Today, we’re sharing the latest on the Privacy Sandbox initiative including a timeline for Chrome’s plan to phase out support for third-party cookies. While there’s considerable progress with this initiative, it’s become clear that more time is needed across the ecosystem to get this right. We plan to continue to work with the web community to create more private approaches to key areas, including ad measurement, delivering relevant ads and content, and fraud detection. Today, Chrome and others have offered more than 30 proposals, and four of those proposals are available in origin trials. For Chrome, specifically, our goal is to have the key technologies deployed by late 2022 for the developer community to start adopting them. Subject to our engagement with the United Kingdom’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and in line with the commitments we have offered, Chrome could then phase out third-party cookies over a three month period, starting in mid-2023 and ending in late 2023. Chrome is, for some reason, the most popular browser in the world, and it sucks that Google has to delay ending support for third-party cookies. This is the price they pay for being as big and powerful as they are, since while cutting off third-party cookies won’t harm Google’s advertising business all that much, it certainly will harm the very few remaining competitors it still has. I won’t shed a single tear for any online advertising company, but I will shed a tear for the masses who still believe they’re hogtied by Chrome.
At an online event today, Microsoft officially announced Windows 11, the next major version of Windows. Windows 11 comes with several new features and improvements for end users. Microsoft highlighted the below features during the event today. Aside from the visual nip and tuck that we were already aware of, there’s a new Windows Store experience, a shift to a yearly update schedule, lots of new features for gaming, and the biggest new feature of all: Android applications are coming to Windows. Android applications on Windows have a few asterisks, though, the biggest of which is that Microsoft is collaborating with Amazon on bringing Android applications to Windows – after installing or upgrading to Windows 11, you first have to install the Amazon App Store from within the Windows Store, after which you can install Android applications, but only those found in the Amazon App Store. There’s no Google Play Store here, and no Google Play Services. My guess is that Google wasn’t going to play ball on this one, so Microsoft had to settle for this. Microsoft also showed off a revamped Settings app, redesigned versions of Notepad and Paint, and teased a UI overhaul for Windows Explorer, merely replacing its ribbon with a few buttons, so there’s no truly new, improved Explorer here. There’s more, but these are definitely the highlights. Windows 11 will come out later this year, and will be a free upgrade for Windows 10 users. The hardware requirements are roughly the same as Windows 10.
Starting today, online users have a new independent option for search which gives them unmatched privacy. Whether they are already Brave browser users, looking to expand their online privacy protection with the all-in-one, integrated Brave Search in the Brave browser, or users of other browsers looking for the best-in-breed privacy-preserving search engine, they can all use the newly released Brave Search beta that puts users first, and fully in control of their online experience. Brave Search is built on top of a completely independent index, and doesn’t track users, their searches, or their clicks. Brave Search is available in beta release globally on all Brave browsers (desktop, Android, and iOS) as one of the search options alongside other search engines, and will become the default search in the Brave browser later this year. It is also available from any other browser at search.brave.com. I’m going to give Brave an honest try, since I’ve been quite unhappy with DuckDuckGo lately, and Google’s search engine has been going down the drain for years now. Being in search engine limbo is not a fun place to be, so I’m genuinely hoping Brave Search can fill this void.
Rocky Linux, a fork of CentOS and a replacement set up by one of the founders of the original CentOS project, has unveiled its first final release. Rocky Linux is a community enterprise operating system designed to be 100% bug-for-bug compatible with Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.4. Since this is the first Release of Rocky Linux, the release notes below reflect only changes in upstream functionality between point releases. CentOS needed a replacement since the project shifted focus towards CentOS Stream.
In this post I’ll try to explain PipeWire in the most simple way possible, to make it accessible to others that want to start following this cool new project but that don’t know where to start. It’s especially important to do this to open the door for more people to join in and follow the current development, which is happening at a fast pace. PipeWire is making its way into the generic Linux desktop market, so now is as good a time as ever to gain a better understanding of what it is and how it works.
It seems the big technology companies are running scared. According to a report by The New York Times, they have ramped up their lobbying efforts into the stratosphere at all levels of government, and Tim Cook is even personally calling politicians – most prominently, Nancy Pelosi. The calls by Mr. Cook are part of a forceful and wide-ranging pushback by the tech industry since the proposals were announced this month. Executives, lobbyists, and more than a dozen think tanks and advocacy groups paid by tech companies have swarmed Capitol offices, called and emailed lawmakers and their staff members, and written letters arguing there will be dire consequences for the industry and the country if the ideas become law. The bills, the most sweeping set of antitrust legislation in generations, take aim at Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google by trying to undo their dominance in online commerce, advertising, media and entertainment. There are six bills in total, and if passed, they would empower regulators, make it harder for the tech giants to acquire start-ups and prevent the companies from using their strength in one area to form a grip in another. Apple also published a 16 page PR document today, warning that the world will end if Apple is forced to allow sideloading or third party application stores on iOS. Of course, this is all nonsense, as the only thing Apple worries about is the protection money it extracts that makes up the vast majority of its services push that it uses to please investors. Nobody is going to break into iOS users’ homes and force them to sideload – don’t sideload if you don’t want to, but the rest of us should be allowed to do whatever we want with the devices we paid money for. Another major reason Apple is running is scared is that if it has to allow sideloading, the company will lose the control over its platform that is so coveted by Apple’s closest friends and allies, the totalitarian governments of this world. China, Saudi-Arabia, Russia, and others are weaponising Apple’s walled garden, and if that wall is cracked open, Apple is suddenly no longer as valuable to totalitarian governments. This would hurt Apple’s bottom line significantly. Amazon and Google also have a lot to lose, of course. Google controls most of the advertising market and any measures to lessen that control will be a major blow to the company’s bottom line. Amazon, for its part, abuses the data it collects about buyers and sellers to create their own products and delist their competitors, which has become a cornerstone of the company’s strategy. The fact they are running scared bodes well for the contents of these proposed bills, but at the same time, it also means a lot of bribes are flowing towards Washington, and American politicians are nothing if not deeply, systematically corrupt and easily bought.
Today, RISC-V CPU design company SiFive launched a new processor family with two core designs: P270 (a Linux-capable CPU with full support for RISC-V’s vector extension 1.0 release candidate) and P550 (the highest-performing RISC-V CPU to date). There’s quite a bit to unpack here today. Not only did SiFive announce these two new core designs, it also partnered with Intel. Intel will be the main development partner on the P550 core on Intel’s 7nm process, and most likely, Intel will also build its own SoCs using these P550 cores. In other words, there’s a lot of IP sharing going on here. This is a big step for both RISV-V and SiFive, and bodes well for the open source ISA as a whole.
Every old video game console dies eventually. Moving parts seize-up, circuit boards fail, cables wear out. If a user needs a replacement connector, chip, ribbon, gear, shell—or any of the thousands of other parts that, in time, can break, melt, discolor, delaminate, or explode—they’re usually out of luck, unless they have a spare system to scavenge. But there is an exception to this depressing law of nature. In San Jose, on a side street next to a highway off-ramp, inside an unmarked warehouse building, is part of the world’s largest remaining collection of factory-original replacement Atari parts — a veritable fountain of youth for aging equipment from the dawn of the home computing and video gaming era. This is the home of Best Electronics, a mail-order business that has been selling Atari goods continuously for almost four decades. But if you’d like to share in Best’s bounty, as many die-hard Atari fans desperately do, there’s a very important piece of advice you need to keep in mind: whatever you do, don’t piss off Bradley. I love this story. There’s a lot you can say about having one person dictate nebulous terms like this, but we’re not talking a primary, secondary, or even tertiary life need here. It’s his way, or the high way, and I like that, in a romantic, old-timey kind of way. His website is glorious, the outdated catalog that is entirely outdated unless you combine it with decades of online updates – it’s almost mythical, a modern fairy tale.
If all goes to plan, Beta 3 will be released sometime after the 24th of July. Note that the release will only happen when everything is ready, so there are no final dates and the timeline may change to account for delays. The Promotion Team is currently investigating Beta3 DVDs and USB sticks to order: the Inc. has been notified and quotes have been requested from two possible services. A lot of other software projects would’ve called these betas final releases. Haiku is a lot more stable, capable, and usable than the beta label indicates.
One of the main reasons some people tend to avoid updating their PCs is that “it makes it slower”. Especially with Windows 10’s Software as a Service approach, where it gets the so-called “feature updates” twice a year. But is it actually true? Today we’re gonna find out how much Windows 10’s performance has changed over time, by benchmarking 10 elements of the OS experience. As much as I dislike Windows, performance really was never an issue for me. It’s been responsive and snappy ever since Windows 7, but it’s still interesting to see the changes in performance over Windows 10’s lifetime.
We’ve all heard this riddle: if you dig down deep enough in Windows 10, you’ll find elements that date from Windows 3.x days. But is it actually true? In this article we’ll discover just how many UI layers are in Windows and when they were first introduced. This is just painful to read. It highlights just how messy, inconsistent, and jarring Windows has become, which is a damn shame, since during the days of the ‘Classic’ theme, Windows was actually quite consistent and predictable. It’s pretty much been downhill since Microsoft introduced the Luna theme in Windows XP, and it’s clear Windows 11 isn’t fixing this issue either. To dispel a common myth – this issue does not just affect what the various parts of Windows look like – it also affects how they act and behave. There are still scrollable areas in Windows 10 that do not register mouse wheel input, or cramped dialogs and windows that should be resizable but aren’t, all because they were designed in the era of Windows 95 or even Windows 3.x. This is simply inexcusable, and the fact a massive company like Microsoft does not seem at all interested in addressing these issues, preferring to develop yet another five new application frameworks not even Microsoft will use, shows how little they actually care.
The utter user-interface butchery happening to Safari on the Mac is once again the work of people who put iOS first. People who by now think in iOS terms. People who view the venerable Mac OS user interface as an older person whose traits must be experimented upon, plastic surgery after plastic surgery, until this person looks younger. Unfortunately the effect is more like this person ends up looking… weird. These people look at the Mac’s UI and (that’s the impression, at least) don’t really understand it. Its foundations come from a past that almost seems inscrutable to them. Usability cues and features are all wrinkles to them. iOS and iPadOS don’t have these strange wrinkles, they muse. We must hide them. We’ll make this spectacular facelift and we’ll hide them, one by one. Mac OS will look as young (and foolish, cough) as iOS! I haven’t encountered a single person who likes the new Safari tab design on macOS.
Google wants to see Rust programming language support within the Linux kernel so much so that they have contracted the lead developer working on “Rust for Linux” as the work aims to get mainlined. Google is going public today with their formal support for Rust in the Linux kernel to enhance memory safety and that they have contracted developer Miguel Ojeda to further his work on Rust for the Linux kernel and related security efforts. This contract is going through at least the next year. Making any meaningful statements about programming languages is far above my pay grade, so I’ll leave this one to you people to discuss.
Airlines, banks, stock exchanges and trading platforms suffered brief website outages early Thursday after a key piece of internet infrastructure failed, sparking the second major interruption of the past 10 days. Virgin Australia said in a statement on Thursday that it had resolved an IT outage caused by a failure at Akamai Technologies, a global content delivery network. The second major internet outage in a few weeks. Not a good look.
Ohio’s Republican-controlled legislature is on the verge of imposing a state law to dramatically restrict the rights of cities and towns to build and operate municipal broadband networks. The Ohio Senate on June 9 approved a budget bill that contains an anti-municipal broadband amendment. It’s not a done deal yet, and advocates for public networks are urging the legislature to strip the amendment from the final budget. The budget bill is expected to be hammered out within the next two weeks. If passed, the proposed law could kill existing broadband services and prevent new ones from being deployed. There are reportedly 30 or more municipal broadband providers in Ohio that “would not be allowed to operate so long as there is a private-sector company operating in the area, as there are in most, if not all of the cities.” Broadband in the US is a complete and utter joke, and it seems Republicans are hell-bent on keeping it that way.
Me, three weeks ago: Mark my words: this “next generation of Windows” is nothing but a few nips and tucks to the current, existing UI to make it slightly less of an inconsistent mess. Nothing more. Fast-forward to today, and we have a leaked build of this “next generation of Windows”, Windows 11, and much to my utter, devastating surprise, it turns out I was 100% right. Windows 11 is exactly what I said it would be: Windows 10, but with a few small nips and tucks (rounded corners, centered taskbar, tweaked Start menu), and that’s it. All the old Windows 95, XP, and 7-era stuff is still there, and since you can actually easily turn off a lot of the changes in Windows 11, there’s now a whole new layer of old design – Windows 10-era stuff. If this is the “next generation of Windows”, Microsoft is delusional.
From the January 1996 issue of PC World: Sony has great hopes for its MiniDisc Data format as the next-generation mass storage media. And why not? On the surface, it has a lot going for it. A blank 2.5-inch magneto-optical MiniDisc offers 140MB of rewritable storage, and Sony promises the discs can be rewritten more than a million times with no loss of data integrity. MD Data was emblematic for the MiniDisc format as a whole. Great technology, but far too expensive for most people, and always outdone by emerging competing formats (CD-R, MP3 players). Still, I used MiniDisc all the way through high school and university, well into the smartphone era, and I will always consider it my favourite music format.
I want to say a few words about my current adventure. I joined the Fuchsia project at its inception and worked on the daunting task of building and shipping a brand new open-source operating system. As my colleague Chris noted, pointing to this comparison of a device running a Linux-based OS vs Fuchsia, making Fuchsia invisible was not an easy feat. Of course, under the hood, a lot is different. We built a brand new message-passing kernel, new connectivity stacks, component model, file-systems, you name it. And yes, there are a few security things I’m excited about. Fuchsia is a much bigger deal than most people think. Make no mistake about it – this is the future of all of Google’s end-user facing operating systems, from Chrome OS, Android, all the way down to Wear OS and Google Home devices. The amazing thing is that with the way Fuchsia is built and designed, including its support for Android applications, most users will be none the wiser they’ve jumped from Linux to something new.
The PsychDOS desktop environment is an ANSI-like graphical interface for launching applications and having a few other features. I highly recommend looking at the SCREENSHOTS and DOCS sections, as well as taking a look at the QCKGUIDE.PDF (Page 3.5 Issue #01) file to get a better idea. I don’t care what anybody thinks – this is an awesome project, and an awesome idea. The readme contains a lot more detailed information about the project.
CuteFishOS’s stated goal is to “make a better experience desktop OS”. To do that they’re building a new desktop environment (‘CuteFishDE’) using KDE Frameworks, Qt, and KDE Plasma 5. This desktop will sit at the heart of a new Linux distro called CuteFishOS. The desktop experience caters to “beginners”, rather than power users. As such, the devs have no (current) plans to add complex, edge-case, or convoluted settings and features. Like Ubuntu, the aim is to provide a basic set of sane defaults that “just work” for most users. There’s room for a polished, stripped-down Qt alternative to KDE, but I’m not sure if this one is going to be it.