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May 21st, 2016

Ubuntu’s Got Tablet, Fedora’s Kernel Decision & More…

FOSS Week in Review

Also included: OSCON folds tent, Pinguy developer might pull plug, Libreboot joins with GNU, Arch and Fedora repository news, and a new version of the Pi Zero.

Back in the hippie days there was a lot of talk about plastic people, which would be fake people. Back in those days, plastic people were to be avoided, as was plastic anything.

How times have changed. These days we embrace a plastic world. As example, we replace carefully hand crafted wristwatches made to last a lifetime with electronic rhinestone wearables that will be obsolete in a year or two, just because they tell us how fast and how seldom we walk.

You see, by the ’60s definition, plastic doesn’t need to be made of plastic to be plastic. You dig?

We also embrace virtual, meaning plastic or fake, reality, and Android N (which has no name yet but I’m betting on Nutty Buddy) intends to steal virtual thunder away from Oculus, Facebook and Windows by becoming the VR platform that can be carried in your pocket everywhere you go. Soon, there’ll be no need to travel to Paris or Milan, just put on your headset and go…. Hey, when did they put Google ads on the Eiffel tower?

Enough of that, on to this week’s news, garnered from the FOSS Force News Wire

The reviews are in on BQ’s Aquaris M10 Ubuntu Edition tablet and everyone agrees…the device is a shoulder shrugger. But while all reviews are in agreement on that, they all seem to have different reason’s for being underwhelmed.

Swapnil Bhartiya at CIO found BQ’s hardware to be more than up to the task and also thought that nearly all aspects of the Ubuntu Touch with convergence to be beyond super fantastic. Gesture swiping is amazing, Scopes are the best thing since sliced bread, and using convergence to run in full blown desktop mode is “one of it’s greatest features.” The App Store, which he calls the “most exciting part of this Ubuntu tablet,” disappoints him because despite having tons of cool apps he’s never seen offered for phones before, it doesn’t have a few things he likes.

“After using the tablet for a while,” he opines, “I had to face the harsh reality that as much as I wanted to like the tablet, the lack of what I consider essential native apps will prevent me from using it as my primary, or even as a secondary, device.”

The only apps he mentions that he would like but which are MIA? “[N]one of the streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime are available on the device.”

Maybe he should just buy himself a TV.

Over at Tom’s Hardware, Derek Forrest had a completely different take on the tablet, finding a few things to like but many more deal breakers. Most notably he complains about performance issues when using the device with an external monitor, keyboard and mouse in convergence mode.

“Almost immediately after switching to convergence mode with an attached display…, the Aquaris M10 started showing severe performance issues with program switching and navigation. Even the basic typing experience slowed down to unacceptable levels. The problems could be remedied only by restarting the device, which I had to do several times while exploring capabilities of the tablet in this mode of operation.”

Both Bhartiya and Forrest seemed to agree, however, that in the long run, none of these issues are big deals. Ubuntu Touch with convergence is just coming out into the world. Bugs will be bugs to fix and Netflix and Hulu are probably just waiting for Canonical to do their work for them.

Fedora 24’s kernel dance: Meanwhile, in Raleigh, North Carolina, Fedora devs are in the process of making a decision they thought they’d already made. It seems that back in March it was decided that the upcoming Fedora 24 would use the 4.5 Linux kernel instead of 4.6, which has just been released. The reason was timing, with Linux’s latest and greatest planned release falling just before Fedora 24’s feature freeze. But since the distro’s upcoming release has been delayed three times, pushing the freeze back to May 31, there’s theoretically an opportunity to incorporate the new kernel and make it the default. That’s probably not going to happen, however, according to Marius Nestor at Softpedia. With the ready-for-prime-time version of Fedora 24 scheduled for June 14, it appears that the OS will ship with 4.5 and users will have the chance to upgrade later.

OSCON looks ahead to London: It’s all over for this year’s OSCON, which was held inside the Austin city limits — that would be in Texas for the geographically challenged — instead of Portland, Oregon, called “the other Portland” by folks in Maine. I don’t know if it was just me, but there didn’t seem to be as much coverage of this year’s event as in the past. Other than Opensource.com — kudos to them for their coverage — I didn’t notice much about OSCON from the big tech sites.

In case you missed it, the conference live streamed Corey Doctorow’s Thursday morning keynote address, called “Open, Closed, and Demon Haunted: An Internet of Things That Act Like Inkjet Printers,” along with all other keynotes throughout the event. Included below is a short snippet of the talk that’s available on YouTube. Doctorow’s complete talk is available online, but requires the opening of an account with O’Reilly in order to view it.

Quote of the week: Again this week, the quote is lifted from a headline over at Techdirt, and this one needs no setup: “Dear Politicians: At Least Close Those Porn Tabs Before Sending Out Your Campaign Screenshots.”

Just click on the quote if you want details.

Another day, another distro: The only release to report this week isn’t actually a Linux distro, but it is FOSS, released under the GPL: ReactOS, which aims to become a Microsoft Windows drop in replacement and has been in alpha forever, released version 0.4.1.

Quick takes: The developer of Pinguy OS, the distro for folks who want Linux to be like Windows, says he might be ready to hang it up and close the project, evidently for financial reasons…. Libreboot, a fork of Coreboot that doesn’t allow any binary blobs, has become an official GNU project…. Ryan McGuire has created a new tool, arch-ppa, which allows Arch Linux users to roll their own package repositories…. More repository news: There’s a new unofficial repository for Fedora, UnitedRPMs, containing “multimedia and other software and addons which is missing in original repositories of Fedora.”… And we learn from Softpedia that a new version of the $5 Raspberry Pi Zero is available and now includes an on board camera connector.

Parting shot: If you haven’t seen it already, you might want to check out FOSS Force’s exclusive interview with Jeff Hoogland, Bodhi Linux’s lead developer, that was conducted by Robin “Roblimo” Miller and published on Thursday. Good stuff.

That does it for this week. Until next time, 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

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