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Thoughts of Thanksgiving for All That Is FOSS
November 24, 2014
Well Thanksgiving week is upon us here in the land of stars and stripes, and in anticipation of all the social events soon to besiege us, more than a few Linux bloggers have been practicing keeping their favorite barstools warm down at the blogosphere's Punchy Penguin Saloon. How chilly would those stools get if we were all flitting here and there from this party to that? It would be truly unkind.
Lollipop's Encryption Takes a Hefty Toll
November 24, 2014
The new full-disk encryption feature that's enabled by default in Android 5.0 Lollipop comes at a hefty price in terms of performance, according to a recent benchmark report. In fact, when full-disk encryption is enabled, random read performance drops by 62.9 percent, while random write performance falls by 50.5 percent, AnandTech reported late last week.
Cinnamon Desktop Spices Up Makulu Linux
November 20, 2014
The Makulu Cinnamon Debian Edition 1.1 marks a new path for Makulu. This latest release has numerous new features that could make it a top competitor against the Linux Mint Cinnamon edition. Makulu Cinnamon Debian Edition, or MCDE, has fewer standard apps than the previous Makulu Xfce and KDE versions offered. Dropping the kitchen sink philosophy has made it a lot less unwieldy.
Jolla's Open Source Tablet Gets Crazy Crowd Love
November 19, 2014
Jolla, the company set up by former Nokia executives to keep the Meego operating system alive, raised more than $841,000 on Wednesday, the first day of its Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign. That's 221 percent of its goal of $380,000 -- and the campaign has 21 days to go, closing Dec. 9. Nearly 5,325 people have contributed to the campaign, although only about 3,800 actually purchased the tablets.
Nokia Hits the Comeback Trail With N1 Tablet
November 18, 2014
Nokia on Tuesday announced the N1 Android tablet, the first offering under its own brand since Microsoft's acquisition of its mobile phone business. The N1, slated for Q1 2015 release in China, will be made by Foxconn. Microsoft also offers a tablet under the "Nokia" brand -- the Nokia Lumia 2520 -- which raises the question of whether perhaps this might cause confusion among consumers.
When Microsoft Went A-Courting
November 17, 2014
FOSS fans perhaps may be excused if they've felt a bit confused over the past few days. Dizziness, headaches and vertigo also have been common. What strange new ailment is this, you might ask? Well, it's no ailment -- but that doesn't mean it's any simpler to remedy. The cause is none other than the news that Microsoft is open sourcing .Net and also expanding it to run on Linux and Mac OS.
CAINE Provides Sturdy Support for Forensic Specialists
November 14, 2014
CAINE, a professional-grade digital forensic Linux distro, uses an old-school desktop environment hardened with top-notch specialty tools. CAINE provides tight security and built-in digital investigation tools. It is less inviting for non-forensic specialists to use as an everyday Linux desktop, but it could serve the purpose for users who are willing to handle several interface inconveniences.
The US Government's Tenuous Relationship With Open Source
November 12, 2014
The amount of open source software used by the U.S. government might be one of the biggest secrets in Washington. Not even purveyors of FOSS, as in free and open source software, know the extent of federal agency adoption of nonproprietary software. Some in the Beltway Loop contend that open source is very prevalent. Others suggest that it's avoided because its code is exposed for anyone to see.
Researchers Shine Spotlight on OS X/iOS Masque Attack
November 12, 2014
Researchers at FireEye on Monday made public the existence of the Masque Attack, which threatens iOS and Mac OS X operating systems. Masque Attack exploits a flaw in Apple's OSes that allows the replacement of one app by another so long as both apps use the same bundle identifier. All apps, except those preinstalled on iOS, such as Mobile Safari, can be replaced.
YOLOTD: Could 2015 Be Linux's Big Year?
November 10, 2014
It's no secret that the Linux community has been in a state of upheaval these last few months, thanks to a little piece of technology known as "Systemd." It not only has been divisive, but also has been distracting us from more important matters. Need an example? Here you go: When was the last time you participated in a rousing revival of the good old "Year of Linux on the Desktop" debate?
Black Lab Linux Is GNOME 3's Best Friend
November 07, 2014
Black Lab Linux is a general purpose free distribution for home users and SMBs. This particular segment of the Linux OS tries to bridge free OS and preconfigured commercial hardware/software with a flexible set of options. Black Lab Linux is an outgrowth of OS4 OpenLinux, a distro released in 2008 by the same developers. There is a blurred line between the free and enterprise versions.
Apple-Pestering WireLurker Banished for Now
November 07, 2014
Palo Alto Networks on Wednesday reported that more than 400 apps infected with a malicious program it calls "WireLurker" have been downloaded 356,104 times by Chinese Mac owners from Maiyadi, an online app store unaffiliated with Apple. The malware does no harm to the Macs it infects but when the computer connects via USB to an iOS device -- an iPhone or iPad -- it delivers its malicious payload.
Microsoft Rearranges Mobile Office
November 06, 2014
Microsoft on Thursday announced new Office apps for the iPhone, updated Office apps for the iPad, and a preview of Office apps for Android tablets. The company released separate Office for iPhone apps for Word, Excel and PowerPoint that it said would offer the iPad experience optimized for the iPhone. Microsoft also updated Office for iPad apps for Word, Excel and PowerPoint.
Kano: The Can-Do Coding Kit for Kids of All Ages
November 05, 2014
"So simple a child could do it" -- I have heard that expression abused often in advertising. Yet it aptly applies to the Kano computer kit. Kano is a computer and coding kit that is suitable for all ages. Well, to be truthful, Kano's step-by-step instructions in the included booklets and its simplified Linux-based operating system target kids aged 6 to 14.
Android Hoards 84 Percent Smartphone OS Market Share
November 04, 2014
Google's Android stole share from all of its major mobile OS rivals over the past year to achieve a whopping smartphone market dominance of roughly 84 percent in the third quarter of 2014, according to a new Strategy Analytics report. Apple's iOS, which weighed in with about 12 percent, lost more than a point of share to Android since the same quarter a year ago.
Microsoft Kicks Windows 8 to the Curb
November 04, 2014
Microsoft on Friday ended retail sales of Windows 8, meaning that the only way the much-maligned operating system will be available from now on is preinstalled by PC vendors. Windows 7 Home Basic, Home Premium and Ultimate are no longer available at all as of Oct. 31, either for direct purchase or preinstalled. Both Windows 7 Professional and Windows 8 remain available preinstalled.
Are There Too Many Forks at the FOSS Table?
November 03, 2014
Halloween has come and gone here in the Northern reaches of the Linux blogosphere, but for those of us paying attention, few things could be more frightful than the bloodshed now occurring in Debian's civil war. The streets of the blogosphere are filled with smoke; conversations are getting drowned out by the din of gunfire; and glasses are perpetually rattling down at the Punchy Penguin Saloon.
Android Creator Andy Rubin Exits the Googleplex
October 31, 2014
Andy Rubin, the creator of Google's ubiquitous Android mobile platform, has left Google, the company confirmed on Friday. "I want to wish Andy all the best with what's next," said Google CEO Larry Page. "With Android he created something truly remarkable -- with a billion plus happy users. Thank you." Rubin reportedly is departing to start a tech incubator for hardware-focused startups.
Security-Minded Qubes OS Will Satisfy Your Yen for Xen
October 31, 2014
Qubes OS is a hybrid computing technology that raises the bar for security. It takes locking down computers to a new level. It has advanced far beyond the primitive proof of concept demonstrated more than four years ago. Beta Release 2, which arrived in late September, is a powerful desktop OS. Qubes succeeds in seamless integrating security by isolation into the user experience.
Microsoft May Have Launched a Band of Gold
October 30, 2014
Microsoft has made another foray into the mobile health market with the introduction of the Microsoft Band, powered by its new Microsoft Health platform. The band, which is available at Microsoft Stores for $200 as of Thursday, is designed to be worn 24 hours a day. In addition to the usual monitoring capabilities, the band will notify wearers of incoming calls, emails, texts and social updates.
Mobile Malware Takes Victims by Surprise
October 28, 2014
Malware writers behind Koler, a bad app that attacks Android devices, have upped their game with a new variant of the pernicious program. In its original version, Koler hijacked phones it landed on and wouldn't set them free until a ransom was paid. This latest strain of the malapp also does the ransomware thing, but it takes its malignancy a step further.
Debian's Civil War: Has It Really Come to This?
October 27, 2014
Well it seems no matter how loudly we here in the Linux blogosphere try to hum a happy tune or discuss cheerful FOSS matters, we just can't seem to drown out the shouts and screams coming from those standing too close to the Systemd Inferno. Stand back, people! It's dangerous! The embers, of course, had been hot for some time already before the blaze flared sky-high a few months ago.
Calculate Linux Provides Consistency by Design
October 23, 2014
Calculate Linux 14 is a distro designed with home and SMB users in mind. It is optimized for rapid deployment in corporate environments as well. Calculate gives users something no other Linux distro offers. The Xfce desktop session is customized to imitate the look of the KDE desktop environment. This design approach goes a long way toward making Calculate Linux a one-distro-fits-all solution.
FOSS and the Fear Factor
October 20, 2014
In a world that's been dominated for far too long by the Systemd Inferno, Linux fans will have to be forgiven if they seize perhaps a bit too gleefully upon the scraps of cheerful news that come along on any given day. Of course, for cheerful news, there's never any better place to look than the Reglue effort, run by longtime Linux advocate and all-around-hero-for-kids Ken Starks.

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