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Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive

DRM

Why Linux On Microsoft Surface Is a Tough Challenge 561

Posted by timothy
from the 5-feet-high-and-risin' dept.
hypnosec writes "With Linux enthusiasts and distro publishers eagerly waiting for a solution to Microsoft's UEFI SecureBoot, there are those who have already looked at the viability of Linux on Microsoft Surface tablet. Matthew Garrett, a.k.a. UEFI-guru, has revealed that those who are keeping their fingers crossed and hoping to find run Linux on Microsoft's tablet are on an uphill walk and it doesn't seem to be an easy one. So why is this? The answer is in the manner in which Microsoft has restricted the Surface from loading non-signed software / binaries by implementing UEFI SecureBoot. Microsoft has loaded on the ARM based tablet its private key instead of the 'Microsoft Windows UEFI Driver Publisher' key, which is needed to sign non-Microsoft software like Linux distributions or loaders. So, no publisher key = no signed non-Microsoft binary = no Linux."
Bug

Linus Chews Up Kernel Maintainer For Introducing Userspace Bug 1051

Posted by timothy
from the otherwise-of-course-I'd-be-a-kernel-rockstar dept.
An anonymous reader points out just how thick a skin it takes to be a kernel developer sometimes, linking to a chain of emails on the Linux Kernel Mailing List in which Linus lets loose on a kernel developer for introducing a change that breaks userspace apps (in this case, PulseAudio). "Shut up, Mauro. And I don't _ever_ want to hear that kind of obvious garbage and idiocy from a kernel maintainer again. Seriously. I'd wait for Rafael's patch to go through you, but I have another error report in my mailbox of all KDE media applications being broken by v3.8-rc1, and I bet it's the same kernel bug. And you've shown yourself to not be competent in this issue, so I'll apply it directly and immediately myself. WE DO NOT BREAK USERSPACE! Seriously. How hard is this rule to understand? We particularly don't break user space with TOTAL CRAP. I'm angry, because your whole email was so _horribly_ wrong, and the patch that broke things was so obviously crap. ... The fact that you then try to make *excuses* for breaking user space, and blaming some external program that *used* to work, is just shameful. It's not how we work," writes Linus, and that's just the part we can print. Maybe it's a good thing, but there's certainly no handholding when it comes to changes to the heart of Linux.
Linux

Ask Slashdot: Linux-Friendly Motherboard Manufacturers? 352

Posted by Soulskill
from the soldering-iron-and-a-chunk-of-silicon dept.
dotancohen writes "I am tasked with building a few Linux machines for a small office. However, many the currently available motherboards seem to be Linux-hostile. For instance, in addition to the whole UEFI issue, my last install was a three-day affair due to the motherboard reporting a Linux-supported ethernet device (the common RTL8168) while it was actually using a GbE Ethernet device that does not work with the legacy drivers and didn't even work with a test Windows 7 install until the driver disk was installed. There are no current hardware compatibility lists for Debian or Ubuntu and I've received from Asus and Gigabyte the expected reply: No official Linux support, install Windows for best experience. I even turned to the two large local computer vendors, asking if they could provide Linux-compatible machines ready to go, but neither of them would be of any help. What globally-available motherboards or motherboard manufacturers can you recommend today?"
KDE

New KScreen Supplies Some Magic For Multi-Monitor Linux Set-Ups 183

Posted by timothy
from the more-magic-always-welcome dept.
An anonymous reader points out developer Àlex Fiestas's work on multiple monitor configuration for Linux. In particular, the screen manager that he and Dan Vrátil are working on — KScreen — gives KDE users a utility "making the configuration of monitors either auto-magical or super simple." This is one thing that's certainly gotten much better in recent years for Linux GUI users in general, but the video in the linked post makes me a little envious — another good reason to swap desktops once in a while.
Android

Raspberry Pi vs. Cheap Android Dongle: Embarrassment of (Cheap) Riches 233

Posted by timothy
from the fight-fight-fight dept.
New submitter Copper Nikus writes "The price of Android Mini PCs have recently dropped to the point they are starting to make the Raspberry Pi look overpriced. This article compares the Raspberry Pi model B against the similarly priced MK802 II single core Android mini PC. IMO it can be argued that the mini PC wins that fight. It's worth noting that several new quad-core Chinese ARM SoCs have been recently released to the world, and it can be expected to see Android mini PCs start using them in the very near future. This should translate into even lower prices for the now 'obsolete' generations of single and dual core Andoid mini PCs out there." The target markets and base OS vary, but there's enough overlap for this comparison to make some sense — both have ARM chips, both can (to varying degrees) run either Android or a more conventional Linux distro, and both can fit in a small pocket.
KDE

Running a Linux Live KDE Desktop In 210MB 106

Posted by Soulskill
from the perfect-for-those-trips-to-the-'90s dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Slax 7.0 is a Slackware-based Linux distribution that can provide a Live USB/CD environment complete with the KDE4 Plasma desktop in just 210MB of space. Slax can also be customized with other software modules to provide lightweight Linux installations for varying tasks. For those curious how this lightweight Linux distribution has pulled off the feat of being small and fast, Slax creator Tomá Matejícek wrote a technical article explaining the Slax internals with booting a modern Linux desktop in just ~200MB."
Debian

Debian m68k Port Resurrected 145

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the just-a-flesh-wound dept.
After two years of work, Debian m68k has working build servers, and is slowly working through the backlog of stale packages. "Contrary to some rumours which I've had to debunk over the years, the m68k port did not go into limbo because it was kicked out of the archive; instead, it did because recent versions of glibc require support for thread-local storage, a feature that wasn't available on m68k, and nobody with the required time, willingness, and skill set could be found to implement it. This changed a few years back, when some people wrote the required support, because they were paid to do so in order to make recent Linux run on ColdFire processors again. Since ColdFire and m68k processors are sufficiently similar, that meant the technical problem was solved. However, by that time we'd fallen so far behind that essentially, we needed to rebootstrap the port all over again. Doing that is nontrivial, and most of the m68k porters team just didn't have the time or willingness anymore to work on this; and for a while, it seemed like the m68k port was well and truly dead." The tales of acquiring the needed hardware are pretty interesting (one machine is an Amiga in a custom tower case).
Perl

Linux, Apache, Perl, X10, Webcams... and Christmas Lights 30

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the blinkenlights dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Clement Moore writes

'Twas the night before Christmas,
and while not a creature was stirring (not even an optical mouse),
/.'ers were posting & moderating with squeals of delight.
When out on the Internet there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my keyboard to see what was the matter.
I knew in a moment it must be Alek's Controllable Christmas Lights Webcam.
But remembered in previous years it was a hoax - /. said damn.
And then, in a twinkling, I realize Alek has done it for real — W'OH!
With 20,000 lights plus giant inflatable Elmo, Frosty, Santa, SpongeBob, and Homer Simpson — D'OH!
The X10 controls and 3 live webcams provide such clarity,
that it has raised over $70,000 for Celiac charity.
'Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!'"
Image

Arduino and MK802 Robot, Controlled By Phone 31

Posted by timothy
from the rubber-band-and-russian-accent dept.
beefsack writes "An engineer by the name of Andrej Skraba has combined an Arduino board and an MK802 mini PC running Ubuntu to create a robot which is controllable via its own node.js server and a mobile phone. Seen by some as products competing in a similar space, Andrej shows how the two devices can make the most of their unique features to complement each other, working together."
Android

KDE's Plasma Active Ported To Nexus 7 55

Posted by timothy
from the looking-handy dept.
sfcrazy writes "KDE developers have succeeded in running the touch-optimized Plasma Active Linux Distribution on Nexus 7. Earlier Ubuntu developers managed to create a installer for Nexus 7, but those builds also showed that Unity, in its current form, is not ready for touch-based devices. KDE has an edge here as they have optimized versions for netbooks, desktops and touch-based devices so a user doesn't have to make any compromises as one has to do with other DEs or shells which are focusing more in touch-based devices only." Here are detailed instructions on how to install it.
Enlightenment

After 12 years of Development, E17 Is Out 259

Posted by timothy
from the unlimited-power dept.
The Enlightenment front page bears this small announcement: "E17 release HAS HAPPENED!" The release announcement is remarkably spartan — it's mostly a tribute to the dozens of contributors who have worked on the software itself and on translating it into many languages besides system-default English. On the other hand, if you've been waiting since December 2000 for E17 (also known as Enlightenment 0.17), you probably have some idea that Enlightenment is a window manager (or possibly a desktop environment: the developers try to defuse any dispute on that front, but suffice it to say that you can think of it either way), and that the coders are more interested in putting out the software that they consider sufficiently done than in incrementing release numbers. That means they've made some side trips along the way, Knuth-like, to do things like create an entire set of underlying portable libraries. The release candidate changelog of a few days ago gives an idea of the very latest changes, but this overview shows and tells what to expect in E17. If you're among those disappointed in the way some desktop environments have tended toward simplicity at the expense of flexibility, you can be sure that Enlightenment runs the other way: "We don't go quietly into the night and remove options when no one is looking. None of those new big version releases with fanfare and "Hey look! Now with half the options you used to have!". We sneak in when you least expect it and plant a whole forest of new option seeds, watching them spring to life. We nail new options to walls on a regular basis. We bake options-cakes and hand them out at parties. Options are good. Options are awesome. We have lots of them. Spend some quality time getting to know your new garden of options in E17. It may just finally give you the control you have been pining for."
GNU is Not Unix

GNU Hands Out Trisquel At a Microsoft Store 274

Posted by Soulskill
from the alternative-to-solid-color-rectangles dept.
alexanderb writes "Remember GNU's Windows 8 launch trick or treat in October, where Free Software Foundation activists handed out gratis copies of the free (as in freedom) system Trisquel GNU/Linux? Well, GNU returned for a Microsoft store's 'Tech for Tots' session on December 20th in Boston, MA. Like in October, the activists (accompanied by a gnu) handed out gratis copies of Trisquel GNU/Linux — a free alternative to Microsoft's new operating system, Windows 8."
Education

Learn Linux the Hard Way 185

Posted by Soulskill
from the for-the-really-hard-way-close-your-eyes-first dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Here is a free interactive beta of Learn Linux The Hard Way; a web-based virtual Linux environment which introduces the command line and other essential Linux concepts in 30 exercises. It's written in the style of Zed A. Shaw's Learn Code the Hard Way lessons. The authors says, 'You will encounter many detailed tables containing lists of many fields. You may think you do not need most of this information, but what I am trying to do here is to teach you the right way to approach all this scary data. And this right way is to interpret this data as mathematical formulas, where every single symbol has its meaning.' Of course, my first entry was rm -rf /* which only produced a stream of errors. I wish I had discovered something like a long time ago."
Graphics

GarageGames Starts IndieGoGo Campaign To Port Torque 3D To Linux 71

Posted by timothy
from the if-you-want-it dept.
Open source (as Torque 3D recently became) is one thing; cross-platform is another. Now, reader iamnothing writes "GarageGames is heading to IndieGoGo to port Torque 3D to Linux. The campaign is centered around hiring a dedicated developer or team to port Torque 3D to Linux. The primary target is Ubuntu 32bit with other flavors of Linux as stretch goals. All work will be done in the public eye under our Github repository under the MIT license."
Games

Steam For Linux Is Now an Open Beta 353

Posted by samzenpus
from the start-playing dept.
New submitter jotaass writes "In news that is guaranteed to make the Linux gaming community (in particular, but not exclusively) excited, Valve has just announced that the Steam for Linux client Beta is now open to the public. A .deb package is available here. Interesting as well, they are using an empty GitHub repository solely as an issue tracker, open for anyone to submit, edit and track bugs, with no actual code in the repo."

MATH AND ALCOHOL DON'T MIX! Please, don't drink and derive. Mathematicians Against Drunk Deriving

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