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April 11th, 2015

Linux Chromebooks, Securing the Web & More…

FOSS Week in Review

Unfortunately, Larry’s a little under the weather today, so here I am…

Put that on your Chromebook and run it

We hear from Softpedia that Chromixium is just about ready for prime time. Well, that may be jumping the gun a little bit. What we really hear is that the distro has now gone from beta to release candidate, and that a honest-to-goodness 1.0 stable version is virtually just around the corner. Trouble is: we’re not sure yet just how far away we are from that corner. Shouldn’t be too far, however. The beta version was only released in February, so these developers aren’t wasting time.

“What the hell is Chromixium?” I hear you ask. It’s a GNU/Linux distro designed around the Chromium web browser and meant to have the look and feel of Chrome OS. Under the hood is Ubuntu’s 14.04 LTS (Trusty Tahr) utilizing Linux kernel 3.13 LTS. The desktop is “a highly customized version of the well-known Openbox window manager, using the Compton desktop compositor, the Plank dock (application launcher), and the LXPanel from the LXDE desktop environment as the main taskbar.”

Old Solus OS logoAfter my first reaction, which was a bit of a snicker, I realized that this really isn’t a bad idea. Maybe — depending on how it’s implemented. Of one thing I’m certain: this will be an interesting distro to watch.

The Quantum of Solus

Last week we learned that Evolve OS, forced into a name change over a trademark dispute, is henceforth to be known under the name Solus OS. Fitting, as evidently the OS is a fork of the old Solus OS, which had more than a few fans before its demise, including our own Ken Starks, who referred to it as “The Quantum of Solus” in the first article he wrote for FOSS Force.

There’s more of a connection than that, of course, as Ikey Doherty, the man behind the old Solus, is the lead guy in the new project as well.

Thursday we learned, again from Softpedia, that the resurrected operating system will adhere to a rigid release schedule, much like Ubuntu. As we understand it, the new Solus team plans on a new release every year, with each release being supported for two years. There are currently no plans for an LTS version. The first stable version is set for a July release.

The Linux Foundations secures the web

There’s been a big push in the last year or so to push encryption and https on the entire Internet, not only sites engaged in ecommerce. This has left a lot of small website publishers fretful, as purchasing and installing secure certificates can be an expensive proposition. Not to worry, the Linux Foundation is riding to the rescue.

Thursday the nonprofit organization announced in a press release that it will be hosting the Security Research Group, as well as something called the Let’s Encrypt project. According to the release, the project will allow “website owners to obtain security certificates within minutes, enabling a safer web experience for all.”

A lot of heavy hitters are involved in the project, including Cisco, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Mozilla and Automattic, the company behind the WordPress content management and blogging platform.

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That does it for this week. Larry will return with another Week in Review on Friday. Until then, may the FOSS be with you…

Christine Hall has been a journalist since 1971. In 2001, she began writing a weekly consumer computer column and started covering Linux and FOSS in 2002 after making the switch to GNU/Linux. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

2 comments to Linux Chromebooks, Securing the Web & More…

  • John Deaux

    Chromium OS is already available, has been for a long time, and is stable and robust. Why reinvent the wheel? And anything based on Ubuntu is a non-starter for me.

  • CFWhitman

    @John Deaux
    Well, Chromium OS is aimed at developers, has no official binary installation, and really does confine you to Chromium and Chromium/Chrome apps. Chromixium is actually a full Linux installation under the hood and thus can run any Linux programs without hacking, though it puts Web apps to the fore. It also is aimed at users rather than developers.

    Of course, there are certainly reasons why someone might wish to avoid distributions based on Ubuntu (as with any other base distribution).