We believe that everyone who considers themselves a computer enthusiast should have at least some experience with a Linux environment, but it can be daunting to just jump into the deep end of a completely unfamiliar operating system. One way to get your feet wet is with Cygwin, a free program that provides you with a Unix-like command line, without having to leave Windows. Cygwin is not a Unix emulator (it cannot run native Unix programs, although it does contain the tools needed to compile and run a program from source code), but it does have a wide array of optional packages that let you use most of the tools and utilities that you would commonly use in Unix, in Windows. In this guide, we’ll show you how to get Cygwin set up, the basics of how to navigate a Unix file system, and how to find more information as you need it.
Windows is proprietary. Microsoft Office is proprietary. Internet Explorer is proprietary. In fact, just about every piece of code that comes out of Redmond is proprietary, yet Microsoft likes, nay, LOVES open source. That's right, Sir Skepticism, the largely closed source software giant has a soft spot for open source software, or so Microsoft claims.
"We love open source," says Jean Paoli of Microsoft in a recent interview with Network World (told you so). "We have worked with open source for a long time now."
So where does that leave Linux, Microsoft's main rival next to the Mac OS X platform? Linux and open source aren't necessarily inclusive, and according to Paoli, Microsoft goofed by equating all open source technology to Linux "very early on." But, "that was a really long time ago," he adds. "We understand our mistake."
Paoli, who is the co-creator of the XML specification, is involved with promoting Microsoft's interoperability strategy among key components of cloud networks. It isn't all open source, but it does show Microsoft making an effort to embrace open technologies rather than automatically dismiss them.
Network World has a whole bunch more on the subject (4 pages worth) here.
Well, this is a bit of a bummer. In the wake of Valve's release of Steam for OSX, there were rumors that a Linux version was in the works. In a recent interview with Gamesindustry.biz, Valve's VP of Marketing Doug Lombardi let it slip that Steam for Linux isn't in development. "There's no Linux version that we're working on right now," said Lombardi.
We'd like to point out he did qualify that statement with "right now." That could theoretically mean that a Linux version of Steam could happen in the future. He could have been more categorical in his denial, but it's still sad for fans of Tux. We're still holding out hope Valve is just building suspense for a big reveal at some later date. Hey, it could happen, right?
The next iteration of Ubuntu will accommodate Canonical's UTouch framework, making it the first version of the world's most popular linux distro to feature multitouch support. Codenamed Maverick Meerkat, Ubuntu version 10.10 is scheduled for release on October 10, 2010. According to a post on Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth's official blog, at least a four-finger touch device is needed “to get the most out of it.”
He also revealed that Canonical is developing the new feature using the Dell Latitude XT2 as its development platform. “The design team has lead the way, developing a “touch language” which goes beyond the work that we’ve seen elsewhere. Rather than single, magic gestures, we’re making it possible for basic gestures to be chained, or composed, into more sophisticated 'sentences,'” the South African entrepreneur wrote in a blog post Monday.
“The basic gestures, or primitives, are like individual verbs, and stringing them together allows for richer interactions. It’s not quite the difference between banging rocks together and conducting a symphony orchestra, but it feels like a good step in the right direction.”
'It's not us, it's you,' is the general message coming from Dell regarding the OEMs decision to dropkick Ubuntu from its online store in the UK. The company will, however, continue to sell its open-source PCs over the phone.
"A number of our current consumer and SMB systems are available with Ubuntu, including a number of our Inspiron and Vostro laptops and desktops, the popular Inspiron Mini 10 netbook and the Studio XPS 7100 desktop," a Dell spokesperson told PCPro.co.uk.
"We’ve recently made an effort to simplify our offerings online, by focusing on our most popular bundles and configuration options, based on customer feedback for reduced complexity and a simple, easy purchase experience. We’re also making some changes to our Ubuntu pages, and as a result, they are currently available through our phone-based sales only."
Consider this a break and not a breakup, as Dell insists the move is "not a permanent decision." How long Dell plans on shelving Ubuntu PCs from its online lineup remains to be seen.
"The reason why they're not on our main pages is because Ubuntu systems are primarily targeted towards advanced users and enthusiasts, and the vast majority of consumers purchase PCs with Microsoft Windows pre-installed," the spokesperson added.
According to an official press release, a device based on the Linux-based prototype (video) unveiled by the HRD ministry could cost around $35 (Rs 1500). But that is still pretty steep, isn’t it? Well, the ministry sees the price “gradually dropping down to $20 and ultimately $10 a piece.”
Aimed at students, and developed by the country’s leading tech universities, the dirt cheap tablet features video conferencing functionality, Flash- and Java-enabled web browsing, a rich multimedia experience, and more. Very little is known about the hardware apart from the fact that it has 2GB RAM, Wi-Fi and one USB port.
But this might as well turn out to be a dud as development projects backed by the Indian government usually face a plethora of hurdles at various stages.
HDMI is vastly superior to the high-definition connectivity solution of yore, which relied on one of two types of digital cables for audio and a second, well-shielded, three-gang cable for component video. Unfortunately, HDMI is tightly entwined with HDCP, and that DRM standard interferes with our ability to exercise our fair-use rights to time-shift TV programming and to make back-up copies of Blu-ray movies.
If you’re willing to settle for digital recordings of analog high-definition content, Hauppauge has a solution that exploits the so-called “analog hole.” Set-top boxes and Blu-ray players currently encrypt their digital video streams, but they output completely unprotected analog streams. The HD PVR captures component analog video (at a max resolution of 1080i; 720p is also supported) and either analog or digital audio, digitizes those streams, and sends them to your PC’s hard drive over a USB 2.0 cable (these files will be large, so use an NTFS-formatted drive). Plug in the included IR blaster and install the scheduling software on your PC and you can power up your cable or satellite TV set-top box, tune it to the desired channel, and record whatever TV programming you happen to be interested in.
Put away the pitchforks, penguin fans, we're not hating on Linux or dropping a deuce on open-source software in general (you're welcome for the visual). What we're referring to is an actual distro called "Damn Vulnerable Linux," which is not like any other Linux distro you've seen before.
"Damn Vulnerable Linux (DVL) is everything a good Linux distribution isn't," the DVL website explains. "Its developers have spent hours stuffing it with broken, ill-configured, outdated, and exploitable software that makes it vulnerable to attacks. DVL isn't built to run on your desktop -- it's a learning tool for security students."
Like many Linux distros, DVL can be used as a Live CD or installed on your system, preferably a virtual machine. According to DVL's website, the distro contains "older, easily breakable versions of Apache, MySQL, PHP, and FTP and SSH daemons," as well as an assortment of tools to help you break apps running on these services.
"The main idea behind DVL was to build up a training system that I could use for my university lectures," explains Dr. Thorsten Schneider, who conceived the project. "My goal was to design a Linux system that was as vulnerable as possible, to teach topics such as reverse code engineering, bug overflows, shellcode development, Web exploitation, and SQL injection."
A few days ago, Microsoft revealed that it had sold 150 million Windows 7 licenses since the OS first hit the market, making it the fastest selling operating system in history with a 7-copies-per-second sales rate. Going a little further back in time, Steve Jobs suggested at the D8 conference that the PC's days as the most dominant force in computing might be numbered. He even likened PCs to trucks: “PCs are going to be like trucks. They're still going to be around, they're still going to have a lot of value, but they're going to be used by one out of X people.”
While Jobs' prognostication was rebuffed at the very same event by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, the debate is likely to persist deep into the future. Now, Microsoft is again blowing its own vuvuzela.
Frank X. Shaw, Microsoft' corporate vice president of Corporate Communications, was full of big numbers in a recent blog post avowedly inspired by “the Windows 7 milestone.”Although the blog post highlighted Microsoft's success across a wide array of businesses by citing relevant statistics, it was also meant to remind ambitious rivals like Apple that Microsoft is not, after all, going to hell in a “Truck.”
Shaw pointed out that while Apple is expected to sell 7 million units of its “groundbreaking” tablet this year, PC sales are expected to top 350 million units. He even reminded Apple that it still trails Nokia and RIM in the global smartphone market. Shaw was so determined to target Apple that he conveniently overlooked the fact that Microsoft remains a fringe player in the smartphone market - someone clinging onto dear life by the skin of its teeth.
The initial buzz surrounding Chrome OS became a bit watered down the moment Google bared its cloud- and Linux-based operating system to peering eyes at a special event last November. Skeptics have been wondering whether the world is prepared for a cloud-based operating system. Leave aside the question of humanity's preparedness, doubts have also been cast on the product itself, with some doubters even writing it off as being little more than a glorified web browser.
But PC vendors can not ignore Chrome no matter what the skeptics have to say, for a bad bet might be better than no bet at all. According to a Reuters report, quoting a top Dell executive, the PC vendor is not going to be a mere spectator when Chrome OS debuts in the “late fall.” Amit Midha, Dell's president for Greater China and South Asia, has revealed that his company is currently discussing shipping Chrome OS netbooks with Google. Midha told Reuters that Dell wants to be at the vanguard of innovation.