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GNU/Linux in Crostini Form

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Google

  • Using 'LXPanel' as a UI for Crostini

    If you are used to a menu-driven user interface in Linux or find the Chrome OS application launcher not quite to your liking for accessing Crostini Linux applications then one option you could try is LXPanel.

    The panel generates a menu for installed applications automatically from '*.desktop' files and can itself be incorporated in its own '.desktop' file which if pinned to the Chrome OS shelf can also be used as a means to start the 'penguin' container after booting.

    Unfortunately it is not quite perfect as the panel is displayed in the middle of the screen and doesn't respond well to changing its position under geometry in its panel settings. However you can toggle its visibility by clicking the panel's icon on the shelf. Also closing the panel (by right clicking the icon) only closes the 'LXPanel' application in Chrome OS so to terminate it fully you need to use 'killall lxpanel' in a terminal session.

  • Linux apps on Chromebooks may be reason enough for external GPU support

    We’ve been tracking a device known only as ‘Mushu’ for about a month at this point, and it brings with it a very specific and interesting addition to the Chrome OS ecosystem: a discrete GPU (or dGPU for short). When we first reported on this device being in development, I suggested that I don’t see a ton of use cases for a Chromebook with a dGPU for most users. Without a proper video editor or tons of ways to play locally-stored games, its hard to make a case for dGPUs when existing Chromebooks are already so fast at what they do.

Malicious Proprietary Software From Microsoft and Google

Filed under
Google
Microsoft
  • Microsoft rolls out a new update for Surface Duo SDK Preview

    The new update is available for Mac, Windows and Ubuntu....

  • Microsoft Brings Its Windows 10 Antivirus Arsenal to Linux [Ed: Wow. Softpedia's "LINUX" section (Popa) is now an arm of Microsoft proprietary software marketing. Sure missing Marius Nester there. Whose arsenal is this? NSA's?]
  • Microsoft: Linux Defender antivirus now in public preview, iOS and Android are next [Ed: Of course Microsoft's sponsored propaganda network also promotes Microsoft proprietary software in the “LINUX” section. It does this all the time. The site has also just put "GitHub: We won't take down any of your content unless we really have to" under the "LINUX" section because proprietary software (GitHub) is somehow "LINUX"?!]
  • Chrome deploys deep-linking tech in latest browser build despite privacy concerns

    Google has implemented a browser capability in Chrome called ScrollToTextFragment that enables deep links to web documents, but it has done so despite unresolved privacy concerns and lack of support from other browser makers.

    Via Twitter on Tuesday, Peter Snyder, privacy researcher at privacy-focused browser maker Brave Software, observed that ScrollToTextFragment shipped earlier this month in Chrome 80 unflagged, meaning it's active, despite privacy issues that have been raised.

    "Imposing privacy and security leaks to existing sites (many of which will never be updated) REALLY should be a 'don't break the web,' never-cross redline," he wrote. "This spec does that."

    The debate over the feature percolated last year on mailing lists and in GitHub issues posts and picked up in October when the team working on Chrome's Blink engine declared their intent to implement the specification. The feature rollout serves to illustrate that the consensus-based web standards process doesn't do much to constrain the technology Google deploys.

  •      

  • New Mexico Sues Google Over Collection of Children's Data

           

             

    New Mexico’s attorney general sued Google Thursday over allegations the tech company is illegally collecting personal data generated by children in violation of federal and state laws.

Google Code and Openwash

Filed under
Google
OSS

Detailed tests of search engines: Google, Startpage, Bing, DuckDuckGo, metaGer, Ecosia, Swisscows, Searx, Qwant, Yandex, and Mojeek

Filed under
Google
Reviews
Web

Since my last in-depth comparison review of alternative search engines in 2014, a lot has changed, and a lot has stayed the same. Google is appearing as a loan-verb in more and more languages due to its continued dominance in the search engine market. But at the same time, Google is being increasingly demonized by privacy focused users. An even more more interesting development is the trend of complaints that Google’s algorithm is producing results that are less relevant and more indicative of artificial stupidity than artificial intelligence. I belong in this latter camp, as I am more of a pragmatist than a privacy pundit. I simply want the best search results with minimal effort and no nonsense. Back in my 2014 article, I was hopeful that DuckDuckGo was quickly becoming a viable and attractive alternative to Google. While DuckDuckGo continues to be the darling of privacy conscious users and is enjoying more popularity than ever, I am concerned that its core search infrastructure and algorithms have largely stagnated. Since my last article, many other alternatives have cropped up, bringing some very interesting features and concepts, but it still remains to be seen if they offer acceptable results in the fundamentally important area of relevant search results. This comparison sets out to analyze and compare the current batch of alternatives in 2020.

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Google to Samsung: Stop messing with Linux kernel code. It's hurting Android security

Filed under
Android
Linux
Google
Security

Samsung's attempt to prevent attacks on Galaxy phones by modifying kernel code ended up exposing it to more security bugs, according to Google Project Zero (GPZ).

Not only are smartphone makers like Samsung creating more vulnerabilities by adding downstream custom drivers for direct hardware access to Android's Linux kernel, vendors would be better off using security features that already exist in the Linux kernel, according to GPZ researcher Jann Horn.

[...]

Incidentally, the February update also includes a patch for critical flaw in "TEEGRIS devices", referring to Trusted Execution Environment (TEE) on newer Galaxy phones that contain Samsung's proprietary TEE operating system. The Galaxy S10 is among TEEGRIS devices.

But Horn's new blogpost is focused on efforts in Android to reduce the security impact of vendors adding unique code to the kernel.

"Android has been reducing the security impact of such code by locking down which processes have access to device drivers, which are often vendor-specific," explains Horn.

An example is that newer Android phones access hardware through dedicated helper processes, collectively known as the Hardware Abstraction Layer (HAL) in Android. But Horn says vendors modifying how core parts of the Linux kernel work undermines efforts to "lock down the attack surface".

Read more

Google's Chrome and Mozilla Firefox: HTTPS, Firefox 73, TenFourFox FPR19, Firefox for Android, Extensions in Firefox 73 and Firefox 73 New Contributors

Filed under
Google
Moz/FF
Web
  • Google Chrome to start blocking downloads served via HTTP

    Google has announced a timetable for phasing out insecure file downloads in the Chrome browser, starting with desktop version 81 due out next month.

    Known in jargon as ‘mixed content downloads’, these are files such as software executables, documents and media files offered from secure HTTPS websites over insecure HTTP connections.

    This is a worry because a user seeing the HTTPS padlock on a site visited using Chrome might assume that any downloads it offers are also secure (HTTP sites offering downloads are already marked ‘not secure’).

  • Mozilla Firefox 73 Is Now Available for Download, Here’s What’s New

    The Mozilla Firefox 73 open-source web browser is now available to download for all supported platforms, including GNU/Linux, Windows, and macOS.

    Scheduled to be released by Mozilla on February 11th, the Firefox 73 release can now be downloaded from the official servers for all supported platforms and architectures. Linux users can get the binaries for 64-bit and 32-bit systems, as well as a Snap package and the source tarball.

    This is the final version that will also be released by Mozilla tomorrow. If you can’t wait until then, or until Firefox 73 will land in the stable software repositories of your favorite GNU/Linux distribution, you can get a head start by downloading the official binaries.

  • TenFourFox FPR19 available

    Due to a busy work schedule and $REALLIFE, TenFourFox Feature Parity Release 19 final is just now available for testing (downloads, hashes, release notes). This version is the same as the beta except for a couple URL bar tweaks I meant to land and the outstanding security updates. If all goes well, it will go live tomorrow Pacific time in the evening.

  • The 7 best things about the new Firefox for Android

    The biggest ever update to Firefox for Android is on its way. Later this spring, everyone using the Firefox browser on their Android phones and tablets will get the update. Your favorite features — like your history, bookmarks, saved logins, and tab sharing — will stay the same.

  • Extensions in Firefox 73

    As promised, the update on changes in Firefox 73 is short: There is a new sidebarAction.toggle API that will allow you to open and close the sidebar. It requires being called from a user action, such as a context menu or click handler. The sidebar toggle was brought to you by Mélanie Chauvel. Thanks for your contribution, Mélanie!

    On the backend, we fixed a bug that caused tabs.onCreated and tabs.onUpdated events to be fired out-of-order.

  • Firefox 73 new contributors

    With the release of Firefox 73, we are pleased to welcome the 19 developers who contributed their first code change to Firefox in this release, 18 of whom were brand new volunteers!

Opposition grows to Microsoft's make-Chrome-use-Bing plan for Office 365 customers

Filed under
Google
Microsoft
Web

Resistance has mounted over the last several days to Microsoft's decision to change the default search engine of Google's Chrome to Bing on personal computers running Office 365 ProPlus.

Microsoft quietly announced the move Jan. 21 on its Microsoft 365 Roadmap page, then on Jan. 22 published support documents with additional information and a blog post that stated the company's rationale.

Commentary on Microsoft's blog, the support document and elsewhere — including an Office 365 website dedicated to user requests — was almost universally negative.

Read more

FSFellowship releases sticker set 1.0 for download

Filed under
GNU
Google

FSFellowship is releasing our first stickers. These are licensed CC-BY for you to use as you see fit.

You can download an A4 PDF with four stickers to a page and then print it onto A4 label paper in your printer.

These stickers were produced with free software using LibreOffice. You can download the LibreOffice document here.

Read more

Flashing Builds from the Android Open Source Project

Filed under
Android
Google
OSS
  • Flashing Builds from the Android Open Source Project

    AOSP has been around for a while, but flashing builds onto a development device has always required a number of manual steps. A year ago we launched Android's Continuous Integration Dashboard, which gives more visibility into the continuous build status of the AOSP source tree. However, these builds were not available for phones and flashing devices still required a manual command line process.

  • Google Makes It Easier To Flash Android Open-Source Project On Phones

    Flashing the Android Open-Source Project (AOSP) onto devices is now a lot easier thanks to the Android Flash Tool.

    Deploying the open-source build of Android onto smartphones/tablets has been a chore with various manual steps involved from the command line, but now the Android Flash Tool makes it easy to flash builds produced via the Android Continuous Integration Dashboard onto supported devices. Android Flash Tool makes it much easier for those wanting to run AOSP builds on hardware.

  • Google Android Flash Tool Allows You to Flash AOSP From a Web Browser

Latest in GNU/Linux-Chromebook Integration (Crostini)

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Google
  • Chrome OS 81 to allow Linux username selection for Crostini

    I’m not judging but apparently, some Chromebook users have some strange email addresses. And by strange, I mean they don’t allow you to set up the default user when installing Linux in Chrome OS.

    I’m joking a little here. However, this is a real issue for certain Gmail addresses because it’s that account that’s used to create the default user.

    [...]

    Based on the current code merge, when starting the Linux installation process, users will be prompted to supply a username, which is then applied to the Linux container system settings.

  • Linux on Chrome OS: Disk resizing and custom username now working in Canary Channel

    A couple of weeks ago, we unearthed work being done that will give users the ability to set a custom size for the allotted amount of disk space used by Crostini Linux on Chrome OS. Still disabled via a flag, the resizing feature was still just a placeholder at that time. Today, after an update to the Canary Channel, it looks like the resizing function is now live. It’s still behind a flag and disabled by default but enabling it and starting Crostini from scratch now gives you the option to pick the amount of disk space you want to use for Linux.

    [...]

    The renaming feature, like the resizing one, was disabled behind a flag and wasn’t working as of yesterday. With the latest update to Canary, the custom username feature is now working when the flag is enabled and it appears right above the resizing option when you install Crostini for the first time. Some users may like this feature simply because they want to create a unique username for Linux but for others, this will be a crucial update when it hits the Stable Channel in the coming months.

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More in Tux Machines

An Insight to PureOS 9.0 Hephaestus

Unlike many other secure & privacy-respecting operating systems, PureOS does not get celebration in every release. Say for example QubesOS, Tails, Whonix, and OpenBSD, they all get celebrations every time they reach a new version. However, after a period of version 8.0, now PureOS reaches version 9.0 as per February 2020 I could tell. This article overviews PureOS in general and version 9.0 in particular starting from a little Librem computers intro, then things about the new Amber codename, the switch from Rolling to Stable style of release, and more. I also added valuable links at the end about its history and development. I hope this article can sum up well about PureOS for you. Enjoy! Read more

Today in Techrights

Planet Changes and Cilium

  • Planet Arch Linux migration

    The software behind planet.archlinux.org was implemented in Python 2 and is no longer maintained upstream. This functionality has now been implemented in archlinux.org's archweb backend which is actively maintained but offers a slightly different experience.

  • Cilium drops 1.7 release, upping insight and manageability

    Network and API connectivity project Cilium has been released in version 1.7, providing users with a UI for observability platform Hubble and the option to apply cluster-wide network policies. Cilium is an open source project developed by US startup Isovalent to provide and secure network connectivity and load balancing for workloads such as application containers or processes. It is based on a virtual machine-like construct called Berkeley Packet Filter (BPF) which can be found in the Linux kernel.

OSS and Development

  • Someone is selling the free, open source Playnite launcher on Steam for $100

    Playnite is a free open source PC application designed to be an all-in-one answer to the growing number of game launchers we've all got on our desktops. In other words, it combines libraries from the likes of Steam, Epic Games Store, Uplay and GOG Galaxy, and then lets you organise them however you see fit. Jody tried it last year and came away impressed. I should emphasise the "free" above: it is available straight from the source here and, according to the site, "no features are locked behind a paywall and the complete source code is available under the MIT license". The MIT license basically surrenders the software to any kind of use with no restrictions, including resales.

  • uGet is an open source download manager for Windows and Linux that also supports Torrents and Video downloads

    The GUI has four panes, a menu bar and a toolbar. The Status pane in the top left corner displays all downloads and the ones which are Active, Queuing, Finished, and Recycled (deleted). The total number of downloads for each category is displayed next to its name, and you can click on any of these to see the list of items contained. Switch to the Category pane to jump between the default and the ones you have created. You can use the Category menu to add new sorting options, set the default download folder for each category, maximum active downloads, and also the maximum upload and download speeds. The pane below the toolbar is the download list pane; anything that you select in the status pane is displayed here. It shows the name, the file size of the download that has been completed, the total size, the progression percentage, time left to complete the download, and the upload/download speeds of each file. The View menu can be used to customize the columns that are displayed in the list pane, and the other visual elements of the program. Highlighting an item in the download list brings up its summary on the bottom pane.

  • Open Source Music Tagger Picard 2.3 Released With Custom MP4 Tags Support

    Free and Open source MusicBrainz announced the point release of Picard 2.3 with major changes to the user interface, tag, and desktop integration support. MusicBrainz stores all the metadata of the music and Picard is the official tag editor that helps in identifying and organizing the digital audio recording.

  • For Square Crypto, the Way to Bitcoin Mass Adoption Is Open Source

    When Jack Dorsey founded Square in February 2009, Bitcoin was all of one month old. In fact, Satoshi Nakamoto and Dorsey were likely laying the groundwork for their respective creations concurrently in the year prior. Ten years later, the two would converge in what now seems like an inevitable collision. Square launched its Venmo-like payment service, Cash App, in 2013. The application features common stock investing, and i

  • Gold-nuggeting: Machine learning tool simplifies target discovery for pen testers

    Recognizing this analogy with the precious metals industry, researchers at Delve Labs have developed Batea, an open source tool that leverages machine learning to find valuable information in network device data.

  • ’Second Revolution’ In Electronic Bond Trading

    Sri Ambati, chief executive and founder at H2O.ai, told Markets Media that the firm’s open source platform can perform one billion regressions in less than five seconds.

  • Google ‘AutoFlip’ can resize video using AI

    The way we consume video has changed a lot over the course of the last decade. We now watch videos on our mobile devices from anywhere and because of this, video content comes in a wide variety of formats. Google recognizes this shift and so last week their AI team announced ‘AutoFlip’ an open-source framework for “intelligent video reframing.”

  • This open-source framework, ‘AutoFlip’, can do automated video cropping using AI

    Many times when we see a video on mobile devices is badly cropped, it is not much you can do about it. Understanding this problem, Google’s AI’s team has built an open-source solution on top of MediaPipe, Autoflip, which can reframe a video that fits any device or dimension (landscape, portrait, etc.). AutoFlip works in three phases. The first phase includes scene detection; the second is the video content analysis, and the third is reframing. For this tool, if a video and a target dimension are given, it analyzes the video content. Later it develops optimal tracking and cropping strategies, which finally enables it to create an output video at the same time limit in the desired aspect ratio.

  • Tech Events in Africa: Nerds Unite, Open Source Festival and #CodeZone

    It’s a new week and another opportunity to meet up with like-minded people, become better in your chosen field and seal those deals for your startup. And we at TechNext want to help with a list of tech events happening around you this week.

  • An unofficial version of Brave browser brings native ARM64 support

    Privacy-focused Brave browser launched late last year after almost four years of being in the works. The browser is based on the Chromium open-source project and joins the likes of Microsoft Edge that is built on that platform. However, while Mozilla Firefox and Microsoft’s offering currently support ARM64 PCs natively in the stable channels, Brave does not. That might change, as Windows Insider MVP Jeremy Sinclair was able to compile an unofficial build of the open-source Brave browser that natively supports ARM64 PCs. The recompiled build (version 1.6.33) uses Microsoft’s ARM64 Chromium libraries and can run natively on those PCs like the Surface Pro X. Samsung Galaxy Book S. Native support results in improved performance and efficiency since the browser will not have to run in emulation.

  • The Brave web browser is taking on Google Chrome: Is it safe?

    The creator of Brave, Brendan Eich, also created JavaScript and co-founded the Mozilla Project that led to the development of the Firefox browser. Brave is based on the open-source Chromium browser that’s also the basis for Google’s Chrome, Opera and most recently Microsoft’s Chromium Edge browser. Open-source means that anyone can take the source code and build whatever they’d like out of it, but it doesn’t mean that all the browsers are the same. In the case of Brave, they chose to focus on user privacy by blocking trackers, scripts and ads by default. The natural by-product of blocking all this activity that usually goes unnoticed by the average user is faster load times. Brave can also make use of the wide variety of extensions for Chromium-based browsers via the Chrome Web Store at chrome.google.com.

  • This new tool could improve economic analysis of sub-national climate policies in the US

    Empowered by the Paris Agreement and a lack of national leadership on climate policy in the United States, state and local governments are leading on their own climate initiatives. California, New York and Colorado have set ambitious greenhouse gas emission and renewable energy targets for 2030. Just last week, Massachusetts introduced sweeping climate legislation targeting net zero emissions by 2050. As these environmental and energy policies move ahead, experts need to invest in economic data and tools that allow them to conduct robust economic analysis, to better inform policymakers, stakeholders and the public on how to design robust alternative climate and energy policies.

  • 2020 Open Access Award Finalists Named

    The Benjamin Franklin Award for Open Access in the Life Sciences is a humanitarian/bioethics award presented annually by Bioinformatics.org to an individual who has, in his or her practice, promoted free and open access to the materials and methods used in the life sciences.

  • Are we having fund yet, npm? CTO calls for patience after devs complain promised donations platform has stalled

    At the end of August, JavaScript package registry NPM Inc said it intended "to finalize and launch an Open Source funding platform by the end of 2019." But instead of a platform, what's available at the moment might be better referred to as a feature of the npm command-line interface (CLI). The announcement was received with some skepticism at the time and the project hasn't managed to defy that expectation: There was a minor milestone last November with the addition of the "fund" command to npm v6.13.0. But not much has changed since then.

  • RcppSimdJson 0.0.2: First Update!

    RcppSimdJson wraps the fantastic simdjson library by Daniel Lemire which truly impressive. Via some very clever algorithmic engineering to obtain largely branch-free code, coupled with modern C++ and newer compiler instructions, it results in persing gigabytes of JSON parsed per second which is quite mindboggling. I highly recommend the video of the recent talk by Daniel Lemire at QCon (which was also voted best talk). The best-case performance is ‘faster than CPU speed’ as use of parallel SIMD instructions and careful branch avoidance can lead to less than one cpu cycle use per byte parsed. This release syncs the simdjson headers with upstream, and polishes the build a little by conditioning on actually having a C++17 compiler rather than just suggesting it. The NEWS entry follows.

  • Nvidia Blames ‘Misunderstanding’ for Activision Faux Pas

    When Nvidia Corp. abruptly dropped Activision Blizzard Inc. games from its new GeForce Now service earlier this week, it left customers wondering what happened. Nvidia said on Tuesday that Activision had asked to have its titles removed from GeForce, but didn’t explain why. It turns out that the video-game giant wanted a commercial agreement with Nvidia before they proceeded -- and the situation stemmed from a simple misunderstanding, Nvidia said on Thursday.