GNU is Not Unix

Video Purism Offers Free (as in Freedom) Laptops (Video) 75 75

Purism uses its own OS, PureOS, which is a Debian derivative by way of Ubuntu and other members of the Debian-derivative family, but with no taint of proprietary code. Now imagine all the binaries stripped out of the Linux kernel, making it closer to the FSF ideal of a 100% free operating system than the Linux kernel in use almost everywhere else.

They're still using a proprietary BIOS, but have people working on a Free one. The main thing, though, is that Purism is working to give you all the privacy and freedom they can -- with more coming as they keep working to replace proprietary bits of the OS, BIOS, and hardware drivers with Free Software. Best of all, even if you don't need a new laptop right now, you can download PureOS and run it on any compatible hardware you already own.
Hardware

NVIDIA Tegra X1 Performance Exceeds Intel Bay Trail SoCs, AMD AM1 APUs 57 57

An anonymous reader writes: A NVIDIA SHIELD Android TV modified to run Ubuntu Linux is providing interesting data on how NVIDIA's latest "Tegra X1" 64-bit ARM big.LITTLE SoC compares to various Intel/AMD/MIPS systems of varying form factors. Tegra X1 benchmarks on Ubuntu show strong performance with the X1 SoC in this $200 Android TV device, beating out low-power Intel Atom/Celeron Bay Trail SoCs, AMD AM1 APUs, and in some workloads is even getting close to an Intel Core i3 "Broadwell" NUC. The Tegra X1 features Maxwell "GM20B" graphics and the total power consumption is less than 10 Watts.
KDE

KDE Community Announces Fully Open Source Plasma Mobile 44 44

sfcrazy writes: Today, during the Akademy event, the KDE Community announced Plasma Mobile project. It's a Free (as in Freedom and beer), user-friendly, privacy-enabling and customizable platform for mobile devices. Plasma Mobile claims to be developed in an open process, and considering the community behind it, I don't doubt it. A great line: "Plasma Mobile is designed as an ‘inclusive’ platform and will support all kinds of apps. In addition to native apps written in Qt, it also supports GTK apps, Android apps, Ubuntu apps, and many others." And if you have a Nexus 5, you can download and play with a prototype now.
Cellphones

A Month With a Ubuntu Phone 118 118

When the first Ubuntu phone came out, reviews were quick to criticize it for its lackluster hardware and unusual take on common mobile software interactions. It's been out for a while, now, and Alastair Stevenson has written about his experiences using it for an entire month. While he doesn't recommend it for phone users who aren't tech savvy, he does say that he began to like it better than Android after adjusting to how Ubuntu does things. From the article: [T]he Ubuntu OS has a completely reworked user interface that replaces the traditional home screen with a new system of "scopes." The scope system does away with the traditional mobile interface where applications are stored and accessed from a central series of homescreens. ... Adding to Ubuntu’s otherworldly, unique feel, the OS is also significantly more touch- and gesture-focused than iOS and Android. We found nearly all the key features and menus on the Meizu MX4 are accessed using gesture controls, not with screen shortcuts. ... Finally, there's my biggest criticism – Ubuntu phone is not smart enough yet. While the app selection is impressive for a prototype, in its infancy Ubuntu phone doesn't have enough data feeding into it, as key services are missing."
GNU is Not Unix

The Free Software Foundation's Statement On Canonical's Updated Licensing Terms 75 75

New submitter donaldrobertson writes: After two years of negotiations, Canonical has updated the intellectual property rights policy for Ubuntu Linux to address a disagreement over how the software is licensed. The FSF announcement reads in part: "In July 2013, the FSF, after receiving numerous complaints from the free software community, brought serious problems with the policy to Canonical's attention. Since then, on behalf of the FSF, the GNU Project, and a coalition of other concerned free software activists, we have engaged in many conversations with Canonical's management and legal team proposing and analyzing significant revisions of the overall text. We have worked closely throughout this process with the Software Freedom Conservancy, who provides their expert analysis in a statement published today." Richard Stallman thinks there are still other issues to address saying: "While the FSF acknowledges that the first update emerging from that process solves the most pressing issue with the policy ... the policy remains problematic in ways that prevent us from endorsing it as a model for others."
GUI

Speed-Ups, Small Fixes Earn Good Marks From Ars For Mint 17.2 69 69

Ars Technica reviews the newest release from Linux MInt -- version 17.2, offered with either the Cinnamon desktop, or the lighter-weight MATE, which feels like what Gnome 2 might feel in an alternate universe where Gnome 3 never happened. Reviewer Scott Gilbertson has mostly good things to say about either variety, and notes a few small drawbacks, too. The nits seem to be minor ones, though they might bite some people more than others: Mint, based on Ubuntu deep down, is almost perfectly compatible with Ubuntu packages, but not every one, and this newest version of Mint ships with the 3.16 kernel of Ubuntu 14.04, which means slightly less advanced hardware support. (Gilbertson notes, though, that going with 3.16 means Mint may be the ideal distro if you want to avoid systemd.) "This release sees the Cinnamon developers focusing on some of what are sometimes call "paper cut" fixes, which just means there's been a lot of attention to the details, particularly the small, but annoying problems. For example, this release adds a new panel applet called "inhibit" which temporarily bans all notifications. It also turns off screen locking and stops any auto dimming you have set up, making it a great tool for when you want to watch a video or play a game." More "paper cut" fixes include improved multi-panel options, graphics-refresh tweaks, a way to restart the Cinnamon desktop without killing the contents of a session, graphics-refresh tweaks, and other speed-ups that make this release "noticeably snappier than its predecessor on the same hardware."
Linux Business

Lenovo Will Sell Ubuntu Laptops In India 77 77

puddingebola notes the news, as carried by Tom's Hardware, that Lenovo will soon ship laptops preloaded with Ubuntu in India. "The first of these systems will be the Lenovo Thinkpad L450, featuring only one of two CPUs, but the selection may widen over time and expand to other countries ...Overall, switching to Ubuntu reduces the system cost considerably. Currently, the standard L450 system with Windows 8.1 Pro utilizing a Core i3, 4 GB of RAM, and a 500 GB HDD costs 59724 INR ($943.02 USD). An Ubuntu version of the system with the same hardware specs, however, will only cost 48000 INR ($757.91 USD).
Ubuntu

"Invite-Only" Ubuntu Mobile-Powered Meizu UX4 Goes On Sale 51 51

Mickeycaskill writes: Chinese manufacturer Meizu and Ubuntu developer Canonical have released the MX4 smartphone, but prospective owners will have to 'earn' an opportunity to buy the phone by playing an interactive origami game. Players are limited to three chances per day and this is the only way to buy the smartphone as it will no go on wider sale at a later date. The MX4 is the third Ubuntu Mobile smartphone to be released, following the BQ Aquaris E4.5 and E5 devices.
The Almighty Buck

Shuttleworth Loses $20m Battle With S. African Reserve Bank Over Expatriated Funds 117 117

An anonymous reader writes: Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth has lost his long running battle with the South African Reserve Bank over a R250m exit charge ($20.5m) levied on his personal fortune when he tried to ex-patriate to his new home on the Isle of Man in 2009. The exit charge was part of a capital control system since abandoned by the South African government, which Shuttleworth had successfully argued at the Supreme Court of Appeal last year amounted to an unconstitutional tax. The Supreme Court ordered the Reserve Bank to pay Shuttleworth back.

While Shuttleworth had promised to leave the R250m in South Africa as a fund for helping others to press constitutional issues to the highest court in the land, the Reserve Bank appealed to the Constitutional Court for a final appeal — which it won this morning. The upshot being that the bank gets to hold onto the money after all. One judge did offer a dissenting opinion, however, in which he said he would have dismissed the final appeal with costs.
The article notes that "The irony is that the exit charge at the heart of the matter is no longer levied on transfers going out of the country."
Operating Systems

Ask Slashdot: A Development Environment Still Usable In 25 Years Time? 257 257

pev writes: I'm working on an embedded project that will need to be maintainable for the next 25 years. This raises the interesting question of how this can be best supported. The obvious solution seems to be to use a VM that has a portable disk image that can be moved to any emulators in the future (the build environment is currently based around Ubuntu 14.04 LTS / x86_64) but how do you predict what vendors / hardware will be available in 25 years? Is anyone currently supporting software of a similar age that can share lessons learned from experience? Where do you choose to draw the line between handling likely issues and making things overly complicated?
Ubuntu

Ubuntu Software Center Criticized For Mixing Free and Non-Free Software 216 216

An anonymous reader writes: Tony Mobily has been watching the evolution of the Ubuntu Software Center for quite a while now. He had doubts about its interface and its speed, but liked the fact that it offered an easy, down-to-earth interface that allowed users to install software conveniently. However, the evolution of USC is worrying him a lot. Mobily is against confusing proprietary software with non-proprietary software, which USC seems to be doing. USC plays an important role — especially for newbie users, who can use it to discover new software more readily than via the package management system. But is there room for improvement?
Debian

Linux Mint Will Continue To Provide Both Systemd and Upstart 347 347

jones_supa writes: After Debian adopted systemd, many other Linux distributions based on that operating system made the switch as well. Ubuntu has already rolled out systemd in 15.04, but Linux Mint is providing dual options for users. The Ubuntu transition was surprisingly painless, and no one really put up a fight, but the Linux Mint team chose the middle ground. The Mint developers consider that the project needs to still wait for systemd to become more stable and mature, before it will be the default and only option.
Ubuntu

Ubuntu May Beat Windows 10 To Phone-PC Convergence After All 125 125

An anonymous reader writes with news that Mark Shuttleworth plans to have a Ubuntu smartphone that can be used as a PC out sometime this year. "Despite the recent announcement that Windows 10 phones will be able to be used as PCs when connected to an external monitor, Ubuntu—the first operating system to toy with the idea—hasn't conceded the smartphone-PC convergence race to Microsoft just yet. 'While I enjoy the race, I also like to win,' Ubuntu Foundation founder Mark Shuttleworth said during a Ubuntu Online Summit keynote, before announcing that Canonical will partner with a hardware manufacturer to release a Ubuntu Phone with smartphone-PC convergence features this year.
Ubuntu

Ubuntu 15.04 Received Well By Linux Community 300 300

jones_supa writes: Canonical released Ubuntu 15.04 a couple of weeks ago, and it seems that this release has been a success. The community is mostly reporting a nice experience, which is important since this is the first Ubuntu release that uses systemd instead of upstart. At Slashdot, people have been very nervous about systemd, and last year it was even asked to say something nice about it. To be fair, Ubuntu 15.04 hasn't changed all that much. Some minor visual changes have been implemented, along with a couple of new features, but the operating system has remained pretty much the same. Most importantly it is stable, fast, and it lacks the usual problems accompanied by new releases.
Open Source

When Enthusiasm For Free Software Turns Ugly 177 177

An anonymous reader writes: Bruce Byfield writes for Linux Magazine about the unfortunate side-effect of people being passionate about open source software: discussions about rival projects can get heated and turn ugly. "Why, for example, would I possibly to see OpenOffice humiliated? I prefer LibreOffice's releases, and — with some misgivings — the Free Software Foundation's philosophy and licensing over that of the Apache Foundation. I also question the efficiency of having two office suites so closely related to each other. Yet while exploring such issues may be news, I don't forget that, despite these differences, OpenOffice and the Apache Foundation still have the same general goals as LibreOffice or the Free Software Foundation. The same is true of other famous feuds. Why, because I have a personal preference for KDE, am I supposed to ignore GNOME's outstanding interface designs? Similarly, because I value Debian's stability and efforts at democracy, am I supposed to have a strong distaste for Ubuntu?"
Ubuntu

Ubuntu 15.04 Released, First Version To Feature systemd 494 494

jones_supa writes: The final release of Ubuntu 15.04 is now available. A modest set of improvements are rolling out with this spring's Ubuntu. While this means the OS can't rival the heavy changelogs of releases past, the adage "don't fix what isn't broken" is clearly one 15.04 plays to. The headline change is systemd being featured first time in a stable Ubuntu release, which replaces the inhouse UpStart init system. The Unity desktop version 7.3 receives a handful of small refinements, most of which aim to either fix bugs or correct earlier missteps (for example, application menus can now be set to be always visible). The Linux version is 3.19.3 further patched by Canonical. As usual, the distro comes with fresh versions of various familiar applications.
Intel

Intel 'Compute Stick' PC-Over-HDMI Dongle Launched, Tested 174 174

MojoKid writes: Intel has officially announced the availability of their Compute Stick HDMI dongle, and has lifted the embargo on early tests with the device. The Compute Stick is essentially a fully-functional, low-power, Atom-based system with memory, storage, and an OS, crammed into a dongle about 10cm long. There will initially be two compute sticks made available: one running Windows (model STCK1A32WFC) and another running Ubuntu (model STCK1A8LFC). The Windows 8.1 version of the Compute Stick is packing an Intel Atom Z3735F processor, with a single-channel of 2GB of DDR3L-1333 RAM and 32GB of internal storage, though out of the box only 19.2GB is usable. The Ubuntu version of the Compute Stick has as a similar CPU, but is packing only 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage. All sticks have USB and MicroSD expansion capability. It doesn't burn through any benchmarks, but for multi-media playback, basic computing tasks, web browsing, HD video, or remote access, the Compute Stick has enough muscle to get the job done, and it's cheap, too: $99 — $149.
AMD

Gaming On Linux With Newest AMD Catalyst Driver Remains Slow 178 178

An anonymous reader writes The AMD Catalyst binary graphics driver has made a lot of improvements over the years, but it seems that NVIDIA is still leading in the Linux game with their shared cross-platform driver. Tests done by Phoronix of the Catalyst 15.3 Linux Beta found on Ubuntu 15.04 shows that NVIDIA continues leading over AMD Catalyst with several different GPUs on BioShock Infinite, a game finally released for Linux last week. With BioShock Infinite on Linux, years old mid-range GeForce GPUs were clobbering the high-end Radeon R9 290 and other recent AMD GPUs tested. The poor showing wasn't limited to BS:I though as the Metro Redux games were re-tested too on the new drivers and found the NVIDIA graphics still ran significantly faster and certainly a different story than under Windows.
Ubuntu

Ubuntu To Officially Switch To systemd Next Monday 765 765

jones_supa writes: Ubuntu is going live with systemd, reports Martin Pitt in the ubuntu-devel-announce mailing list. Next Monday, Vivid (15.04) will be switched to boot with systemd instead of UpStart. The change concerns desktop, server, and all other current flavors. Technically, this will flip around the preferred dependency of init to systemd-sysv | upstart in package management, which will affect new installs, but not upgrades. Upgrades will be switched by adding systemd-sysv to ubuntu-standard's dependencies. If you want, you can manually do the change already, but it's advisable to do an one-time boot first. Right now it is important that if you run into any trouble, file a proper bug report in Launchpad (ubuntu-bug systemd). If after some weeks it is found that there are too many or too big regressions, Ubuntu can still revert back to UpStart.
Graphics

NVIDIA Fixes Old Compiz Bug 51 51

jones_supa writes NVIDIA has fixed a long-standing issue in the Ubuntu Unity desktop by patching Compiz. When opening the window of a new application, it would go black or become transparent on NVIDIA hardware. There have been bug reports dating back to Ubuntu 12.10 times. The problem was caused by Compiz, which had some leftover code from a port. An NVIDIA developer posted on Launchpad and said the NVIDIA team has been looking at this issue, and they also proposed a patch. "Our interpretation of the specification is that creating two GLX pixmaps pointing at the same drawable is not allowed, because it can lead to poorly defined behavior if the properties of both GLX drawables don't match. Our driver prevents this, but Compiz appears to try to do this," wrote NVIDIA's Arthur Huillet. The Compiz patch has been accepted upstream.