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Why I like NetBSD, or why portability matters
All that to say, I find that NetBSDs philosophy aligns with mine. The OS is small and cozy, and compared to many minimal Linux distributions, I found it faster to setup. Supported hardware is automatically picked up, for my Thinkpad T480s almost everything (except the trackpad issue I solved above) worked out of the box, and it comes with a minimal window manager and display manager to get you started. It is simple and minimal but with sane … ⌘ Read more

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Introduction to NanoBSD
This document provides information about the NanoBSD tools, which can be used to create FreeBSD system images for embedded applications, suitable for use on a USB key, memory card or other mass storage media. It can be used to build specialized install images, designed for easy installation and maintenance of systems commonly called “computer appliances”. Computer appliances have their hardware and software bundled in the product, which means all applications are pre-installed. The a … ⌘ Read more

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CrowdStrike issue is causing massive computer outages worldwide
Well, this sure is something to wake up to: a massive worldwide outage of computer systems due to a problem with CrowdStrike software. Payment systems, airlines, hospitals, governments, TV stations – pretty much anything or anyone using computers could be dealing with bluescreens, bootloops, and similar issues today. Open-heart surgeries had to be stopped mid-surgery, planes can’t take off, people can’t b … ⌘ Read more

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NVIDIA transitions fully towards open-source GPU Linux kernel modules
It’s a bit of a Linux news day today – it happens – but this one is good news we can all be happy about. After earning a bad reputation for mishandling its Linux graphics drivers for years, almost decades, NVIDIA has been turning the ship around these past two years, and today they made a major announcement: from here on out, the open source NVIDIA kernel modules will be the default for all re … ⌘ Read more

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Linux patch to disable Snapdragon X Elite GPU by default
Not too long ago it seemed like Linux support for the new ARM laptops running the Snapdragon X Pro and Elite processors was going to be pretty good – Qualcomm seemed to really be stepping up its game, and detailed in a blog post exactly what they were doing to make Linux a first-tier operating system on their new, fancy laptop chips. Now that the devices are in people’s hand, though, it seems all is not so rosy in this … ⌘ Read more

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Ly: a TUI display manager
Ly is a lightweight TUI (ncurses-like) display manager for Linux and BSD. ↫ Ly GitHub page That’s it. That’s the description. I’ve been wanting to take a stab at running a full CLI/TUI environment for a while, see just how far I can get in my computing life (excluding games) running nothing but a few tiled terminal emulators running various TUI apps for email, Mastodon, browsing, and so on. I’m not sure I’d be particularly happy with it – I’m a GUI user through and through – but l … ⌘ Read more

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Unified kernel image
UKIs can run on UEFI systems and simplify the distribution of small kernel images. For example, they simplify network booting with iPXE. UKIs make rootfs and kernels composable, making it possible to derive a rootfs for multiple kernel versions with one file for each pair. A Unified Kernel Image (UKI) is a combination of a UEFI boot stub program, a Linux kernel image, an initramfs, and further resources in a single UEFI PE file (device tree, cpu µcode, splash screen, secure boot sig/key, … … ⌘ Read more

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Inside an IBM/Motorola mainframe controller chip from 1981
In this article, I look inside a chip in the IBM 3274 Control Unit.1 But before I discuss the chip, I need to give some background on mainframes. ↫ Ken Shirriff Whenever we talk about mainframes, I am obligated to link to the story of an 18 year old buying a mainframe, while still living at his parents. One of the greatest presentations of all time. ⌘ Read more

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Safari already contains ad tracking technology, and they’re now adding it to Safari’s Private Browsing mode, too
We’ve been talking a lot about sleazy ways in which the online advertising industry is conspiring with browser makers – who also happen to be in the online advertising industry – to weaken privacy features so they can still track you and the ads they serve you, but with “privacy”. They’re trying really hard to ma … ⌘ Read more

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I told you so: Mozilla working with Facebook to weaken Firefox’ privacy and anti-tracking features
I’ve long been warning about the dangers of relying on just one browser as the bullwark against the onslaught of Chrome, Chrome skins, and Safari. With Firefox’ user numbers rapidly declining, now stuck at a mere 2% or so – and even less on mobile – and regulatory pressure possibly ending the Google-Mozilla deal with makes up roughly 80% … ⌘ Read more

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The AMD Zen 5 microarchitecture: powering Ryzen AI 300 series for mobile and Ryzen 9000 for desktop
Built around the new Zen 5 CPU microarchitecture with some fundamental improvements to both graphics and AI performance, the Ryzen AI 300 series, code-named Strix Point, is set to deliver improvements in several areas. The Ryzen AI 300 series looks set to add another footnote in the march towards the AI PC with its mobile SoC featuring … ⌘ Read more

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Fusion OS: writing an OS in Nim
I decided to document my journey of writing an OS in Nim. Why Nim? It’s one of the few languages that allow low-level systems programming with deterministic memory management (garbage collector is optional) with destructors and move semantics. It’s also statically typed, which provides greater type safety. It also supports inline assembly, which is a must for OS development. Other options include C, C++, Rust, and Zig. They’re great languages, but I chose Nim for its s … ⌘ Read more

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Google can totally explain why Chromium browsers quietly tell only its websites about your CPU, GPU usage
It’s time for Google being Google, this time by using an undocumented APIs to track resource usage when using Chrome. When visiting a *.google.com domain, the Google site can use the API to query the real-time CPU, GPU, and memory usage of your browser, as well as info about the processor you’re using, so that whatever ser … ⌘ Read more

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Google can totally explain why Chromium browsers quietly tell only its websites about your CPU, GPU usage
It’s time for Google being Google, this time by using an undocumented APIs to track resource usage when using Chrome. When visiting a *.google.com domain, the Google site can use the API to query the real-time CPU, GPU, and memory usage of your browser, as well as info about the processor you’re using, so that whatever ser … ⌘ Read more

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Pretty pictures, bootable floppy disks, and the first Canon Cat demo?
About a month ago, Cameron Kaiser first introduced us to the Canon Cat, a computer designed by Jeff Raskin, but abandoned within six months by Canon, who had no idea what to do with it. In his second article on the Cat, Kaiser dives much deeper into the software and operating system of the Cat, even going so far as to become the first person to write software for it. One of the most surprising as … ⌘ Read more

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Microsoft quietly updates official lightweight Windows 11 Validation OS ISOs for 24H2
Microsoft has again quietly updated its Validation OS ISOs. In case you are not familiar with it, Validation OS is an official lightweight variant of Windows and it is designed for hardware vendors to test, validate and repair hardware defects. ↫ Sayan Sen at Neowin I had no idea this variant of Windows existed, but it kind of makes sense when you think about it … ⌘ Read more

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GitHub is starting to feel like legacy software
The corporate branding, the new “AI-powered developer platform” slogan, makes it clear that what I think of as “GitHub”—the traditional website, what are to me the core features—simply isn’t Microsoft’s priority at this point in time. I know many talented people at GitHub who care, but the company’s priorities just don’t seem to value what I value about the service. This isn’t an anti-AI statement so much as a recognition that the tool … ⌘ Read more

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Windows NT 4.0 ported to run on certain Apple PowerPC Macs
The most fascinating time for Windows NT were its first few years on the market, when the brand new operating system supported a wide variety of architectures, from default x86, all the way down to stuff like Alpha, MIPS, and exotic things like Intel i860, and even weirder stuff like Clipper (even a SPARC port was planned, but never released). One of the more conventional architectures that saw a Windows NT port – … ⌘ Read more

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Package AmigaOS software for Linux and Windows with AxRuntime
This solution lets developers compile their Amiga API-based applications as Linux binaries. Once the features are implemented, tested and optimized using the runtime on Linux or Windows, developers re-compile their applications for their Amiga-like system of choice and perform final quality checking. Applications created with AxRuntime can be distributed to Linux or Windows communities, giving developers a mu … ⌘ Read more

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Google is ending support for Lacros, the experimental version of Chrome for ChromeOS
Back in August 2023, we previewed our work on an experimental version of Chrome browser for ChromeOS named Lacros. The original intention was to allow Chrome browser on Chromebooks to swiftly get the latest feature and security updates without needing a full OS update. As we refocus our efforts on achieving similar objectives with ChromeOS embracing portions of the … ⌘ Read more

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Ubuntu security updates are a confusing mess
I’ve read this article several times now, and I’m still not entirely sure how to properly summarise the main points without leaving important details out. If you really boil it down to the very bare essentials, which packages get updates on which Ubuntu release is a confusing mess that most normal users will never be able to understand, potentially leaving them vulnerable to security flaws that have already been widely patched and are availab … ⌘ Read more

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Qualcomm’s Oryon core: a long time in the making
In 2019, a startup called Nuvia came out of stealth mode. Nuvia was notable because its leadership included several notable chip architects, including one who used to work for Apple. Apple chips like the M1 drew recognition for landing in the same performance neighborhood as AMD and Intel’s offerings while offering better power efficiency. Nuvia had similar goals, aiming to create a power efficient core that could could surpass designs … ⌘ Read more

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Iconography of the X Window System: the boot stipple
For the uninitiated, what are we looking at? Could it be the Moiré Error from Doom? Well, no. You are looking at (part of) the boot up screen for the X Window System, specifically the pattern it uses as the background of the root window. This pattern is technically called a stipple. What you’re seeing is pretty important and came to symbolize a lot for me as a computer practitioner. ↫ Matt T. Proud The X bootup pattern is defin … ⌘ Read more

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Palestinians say Microsoft unfairly closing their accounts
Palestinians living abroad have accused Microsoft of closing their email accounts without warning – cutting them off from crucial online services. They say it has left them unable to access bank accounts and job offers – and stopped them using Skype, which Microsoft owns, to contact relatives in war-torn Gaza. Microsoft says they violated its terms of service – a claim they dispute. ↫ Mohamed Shalaby and Joe Tidy a … ⌘ Read more

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“Majority of websites and mobile apps use dark patterns”
A global internet sweep that examined the websites and mobile apps of 642 traders has found that 75,7% of them employed at least one dark pattern, and 66,8% of them employed two or more dark patterns. Dark patterns are defined as practices commonly found in online user interfaces and that steer, deceive, coerce, or manipulate consumers into making choices that often are not in their best interests. ↫ International Consum … ⌘ Read more

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AmiKit launches a new Amiga that’s not an Amiga at all
I try to keep tabs on a huge number of operating system projects out there – for obvious reasons – but long ago I learned that when it comes to the world of Amiga, it’s best to maintain distance and let any important news find its way out of the Amiga bubble, lest one loses their sanity. Keeping up with the Amiga world requires following every nook and cranny of various forums and websites with different allegiances to diff … ⌘ Read more

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“I fixed a 6-year-old .deb installation bug in Ubuntu MATE and Xubuntu”
I love a good bug hunting story, and this one is right up there as a great one. Way back in 2018, Doug Brown discovered that after installing Ubuntu MATE 18.04, if he launched Firefox from the icon in the default panel arrangement to install Chrome from the official Chrome website, the process was broken. After downloading the .deb and double-clicking it, GDebi would appear, but after clickin … ⌘ Read more

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Google extends Linux kernel support to keep Android devices secure for longer
Android, like many other operating systems, uses the open-source Linux kernel. There are several different types of Linux kernel releases, but the type that’s most important to Android is the long-term support (LTS) one, as they’re updated regularly with important bug fixes and security patches. Starting in 2017, the support lifetime of LTS releases of Linux was extended from t … ⌘ Read more

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Mozilla opts to extended Windows 7/8/8.1 support
Among them, Byron Jourdan, Senior Director, Product Management of Mozilla, under the Reddit username ComprehensiveDoor643 revealed that Mozilla plans to support Firefox on Windows 7 for longer. When asked separately about whether it also included Windows 8 and 8.1 too, Jourdan added that it was certainly the plan, though for how long the extended support would last was still undecided. ↫ Sayan Sen at Neowin Excellent move by Mozilla. … ⌘ Read more

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No more boot loader: lease use the kernel instead
Most people are familiar with GRUB, a powerful, flexible, fully-featured bootloader that is used on multiple architectures (x86_64, aarch64, ppc64le OpenFirmware). Although GRUB is quite versatile and capable, its features create complexity that is difficult to maintain, and that both duplicate and lag behind the Linux kernel while also creating numerous security holes. On the other hand, the Linux kernel, which has a large develope … ⌘ Read more

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Design and build the next version of OSNews
Despite being live since 1997, OSNews has had fairly few redesigns in the grand scheme of things. If my memory serves me correctly, we’ve had a grand total of 6 designs, and we’re currently on version 6, introduced about 5 years ago because of unpleasant reasons. It’s now 2024, and for a variety of reasons, we’re looking to work towards version 7 of our almost 30 year old website, and we need help. I have a very clear idea of what I want OSNews … ⌘ Read more

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Getting the most out of TWM, X11’s default window manager
Graham’s TWM page has been around for like two decades or so and still isn’t even remotely as old as TWM itself, and in 2021 they published an updated version with even more information, tips, and tricks for TWM. The Tab Window Manager finds its origins in the lat 1980s, and has been the default window manager for the X Windowing System for a long time, now, too. Yet, few people know it exists – how many people even kn … ⌘ Read more

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A brief summary of click-to-raise and drag-and-drop interaction on X11 and Wayland
The goal is to be able to drag an icon from a background window without immediately raising that window and obscuring the drop target window when using the click-to-focus mode. This is a barebones description of what needs to happen. It assumes familiarity with code, protocols, etc. as needed. ↫ Quod Video The articles describes how to get there using both X and Wayla … ⌘ Read more

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Android 15 could include a desktop mode — but what for?
If there was ever a “will they, won’t they?” love story in mobile computing, it’s definitely Google’s on and off again relationship with Android’s desktop mode. There have been countless hints, efforts, and code pertaining to the mythical desktop mode for Android, but so far, Google has never flipped the switch and made it available. It’s 2024, Android 15 development is in full swing, and it seems Google and Android’s deskt … ⌘ Read more

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Breaking: comment editing is back
I’ve just confirmed with, well, myself, that comment editing on OSNews finally works again. We’re finally free. Our trying times are behind us, and we can begin to rebuild. Stay safe out there, and be kind to each other. ⌘ Read more

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Google is bringing Fuchsia OS to Android devices, but not in the way you’d think
To evolve Fuchsia beyond smart home devices, Google has been working on projects such as Starnix to run unmodified Linux binaries on Fuchsia devices. In addition, since late April of this year, Google has been working on a new project called “microfuchsia” that aims to make Fuchsia bootable on existing devices via virtualization. Microfuchsia, according to Google, is a Fuch … ⌘ Read more

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Apple bows to Russian censorship once more, removes VPN apps from Russian App Store
A few weeks ago, I broke the news that Mozilla had removed several anti-censorship Firefox extensions from its store in Russia, and a few days later I also broke the news they reversed course on their decision and reinstated the extensions. Perhaps not worthy of a beauty prize, as a Dutch saying goes, but at least the turnaround time was short, and they did the right … ⌘ Read more

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Psion OPL: when we owned our devices
We talked about Psion last week, and we’re talking about Psion again this week. This time, Kian Ryan highlights a very important capability of Psion’s devices, a capability that’s entirely absent from today’s mobile devices: a built-in IDE and dedicated programming language so you can write code and build applications, including ones with a graphical user interface, right on the device. All Psion devices could run OPL, either preinstalled on the device or via … ⌘ Read more

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