Earlier this month, we posted a step-by-step guide showing Android G1 owners how to root their phones and install a third party ROM. There are several upshots to doing so, including the ability to overcome the G1's meager amount of memory by installing apps directly to a SD card. Wtih the Android Market now sitting at roughly 10,000 apps strong and third party ROM developers churning out mature firmware, we felt the time was right.
Unfortunately, Google's timing couldn't be any worse. The search giant last week issued a cease and desist order to ROM developer Cyanogen, maker of CyanogenMod, arguably the most popular Android ROM out there.The problem, says Google, isn't that Cyanogen is hacking away at the open-source OS, but that he's also including (and distributing) a handful of closed-source apps, including Market, Gmail, YouTube, and Google Maps.
Hit the jump to find out what the future holds for Android modders.
According to Taylor Wimberly of AndroidAndMe.com, uber popular Android hacker who goes by the name of Cyanogen managed to ruffle some feathers over at Google. From the sound of things, the search giant is none too pleased with Cyanogen distributing their closed source Android apps (Market, Talk, Gmail, YouTube, and others) with his third-party CyanogenMod ROM.
Going by the chat log Wimberly posted on his site, Google has issued a cease and desist letter to Cyanogen, who laments that "CyanogenMod is probably going to be dead." It would be a shame if it came to that, as CyanogenMod is probably the most popular third-party Android ROM out there, and is actively being developed, somewhat of a rarity in the Android ROM community whose only compensation is user donations.
But all might not be lost. Cyanogen said he has opened up a dialog with Google.
"My argument is that I only develop for Google-experience devices which are already licensed for these apps," said Cyanogen. "So we'll see what they say. Maybe we can work something out."
So do we. Otherwise, this could be a blow to the entire Android ROM community, not just Cyanogen.
Without much fanfare or ballyhooing, HP will begin shipping Linux on some of its new business laptops. Well, sort of. These aren't full fledged desktop distros, but instant-on Splashtop Linux that optionally loads before the main OS.
HP has long supported Linux on its servers, but this is the first time we're aware of that the OEM has gone open-source on one of its notebooks (excluding netbooks), even if it is a pre-boot environment. It will be made available on HP's upcoming ProBook 5310m laptop, which will also come with Windows 7 Starter Edition.
The ProBook and other Splashtop-based notebooks will support the full-featured Evolution email client and give users quick and easy access to Gmail or any other Web-based email service.
G1 and other Android device owners have been devouring the open source OS's "Cupcake" update since May, but it will soon be time to sample Google's "Donut" release.
Otherwise known as Android 1.6, Google today launched its Donut update to developers sprinkled with a sweet sampling of new features, including CDMA support. While this doesn't directly affect T-Mobile G1 and myTouch 3G owners, CDMA support paves the way for Verizon, Sprint, and Virgin Mobile to release Android-based devices, which would increase the Android userbase and potentially lead to even more developer support. As it stands, the Android Market already boasts around 10,000 apps.
Android 1.6 also supports higher resolutions up to 800x480. Other changes include UI improvements, such as a "Quick Search" box now prominently displayed on home screen giving users the ability to scour the web, bookmarks, history, and contacts all in one shot; a new battery usage monitor, which also keeps track of which apps are hogging up CPU and RAM resources; and Android Market improvements complete with a minor face lift.
Less obvious enhancements include a new kernel, support for custom gestures within apps, and a bunch of APIs.
Right now only developers get to have all the fun, but look for the tasty update to start rolling out sometime in October.
How jacked up is your keyboard? Do you have one of those super-fancy, 800+ button, LCD-screen, lit-up, wheeled contraptions that's less an input device, more a control panel at a nuclear power plant? If so, you're probably the kind of person who doesn't need the apps I'm about to list out in this week's freeware roundup. Unless, that is, you're also one of those people (including yours truly) who have a ton of buttons and options to play with, yet no resolve to actually go about mapping this to that.
And if you're just rocking a plain ol' keyboard, I hope you're sitting down because you're in for a world of difference. The applications I'm profiling today are all keyboard-focused, and they all seek to add some kind of additional, awesome functionality to (or based on) your default button layouts. Launch programs! Use your keyboard media buttons to control all of your media players! Look up every Adobe-related shortcut within the span of seconds!
Suffice it to say, I have the keyboard krazies today. Join me after the jump to get your hands on some of the cooler keyboard-related freeware and open-source apps on the Internet!
Why do open-source programs win awards? Or, rather, what is it about open-source that makes us so prone to dishing out accolades--as if the very nature of a program being open-source somehow makes it indistinguishable from any other common application you can use.
And, for that matter, why do we keep giving the same programs the same awards?
I'm talking, of course, about Infoworld's recently announced "Best of Open Software Awards 2009." As a frequent downloader, user, and recommender of open-source software, I just don't get it. And neither do my colleagues, who have already weighed in on the strange circumstances surrounding some of Infoworld's picks for best business process management tool, amongst others.
But this isn't some Grandpa Simpson-like complaining about who should have won this, and why Pidgin didn't win that. No, the fault is not the presence of the awards banquet; it's the menu. Awards that focus on the open-source world invariably highlight the wrong aspects of the movement at the expense of areas that should rightfully be noted. While I can't speak to many of Infoworld's enterprise-themed selections--in fact, that's all the site elects to highlight--I think there's something to be said for calling out important software triumphs in the open-source world. We, in the media, are just prone to pointing the spotlight the wrong way.
Having just gotten off a plane, I'm now facing the difficulties that a West-to-East coast trip does to one's sleeping schedule. Thus, this week's freeware roundup has as much of a concrete theme as I have a coherent thought at the moment. But that's ok. Examples of killer freeware or open-source software don't always fall within a single bucket.
So what's on deck for right now? I won't give away too many details. Suffice, if you've ever lost data as a result of a scratched or scuffed CD, you'll want to click on the jump below. While the page loads, go dig though the trash to recover the media that you just tossed--it's not dead. It might be on life support, and you might stand a very good chance of losing parts of your data, but you might also be able to save a portion of the files located on said disc.
That's a great bit of lifesaving... and it's just one of the programs in this week's roundup. Even niftier applications lurk behind the cut below. Get your downloading finger ready.
Open-source software has its fair share of rabid supporters, and now the U.S. Defense Information Systems Agency -- a division in the Department of Defense -- appears to also be in its corner.. The Department of Defense said it will start running seminars teaching how to shift to open-source software.
Co-hosted by the Open Source Software Institute (OSSI), the seminar will take place on September 1, 2009 and plans to detail the Open Source Corporate Management Information System (OSCMIS) program.
"This is about transparency and sharing and making available resources which have already been paid for, John Weathersby, executive director of the OSSI, said in an email to CNet.
I'm speaking, of course, of the privacy features that come native to the Windows operating system. Sure, you can tuck your special documents away in a private user folder, but that doesn't mean that your files have been secreted away forever. An industrious user with physical access to your machine can wreak havoc on your personal files, regardless of how much Windows tells you that they're safe from external abuse.
Change that. Beyond the cut of this week's freeware update are five applications that will enhance your ability to secret away that-which-you-don't-want-anyone-else-seeing. Does that involve encryption? Yes. But that's not the end-all be-all technique for hiding things on your computer. Depending on the amount of privacy you need, there are faster and easier solutions than merely locking down your entire drive using a 128-bit cipher.
Grab your Sherlock Holmes pipe. It's time to get cryptic.
At first, I just didn't get it--the Chumby, that is. This little LCD display wrapped in a hug of padding looked like a bizarre cross between my car's antiquated GPS device, the throw-up of an OSX dashboard, and a big plushy hunk of love. To its genius, that's exactly what the Chumby is... and so much more. And did I mention that it's open-source as well?
Contrary to most of the open-source hardware projects I've mentioned on Maximum PC, the Chumby is ready for your attention the moment you pop it out of the box. But that doesn't mean that you can't tweak and tinker beyond its simplistic exterior. Although cracking open the soft, loveable digital toy will violate your warranty, the official Chumby site is more than happy to give you a listing of the device's full hardware--schematics as well. From there, only your conscience toward ripping open friendly, plush, communication devices stands in your way of complete hardware transcendence.
If hardware hacking isn't your thing, however, the second best part of the Chumby is the comprehensive list of software widgets that you can display and interact with on the device. To find these, you can go the official route and download apps directly off of Chumby's main site or you can scour the internet for custom, USB-deployable software to stick into your device.
Just what do these tweaks entail? Click the jump and find out--featuring examples you can play with too!