it all in a blender with a dungeon and a dragon. Nearly two decades later, it's back.

Beamdog is a small studio, but they have grand - verging on grandiose - plans. The company was founded by Trent Oster, BioWare co-founder, and Cameron Tofer, former BioWare lead programmer. They've been quietly tinkering away on Enhanced Editions of classic BioWare and Black Isle RPGs like Baldur's Gate, Baldur's Gate II, and Icewind Dale, culminating in today's release of an all-new expansion, Baldur's Gate: Siege of Dragonspear. Oh, and they also recently brought on David Gaider, aka That Guy Who Made A Lot Of The Best Words In Dragon Age And Other BioWare RPGs For 17 Years.

The Infinity engine games - the Baldur's Gate games, Icewind Dale, and of course the best one, Planescape: Torment - all make up the first golden age of RPGs. And today, we are lucky enough to witness the second golden age of RPGs, with games like Pillars of Eternity, Wasteland II, and Torment: Tides of Numenera, and cleaned-up versions of the classics. It's a really great time to be a fan of classic RPGs.

And it's about to get even better.

"Basically, Baldur's Gate III, every two weeks when we call [Dungeons & Dragons publisher] Wizards of the Coast, something comes up," said Daigle. "The Baldur's Gate III thing, when are we going to do that? I think the answer is when the right people and the right partners line up, something big will happen."

Yes please.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 30th Mar 2016 20:53 UTC
Windows

Microsoft kicked off its Build developer conference in San Francisco with a focus on Windows 10, bots, and developer tools, but there was something missing: Windows Phone. A single demo of Skype running on a Windows Phone was the only time a phone running Windows 10 Mobile appeared for longer than a few seconds, and it felt like Microsoft was more focused on Windows 10 for Xbox and HoloLens. I got the chance to speak to Windows chief Terry Myerson briefly after today's keynote, and it's clear Microsoft focus isn't on phones this year.

"We're fully committed to that 4-inch screen, there will be a time for it to be our focus, but right now it's part of the family but it's not the core of where I hope to generate developer interest over the next year," explains Myerson. "There's no lack of recognition to realize how important that form factor is, but for Microsoft with Windows and for our platform it's the wrong place for us to lead."

So, like any other year then.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 30th Mar 2016 16:25 UTC
Windows

This isn't Bash or Ubuntu running in a VM. This is a real native Bash Linux binary running on Windows itself. It's fast and lightweight and it's the real binaries. This is a genuine Ubuntu image on top of Windows with all the Linux tools I use like awk, sed, grep, vi, etc. It's fast and it's lightweight. The binaries are downloaded by you - using apt-get - just as on Linux, because it is Linux. You can apt-get and download other tools like Ruby, Redis, emacs, and on and on. This is brilliant for developers that use a diverse set of tools like me.

Windows just got cancer.

Update: here's more information on the technical implementation. In short, it's a sort-of reverse WINE - it translates Linux syscalls to Windows syscalls in real time.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 30th Mar 2016 10:36 UTC
Windows

According to sources at Canonical, Ubuntu Linux's parent company, and Microsoft, you'll soon be able to run Ubuntu on Windows 10.

This will be more than just running the Bash shell on Windows 10. After all, thanks to programs such as Cygwin or MSYS utilities, hardcore Unix users have long been able to run the popular Bash command line interface (CLI) on Windows.

With this new addition, Ubuntu users will be able to run Ubuntu simultaneously with Windows. This will not be in a virtual machine, but as an integrated part of Windows 10.

We'll learn more today, but this sounds like a pretty cool thing to have - and something that can replace Cygwin.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 29th Mar 2016 23:04 UTC
OSNews, Generic OSes

I'm happy to announce the release of Sortix 1.0. This is the first self-hosting and installable release.

Sortix is a small self-hosting operating-system aiming to be a clean and modern POSIX implementation. It is a hobbyist operating system written from scratch with its own base system, including kernel and standard library, as well as ports of third party software.

We first reported on Sortix (version 0.9) a year ago.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 29th Mar 2016 23:01 UTC
Legal

After months of work, the FBI finally has a way into the San Bernardino iPhone. In a court filing today, prosecutors told the court the new method for breaking into the phone is sound, and Apple's assistance is no longer required. "The government has now successfully accessed the data stored on Farook's iPhone," the filing reads, "and therefore no longer requires assistance from Apple." The filing provides no further details on the nature of the new method. Still, the result effectively finishes the court fight that has consumed Apple since February.

This is one of the strangest cases in technology I've seen in a long time.

Hunch: the FBI realised it would never win the case, and got out when it still could.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 29th Mar 2016 22:38 UTC
OpenBSD

OpenBSD 5.9 has been released a few days early! As always, OpenBSD doesn't do a very good job of summarising the most important changes in this new release, but that's okay - OpenBSD isn't targeted at people like me who know very little about the BSDs. It doesn't really matter - those of you using OpenBSD were probably already aware of what was coming anyway, and if not, the release notes will still make complete sense to you.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 28th Mar 2016 22:11 UTC
Games

"Just a few more months" has been the mantra of virtual reality since people started getting excited about the Oculus Rift, and saying it after the headset is released feels like either a huge cop-out or a sign that the VR we want may never actually arrive. But it's impossible to think of all the unreleased Oculus Touch experiences I've tried - like three-dimensional painting tool Quill, Old West shooting gallery Dead & Buried, and a VR version of Rock Band - and not feel like the Rift's best days are still ahead of it.

For the first time, though, there's something to do while you wait. The high cost of buying and running high-end VR headsets makes them inaccessible to many people, and the Rift in particular is relentlessly focused on gaming. Within these limitations, though, the Rift makes a good case for seated VR, and it lays a solid foundation for what's to come. The headset you can buy today is not Oculus' most ambitious vision for virtual reality - but it’s a vision that Oculus has successfully delivered on.

I really don't know what to make of the current crop of VR headsets. I just don't see the appeal in strapping an ugly hardware monstrosity on your head to play a few video games or watch some movies. There are several weird disconnects; you can look around - but not in 360 degrees, because the cables make that impossible. You can move your head to look - but you need buttons to walk. It feels more like a glorified display setup than VR, really.

On top of that, while I love to dive into a carefully crafted game or movie world mentally, I wouldn't want to do so physically. When you're using one of these things, you are effectively wearing a blindfold, with no idea of what's happening around you. I don't know about other people, but to me, that just sounds terrifying - and a little distopian.

I appreciate the science and engineering that's currently being done on VR, and I'm in no way saying this won't go anywhere - just that it doesn't seem like my personal cup of tea. On top of that, there are probably a ton of non-gaming uses where technology like this could really shine.

Meanwhile, I'm waiting for VR to grow up into the holodeck.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 28th Mar 2016 20:15 UTC
Amiga & AROS

A-EON Technology is pleased to announce the upcoming release of Warp3D Nova, its advanced 2D/3D shader based graphics system for AmigaOS 4 supporting selected RadeonHD 7xxx and Radeon Rx graphics cards with Southern Islands series GPUs.

Warp3D Nova delivers shader-based 3D graphics acceleration along with perpixel lighting and fluid rendering of larger vertex arrays as well as many other advanced graphics features. The addition of programmable shaders gives AmigaOS 4 developers an exciting new world of graphics possibilities. Warp3D Nova is a huge leap forward over earlier Warp3D and MiniGL implementations.

The AmigaOS clearly isn't the state of the art any longer - in case you've been living under a rock - but I am always surprised by the amount of development the platform is still seeing. Great work.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 28th Mar 2016 20:08 UTC, submitted by garyd
Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu

After the first few Ubuntu smartphones, it only made sense for Ubuntu to find its way to a tablet as well. The Aquaris M10 can now be preordered, and has the ability to switch between tablet mode and desktop mode, providing an interface for each.

When you switch to desktop mode, the scopes become windows which you can navigate using the touchscreen or with a mouse. You can also connect the tablet to a monitor to view your work on a larger screen. This convergence facilitates multitasking and expands the tablet’s possibilities as a work tool. What's more, it includes apps like LibreOffice and GIMP Image Editor, so you can use it without restrictions in a professional environment.

We're getting ever closer to an interface which automatically adapts to whatever screen or input devices it's connected to, which is something I personally would go for in a heartbeat. I find it incredibly silly that we're lugging around a phone and a laptop, have a desktop at home, and maybe even a tablet, when many of these devices are more than powerful enough to take on almost all computing tasks of any of them.

The Ubuntu tablet comes in two flavours, and starts at €259.

 

Linked by David Adams on Mon 28th Mar 2016 19:23 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless The release of the iPhone SE is emblematic of the "boringness" of the smartphone landscape. For the last few years, the only thing exciting about new smartphone releases was that they kept getting bigger. Now the tide has turned. An article at the Atlantic makes an interesting parallel: the codex, or the innovation now known as "the book" hasn't seen many innovations in centuries, but that doesn't mean that books are boring. It just means that the innovation is at the edges. The article points at the release of the Caterpillar S60 smartphone, designed for industrial use and featuring a thermal imaging camera, as indicative of a new trend of specialization that might make the mobile computing market interesting as it extends into ever more narrow niches.