So you've just downloaded that hip new open-source replacement for your favorite paid-for application and you're ready to crack it open and unleash all the awesome community-driven features contained inside. Well, if this application is Songbird, you might want to hold off for a moment. A recent blog post by the application's developers has revealed that the media player's iPod add-on does more than just transfer music to your device. It also has the potential to corrupt or otherwise delete music straight from your hardware device. Yikes!
Bugs are the bane of any software, but they can especially affect the open-source world in unpleasant ways. Read on to find out what we mean -- but first, unplug your iPod!
Microsoft showcased Windows Mobile 6.5 at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona barely a fortnight ago. But even the most ardent WM aficionado may seriously consider skipping WM 6.5 - a minor update - in light of Steve Ballmer’s announcement that Windows Mobile 7 will become available early next year.
Ballmer identified WM as one of Microsoft’s seven key businesses. He made these comments while addressing a conference call. He believes that WM will not be affected by the downturn as it is ideal for low-cost form factors.
"I do think the guys who are in the best position to benefit are the guys who actually have phones at low price points,” Ballmer said. No price for guessing who, according to Ballmer, is going to be at a disadvantage: Apple, of course, with its exorbitantly priced iPhone.
Microsoft Windows’ hegemony in the netbook market is currently unimpeachable. Contrary to conjectures and forecasts, Linux has failed to take control of the netbook market, a segment tailor-made for it. But can an entirely new Linux distro reverse the trend?
With Google having opened Android Market to paid apps, users of the fledgling mobile platform are eagerly looking forward to an inevitable rise in the number of apps. Google, on its part, is trying its best to offer more reasons for Android users to exult.
And exult they will on hearing that the Android Market will let users return any application within 24 hours from the time of purchase. Google has stolen a march on Apple’s App Store by espousing an application return policy.
Also, users will be allowed unlimited reinstalls by Google. If any dispute arises - including billing issues - between a user and a developer, the two parties will have to settle it directly as Google is not interested in playing arbitrator. Another thing Google is not interested in is porn. The Android Market policies expressly prohibit “nudity, graphic sex acts, or sexually explicit material.”
The first Android-based device, the T-Mobile G1, might have not pronounced iPhone’s death warrant - just like numerous other so-called iPhone-killers before it failed to, but it has done a decent job as a “commercial prototype.”
A reasonable number of people may be keenly awaiting the advent of future Android devices after the steady start provided by the T-Mobile G1. However, nothing is known about upcoming Android devices with the exception of the HTC Magic.
The Magic has a 3.2-inch QVGA touch screen and, barring its lack of a physical QWERTY keyboard, closely mimics the G1. The phone has a 3.2-megapixel camera, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and HSDPA/WCDMA (900/2100MHz).
The last thing you want to be told when buying a new car is that you shouldn't be driving it, and likewise, HTC G1 owners can't be geeked to learn that at least one security researcher is advising against using the Android-based phone's web browser.
Security researcher Charlie Miller says a vulnerability in Google Android makes it possible for hackers to remotely take control of the phone's web browser and other related processes. At that point, hackers could then gain access to saved information stored in the browser and spy on a user's online transactions, including encrypted ones.
Interestingly, Miller notified Google of the flaw back on January 21 and a patch was put forth, which the search company has given to T-Mobile. But as of this writing, T-Mobile has yet to deploy the fix.
"The Android Security Team responded by contacting PacketVideo, T-Mobile, and oCERT, a public Computer Emergency Response Team. PacketVideo developed a fix on February 5th, and they patched Open Source Android two days later," writes Rich Cannings, a Google Android security engineer. "oCERT assisted PacketVideo with coordinating the fix, and they published an advisory detailing this issue. We offered the patch to T-Mobile when it became available, and G1 users will be updated at T-Mobile’s discretion."
No word has been given on when T-Mobile expects to push out the patch.
Microsoft's Windows platforms need to be more like Linux if the software giant ever hopes to compete against open-source software, including operating systems. That's the claim being made by InformationWeek's Charles Babcock, who's taken a look at Microsoft's declining revenues for Windows clients and concluded that it's time to toss the operating system--which allegedly nets Microsoft $34 per Windows XP installation--to the open-source wolves.
According to Babcock, sales and licenses for applications like Microsoft Office are the real cash cow for Microsoft. But how might a free Microsoft Windows operating system ease the bloodletting--defections of customers to open-source solutions for all their computer interactions? Read on to find out!
Thought Google's Android platform was only good for smartphones? No. 1 chipmaker Intel thinks differently, says VentureBeat. Apparently Intel, who already dominates the netbook scene with its Atom processor line, will begin mass producing Android-based netbooks, which could end up on the market as early as this year.
Like everyone in the tech industry, Intel ended 2008 with a whimper, at least in terms of revenue and profits. The chip maker's net income fell 88 percent to $234 million compared to a year prior, and sales for Q4 2008 were 23 percent lower than for the same quarter in 2007. But an exploding netbook market has helped Intel weather the storm, and netbook sales don't look to be slowing down any time soon.
While Linux has been gaining popularity on the desktop front, the open-source OS has fared better on netbooks. Android, which is based on Linux, could prove to be a viable alternative to both Windows and Linux thanks to its built-in functionality, and it only looks to get more popular as more handset manufacturers begin to implement the platform. By the time Intel is expected released Android-based netbooks (2010 is the most likely scenario), Google's Android could potentially have built up a following, potentially making it more attractive to netbook buyers than Linux and less expensive than Windows-based ultraportables.
Google's Android OS was supposed to pave the way for an iPhone killer, but instead of decimating the iPhone, Android-users are instead finding their contacts being wiped out. The culprit isn't Android itself, but an Android application called MemoryUp users claim is responsible for erasing their contacts, installing adware, and even freezing their phone.
"Doesn’t work at all erased my phone numbers and froze my phone," one user complained. "Do not download. Destroyed my memory card/system delete. Then my email was spammed. TMobile can’t stop you from downloading this! So don’t!," added another user.
The app, created by Peter Liu, claims to keep Android smartphones running faster and efficiently by monitoring system use and freeing up resources when needed. But some users contend the program is nothing more than a scam. Buyer beware.
As we get ready to celebrate the end of 2008 and start of 2009, it's important to put down the champagne glasses for a moment and consider all of the big open-source stories that have come across over the past year. There have been a lot. In fact, we've even gone and chronicled some of the bigger stories for you already. If you haven't checked it out yet, do so. Like watching The Empire Strikes Back before A New Hope, you'll be lost if you read on much further. That's because we're now taking a look at what's in store for the open-source world in 2009.
We'll get to the specific predictions in a big, but here's the big picture: the open-source software world is on the up, up, up. We called this out in a news article awhile ago once the economy started taking a dive. Guess what? The economy's still taking a dive, and companies long and far are taking an increased interest in the open-source community. That's because open-source solutions can help them generate cost savings over expensive, proprietary software without a loss of business quality or functionality. And that translates into increased opportunities for open-source developers -everybody wins! Unless you're Microsoft and think the entire affair is rubbish. But enough of that... onto the predictions!
Click the link to jump into the open-source world of 2009!