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January 8th, 2016

Shuttleworth at SCALE, Google Rolls Over & More…

FOSS Week in Review

Wow. It certainly didn’t take long after the holidays for the FOSS news wire to heat up again. It’s like all the newsmakers have been chomping at the bit to get back to work doing what they do best, which would be, well, making news. Let’s start with some breaking news concerning a well known FOSS personality…

Soyuz Rocket Shuttleworth

Mark Shuttleworth, rocket man and founder of Canonical/Ubuntu will be a keynote speaker at SCALE 14X in Pasadena, Calif. Presumably, he’ll arrive using a conventional mode of transportation.

To SCALE or not to SCALE: If you live somewhere within driving distance of Southern California and you’ve been sitting on the fence trying to decide whether to attend SCALE 14X (that’s the Southern California Linux Expo for the jargon impaired), then we’re about to give you a tidbit that might help you make up your mind. FOSS Force has learned from a SCALE official that FOSS rocket man and Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth will be giving the keynote address at SCALE on Saturday January 23. Although Shuttleworth’s scheduling has not been posted on the event’s website as we go to press, it’s presumed that he will speak at 10:00 a.m. According to our source, Shuttleworth will most likely discuss Linux on Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

The addition of Shuttleworth only adds to what is already an impressive lineup. Other keynoters on tap are Cory Doctorow who’ll be giving a talk called “No Matter Who’s Winning the War on General Purpose Computing, You’re Losing,” and Sarah Sharp, developer, diversity expert and last year’s winner of the inaugural Red Hat Women in Open Source Community Award. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The whole speakers’ list reads like a who’s who of Fossdom.

This year SCALE moves to a new venue, the Pasadena Convention Center, and will take place January 21-24 — that’s Thursday through Sunday if you’re trying to mark it on your calendar. For a complete schedule, or to register for the event, visit the SCALE 14X website.

Who needs the NSA when we’ve got Windows 10: If you need any more ammunition to add to your arsenal to convince your Windows buddies that Microsoft’s latest operating system is even less trustworthy than previous versions, you need look no further than a recent article published Wednesday by Gordon Kelly on Forbes. It appears the folks in Redmond are not only using the latest and greatest version of Windows to spy on their users, they’re bragging about it as well.

So what is Microsoft so happy to tell us it’s learned about its users through the spyware that’s built-in to Windows 10? Oh, not much. Just a few morsels like the fact its users spent eleven billion hours using the operating system in December and that in the same month 44.5 billion minutes were spent using the new browser, Edge. Microsoft also has at its fingertips the number of questions Cortana’s been asked, the number of photos that have been viewed in Window’s photo app, the number of hours that users spent playing games on Windows 10 last year, and the number of hours users have spent streaming Xbox One games to Windows machines.

When asked to “explain how it came about the information, and why it is being collected in the first place,” a Microsoft spokesperson replied, ““Thank you for your patience as I looked into this for you. Unfortunately my colleagues cannot provide a comment regarding your request. All we have to share is this Windows blog post.”

So much for the “new Microsoft.”

Google rolls over and plays dead: I don’t think anyone saw this coming, but Wednesday Ed Bott reported on ZDNet that Google’s giving up on its own roll-your-own version of Java it’s been using in Android, possibly as an overture towards settling a long running dispute the company has been having with Oracle since shortly after Oracle obtained Java in its takeover of Sun Microsystems. According to Bott, the real winner might be Microsoft, oddly enough because Oracle’s OpenJDK library is licensed under GPLv2, which might give Redmond a chance to build their own implementation of Android. It also means that you might want to shy away from new Android phones for a while after the switch is made, as there are sure to be some bugs to be worked out.

Quick takes: Yours truly — that would be me — was featured this week in a video interview on Slashdot’s home page, conducted by Robin “Roblimo” Miller. If that name seems familiar, it should. Until 2008 Miller was editor-in-chief for Open Source Technology Group, the company that once published Slashdot, SourceForge, freshmeat, Linux.com, NewsForge, and ThinkGeek. The interview went splendidly, and a lot of people got to see how much I need to clean my office…Another day, another distro: Thursday saw the release by Alpine Linux of version 3.3.1, which is primarily a bug fixing release. The distro, based on musl and BusyBox, is primarily aimed at “power users who appreciate security, simplicity and resource efficiency.” It can be downloaded from the distro’s website.

That does it for this week. Until next time, may the FOSS be with you…

Sometime this week, FOSS Force will be going live with the second phase of our Indiegogo fundraising campaign. You can help us get a running start by making a donation now by becoming a subscriber.

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

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