Troubling iOS 17.5 bug reportedly resurfacing old deleted photos

iOS 17.5 seems to be experiencing a rather nasty bug that raises some very, very concerning questions about what Apple thinks “delete” really means.

After updating their iPhone, one user said they were shocked to find old NSFW photos that they deleted in 2021 suddenly showing up in photos marked as recently uploaded to iCloud. Other users have also chimed in with similar stories. “Same here,” said one Redditor. “I have four pics from 2010 that keep reappearing as the latest pics uploaded to iCloud. I have deleted them repeatedly.”

“Same thing happened to me,” replied another user. “Six photos from different times, all I have deleted. Some I had deleted in 2023.” More reports have been trickling in overnight. One said: “I had a random photo from a concert taken on my Canon camera reappear in my phone library, and it showed up as if it was added today.”

↫ Tim Hardwick at MacRumors

A report a few days later says that even on devices that have been wiped and sold, photos seem to be reappearing. This is even scarier than photos reappearing on devices you’re still using today – just think of all the iOS devices you’ve had and sold that might still be in use today. Users all over could be looking at old photos you took that you thought weren’t only deleted, but also wiped when you sold the devices in question.

Apple has not said anything yet, but it further illustrates just how untrustworthy companies like Apple really are. Even taking into account it might take some time (minutes? An hour?) for a delete request to propagate through iCloud’s server network, there’s obviously no way photos that were supposedly deleted years ago are resurfacing now – especially when entire device wipes are involved, and any new user isn’t even logged into the same iCloud account.

I hope for everyone involved – the users, that is, I don’t give a rat’s ass about Apple – that this isn’t very widespread, because the last thing any of us needs is old nude photos reappearing on random people’s devices.

What a mess.

Company behind Amiga OS 4 seems to be either going or is in fact bankrupt

So, I won’t be wasting too many words on this – partially because I’m not into cheap soap operas, and partially because there’s no way to know what’s going on with this nonsense without dedicating a year’s worth of detailed study into the subject. So it seems that the company Hyperion, which develops and owns the rights to Amiga OS 4 and Amiga OS 3.2 has gone into bankruptcy proceedings. The main shareholder of Hyperion, someone named Ben Hermans, has apparently set up several shell companies (or something?), and they might now own the rights to the two variants of Amiga OS, or they might not? And those shell companies have also gone into bankruptcy proceedings?

Hyperion has been managed by a receiver since last week (Update)
“Ben Hermans BV” (hereinafter: BHBV) is a private company with limited liability owned by Ben Hermans, which has held 97% of the shares in Hyperion since 2019 and acts as a ‘director’ of Hyperion on paper. In March, bankruptcy proceedings were initiated against BHBV for the second time. In the same month, Ben Hermans had already initiated the founding of a new company with the same name.

As BHBV has not published any statutory annual reports since 2021, it is currently unclear whether the company still holds the majority of shares in Hyperion. Ben Hermans has not responded to an inquiry from; the appointed liquidator Charlotte Piers tells us she’ll get back to us in the next few days with “a more detailed response”.


I stopped trying to keep track of this stuff years and years ago, but bits and bobs I’ve picked up since is that there’s been countless lawsuits flying back and forth, questions of rights ownership, and all sorts of other drama you can only keep track of by following the various different Amiga websites and forums in great detail on a daily basis.

As is Amiga tradition.

Amiga OS 4 is an interesting operating system that I spent some fun time with for an OSNews review way back in 2009, but at this point, if you’re truly hooked on the Amiga OS way of doing things, just stick to AROS. There’s technically also MorphOS, which is pretty great actually, but unless they sort out their own mess of being stuck to dying PowerPC Macs and move to x86 or ARM, they’re basically on borrowed time, too.

Microsoft’s official Windows performance boost app feels your PC is broken if you snub Bing

I didn’t know this was a thing, but apparently Microsoft offers a Windows tune-up application in the vein of things like CCleaner and similar tools. One of the things it does is protect users from applications that try and change default settings, and it seems the application takes this matter very seriously.

Microsoft may be taking a bit of liberty with that last bit. It looks like the PC Manager feels your PC is broken and needs repair if you changed your default search engine from Bing.

↫ Sayan Sen at Neowin

Setting aside just how defeatist it feels that the creator of Windows needs to make an application to keep Windows from falling over, I find it almost endearing just how hard Microsoft is trying to get users to choose Bing.

If you’ve ever seen the Swedish film Fucking Åmål, it’s also very likely you remember the gut-wrenching, maximally cringe-inducing birthday party for main character Agnes where nobody shows up, while her mother, oblivious to just how deeply disliked Agnes is by her classmates, tries desperately to assure her daughter that people will show up. Director Lukas Moodysson takes no prisoners and drags out the scene to really maximise just how uncomfortably sad the whole thing is.

It’s incredibly hard to watch.

Well, Agnes is Bing, Microsoft is its mother, and nobody shows up to Bing’s birthday party either.

Apple geofences third-party browser engine work for EU devices

Apple’s grudging accommodation of European law – allowing third-party browser engines on its mobile devices – apparently comes with a restriction that makes it difficult to develop and support third-party browser engines for the region.

The Register has learned from those involved in the browser trade that Apple has limited the development and testing of third-party browser engines to devices physically located in the EU. That requirement adds an additional barrier to anyone planning to develop and support a browser with an alternative engine in the EU.

↫ Thomas Claburn at The Register

If any normal person like you and I showed the same kind of blatant disregard for the law and authorities like Apple does in the EU, we’d be ruined by fines and possibly end up in jail. My only hope is that the European Commission goes through with its threats of massive fines of up to 10 or even 20 percent of worldwide turnover.

Slack users horrified to discover messages used for “AI” training

After launching Slack AI in February, Slack appears to be digging its heels in, defending its vague policy that by default sucks up customers’ data—including messages, content, and files—to train Slack’s global AI models.

↫ Ashley Belanger at Ars Technica

I’ve never used Slack and don’t intend to ever start, but the outcry about this reached far beyond Slack and its own communities. It’s been all over various forums and social media, and I’m glad Ars dove into it to collect all the various conflicting statements, policies, and blog posts Slack has made about their “Ai” policies. However, even after reading Ars’ article and the various articles about this at other outlets, I still have no idea what, exactly, Slack is or is not using to train its “AI” models.

I know a lot of people here think I am by definition against all forms of what companies are currently calling “AI”, but this is really not the case. I think there are countless areas where these technologies can make meaningful contributions, and a great example I encountered recently is the 4X strategy game Stellaris, one of my favourite games. The game recently got a big update called The Machine Age, which focuses on changing and improving the gameplay when you opt to play as cybernetically enhanced or outright robotic races.

As per Steam’s new rules regarding the use of AI in games, the Steam page included the following clarification about the use of “AI”:

We employ generative AI technologies during the creation of some assets. Typically this involves the ideation of content and visual reference material. These elements represent a minor component of the overall development. AI has been used to generate voices for an AI antagonist and a player advisor.

↫ The Machine Age Steam page

The game’s director explained that during the very early ideation phase, when someone like him, who isn’t a creative person, gets an idea, they might generate a piece of “AI” art and put it up on an ideation wall with tons of other assets just to get the point across, after which several rounds of artists and developers mould and shape some of those ideas into a final product. None of the early “AI” content makes it in the game. Similarly, while the game includes the voice for an AI antagonist and player advisor, the voice actors whose work was willingly used to generate the lines in the game are receiving royalties for each of those lines.

I have no issues whatsoever with this, because here it’s clear everyone involved is doing so in an informed manner and entirely willingly. Everything is above board, consent is freely given, and everybody knows what’s going on. This is a great example of ethical “AI” use; tools to help people make a product, easier – without stealing other people’s work or violating various licenses in the process.

What Slack is doing here – and what Copilot, OpenAI, and the various other tools do – is the exact opposite of this. Consent is only sought when the parties involved are big and powerful enough to cause problems, and even though they claim “AI” is not ripping anyone off, they also claim “AI” can’t work without taking other people’s work. Instead of being open and transparent about what they do, they hide themselves behind magical algorithms and shroud the origins of their “AI” training data in mystery.

If you’re using Slack – and odds are you do – I would strongly consider urging your boss to opt your organisation out of Slack’s “AI” data theft operation. You have no idea how much private information and corporate data is being exposed by these Salesforce clowns.

Why a ‘frozen’ distribution Linux kernel isn’t the safest choice for security

It’s a compelling story and on the surface makes a lot of sense. Carefully curated software patches applied to a known Linux kernel, frozen at a specific release, would obviously seem to be preferable to the random walk of an upstream open source Linux project. But is it true? Is there data to support this ?

After a lot of hard work and data analysis by my CIQ kernel engineering colleagues Ronnie Sahlberg and Jonathan Maple, we finally have an answer to this question. It’s no. The data shows that “frozen” vendor Linux kernels, created by branching off a release point and then using a team of engineers to select specific patches to back-port to that branch, are buggier than the upstream “stable” Linux kernel created by Greg Kroah-Hartman.

↫ Jeremy Allison at CIQ

I mean, it kind of makes sense. The full whitepaper is available, too.

State of the terminal

It’s only been in the last couple of years that I’ve begun to dig deep into the inner workings of how terminal emulators, and the applications that run inside of them, really work. I’ve learned that there is a lot of innovation and creative problem solving happening in this space, even though the underlying technology is over half a century old.

I’ve also found that many people who use terminal based tools (including shells like Bash and editors like Vim) know very little about terminals themselves, or some of the modern features and capabilities they can support.

In this article, we’ll discuss some of the problems that terminal based applications have historically had to deal with (and what the modern solutions are) as well as some features that modern terminal emulators support that you may not be aware of.

↫ Gregory Anders

I don’t use the terminal much – usually just to update my systems – but on occasion I’ve had to really sit down and explore them more than usual, especially now that my workstation runs OpenBSD, and the depth and breadth of features, options, and clever tricks they possess is amazing. Over the past half century they’ve accumulated a lot of features along the way, and even though its unlikely to ever be for me, I can somewhat begin to appreciate why some people just tile a bunch of terminals on their screens and do all their computing that way.

I grew up with MS-DOS and Windows 3.x and later, so I’m just too attached to my mouse and pretty icons to switch to a terminal lifestyle, but over the years I’ve seen some pretty amazing terminal applications, from Mastodon clients to complex mail applications and web browsers, and you can be sure none of them steal your data or show you ads.

Maybe the terminal people are right after all.

Virtual Boy: the bizarre rise and quick fall of Nintendo’s enigmatic red console

Nearly 30 years after the launch of the Virtual Boy, not much is publicly known about how, exactly, Nintendo came to be interested in developing what would ultimately become its ill-fated console. Was Nintendo committed to VR as a future for video games and looking for technological solutions that made business sense? Or was the Virtual Boy primarily the result of Nintendo going “off script” and seizing a unique, and possibly risky, opportunity that presented itself? The answer is probably a little bit of both.

As it turns out, the Virtual Boy was not an anomaly in Nintendo’s history with video game platforms. Rather, it was the result of a deliberate strategy that was consistent with Nintendo’s way of doing things and informed by its lead creator Gunpei Yokoi’s design philosophy.

↫ Benj Edwards and Jose Zagal at Ars Technica

I’ve never used a Virtual Boy, and in fact, I’ve never even seen one in real life. It was mythical object when I was not even a teenager yet, something we read about in gaming magazines in The Netherlands. We didn’t really know what it was or how it worked, and it wasn’t until much later, in the early YouTube age, that I got to see what using one was actually like in the countless YouTube videos made about the device.

It seems it caused quite a few headaches, was cumbersome to use, had very few games, and those that were sold ended up collecting dust pretty quickly. In that sense, it seems not a lot has changed over the past thirty years.

Winamp to “open up” its source code

Winamp has announced that on 24 September 2024, the application’s source code will be open to developers worldwide.

Winamp will open up its code for the player used on Windows, enabling the entire community to participate in its development. This is an invitation to global collaboration, where developers worldwide can contribute their expertise, ideas, and passion to help this iconic software evolve.

↫ Winamp press release

Nice, I guess, but twenty years to late to be of any relevance. At least it’ll be great for software preservation.

But what’s up with the odd language used in the press release, and the weirdly specific date that’s month from now? They really seem to want to avoid the term “open source”, which makes me think this is going to be one of those cases where they hope the community will work for them for free without actually using a real open source license. You know, those schemes that always – no exception – fail.

The X Window System and the curse of NumLock

Ordinary modifiers are normally straightforward, in that they are additional keys that are held down as you type the main key. Control, Shift, and Alt all work this way (by default). However, some modifiers are ‘sticky’, where you tap their key once to turn them on and then tap their key again to turn them off. The obvious example of this is Caps Lock (unless you turn its effects off, remapping its physical key to be, say, another Ctrl key). Another example, one that many X users have historically wound up quietly cursing, is NumLock. Why people wind up cursing NumLock, and why I have a program to control its state, is because of how X programs (such as window managers) often do their key and mouse button bindings.

↫ Chris Siebenmann

I always have an applet in my KDE panel that shows me if I have any sticky modifiers enabled without realising it. On some of my keyboards, this isn’t always easily noticable, especially when you’re focused on what’s happening on your display. A little icon that only shows up when a sticky modifier is engaged solves this problem, as it immediately stands out in your peripheral vision.

Qualcomm details Linux on Snapdragon X Elite, and it’s looking surprisingly good

With Qualcomm and Microsoft about to flood the market with devices using the new Snapdragon X Elite, those of us who don’t want to use Windows felt a bit uneasy – what’s Linux support going to look like for this new generation of ARM devices? Well, it seems Qualcomm’s been busy, and they’ve published a blog post detailing their work on Linux support for the X Elite.

It’s been our priority not only to support Linux on our premium-tier SoCs, but to support it pronto. In fact, within one or two days of publicly announcing each generation of Snapdragon 8, we’ve posted the initial patchset for Linux kernel support. Snapdragon X Elite was no exception: we announced on October 23 of last year and posted the patchset the next day. That was the result of a lot of pre-announcement work to get everything up and running on Linux and Debian.

↫ Qualcomm’s developer blog

In the blog post, the company details exactly which X Elite features have already been merged into mainline with Linux 6.8 and 6.9, as well as which features will be merged into mainline in Linux 6.10 and 6.11, and to be quite frank – it’s looking really solid, especially considering this is Qualcomm we’re talking about. Over the coming six months, they’re going to focus on getting end-to-end hardware video decoding working, including in Firefox and Chrome, as well as various CPU and GPU optimisations, adding the required firmware to the linux-firmware package, and providing access to easy installers.

All in all, it’s looking like the X Elite will be exceptionally well supported by Linux before the year’s over.

The blog post also details the boot path for Linux on the X Elite, and that, too, is looking good. It’s using a standard UEFI boot process, and supports GRUB and systemd-boot out of the box. Linux boots up using devicetrees, though, and apparently, there’s a known problem with using those that Qualcomm and the community are working on.

We’re working closely with upstream communities on an open problem with the UEFI-based BIOS while booting with devicetrees. The problem is that, when you have more than one devicetree blob (DTB) packed into the firmware package flashed on the device, there is no standard way of selecting a devicetree to pass on to the kernel. OEMs commonly put multiple DTBs into the firmware package so it will support devices with slightly different SKUs, so we’re keen to solve this problem.

↫ Qualcomm’s developer blog

I am pleasantly surprised by the openness and straightforwardness Qualcomm is showing the Linux community here, and I really hope this is a sign of how the company will keep supporting its laptop and possibly desktop-oriented SoCs from here on out. It seems like next year we will finally be getting competitive ARM laptops that can run Linux in a fully supported fashion.

Android 15 beta 2 released

Google released Android 15 beta 2 today, and with it, they unveiled some more of the new features coming to Android later this year when the final release lands. Android 15 comes with something called a private space, an area with an extra layer of authentication where you can keep applications and data hidden away, such as banking applications or health data. It’s effectively a separate user profile, and shows up as a separate area in the application drawer when unlocked. When locked, it disappears entirely from sight, share sheets, and so on.

Another awesome new feature is Theft Detection Lock, which uses Google “AI” to detect when a phone is snatched out of your hands by someone running, biking, or driving away, and instantly locks it. Theft like this is quite common in certain areas, and this seems like an excellent use of “AI” (i.e., accelerometer data) to discourage thieves from trying this.

There’s also a bunch of smaller stuff, like custom vibration patterns per notification, giving applications partial access to only your most recent photos and videos, system-wide preferences for which gender you’d like to be addressed as in gendered languages (French gets this feature first), and a whole lot more.

Developers also get a lot to play with here, from safer intents to something like ANGLE:

Vulkan is Android’s preferred interface to the GPU. Therefore, Android 15 includes ANGLE as an optional layer for running OpenGL ES on top of Vulkan. Moving to ANGLE will standardize the Android OpenGL implementation for improved compatibility, and, in some cases, improved performance. You can test out your OpenGL ES app stability and performance with ANGLE by enabling the developer option in Settings -> System -> Developer Options -> Experimental: Enable ANGLE on Android 15.

↫ Android developer blog

You can install Android 15 beta 2 on a number f Pixel devices and devices from other OEMs starting today. I installed it on my Pixel 8 Pro, and after a few hours I haven’t really noticed anything breaking, but that’s really not enough time to make any meaningful observations.

Google also detailed Wear OS 5.

Later this year, battery life optimizations are coming to watches with Wear OS 5. For example, running an outdoor marathon will consume up to 20% less power when compared to watches with Wear OS 4. And your fitness apps will be able to help improve your performance with the option to support more data types like ground contact time, stride length and vertical oscillation.

↫ Android developer blog

Wear OS 5 will also improve the Watch Face Format with more complications, which is very welcome, because the selection of complications is currently rather meager. Wear OS 5 will also ship later this year.

Raspberry Pi officially announces intent to IPO

As expected earlier this year, Raspberry Pi is going public on the stock exchange in London. Back then, CEO Eben Upton said he did not expect the IPO to change how Raspberry Pi did things, but history tells us that initial public offerings tend to, well, change how companies do things. In their official announcement that they intend to hold an IPO, there’s an incredibly interesting and telling contradiction, as noted by @yassie_j on MastoAkkoma:

Raspberry Pi, in their listing press release, says: The Enthusiast and Education market is the “heart” of the Raspberry Pi movement.

But also says: Industrial and Embedded market […] accounts [for] over 72 per cent

So the heart seems to be going neglected, it seems, because there’s no way you’re going to not cash in on industrial applications. Especially when you’ve just done a big IPO.

↫ @yassie_j on Akkoma

This exactly illustrates the fears we all have about what an IPO is going to mean for Raspberry Pi. It’s already become increasingly more difficult for enthusiasts to get their hands on the latest Raspberry Pi models, but once the IPO’s done and there’s shareholders breathing down their neck, that will most likely only get worse. If the industrial and embedded market is where you’re making most of your money, where do you think Raspberry Pi devices are going to end up?

Luckily the market’s a lot bigger and more varied now than it was back when Raspberry Pi was new, so we have a wide variety of options to choose from. Still, I’m definitely worried about what Raspberry Pi, as a company, will look like five, ten years from now.

NetBSD bans use of Copilot-generated code

The NetBSD project seems to agree with me that code generated by “AI” like Copilot is tainted, and cannot be used safely. The project’s added a new guideline banning the use of code generated by such tools from being added to NetBSD unless explicitly permitted by “core“, NetBSD’s equivalent, roughly, of “technical management”.

Code generated by a large language model or similar technology, such as such as GitHub/Microsoft’s Copilot, OpenAI’s ChatGPT, or Facebook/Meta’s Code Llama, is presumed to be tainted code, and must not be committed without prior written approval by core.

↫ NetBSD Commit Guidelines

GitHub Copilot is copyright infringement and open source license violation at an industrial scale, and as I keep reiterating – the fact Microsoft is not training Copilot on its own closed-source code tells you all you need to know about what Microsoft thinks about the legality of Copilot.

GNOME OS is switching from OSTree to systemd-sysupdate

I’m pretty sure most of you are familiar with KDE Neon, the distribution KDE maintains to provide easy access to the latest KDE technologies. However, did you know GNOME has something similar, called GNOME OS? It’s been around for a while, but has a far lower profile than KDE Neon does, and it seems they want to change that and put more of a spotlight on GNOME OS.

GNOME OS is an immutable distribution using OSTree, the same technology used by the various popular immutable versions from the Fedora family. It seems GNOME OS is working to leave OSTree behind, and move to systemd-sysupdate instead, which has been available since systemd 251, released in May 2022. The developers claim this will bring the following benefits:

  • Provide a trust chain from the bootloader, all the way up, both online and offline;
  • Achieve a closer integration with systemd;
  • Advance our support for image-based design and its benefits, e.g., immutability, auto-updating, adaptability, factory reset, uniformity and other modernised security properties around image-based OSes.
↫ Martín Abente Lahaye, Sam Thursfield

To complete the move from OSTree to systemd-sysupdate, a few things need to be completed. First, the boot process and root filesystem had to be migrated, which was done last year. Second, sysupdate needs to integrated into GNOME, as for now, you can only use it via the command line. This work is ongoing, and requires a new D-Bus service and polkit integration to allow GNOME Software to manage the update process. Of course, there’s more work that needs to be done to complete this migration, but these are the main tasks.

All of this work is part of the project’s goal to make GNOME OS nightlies viable for daily-driving for quality assurance purposes, and I’m sure all this work will also make GNOME OS more attractive to people outside of the developer community. It’s basically GNOME/systemd taken to the extreme, and while that will surely make quite a few people groan, I personally find it great that this will make GNOME OS a more capable choice for everyone.

That’s what open source is all about, in the end.

Google now offers ‘web’ search — and an “AI” opt-out button

This is not a joke: Google will now let you perform a “web” search. It’s rolling out “web” searches now, and in my early tests on desktop, it’s looking like it could be an incredibly popular change to Google’s search engine.

The optional setting filters out almost all the other blocks of content that Google crams into a search results page, leaving you with links and text — and Google confirms to The Verge that it will block the company’s new AI Overviews as well.

↫ Sean Hollister at The Verge

I hate what the web has become.

The new APT 3.0 solver

A crucial but often entirely transparent feature of a modern package management system like Debian’s APT is its solver – basically the set of rules and instruction on how to handle dependencies when installing a package. APT is currently in the process of radically changing its solver, the first bits of which can be found in APT 2.9.3, referred to as solver3. Many of the changes and improvements get a little into the weeds and will mostly be transparent to users, but there is one feature the new solver will enable that many of you will be incredibly excited about.

One of the core new capabilities of solver3 is the implication graph.

As part of the solving phase, we also construct an implication graph, albeit a partial one: The first package installing another package is marked as the reason (A -> B), the same thing for conflicts (not A -> not B).

↫ Julian Andres Klode

Seems rather innocuous at first sight, but here’s what the implication graph will make possible:

The implication graph building allows us to implement an apt why command, that while not as nicely detailed as aptitude, at least tells you the exact reason why a package is installed. It will only show the strongest dependency chain at first of course, since that is what we record.

↫ Julian Andres Klode

If you’ve ever dealt with packaging issues – probably when running -testing or similar unstable distributions that use APT, a command that tells you exactly why a package is installed is an absolute godsend. Sure, aptitude exists, but aptitude takes you out of your current CLI workflow, whereas this will be much easier to quickly run.

There’s more features solver3 will enable, but this one is definitely one of my favourite low-level additions to APT in a long, long time.

Google details some of the “AI” features coming to Android

Google I/O, the company’s developer conference, started today, but for the first time since I can remember, Android and Chrome OS have been relegated to day two of the conference. The first day was all about “AI”, most of which I’m not even remotely interested in, except of course where it related to Google’s operating system offerings.

And the company did have a few things to say about “AI” on Android, and the general gist is that yeah, they’re going to be stuffing it into every corner of the operating system. Google’s “AI” tool Gemini will be integrated deeply into Android, and you’ll be able to call up an overlay wherever you are in the operating system, and do things like summarise a PDF that’s on screen, summarise a YouTube video, generate images on the fly and drop them into emails and conversations, and so on.

A more interesting and helpful “AI” addition is using it to improve TalkBack, so that people with impaired vision can let the device describe images on the screen for them. Google claims TalkBack users come across about 90 images without description every day (!), so this is a massive improvement for people with impaired vision, and a genuinely helpful and worthwhile “AI” feature.

Creepier is that Google’s “AI” will also be able to listen along with your phone calls, and warn you if an ongoing conversation is a scamming attempt. If the person on the other end of the line claiming to be your bank asks you to move a bunch of money around to keep it safe, Gemini will pop up and warn you it’s a scam, since banks don’t ask you such things. Clever, sure, but also absolutely terrifying and definitely not something I’ll be turning on.

Google claims all of these features take place on-device, so privacy should be respected, but I’m always a bit unsure about such things staying that way in the future. Regardless, “AI” is coming to Android in a big way, but I’m just here wondering how much of it I’ll be able to turn off.

VMware Workstation Pro and Fusion pro go free for personal use

After Broadcom acquired VMware, there’s been a steady stream of worrying or outright bad news for people using VMware products at home, for personal use, as enthusiasts. The biggest blow to the enthusiast market was the end of perpetual licensing, forcing people into subscriptions instead. Finally, though it seems we’re getting some good news.

The most exciting part is that Fusion Pro and Workstation Pro will now have two license models. We now provide a Free Personal Use or a Paid Commercial Use subscription for our Pro apps. Users will decide based on their use case whether a commercial subscription is required.

This means that everyday users who want a virtual lab on their Mac, Windows or Linux computer can do so for free simply by registering and downloading the bits from the new download portal located at

↫ Michael Roy on the VMware blog

This is definitely good news for us enthusiasts, and it means I won’t have to buy a cheap VMware license off eBay every few years anymore, so I’m quite satisfied here. However, with VMware under Broadcom focusing more and more on the enterprise and squeezing every last penny out of those customers, one has to wonder if this ‘free for personal use’ is just a prelude to winding down the development of enthusiasts’ tools altogether.

It wouldn’t be the first time that a product going free for personal use was a harbinger of worse things yet to come.

Google is experimenting with running Chrome OS on Android

Now that Android – since version 13 – ships with the Android Virtualisation Framework, Google can start doing interesting things with it. It turns out the first interesting thing Google wants do with it is run Chrome OS inside of it.

Even though AVF was initially designed around running small workloads in a highly stripped-down build of Android loaded in an isolated virtual machine, there’s technically no reason it can’t be used to run other operating systems. As a matter of fact, this was demonstrated already when developer Danny Lin got Windows 11 running on an Android phone back in 2022. Google itself never officially provided support for running anything other than its custom build of Android called “microdroid” in AVF, but that’s no longer the case. The company has started to offer official support for running Chromium OS, the open-source version of Chrome OS, on Android phones through AVF, and it has even been privately demoing this to other companies.

At a privately held event, Google recently demonstrated a special build of Chromium OS — code-named “ferrochrome” — running in a virtual machine on a Pixel 8. However, Chromium OS wasn’t shown running on the phone’s screen itself. Rather, it was projected to an external display, which is possible because Google recently enabled display output on its Pixel 8 series. Time will tell if Google is thinking of positioning Chrome OS as a platform for its desktop mode ambitions and Samsung DeX rival.

↫ Mishaal Rahman at Android Authority

It seems that Google is in the phase of exploring if there are any OEMs interested in allowing users to plug their Android phone into an external display and input devices and run Chrome OS on it. This sounds like an interesting approach to the longstanding dream of convergence – one device for all your computing needs – but at the same time, it feels quite convoluted to have your Android device emulate an entire Chrome OS installation.

What a damning condemnation of Android as a platform that despite years of trying, Google just can’t seem to make Android and its applications work in a desktop form factor. I’ve tried to shoehorn Android into a desktop workflow, and it’s quite hard, despite third parties having made some interesting tools to help you along. It really seems Android just does not want to be anywhere else but on a mobile touch display.