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Two years of postmarketOS

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OS
Android

We've gotten Plasma Mobile to run on both the Librem 5 (video) and PinePhone (video) devkits — with fully free software GPU drivers! Please note that the ports to these devices are still early days and that the sluggish performance is due to the GPU drivers still being in development.
As usually, @PureTryOut has been keeping the Plasma Mobile stack up-to-date with the latest versions. He also created a postmarketos-ui-plasma-mobile-extras package which effectively allows users to choose whether they want only the base installation, or a fully blown one with extra apps like a PDF reader, calendar and music player.

We like to upstream everything that makes sense, so with help from our Alpine friends, @PureTryOut got all of the KDE and Plasma Frameworks as well as Plasma desktop into Alpine and is maintaining them there from now on. The only packages we plan to keep specifically in postmarketOS are either mobile specific or development versions.

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The OS/2 Operating System Didn't Die… It Went Underground

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OS

One problem with building things using state-of-the-art techniques is that sometimes those that look like they will be “the next big thing” turn out to be dead ends. Next thing you know, that hot new part or piece of software is hard to get or unmaintained. This is especially true if you are building something with a long life span. A case in point is the New York City subway system. Back in the 1990s the transit authority decided to adopt IBM’s new OS/2 operating system. Why not? It was robust and we used to always say “no one ever got fired for buying IBM.”

There was one problem. OS/2 was completely eclipsed by other operating systems, notably Windows and — mostly — has sunk from the public view. [Andrew Egan’s] post covers just how the conversion to a card-based system pushed OS/2 underground all over the Big Apple, and it is an interesting read.

The choice of OS/2 might seem odd today. However, you have to remember the operating system landscape back then. Unix wasn’t very commercial, for the most part, and the commercial versions like Xenix and SCO were often encumbered with odd and changing licensing arrangements. MSDOS was hardly suitable for any sort of reliable system, with a patchwork of hacks to get more memory, and multitasking including early versions of Windows which were little more than shells over MSDOS.

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Exclusive: Zorin OS And Star Labs Team Up To Offer A Beautiful Linux Laptop Experience

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OS
Linux

It's no secret I'm impressed with Zorin OS 15. The polished and user-friendly distro is worth paying attention to, especially as a gateway for beginners into the world of desktop Linux. In what, until today, would have been a totally unconnected observation, I'm also thrilled that Star Labs has popped up on my radar. The UK-based Linux laptop company has a worthy challenger to the Dell XPS 13, and Star Labs is beginning to make waves in the dedicated Linux hardware space. As someone who appreciates the efforts of both these entities, I'm thrilled to exclusively report that they'll be joining forces.

Beginning this Friday June 21 at 3pm UK time, Star Labs will begin offering Zorin OS 15 as a pre-loaded option on their entire range of laptop, which currently consists of the Star LabTop Mk III and Star Lite. Zorin OS compliments existing OS options of Ubuntu and Linux Mint.

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Wind River pumps new beans into embedded Linux

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OS
Linux
Hardware

It’s hard to know whether to pronounce software infrastructure company Wind River as wind (as in eaten too many beans, that thing that makes sails billow out) or wind (as in snakey, twisty) river.

It looks like its wind as in breezy mistrals on this link, so let’s go with that.

Whether it be winding or breezy, the company has this month updated its Wind River Linux with a release focused on ease of adoption of containers in embedded systems.

How do you make containers adoption easier? We’re glad you asked.

It’s all about offering pre-built containers, tools and documentation as well as support for frameworks such as Docker and Kubernetes.

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Enso OS Makes Xfce Elementary

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OS
Reviews

The most impressive aspect of Enso OS is the tweaked desktop that combines a somewhat modified Xfce environment with key elements from Elementary OS. The result could be a better alternative to Xubuntu, depending on your computing preferences.

For an early beta release of a relatively new Linux distribution, Enso OS has much going for it. This distro also has numerous areas where the developer must grow the infrastructure.

Enso OS is clearly a distro that bears watching over the next few releases.

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Huawei has an alternative for its Android alternative

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OS
Android

Following the US government trade ban last month, Huawei lost business ties with several American companies, including Google, dealing a huge blow to its Android smartphone business. The Chinese phonemaker is building an Android-based operating system of its own now. However, building an OS from the scratch is by no means an easy task. While it continues working on its OS, supposedly called HongMeng OS in China, the company is also exploring other options, in case it has to completely forego Android.

There aren’t many options out there, but Huawei still seems to have zeroed in on one of them. A report from Russia suggests that the Chinese company may make Aurora OS its Android alternative. Aurora OS is a Russian-made mobile OS based on the open-source Sailfish OS Linux distribution developed by Finnish company Jolla.

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Wind River Linux adds Docker and Kubernetes support for the edge

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OS
Hardware

The latest version of Wind River Linux debuts an “OverC” container stack that eases integration of frameworks such as Docker and Kubernetes on edge devices. The Yocto-based embedded distro is available in open source and commercial versions.

When reading about the latest, container-friendly version of the market-leading commercial Wind River Linux distribution, we were struck by the mention of an open source version of the commercial distro available for download on GitHub. We wondered if this was a new development after Intel sold off Wind River to investment firm TPG last year, but a Wind River spokesperson informed us that the open source version has been available since 2017.

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Also: Skylake box PC has 6x GbE with optional PoE and Myriad X support

5 Alternative Mobile Operating Systems To Android

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OS
Android

Android is dominating the mobile and there are no doubts regarding this. According to statistics, Android has a share of 75%, iOS has a share of 22% and remaining operating systems share the rest. We want to talk about these “remaining operating systems” which you probably have never heard of and you will perhaps want to have on your next phone.

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Huawei’s “Oak OS” may arrive as early as August

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OS
Android

Google, meanwhile, has warned the US government of potential security risks regarding the blacklisting of Huawei. Apparently, the web giant is worried that Huawei will roll out an OS that would be less secure than Android. Huawei’s system is likely to have more bugs in it than Android, making its phones more susceptible to hacks. “Our focus is protecting the security of Google users on the millions of existing Huawei handsets in the US and around the world,” Financial Times quoted Google as saying.

The Oak OS will be an Android-based system (via the Android Open Source Project). While most of the existing Android apps should be compatible with the new OS, it won’t have the access to Google Play Store. Of course Huawei have its own app store, but can it bring all apps from the Play Store to its store is something to look forward to. Reportedly, Facebook is stopping Huawei from pre-installing its apps on the company’s upcoming phones, further compounding its problems.

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PinePhone $149 Linux smartphone could support Ubuntu, Sailfish, Maemo, LuneOS and more

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OS
GNU
Linux
Gadgets

The PinePhone is a cheap, Linux-ready smartphone that’s expected to ship in limited quantities later this year. It’s not exactly a high-power device by modern smartphone standards, but with an expected starting price of $149, it will be a lot more affordable than some of the other Linux phones on the horizon.

It’s also starting to look like the PinePhone could be a very versatile device.

Pine64 has been sending out development kits for a while, and it looks like developers are porting a number of GNU/Linux-based operating systems to the platform.

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More in Tux Machines

Benchmarking The Experimental Bcachefs File-System Against Btrfs, EXT4, F2FS, XFS & ZFS

Bcachefs is the file-system born out of the Linux kernel's block cache code and has been worked on the past several years by developer Kent Overstreet. Our most recent benchmarking of Bcachefs was last year, so with the prospects of Bcachefs potentially being staged soon in the mainline Linux kernel, I ran some benchmarks using the latest kernel code for this next-generation file-system. Those unfamiliar with this copy-on-write file-system can learn more at Bcachefs.org. The design features of this file-system are similar to ZFS/Btrfs and include native encryption, snapshots, compression, caching, multi-device/RAID support, and more. But even with all of its features, it aims to offer XFS/EXT4-like performance, which is something that can't generally be said for Btrfs. Read more

Games: TheoTown, Prison Architect and More

  • Retro themed city-builder 'TheoTown' has now added Linux support

    TheoTown, developed by blueflower is a city-builder with a retro style that looks to be inspired by the classic Sim City 2000 and it's now available on Steam for Linux. Released on Steam earlier this month, TheoTown is also available on mobile but the PC version is a full and proper game with no in-app purchase nonsense. On Android at least, the game is very highly rated and I imagine a number of readers have played it there so now you can pick it up again on your Linux PC and continue building the city of your dreams. So far, the Steam user reviews are also giving it a good overall picture.

  • Reminder: Update your PC info for the next round of statistics updates

    This is your once a month reminder to make sure your PC information is correct on your user profiles. A fresh batch of statistics is generated on the 1st of each month.

  • Prison Architect gains a new warden with Double Eleven, free update incoming

    After Paradox Interactive acquired the rights to Prison Architect from Introversion Software, they've now announced that Double Eleven will be handling future updates. Double Eleven are a well-known developer and publisher of quite a number of titles, with them also previously been responsible for the console versions of Prison Architect so it seems like a pretty good fit as they already worked with the game.

  • Steam To Drop Support For Ubuntu

    Ubuntu is the most popular Linux distribution and that’s why it gets the attention of big companies like steam to design software for it. But recently, Linux community is kind of unhappy over Canonical decision on dropping Ubuntu 32-bit packages. The community already discussed that in case Ubuntu drops 32-bit packages support in upcoming Ubuntu 19.10 or future releases, it’d create big problems including Wine users and Linux gamers. And here comes the first news from Steam, the gaming platform. Pierre-Loup Griffais from Valve tweeted that Ubuntu 19.10 or any future Ubuntu releases will not be officially supported by Steam. He also said that the team will work on to minimize the breakage for existing users and thinking to focus on any other Linux distribution.

  • Canonical to Continue Building Selected 32-Bit i386 Packages for Ubuntu 19.10, Azul Systems Announces Zulu Mission Control v7.0, Elisa v. 0.4.1 Now Available, Firefox Adds Fission to the Nightly Build and Tails Emergency Release

    After much feedback from the community, Canonical yesterday announced it will continue to build selected 32-bit i386 packages for Ubuntu 19.10 and 20.04 LTS. The statement notes that Canonical "will also work with the WINE, Ubuntu Studio and gaming communities to use container technology to address the ultimate end of life of 32-bit libraries; it should stay possible to run old applications on newer versions of Ubuntu. Snaps and LXD enable us both to have complete 32-bit environments, and bundled libraries, to solve these issues in the long term."

  • OpenVIII, an in-development open source game engine for Final Fantasy VIII

    Any fans of Final Fantasy VIII reading? You're going to want to keep an eye on the in-development game engine OpenVIII. While it doesn't seem like it's currently playable, plenty of work has already gone into OpenVIII to work with "video support, music support, audio support, in-game menu" and more. The project is currently classed by the developer as a "pre-prototype" so don't go getting any hopes up yet about playing Final Fantasy VIII natively on Linux.

  • Littlewood hasn't been out for long, but this peaceful RPG has a lot to like about it

    Entering Early Access last week, Sean Young's peaceful RPG Littlewood is a game for those who like to relax a little. Note: Key provided directly by the developer. What happens after the world has been saved, after all the major battles have already been fought? That's exactly what Littlewood is all about, you saved the world and lost your memory so you're helping to re-build the town. In some ways, it actually reminds me of my experience with Forager. It's small, it's sweet and it doesn't feel like it's constantly begging for attention. Quite different in setting though of course, more along the lines of Stardew Valley but with less emphasis on constant farming. I love the building interface too, while it's quite simplistic it allows you to pick up trees, stones and move everything out of your way. Nothing feels annoying, so it's really sweet.

  • Cyberspace first-person shooter 'Black Ice' just had a massive upgrade

    Currently in Early Access, it has been a long time since Black Ice had an update to the "stable" version but the developer hasn't been sat idle. A massive update to the entire game just landed. Featuring some of what I showed off recently, Black Ice has come a very long was since the initial few releases making it a vastly more interesting game. One of the biggest changes, is an overhaul to the entire world design full of new areas, combat arenas with even more to come. Additionally, there's now some random events that will happen to also make the world seem a bit more lively. One server might try to hack another, so you can jump in and fight them all or sit back and watch the fireworks.

Android Leftovers

KDE Plasma 5.16.2 Desktop Environment Released with More Than 30 Bug Fixes

Coming just one week after the first point release, the KDE Plasma 5.16.2 maintenance update is here to add yet another layer of bug fixes with the ultimate goal to make the KDE Plasma 5.16 desktop environment more stable and reliable for users. In particular, this second point release introduces a total of 34 changes across various core components and apps. "Today KDE releases a bugfix update to KDE Plasma 5, versioned 5.16.2. Plasma 5.16 was released in June with many feature refinements and new modules to complete the desktop experience. This release adds a week's worth of new translations and fixes from KDE's contributors. The bugfixes are typically small but important," reads today's announcement. Read more Also: Plasma 5.16.2