Category Archives: News

Secure Blackphone starts shipping

./themukt reports that Blackphone has started shipping:

Blackphone, an Android-based smartphone developed by Silent Circle, SGP Technologies and Geeksphone, is now shipping. The phone became a sensation during Mobile World Congress as it offered extreme privacy of communication. After the NSA revelations made by Edward Snowden, there is a huge demand for services or devices which offer privacy from NSA and other surveillance agencies.

Read more….

Linux Mint 17 “Qiana” KDE released!

The Mukt reports:

The Linux Mint team has announced the release of Linux Mint 17 KDE codenamed Qiana. It’s based on KDE Software Compilation 4.13.0. There are many improvements in things like ‘update manager’ which improves the use experience and also show which type of updates are these. Then the device manager has also improved and it can install drivers even when the machine can’t connect to the Internet as most drivers are available in the iso itself.

Read more…

7 Improvements The Linux Desktop Needs

Bruce Byfield writes on Datamation

In the last fifteen years, the Linux desktop has gone from a collection of marginally adequate solutions to an unparalleled source of innovation and choice. Many of its standard features are either unavailable in Windows, or else available only as a proprietary extension. As a result, using Linux is increasingly not only a matter of principle, but of preference as well.

Yet, despite this progress, gaps remain. Some are missing features, others missing features, and still others pie-in-the sky extras that could be easily implemented to extend the desktop metaphor without straining users’ tolerance of change.

Read more…

Linux_Foundation_logo

Linux Foundation to donate portion of membership fees to Code.org

The Linux Foundation announced its mid-year individual membership drive and promotion. For each new membership between 01 June to 11:59 p.m. PT on June 30, 2014, Code.org will receive $25.

Code.org is a non-profit organization dedicated to the expansion of computer science by making it available in more schools and increasing participation by women and underrepresented students of color. Its vision is to provide the opportunity of learning computer science to every school student. Code.org identifies with the Linux Foundation’s mission to increase opportunities for people to learn programming of all types.

Amanda McPherson, CMO at The Linux Foundation explains – “Many of today’s Linux professionals got started as students, tinkering with computers and writing simple programs during college. By helping extend individual membership contributions this month to Code.org, we hope the community can support Linux and the work of Linux creator Linus Torvalds while helping to increase access to computer science education for the next generation of Linux developers and SysAdmins”.

Learning and education are top priorities at The Linux Foundation too. It recently announced the first ‘Introduction to Linux’ Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), which is free for all. More than 140,000 people already enrolled for the first class that begins this August. It also offers and organizes various training programs.

The Linux Foundation memberships support the advancement of Linux and open source community. As additional perks, members also receive exclusive benefits that include 20 percent off LinuxCon and CloudOpen registration; up to 10 percent off Linux Foundation training; a Linux.com email address (e.g. [email protected]); employee purchase pricing from Dell, HP and Lenovo; up to 35 percent off O’Reilly books and e-books; and a variety of other discounts.

The membership fee per year is $99. For students it is $25 and includes the same benefits as individual members. To sign up, visit:
https://www.linuxfoundation.org/about/join/individual

ownCloud Logo

ownCloud gets new CMO

ownCloud announced in their blog that Claudine Bianchi has joined the company as Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). The move aims to secure a stronger position in File Sync and Share for the most popular open source software in this category.

Bianchi brings her strong marketing expertise and success in driving the growth of B2B companies to ownCloud. She has delivered close to $1 billion in market value for investors through IPOs, successful acquisitions and new ventures. She has been working closely with sales and product teams for more than 20 years to leverage the latest marketing techniques to drive revenue and build brand awareness. Before joining ownCloud she was the CMO at ViewDo Labs, a spinout of Axceler which was acquired by MetaLogix, the leading Microsoft SharePoint ISV. She has also been the seniormost marketing executive at many start-up companies which later turned into industry leaders.

ownCloud is a reliable name in self-hosted file sync and share with 1.3 million users worldwide. Explaining why she got interested in ownCloud Bianchi says – “I was attracted to ownCloud by its compelling opportunity in the very hot enterprise file sync and share (EFSS) market, as well as the energy and innovation of the ownCloud team”. She also adds that “the Company has already built a strong reputation in the open source community for secure, enterprise-class file sync and share and is poised for rapid growth as it moves into the commercial market. With the combination of excellent technology and products and a passionate, smart, energetic team, ownCloud is a company destined for great success.”

The ownCloud management is very excited to have Bianchi on board and hopes that she and other significant hires this year will boost the expansion efforts of the company.

ubuntu_trusty_libreoffice

LibreOffice 4.2.5 RC1 announced with many improvements

The Document Foundation announced LibreOffice 4.2.5 Release Candidate 1. Many bugs have been fixed since the 4.2.4 final release improving the usability and stability of the product.

Important fixes and changes include:
– Text rotation fixes
– Set-all language menu addition
– Support to import gradfill for tet colours
– Adjust output file extension when exporting
– Handle brightness+contrast from msoffice
– Fix for a coverity analysis report of an uninitialized pointer field
– Crash when pasting impress page into another impress page fixed
– Improve mapping between ATK and UNO roles
– Fixed COW when writing a nested structure during RTF import
– Crash found when exploring fixed
– Fix deletion of paragraph following table
– Comment width now limited
– Limited the range shrinking in charts to really large ranges
– KFileDialog crash fix
– A freeze during file save fixed
– and many more (changelog)…

You can download the packages from the official page.

Remember that this is a Release Candidate and though expected to be stabler than Beta may still have some issues which need to be fixed before the final release.

samsung-z

Samsung introduces first Tizen phone to compete with Windows and Android

Samsung now has its mobile eggs in three baskets. The company has introduced its first Tizen powered smartphone called Samsung Z. Samsung is already using Tizen in its smart cameras and smart watches.

Though Samsung has refrained from mentioning Android, they do claim that its fast and efficient. “The Tizen platform delivers a fast, optimal performance with improved memory management.” Samsung claims that Tizen offers a fasterstartup time and immediate multi-tasking capabilities. The company also brags about “superb 2D and 3D graphic qualities, smoother scrolling and an improved rendering performance for web browsing.”

Here are the specs of the phone, Samzung Z:
samsung-z-specs

Samsung-Z-Product-Specifications-1

It’s unclear what Samsung wants to achieve with Tizen, when it’s already a market leader with Android. Maybe Samsung wants a more Apple-like approach to own and control the entire stack – from software and hardware. Samsung is already known for vendor lock and keeps non-Samsung Android users out of its ecosystem (if you have Samsung smart TV or BD players, the Anroid app for such devices is available only for Samsung devices).

One huge disadvantage Tizen has when compared with Android is the huge and very well curated app and content ecosystem that Google has created. As far as Samsung Z is concerned, it’s an orginary phone and doesn’t excite from hardware point of view – whether it be design or sensors that come with it. .

What’s Tizen?

Tizen is a Linux-based, Open Source operating system targeted at devices like smartphones, tablets, TVs, laptops, smart-camera, cars, etc. The roots of the OS goes back to LiMo Platform – a software platform for mobile devices. The LiMO foundation was formed back in 2007 and Samsung was one of the founding members. After failed attempts with Moblin and then Maemo (as Nokia started to kill its open source projects under Stephen Elop to become a trusted Microsoft mistress) Intel joined LiMo and then the projects was renamed to Tizen, The Linux Foundation took over the hosting of the project. The Tizen code is build on top of Samsung Linux Platform (SLP). So Tizen has been a Samsung baby from the very beginning, it would be incorrect to say Samsung is now adoption Tizen over Android.

Samsung will start selling the device in Russia and will later expand to other markets. In order to expand a developer community around Tizen Samsung is starting off with “a special promotional program to all developers for one year. Furthermore, Samsung plans to host a Tizen local app challenges in Russia and CIS countries to enrich the Tizen eco-system at the launch of the device.

Nvidia

NVIDIA Linux 64-bit driver update adds new GPUs

NVIDIA announced a Short Lived Branch update for the Linux 64-bit drivers, version 337.25. This update adds support for many new GPU models in addition to some critical fixes.

The important changes in this update are:

– Support for new GPUs – GeForce GTX TITAN Z, GeForce GT 740, GeForce 830M, GeForce 840M, GeForce 845M, GeForce GTX 850M
– Fix for X to crash when querying clock offsets for non-existent performance levels.
– Fix for a OpenGL rendering corruption on X screens with 30 bit per pixel color.
– Mode validation failure for 4K resolutions over HDMI in certain situations fixed.
– Enabled support for using Unified Back Buffer (UBB) and 3D Stereo with the composite extension on Quadro cards.
– Fix for OpenGL programs hanging under some low memory conditions.
– GPU errors when hotplugging daisy-chained DisplayPort 1.2 displays fixed.
– Multiple simultaneous X servers on UEFI systems works without any problem now.
– Support for over-clocking and under-clocking GeForce GPUs in the GeForce GTX 400 series and later.
– Reduced CPU utilization and GPU memory utilization of the NVIDIA EGL driver.
– Support for some EGL extensions – EGL_EXT_buffer_age, EGL_EXT_client_extensions, EGL_EXT_platform_base, EGL_EXT_platform_x11.
– Some more fixes, dependency related changes and documentation updates.

The Short Lived Branch gets the maximum number of updates among the 3 driver versions that NVIDIA maintains. It receives the first updates from the devs as well as improvements for games and applications. Other than Arch most major distributions won’t add this branch to their official repositories.

You can download this update directly from the announcement page. Once downloaded, change to the directory containing the driver package and install the driver by running (as root) sh ./NVIDIA-Linux-x86_64-337.25.run. One of the last installation steps will offer to update your X configuration file. You can either accept that offer, edit your X configuration file manually so that the NVIDIA X driver will be used, or run nvidia-xconfig.

TrueCrypt

TrueCrypt forked in Switzerland, the home of Collab!

One of the oldest and popular open source encryption solutions TrueCrypt recently shut down abruptly citing security issues and lesser acceptability because of distro integrated encryption and virtual disk solutions in their SourceForge page. All files other than the latest Windows executable are removed. While it is still not clear whether the reason behind the sudden abandonment of the project is truly unfavorable competition and security problems, TrueCrypt has a wide user base and they are not quite happy about this.

However, the good new is that a team of developers has forked out TrueCrypt in Switzerland and plans to maintain and develop it. The new website TrueCrypt.ch promises – “If TrueCrypt.org really is dead, we will try to organize a future.”

The decision of hosting TrueCrypt in Switzerland is easily understood – it has been moved out of US to avoid any US government intervention. The project is non-anonymous as it ensures more trust while handling a security-based project. Thomas Bruderer and Joseph Doekbrijder are the main developers behind this initiative to revive TrueCrypt. They are looking for more contributors. The blog and forum are still under construction. Development has not started yet and TrueCrypt is being distributed unmodified right now. All the downloads of the current versions of TrueCrypt are available. The whole source code is available in GitHub.

The current priorities of the new project are:
– Making the Product available again.
– Finding interested and capable persons volunteering to help. Identify and solve legal issues. Identify Security Threats.
– Fork the project and solve security threats. Form a support association for continued development.

The developers acted quickly on this as “the last 36 hours showed clearly that TrueCrypt is a fragile product and must be based on more solid ground.” They haven’t uncovered any security issues with TrueCrypt 7.1a yet and will continue the audit. They still believe in the need of a Open Source, Cross platform full-disk encryption option.

Linux_Mint_17

Linux Mint 17 Qiana release ISOs available for download

The ISOs approved for Linux Mint 17 aka Qiana stable release are already uploaded and available for download. The release hasn’t been announced yet but here’s your chance to install and enjoy the latest version of the popular Ubuntu derivative! 32 and 64-bit versions of both the Cinnamon and MATE variants are available.

Qiana is an LTS release and will be supported with security updates till 2019. The same package base will be maintained till 2016. A quick glance at the significant improvements and changes in this release:

  • Update Manager: huge improvements with more information, better looks, unobstrusive behaviour and faster performance. Faster and more reliable changelog retrieval.
  • Drivers Manager: can now install drivers offline from installation media.
  • Login Screen: refined MDM, improved multi-monitor support, HiDPI support in HTML greeter, improvements in default login theme.
  • Language Settings: a new tool replacing the old one. Unifies locale managements across different desktop flavours.
  • Software Sources: UI and usability improvements.
  • Welcome Screen: redesigned and webkit dependency removed. Uses less resources and launches faster.
  • Cinnamon 2.2:
    – Better looking settings.
    – Simplified and enhanced Screensaver and Power management.
    – Original Date and Time settings brought back.
    – Menu improvements.
    – MPRIS support and Sound Applet improvements.
    – Wacom plugin back as Graphics Tablet.
    – Visually impaired users can use the ability to zoom in and out using Alt+mousewheel.
    – Window manager improvements.
  • MATE 1.8: lighter than before, better documented and better translated. Better integration with Linux Mint. Other MATE improvements:
    – Caja received an option to use IEC units instead of SI units and a new “Open parent location” option in the search view context menu.
    – Marco, the window manager, was given side-by-side tiling.
    – The logout dialog features a progress bar.
    – The image viewer can now shuffle pictures in slideshow mode.
    – The sreensaver now shows the date and time.
    – Clicking the middle mouse on the volume applet now toggles mute.
    – The sticky note applet was given the ability to “undo”.
    – A new “command” applet was introduced.
    – MATE 1.8 features an integrated yelp user guide.
    – MATE 1.8 includes a new mpaste command which you can use to paste text to http://paste.mate-desktop.org
  • System Improvements: lsb_release added -u option to show upstream LSB information as in Ubuntu Trusty, shutdown sequence fixed, Hexchat replaces Xchat as IRC client.
  • Artwork Improvements: Gorgeous collection of backgrounds and photographs from various artists
  • Main Components: Cinnamon 2.2, MATE 1.8, MDM 1.6, a Linux kernel 3.13 and an Ubuntu 14.04 package base.

Excited? Grab the ISOs here!