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Operating Systems News (0)
Posted: April 25, 2013 02:25PM
Author: Nick Harezga
The latest version of Ubuntu, version 13.04, was released for download today. This version is known as "Raring Ringtail" and marks the halfway point between two Long Term Support releases, which means it will only be supported for 9 months. Version 14.04 is expected to bring Ubuntu to mobile platforms in addition to the desktop, with a different interface being presented on each platform. The latest version features a Developer Preview SDK for those users that are already looking ahead to 14.04 and want to get an early start on their applications. Also available is MIR, a new window system that will eventually replace X Windows. Several updates have been made to the Unity interface, but I really wish they would switch back to GNOME.
Source: Ars Technica
Posted: April 22, 2013 09:08AM
Recently, a number of rumours have surfaced regarding the traditional Windows start menu that many users have grown to love returning in the Windows 8.1 update, formerly known as Windows Blue. According to The Verge, the start button in Windows 8.1 may not have the same functionality as in other versions of Windows. After the Windows 8.1 update, clicking on the start button would supposedly bring up the original Windows 8 'Start' screen, and would not include the start menu.
If this is the case, the Start button would have little function, as hovering the mouse over the left corner of the screen would have the same result. This would likely irritate many users holding back from purchasing Windows 8 due to its lack of start menu. As of yet, this is only speculation, however it would be a shame if Microsoft chose to implement the easy option instead of providing a resolution to many users' complaints.
Source: The Verge
Posted: April 16, 2013 09:46AM
A number of new rumours have surfaced that suggest Microsoft may provide an option to allow users to boot straight to the desktop in Windows 8, instead of booting to the 'Modern UI'. Microsoft may also add a traditional Windows start menu in order to allow users to bypass the UI entirely. These changes would come as part of the Windows Blue update for Windows 8, which is due for release in August this year. It is worth noting, however, that these changes were not initially noted as being part of the Windows Blue update when information about the update was leaked back in 2012.
This report has not been confirmed by either Microsoft or any of its its affiliates, but Microsoft's hand may have been forced in the light of reportedly poor sales of the operating system last year. Adding the start button to Windows 8 would not be the first time the Windows development team has modified the OS based on user feedback. Microsoft changed the UAC feature in Windows 7 based on complaints from its Windows Vista user base.
Posted: April 12, 2013 07:54PM
A problematic security update in this month's Windows 7 Patch Tuesday has been pulled by Microsoft, when it was found that some computers failed to boot after applying it. Update 2823324 was supposed to fix a "moderate-level vulnerability," but instead it causes an error "when paired with certain third-party software." The update has since been pulled from the list of fixes so it can't cause any more problems. If you've downloaded the update, Microsoft recommends following the steps outlined here to get your system back up and running. Even if your system is still fully functional after the update, the folks in Redmond still recommend uninstalling it just in case. While it's unfortunate something like this happened, at least Microsoft is taking care of the problem.
Source: Ars Technica
Posted: January 21, 2013 06:42AM
Author: Nick Harezga
Intel has released a group of 13 Linux benchmarks to the public that it had previously used for internal testing. The benchmarks were developed at the companies Open-Source Technology Center and were given to Phoronix to add to the Phoronix Test Suite. Included in the tests is a decompression test, and the tests are all targeted at OS level functionality. The tests will likely be most useful to "developers testing distributions, drivers and other Linux code where squeezing out a sliver of added OS performance could make all the difference."
Posted: January 2, 2013 05:26PM
Author: Nick Harezga
Ubuntu is an extremely popular Linux distribution that has found its way onto desktops and laptops everywhere. Canonical has announced on the official website that it will show off a new version of Ubuntu targeted at mobile platforms, such as smartphones, at the upcoming CES show. Ubuntu will bring with it several applications that work with the OS and simply need to be ported to work on smartphone platforms. Your phone will also be able to function as a standalone PC when connected to a docking station. Developer tools will be available to help create more applications using native or HTML5 apps.
Posted: December 4, 2012 01:04PM
Windows 8 has been available for over a month now, which is usually a good time for some companies to begin measuring how its sales are doing compared to past versions. The news for Windows 8, however, is not that great, as Net Applications puts 1.2% of Windows PCs as running Windows 8 at the end of its first full month. That number resembles Windows Vista more than it does Windows 7, as Vista was only on 1% of all Windows PCs after its first full month. Windows 8 merely doubled its usage share from the end of October to the end of November, while Vista increased it five times between the end of January, 2007, and the end of February, 2007.
One possible cause has to do with the economy, as five years ago it was a little easier to afford a brand new operating system. There were also far fewer choices to get connected back when Vista launched, as smartphones were approaching final design stages and tablets didn't quite resemble the sleek options of today. Those are only possibilities, and the lack of moving to Windows 8 could be something as simple as more people are happier with Windows 7 than they were with Vista. If you're wondering how Windows 7 fared, well, it had 4.3% at the end of its first full month, so Microsoft's new OS is well behind that figure.
Posted: November 28, 2012 04:08PM
It has been just over a month since Microsoft released its new version of the Windows operating system, Windows 8, which after being met with somewhat lukewarm reviews has been somewhat of a disappointment to many. Analyst Rick Sherlund of financial company Nomura attributed this partially to the fact that computer vendors have not been releasing many new Windows 8 devices to the market, consequently driving consumers away from the new OS. Sherlund also noted that demand for Microsoft's new OS has been much lower than initial estimates. These two factors contributed to Nomura reducing predictions of Microsoft's per-share increase to drop to eight and a half percent for 2013.
On the contrary, Tami Reller, chief marketing and finance officer for Windows claimed the company had sold 40 million Windows 8 licenses since the 26th of last month, which would appear to contradict previous reports by Paul Thurott on his Supersite for Windows. Despite its critical reception, many users have upgraded their systems to Windows 8 and prefer it to previous versions of Windows, indicating that Windows 8 may be an example of the love it or hate it situation that often occurs with new software releases.
Posted: November 20, 2012 03:19PM
International airline Emirates has announced today it'll be providing its employees HP ElitePad 900 tablets during the Windows 8 launch event in Dubai. More than 1,000 tablets will be handed out to the airline's flight attendants. The tablets will be preinstalled with an airline specific KIS application. The airline hopes the tablets will provide the necessary resources to allow cabin crew to provide a better experience for the airline's customers. Tablets will only become available after the HP ElitePad's launch in January 2013, so the airline aims to equip 100 employees with tablets by the end of January and 1,000 by the end of 2013.
Emirates is not the only airline to begin rolling out tablets to staff. American Airlines has also announced it'll start using tablets on flights to assist the pilots after receiving approval from the Federal Aviation Administration in September of this year. It is expected that American Airlines pilots will begin using iPads to carry flight manuals instead of traditional paper manuals in the near future. Unfortunately for Microsoft, however, no airlines have opted to use its tablet, the Microsoft Surface, despite it receiving predominantly positive reviews after its release in October priced at $499.
Posted: November 20, 2012 11:14AM
According to popular Apple blog 9to5mac, Mac OS X 10.9 is to feature full voice activation that debuted in the iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 via Siri. It is also set to feature Apple's native Maps program introduced in iOS 6 earlier this year, which recieved some interesting reviews at the time of release. The main aim of this move is to allow developers to use the mapping API in their own applications and software for Mac computers.
Recently, Apple has reduced the time between major Mac OS X releases, with OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion being released just under a year before OS X 10.7 Lion, making the release cycle more similar to that of iOS. Also, OS X has often acquired application and utilities originally found in iOS, such as the Notification Center, Game Center and iMessage released in OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion. To aid in the closer integration of these two operating systems, Apple software engineer and vice president Craig Federighi is now managing development of both iOS and Mac OS X and has been since late October this year. We can expect to see even closer integration between the two platforms in the near future.
Posted: November 18, 2012 01:01PM
Sales of Microsoft's new operating system Windows 8 are reported to be 'well below' target, according to Paul Thurrott on the Supersite for Windows. In his post, Paul Thurrott wrote that sales of Windows 8 have fallen short of internal expectations. This hugely contradicts Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer's speech at the Microsoft Build conference last month, boasting that over 4 million copies of Windows 8 had been sold in the few days following release.
Principal analyst Roger Kay of EndPoint Technologies suggested during an interview with popular tech website CNET that Windows 8 was difficult for Microsoft to position in the market due to the split between the standard x86-64 Windows 8 version and the ARM-based Windows RT. He also expressed his views regarding the Modern UI being optimized for tablets, saying Microsoft should not have 'turned the world upside down' for a limited number of tablets. Nonetheless, particularly with the $14.99 Windows 8 upgrade, Windows 8 remains an interesting change of strategy by Microsoft.
Posted: November 16, 2012 07:55AM
It appears that Microsoft is offering DirectX 11.1 to Windows 7 users, thankfully. Well, not DirectX 11.1 in its entirety, but some features which could appease staunch Windows 7 enthusiasts who aren't interested in upgrading to Windows 8. As indicated on MSDN, these are included in the Windows 7 Service Pack 1 through KB 2670838, or what's called as the Platform Update for Windows 7 Service Pack 1 and Windows Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1. Incidentally, the update also includes the Windows 7 Internet Explorer 10 Release Preview. Those who want to avoid the IE10 preview can also download KB 2670838 as a standalone prerelease update. Unfortunately, the update will be missing WDDM 1.2 as it remains a Windows 8 exclusive - along with the native support for stereoscopic 3D sans the use of third-party software. Here is a list of the features that will be deployed to Windows 7:
- ID3D11Device1, ID2D1Factory1, IDWriteFactory1, IDXGIFactory2, IWICImagingFactory2, ID3DUserDefinedAnnotation and related APIs are available. Methods that depend on WDDM 1.2 drivers or new Windows Store app APIs are not supported.
- Improved Direct3D 11 device interoperability via ID3DDeviceContextState, including the improved interop with Direct2D/DirectWrite.
- D3D11_FEATURE_DATA_D3D9_OPTIONS feature detection.
- In addition to the new Windows 8 WIC features, this update also fixes decoding of 96bpp floating-point TIFF images.
Posted: November 12, 2012 08:19PM
Sorry PC gamers, but Microsoft's latest DirectX revision is reserved for the newest OS. Microsoft announced DirectX 11.1 requires Windows 8 and there are "no plans" to back-port it to Windows 7, like how DX11 was added to Vista. One of the improvements DX11.1 brings is native support for stereoscopic 3D instead of having to rely on NVIDIA 3D Vision or AMD HD3D. Gamers haven't rushed to embrace the 3D movement with open arms like some industry members had hoped, so the lack of native stereoscopic 3D may or may not be seen as a loss for Windows 7/Vista users.
DX11.1 also has better support for graphics virtualization, the ability to apply shader-based filters to streaming video, and power conservation provisions for laptop users. If none of those sound entirely compelling to you, well, there's nothing wrong with sticking to Windows 7/Vista for the time being. Maybe if the eventual DirectX 12 requires Windows 8 (or maybe even Windows 9), then there'd be a reason to upgrade.
Posted: November 9, 2012 09:03PM
Author: Marko Jurac
With the recent release of Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system, the first security update is due to roll out next week. Windows 8 and RT users will be receiving patches that will prevent hackers from running malware on unprotected PCs; more specifically, they prevent remote code execution. The security update is also coming to all other major Windows operating systems including XP, Vista, Windows 7, Server 2003, 2008, and 2012. A total of six updates are coming this Tuesday, with four of them considered critical. Other fixes from the update include patches to fix flaws in both Internet Explorer 9 and the Microsoft Office suites across both PC and Office for Mac.
Posted: October 31, 2012 08:23PM
Windows 8 just arrived last Friday, but already Microsoft is claiming four million upgrades to the new OS have been sold. Microsoft's new OS features a pretty nice upgrade price of only $39.99 for Windows 8 Pro, or $14.99 if you purchased a Windows 7 PC after June 2, 2012. Now, the four million number is only counting consumers and not enterprises that typically have volume licenses for an immediate upgrade, which could account for a larger amount. The number is also only for downloaded copies of W8 as retail numbers are not yet available, and neither is a direct comparison to previous Windows' versions. Still, Microsoft was not too eager to announce adoption numbers after Windows 7 launched, so maybe the tide is turning. At least in terms of upgrades that is, as the number of users on preview builds and RTM copies of W8 were five times smaller than the number for W7 before the official launch.
Posted: October 26, 2012 07:00PM
Windows 8 has officially arrived today, and if you're one of the early adopters you are probably familiarizing yourself with the all-new layout. Many more people will undoubtedly be switching over the coming months and years, which should help boost Microsoft's overall financial numbers. However, Google is a little concerned with the new OS, namely its default search engine and browser. You see, Windows 8 uses Internet Explorer and Bing as its two default programs, which is all fine and dandy, but what if you're more comfortable with Google's options? Luckily, the folks in Mountain View have you covered with a humorous new video to Get Your Google Back. All W8 users need to do is visit getyourgoogleback.com, download and install Chrome and the Google Search app, and enjoy the new OS. Just try to contain your giggles while watching the video below.
Posted: October 26, 2012 08:09AM
It was previously reported that games with Mature and PEGI 18 ratings would be excluded from the Windows 8 EU storefront, but now it appears that the policy has been adjusted by Microsoft to the extent that titles such as Dishonored, Sleeping Dogs and Skyrim will now be available after all. It's not going to happen soon enough though, as Windows Corporate VP of Web Services Antoine Leblond indicated that the change would not take effect until December. That means some of the more violent games such as Far Cry 3, Hitman: Absolution and Assassin’s Creed 3 may not be available on the Windows Store in time for the release dates. Fortunately, it's reassuring to know that outside sources like Steam and Origin can be easily used to grab any restricted game from the new OS' store.
Posted: October 19, 2012 11:25PM
In just about a week, Microsoft will officially launch its new Windows 8 operating system to the masses on October 26. This new OS is better optimized for touchscreen devices, like the Surface tablet, features a somewhat controversial Modern UI (formerly Metro), integration with Xbox Live, Windows Store apps, and plenty more. Unlike the past few OSes, Microsoft is only offering two versions of W8 for consumers to choose from: Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro. There is also a Windows 8 Enterprise version, but that is only available in large volumes for businesses. ARM-powered tablets will come pre-loaded with Windows RT, so that is the only option for those devices.
An upgrade to Windows 8 Pro will only set you back $39.99, with the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant making the process an easy task once October 26 rolls around. That lower price is only good until January 31, 2013, at which point it will increase. A DVD copy can be secured for $69.99, which you can pre-order now at a number of (r)etailers. For anyone who purchased (or will purchase) a Windows 7 PC between June 2, 2012, and January 31, 2013, can upgrade to W8 Pro for $14.99. That deal starts on October 26 as well and goes until February 28, 2013.
If you're coming from Windows 7, everything from personal settings to personal files and apps can be brought along, Windows Vista users can bring settings and files, while XP users only get to bring personal files. Anyone is welcome to start fresh from scratch, of course, and have nothing brought over for an entirely clean install.
So there you have it. Nothing too extreme or expensive for anyone wanting to upgrade to Windows 8. Microsoft Surface tablets will be available on October 26 for anyone wanting to try out Windows RT, or you can go the other route and upgrade your desktop computer.
Posted: October 12, 2012 12:27PM
Microsoft wants the whole world to sit up and take notice of Windows 8, and it's reported that the software giant is dishing out a mountain of a marketing budget - somewhere between $1.5 to $1.8 billion to ensure that everyone gets the message. With a completely redesigned operating system that drew in a decidedly mixed reaction ranging from derision amongst the software and hardware community to applause for embracing the future of computing, the stakes have never been higher for Microsoft. Is the gamble going to pay off?
Incidentally, Microsoft's app certification process for the touch-based OS also point towards more stringent regulations, in that games exceeding PEGI 16 or ESRB Mature ratings will not be sold over the Windows 8 storefront. If this is the case, we won't be seeing more diverse titles such as Dishonored or Sleeping Dogs given their graphic content. The good news is that Windows 8 should still support these games if bought elsewhere (such as Steam), although in the long run this enforcement may cause some developers to tone down any offensive material to make the storefront cut.
Posted: October 8, 2012 03:44PM
Author: Nick Harezga
Samsung has created and added a new file-system to the Linux kernel aimed at solid state hard drives. The Flash-Friendly File-System, or F2FS, was added to the kernel by Jaegeuk Kim and contains around 13,000 lines of code. The post to the Linux kernel mailing list described F2FS as "a new file system carefully designed for the NAND flash memory-based storage devices. We chose a log structure file system approach, but we tried to adapt it to the new form of storage. Also we remedy some known issues of the very old log structured file system, such as snowball effect of wandering tree and high cleaning overhead. Because a NAND-based storage device shows different characteristics according to its internal geometry or flash memory management scheme aka FTL, we add various parameters not only for configuring on-disk layout, but also for selecting allocation and cleaning algorithms."
Posted: August 1, 2012 05:08PM
Author: Nick Harezga
The developers behind the credit card-sized Raspberry Pi computer have announced that they are hard at work porting Android Ice Cream Sandwich to the device. The team has reported "great progress," and the graphics and video are already working. The tiny devices are powered by a 700MHz ARM processor and will allow users to enjoy plenty of Android features without needing bigger, more expensive systems.
Posted: July 26, 2012 06:05AM
Windows 8 might be all over the news, but Valve chief Gabe Newell doesn't think too highly of Microsoft's upcoming touch-based OS. "I think Windows 8 is a catastrophe for everyone in the PC space," said Newell in a recent Casual Connect interview. According to Newell, among the casualties in Microsoft's none-too-subtle shift in priorities will be major PC/OEMs, with profits spiraling downwards for folks mostly in the PC business.
Newell cites the tremendous growth of companies like Valve, Epic, Zynga, and even Google had because of the PC's open-ended strengths, but there's a looming threat of people wanting to close the platform. "If that's true, then it will be good to have alternatives to hedge against that eventuality," he adds. Newell's backup plan? 2,500 Steam games all running on Linux. "We want to make it as easy as possible for the 2,500 games on Steam to run on Linux as well. It’s a hedging strategy," said Newell. The future of personal computing might be headed towards shaky ground, but it's reassuring to see industry stalwarts like Newell lead the charge in staying true to the platform's open-ended nature.
Posted: July 17, 2012 04:55PM
Author: Nick Harezga
Synology is a company known for its products in the home and small business Network Attached Storage (NAS) market. The company has announced that version 4.1 of the DiskStation Manager operating system is now in public beta. Included in the new release are a number of upgrades as well as some new features. The biggest new feature is the Video Station package, which will allow users to organize their video collections and will features support for USB tuners and iOS integration. Also included will be VAAI certification to improve VMWare performance, bandwidth controllable by protocol per user, and improved logging for historical and real-time statistics.
Posted: July 9, 2012 11:29AM
It does not seem all that long ago when Windows 7 was released, but now Windows 8 is nearly upon us. Microsoft has confirmed the earlier reports by stating Windows 8 will arrive in late October. It will be released to manufacturing (RTM) in August, which means we do not have all that much longer to go to see the latest OS. Users wishing to upgrade from Windows XP, Vista, or Windows 7 will be able to for $39.99, which is the lowest (non-student) price to upgrade yet. Whether or not you go for the upgrade is up to you, as many people are not happy with the move to Metro UI and the removal of familiar elements. Still, Windows 8 should perform well, especially when you consider the Surface tablets that appear to be the most interesting Windows item of the last few years. The ARM-powered tablet will arrive in October, while the Intel-powered one will arrive a few months after. There will be plenty of other PCs and tablets running Windows 8 that will be available in October as well.
Posted: June 21, 2012 05:27PM
Author: Nick Harezga
Speculation on the name of the next version of Android can now be put to rest. According to a listing for a Galaxy Nexus smartphone on the Google Play store, Android 4.1 will be named Jelly Bean, joining the likes of Cupcake and Froyo. The phone is still available in the store but it no longer makes any mention of the next iteration of the OS. The Google I/O conference will be taking place from June 27-29 and would be a great spot to officially reveal Android 4.1.
Posted: May 23, 2012 05:46AM
Microsoft head Steve Ballmer predicts that come 2013, Windows 8 will have amassed a user base of 500 million. The outspoken Ballmer made this optimistic statement during the Seoul Digital Forum, of which he touts Windows 8 as "a dawning of the rebirth of MS Windows." There's no denying Microsoft's strong grip on the OS market in general, but the claim of 500 million users garnered in such a short time span might not convince some folks. Moving to Windows 8 will reportedly be easier on new PCs, as Microsoft is charging only $15 for the upgrade. With Windows 8 eschewing a lot of its predecessors' features such as the Aero Interface and the Start Button, the new OS is set to be quite a departure from Microsoft's previous OS efforts. "It's certainly the most important piece of work we've done," adds Ballmer.
Posted: May 10, 2012 06:38AM
PC users have long enjoyed freedom over installing whatever web browser they want on their Windows machines, but things may work differently with Windows 8 tablets. According to a Mozilla blog post, only one browser, Internet Explorer is allowed to run in Windows classic mode on ARM-based tablets. That means no third-party browsers such as Google Chrome or Mozilla's own Firefox. However, switching to the slick Metro UI gives users more flexible browser options - you can install any compatible browsers in this mode.
Deputy General Counsel David Heiner explains that the company couldn't allow other browsers to run due to the new requirements and security needs of its upcoming tablets, which apparently only Microsoft's Internet Explorer is equipped to handle. Both Google and Mozilla are understandably upset over Microsoft's decision. Harvey Anderson of Mozilla's legal division commented that "sometimes [Microsoft] need some pressure... If it turns out to be legal pressure, that could be the thing."
Posted: April 12, 2012 08:37AM
Remember Microsoft's announcement to put Windows XP to its grave on April 8, 2014? If you're one of the many die-hard users still clinging on to the 11-year-old OS, the software giant has put out a gentle reminder on a blog post with a two-year countdown until it finally pulls the plug on support. "We want to acknowledge the two-year countdown to the end of Windows XP and Office 2003 support," announced Microsoft marketing director Stella Chernyak. Incidentally, Microsoft is quick to point users to the next logical OS choice for their upgrade plans too. "If you still have some PCs running Windows XP and Office 2003 in your organization, now would be a good time to start migrating them to Windows 7 and Office 2010," Chernyak adds. By the time Windows XP officially retires, it will be around 12 years and five months old.
Posted: April 2, 2012 09:33AM
Despite numerous complaints with the Start button's absence in the Windows 8 Consumer Preview, it appears that Microsoft will still push through with excluding it in the final retail version. Sources indicate that the latest build's reliance on the new UI was comfortable when used with touch-based controls, but remains a cumbersome experience for a regular desktop-based user. Most of the gripes stemmed from an unintuitive interface that left desktop users guessing on how to navigate the new Metro UI.
Microsoft's Tami Reller, CFO and marketing head for Windows and its Windows Live Division also confirmed that the ubiquitous Start Button as officially non-existent on the upcoming OS. Desktop users will instead be provided with a tutorial aimed at familiarizing themselves with the new commands of the OS, so that they won't feel "lost when they first encounter the product."
Posted: March 20, 2012 02:17PM
This piece of news would certainly make sense considering Microsoft's release strategy with Windows 7, but we will have to wait for something solid. At any rate, a Bloomberg report states Microsoft will release Windows 8 this October on both computers and tablets. Microsoft is expected to have Windows 8 finished this summer around the time of its annual Worldwide Partner Conference. The Windows 8 RTM could occur around that time as well, which echoes when Windows 7 was finished. The Windows 8 Consumer Preview released at the end of February while Windows 7 had the beta in January, with the full launch in October. It would make sense for Microsoft to do the same for Windows 8 in order to capitalize on the holiday shopping season, but if you are planning to pick up an ARM device running Windows 8, you may have a limited selection. The report states less than five ARM devices will be ready at launch, but there will be over 40 Intel machines (potentially even some tablets). The folks in Redmond are expected to announce the release plans in April, so we may not have long to wait for a confirmation.