Remember that antitrust lawsuit a few years back against Microsoft? The one where Bill Gates said shipping Windows with Netscape preinstalled would be like Pepsi shipping its soda packs with a can of Coca-Cola? That’s the first thing that came to my mind when I saw the news that certain Linux installations will soon be available thru the online Windows Store. Yeah, I know. It’s not really the same thing. But, I think this is the first time it’s ever been possible to download a third-party operating system thru a primary operating system’s main software distribution point.
I’m now flashing on a meme that’d say something like, “We heard you like operating systems so we put more operating systems in your operating system, dawg.”
It’s worth noting that these Linux installations won’t be full Linux distributions, but rather GNU versions of the open-source operating system:
Developers will (be) able to download these Linux distro’s from the Windows Store on Windows 10 from the autumn, and will be able to run multiple distributions at the same time.
…Without the Linux kernel they’re just GNU distros… or Windows distros…
Looks like Microsoft’s intent here is primarily to add Linux capabilities to Windows systems that are used by developers. These versions of Linux won’t have GUIs, but there will likely be workarounds for that.
In business it’s a tough decision between Windows and Linux — we’re not talking end-user, Microsoft’s operating system has that mostly nailed. We’re talking back-end — the power behind everything else. And, at an increasing rate, that means Linux and the cloud.
Today Microsoft is introducing Red Hat Linux on its Azure platform. The company’s vice president of cloud and enterprise, Scott Guthrie, made the official announcement.
“The cloud is changing the world, offering enterprises, independent software vendors (ISVs) and developers alike endless scale, speed and agility in a cost-effective way. I’ve been talking with customers about “why cloud” for years. Recently there has been a shift in these conversations, as the benefits have become undeniable”.
Red Hat solutions will be available soon and it will bring enterprise Red Hat solutions along with JBoss Middleware plaftorm.
Microsoft also promises integrated enterprise grade support that is calls “deeper and richer than any other public cloud offering”. This will also offer .NET integration for development of applications, as well as workload management.
Guthrie describes this as “flexibility and choice have united Microsoft and Red Hat to meet customers where they are on their cloud journey”.
In the same way as you wait ages for a bus only for two to come along at once, it’s the season for new Linux releases. Today Canonical released Ubuntu 14.10, aka Utopic Unicorn, and in less than two weeks OpenSuSE will push out 13.2. I’m a SuSE user so I’ll be downloading that over the weekend and getting stuck in.
It’s good to see such a flurry of activity. The new releases all have a plethora of new features. Interestingly, Ubuntu is going after the Android developers with the new Ubuntu Developer Tools Centre which helps coders develop apps. The new Centre downloads the Android toolkits along with libraries and dependencies, bringing them into the launcher. Although first available for Android, the plan is to extend this to other platforms such as Go and Dart. A big win too is that Netflix now plays in Chrome without any trickery!
From OpenSuSE, the new release focuses on the much-improved Gnome desktop (3.14), though KDE users aren’t forgotten either with plenty of improvements there too. I think it would be fair to say that it’s an incremental release but there’s still plenty to look forward to – more will be revealed as the release gets closer.
Reflecting on recent use, I don’t get to use my desktop as much as I used to. Like many other people have found, tablets have taken over for day-to-day computing and the desktop has been relegated to occasional use. Between a Nexus 7, a Chromebook, a local NAS and the cloud, my big box is heading for extinction. Much as I love tinkering with Linux and RAID, I really don’t know if I’ll replace the PC when the time comes. It is undoubtedly a post-PC era.
While reviews of Windows 8.x have been mixed, it seems there is a perception problem with the general public about Microsoft’s latest operating system. Version 8 was largely hated, and 8.1 only went so far in fixing those issues. The company plans to go further when “Threshold”, or Windows 9, debuts later this year.
However, if you’d like to at least change the look of the OS, you can get a taste of Linux with an Ubuntu theme for it. Ubuntu is perhaps the most universally loved consumer version of Linux, though Mint has been gaining steam recently. It has a beautiful user interface that makes it consumer-friendly.
Don’t worry, you won’t have to actually install Linux, or learn all of the associated commands — a theme called Mavericks (ironically the same as the latest OS X) can go over top of Windows 8 and just make it look as if you are running the rival operating system.
It’s a free to download and install, though a premium version is available for a mere $1.35, which is a small price to pay by any app or software standard. The theme was created by the good folks over at Deviant Art and can be found here. You’ll also want to read the detailed instructions and get the visual style information.
There’s no doubt that wearables are where it’s at right now, but devices such as Google Glass or Recon goggles are very much luxury toys. XOEye Technologies have taken a more practical approach, developing safety glasses with built-in video cameras and microphones for use in business, typically manufacturing, construction and field service industry. Don and Todd talk to Aaron Salow, CEO of XOEye.
Currently in the prototype stage, the XOEye solution streams HD video and sound from the glasses across the internet to a remote viewing station, where an expert can review and discuss what the wearer is seeing, usually in an attempt to solve a problem. The wearer can hear the expert through small speakers installed on the glasses, so a conversation can take place between the wearer and the expert. Although still in the early stages of development, XOEye is exploring different materials for the glasses and a range of additional sensors, such as gyros and accelerometers, and other enhancements including a torch.
The final product is expected to come to market in June and there’s more information at www.xoeye.com.
Interview by Don Baine, the Gadget Professor and Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central for the TechPodcast Network.
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Two popular Valve games, Portal and Portal 2, have arrived on Steam for Linux. The two games, released in 2007 and 2011 respectively, have previously been available for the Windows and Mac platforms.
This latest Valve game release for Linux is very good news at a time when Steam for Linux usage has been sinking. The April figures for the Steam hardware survey are now public and they indicate further losses. In March the Linux usage was at 1.6-1.7% and now, for April, it’s down to 1.5-1.6%.
Portal is selling for $9.99, while the newer Portal 2 retails for $19.99. The Portal series is a very popular first-person puzzle-platform game. Other big releases such as Left 4 Dead 2 are expected to be coming soon.
EditShare is introducing the Mac version of Lightworks. Lightworks is a cross–platform film editing software. Lightworks has been used by some of the best film makers over the past two decades. It now works seamlessly on Mac OS X. Film makers who love their Mac’s, will now have the option of using it for their film editing. EditShare will be showing off the Mac version at NAB and will be starting the new alpha program in the near future.
EditShare is also releasing the full version of the new Lightworks version 11.1 for Windows on April 30, 2013. The Linux version has successfully completed the Alpha program of version 11.1 and will begin the public beta on April 30, 2013.
EditShare is already working on Lightworks version 11.2 which will add:
- Added support for AJA I/O hardware
- Support for screen capture using the record panel
- An improved import panel: now behaves similarly to bins, mark/park clips before import
- Native H.264 MOV playback
- Added curve effect to FX color correction effects
If you are or want to be a film maker you owe it to yourself to take a look at Lightworks, by EditShare. If you are at NAB they will be at booth SL9010 showing off the new Mac version of Lightworks.