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Posts published in “Hardware”

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?

Windows Blue Blues, Symantec’s Kernel Confusion & More…

Friday FOSS Week in Review

Looking at life through the prism of the NSA

We thought last week was the week for leaked government secrets on government spying. Nope. Last week was just the tip of the iceberg coming over the horizon, with the helmsman going into full reverse attempting to avoid a collision. This week the slow motion ship of state made contact with the iceberg. Damage assessment is being done now as we write these words.

Back to the Future With Apple’s Rumored Smart Watch


For the last couple of decades we’ve watched as our technology has caught up with the world of Star Trek much faster than Gene Roddenberry could ever have imagined back in the 1960s, when Kirk, Spock and the gang first rode into our living rooms, mostly in “non-living” or “dead” black and white, as not many of us had “living” color back then.

Well, here we are, nowhere even close to the 23rd century of the original Enterprise, and we already have our smart phones, which are an awfully lot like the gee-whiz communicators into which Kirk would bark “beam us outta here” whenever a bug-eyed monster got too close for comfort. Indeed, we even have satellite phones, which could presumably communicate with the crew of the Enterprise if they were in orbit around our third rock from the sun. Though we don’t yet have replicators, holodecks or transporters, we can only imagine its only a matter of time before we can pick them up at Best Buy too.

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

Red Hat & Ubuntu’s UEFI Solutions Not Good For FOSS

The FOSS community is understandably upset with both Red Hat and Ubuntu for their planned ways of implementing UEFI Secure Boot. Indeed, both companies plans are unacceptable for a variety of reasons. Free software isn’t free if it requires permission from an outside source before it can be loaded onto a new or used computer. This is true even if the permission comes from a well-meaning bureaucratic regulatory agency. It’s doubly true if that permission must come from a self-serving monopoly with an anti-FOSS history, like Microsoft.

In early June, Red Hat came under fire from the FOSS press for their way of getting around Secure Boot. Their solution, which will also be used by Fedora, involves joining Microsoft’s developer program in order to obtain a key to be used to load a “shim” bootloader which will then load GRUB. In a post on Red Hat’s web site explaining the move, Tim Burke, Vice President of Linux Engineering, seemed to be dismissing these critics in a terse two sentence paragraph near the end of the post:

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

Google’s Nexus Tablet; Maddog’s Blog; Patent News & More

Friday FOSS Week in Review

Lot’s of stories of interest in the FOSS world this week. Patent issues, of course, dominated the news. In addition, however, a travel site got outed for a OS bias and a hardware manufacturer discovered the hard way that ignoring open source can be costly.

We’ll start with the patent news…

The Patent Wars Continue

I don’t know what we’re going to do about the patent situation. The sensible thing would be to simply change the law and make software unpatentable, but there are plenty of reasons why that’s not likely to happen anytime soon. Banning patents wouldn’t only effect the trolls, those snakes that don’t make anything but monetize their patent portfolios through the courts. If it did, we could probably get it done tonight.

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

Ubuntu Works On Green Server, Bad Times At Nokia, Good News On the Patent Front

Friday FOSS Week in Review

Gawd, but it’s been a long time since our last FOSS Week In Review. Many might be wondering where we’ve been and what we’ve been doing. Well, it’s a long story. I intend to tell you about it in another article in the next week or so. In the meantime, here’s a few things that caught my eye this week…

Ubuntu working with HP on low power server

We learned this week that Canonical is one of the partners on Moonshot, HP’s efforts to develop a new breed of green, low powered servers. The Redstone Server debuted in November as the first Moonshot server, with the newest server chassis, Project Gemini, being announced on Tuesday. This server utilizes a new Intel Atom Centerton x86 processor. According to Sean Michael Kerner writing on ServerWatch, this new server is quite energy efficient:

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

Welcome To Ubuntu’s Penguin Bar – How Can I Help You?

Android on tablets and smartphones may have primed the public to be willing to try a flavor other than Windows on their PCs and laptops, but this means next to nothing in the current computing environment. Consumers are going to buy what’s on the shelves at Best Buy, or what jumps off the screen at them on Amazon.com or Dell’s site. None of these venues are going to feature Linux boxes, at least not where you can find them unless you’re specifically looking for them. Why? There’s nothing in it for the retailers or manufacturers; it’s a zero-sum gain situation.

If an OEM started actively marketing Linux, for the most part they’d just be pushing people who are already buyers from one OS to another, nothing more. Except for those of us who’re already part of the Linux installed base, and our numbers are relatively few, they wouldn’t be selling any more machines or making any more money. They would only be creating more logistical problems for themselves.

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

Microsoft Tablet Plans ‘Surface’

It wasn’t much of a surprise Monday when Microsoft announced their new tablet, called Surface, at a press event in Los Angeles. For about a week, media pundits had been speculating that the folks in Redmond would use the occasion to unveil a tablet. What caught many by surprise, however, was that this will be a Microsoft branded device instead of an offering by the likes of Dell or HP.

Surface has all the features the public has come to expect in a tablet, like a 10.6 inch high-def touchscreen, cameras front and rear, and a small form factor. However, it also has some innovations that will help distinguish it from the crowd, most notably a removable keyboard that also serves as a “bookcover.” According to the Associated Press, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said that Surface is intended to be an entertainment device “without compromising the productivity that PCs are uniquely known for.”

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 Time Is Right For Desktop Linux

Nobody seems to want to talk about the desktop anymore. It seems that the trend followers have jumped to the next biggest thing. The glamor now isn’t in desktops and laptops, machines that do all the necessary grunt work, but in gee-whiz tablets and smart phones. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but desktops and laptops aren’t going to go away soon – not as long as there’s work to be done.

I mention this because it seems that many of the folks who write about Linux have all but given up efforts to increase the penguin’s share of the installed base. I find this curious, because I think we’ve never been better positioned to get folks to make the leap to Linux.

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

UEFI Plans & Workarounds, Skype Invokes DMCA, Microsoft’s Samba Code

Friday FOSS Week in Review

Here we go, Friday FOSS Week in Review, Special Tuesday Edition. I’ve got to find a way to schedule my time better so I can stay on deadline. This coming Friday’s going to be difficult, as I have a dentist appointment and FWIR can’t really be written in advance, so expect it to be published on Saturday – but I’m still hoping for Friday. In the meantime, I’m working on adjusting my schedule so this column will be published in a more timely fashion in the future. Like on Fridays, when its supposed to be.

That’s the bad news. The good news, at least for us news hounds, is that last week there were quite a few items of interest for the FOSS community. At least I found them to be items of interest. I’ll let you decide for yourself.

UEFI Secure Boot Gets Complicated

There were a ton of articles written about UEFI and Secure Boot last week, and the more I read about possible workarounds to allow the average Linux distro to boot on Windows 8 certified machines, the more confused I get. This bothers me, because if I’m confused what does that mean about the person who’s never dealt with anything other than Windows, DOS or one of the Apple OSes, who might be getting ready to make that first leap into the Linux world?

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

Apple Patents Gestures, Secure Boot Is Here, Android Bests iPhone

Friday FOSS Week in Review

It’s been a busy week. So busy, in fact, I was unable to make my deadline for FWIR, so here I am with a special Saturday edition. Just so you know, there’s a precedent for this. Back in the days when ABC ran “Monday Night Football” they called any NFL game they ran “Monday Night Football,” no matter what the day of the week. Hence, we were often treated to “Monday Night Football, Special Thursday Edition” and such. In that spirit, I offer you “Friday FOSS Week in Review, Special Saturday Edition.”

Of course, if I’m going to get busy and miss deadline, it’ll happen on a busy week in FOSS news. The fates work that way, I’m convinced. Indeed, after a couple of ho-hum weeks, the news flew fast and furious this week. Hold on, it’ll be a hell of a ride!

More Apps Downloaded to Android than to iPhone

It was reported on Tuesday that ABI Research says Android now leads the pack in the number of apps downloaded. According to their figures, 44% of all mobile apps downloaded are headed for Android devices, with 31% going to the iOS platform. These figures are miles away from what the research firm predicted back in 2009 as the mobile wars were just getting heated up:

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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