Thom Holwerda Archive

Some Windows 10 users about to be force upgraded if they use older versions

Starting December 2020, Microsoft will begin Some Windows 10 users about to be force upgraded if they use older versions (windowslatest.com) if they don’t update their PC manually. The move comes after Microsoft announced that it’s ending support for Windows 10 version 1903, including Windows 10 Home and Windows 10 Pro. It shouldn’t be a concern for most users considering that the tech giant issued the upgrade alert two months ago. Microsoft had also confirmed that it would start forcing people to upgrade even if they don’t want to. Does anyone even know what all these version numbers even mean anymore? There’s version numbers, date-based names, build numbers – I have completely and utterly lost track of Windows’ development cycle and rollouts.

U.S. and states say Facebook illegally crushed competition, sue Facebook

The Federal Trade Commission and more than 40 states accused Facebook on Wednesday of becoming a social media monopoly by buying up its rivals to illegally squash competition, and said the deals that turned the social network into a behemoth should be unwound. The prosecutors called for Facebook to break off Instagram and WhatsApp and for new restrictions on future deals, in what amounted to some of the most severe penalties regulators can demand. I hope it gets that far. Next on the list? Apple and Google.

Google’s Fuchsia operating systems steps into the spotlight, transitions to a proper open source project

Google has finally – finally – truly and honestly confirmed Fuchsia is a thing. Fuchsia is a long-term project to create a general-purpose, open source operating system, and today we are expanding Fuchsia’s open source model to welcome contributions from the public. Starting today, we are expanding Fuchsia’s open source model to make it easier for the public to engage with the project. We have created new public mailing lists for project discussions, added a governance model to clarify how strategic decisions are made, and opened up the issue tracker for public contributors to see what’s being worked on. As an open source effort, we welcome high-quality, well-tested contributions from all. There is now a process to become a member to submit patches, or a committer with full write access. In addition, we are also publishing a technical roadmap for Fuchsia to provide better insights for project direction and priorities. Some of the highlights of the roadmap are working on a driver framework for updating the kernel independently of the drivers, improving file systems for performance, and expanding the input pipeline for accessibility. It has been a very, very long time since any of the major technology companies built a new operating system from the ground up. Windows 10 is Windows NT, a project started in 1989 and first released as Windows NT 3.1 in 1993. The Linux kernel was first released in 1991. macOS grew out of NeXTSTEP, development of which started in 1985, seeing its first release in 1989. These operating systems are old. Fuchsia is truly new, and developed by one of the biggest companies in the world, and while Google has a spotty track record when it comes to corporate attention span, I doubt they’d roll out the red carpet like this after four years of sort-of-but-not-really open development if they intend to kill the entire thing two years from now. And even if they do – the code’s out there anyway. There’s a guide on how to build Fuchsia and set up an emulator (for Linux and macOS), so you can start poking around today.

CentOS Project shifts focus to CentOS Stream

The future of the CentOS Project is CentOS Stream, and over the next year we’ll be shifting focus from CentOS Linux, the rebuild of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), to CentOS Stream, which tracks just ahead of a current RHEL release. CentOS Linux 8, as a rebuild of RHEL 8, will end at the end of 2021. CentOS Stream continues after that date, serving as the upstream (development) branch of Red Hat Enterprise Linux. A lot of people are not going to be happy with this announcement, and it seems this is the first clear insight into what IBM is planning to do with the Red Hat acquisition. Expect a new CentOS to rise to the occasion and takes its place.

Librem 5 Evergreen vs. Pinephone

I recently received my Librem 5 (Evergreen) from Purism. The Librem 5 is a smartphone that runs an otherwise standard linux kernel. However, unlike Android which also relies on the linux kernel under the hood, the Librem 5 uses a GNU userspace, adapted for mobile. This makes it more akin to your typical laptop in some ways, although the form factor still resembles a modern smartphone (at least, mostly). Here are some preliminary thoughts about the phone and how it compares to Pine64’s Pinephone, which is another phone that uses neither Android nor iOS, and relies on a GNU / Linux based OS. A detailed look at and comparison between these two smartphones that definitely share a target market. Devices like this are an excellent example of something I can now consider buying and reviewing thanks to our lovely supporters on Patreon.

Qt 6.0 released

Key changes in Qt 6.0 include: • Leveraging C++17• Next generation QML• New graphics architecture• Unified 2D and 3D for Qt Quick• CMake build system (with qmake still supported for applications)• Multiple improvements throughout A big release – but I’m not a programmer so I won’t pretend to try and understand all of this.

Qualcomm details the Snapdragon 888: 3rd gen 5G & Cortex-X1 on 5nm

The new CPU configuration gives the new SoC a good uplift in performance, although it’s admittedly less of a jump than I had hoped for this generation of Cortex-X1 designs, and I do think Qualcomm won’t be able to retain the performance crown for this generation of Android-SoCs, with the performance gap against Apple’s SoCs also narrowing less than we had hoped for. On the GPU side, the new 35% performance uplift is extremely impressive. If Qualcomm is really able to maintain similar power figures this generation, it should allow the Snapdragon 888 to retake the performance crown in mobile, and actually retain it for the majority of 2021. At this point it feels like we’re far beyond the point of diminishing returns for smartphones, but with ARM moving to general purpose computers, there’s still a lot of performance gains to be made. I want a Linux-based competitor to Apple’s M1-based Macs, as Linux is perfectly suited for architecture transitions like this.

New RISC-V CPU claims recordbreaking performance per watt

Ars Technica summarises and looks at the various claims made by Micro Magic about their RISC-V core. Micro Magic Inc.—a small electronic design firm in Sunnyvale, California—has produced a prototype CPU that is several times more efficient than world-leading competitors, while retaining reasonable raw performance. We first noticed Micro Magic’s claims earlier this week, when EE Times reported on the company’s new prototype CPU, which appears to be the fastest RISC-V CPU in the world. Micro Magic adviser Andy Huang claimed the CPU could produce 13,000 CoreMarks (more on that later) at 5GHz and 1.1V while also putting out 11,000 CoreMarks at 4.25GHz—the latter all while consuming only 200mW. Huang demonstrated the CPU—running on an Odroid board—to EE Times at 4.327GHz/0.8V and 5.19GHz/1.1V. Later the same week, Micro Magic announced the same CPU could produce over 8,000 CoreMarks at 3GHz while consuming only 69mW of power. I have some major reservations about all of these claims, mostly because of the lack of benchmarks that more accurately track real-world usage. Extraordinary claims requite extraordinary evidence, and I feel like some vague photos just doesn’t to the trick of convincing me. Then again, last time I said anything about an upcoming processor, I was off by a million miles, so what do I know?

OpenZFS 2.0 release unifies Linux, BSD and adds tons of new features

This Monday, ZFS on Linux lead developer Brian Behlendorf published the OpenZFS 2.0.0 release to GitHub. Along with quite a lot of new features, the announcement brings an end to the former distinction between “ZFS on Linux” and ZFS elsewhere (for example, on FreeBSD). This move has been a long time coming—the FreeBSD community laid out its side of the roadmap two years ago—but this is the release that makes it official. A massive release.

oasis: a small, statically linked Linux system

oasis is a small linux system. It is probably quite a bit different from other Linux-based operating systems you might be familiar with, and is probably better compared to a BSD. There are many features that distinguish it from other operating systems. It’s entirely statically linked, uses various smaller, more compact alternatives to components you’d normally find in a Linux system, and it’s entirely focused on simplicity. I find it quite attractive on paper.

Introducing the OSNews Patreon

Since OSNews’ inception in 1997 – yes, this site is that old – a lot has changed on the internet when it comes to earning income. While for a very long time a site like OSNews could sustain itself through revenue from basic ads alone, we’re now far beyond the point where that is feasible – unless we were to introduce ever more intrusive ads, which we’re obviously not going to do. Our readers are, of course, keenly aware of how expensive it can be to run a website like OSNews, and as such, many of you have asked us over the years for methods of supporting the website financially. We’ve always had a subscriber program for an ad-free version of the site, but we never really advertised it very heavily. Today, that’s going to change. You can now support OSNews by becoming an OSNews Patreon. With your support, we can keep posting stories every single day, pay the hosting bills, write more interesting articles, access interesting hardware to review for your amusement, and possibly expand into new territories like video reviews to accompany the regular written reviews. Your support will enable us to write reviews of older, vintage devices and software like Palm PDAs, Psion devices, old operating system versions, and much more. We’ve created three tiers – Silver, Gold, and Platinum – and at each of these tiers you’ll get the ad-free version of OSNews, as well as a silver, gold, or custom comment flair to show off your status as an OSNews Patreon. All of our readers are equal, of course, but OSNews Patreons are just a little more equal. If you want to support the continued work we do, head on over to the OSNews Patreon page and become an OSNews Patreon. Thank you – all of you, not just OSNews Patreons – for supporting the site! Important note: since Patreon has ended support for their API, we are not investing engineering hours into full integration of Patreon into OSNews. This means we have to add the rewards to your OSNews account manually. As such, it may take a few hours before your rewards are added to your account, depending on time zones, availability of OSNews staff, and so on. We will obviously do our best to make this process as quick as possible, but please bear with us. Frequently (?) Asked Questions Does this mean OSNews will start putting content behind Patreon-only paywalls? No. All of the stories and articles we post will remain freely available as they always have been, and even future articles made possible through Patreon supporters will always be available to everyone. The goal of the OSNews Patreon is to support OSNews as a whole, not just a small part of it. Can you give some examples of the kinds of articles you want to write that are impossible to do without more financial support? Sure! A great example of an article – or, more likely, series of articles – that I’ve been dying to write is one about one of the last Sun UltraSPARC multiprocessor workstations, fitted with one of the later SunPCI cards. I’m a huge fan of Sun’s workstation hardware, but getting access to relatively old and outdated hardware like this is surprisingly expensive. A successful Patreon could make this a reality. I also have a massive collection of PDAs, from the late 80s all the way up to the 2000s, that I would love to write more about. That takes a lot of time, and with the support of the OSNews Patreon I might be able to set aside time from my regular job to focus more on writing articles for OSNews. There are tons of other interesting topics that require expenses too, such as SGI’s IRIX, or Psion devices, or even modern computers like the new M1-based Macs. Will you introduce more tiers and benefits in the future? Possibly. We have a few other ideas that we need to flesh out further and reconsider before making any commitments. Why is the pricing in euros, and not in dollars or Canadian rubles? The pricing is set in euros, but Patreon shows the amounts converted to your local currency. Some users may still see the euro pricing, however, for instance when using a VPN. Can I cancel my Patreon or upgrade/downgrade to a different tier? Yes. Patreon as a platform offers all of these options at any time, so you’ll never have to feel tied down or locked into or out of a certain tier.

GhostBSD 20.11.28 released

This release comes with a new live system that leverages ZFS, compression, and replication first introduced in FuryBSD by Joe Maloney. The 20.11.28 release contains numerous improvements, including OS fixes for linuxulator to improve Linux Steam performance, an updated kernel, and GhostBSD userland updates. Userland updates include a MATE desktop upgrade to version 1.24.1, Software Station performance improvements, and numerous application updates. Does anybody have any experiences with Linuxulator? I’m quite curious about its performance compared to running the same binaries on Linux, and just how easy it is to use.

Why is Apple’s M1 chip so fast?

On Youtube I watched a Mac user who had bought an iMac last year. It was maxed out with 40 GB of RAM costing him about $4000. He watched in disbelief how his hyper expensive iMac was being demolished by his new M1 Mac Mini, which he had paid a measly $700 for. In real world test after test, the M1 Macs are not merely inching past top of the line Intel Macs, they are destroying them. In disbelief people have started asking how on earth this is possible? If you are one of those people, you have come to the right place. Here I plan to break it down into digestible pieces exactly what it is that Apple has done with the M1. It’s exciting to see x86 receive such a major kick in the butt, but it’s sad that the M1 is locked away and only a very, very small number of people will get to see its benefits.

Little things that made Amiga great

In a time when home PC’s were single tasking DOS boxes with 8 character file names and Ataris and Macs were single tasking GUI boxes, hampering any hacker with their glaring lack of a CLI, the Amiga was a champion of both worlds: It combined the CLI and GUI, leveraging both their strengths. But there was more to it than that, something that’s hard to convey in so many words. A long list of little things that the author believes made the Amiga great. There’s some interesting touches in there, but personally, the Amiga OS and its derivatives just do not click with me – and I’ve extensively used all of them. Not that it matters, though – there’s more than enough love for the Amiga to go around.

Genode OS Framework 20.11 released

With Genode 20.11, we focused on the scalability of real-world application workloads, and nurtured Genode’s support for 64-bit ARM hardware. We thereby follow the overarching goal to run highly sophisticated Genode-based systems on devices of various form factors. The release notes are detailed and informative as always – a huge benefit of being a project born at and run in a university environment.

Apple Silicon M1: a developer’s perspective

The new M1 MacBooks are fast, beautiful and silent and the hype is absolutely justified. There’s still a lot to do on the software-front to catch up, and the bugs around older iOS Simulators are especially problematic. All of that can be fixed in software and the whole industry is currently working on making the experience better, so by next year, when Apple updates the 16-inch MacBook Pro and releases the next generation of their M chip line, it should be absolutely possible to use a M1 Mac as main dev machine. For the vast majority of people, it’s going to be very hard to resist these new Macs. They’re just so far ahead of the competition in performance, power draw, battery life, and noise (or lack thereof) that any x86-based laptop just can’t compete, unless they go hardcore in on price. I’d love to have one to test and review here for OSNews, but financially that’s not in the cards for now.

ELKS, the Embeddeable Linux Kernel Subset, 0.4 released

This is a project providing a Linux-like OS for systems based on the Intel IA16 architecture (16-bit processors: 8086, 8088, 80188, 80186, 80286, NEC V20, V30, and compatibles). Such systems are ancient computers (IBM-PC XT/AT and clones), or more recent SBC/SoC/FPGA that reuse the huge hardware & software legacy from that popular platform. Definitely an interesting and impressive project.

Developer successfully virtualizes ARM Windows on Apple Silicon

A developer has successfully been able to virtualize the ARM version of Windows on Apple Silicon using the QEMU virtualizer. Apple’s M1 MacBooks have proved their worth when it comes to performance and battery efficiency. But, since these run on a custom ARM chip, it’s not yet possible to install, dual boot, or emulate Windows; which is in popular demand. Developer Alexander Graf, however, took to Twitter today to share his achievement: successfully being able to virtualize ARM Windows on Apple Silicon. Nothing too surprising, of course, but the real barrier to Windows on ARM running on M1-equipped Macs is not running Windows on M1 Macs, but Microsoft actually making the ARM version of Windows available for this very purpose.

v7/x86: the last true UNIX, ported to x86

V7/x86 is a port of the Seventh Edition of the UNIX operating system to the x86 (i386) based PC. UNIX V7 was the last general distribution (around 1979) to come from the Research group at Bell Labs, the original home of UNIX. The port was done mostly around 1999 when “Ancient UNIX” source code licenses first became available, and was revised for release, with some enhancements, during 2006-7. The distribution includes the full UNIX Version 7 operating system, with source code, pre-built binaries, man pages, and original Version 7 documentation. Also included are a custom UNIX-style x86 assembler, an ACK-based C compiler, and several key early UCB software components such as the C shell, the editors ex and vi, and the pager more. I’m inclined to try and run this virtually, to see just how bastardised and messy UNIX has become in our current UNIX derivatives.