Microsoft has opened up its heart to Linux in recent years, but now the company has done something that would have previously been unthinkable: it has built its own Linux kernel.
As part of its embracing of the Internet of Things, Microsoft has announced Azure Sphere, an ARM-based platform for the IoT with a focus on security. Key to Azure Sphere are small MCU-powered (microcontroller) devices -- essentially SoC devices -- which run Azure Sphere OS and securely connect to Azure backends. Security comes thanks to the use of a custom Linux kernel.
Following the release of Linux kernel 4.16, Linus Torvalds has said that the next kernel will be version 5.0. Or maybe it won't, because version numbers are meaningless.
The announcement -- of sorts -- came in Torvalds' message over the weekend about the first release candidate for version 4.17. He warns that it is not "shaping up to be a particularly big release" and questions whether it even matters what version number is slapped on the final release.
For better or worse, the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) initiative seems to be moving full steam ahead. There are some very respectable distributions available in the Microsoft Store, such as Debian, Ubuntu, and Kali to name a few. Not to mention, Microsoft is trying to encourage even more maintainers to submit their distros with a new tool.
Apparently, some Windows 10 users have been clamoring for the ability to copy and paste both from and to WSL consoles -- a reasonable request. Well, as of Insider Build 17643, this is finally possible.
System76 has long been a huge champion of both Linux and open source. If you aren't familiar, the company sells premium computers running the Ubuntu operating system. Recently, the company decided to create its own Ubuntu-based distro called "Pop!_OS" which uses the GNOME desktop environment.
Today, Denver, Colorado-based System76 takes its commitment to GNOME even further by becoming a Foundation Advisory Board member. It joins other respected companies on the board such as Google, Red Hat, and Canonical to name a few.
Ubuntu Linux 18.04 "Bionic Beaver" is almost here -- it is due on April 26. In the interim, today, the second -- and final -- beta becomes available. Bionic Beaver is very significant, as it is an LTS version, meaning "Long Term Support." This is important to those that prefer stability to bleeding edge and don't want to deal with the hassle of upgrades. In other words, you can install 18.04 and be confident that it will be supported for 5 years. In comparison, non-LTS Ubuntu versions get a mere 9 months.
There is plenty to be excited about with Ubuntu Linux 18.04 LTS 'Bionic Beaver' Beta 2, including the GNOME 3.28 desktop environment -- Beta 1 did not include GNOME at all. Of course, all the other DE flavors are available too, such as KDE and Xfce. The kernel is at 4.15, which while not the most current version, is still quite modern. Also included is LibreOffice 6.0 -- an essential tool that rivals Microsoft Office. Wayland is available as a technical preview, although X remains the default display server -- for now.
Fedora is the best overall Linux-based desktop operating system -- Linus Torvalds famously uses it regularly. Today, version 28 of the distribution finally achieves Beta status. After a short delay -- it was scheduled to be available a week earlier -- the distro is back on track, and looking better than ever.
As is typical now, there are three versions of the operating system -- Atomic Host, Server, and Workstation. While all three have their places, normal desktop computer users will want to focus on Workstation. There are plenty of new features (and bugs), but the most exciting aspect of Fedora 28 Workstation is the inclusion of the GNOME 3.28 desktop environment.
Just over a week ago, Linus Torvalds said that the release of Linux 4.16 could take place on Sunday April 1. Ignoring the fact that April Fool's day is a terrible day to do just about anything, he made good on his promise.
As predicted, there was no RC8 of the kernel, and Torvalds notes that the final release is very similar to RC7. In a post to the Linux Kernel Mailing List, he also said that the merge window for 4.17 is open, but for now, the focus is on 4.16.
Is it cool that there are Linux distributions in the Microsoft Store? Eh, I suppose. While I don't fully trust Microsoft's commitment to both Linux and open source, understandably, some Linux users and administrators have the need to also run Windows 10. And so, from a convenience standpoint, the whole Windows Subsystem for Linux thing is appreciated (we are watching you though, Microsoft!).
Unfortunately, not all Linux distributions are available in the Microsoft Store. This is a problem, as Linux users are very tribal -- a Fedora user, for instance, might be unhappy using Debian. Microsoft hopes to solve this dilemma by making it even easier for distribution maintainers to get their distros into the store. How does the Windows-maker plan to do this? With an all-new GitHub-hosted open source tool called "WSL-DistroLauncher."
After a series of release candidates, Linus Torvalds could well be ready to unleash version 4.16 of the Linux kernel onto the world at the weekend. That is unless he changes his mind about the RC build: "rc7 is much too big for my taste," he says in his weekly update to the kernel mailing list.
Torvalds says that while he's not planning for there to be an eighth release candidate, the current size is causing him to think about the best course of action. For those who have not been following the story, he also details what's new in Linux 4.16.
While replacing Windows 10 with a Linux-based operating system is a fairly easy exercise, it shouldn’t be necessary. Look, if you want a computer running Linux, you should be able to buy that. Thankfully you can, as companies like System76 and Dell sell laptops and desktops with Ubuntu or Ubuntu-based operating systems.
Another option? Buy a Mintbox! This is a diminutive desktop running Linux Mint — an Ubuntu-based OS. Today, the newest such variant — The Mintbox Mini 2 — makes an appearance. While the new model has several new aspects, the most significant is that the Linux Mint Team has switched from AMD to Intel (the original Mini used an A4-Micro 6400T).
If you use Linux on the desktop, there is no shortage of great web browsers from which to choose. For instance, popular options like Firefox, Chrome, and Opera are all available. Thankfully, Microsoft Edge is nowhere to be found!
Firefox is probably the most appropriate web browser to use on Linux. Why? Well, Mozilla’s open source focus is largely aligned with the Linux community. Today, Firefox Quantum becomes even more attractive to Linux users as it is now available as a Snap.
The Linux Foundation has released details of one of its open source projects, ACRN -- a hypervisor designed for the Internet of Things and embedded devices. And, yes, it is pronounced "acorn".
The project was helped by contributions of code and engineering from Intel, and the aim was to create a system for managing virtual machines that was both flexible and small. With a Linux-based service OS, ACRN can run multiple guest operating systems at the same time, making it ideal for many scenarios.
Is Linux Mint slow? Hell, no! The operating system is plenty fast. Speed is in the eye of the beholder, however, and the Mint developers apparently thought app-launching seemed slow when using the Cinnamon desktop environment. They didn't have any proof, but they felt that both Mate and Xfce were faster in this regard.
Well, rather than allow their feelings to remain unproven, the Mint devs decided to come up with a speed test to see if they were correct. Guess what? They were! Windows build time was four times slower with Cinnamon compared to Metacity, while recovery time was nearly four times slower too. So yes, app-launching on Cinnamon -- as of today -- is slow comparatively. The big benefit to pinpointing a problem, however, is that it is the first step in solving it. And so, Linux Mint 19 Cinnamon will be faster as a result.
Cast your mind back to when Sony released the original PlayStation 3, and you may well remember claims that the console was also a "computer". The claims were such that Sony suggested that owners could install Linux -- which, technically speaking, they could.
However, installing Linux on a PS3 also posed something of a security issue, and Sony backtracked on the "Other OS" feature, killing it will a firmware update. Unsurprisingly, a lawsuit followed, and the result of this is that you could in line for a pay-out.
I am sick and tired of technology companies like Microsoft thinking they can impose their will on consumers. Just today, the company made a startling announcement -- it will now force links from the Windows Mail app to open in its own Edge web browser. In other words, whether you like it or not, even if Edge isn't your default browser, it will still be used for opening links from emails. This is unacceptable, and when combined with all of the other Windows 10 calamities, users should consider switching operating systems immediately.
Since macOS requires you to buy an entirely new computer from Apple, a Linux-based operating system is probably your best bet. By using Linux, you can finally reclaim your computer as your own -- not Microsoft's. Today, version 12.3 of Zorin OS is released, and it is the perfect OS to replace Windows 10. Hell, it can even run Windows programs (including Microsoft Office) with the help of the pre-installed and pre-configured Wine 3.