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Posts published in “Desktops”

Is Microsoft Grasping at Straws?

Two articles caught my attention this week and both of them came from The Verge. Both stories came out within 2 days of each other. In that they both dealt with Microsoft talking about or actually reversing previous decisions about Windows 8, I had to wonder if this was Microsoft damage control at work. It would seem so.

It’s not just me. A lot of my friends in IT think the Windows 8 release was a disaster. Microsoft was seen as telling the computing public, “You will accept our new Windows and you will like it.”

Uh, no they won’t.

Early sales figures were far more than disappointing for the folks at Redmond. So disappointing in fact, that the company made public at least some intentions of making amends to their customers.

Ken Starks

Ken Starks is the founder of the Helios Project and Reglue, which for 20 years provided refurbished older computers running Linux to disadvantaged school kids, as well as providing digital help for senior citizens, in the Austin, Texas area. He was a columnist for FOSS Force from 2013-2016, and remains part of our family. Follow him on Twitter: @Reglue

A Few Grains of Sand in the FOSS Bucket

Last week, we talked about just how important even your smallest contribution to FOSS might be. It doesn’t matter whether you occasionally spend time in forums helping others or if you submit code for review into the kernel. Everything you do goes into the sand pail. Eventually, everything you do filters down to the place it’s needed most: the everyday computer user.

This could be my sister, your cousin or the guy who bags your groceries at the supermarket…even your doctor. Your contribution benefits tens of thousands of people you will never know, people who will never know you even exist. Thus the beauty of what we do. “We” as in you and I.

Ken Starks

Ken Starks is the founder of the Helios Project and Reglue, which for 20 years provided refurbished older computers running Linux to disadvantaged school kids, as well as providing digital help for senior citizens, in the Austin, Texas area. He was a columnist for FOSS Force from 2013-2016, and remains part of our family. Follow him on Twitter: @Reglue

Poll: Phone & PC Should Have Different Interfaces

The results of our “One Size Fits All” poll on phone and PC interfaces are in. Once again, we find that our thinking doesn’t match the majority.

Microsoft got themselves in a heck of a mess when they insisted their users should happily adopt their phone interface on their desktops. This didn’t work out well, with Windows PC users pretty much refusing to upgrade to Windows 8. Since then, Microsoft has backed down somewhat with version 8.1, but it’s too soon to tell how that’s going to work out for them.

[yop_poll id=”29″]

Apple and Google have chosen thus far to keep desktop and mobile not only on separate interfaces, but on separate platforms as well. Apple, of course, uses iOS for the iPhone and OS X for their line of Macintosh computers. Google has Android for mobile devices and Chrome OS for laptops. In both cases, the interface and branding are completely different for mobile and traditional devices.

SecureDrop’s Free Install, Oracle Spreads FUD & More…

FOSS Week in Review

Google wants to put your face on ads

We’ve always wanted to like Google. We want to believe them when they chant their informal motto, “Don’t be evil,” as if it were a mantra. We believe they have good intentions, just as we believe that Mark Zuckerberg is clueless when it comes to the privacy rights of Facebook’s users. We also believe it’s much too easy to convince oneself that wrong is right.

The latest news concerning Google puts Google+ in the same camp as Facebook when it comes to user privacy issues. Here at FOSS Force, we first heard about a change in Google’s privacy policy on Monday in an article posted by the BBC. It seems the search and advertising giant has modified its policy to allow it to soon pull endorsements from its user base for advertising purposes.

Why Mark Shuttleworth Is Important to Desktop Linux

If you want to see desktop Linux finally get some traction with the unwashed public, Mark Shuttleworth is more likely to be the guy who’ll make that happen than anyone who’s come along so far. He’s a capitalist and for better or worse this is a capitalist world. He knows that nothing big is going to get done on this market oriented planet without the art of the deal and some hustle. He also understands something about fit and finish, which was always lacking in desktop Linux until he came along.

For too long, we’ve been sitting around wringing our hands, sometimes proclaiming this to finally be the year of the Linux desktop without doing anything to make it happen and sometimes bemoaning the fact that the world still hasn’t discovered Linux as the secret to computing happiness. The thing is, the world never knows anything about secrets until they’re not secret anymore. We’ve been wanting Linux to just “catch on,” while we’ve been blaming the OEMs for not automatically pushing our home grown geek-centric distros with the same elan they put behind their bread and butter Windows.

Christine Hall

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

The ‘Too Many Distros’ Theory

No matter what anybody says there are numerous reasons why desktop Linux still doesn’t have traction. None of them have anything to do with the fact that there are a gazillion distos available.

Sure, it’s true that with the release of Vista there was a golden moment when desktop Linux could’ve flown high, but the fact that didn’t happen had nothing to do with users being confused over the number of operating systems carrying the Linux brand or with the developer base being spread too thin by this plethora of FOSS projects for any really good development to happen.

Christine Hall

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

RMS Inducted, Nook Tablet RIP & More…

Friday FOSS Week in Review

Texas stands up for email rights

Texas? Did you really say Texas? The state that leads the world in the number of executions–that Texas? Well, la-di-da, who would’ve ever thought the folks down there in the Lone Star State would be the first to stand up and protect our inboxes? Does this mean that the spirits of Ann Richards and Maury Maverick, Jr. are looking over the Texas legislators?

GNOME 3, Windows 95 Disconnected

About a week and a half ago, I was nearly taken-in when an item appeared on The Register that tied recent Linux desktop woes to behind the scenes moves by Microsoft to enforce patents against GNOME. Supposedly, GNOME was violating Redmond’s patented designs of the Windows 95 desktop, most specifically the Start Menu and the Start button. According to the story painted by reporter Liam Proven, KDE was also guilty of violating the same patents, but got a pass as they benefited from the famous Novel/Microsoft patent swap deal, being they were the default desktop in SUSE.

Christine Hall

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

Upgrading Bodhi Linux to 2.3.0

Some time after midnight Thursday morning, after getting home from my “day” job, I upgraded my laptop to the latest version of Bodhi Linux, numbered 2.3.0, which was announced on Easter Sunday by the project’s Lead Developer, Jeff Hoogland, on his blog Thoughts on Technology.

This isn’t a major upgrade. I’m sure there are some bug fixes and minor enhancements, but it mainly upgrades some essential software, such as the Linux Kernel, Enlightenment window manager, Midori browser, Terminology terminal emulator and Ubiquity, the Ubuntu default installer used by Bodhi. In addition, this update adds eCcess, a new system tool, and includes a slew of new themes for dressing-up the desktop.

Christine Hall

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

A Nightmare on Linux Avenue

Let’s say it finally happens and the big OEMs get tired of dealing with Microsoft and decide to make Windows only one choice of several on new computers. Not a world like we have now, where the likes of Dell halfheartedly offer half baked and broken installs of Ubuntu, installs that need serious tweaking before they’ll work. Not that world, but a pretend world of Linux being offered across all models, with a choice between two or three distros. You know, OEMs giving Linux exactly the same treatment as they give Windows today.

Sounds like Tux heaven does it not? Don’t be in too big a hurry to celebrate.

Christine Hall

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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