Slovenian OS/2 Warp 4

Slovenia being a tiny country with a population of just 2 million, IBM OS/2 Warp 4 was one of the few non-Microsoft operating systems to be localized to Slovenian in the mid-90s and a big deal for the local IT community back then. But nearly 3 decades later, when OS/2 disappeared from the last ATMs in the country, the even rarer Slovenian version was as good as completely gone. Or was it? This is an amazing example of digital archeology, and I hope the other rare OS/2 translations are found as well. It’s difficult for small – but stunningly beautiful! – countries to maintain their digital independence, and properly localised software plays a huge role in that.

iOS 16 released

iOS 16 brings the biggest update ever to the Lock Screen, the ability to edit and collaborate in Messages, new tools in Mail, and more ways to interact with photos and video with Live Text and Visual Look Up. iOS 16 is available today as a free software update. Unlike in the Android world, every iOS user here on OSNews will most likely be able to install this latest update right away. I’m especially enamoured by the notifications popping in from the bottom instead of the top – this makes a lot more sense, and I hope Android picks it up as well.

Transcending POSIX: the end of an era?

In this article, we provide a holistic view of the Portable Operating System Interface (POSIX) abstractions by a systematic review of their historical evolution. We discuss some of the key factors that drove the evolution and identify the pitfalls that make them infeasible when building modern applications. Some light reading to start the week.

Digital museum of plugs and sockets

A website containing a vast, vast collection of domestic electrical plugs and sockets from all over the world, including more information and details about them than you knew existed. I’ve been stuck here for hours. Be wary of going in – you’re never coming back out. But you’ll be happier for it, since there’s enough information here to last a lifetime. One of my favourites is this one from Sweden – I was baffled by these at first when emigrating to Sweden a few years ago, but now I appreciate their genius and safety compared to just tying down live wires for ceiling lamps like we do in The Netherlands. Another fun and weird one is the Perilex plug, which is incredibly satisfying to plug into its corresponding socket (I used to work at a hardware store that sold a huge variety of plugs and sockets). I could go on for hours!

The death of the PCIe expansion card

With the AM5 platform from AMD on the horizon, five major motherboard manufacturers have annonced their flagship motherboards with the X670E chipset. Some of them are having fun with this generation’s multi-faceted step into “five”: AM5, PCIe Gen 5.0, DDR5, 5nm process, boost clocks over 5GHz, you catch the drift. But do you know what every single announced motherboard has fewer than five of? PCI Express (PCIe) slots. Other than a GPU and the occasional WiFi card, I haven’t really had any need for my expansion slots in a long time. I just don’t know of anything useful. I doubt they’ll actually go away any time soon though.

Userspace FUSE for macOS

FUSE-T is a kext-less implementation of FUSE for macOS that uses NFS v4 local server instead of a kernel extension. The main motivation for this project is to replace macfuse that implements its own kext to make fuse work. With each version of macOS it’s getting harder and harder to load kernel extensions. Apple strongly discourages it and, for this reason, software distributions that include macfuse are very difficult to install. With Apple locking down macOS more and more, developers have to resort to ingenious solutions to maintain the same level of functionality as before. This is an example of that.

Apple II Desktop updated

Disassembly and enhancements for Apple II DeskTop (a.k.a. Mouse Desk), a “Finder”-like GUI application for 8-bit Apples and clones with 128k of memory, utilizing double hi-res monochrome graphics (560×192), an optional mouse, and the ProDOS 8 operating system. There’s a new version with tons of improvements.

USB4 v2 will support speeds up to 80 Gbps

The next generation of USB devices might support data transfer speeds as high as 80 Gbps, which would be twice as fast as current-gen Thunderbolt 4 products. The USB Promotor Group says it plans to publish the new USB4 version 2.0 specification ahead of this year’s USB Developer Days events scheduled for November, but it could take a few years before new cables, hubs, PCs, and mobile devices featuring the new technology are available for purchase. USB4 version 2.0. That’s the name they went with.

Genode OS Framework release 22.08

The overarching theme of Genode 22.08 is the emerging phone variant of Sculpt OS, touching topics as diverse as USB ECM, Mali-400 GPU, SD-card access, telephony, mobile-data connectivity, the Morph web browser, and a custom user interface. Among the further highlights are new tracing tools, improved network performance USB smart-card support, and VirtIO drivers for RISC-V. Genode never fails to impress.

EU regulators want 5 years of smartphone parts, much better batteries

The most notable proposed fix (listed in Annex II) is for phone makers and sellers to make “professional repairers” available for five years after the date a phone is removed from the market. Those repairers would have access to parts including the battery, display, cameras, charging ports, mechanical buttons, microphones, speakers, and hinge assemblies (including for folding phones and tablets). Phone companies also get a choice: either make replacement batteries and back-covers available to phone owners or design batteries that meet minimum standards. Those include still having 83 percent of its rated capacity after 500 full charging cycles, then 80 percent after 1,000 full charging cycles. Apple, for example, currently claims that its iPhones are designed to retain 80 percent capacity after 500 charge cycles. Good. I’ve been saying it for years: if the automotive industry can be legally obligated to provide spare parts, repair information, and more to third parties, so can the technology industry.

Android 13 review: plans for the future, but not much to offer today

The Android update treadmill continues with the release of Android 13. It’s one of the smallest Android releases in recent memory, with barely any user-facing features to point to. Keep in mind, though, that this update follows the monster Android 12 release from last year. This is also the second Android OS release this year, the previous one being the tablet-focused Android 12L update that was rushed out the door in March. We would have a bit more meat to work with if Android 12L was part of this release, but as it is, we’re left with a grab bag of features for Android 13. It includes many foundational features for Android tablets and smart displays, but there’s not much here for phones. Even so, there are things to discuss, so let’s dive in. Ars Technica’s usual deep dive into every new Android release, and despite Android 13 being a relatively minor release, there’s still more than enough to cover.

macOS now scans for malware whenever it gets a chance

In the last six months macOS malware protection has changed more than it did over the previous seven years. It has now gone fully pre-emptive, as active as many commercial anti-malware products, provided that your Mac is running Catalina or later. This article updates those I’ve previously written about Apple’s new tool in the war against malware, XProtect Remediator. Apple has been slowly building out its anti-malware and antivirus tools in macOS, and it has remained mostly quiet about it – understandable considering how bad tech press would have a field day with stories about Apple effectively turning macOS malware protection into a regular antivirus scanner.

The original “universal” port

We talk a lot about standards over this way, including what came before the standards were put into place and what came before that. Our last issue was about standards, even. But sometimes, de facto standards simply come into place, where a large number of people and organizations agree to do something a certain way, despite no formalized agreement or strategy. And one of the greatest examples of a de facto standard in computing history may be a controller port that remained in constant use on mainstream consoles and computers for two whole decades. I’m, of course, talking about the Atari joystick port, a port with a surprising amount of history behind it. My experience with this venerable port came through the MSX, which was weirdly popular in The Netherlands thanks to Phillips being a Dutch company. It wasn’t until much later that I realised it was in use all over the place.

Japan declares ‘war’ on the humble floppy disk in new digitization push

Japan’s digital minister, who’s vowed to rid the bureaucracy of outdated tools from the hanko stamp to the fax machine, has now declared “war” on a technology many haven’t seen for decades — the floppy disk.  The hand-sized, square-shaped data storage item, along with similar devices including the CD or even lesser-known mini disk, are still required for some 1,900 government procedures and must go, digital minister Taro Kono wrote in a Twitter post Wednesday. I understand wanting to dump the floppy and CD, but why dump MiniDisc? Us people of culture know the MiniDisc is the end-all-be-all of storage media, and nothing has ever surpassed it. Japan is about to make a grave, grave mistake.

Google gives developers a way to sidestep Android 13’s one-way update

With the rollout of Android 13 to the Pixel 6 and 6a, Google posted an interesting warning on the system image website: Once you flash Android 13, you can never go back to the old version. That’s still the case for anyone wanting a fully functional phone, but now, Google has posted an Android 12 “developer support image” that will let developers roll back their phones even after upgrading. The “developer” branding on the image means it’s not fully functional, but it will be good enough for app testing. Not being able to roll back would be terrible if Android 13 came with some sort of gamebreaking bug, so this is a welcome release.

Google wants to make Fuchsia devices manageable with Android’s ADB tool

This week, the Fuchsia team shared a new proposal titled “ADB on Fuchsia” that shares the team’s intention to support ADB for controlling devices and the reasoning behind wanting to do so. At present, the core “fx” and “ffx” tools used to control Fuchsia devices are only compatible with Linux and macOS computers. And while there’s an effort to get ffx running on Windows, that’s not projected to be completed until the end of 2022. Sadly, ADB for Fuchsia won’t work for consumer Fuchsia devices, such as the Nest Hubs, since Goolgle states that it will only be available during early development phases of Fuchsia devices.

Google launches cross-device SDK developer preview for building multi-device experiences on Android

Today we’re launching our Developer Preview of the new Cross device SDK for Android. First announced during the Google I/O ‘22 Multi-device development session, our Cross device SDK allows developers to build rich multi-device experiences with a simple and intuitive set of APIs. This SDK abstracts away the intricacies involved with working with device discovery, authentication, and connection protocols, allowing you to focus on what matters most—building delightful user experiences and connecting these experiences across a variety of form factors and platforms. Google intends to expand this tool to non-Android operating systems soon.

Why YouTube decided to make its own video chip

Roughly seven years ago, Partha Ranganathan realized Moore’s law was dead. That was a pretty big problem for the Google engineering vice president: He had come to expect chip performance to double every 18 months without cost increases and had helped organize purchasing plans for the tens of billions of dollars Google spends on computing infrastructure each year around that idea. But now Ranganathan was getting a chip twice as good every four years, and it looked like that gap was going to stretch out even further in the not-too-distant future. So he and Google decided to do something about it. The company had already committed hundreds of millions of dollars to design its own custom chips for AI, called tensor processing units, or TPUs. Google has now launched more than four generations of the TPU, and the technology has given the company’s AI efforts a leg up over its rivals. Google uses all kinds of custom hardware throughout its operations, but you rarely hear about it. This article provides some insight into the custom hardware Google uses for YouTube transcoding.

Apple faces growing likelihood of DOJ antitrust suit

Justice Department lawyers are in the early stages of drafting a potential antitrust complaint against Apple, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter — a sign that a long-running investigation may be nearing a decision point and a suit could be coming soon. Various groups of prosecutors inside DOJ are assembling the pieces for a potential lawsuit, the individual said, adding that the department’s antitrust division hopes to file suit by the end of the year. The Justice Department has been investigating Apple since 2019 over allegations that it abused its market power to stifle smaller tech companies, including app developers and competing hardware makers. As the investigation has progressed, a suit has become increasingly likely, but the move to drafting sections of the suit is a significant step forward in the process. Finally.