David Adams Archive

Microsoft Funds OpenBSD

The Microsoft corporation has become OpenBSD's first "Gold Level" sponsor after a large donation. (Facebook and Google are both silver contributors). The move is likely related to Microsoft's use of OpenSSH in future versions of Powershell. Meanwhile at the FreeBSD site companies LineRate, NetApp, Google, Hudson River Trading, and Netflix dominate the top sponsors. Noticeably absent was the Apple Computer Corporation who base their OSX and IOS systems off of the free software BSD systems. More info about OpenBSD's 2015 fundraising campaign here.

Support for Windows Server 2003 Ends Next Week

Microsoft is ceasing support for enterprise IT workhorse Windows Server 2003 on July 14th. Despite support reaching end of life, research from the Cloud Industry Forum (CIF) suggests that at the end of 2014 61 per cent of businesses were still reliant on Windows Server 2003. A further study by Bit9 predicts 2.7 million Win2k3 servers will remain deployed post end-of-life. To give the OS a fitting send-off, Databarracks and the University of Surrey’s Electronics and Amateur Radio Society launched a Windows Server 2003 CD-ROM into the stratosphere in a weather balloon. You can watch the video at YouTube.

BBC Unveils Final Micro Bit Design

The design for the Micro Bit, the sequel to the venerable BBC Micro, has been finalized, and will be given to every 11- and 12-year-old British child in October. BBC Learning head Sinead Rocks said: "The BBC Micro Bit is all about young people learning to express themselves digitally. As the Micro Bit is able to connect to everything from mobile phones to plant pots and Raspberry Pis, this could be for the internet-of-things what the BBC Micro was to the British gaming industry." The Micro Bit's web site confirms it will include an ARM Cortex M0 process, bluetooth, motion sensors and a built in compass.

Five Best Linux Desktop Environments

As with many things Linux-related, the variety of desktop environments is both a strength and a weakness. For new users, the decision of which DE to use can be a hard one. To help, the folks at Linux and Ubuntu have compiled a list of their top five. In typical fashion, partisans for the DEs that were left out were quick to advocate for their favorites in the comments. (I post this mostly to give OSNews readers the opportunity to opine on how wrong they are).

Microsoft Dumping Windows Phone, Nokia

In a move that shouldn't surprise OSNews readers that much, Microsoft is writing off most of what it acquired from Nokia less than two years ago and will be laying off 7,800 people in its hardware division. According to Ars: "The hardware division includes the lion’s share of former Nokia employees, who became part of Microsoft last year. Former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop is leaving--this much we knew from last month--and Reuters says that Microsoft is also going to record an "impairment charge" of $7.6 billion dollars from the Nokia acquisition and perform a complete restructuring of its phone business. It's a shame, considering that Windows Phone has actually shaped out to be a pretty good OS, and a mobile OS landscape with only two players is good for neither consumers nor OS enthusiasts.

Is it the future yet? A week with the Apple Watch

I bought an Apple Watch, and I've been wearing it for about two weeks. I'm a notorious mobile computing fanatic and early adopter. How does it hold up to real-world use? How does it compare to the hype?

Let's get this out of the way: I've been waiting for an Apple Watch for a long time. While a lot of people were quick to dismiss the whole idea, I've been on board with the idea of a wrist-mounted companion to a smartphone since I first started using a smartphone. I never bought a Pebble or any of the other first generation smart watches, largely because I've been around the block long enough to know that it's hard to be an early adopter, but partially because I wanted to wait and see what Apple would come up with.

The Fax Machine Lives on in Japan

I actually received a fax today, through the eFax account I've had since the late 90s and has mostly lain dormant during this century, so I found today's NYT article on the fax's enduring importance in Japan quite interesting. The tl;dr: Japanese were early adopters of fax and it's unbelievably intertwined with day-to-day operations of most businesses; the Japanese language and culture favor handwritten notes; people in Japan, demographically, are old and set in their ways.

SCO-IBM Linux Lawsuit: It’s Back!

SCO, which went bankrupt after an unfavorable ruling four years ago and has auctioned off all of its assets, exists now only as a vehicle for the quixotic lawsuit against IBM for misappropriation of its Unix source code. Apparently, the 2010 ruling left a small opening, because the suit is back. To the extent that they operate at all, the company's leader is now a well-respected former federal judge named Edward Cahn. Officially, he's a Chapter 11 trustee, which means that, in bankruptcy, the company's lenders or investors can appoint someone to oversee a reorganization and essentially direct the company toward activities that will maximize the recovery of the debt. Cahn's sole responsibility is to see if he can wring any money out of SCO's remaining asset (the lawsuit), which means that this circus will continue until the lenders decide that the likelihood of a settlement doesn't justify the legal costs.

Microsoft is open sourcing .NET framework

Microsoft has just announced they open sourced .NET," including ASP.NET, the .NET compiler, the .NET Core Runtime, Framework and Libraries, enabling developers to build with .NET across Windows, Mac or Linux." They're including a patent promise. Miguel de Icaza reports that the Mono project will be "replacing chunks of Mono code that was either incomplete, buggy, or not as fully featured as it should be with Microsoft's code," and he also notes that "Microsoft has stated that they do not currently plan on taking patches back or engaging into a full open source community style development of this code base, as the requirements for backwards compatibility on Windows are very high." Nevertheless, this is a very interesting development that demonstrates that Microsoft is serious about remaining relevant.

iOS 8 Jailbreak Report

Over the weekend, Pangu released their iOS jailbreak for the Mac, which is the capstone on a weeks-long journey of incremental releases that brought the wonders of non-Apple-approved software to iDevice users bit by bit according to their level of tinkering devotion. Last week, after an aborted attempt, I managed to jailbreak my iPhone 5S, and though I'm still dealing with some of my favorite tweaks not having been updated to work with the new OS, I'm pretty happy with the update, and I can recommend it for most users. Read more, for the rest.

Haiku Developers Discuss the Future

Adrien Destugues sent an email to Haiku developers after the BeGeistert forum, addressing their inability to get R1 out the door, and proposed that they rededicate themselves to getting a beta out ASAP. He then asks a question that hangs above the heads of all developers of alternative and hobbyist OSes: is their goal "to create an operating system that specifically targets personal computing? Or have we evolved to the goal of a fun playground for OS-developers to play around with modern OS concepts?" He concludes ... "I do think that the PC-landscape has changed dramatically since the inception of the project, and I also underscore that there is a clear lack of focus when it comes to accomplishing our current mission. I would go so far as to say that the severe lack of interest of developers into finishing R1 is a great indication in that there really hardly seems to be any place for a new (mainstream?) desktop operating system anymore? Even the Linux on the desktop guys seem to have ceased preaching their gospel." That's some sober talk that's important for alternative OS fans to consider.

A Love Letter to Obsolete OSes and Emulation

The death of an old friend sent Paul Ford on a bender; emulating old hardware to run familiar obsolete operating systems and software, and remembering 1980s and 1990s computing culture in about the most OSNews-bait article I've ever read. It's a wonderful read, with all your old favorites: Commodore Amiga, dial-up BBSes, Xerox Alto, MacOS 6, Smalltalk-80, Plan 9, LISP, Windows 3.1, NeXT OpenStep. Nostalgic and heartwarming.

ReactOS 0.3.17 Released

The ReactOS Project is pleased to release version 0.3.17. A major new feature for this release is the inclusion of NTVDM, which provides support for a wide range of 16bit applications, a long requested feature by the community. NTVDM is still undergoing work but we felt that it was ready enough to provide a sneak peak to the wider community. In addition, the leadup to the 0.3.17 release saw a very impressive round of testing by the community. Several regressions and bugs discovered in the release candidates were promptly fixed and incorporated into the final release. ReactOS is quickly approaching a stage where what the releases will offer is polish compared to previous releases. That will be an important milestone, as it is then that we can begin recommending to people that they try using ReactOS for day-to-day computing.

Canonical Proposes LXD: A Next-generation Hypervisor

Take all the speed and efficiency of docker, and turn it into a full virtualisation experience. That's the goal of Canonical's new initiative to create the next big hypervisor around Linux container technologies. Imagine you could launch a new machine in under a second, and that you could launch hundreds of them on a single server. Hundreds! Now, imagine that you have hardware-guaranteed security to ensure that those machines can’t pry or spy on one another. Imagine you can connect them separately and securely to networks. And imagine that you can run that on a single node or a million, live migrate machines between those nodes, and talk to all of it through a clean, extensible REST API. That’s what LXD sets out to deliver. Update: a bit more about LXD from Dustin Kirkland.