Tag Archives: Google

Google Open Sources its Cardboard VR Platform

Low-cost virtual reality (VR) platform Google Cardboard is now available as an open source project to let developers create new VR-powered apps and adapt existing ones to new devices. Google’s announcement comes a few weeks after the discontinuation of its Daydream VR platform.
Source: InfoQ

Google Plumbing The Linux Support For Privacy Screens On Intel Laptops


A number of recent laptops have begun appearing that offer support for built-in privacy screens with the press of a button. These privacy screens reduce much of the visible light when viewed at angles to try to block out the screen contents from anyone that may be sitting besides the user. Linux has finally begun seeing this support prepared.

As I wrote about last month as material that ended up being merged for Linux 5.4, there is now support for Lenovo PrivacyGuard as found on newer ThinkPad laptops to reduce their vertical/horizontal viewing angles when desired. That implementation was done as part of the ThinkPad ACPI Linux kernel driver.

Google engineers are now coming to the table with a wider solution — at least for those laptops that are compatible with ACPI specifications where there is now a defined interface for toggling the functionality. Google’s Rajat Jain is proposing a new DRM property for connectors so user-space can see the “privacy-screen” property and be able to check the status or toggle accordingly. The current DRM privacy-screen code proposed by Rajat checks for the relevant ACPI data and controlling it via the methods.

With the Google code, this is wired up just for the Intel display ports. Presumably Google is working on this privacy screen support for the capability in Chromebooks. At the moment there doesn’t appear to be any Chromebooks with this privacy screen functionality built-in so most likely is for future devices.

The proposed DRM privacy-screen property can be found via this mailing list post.

Samsung’s Support for Linux on DeX Fizzles | Developers

By Jack M. Germain

Oct 22, 2019 9:45 AM PT

Samsung has called quits on its effort to provide a full Linux desktop platform for Android.

In an email to beta testers last week, Samsung said it would not support its Linux on DeX beta program for future operating system and device releases.

Samsung’s announcement coincides with Google’s release of the Android 10 OS update and its rollout on Samsung phones. Neither company will provide Linux on DeX support.

Linux on DeX allows users to connect smartphones or tablets to monitors to simulate a full Linux desktop computing experience. Samsung initially offered DeX as a docking station for phones. It then allowed users to connect their Android phones to monitors via a USB-C cable.

Samsung did not provide details on what led to the decision to dump DeX support but an advisory informed users that DeX will not be supported in Android 10 beta. Samsung phone users will not be able to perform a version rollback to Android Pie.

“Given the company’s reported money woes related to problems in its memory division, I expect the decision to drop Linux on DeX was motivated by financial concerns,” said Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT.

Short-Lived Beta

The name “DeX” is a contraction of “Desktop eXperience.” The Linux on DeX beta program was functional, but it apparently did not progress as Samsung hoped. The company never released a stable software version before pulling the plug on DeX’s development.

Only select Samsung phones were part of the beta program. First included were Samsung’s Galaxy S8 and S8+ devices. DeX later became available for Galaxy S9 and S10 phones, as well as Galaxy Note phones.

A device running DeX functioned as a docking station. Users placed the phone in the docking cradle to connect a keyboard, mouse and monitor. The DeX docking station allowed users to run their phone’s operating system as an Android personal computer.

Samsung and Canonical last year partnered on an app that allowed select Galaxy phones to run a full Linux desktop on top of Android. The company started a private beta for the Linux on DeX project last November. The private beta allowed Linux to open in select Galaxy devices in DeX mode.

“While Linux on DeX was an intriguing solution, the number of customers affected by the project’s cancellation is likely fairly modest,” King told LinuxInsider.

A Goal Beyond Reach?

Of greater importance is why Samsung retreated from its goal, according to Thomas Hatch, CTO of

“The idea of having a single device to use as a laptop and as a phone is not new. It has been touted as a Holy Grail by many in the phone and laptop communities. It also promises that phone manufacturers could dip into the laptop market,” he told LinuxInsider.

The problems developers need to overcome to achieve this, though, are not trivial, Hatch said. Being able to merge uses across these chasms has long been a challenge.

“Look at how difficult it was to make desktop environments that span desktops and tablets,” he pointed out. “It also forces the question, hasn’t Google already solved this with cloud services?”

What we need to remember about technology is that good tech satisfies real human needs and alleviates real human pain. That leads to two different paths, Hatch suggested.

Is the real solution to not have to carry around a laptop? Or is it to have all data unified across devices?

“I think that Samsung stepping back here means that they see the problem that DeX is trying to solve as the unification of assets rather than not having to carry a laptop,” Hatch observed.

Alternatives to Ponder

Samsung phone users and owners of other phone models interested in running Linux on their Android phones can explore several options, Pund-IT’s King suggested.

Maru is a context-aware, lightweight open operating system that unites mobile and desktop computing. Maru is based on Debian Linux but is not compatible with all Android phone models. Maru automatically detects when an external display is available and connects keyboard and mouse via Bluetooth.

Termux is an Android terminal emulator and Linux environment application that works directly with no rooting or setup required. The Android app installs a minimal Linux base system automatically. You can add more packages using the APT package manager. A terminal emulator is a program that provides a text-based interface to the shell.

UserLand is an open source Android app that allows you to run several Linux distributions like Ubuntu, Debian and Kali without rooting your device.

Linux Deploy is an Android app that provides relatively quick and easy installation of the GNU/Linux operating system on an Android device. The application requires a rooted phone.

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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Google launches the $649 Pixelbook Go Chromebook

At its annual hardware event, Google today announced the launch of the Pixelbook Go, the latest iteration of its first-party Chromebook lineup. Starting at $649, the Pixelbook Go marks a return to the standard laptop format after last year’s Pixelbook with a 180-degree hinge and the Pixel Slate 2-in-1. (TechCrunch)

Previous articleDatabricks brings its Delta Lake project to the Linux Foundation

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.

Q&A: Google Cloud’s Lin Talks Next Phase of Anthos | IT Infrastructure Advice, Discussion, Community

Getting organizations to see how Anthos might be used in cloud transformation has been on the agenda of late with Google. Early this week, the company held an event to get the application management platform more on the radar of potential users and analysts. The event included discussions on how Anthos can be deployed across complex, hybrid environments and introduced the Anthos Service Mesh for microservices management to deploy and secure services.

The desire to modernize at times can conflict with security demands and other concerns about business disruption. Google introduced Anthos earlier this year for managing applications in an agnostic fashion, including hybrid cloud environments. Financial institutions such as KeyBank, an Anthos user, have regulatory requirements that mean maintaining certain operations on-premise. Jennifer Lin, product management director for Google Cloud, took time from the stage to speak with InformationWeek about where Anthos fits in the still-evolving cloud transformation equation.

What demands are you seeing from organizations that have hybrid environments, and how does Anthos come into play in those circumstances?

“The choice today is based on the flexibility moving forward. We started with the on-prem, hybrid scenario with multicloud coming in the future. We know that customers today are already not locking themselves down to one. From a technology perspective, it’s not like they can use one management layer easily and get the types of capabilities we’re providing through the Kubernetes API server. The fact that Kubernetes is becoming a compute orchestration layer of choice makes it easier for us to say ‘if you want to register a cluster that sits in another cloud, today it’s in your own prem but tomorrow it could be running in EC2 [Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud] or Azure Cloud’. That is essentially the equivalent to an on-prem server. The compute and storage can sit somewhere else, the intelligent layer managing it across a secure network.

Read the rest of this interview on InformationWeek.

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