Linux and user data collection. Some people will decry such a thing, but they would be wrong. As long as the collection is opt-in, it is totally acceptable and in line with Linux ideology. When is it questionable? When users don't have a choice. With Windows 10 telemetry, for instance, users can opt out of sharing some data with Microsoft, but not all. And that's a problem. Even if Microsoft's intentions are pure, and designed solely with improving Windows 10, users should be able to refuse all data sharing at time of installation.
With Ubuntu desktop, Canonical has started collecting installation data, but it is doing it the right way. It shows the user exactly what data could be shared and lets them choose whether or not they want to send it. It is 100 percent optional -- the way it should be. Guess what? According to the company, 67 percent of users decided to do so. That is an impressive metric in itself. By being open and honest, Canonical achieved what I would call a successful conversion rate. Best of all, it gleaned a lot of interesting data, and it is sharing the analytics publicly.
It's officially summer and the weekend is here. For some folks, this means spending time outdoors for the next couple of days. If you are a computer guy or gal, however, you may be sun adverse -- spending time inside tinkering with your PC could be more fun than the beach or the pool. If that is you (it's definitely me!), I have a suggestion -- why not try a new Linux distribution this weekend? Hell, there are countless such operating systems from which to choose.
Today, a lesser known Linux-based operating system achieves a milestone. Called "Peppermint," version 9 is now available for download. If you are still holding onto some old hardware, you might want to pay attention. Not only is the OS designed to be light on resources, but Peppermint's developers are still maintaining a 32-bit version of the Ubuntu-based distro.
deepin Linux is controversial because its developers are in China. You see, some people are suspicious of a Linux distribution that comes from that country. If you feel that way, that's your business. But you know what? I am personally sick and tired of such xenophobia these days. Let's not forget, many goods come from China -- including personal computers and associated components. Not to mention, the OS is largely open source.
Controversy aside, deepin is a great operating system for both Linux beginners and experts alike. Not only is it stable thanks to its Debian base, but it has a very polished and focused user experience. Today, version 15.6 becomes available, and it is loaded with improvements.
When you are a Linux desktop user, it can be very frustrating when popular programs are not available for your platform. The same can be said for macOS, but to a lesser extent -- at least it has access to things like Microsoft Office and Adobe Photoshop. Like it or not, Windows often gets premium programs as an exclusive. It's not hard to see why -- on the desktop, Microsoft's operating system reigns supreme from a marketshare perspective. Developers will simply follow the money, and who can blame them?
The world is changing, however, and Microsoft's stranglehold on the software community is loosening. Consumers don't really need Windows anymore. Sure, 10 or 20 years ago it would be almost unthinkable for a typical home user to run an alternative operating system, but these days it’s totally doable. Highlighting this, today, Google releases a really cool program called "VR180 Creator." Interestingly, it is not available for Windows -- the search giant made it a Mac and Linux exclusive. Oh my.
The world is crazy right now. We have a reality TV star in the White House, and day after day, there are unbelievable things being reported in the news. Sometimes I wonder if I am dreaming, but sadly, this is real life. Try as I might, I can't wake up.
You know what else is crazy? The Linux Foundation is officially endorsing Microsoft's acquisition of GitHub! OK, maybe that isn't so crazy nowadays, but if you could get in a time machine and go back, say, 10 years, and you told people that not only was Microsoft an official Linux Foundation Member, but the foundation was endorsing the Windows-maker's purchase of a massive repository that hosts millions of open source projects, you'd probably be put in an asylum.
Ah, Linux Mint. This operating system has its detractors, but for the most part, it is beloved by both Linux beginners and experts alike. True, most of the praise is due to its excellent Ubuntu base, but the Mint team understands what many other distribution maintainers don't -- the overall experience matters. When you install Mint, you are in for a polished treat -- it is clear that the developers truly care about the end users.
Today, Linux Mint 19 "Tara" Beta finally sees release. Three desktop environments are available -- Cinnamon (3.8), MATE (1.20), and Xfce (4.12). All of these DEs are excellent, but the shining star is Cinnamon. Tara is significant as it is based on the newest Ubuntu 18.04 and will receive updates until the year 2023. The included Linux kernel is version 4.15 and not 4.17 -- understandable, as it was only just released.
Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference kicks off today, Monday 4 June, in San Jose, with the big keynote speech scheduled for 10am PDT/1pm EST/6pm BST. As always it will be streamed live so you can tune in at home or (maybe) work.
As WWDC is for software developers, Apple doesn’t usually reveal major new hardware, but we are expecting to see a refresh for the iPhone SE, and maybe a new HomePod. Siri may also be getting a new voice. We're also anticipating information on iOS 12, as well as updates to macOS, watchOS and tvOS. There are likely to be some interesting surprises too.
In his weekly message to the Linux community on Sunday, Linus Torvalds announced the release of Linux 4.17. The release comes a couple of months after the first release candidate, and in his message Torvalds also talks about version 5.0 of the Linux kernel.
Having previously said that Linux kernel v5.0 "should be meaningless", he said that this next major numerical milestone will come around "in the not too distance future". For now, though, it's version 4.17 -- or Merciless Moray, if you prefer -- that's of interest.
While Dell is mostly known as a Windows PC manufacturer, the company is also a big proponent of Linux. Its "Developer Edition" models can be configured with Ubuntu, for instance. Of course, despite this branding, non-developers can buy them too. The XPS 13 "Developer Edition" in particular is a svelte machine that should make many home Linux users very happy.
In addition to home users, Dell manufactures solid business-class mobile workstations, and the company recently announced four such Linux-powered models. These Precision "Developer Edition" laptops run Ubuntu and are RHEL certified. One of these notebooks, the Precision 3530, is available today, while the other three will be available soon.
Linux isn't just a hobby -- the kernel largely powers the web, for instance. Not only is Linux on many web servers, but it is also found on the most popular consumer operating system in the world -- Android. Why is this? Well, the open source kernel scales very well, making it ideal for many projects. True, Linux's share of the desktop is still minuscule, but sometimes slow and steady wins the race -- watch out, Windows!
A good example of Linux's scalability is a new robot powered by Linux which was recently featured on the official Ubuntu Blog. Called "Tennibot," the Ubuntu-powered bot seeks out and collects tennis balls. Not only does it offer convenience, but it can save the buyer a lot of money too -- potentially thousands of dollars per year as this calculator shows. So yeah, a not world-changing product, but still very neat nonetheless. In fact, it highlights that Linux isn't just behind boring nerdy stuff, but fun things too.
Fedora is a great Linux distribution, but it is not always a wise choice for beginners. Since the distro focuses on truly free and open source software, it can be hard to get non-free packages, proprietary drivers, fonts, and codecs installed. Fedora 28 makes this easier thanks to an update to the Software app, but it is still not as easy as say, Ubuntu.
That's why Korora is such a cool operating system -- it uses Fedora as a base, but comes pre-installed with useful apps and repositories. True, that sort of deviates from the Fedora ideology, but at least it gives users choice. Sadly for some, Korora development is ending -- at least for the time being -- as the developer no longer has the resources to continue.
Over the weekend, we reported on an Ubuntu Snap Store app that had a hidden cryptocurrency miner. This was a disappointing discovery, as users' machines were being hijacked to earn money for the developer.
With that said, it wasn't necessarily malware, as it did not cause harm to the computer, nor did it steal data or install a backdoor. Nevertheless, Canonical pulled the offending app and the developer's other submissions. The apps will eventually be re-listed without the mining code. Today, the company breaks its silence, finally commenting officially on this fiasco.
Just yesterday, we shared the news that System76 had refreshed its popular Oryx Pro laptop. The Linux community was abuzz with excitement over the thinner and faster notebook. After all, it offers a lot of horsepower at a very affordable price. Heck, the battery life has even doubled compared to its predecessor!
The computer seller is apparently not ready to slow down, however, as today it also refreshes its affordable and svelte Galago Pro Linux ultrabook. What's particularly exciting about the new model is that it has two screen sizes -- 13 inch HiDPI or 14 inch 1080p (in matte). Regardless of which you choose, the overall dimensions stay the same. How can that be, you ask? Well, for the 14 inch model, the bezels are just thinner.
Last week, System76 started to share details about its refreshed Linux-powered Oryx Pro laptop. It would be thinner and more powerful, while adding twice the battery life of its predecessor. Unfortunately, we did not yet know exactly what the laptop looked like. Today, we finally have official images.
This new Oryx Pro is quite breathtaking, as it is a true Pro machine -- with the USB Type-A, Ethernet, and HDMI ports you expect -- while being just 19mm thin. It has the horsepower that power-users need, thanks to its 8th Gen Intel Core i7 processor and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 10-Series GPU. Hey, Apple, this is what a "Pro" laptop should be...
Notepad is a classic piece of software. It is the unsung hero of every Windows installation. If you want to jot down a quick note, it is a blank canvas awaiting your keystrokes. As a young man, I used Notepad to write my school papers. Microsoft Office was reserved for rich folks, and there was no LibreOffice -- or even Open Office -- yet. Even the no-frills Microsoft Works was priced out of my family's reach, but I digress.
As Microsoft turns its attention away from the wonderful Paint to focus on the terrible Photos and Paint 3D, you'd expect the company to forget about good ol' Notepad. Surprisingly, however, it hasn't. In fact, the Windows-maker today announces that Notepad on Windows 10 is getting both Linux and Mac line endings support. Wow -- this really is a new Microsoft...