OSNews Frequently Asked Questions

Check our OSNews Docs for more

Not all of your stories are about operating systems, but your site is called OSNews. What gives?

OSNews is not just about operating systems. We report on other technology news, on development issues and articles, hardware, and if it is a slow news day, we might kick in some sci-fi movie news or other stuff we might find interesting. Our motto is "Exploring the Future of Computing," and we do just that... and more. While we try to focus on all major news about operating systems, ultimately, we report on a range of technologies and anything else we think our readers might find interesting.

What if I don't want to share my email address?

In order to register, you must have a valid email address. In order to prevent abuse, you must have a valid, unique email address. OSNews will not use your email address for any reason without your authorization.

What if I don't accept your cookie?

The OSNews login system uses a cookie for authentication. This cookie does not contain any identifiable information or any form of your username or password. Currently, if your browser cannot accept cookies or you are not willing to accept our cookie, you cannot login to our website.

What are the benefits of registering?

OSNews requires that you register if you wish to post comments on our site. Many registered users are awarded "comment votes" which may be used to reward or report other rule infriging comments on our site. In addition, registered users have the ability to set a default "score threshold" which will remove low rated comments from your view.

Are there terms of use for my OSNews account?

Yes, there are terms of use, and we are currently working on drafting a final official version. In the meantime, use these guidelines: We will not tolerate abuse. We will not share your email address with any third party. Fake, fraudulent, imposter, and duplicate accounts used for any reason will be dealt with swiftly and justly. We reserve the right to modify, temporarily ban, deactivate, or terminate any account at any time that doesn't conform to the rules set forth or is found to be using the site in an objectionable way.

Are there any known bugs with the site?

Maybe. We have gone to great lengths to test the site on as many browsers as possible, however, to maximize compatibility, we had to make some tough decisions. This version of the site utilizes asychronous javascript (often refered to as "AJAX") which doesn't work in many older browsers. If your browser does not support javascript, you will definitely have problems using all features of the site.

How secure is the OSNews cookie?

The OSNews cookie does not contain any identifiable information or any form of your username or password.

How come I can't login on the mobile/text version?

The mobile version of OSNews version 4 does not currently support logins. All mobile users will browse and post to the site as an anonymous user. In addition, text mode browsers (lynx, elinks, links & w3m) aren't able to login or create accounts. These browsers will function as "anonymous" because of limitations posed either by their capabilities or screen resolution. You can still post comments, however, by providing your username and password along with your comment.

What are "comment votes?"

Trusted users of OSNews.com are awarded "comment votes" which can be used to vote comments up or down. Subsequently, each comment has a score. Each user can set their score threshold in their preferences, and adjust the signal to noise ratio in the forums. Top rated users' comments start with a score of 2, all other users' comments begin life with a score of 1 and are either rated up or down by other OSNews readers.

Can I change my username once I register?

No, you can't currently change your username. You can change the case of your username, but not the actual username. If you really need your username changed, contact us, and if we're feeling kind, we'll probably oblige.

What are bookmarks?

From time to time, you may find a particularly useful or insightful comment that you want to refer back to. It might include a useful link, or some commands you might want to use later. In such a case, by clicking the heart in the lower corner of the comment, you can "bookmark" it. Your bookmarks are visible in your user page.

What are "starred" stories?

Like comment "bookmarks," these are stories you want to refer back to. This is modelled after the Gmail concept of starring, in that it's easy to find your previously starred stories. Your starred stories are also available as a public RSS feed in your user profile.

What are "recommendations" stories?

Recommendations are just that: stories you recommend other OSNews readers read. Recommendations are different from starred stories in that they are totalled on the front page for all to see. Like starred stories, your recommendations are also available as a public RSS feed in your user profile.

What are friends?

You may find that there are some users who contribute consistently high quality comments. Or you may have developed a relationship with someone, or perhaps you simply want to add some credibility to a new user by association. In this case, you can make somebody your "friend." A friend is indicated by a blue star following their username. In addition, you can also view your friends in your user page. We chose "friend" because, in the words of our publisher, "We don't really have a word yet for 'friends from the internet that we don't really know and will probably never meet but communicate with more than our real life friends'."

What are fans?

A fan is someone who has added you as a friend. A fan is indicated by a purple star following their name. In addition, you can also view your fans in your user page. It's not necessary to add a fan as a friend, but if you reciprocate, the notification will change. This feature will be available shortly.

Who wrote this site?

The original OSNews codebase was written by Eugenia Loli-Queru, our ex-editor in chief. Version 4 was a complete rewrite with an entire UI overhaul. It was written and maintained by Adam Scheinberg. OSNews is published by David Adams. If you are interested in licensing the code that runs osnews.com, please contact David Adams.

What is "trust?"

Each user has a rating called "trust" that is calculated by evaluating your posting history and the associated moderations. Trust is used by the system to periodically reallocate comment votes. Your trust score isn't publically visible, however, trust is a valid way for the site administrators to determine the "value" of an account.