I grew up primarily with the Commodore 64, where if you wanted to do anything really cool and useful, you had to do it in 6502 assembly language. Today I still write 6502 assembly, plus some Power ISA and even a little TMS9900. I like assembly languages and how in control of the CPU you feel writing in one. But you know what would make me not like an assembly language? One that was contrived and not actually the CPU it was running on. And you know what would make me like it even less? If it were kneecapped, convoluted and limited without even proper I/O facilities. ↫ Old Vintage Computing Research Everything you ever wanted to know about CAP-X and COMP-X. Which turns out to be a lot.
The official way to create user interfaces for the Windows operating system changed quite a lot of times during the last years. Microsoft created and (partially or fully) abadoned a lot of APIs which where intended to replace the respective previous ones. They changed names and ways how it’s supposed to be done a few times, and left a lof of developers confused. Here is a small historical overview. ↫ Nikolaus Gebhardt If you’re ever wondering how we ended up at a situation where, on the desktop and in Explorer, context menus have their own context menus, well, this is why.
Wayland and X.org are both part of freedesktop. Whatever maintenance is still happening on X.org is mostly being done by people who primarily work on Wayland. There isn’t some kind of holy war going on between The Wayland Developers who want to kill X.org, and The X.org Developers who believe it is great and want to keep it. They’re nearly all the same people, and they all want X.org to die. AFAIK there isn’t anybody who is actually clamoring to *do the work of maintaining X.org upstream*. There are people who don’t want it to die because Wayland doesn’t yet have the features they need or the NVIDIA proprietary driver doesn’t work well on Wayland or whatever, but AFAIK, none of those people is actually volunteering to maintain X.org long-term. ↫ Adam Williamson There’s really no clearer summary of the current state of affairs than this.
We are happy to announce the creation of a new family of Fedora Linux spins: Fedora Atomic Desktops! As Silverblue has grown in popularity, we’ve seen more of our mainline Fedora Linux spins make the jump to offer a version that implements rpm-ostree. It’s reached the point where it can be hard to talk about all of them at the same time. Therefore we’ve introduced a new brand that will serve to simplify how we discuss rpm-ostree and how we name future atomic spins. ↫ Joseph Gayoso for Fedora Magazine You can get pretty much any major desktop environment as an rpm-ostree (inaccurately referred to as ‘immutable’) version of Fedora, so it makes sense to standardise the naming scheme.
One of the somewhat odd things about my old fashioned X Window System environment is that when I ‘iconify’ or ‘minimize’ a window, it (mostly) winds up as an actual icon on my root window (what in some environments would be called the desktop), in contrast to the alternate approach where the minimized window is represented in some sort of taskbar. I have strong opinions about where some of these icons should go, and some tools to automatically arrange this for various windows, including the GNU Emacs windows I (now) use for reading email. ↫ Chris Siebenmann Iconification should be possible in any modern desktop environment, and it’s sad that this paradigm has pretty much entirely vanished. I would love for iconified windows to be treated essentially the same way as files, so you can move them around, drop them inside directories, and even move them from one computer to another (assuming they have the application in question installed). If I’m working on a project, and I have a bunch of LibreOffice documents, spreadsheets, browser tabs, notes in a text editor, some images open, and so on, I should be able to iconify them all, keep them in the project’s directory, and de-iconify them as if nothing had ever happened. Right now, you have to use files and application states for that, which is cumbersome and annoying. Sadly, advanced window management is dying. Shame.
Finally, you can run dozens of multiprocessing Multics instances along side your mission-critical IBM AIX (PASE) and IBM i (OS/400) workloads on IBM Power Systems hardware! This is the virtualization solution your IT department has been waiting for… well, perhaps it isn’t — but supporting this platform is a great demonstration of both the capabilities of the IBM PASE for i (Portable Application Solutions Environment) runtime for enabling OSS on IBM i, and the excellent compatibility and portability of the DPS8M simulator software. ↫ Jeffrey H. Johnson I understand some of this stuff. Some.
Mozilla Corp., which manages the open-source Firefox browser, announced today that Mitchell Baker is stepping down as CEO to focus on AI and internet safety as chair of the nonprofit foundation. Laura Chambers, a Mozilla board member and entrepreneur with experience at Airbnb, PayPal, and eBay, will step in as interim CEO to run operations until a permanent replacement is found. Baker, a Silicon Valley pioneer who co-founded the Mozilla Project, says it was her decision to step down as CEO, adding that the move is motivated by a sense of urgency over the current state of the internet and public trust. “We want to offer an alternative for people to have better products,” says Baker, who wants to draw more attention to policies, products and processes to challenge business models built on fueling outrage. “What are the connections between this global malaise and how humans are engaging with each other and technology?” ↫ Diane Brady for Fortune Mozilla is in such a tough spot. They basically have zero consumer appeal, have no recognisable products other than Firefox, and effectively exist by the grace of Google, of all companies. If Mozilla gets in even more trouble, a lot of OSNews readers are going to feel it – and the internet as whole will feel the repercussions even if they don’t realise it. Hearing so much talk about “AI” from Mozilla doesn’t exactly fill me with confidence.
Microsoft Graveyard is the virtual graveyard for all products killed by Microsoft; a free and open source collection of dead Microsoft products built by a passionate and nostalgic community. Our objective as a community is to provide factual, historic information for the products listed here. If something is missing, inaccurate, or you have a suggestion, visit and contribute to the project on GitHub. ↫ Victor Frye Heavily inspired by Killed by Google, but definitely incomplete for now, especially the further back in time you go.
For the past few months we have been working hard to provide a fast, reliable and secure KVM backend for VirtualBox. VirtualBox is a multi-platform Virtual Machine Monitor (VMM) with a great feature set, support for a wide variety of guest operating systems, and a consistent user interface across different host operating systems. Cyberus Technology’s KVM backend allows VirtualBox to run virtual machines utilizing the Linux KVM hypervisor instead of the custom kernel module used by standard VirtualBox. Using KVM comes with a number of benefits. ↫ Florian Pester, Markus Partheymüller Excellent news. Dealing with the VirtualBox and VMware kernel modules can be a hassle if you’re using newer or custom kernels, and having the VirtualBox UI for kvm instead of things virt-manager is not something I’m unhappy about.
After earlier sightings, Microsoft has now formally announced sudo for Windows. We’re excited to announce the release of Sudo for Windows in Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 26052! Sudo for Windows is a new way for users to run elevated commands directly from an unelevated console session. It is an ergonomic and familiar solution for users who want to elevate a command without having to first open a new elevated console. We are also excited to announce that we are open-sourcing this project here on GitHub! We’re working hard to add more information about the project in the GitHub repo and will be sharing more details about our plans in the coming months! If you’re looking for additional functionality that Sudo for Windows does not provide, check out Gerardo Grignoli’s gsudo which has a number of additional features and configuration options. ↫ Jordi Adoumie on the official Windows blog In response to sudo coming to Windows, Theo de Raadt announced that Word is coming to OpenBSD.
What if I told you there is an immensely popular operating system that you likely used it at least once, but did not realise what it was? In fact, it is so popular and important there is an IEEE standard based on it. It is uncanny how immensely popular AND immensely obscure this system is. It is scary that until today I have never even heard of its reference desktop implementation. The system is called “TRON”. ↫ Nina Kalinina This Mastodon thread is OSNews bait. Delicious.
Last month, we covered Julio Merino’s article about going from 0 to 1 MB in DOS, and now they’re back for breaking beyond that 1 MB barrier. I know I promised that this follow-up article would be about DJGPP, but before getting into that review, I realized I had to take another detour to cover three more topics. Namely: unreal mode, which I intentionally ignored to not derail the post; LOADALL, which I didn’t know about until you readers mentioned it; and DOS extenders, which I was planning to describe in the DJGPP article but they are a better fit for this one. So… strap your seat belts on and dive right in for another tour through the ancient techniques that DOS had to pull off to peek into the memory address space above the first MB. And get your hands ready because we’ll go over assembly code for a step-by-step jump into unreal mode. ↫ Julio Merino What’s amazing is that I don’t even remember having to deal with any of this while using MS-DOS back in the day. Games tended to use DOS extenders automatically (DOS/4G!), but I don’t remember if I ever had to set up any of the DOS above-640k stuff manually.
While there are a lot of Wayland compositors out there that aren’t too different from each other in terms of features, one of the more unique ones is Greenfield. The Greenfield Wayland compositor has been out there for a few years now as an in-browser HTML5-based solution that is continuing to prove itself capable and even fast enough for handling Linux gaming. ↫ Michael Larabel A rather genius idea for a Wayland compositor.
Windows 10 users started seeing full-screen pop-ups after installing a cumulative update release in May 2023. Now, the pop-up is back again on our Windows 10 PC after installing the optional update released in January 2024, and it gouges the eyes. No one expects a gigantic multi-slide advert using their PCs (web browsers are a different story). ↫ Abhishek Mishra Windows is an advertising platform first, operating system second. You should be expecting ads.
As noted by Wired, WhatsApp wants the messaging services it connects with to use the same Signal Protocol to encrypt messages. Meta is also open to apps using alternate encryption protocols so long as companies can prove “they reach the security standards that WhatsApp outlines in its guidance.” The third-party services will also have to sign a contract with Meta before they plug into WhatsApp, with more details about the agreement coming in March. ↫ Emma Roth at The Verge They way this should work is that these megacorporations create free and open APIs any instant messaging application can tap into. I’m not looking to bring other services into WhatsApp; I’m looking to bring all services together in one unified application that respects my platform’s conventions and integrates properly with the operating systems I use. I feel like this contractual interoperability Facebook (and Apple) is offering is not interoperability at all, and does not reflect the spirit of the Digital Markets Act.
Since vintage computing is supposed to be a spiritual experience, I point out that today, February 3, 2024, the Torah reading for this week is the Ten Commandments. Regardless of your religious tradition or lack thereof, I think we can all agree on these. ↫ Old Vintage Computing Research Amen.
Europe’s right-to-repair rules will force vendors to stand by their products an extra 12 months after a repair is made, according to the terms of a new political agreement. Consumers will have a choice between repair and replacement of defective products during a liability period that sellers will be required to offer. The liability period is slated to be a minimum of two years before any extensions. The rules require spare parts to be available at reasonable prices, and product makers will be prohibited from using “contractual, hardware or software related barriers to repair, such as impeding the use of second-hand, compatible and 3D-printed spare parts by independent repairers,” the Commission said. ↫ Jon Brodkin at Ars Technica An excellent set of rules, and once again puts the EU at the forefront of consumer protection. Maybe some of it will trickle down to other places in the world.
I love this quick to-the-point summary of most of the popular browsers out there right now. I’m a Firefox user, of course, since it’s the best choice between Chrome (I’d rather choose death), Safari (not cross-platform so utterly pointless), the various Chrome skins, and Firefox (the one independent browser). Still, I’m continuously worried about Firefox’ future – specifically on platforms other than Windows or macOS – and strongly believe we need more true alternatives for a healthier browser ecosystem.
In keeping with the Commodore tradition of cost cutting, most consumer models of their Amiga line of computers came with severely watered down documentation. The Amiga 500 was an exception from this rule, but owners of later machines – such as the A1200 – may not have gotten any documentation for the command line part of AmigaOS at all. And, of course, even if this documentation had shipped with the machines, it wouldn’t have revealed features that were hidden to anyone without access to official developer documentation or even left completely undocumented or unfinished. This is a quick look at a few of these interesting features, some more obscure than others, but all of them decidedly useful. Most of them only apply to versions 2.x and/or 3.x of the OS. With that said, let’s dive right in! ↫ Carl Svensson Exactly what it says on the tin.
The migration from the classic Mail and Calendar app to the new Outlook app is in full swing already. Microsoft announced the deprecation of the classic apps in favor of a new Outlook app in June 2023. It introduced the new Outlook app to Insider builds a month later and announced that it would enforce the migration in early 2024. Not all users are migrated at this point. Those who have been migrated already or installed the Outlook app directly, may notice several differences between the new Outlook app and the classic Mail app. One of the main differences turns an ad-free email experience into one with ads. You may see ads in the inbox in the new Outlook. ↫ Martin Brinkmann Ads disguised as emails in your inbox. Microsoft will not rest until Windows resembles Times Square. What a trash fire of an operating system.