Depending on which market research firm you believe is the most accurate, Microsoft's total usage share for all versions of Windows ranges from about 84 percent to more than 91 percent. Microsoft is the largest software company on the planet with a market capitalization of over $220 billion, which is more than the GDP of Egypt and dozens of other countries. None of that means anything to Jim Zemlin, Executive Director of the Linux Foundation.
It wasn't all that long ago that giving your grandparents a Linux-based PC would be nothing short of a cruel joke, But it's really a testament to how far Linux has come, and in particular Ubuntu, that there's a PC maker who specializes in Linux rigs for senior citizens. That company is KiWi PC and they've just announced a new nettop they say is perfect for seniors.
Linus Torvalds, the father of Linux, announced the release of the 2.6.38 Linux kernel, which he says includes "deep changes." It's the second major Linux kernel to come out this year, and it comes with a number of improvements that should have a positive impact on performance, making open source operating systems faster than ever before.
It's entirely possible for software to cause hardware damage. For instance, an overclocking utility, whether buggy or abused by the end-user, could potentially result in fried hardware. But should installing Linux on a system that ships with Windows automatically void existing hardware warranties? A reader who wrote in to the Consumerist is complaining that HP gave him the runaround when attempting to have the OEM replace an in-warranty battery on an HP netbook he installed Linux on.
Open-source stalwart Red Hat has announced an expanded partnership with Fujitsu to extend their collaboration to the cloud. These two have been partners for a long time, so it really shouldn't come as a shock that Red Hat Enterprise Linux is now available as a guest operating system on Fujitsu's "On-Demand Virtual System Service" public cloud.
Sony opened a legal can of worms last April when it chose to withdraw support for PS3’s “Other OS” feature with the introduction of firmware version 3.21, citing concerns about the system’s security. But the company soon found itself at the receiving end of a flurry of class action lawsuits from console owners feeling shortchanged by the removal of a feature that once figured prominently in marketing campaigns. The feature allowed other operating systems to be installed on non-slim PS3s.
"Sony claims a universal right to change or remove functionality from the gaming console. The Consumer Council strongly believes there needs to be a limit to what constitutes a reasonable change to products we buy—and that terms of service that grant the manufacturer full access to literally downgrade the product or limit the functionality are unreasonable and in clear violation of the Marketing Control Act," Øyvind H. Kaldestad of the Consumer Council told ArsTechnica.
"When a company use [sic] terms like 'updates' or 'upgrades,' it is reasonable to expect a significant improvement of the product and not the risk of being stuck with a lesser product."
The Consumer council also lambasted consumer electronics companies like Sony for abusing after-sale access to connected devices “to do almost whatever he or she wants” under the pretext of enhancing these devices through software updates.
Going forward, Ubuntu's developers decided it is in the best interest of the open source OS to ship with LibreOffice for its productivity suite, replacing the Oracle-owned OpenOffice that previously came pre-installed. That includes Ubuntu 11.04 (Natty Narwhal), which will be available April 28, 2011, ZDNet confirmed.
LibreOffice is a fork of OpenOffice, which came into being after contributors for the latter became fed up with how Oracle was handling (or not handling) things, and thus LibreOffice was born.
"Oracle needs to see where we're going, and the momentum, and what they can provide," LibreOffice developer Michael Meeks told THINQ last year. "It takes a long time for people steeped in ten to fifteen years of proprietary development to understand free software, and if you look at how that community was structured inside OpenOffice, there were many obvious weaknesses and it's a shame that their experience has been that free software does not provide compelling value [to Oracle]."
The decision by Ubuntu makes it the first major Linux distro to ship with LibreOffice, assuming the due date doesn't get pushed back. Fedora 15, due out on May 10th, will also ship with LibreOffice.
Linux has always been the go-to operating system for governments and non-profits trying to empower technology-starved people around the world with cheap, no-frills computers. So it is no surprise that the UK government has chosen the open-source OS for subsidized computers that will soon be offered to those Brits that are yet to log on to the internet (around 9.2 million) under its Race Online 2012 scheme, an initiative that the government there believes can help UK become the first nation in the world to have its entire population online.
Under this scheme, both PCs and internet connections will be subsidized so as to lure internet holdouts. The starting price for the affordable PCs will be just a shade over $150 (£98), with subsidized internet connections costing $14 (£9) per month. The PCs will include a flat-screen monitor, keyboard, mouse, warranty, dedicated telephone helpline and delivery, according to a BBC News report. The initial goal is to sell around 8,000 PCs during the 12-month trial period.
There are a handful of tablets out there that can dual-boot Windows 7 and Android. But Evolve III feels dual-boot tablets are still one operating system short of perfection. The Australia-based company, a tablet manufacturer that started out in the digital screen business, has decided to take things in its own hands with its dual core Oak Trail Atom-based Maestro tablet that can boot not one, not two, but three OSes: Windows 7, Android and MeeGo Linux. The 10-inch Maestro features an Intel Atom N475 processor, 2GB of RAM, 32GB SSD, Wi-Fi, and 3G. Evolve III hopes to launch the Maestro in the second quarter of 2011. The company has yet to reveal the slate’s price.
Private copying levies can have a divisive impact on a room full of people with some sense of technology and law. It is arguably one of the most hotly debated areas of copyright law. In case you need to brush up on your knowledge of copyright law, a private copying levy is generally imposed on the sale of storage media that can be used for copying copyrighted content. The proceeds are distributed among copyright owners as prevenient compensation for copying.
The debate is about to heat up as France is now ready to expand the purview of its private copying levy beyond recordable media and MP3 players. The government there is considering taxing all non-Windows tablets with more than 40GB of storage. Apparently, they feel there is a strong case for taxing tablets as they can be used for duplicating copyrighted content. Despite the majority view that tablets are part of the genus Computer, the French possess enough profundity to point to something that makes the two substantially dissimilar: Windows.
Let alone the fact that even computers running a desktop OS, and not just tablets, can be used for duplicating content, it is ludicrous how the new law exempts tablets running Windows as it treats them as full PCs.
According to French trade magazine Numerama, tablet vendor Archos isn’t too pleased by the lopsided nature of the proposed law and has threatened to join a lawsuit against the legislation. Contending that it lets users turn the company’s Android tablets into full PCs by letting them install Linux on them, the company wants its tablets to be exempt from the levy in much the same way as Windows-based slates.