Tag Archives: Android

Huawei’s new Mate 30 phones to run on open-source version of Android: source





Huawei’s new Mate 30 smartphone range will run on an open-source version of Google’s Android operating system, a source familiar with the matter said ahead of a major launch event in Germany on Thursday. (Yahoo! News)




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Swapnil Bhartiya has decades of experience covering emerging technologies and enterprise open source. His stories have appeared in a multitude of leading publications including CIO, InfoWorld, Network World, The New Stack, Linux Pro Magazine, ADMIN Magazine, HPE Insights, Raspberry Pi Geek Magazine, SweetCode, Linux For You, Electronics For You and more. He is also a science fiction writer and founder of TFiR.io.

Google Releases Android 10 With “Vulkan Everywhere”, Privacy Improvements


GOOGLE --

Google has officially released Android 10 today, what formerly was known as “Android Q” during development.

Android 10 is a big update with improved privacy controls, a proper dark theme, Opus audio support, AV1 video codec support, a native MIDI API, ART optimizations, foldable screen support, and a wide variety of other additions and improvements.

Android 10 also features “Vulkan everywhere” with Vulkan 1.1 driver support now a requirement for all 64-bit Android 10+ devices. Android 10 also brings an updated ANGLE with it now implementing OpenGL ES on top of Vulkan 1.1.

Also exciting on the technical front with Android 10 is the Adiantum encryption support.

See the lengthy write-up on the Android Developers Blog that goes into much more detail on the many new features with Android 10 and screenshots.


MakuluLinux Core OS Is Dressed to Impress | Reviews


By Jack M. Germain

Apr 30, 2019 5:00 AM PT

A new Linux OS gets to the core of Linux computing with a revamped desktop environment and a new way to have fun with your daily computing tasks. Developer Jacque Montague Raymer on Monday debuted the
MakuluLinux Core OS. He hopes Core becomes the crown jewel of the Series 15 release family.

MakuluLinux released the latest versions of family members
LinDoz and
Flash several months ago. While the Core entry integrates some of the features of its two cousins, it offers something new and exciting that brings MakululLinux to a higher level of usability. It adds a homegrown desktop design that turns something old into a modern Linux platform.

This story was originally published on April 10, 2018, and is brought to you today as part of our Best of ECT News series.

MakuluLinux is a relative Linux newcomer. Its positive reputation has been growing since 2015, thanks to a variety of desktop environments the developer adapted for better integration. Its small developer team, based in Vietnam, forged the first two desktop distributions, both efficient and productive, in a relatively short time period.

All three of the Series 15 editions — LinDoz, Flash and now Core — feature a redesign of the original Ubuntu-based LinDoz OS. First, the team revamped LinDoz’s Ubuntu foundation. Series 15 is based on a hybrid that gets its primary updates from both Debian and Makulu directly.

Serious Revamping

The new strategy is not to borrow the base from Debian or Ubuntu, as other big developers have done. Makulu’s team chose to build its own base instead.

LinDoz uses an in-house modification of the Cinnamon desktop developed by Linux Mint. Flash runs a modified version of the previously forked environment the developers designed for Flash. Series 15 is not an update of previous editions.

Both LinDoz and Flash are complete rip-and-replace builds on top of developed-in-house computing bases. The new Core OS is not an upgrade of Flash.

Instead, Core introduces some radical changes under development for the last two years. Core borrows heavily from features designed for Flash and adds even more adaptations.

For me, the most exciting eye candy that the Core edition offers is the dynamic animations that provide a new way to interact with the OS. Core does not have the classic Linux layout.

Getting the Timing Right

The debut of MakuluLinux Core was held up for more than a month while developers debated the merits of waiting for a newer, better kernel. At stake was speedier performance with a patched kernel to avoid the infamous slowdown bug caused by computer chip vulnerabilities discovered last year, said developer Raymer.

“Core is ready. However, we can already see some problems on the horizon and are not sure we should rush to release,” he told LinuxInsider last month.

The distro team gets kernel updates from the Testing Repository, which then was on the 4.18 kernel and soon would go to version 4.19. That posed a potential performance hit.

One of the upcoming 4.20 kernels that will be moving through testing repo slows down Linux by 50 percent. The kernel after that one fixes that bug, Raymer explained.

“So we are just sitting and waiting to see how the testing repo handles this,” he said. “It will be a big blow if we release now and three weeks later that kernel with the slowdown bug enters testing.”

A second dilemma added to the mix was that Raymer’s team also was busy working on an Ubuntu variant of Core.

“So there is that to consider as well,” he said. “To release now and release the Ubuntu variant later — or make use of this time and get the Ubuntu variant on par and release both.”

Good Seasonings

Core uses a combination of a Cairo-style dock for favorite applications and a spin-wheel style circular menu display. This approach is innovative and attractive.


MakuluLinux Core's innovative circular menu display.

The centerpiece of MakuluLinux Core’s innovative homegrown user interface is a spin-wheel style circular menu display.

– click image to enlarge –


The biggest difference that distinguishes the new Core OS from LinDoz and Flash is the way the Xfce desktop design works as the Core desktop. A dock along the lower right vertical edge of the screen holds system icons and notifications. This design keeps the essential system elements separate from the applications dock.

In numerous ways, Core’s new desktop design blends some of the best features found in Flash’s use of Xfce and the forked Cinnamon environment that LinDoz uses. Core especially borrows heavily from the Xfce tweaking in Flash.

Both the latest editions of LinDoz and Flash remain unique operating systems in their own right. Core has the winning recipe for a tasty change in computing platform design, however.

Adding the Cinnamon spices to Xfce boosts the new desktop’s performance. Mixing in MakuluLinux’s own special sauce bakes Core into a computing environment that is exciting and refreshing.

Change of Scenery

One of the little things that makes the three MakuluLinux distros artistically distinct is the wallpaper. The background images are stunning.

Core, Flash and LinDoz use the same Wallpaper Changer tool, but each has a unique set of scenery to display.

The wallpaper changer in Flash and LinDoz displays thumbnail views in a vertical display on the right edge of the desktop. Scrolling through them is quick and easy. One tap and the background is updated.


MakuluLinux Core's two additional menus as alternatives to the spin-wheel menu

MakuluLinux Core has two additional menus as alternatives to the spin-wheel menu. A wallpaper changer banner display at the top makes choosing background images quick and simple.

– click image to enlarge –


Core goes one better. Its wallpaper display scrolls across the top of the screen.

Core has many new color schemes for the themes and icon sets. These themes are not the same as the ones in Flash. They use the same color schemes, but the Themes themselves are quite different. Also, Core is optimized for Virtualbox.

Optional Fine-Tuning

The settings controls let you fine-tune how Core looks and how its features behave. The animations and options come close to the degree of personalization that used to be available in the KDE environment.

If you are a power user, you can fine-tune Core to your heart’s delight. If you are not into fiddling with settings, Core’s default configurations work fine.

Core comes stuffed with Makulu toolkit applications that supplement the usual Xfce settings panels. The system tools provide yet another layer of settings.

You also get a large collection of desktop applets. To add or remove them, open the Conky Manager panel and check/uncheck your choices.

Menu Innovations

Core’s new menu system is far superior to the tired columnar-style panels that pop up from a traditional panel bar in other distros. Core provides multiple options for using menus and docks. The interface is mouse-driven with a touchscreen gesture system.

The traditional Xfce right-click menus and panel-style menus are still part of the user interface. There is much more than the right-click Xfce standard.

Put the mouse pointer into the left bottom corner to get a traditional two-column vertical menu to appear along the bottom left edge of the screen. Or press the dedicated Windows key to pop up the same Whisker-style menu in the center of the screen.

One of Core’s more radical interface innovations is the new circular menu display. Application icons and launchers for system tools appear in a spin-wheel design displaying icons for each software category.

Fly over any icon in the circular array to have the contents of that category hang in a larger circle layered over the main menu display in the center of the screen. The menu system is also hot corner-based.

You trigger the new menu along with a few custom actions by mousing into the designated screen corners. Use the Hot Corner option in System Settings to set up your choices.

Easy Transition

Another option for launching the circular menu is to pin its menu launcher to the Cairo dock. Oh yes, the dock is another replacement feature in Core. There is no panel bar at the bottom of the screen or anywhere else.


MakuluLinux Core's Cairo dock

The MakuluLinux Core Edition runs on a heavily tweaked forked Xfce environment that functions as a new style desktop. The Cairo dock at the bottom of the screen replaces the traditional bottom panel. The design includes a Web applet bar at the top, system icons in a right-side panel, and a collection of Conky widgets.

– click image to enlarge –


The Cairo dock hides at the bottom of the screen when covered by an active window. Otherwise, it sits centered at the bottom of the screen.

Slide the mouse pointer to the bottom of the screen to have the dock appear. When an application is running, its icon appears on the dock. You can pin or unpin an icon to the dock to use as a frequent program launcher by right-clicking an icon showing on the dock.

Core is a marriage of old and new. The new style circular menu displays may take time to adjust and fully adapt. Transitioning is easy, though.

Unusual Xfce Effects

Core still runs the Xfce desktop, sort of. This is a new type of Xfce, however. The developer integrated transparency and glitzy animations to give Core a version of Xfce you will not find elsewhere.

It goes far beyond the original MakuluLinux fork used in the current Flash edition. The new MakuluLinux base, combined with in-house tweaks that modernize the Xfce desktop, hikes features and convenience to another level.

MakuluLinux Flash comes with Compiz OpenGL compositing manager preconfigured for on-the-fly window dressing and fancy screen displays. With 3D graphics hardware you can create fast compositing desktop effects like minimization animation. Also, you can turn the Compiz effects off or on with a single click.

Workspace Navigation

I am somewhat anal when it comes to using virtual desktops or workspaces. My workflow demands multitasking: researching, note-taking, writing, editing and creating graphics.

If moving among workspace screens is not fast, fluid and intuitive, I do not hesitate to flag a Linux distro. The key to success for me usually is anchored in keyboard shortcuts and workspace switcher applets on a bottom panel.

MakuluLinux Core changes that assessment cycle. It does have the right-click desktop menu option built into window top borders — but Core has no panel applets.


MakuluLinux Core on-screen switcher display

With no panel bar, Core has no workspace widget applet, but keyboard shortcuts and mouse movements easily launch an on-screen switcher display.


Core lacks keyboard shortcut mapping. It also does not have slide-out panels with graphical views of workspaces for point-and-click channel changing.

What Core does have might well be the best-yet solution for moving among virtual desktops. The absence of a workspace switcher applet at first seemed heretical!

My panic quickly subsided when I discovered that all I had to do was point the mouse pointer on the desktop and press and hold the button wheel or the middle button. Other options include pressing the CTRL + left/right arrow keys. Or pressing the left and right touchpad buttons. Perhaps the handiest of all solutions to navigating around multiple workspaces is finger gestures on the screen or touchpad.

Handy Features

I can think of only a small handful of Linux distros that have Web applets built in. The feature is starting to gain attraction as a result of users liking the connection shortcut icons in Android and Chrome-based OSes.

Raymer borrowed the Web applets feature from an earlier distro he developed called “LeThe.” In Core, it is built into the Web Apps bar and is a handy feature.

Web applets are activated and deactivated easily with a single click. You can access the shortcut for the Web Applets toolbar from the bottom panel or in the settings manager.

Core comes with a few pre-set URLs mapped to icons. It is easy to configure additional Web app launch icons.

These Web applets do add to memory usage and are not recommended for use on systems with low memory. The developer recommends enabling this feature only on systems with at least 4 GB RAM available.

This lets you go directly to a frequently visited Internet spot without the baggage of using a full-featured Web browser. You can have a Web browser open and use the Web apps independently.

Smooth Installation

Like LinDoz and Flash, Core uses the Calamares installer. Core replicated the hassle-free installation I enjoyed when testing the earlier MakuluLinux offerings.

To its credit, the developers added updated scripts to ensure that Core installs smoothly. Core’s new ISO format has a fully working second update patch script that will allow the developer to patch any botched packages that come through the Debian repository.

Bucking a trend of Linux developers retiring 32-bit distro releases, Core will be available for both — 64-bit now and 32-bit systems soon. That makes it an ideal Linux platform for aging computers.

Raymer released the 64-bit version on Monday, but the 32-bit version is not yet ready. It will be released in a few weeks — most likely toward the end of February.

Quick Facelift

Core supports a facelift feature that eliminates the need to reinstall completely when an update goes wrong. This facelift script lets users reset the desktop to its current look and feel.

At the initial log in, the routine asks users to select a default Window Border and a GTK Color scheme. This is a repeat of the booting process when the DVD boots the host computer in a live session.

You can change your selections easily in the settings panel under the theme manager. This new feature is unique. The display changes color depending on which GTK theme is selected.

Bottom Line

I have charted the progress of Core’s development through sometimes daily ISO releases over the last few months. I can attest to the near constant revisions and design tweaks Raymer has applied.

The more I used Core, the better choice it became over its LinDoz and Flash kin. That, of course, is purely a personal observation. But the features I loved in the other two MakuluLinux options either were even better when integrated into Core, or were surpassed by the Core-only innovations.

MakuluLinux Core’s rebuilt Xfce desktop is so well tweaked it looks and feels like something new.

Given the amount of forking Raymer did to Xfce, he could call the desktop something new. For me, referring to it as “the new Core desktop” makes perfect sense.

Want to Suggest a Review?

Is there a Linux software application or distro you’d like to suggest for review? Something you love or would like to get to know?

Please
email your ideas to me, and I’ll consider them for a future Linux Picks and Pans column.

And use the Reader Comments feature below to provide your input!


Jack M. Germain has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2003. His main areas of focus are enterprise IT, Linux and open source technologies. He has written numerous reviews of Linux distros and other open source software.
Email Jack.





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Microsoft’s Edge Goes With the Chromium Flow | Developers


By Jack M. Germain

Apr 10, 2019 5:00 AM PT

Microsoft on Monday released the first Dev and Canary channel builds of the next version of Microsoft Edge, which is based on the Chromium open source project.

The company last year revealed that it was reworking its Edge browser to be based on Chromium. Now the latest developments are ready for early testers and adopters on several versions of Windows and macOS. So far, however, no support is available for Linux.

The new Microsoft Edge builds are available through preview channels called “Microsoft Edge Insider Channels.” The first two Microsoft Edge Insider Channels,
Canary and
Dev, are available for all supported versions of Windows 10, with more platforms coming soon.

Microsoft will update the Canary channel daily and the Dev channel weekly. You can install the new Edge builds from multiple channels side-by-side for testing. Each has its own separate icon and name.

Microsoft uses the Canary channel to validate bug fixes and test brand new features. The Canary channel offers the bleeding-edge, newest builds. The Dev channel build has undergone slightly more testing but is still relatively fresh.

The Dev channel offers the best build of the week from the Canary channel based on user feedback, automated test results, performance metrics and telemetry. It provides the latest development version of Microsoft Edge as a daily driver.

The company later will introduce Beta and Stable channels to provide significantly more stable releases. Those more developed releases will give Enterprises and IT Pros lead time to start piloting the next version of Microsoft Edge.

Microsoft will not change the existing installed version of Microsoft Edge yet. It will continue to work side by side with the builds from any of the Microsoft Edge Insider Channels.

The browser upgrade is not likely to draw more users to the retooled Edge browser than dedicated Microsoft customers, suggested Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT.

“That is especially true since Microsoft is disabling many of the functions integrated with Google apps and tools,” he told LinuxInsider.

Logical Next Step

Microsoft’s decision to adopt the Chromium open source project in the development of its new Edge browser on the desktop is a logical step in the company’s efforts to become more embedded with open source technology. The Edge browser has been struggling.

The new development road map is based on a microservices/componentized approach, according to the company. Microsoft’s goal is to create better Web compatibility for its customers. It also aims to reduce fragmentation of the Web for all Web developers.

Rebuilding the Edge browser around Chromium reinforces Microsoft’s commitment to open source. Its software engineers have started making contributions back to Chromium in areas involving accessibility, touch and ARM64.

The company plans to continue working within the existing Chromium project rather than creating a parallel project. The Microsoft team is working directly with the teams at Google.

It’s not likely that Microsoft’s increased involvement with open source will give the company any competitive edge, King observed.

“I expect them to function much as any contributor. It’s less of an issue today than it would be if Steve Ballmer were still Microsoft’s CEO,” he said.

Other Good Options Lacking

Microsoft was faced with one of those “if you can’t beat them, join them” situations, according to King. That might have figured into the Chromium decision.

“As a technology comes to dominate online functions and interactions, developers focus on optimizing sites and apps for it. To ensure that customers have optimum online experiences, vendors adopt those dominant technologies,” he pointed out.

That is the current situation with Chromium. Ironically enough, Microsoft once was in a similar situation with its Internet Explorer technology, King recalled.

Rebuilding the Edge browser on Chromium is a great move on Microsoft’s part, said Cody Swann, CEO of
Gunner Technology.

“This is going to be a huge cost saver for Microsoft,” he told LinuxInsider. The company “can basically reassign or release a ton of engineers who were given to a losing effort to begin with.”

Revised Technology

The Edge browser will differ in several key areas from the existing open source Chromium project that Google initially developed. Most of the heavy-duty differences will be hidden under the hood.

On the technical underbelly, Microsoft is working on replacing its EdgeHTML rendering engine with Chromium’s Blink. Microsoft also is replacing its Chakra JavaScript engine with Chromium’s V8.

Microsoft is replacing or turning off more than 50 Chromium services in Edge. Some of these include Google-specific services like Google Now, Google Pay, Google Cloud Messaging, Chrome OS device management and Chrome Cleanup. Others involve existing Chromium functions such as ad blocking, spellcheck, speech input and Android app password sync.

In shifting from Google-based services to its own ecosystem, Microsoft is building into its new Edge browser support for MSA (Microsoft Accounts) and Azure Active Directory identities for authentication/single sign-in.

Microsoft also is integrating other Microsoft-based services, such as Bing Search; Windows Defender SmartScreen for phishing and malware protection; Microsoft Activity Feed Service for synchronizing data across Edge preview builds and across Edge on iOS and Android; and Microsoft News.

Bringing More to the Edge

Microsoft plans to build support for PlayReady DRM into its new Edge browser platform. Edge supports both PlayReady and Widevine.

Also in the works are additional services integration and single sign-on capabilities that presumably will support a widening deployment of Microsoft-based offerings.

Microsoft is planning to build in more than just cosmetic design changes to the Chromium browser, however. The intent is to avoid giving the new Edge a distinctively Chromium look and feel.

However, company officials have said the user interface will not be a priority until further along in the process.

Pros and Cons

On the plus side, users typically have better experiences with optimized tools and applications. On the negative, the situation entrusts a lot of power to individual companies, noted King.

“Sites that are not optimized for dominant tech also tend to perform relatively poorly compared to those that are. That results in a two-tier Web of sorts, which is one of the reasons Mozilla developed Firefox,” he said.

There is no downside to Microsoft switching to the Chromium platform in Swann’s view.

“Microsoft has been dying a slow death in the browser wars since Firefox was released,” he said, “and they’re basically just throwing in the towel.”


Jack M. Germain has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2003. His main areas of focus are enterprise IT, Linux and open source technologies. He has written numerous reviews of Linux distros and other open source software.
Email Jack.





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MythTV 30.0 Released With Front-End Support For Select Android TV Devices


MULTIMEDIA --

It’s been a while since last having anything major to report on MythTV, the once very common HTPC software for open-source DVR/PVR needs albeit less so these days given all the Internet streaming and on-demand video platforms. This month the project released MythTV 30.0 as their newest feature release.

The headlining feature for MythTV 30.0 is support for running the Myth front-end on select Android TV devices. The initially supported devices include the likes of the NVIDIA Shield and Amazon Fire TV, but the package isn’t to be found in any app stores thus MythTV 30 needs to be side-loaded onto supported Android devices.

The MythTV 30.0 release also has a number of front-end and GUI fixes, the front-end setup now has settings for HDMI CEC, a variety of video playback fixes (including work to address a number of Raspberry Pi bugs), VA-API video acceleration optimizations/improvements, and many other changes.

MythTV 30.0 saw more than 500 commits over the past year and a half of development. More details on the changes to find with this big update via the MythTV.org Wiki.