While the battle between Windows and Linux wages on, a similar struggle is set to take place in the cloud. Instant-on computing has been gaining ground, helped in large part by Asus pushing a custom version of SplashTop on select motherboards and Eee PCs, and now Good OS steps into the browser-based OS fray.
If the name looks familiar, it's because the company's gOS Linux debuted in Wal-Mart's ill-fated $199 Everex gPC. But this time around, Good OS is focusing entirely on the cloud with an instant-on derivative appropriately called Cloud. The company showed off its browser-based OS running on Gigabyte touch-screen netbooks at the Netbook World Summit in Paris today.
"We are excited to preview the Gigabyte Touch-Screen Netbook with Cloud and Windows together," said a Good OS spokesperson. "With Cloud, Gigabyte Netbooks will power on to the Internet in seconds, while still supporting killer applications together with Windows XP."
Instead of loading a typical desktop, Cloud runs entirely in a browser that looks nearly identical to Google's Chrome. At the bottom of the browser, an integrated dock gives quick access to several apps and Web 2.0 portals. But like SplashTop, Cloud isn't meant to replace the main OS, and instead run alongside it.
Good OS plans to make more details available at CES in January, 2009.
Everyone’s favorite (according to sales numbers, at least) smartphone, the iPhone has finally been hacked to run Linux.
The 2.6 kernel only features a bootloader, so if you decide to rock Linux on your iPhone (there are instructions on the Linux on the iPhone blog) you’ll be met with a console that requires a USB connection to access. They’ve also been unable to use the touchscreen, sound, accelerometer and networking functionality of the iPhone.
While admittedly this isn’t a super impressive showing, it’s a great start for the Linux iPhone community. The building blocks have been placed, folks.
If you’re interested in how the whole process plays out, be sure to peep the video!
We typically recommend that those new to Linux get their feet wet with Ubuntu, but if you think you're ready to explore alternative distros, the Fedora developer community has announced the official release of Fedora 10. The release was originally planned to go live a few weeks ago but suffered a delay as Fedora developers verified its source code had not been compromised following a hacker attack back in August.
Like Ubuntu's recently released Intrepid Ibex (8.10), Fedora 10 is built on the Linux 2.6.27 kernel. The new kernel, which was released last month, offers better webcam support and the new Atheros ath9k wireless drivers, among other goodies. Firefox 3.0.4 also finds its way into Fedora 10's default installation.
ArsTechnica takes an in-depth tour of the distro's several new features, including the glitch-free PulseAudio (PA). In addition to support for controlling the volume of individual audio streams and movie streams between multiple devices, PA also sports some advanced capabilities, such as dynamic volume adjustment and network transparent stream redirection. But perhaps the biggest improvement to the rewritten PA is the significant reduction in the potential for dropped audio.
Other upgrades include a new version of the Network Manager utility, an overhauled RPM package, and a more tightly integrated PackageKit, which is a GUI-based package management frontend.
Before the most recent version of Ubuntu (8.10, Intrepid Ibex) was even released, founder Mark Shuttleworth was already looking ahead by introducing The Jaunty Jackalope, or what will later be known as version 9.04. That was just over two months ago, and now eager Linux users can take a peek at what the upcoming release has in store by downloading the distro in Alpha 1 form.
In continuing to bring Linux to the mainstream, Shuttleworth listedsome specific goals it hopes to meet with Jaunty. Chief among them is improving the distro's boot time, both in standard cases and "when it is being tailored to a specific device." But speed isn't the only improvement he hopes to make in 9.04. The new distro will also look to have tighter integration between web services and desktop applications.
Ubuntu users hoping to get a first look at Jaunty Jackalope can download the Alpha 1 release now, although developer Colin Watson warns that the pre-release isn't intended for anyone needing a stable system.
"This is the very first roughly working set of images off the production line, and they haven't all been tested, so you should expect some bugs," Watson wrote in the release announcement. "Prominent among these are that some of the images are oversized and can only be tested using a DVD or a virtual machine, and that the desktop CD isn't ready yet!"
The next major Alpha release is scheduled for December 18th, followed by additional pre-releases until the final version debuts on April 23.
Linux has typically been at the front of the pack when it comes to 64-bit processor support, which made the lack of a compatible 64-bit Flash Player a glaring omission for the open-source platform. The no-show by Adobe has been particularly frustrating for Firefox fans, who by being limited to using the 32-bit Flash plug-in meant also being limited to the 32-bit version of Firefox. That all changes today. From Adobe Labs:
"Furthering Adobe's commitment to the Linux community and as part of ongoing efforts to ensure the cross-platform compatibility of Flash Player, an alpha version of 64-bit Adobe Flash Player 10 for Linux operating systems was released on 11/17/2008 and is available for download. This offers easier, native installation on 64-bit Linux distributions and removes the need for 32-bit emulation."
Windows and Mac users need not feel too bitter, as Adobe says native 64-support across all platforms is forthcoming, although no specific time frame has yet been announced, only that it will arrive "in an upcoming major release of Flash Player."
As hardware junkies, we have little trouble justifying our desire for netbooks. Microsoft on the other hand, is having a huge problem trying to figure out how to cash in on the craze.According to new research conducted by Bloomberg, Microsoft’s historic stock plunge of over 40 percent this year alone can be tied in part to the success of netbooks. These sub $500 PC’s are by far the fastest growing segment in the computing industry. And unfortunately for Microsoft, many of these devices don’t ship with Windows.
Internally, Microsoft estimates that around 70 percent of netbooks run at least some version of Windows. This is a far cry from the over 90 percent market penetration they enjoy in the notebook and desktop segments. Additionally, since the vast majority of netbooks run older versions of Windows, margins are much thinner. The OEM licensing fee of $40/$50 for Windows XP is a drop in the bucket when you compare it to the $100 or more they expect for Vista. Bridging the revenue gap isn’t as easy as raising the price for XP either. Especially when you consider that it only costs around $5 to deploy a version of Linux. The Microsoft tax is widely debated by netbook manufacturers who are scrambling to keep sticker prices low. As a result, Microsoft has cut projections for Windows growth in Q4 to as little as 2 percent. Earlier in the year they were estimating growth of around 9 to 10 percent.
While Microsoft might suffer in the short term, it appears the long term strategy is to address netbooks with the upcoming release of Windows 7. During PDC last week, Steven Sinofsky showed off a $399 netbook running the new OS.And according to Senior Vice President Jon DeVaan, “People will be pleasantly surprised and excited by how Windows 7 runs on low-cost machines”.The over arching question here is if Linux will gain any long term momentum as a result of its new found market penetration. I guess only time will tell.
So would you rather a faster netbook running Linux, or a slightly slower machine with Windows?
Seagate earlier this year launched the industry's frist 1.5TB desktop drive, which remains the largest capacity drive available on the market. To accomplish the feat without sacrificing performance, Seagate packed just four platters inside with an areal density of 375GB per platter resulting in what the company claims is a sustained data rate of 120 MB/s. It all sounds great on paper, but could there be something wrong with the high capacity drive?
A jaunt over to Seagate's support forum reveals an 11+ page thread of users complaining that their 1.5TB drives are exhibiting random freezes. Most of the complaints stem from users running a RAID array in Ubuntu, but mixed in are a handful of users claiming the same behavior being displayed in single-drive setups in other operating systems, including Max OS X and Vista.
According to the various comments, support inquiries have ranged from "Unfortunately, we do not support Linux" and "Again, these drives are not meant to be used in a RAID environment so we are not going to be working towards a solution for this environment," to "This is an issue we are currently working on. I know it's a hassle for now, but we're working on it as quickly as we can. As soon as we have information available we'll let you know." Other users claim they're being told a limitation error in Vista might be the culprit and they should try reducing the partition size to 1TB.
Any Seagate Barracuda 1.5TB owners experiencing similar symptoms? Hit the jump and let us know if you're having any issues with your drive.
It’s OK, Linux users. We understand your pain. Gaming on your open-source platform is, for the most part, restricted to similarly open-source or freeware titles from independent developers. You don’t often receive the same love that Windows users enjoy from triple-A game developers. But your time spent in the dark can now end: We’re going to show you how to play the latest PC-only titles on your Linux distribution of choice.
We’re using a program called Wine to simplify the process of running Windows-based games on a Linux platform. Unlike virtualization applications such as VMware, Wine is not an emulator. An emulator is a wrapper that allows one operating system to run within another. This wrapper hides the primary OS from its windowed love child, creating a software bubble for the second OS to play in. Since emulators run a complete OS within this virtualized bubble, the performance hit can be staggering and hinders gaming on all but the most powerful PCs.
Wine avoids this problem by implementing a set of routines (or APIs) used by applications to communicate with Windows. Rather than emulate them, Wine uses a compatibility layer that translates system calls from Windows to Linux and vice versa. If you’re still confused, relax. You don’t need to understand how it works. You just need to know that Wine is free and easy to configure and will have you up and gaming in no time!
While Microsoft ponders the future of instant-on technology, notebook vendors aren't waiting for a Windows-based solution. The newest entry is Lenovo who, in a joint collaboration with DeviceFM, has started shipping IdeaPad S10e netbooks with the quick starting Splashtop instant-on OS.
"We are thrilled to partner with Lenovo to bring instant-on capabilities to netbook users," says Mark Lee, CEO and co-founder of DeviceVM. "Netbook users want an instant-on, instant-off, efficient and secure way to get online, and Splashtop is the perfect solution."
Splashtop isn't a new concept and can already be found on several motherboards, desktops, and notebooks, but this marks the first time the instant-on OS will make an appearance on an ultraportable netbook. With the Splashtop OS, users can access applications like Firefox, Skype, and Picasa in just a few seconds rather than waiting for Windows to load.
Ubuntu 8.10, named Intrepid Ibex, is scheduled for release next week, so we figured it's time to run down the checklist of improvements, fixes, and enhancements since Hardy Heron came out earlier this year. The last six months of development have brought tons of new functionality that make running Linux easier for all users--power users and neophytes alike.Oh, and there's a new wallpaper.
Hit the jump to learn everything you need to know about the next version of Linux, and a screenshot gallery.