Google’s Fuchsia is expanding to ‘additional smart devices and other form factors’

In the years leading up to that launch, we’ve uncovered signs of the Fuchsia team developing support for a variety of Google devices, including the Nest Hub Max, 2021’s second-gen Nest Hub, and more. Now, it seems, Google is ready to make its next steps more public, in a series of job listings posted this week, some of which reference a “Fuchsia Devices” team. The job listings even make references to working with partners using Fuchsia, so there’s definitely more afoot for Google’s new operating system.

Shareholders pressure Microsoft into expanding its right-to-repair efforts

Microsoft’s Xbox and Surface hardware may be getting easier to repair, according to a press release from shareholder advocacy nonprofit As You Sow. According to the announcement, Microsoft has agreed to evaluate and expand the repair options for its products “by the end of 2022.” The promises are a bit vague for now, but hopefully this will have a real-world impact.

Introduction to generating and running OS/360 on Hercules

This is an introduction to getting IBM’s OS/360 operating system loaded and running on the Hercules emulator for the System/370, ESA/390, and z/Architecture systems. It assumes you have some familiarity with the 370, and with OS; in particular, you need to have some understanding of JCL, and of OS/360 (or later versions, like MVS or OS/390) usage and operation. It does not purport to be an introduction to the world of the 370. This is a bit more complicated to set up than just about any other emulator or VM out there. A great weekend project for people with the right skill set and inclination.

The best part of Windows 11 is a revamped Windows Subsystem for Linux

For years now, Windows 10’s Windows Subsystem for Linux has been making life easier for developers, sysadmins, and hobbyists who have one foot in the Windows world and one foot in the Linux world. But WSL, handy as it is, has been hobbled by several things it could not do. Installing WSL has never been as easy as it should be—and getting graphical apps to work has historically been possible but also a pain in the butt that required some fairly obscure third-party software. Windows 11 finally fixes both of those problems. The Windows Subsystem for Linux isn’t perfect on Windows 11, but it’s a huge improvement over what came before. Microsoft is doing a decent job making Windows a good platform for Linux system administrators, but is WSL really comparable to the real thing?

The Ampere Altra Max review: pushing it to 128 cores per socket

On the competitive landscape, Ampere is carving out its niche for the moment, but what happens once AMD or Intel increase their core counts as well? A 50% increase in core counts for next-gen Genoa should be sufficient for AMD to catch up with the M128 in raw throughput, and technologies such as V-cache should make sure the HPC segment is fully covered as well, a segment Ampere appears to have no interest in. Intel now has an extremely impressive smaller core in the form of Gracemont, and they could easily make a large-core count server chip to attack the very segment Ampere is focusing on. Only time will tell if Ampere’s gamble on hyper-focusing on certain workloads and market segments pays out. For now, the new Altra Max is an interesting and very competent chip, but it’s certainly not for everyone. Admit it. You too want a 128-core ARM processor on your desk.

Atari ST in daily use since 1985

This Atari 1040ST is still in use after 36 years! Frans Bos bought this Atari in 1985 to run his camp site (Camping Böhmerwald). He wrote his own software over the years to manage his camp site, as well as reservations and the registration of the guests. He really likes the speed of the machine compared to newer computers. And 6 months every year the machine is on day and night.

How Linux and open-source software took the computing world by storm

Interview with Miguel de Icaza about his own journey, GNU, Linux, GNOME, and how he ended up working at Microsoft. It’s an interview for a mainstream audience, but with plenty of fun stories that should entertain any OSNews reader. I found it particularly interesting how de Icaza recounts his decades-long obsession to make Linux a great desktop OS, only to see it achieve massive success on server, mobile, and embedded devices, and never really catch on as a mainstream desktop OS. Today, he uses a Mac for his everyday platform while working at Microsoft.

D-Wave announces new hardware, compiler, and plans for quantum computing

Tracking quantum computing has been a bit confusing in that there are multiple approaches to it. Most of the effort goes toward what are called gate-based computers, which allow you to perform logical operations on individual qubits. These are well understood theoretically and can perform a variety of calculations. But it’s possible to make gate-based systems out of a variety of qubits, including photons, ions, and electronic devices called transmons, and companies have grown up around each of these hardware options. But there’s a separate form of computing called quantum annealing that also involves manipulating collections of interconnected qubits. Annealing hasn’t been as worked out in theory, but it appears to be well matched to a class of optimization problems. And, when it comes to annealing hardware, there’s only a single company called D-Wave. Now, things are about to get more confusing still. On Tuesday, D-Wave released its roadmap for upcoming processors and software for its quantum annealers. But D-Wave is also announcing that it’s going to be developing its own gate-based hardware, which it will offer in parallel with the quantum annealer. We talked with company CEO Alan Baratz to understand all the announcements. I think I understood some of those words because I, too, watch Space Time.

Lumina Desktop 1.6.1 released

A desktop environment I had never heard of until now has seen its first new release in 611 days – always awesome to read about unknown projects like this, so here we go. Anyway onto the point, yes the project is still alive and there’s been some updates. This release encompasses two main things. First is a collection of minor fixes that have gone into master since 1.6.0 came out, along with some translation updates. This includes two small additional binaries for use by the desktop. Second is that the downstream theme work that we did for Project Trident is now in Lumina as the default theme. Lumina is an open source, lightweight desktop environment written from scratch in C++/Qt5. The related Project Trident is a desktop Linux distribution based on Void Linux – excellent taste, just excellent – that uses Lumina as its desktop environment.

Linux on the M1: progress report for September 2021

It’s been a busy month! We’ve had a lot of movement in kernel land, as well as some tooling improvements and reverse engineering sessions. At this point, Asahi Linux is usable as a basic Linux desktop (without GPU acceleration)! The ground had been shifting until now, but we’re seeing drivers settle down. Let’s take a look at what’s been going on. Linux on Apple’s M1 Macs is making progress, but I would never buy an Apple computer to run Linux on it. It’s always going to be a moving target without any documentation or support – official or tacit – meaning you’re basically running a perpetual reverse-engineering effort. To make matters worse, Apple can flip the switch and block any non-macOS operating system at any time. The M1 is impressive, but only if you’re into macOS.

Insiders in Apple’s healthcare organization say its leaders suppress concerns and mislead executives

It’s a symptom of what insiders say are deeper organizational problems that have left the health group without clear direction and struggling to mesh Apple’s hardware-oriented culture with the practices of the medical business. People at Apple Health said that they saw colleagues face retribution for disagreeing with superiors and that concerns have been expressed on more than one occasion about the way health data is used to develop products. The situation has gotten so serious that some employees have lodged complaints with Apple’s most senior executives, including Cook and Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams, who oversees the health effort. Success tends to hide problems.

Windows 11 released

A day early, Microsoft has decided to release Windows 11. Today marks an exciting milestone in the history of Windows. As the day becomes October 5 in each time zone around the world, availability of Windows 11 begins through a free upgrade on eligible Windows 10 PCs and on new PCs pre-installed with Windows 11 that can be purchased beginning today. This is the first release of Windows I haven’t personally used or even tested, but much like Android 12 that’s also been released today, it seems to be a version heavily focused on giving Windows a fresh coat of paint, while sadly removing features and customisations and adding strict system requirements. As the detailed Ars Technica review concludes: Here’s the thing: I actually like Windows 11 pretty well, and as I’ve dug into it and learned its ins and outs for this review, I’ve warmed to it more. The window management stuff is a big step forward, the new look is appealing and functional, and the taskbar regressions mostly don’t bother me (the more you customized the taskbar and Start menu in Windows 10, though, the more the new version’s lack of flexibility will irritate you). Unfortunately for Microsoft, Windows 11 is going to be starting its life with some of the same public perception problems that made Windows Vista and Windows 8 relatively unpopular. Meanwhile, AnandTech concludes: I’ve only a had a short time with Windows 11, and that is partially due to how short of a public beta that it got compared to Windows 10. Already there are some features that I really enjoy. The new interfaces are well thought out and easy to use. But for me, the true test is using a new version of the OS and then stepping back to an older version. How painful is it? How many of the new features do I miss? There is no single item right now that is a must-have, so swapping between Windows 10 and Windows 11 is not a huge deal. And that’s good because Windows 10 is going to be around for years to come still. Some of the biggest new features announced for Windows 11 won’t even be shipping until next year. Perhaps if and when they arrive that will make the difference. Windows 11 just doesn’t seem like that big of a release to me, and depending on how much you enjoy using Windows, that can be a good thing or a bad thing. To me, it seems like this new UI theme is skin-deep, and underneath it all still lie countless layers of UI cruft dating all the way back to Windows 3.x.

Android 12 source code released

Today we’re pushing the source to the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) and officially releasing the latest version of Android. Keep an eye out for Android 12 coming to a device near you starting with Pixel in the next few weeks and Samsung Galaxy, OnePlus, Oppo, Realme, Tecno, Vivo, and Xiaomi devices later this year. The first Android 12 reviews have rolled out too, and the conclusion seems to be that this new release focuses heavily on overhauling the look and feel of Android, without disrupting how you actually use your phone all that much. Android 12 isn’t an update that’s trying to change how you use your phone — not that it needed to be. Instead of just tacking on dozens of new features, Google just wanted to shake things up in the design department for the sake of it. It’s an upheaval of some of Android’s smallest details. It amounts to a more customizable experience, which in turn lets your phone look and feel more unique. If that gets you excited, you probably won’t regret installing. But I wouldn’t buy a Pixel just to experience Android 12. And if you can’t get the update today, I wouldn’t fret too much until more features are added. I’m definitely excited to experience the new look and feel, but it will be a while before any of my devices gets the update.

The Facebook files

Apparently, Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp experienced a massive outage today – just days after a huge whistleblower report confirmed what we already knew – Facebook is sleazy, destructive, negligent, and as close to actual evil as an inanimate entity can be. Facebook Inc. knows, in acute detail, that its platforms are riddled with flaws that cause harm, often in ways only the company fully understands. That is the central finding of a Wall Street Journal series, based on a review of internal Facebook documents, including research reports, online employee discussions and drafts of presentations to senior management. Time and again, the documents show, Facebook’s researchers have identified the platform’s ill effects. Time and again, despite congressional hearings, its own pledges and numerous media exposés, the company didn’t fix them. The documents offer perhaps the clearest picture thus far of how broadly Facebook’s problems are known inside the company, up to the chief executive himself. It really sucks when all your friends and family use WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, since getting entire countries to switch messaging applications simply isn’t going to get you anywhere.

Brave and Firefox to intercept links that force-open in Microsoft Edge

If you think making it harder to change the default browser away from Edge in Windows 11 was the only sleazy tactic Microsoft is employing to shove Edge down Windows users’ throats – think again. The company is using a microsoft-edge: URL scheme everywhere in Windows to bypass the default browser setting altogether, but luckily, competing browsers have caught on. The Brave web browser added support for the microsoft-edge: URL scheme with version 1.30.86, released last week. So, you no longer need to install EdgeDeflector if you’re using Brave as your default browser. It’ll pop up as an option when you click on a microsoft-edge: link. This makes Brave the first web browser to implement support for Microsoft’s anti-competitive URL scheme. However, it’s not the only browser doing so. Mozilla developer Masatoshi Kimura has also written patches to implement the protocol into Firefox. It has yet to pass review and get merged into Firefox, but the ball is rolling. Firefox’s implementation is part of its overall Windows 11 shell integration work. From everything I’ve read and been told, Edge is a good, solid browser in and of itself – it’s just so incredibly sad Microsoft has to stoop this low to force people to use it.

The Apple A15 SoC performance review: faster and more efficient

Apple’s iPhone component design seems to be limiting the SoC from achieving even better results, especially the newer Pro models, however even with that being said and done, Apple remains far above the competition in terms of performance and efficiency. Overall, while the A15 isn’t the brute force iteration we’ve become used to from Apple in recent years, it very much comes with substantial generational gains that allow it to be a notably better SoC than the A14. In the end, it seems like Apple’s SoC team has executed well after all. Apple’s SoC still rules the roost, and while there’s performance gains the A15, it’s in efficiency that the new SoC really shines.

Epic Games Store, Discord, and Zoom all join Windows 11’s more flexible app store

Now we’re seeing some of the fruits of that change—Microsoft has announced that major third-party apps like Zoom, Discord, Adobe Reader, the VLC media player, and even the LibreOffice suite are all now available in the Microsoft Store for people using the Windows 11 Insider Preview builds. Web apps like Wikipedia, Reddit, and Tumblr are also available. These PWAs look and work just like the regular websites but can easily be pinned to Start or the Taskbar and can display notification badges and a few other benefits that make them feel a bit more like desktop apps. Microsoft also says it will allow other app stores into the Microsoft Store, starting with Amazon and the Epic Games Store. These will be available “over the next few months.” (When support for Amazon’s Android apps are added to Windows 11 sometime after the official launch, those apps will still be searchable from within the Microsoft Store itself.) If you don’t want to (or can’t) install Windows 11 on your PC, Microsoft says that the new Microsoft Store and the new apps in it will also be coming to Windows 10 “in the coming months.” Windows 11’s rollout officially begins on October 5. Credit where credit is due – these are good moves, and shows that at least at this point in time, Microsoft is not interested in using the Microsoft Store as a stick. As long as their store policies remain like this, and they don’t lock down sideloading, they’re on the right side of this divide.

FyneDesk: an open source desktop environment in Go

The FyneDesk project is taking a fresh look at what it means to be a desktop environment. Using the same beautiful and user friendly graphics of the Fyne toolkit you will find it a great place to call home on your computer. We also want to make it easy to update, add to or change your desktop just like you can with any other Open Source software. And so the design of our desktop project has put ease of learning and development in the centre of how we work. Now you can have the desktop of your dreams – and share the result for others as well. That’s some flowery language, but look past it and there’s a number of very interesting projects here. The desktop environment itself seems a bit rough around the edges, but the underlying toolkit is quite fascinating – it’s not yet another Qt or GTK derivative, but instead completely new and written in Go. There’s a number of applications, too.