Life without Windows or OS X

GNU/Linux is quite possibly the most important free software achievement since the original Space War, or, more recently, Emacs. It has developed into an operating system for business, education, and personal productivity. GNU/Linux is no longer only for UNIX wizards who sit for hours in front of a glowing console. Are you thinking about switching to Linux and want to learn how to use it? Have you been using GNU/Linux for some time and want to learn even more? This is the place for you.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

PDF viewer for Linux

Okular is a universal document viewer. It supports many document formats such as PDF, XPS, ePub, CHM, Postscript and many others.

Linux distributions have their own way of managing packages. Most distributions provide a graphical frontend for this system. Just search for your program, select your desired program and the program manager will automatically download the package.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Places To Buy A PC With Linux Pre installed

The hardest part of using Linux is to find out the correct hardware. Hardware compatibility and drivers can be a big issue. But where one can find Linux desktops or Laptop for sale? Here are Five places to buy a preinstalled Linux Desktop and Laptop. Linux is often overlooked as an option because you won’t find these machines at mainstream electronics stores like Best Buy.

Since 2007, ZaReason has assembled, shipped, and supported hardware specifically designed for Linux. You can get easy-to-use free and open source software for with each laptop or desktop or server.

This vendor sells Ubuntu and POP_OS! Linux based laptops, servers, and desktop computers. It is one of the most recommended brands of Ubuntu forum members. System76 has a decent range of laptops and desktops.

Linux Certified
This vendor sells Linux services including robust and cost-effective Linux laptops.

This laptop vendor certified to Respect Your Freedom. There misstion.."To enable computing freedom in all areas of technology and empower people and organizations to take control of high-quality technology products." It means your laptop is 100% free from binary blobs. It runs the FSF-endorsed Trisquel operating system and libreboot firmware on hardware.

Dell sells a high-end Ubuntu Linux-based laptop for developers. The XPS 13 Developer Edition​  has the a 7th Generation Intel Core i5-7200U Processor  with Ubuntu Linux 16.04 LTS. Problem with dell you have to hunt for the  XPS 13 Developer Edition​ as fous more selling windows systems.

Friday, February 23, 2018

First Open-Source RISC-V SoC for Linux Released

The HiFive Unleashed is a multicore SoC based on the RISC-V architecture and is aimed at bringing open-source hardware development to IoT, AI, and beyond.

by: Chris Wiltz

Only months after debuting the Freedom U540, the world's first Linux-compatible processor based on the open-source RISC-V chip architecture, RISC-V chipmaker SiFive has surprised the open-source community again by unveiling a full development board built around the ISA.

Called the HiFive Unleashed, the new development board is built around SiFive's Freedom U540, which is based on the company's U54-MC Coreplex. The chip is a 64-bit, 4+1 multicore processor that fully supports Linux, as well as other operating systems such as FreeBSD and Unix. The development board itself features a 8GB of DDR4 with ECC, a gigabit ethernet port, 32 MB of quad SPI flash memory, a MicroSD card slot, and an FPGA mezzanine card (FMC) connector for allowing peripherals and other expansion devices to be attached to the board.

more here

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Ubuntu 16.04.4 LTS Planned For Release 1 March

Canonical announced that it plans to release the long-supported Ubuntu 16.04.4 LTS (Xenial Xerus) operating system on March 1, its fourth maintenance update. Originally scheduled for the other day, Canonical last month decided to postpone it because of Meltdown and Specter. Ubuntu 16.04.4 LTS is based on the next HWE kernel from Ubuntu 17.10. It includes support for things like the new IBM z14 mainframe CPACF instructions and new KVM features.

Canonical is committed to providing five years of support for the Ubuntu 16.04 LTS until April 2021. The operating system was released two years ago on April 21, 2016, and up to now, it has received three such maintenance updates. 

But if you installed Ubuntu 16.04 LTS when it was first released (or you used the first point release image) you won’t get the HWE update automatically.

Instead, to install Linux Kernel 4.13 on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, you need to opt-in

How? By running one single, simple command:

sudo apt install --install-recommends linux-generic-hwe-16.04 xserver-xorg-hwe-16.04

Let all updates complete fully and then restart your machine when prompted.

Monday, February 19, 2018

LibreOffice 6.0 Open-Source Office Suite Passes 1 Million Downloads Mark

From Softpedia.

Feb 12, 2018,  By Marius Nestor

The Document Foundation announced recently that its LibreOffice 6.0 open-source and cross-platform office suite reached almost 1 million downloads since its release last month on January 31, 2018.

That's terrific news for the Open Source and Free Software community and a major milestone for the acclaimed LibreOffice office suite, which tries to be a free alternative to proprietary solutions like Microsoft Office.

More here

Friday, February 16, 2018

GPU shortage

The graphics processing unit (GPU) shortage started a while ago. Many people think it started when a bitcoin surge led to renewed interest in cryptocurrency mining in Nov of 2017. The last card I got was a Sapphire RX 560 Pulse OC 4GB.The RX 560 fully unlocks itself to 16 CUs, up from the previous 14 CUs of the RX 460.I got off a May of 2017 for around $115. A really good deal. That same card cost around $160 in June. I saw it online for $200 by October of 2017. I got a GeForce GTX 1050 Ti in late 2016 for about $130. The GeForce GTX 1050 ti today will cost you around $249. Low-end cards have also doubled in price. Low-end cards remain in stock, for the most part, however, if you are low income you cant afford to buy.On the high-end of the spectrum, AMD’s Vega GPUs are nowhere to be found.Nvidia’s GTX 1080 and 1080 Ti are still available on the market but cost double or triple the MSRP. 

I wanted to get a GTX 1060 but I waited too late. Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1060 is popular with miners too.Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies like Ethereum, Ripple, and Litecoin have soared in value over the past year.That made the 1060 rise in price from around $275 to $400 in the second half of 2017. The miners use massive rigging stations to mine for the cryptocurrency, which can easily pay for the cost of mining if they just a few coins are acquired.

If I were a PC gamer I would be really upset.I would angry that AMD and Nvidia are not doing enough to combat shortages and price gouging occurring in the GPU market.The best solution to the problem might be to just buy an entire desktop PC or move to the consoles market, the Xbox One X, and PlayStation 4 Pro as viable alternatives. The new Ryzen 2400G Processor with Radeon Vega Graphics is not a real solution with games like Deus ex Mankind divided delivering bad gaming performance. 

Every game released for a console will run flawlessly on that console, regardless of whether it was released during the console’s initial launch or after.  Console gaming at this time is a lot cheaper as the GPU market instability makes building a PC with a dedicated graphics card difficult.

Word is, Bitcoin is going to crash to zero this year. I won't hold my breath.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

SteamOS version 2.148

Valve has released SteamOS version 2.148.For those who don't Steam is their direct pipeline to customers. Steam guarantees instant access to more than  3,000 Linux game titles. Its a Debian GNU / Linux 8 "Jessie" based operating system for gamers.For security concerns related to the Meltdown and Specter vulnerabilities, SteamOS has received a kernel with Linux 4.14.13, which includes the latest published patches against the gaps in most of the CPUs sold over the past 15 years. There are also many minor changes and customizations for kernel 4.14.13.The packages firmware-free and were firmware-nonfreeupdated as well as the Broadcom Sta WLAN driver adjusted. Vulnerabilities were closed in Samba and Curl. The LLVM Toolchain 5.0 has been added to support the new Mesa version. The proprietary Nvidia driver is version number 387.22, while AMD Radeon and Intel GPUs use the Mesa 17.2.4 graphics stack. New video drivers are supported by the updated libraries libglvndand libdrmby the package glx-alternatives. With an update, the Xorg server now also supports the new library GL Vendor Neutral Dispatch. GLVND is a vendor-neutral level for mediating OpenGL API calls between multiple vendors.

Note: SteamOS is a version of GNU/Linux that is distributed by Valve. It contains proprietary software, including the Steam client itself and many proprietary drivers. Steam uses the "evil" Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) to impose restrictions on the software it distributes via the Steam store.

SteamOS also lets you stream games from the steam link or another PC in your house running Steam.  In-home streaming means a powerful host PC is doing all the heavy work by simply sending a video of what's on the screen to your SteamOS computer.  Steam recommends that you use a wired connection, which will reduce latency, but it can work over Wi-Fi but you just keep in mind you may notice some occasional graphical or input lag. Depending on what router you have and just how powerful the signal is around your home, you may be better off hooking up your PC to the Link via ethernet cabling. Any mouse and keyboard should work as long as any relevant drivers are installed on the host PC. As for controllers, it will definitely work with the official Steam Controller and the Xbox One and Xbox 360 controllers, along with any other XInput controllers. The steam link is a tiny black box, not much bigger than a pack of playing cards, and it can steam games to a TV  at 1080p resolution, 60 frames per second. 

Note: There’s no Fallout 4, Battlefield 1, The Witcher 3 or Grand Theft Auto 5.There are over 7,000 titles on Steam for Windows, but only around 3,000 available for Linux.

Steam sales tend to run seasonally and you can generally expect a Steam Summer Sale, Steam Halloween Sale, Steam Autumn Sale and Steam Winter Sale. The Summer and Winter sales are the bigger ones. The next one will be the Lunar New Year Sale 2018 and will run from February 15th to 19th.

My Steam OS Box

CPU Intel Pentium G4560 (Kaby Lake), 2 Cores & 4 Threads, 3.5GHz
GPU GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 1050 ti  GV-N105TD5-4GD 4GB
RAM HyperX Fury 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR4 2400MHz DRAM
SOUND Onboard
NETWORK Onboard (wired gigabit Ethernet, 802.11ac WiFi)
PSU EVGA 500 BQ, 80+ BRONZE 500W, Semi-Modular (110-BQ-0500-K1)
CASE Raven RVZ03 chassis
Check out games like Torchlight 2.Torchlight 2’s story takes off where the first game ended, your charter from the first game known as “the alchemist,” is cursed by Ordrak’s Heart, which he received from killing Ordrak in the first game. Like with Diablo, when you kill monsters item drops are randomized, so you’re never sure what will fall from the dead. Sometimes it’s a basic pistol you’ll never use, sometimes it’s a rare two-handed sword with the high damage that complements your play style.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Ubuntu 16.04.4 will have to wait.

Canonical announced that the fourth point release of Xenial Xerus, which was due to be released on February 15, has been officially postponed. Ubuntu 16.04 LTS is the version of the LTS segment currently used by Ubuntu, and so is also the version distributed by computer manufacturers, like ststem76. But, last month, Canonical has said that they will delay the release of Ubuntu 16.04.4 LTS, because of Specter and Meltdown.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Operation Chanology

On this day 10 years, ago an Internet group named Anonymous called for demonstrations against the Church of Scientology globally. Anonymous then allied with old Guard Scientology critics along with ex-members. Over 7,600 people attended the peaceful protest in front of 108 Church of Scientology locations across 17 countries. The protest was timed to coincide with the birthday of Lisa McPherson. Lisa McPherson was a Scientologist who died in 1995 under mysterious circumstances.  At first, the Church of Scientology was held responsible and faced felony charges in her death. The charges were later dropped.

Internally, The Scientologists believe that Anonymous is being funded by evil psychiatrists. When the protests took place, many Los Angeles churches closed their doors, locked up, shuttered the windows and urged members to stay home. After the February 10th 2008, protests, some members of Anonymous reported being followed, having their vehicles damaged, being filmed through their windows, and other strange occurrences. It has never been proven that agents of Scientology did those things, but the timing was very suspicious.

Friday, February 02, 2018

Piracy built Microsoft

William "Bill" Gates III is one of the best-known entrepreneurs of the personal computer revolution. His company Microsoft launched its first retail version of Microsoft Windows on November 20, 1985. 10 years later on  August 24, 1995, we got Windows 95. To date, Windows 95 is the biggest Windows release ever.Next, there was Windows 98 which looked and felt pretty much like Windows 95.An updated "Second Edition" version of Windows 98  was released in 1999. After Windows 98 SE came the "millennium edition" of Windows, released in the year 2000.

In the middle of those releases, MS faced competition form the worlds first GNU/Linux distro called MCC Interim in 1992 and later form the likes of Slackware, The Debian Project, SUSE Linux Personal, and Red Hat Inc. To this day, Slackware remains the oldest surviving Linux. distribution.

Both GNU and Linux were released under what is known as the GNU General Public License (GNU GPL or GPL). It is a widely used free software license, which guarantees end users the freedom to run, study, share and modify the software. Version 1 of the GNU GPL was released on February 25, 1989, Version 2 was released in June of 1991 and Version 3 in June of 2007. Software under the GPL may be run for all purposes, including commercial purposes and even as a tool for creating proprietary software.

Linux distros like Debian and its free software license made Gates very afraid. The GNU OS was something people could get for free with little or no cost. Plus those users could even make copies for all their friends. It was then MS knew they had to join forces with underworld was its very survival.

"Although about 3 million computers get sold every year in China, people don't pay for the software. Someday they will, though. And as long as they're going to steal it, we want them to steal ours. They'll get sort of addicted, and then we'll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next  decade." -Bill Gates University of Washington 1998.

MS never fought pirates in the 90s as much as they claimed. The thing is if they took down pirates around the world, then millions of people would not have grown up with Windows and instead they would have grown up using some flavor of gnu/Linux. Most people would be using Firefox and LibreOffice today and not Internet Explorer/Edge and Microsoft Office. Microsoft’s ecosystem of software would have been much-much smaller today with most people using something like SUSE Linux instead of Windows 7 or 10. So like "drug dealers" Gates and Ballmer used piracy to prevent things like Linux from trimming away at Microsoft's monopolies, especially in poor nations

 "It's easier for our software to compete with Linux when there's piracy than when there's not," Gates says. "Are you kidding? You can get the real thing, and you get the same price." Indeed, in China's back alleys, Linux often costs more than Windows because it requires more disks." -Bill Gates, Fortune Magazine July 17, 2007.

If Microsoft sold Windows for, let us say, $ 5.00 or $10.00 U.S., they would lose money on every copy because the manufacturing, distribution and support costs would have taken its toll on their bottom line. However, piracy got Windows out to users who could not or would not pay, without undercutting normal prices. On top of that for years, Microsoft actively worked to suppress Linux, a computer operating system whose underlying code is freely available to the world at large. It once threatened legal action against businesses that used the open-source OS, insisting that Linux infringed on patents underpinning its flagship Windows operating system.

"If Microsoft launched a draconian crackdown", UC Berkeley's Varian said, it would provoke the obvious reaction: "People would just switch to open source."

They knew Piracy alone wouldn't work. The other arm of their plan was to spread lies about the opensource world.

"Linux is a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches," Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said in an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times on June 1, 2001. He went on to say "Our goal is to try to educate people on what it means to protect intellectual property and pay for it properly."

As you can see the second part of their scheme was to spread fear/lies. Brad Smith MICROSOFT'S top lawyer claimed back in 2007 that free and open-source software violated more than 230 of Microsoft's patents. He claimed the Linux kernel violated 42 Microsoft patents and that the graphical interfaces such as KDE violated another 65 patients. Of course, they never took those two projects to court, did they? Back in like 2001 Linspire and its Linux distro originally dubbed “Lindows,” was hit with a legal challenge by Microsoft over the latter’s “Windows” trademark. The fight was eventually settled out of court. Microsoft reportedly paid $20 million to Lindows, and Lindows changed its company and OS name to Linspire.

In an SEC filing in 2009, Microsoft warned that Linux distros such as Ubuntu's maker Canonical, and Linux distributor Red Hat as competitors meaning a true threat.

So guess what MS did again?

In 2015 Microsoft gave away Windows 10 to Pirates.

"If they're going to pirate somebody, we want it to be us rather than somebody else."
Jeff Raikes President of the Microsoft Business Division

"Anyone with a qualified device can upgrade to Windows 10, including those with pirated copies of Windows.”

"We are upgrading all qualified PCs, genuine and non-genuine, to Windows 10.
-Windows chief Terry Myerson, Reuters 2015.

We have always been committed to ensuring that customers have the best Windows experience possible,” a Microsoft statement notes. “With Windows 10, although non-Genuine PCs may be able to upgrade to Windows 10, the upgrade will not change the genuine state of the license. Non-Genuine Windows is not published by Microsoft. It is not properly licensed, or supported by Microsoft or a trusted partner. If a device was considered non-genuine or mis-licensed prior to the upgrade, that device will continue to be considered non-genuine or mis-licensed after the upgrade.

So, in other words, they know you "stole" WinXP but they will allow you to upgrade to Win10 so long as you understand the Win10 copy they gave you will still be considered non-genuine or mis-licensed prior to the upgrade and that device will continue to be considered non-genuine or mis-licensed after the upgrade. They are not stopping anyone from using their software for free.  True when you’re using a non-genuine copy of Windows, Microsoft also won’t offer you phone support and other help for Windows if you haven’t paid them for your copy. Also, you cannot use anything under Personalization e.g. change wallpaper, accent colors, lock screen, themes, etc. All options are there, they are just grayed out and inaccessible.

Was that just another olive branch to nations like China? Not really. Microsoft wants Windows 10 on every computer because it is the Store and their services that are important. They want to get as many users hooked on Windows 10 platform as possible so users can be "lured" into paying for premium services, such as apps at the Windows Store or a subscription to Office 365. The more users Microsoft gets now, the more services they can sell to them later.

"Microsoft benefits from piracy, then says, 'If you think prices are high, blame the Chinese, because they are the thieves,' " said Ariel Katz, a law professor at the University of Toronto.

See they like to make you feel guilty.  They want you to think that piracy is evil and immoral. Gates knew that wasn't true, he was making a pile of money, but the company "pretend" outrage resonated with a public that didn't know any better. Did you know that Microsoft and the Business Software Alliance rarely sued individuals? True every once in while they would make claims against distributors making a ton a money of bootleg copies.

Bottom Line...

William "Bill" Gates III has admitted, even while Microsoft talked tough about cracking down on piracy. They knew they had no chance against Linux distros like Debian and its free software license. "If Microsoft launched a draconian crackdown. People would just switch to open source." Varian-UC Berkeley. Jeff Raikes, head of the company's business group, said at an investor conference that while the company is against piracy if you are going to pirate software, it hopes people pirate Microsoft software. See they wanted to push hard for legal licensing but they didn't want to push so hard as to destroy a large part of their base. So make no mistake, when Microsoft talks about pirated software is equivalent to lost sales they would be telling people to pirate the software of their competitors. They would tell people to get Linux or something.