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Cellphones

+ - 152 Tizen not as Open Source, drops EFL to merge with Bada 1

Submitted by DustyMutant
DustyMutant (2603063) writes "Due to lack of a public roadmap and basic schedule it was uncertain for fans of Tizen whether Bada featurephone operating system takes center stage for Samsung's Tizen as the popular rumors say. With the final 2.0 release important milestone of the merge has been finalized. Bada's "Open Services Platform" frameworks (APIs and implementation) have been merged into Tizen, thus forming a hybrid of HTML5 runtime environment and Bada advanced featurephone application layer, all siting on top of Linux Kernel and system libraries. What worries is that it happened silently without prior discussion or at least announcement what may be unexpected because Tizen is promoted as a project under umbrella and maintenance of the Linux Foundation, employer of Linus Torvalds.

Visiting Tizen 2 and Bada 2 platform web documentation is enough to notice that Tizen 2 native developer experience evolved into what was known as the Bada advanced featurephone OS. For a quick comparison, a simple screenshot has been published.

Moreover Enlightenment Foundation Libraries (EFL) developers have been advertising strong Samsung's support for years. Now this support has been basically dropped in the middle of the changes that form Tizen 2.0.

Is there a chance for Tizen to become a real Linux operating system we all know, capable of running existing free software, not just HTML pages and Bada apps? There is IF the community takes over areas where Linux Foundation is passive. While there is no official support for these third-party frameworks, according to the explanation on the Tizen SDK page:

Tizen applications for mobile devices can be developed without relying on an official Tizen IDE as long as the application complies with Tizen packaging rules.

Still, is this declaration enough to gain trust in the community? Just before the release, Carsten Haitzler aka rasterman, Samsung's Principal Engineer working on Tizen and EFL guru in one person, showed some signs of irritation (an excerpt from an Tizen IRC log, original typos corrected):

tizen is not meego or maemo, it is not related
i've been working on this os now for like over 4 years
i have spent years saying "release ports to existing products"
no action, years saying what you say, i don't bother anymore
what will happen — will happen
i have no chance to change it because at least [in] samsung all decisions are top-down
ie. some executive with zero connection/knowledge of OSS is going to decide all the technical details
as i mentioned tizen is SLP [Samsung Linux Platform], SLP is a continuation of Limo
Limo is something that existed alongside and/or before maemo did
it has been in competition internally, no ball was picked up, it's a separate ball
it was renamed to tizen and put under a [Linux Foundation] banner and Intel then joined in
Intel has pushed for things to be much more open and to use OBS [Open Build System] and much infra that was used before for meego
[..]
tizen uses enlightenment and efl, thus why its then "zero porting" :)
that doesn't mean you will be able to use efl in apps you port/write
i do this for my own amusement, YOU may be stuck with a phone that is locked down and that doesn't allow installation of native apps at all

Shortly after that rasterman shared his look at the openess of the Linux Foundation-backed project in more depth to fight some misinformation:

Tizen, and what is in it (technically), is controlled by/decided on by the TSG [Technical Steering Group]. The TSG is a committee of executives (Samsung and Intel — you can read up on it — Imad and JD). They decide what will happen, and that's how it works. It's a top-down thing with VP's in charge. How and what they decide is up to them entirely. I have no idea what they will decide, when or where. Well officially I don't. What I may, or may not know is simply rumour and not for me to disclose, as decisions are made by the executives in charge (as above) as they see fit (which is not here in public, like on these mailing lists, IRC etc.). This (Tizen) is not like open source projects (let's say like E/EFL, Qt, GTK+, Xorg, Linux Kernel etc.), where I, or any developer, is free to talk about plans for the future and work being done, (or for that matter even knows or can find out). I understand that you are coming from that perspective, and thus logically asking those questions here, expecting answers like you would with pretty much any OSS project, but Tizen is not like that.

On the day of the release once the secret has been disclosed, rasterman concluded the reason for frustration on the Tizen IRC channel to the fellow engineers:

jooncheol Open Services Platform !!!
jooncheol bada !!
jooncheol hmm
jooncheol bada ...
jooncheol omg
Stskeeps looks like a good compromise, EFL on the inside, OSP on outside
raster hehe
* Stskeeps envisions raster being taken away in a white straightjacket to the funnyfarm
raster they did that years ago
raster i then escaped
raster and wrote a wm
raster and trust me
raster its not efl on the inside
raster efl is nothing mroe than a glorified wrapper around windows and then a simple surface compositor
Stskeeps sorry to hear that
raster everything else above that is not efl
raster so u may want to reserve judgment until u've seen it all

In addition to governance and technical aspects it becomes clear that Tizen's licensing model looks complicated at the moment. Tizen is presented as an open source and standards-based operating system with popular media praising its openness when compared to Android. However Tizen's SDK contains a mix of open and closed components released together under a non-open-source Samsung's licence.

What's typical in open projects driven by corporations, a number of components internally developed by Samsung such as calendar, task manager or music player are however released under the Flora License which is most likely incompatible with requirements of the Open Source Initiative. Next releases will hopefully resolve the issues to avoid irrelevance."

Android

+ - 263 Why doesn't Android support Linux filesystems for removable storage? 1

Submitted by Pale Dot
Pale Dot (2813911) writes "After weeks of struggle I finally figured out a way for the apps on my rooted Android tablet to recognize an SD card I had formatted as Ext4 but with the default journaling option turned off. The problem at first was getting the SD card to mount at all (technically this was the "external" SD card as the tablet also has a built-in "internal" SD card). Apparently, the Android automount facility, the evil-sounding vold daemon, does not support any filesystem besides Microsoft's VFAT. From various online sources, I learned that the CyanogenMod Linux 3.x kernel itself does support mounting Ext4, at least via the terminal "mount -t ext4" command.

A second problem soon cropped up. Apps, such as VLC and the AardDict offline dictionary, that rely on some sort of automagic scanning of the device storage space would not index the media and database files I copied to the SD card. It turns out that the simple solution, or the "hack" as it stands, is to mount the SD card under the directory created for the internal VFAT-formatted SD card, i.e. as "/storage/sdcard0/extsd" rather than the more direct "/storage/sdcard1". This works probably because subdirectories inherit the file permissions of the parent.

As part of my Google (re)search into the problem, I came upon this Google+ post by an Android developer curiously named Dianne Hackborn about the design decision not to support anything besides the Redmond-certified filesystem: "The external storage when on a SD card is FAT. Period. You are just going to cause yourself a mess if you try to do otherwise. The basic semantics of how external storage is used relies on it being fat — no permissions, case insensitive, etc."

So, is Google right about not supporting Ext2/3/4 for removable flash media, even if the base system itself often uses one of these Linux-native filesystems? Supposed issues about the frequent media access needed by a journalised filesystem don't apply to Ext2, which has no journal, or Ext4, which has an "-O ^has_journal" (no journal) formatting option. Perplexing still is that my tablet is advertised as having support for yet another Microsoft-patented invention, the ExFat filesystem. Unfortunately, there's still no way for a non-rooted Android tablet or smartphone to mount an SD card formatted as Ext2 or Ext4."
Google

+ - 139 Google Glass Opened Up To "Creative Individuals"->

Submitted by
DavidGilbert99
DavidGilbert99 writes "Google has opened up pre-orders for its much south-after Google Glass headset to "creative individuals" calling on them to tell the company why they deserve one by saying what they would use it for. Accompanying the announcement is a new video of the interface, being shown off in a variety of settings such ranging from hot-air ballooning to downhill skiing and everything in between..."
Link to Original Source
Google

+ - 162 Google Reports Account Hijacking Down 99.7%->

Submitted by
CowboyRobot
CowboyRobot writes "Google's security team reported that the number of compromised Gmail accounts dropped 99.7% since 2011. Their solution is to conduct a risk analysis of more than 120 variables every single time a user checks email to make sure the sign-in is genuine. Any flags then prompt the user with a security question."
Link to Original Source
Hardware Hacking

+ - 246 The Patents That Threaten 3-D Printing->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "We've watched patents slow down the smartphone and tablet markets. We've seen patent claims thrown against Linux, Android, and countless other software projects. Now, as 3-D printing becomes more capable and more affordable, it seems a number of patents threaten to do the same to the hobbyist and tinkerer crowd. Wired has highlighted some of the most dangerous ones, including: a patent on soluble print materials that support a structure while it's being printed; a ridiculously broad patent on distributed rapid prototyping, which could affect "every 3-D printing service that has launched in the past few years"; and an 18-year-old patent on 3-D printing using a powder and a binding material, held by MIT."
Link to Original Source
Network

+ - 244 You Can Navigate Between Any Two Websites In 19 Clicks or Fewer->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "A study done by a Hungarian physicist found that of the billions of websites and over a trillion objects on the web, any given two are separated by no more than 19 clicks. 'Distributed across the entire web, though, are a minority of pages—search engines, indexes and aggregators—that are very highly connected and can be used to move from area of the web to another. These nodes serve as the "Kevin Bacons" of the web, allowing users to navigate from most areas to most others in less than 19 clicks. Barabási credits this “small world” of the web to human nature—the fact that we tend to group into communities, whether in real life or the virtual world. The pages of the web aren’t linked randomly, he says: They’re organized in an interconnected hierarchy of organizational themes, including region, country and subject area. Interestingly, this means that no matter how large the web grows, the same interconnectedness will rule.'"
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Communications

+ - 208 Drones still face major communications challenges getting onto US airspace->

Submitted by
coondoggie
coondoggie writes "Communications and effective system control are still big challenges unmanned aircraft developers are facing if they want unfettered access to US airspace. Those were just a couple of the conclusions described in a recent Government Accountability Office report on the status of unmanned aircraft and the national airspace. The bottom line for now seems to be that while research and development efforts are under way to mitigate obstacles to safe and routine integration of unmanned aircraft into the national airspace, these efforts cannot be completed and validated without safety, reliability, and performance standards, which have not yet been developed because of data limitations"
Link to Original Source

+ - 270 Supreme Court Approves Search Warrants Issued by Dogs->

Submitted by
Entropy98
Entropy98 writes "Today the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that "a court can presume" an alert by a drug-sniffing dog provides probable cause for a search.

The Supreme Court has not yet issued a ruling in Florida v. Jardines, the other drug dog case it heard last October. Jardines raises the question of whether police need a warrant to use a drug-sniffing dog at the doorstep of a home.

The police can now search anyone anywhere as long as their dog "alerts". Soon coming to your front door as well."

Link to Original Source
Blackberry

+ - 150 BlackBerry Vulnerability Could Allow Access to Enterprise Server->

Submitted by Trailrunner7
Trailrunner7 (1100399) writes "A vulnerability exists in some components of BlackBerry mobile devices that could grant attackers access to instances of the company’s Enterprise Server (BES), according to Research in Motion (RIM), which issued an alert and released a patch for the vulnerability last week via its Knowledge Base support site. BES, the software implicated by the vulnerability, helps companies deploy BlackBerry devices.

The high severity advisory involves the way the phone views Tagged Image File Format (TIFF) files, specifically the way the phone’s Mobile Data System Connection Service and Messaging Agent processes and renders the images.

An attacker could rig a TIFF image with malware and get a user to either view the image via a specially crafted website or send it to the user via email or instant message. The last two exploit vectors could make it so the user wouldn’t have to click the link or image, or view the email or instant message, for the attack to prove successful. Once executed, an attacker could access and execute code on Blackberry’s Enterprise Server"

Link to Original Source
NASA

+ - 150 NASA Loses Contact with Space Station Over Software Update->

Submitted by kodiaktau
kodiaktau (2351664) writes "Reports early Tuesday morning say that a software update to the Space Station caused a communication blackout with Houston control. Remediation of the update has allowed the astronauts limited communication every 90 minutes or so. It is expected that the issue will be resolved today."
Link to Original Source
Japan

+ - 278 Sensors pick up North Korean radioactivity->

Submitted by
gbrumfiel
gbrumfiel writes "A global network of sensors has picked up faint traces of radioactive gas that probably seeped from last week's underground nuclear test by North Korea. The detection of xenon-133 in Japan and Russia provide further evidence of the nuclear nature of the test, but offer no hint as to the type of weapon used. Atmospheric modelling by the Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics in Vienna shows that the gas likely seeped from North Korea's test site on 15 February, three days after the original test. That indicates that the test was well sealed deep underground."
Link to Original Source
Cellphones

+ - 138 Tizen 2.0 Magnolia SDK and Source Code Release->

Submitted by
jrepin
jrepin writes "Tizen 2.0 source code and SDK are now available. This release includes enhanced Web framework that provides state-of-the-art HTML5/W3C API support, and Web UI framework (including full-screen and multi-window support), Additional Tizen device APIs, such as Bluetooth and NFC support, and access to the device’s calendar, call history, and messaging subsystems are now available. Web Runtime framework supports new configuration elements for specifying the required features and privileges, and providing the basic runtime environment for NPRuntime plugins. Native framework supports full-featured application development and providing a variety of features such as background applications, IP Push, and TTS (Text-To-Speech)"
Link to Original Source

+ - 255 Does the Higgs Boson Reveal Our Universe's Doomsday?->

Submitted by
astroengine
astroengine writes "If calculations of the newly discovered Higgs boson particle are correct, one day, tens of billions of years from now, the universe will disappear at the speed of light, replaced by a strange, alternative dimension, one theoretical physicist calls boring. "It may be that the universe we live in is inherently unstable and at some point billions of years from now it’s all going to get wiped out. This has to do with the Higgs energy field itself,” Joseph Lykken, with the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Ill., told Discovery News. "This calculation tells you that many tens of billions of years from now there’ll be a catastrophe.""
Link to Original Source
Google

+ - 184 Oxford temporarily blocks Google Docs to fight phishing->

Submitted by
netbuzz
netbuzz writes "Fed up with phishers using Google Forms to commandeer campus email accounts as spam engines, Oxford University recently blocked access to Google Docs for two-and-a-half hours in what it called an “extreme action” designed to get the attention of both its users and Google. “Seeing multiple such incidents the other afternoon tipped things over the edge,” Oxford explains in a blog post. “We considered these to be exceptional circumstances and felt that the impact on legitimate University business by temporarily suspending access to Google Docs was outweighed by the risks to University business by not taking such action.” The move generated widespread complaints from those affected, as well as criticism from outside network professionals."
Link to Original Source
Biotech

+ - 195 Monsanto's 'terminator' seeds set to make a comeback->

Submitted by
ananyo
ananyo writes "Monsanto and other biotechnology firms could be looking to bring back 'terminator' seed technology. The seeds are genetically engineered so that crops grown from them produce sterile seed and prompted such an outcry that, as slashdot noted, Monsanto's chief executive pledged not to commercialize them. But a case in the US Supreme Court could allow farmers to plant the progeny of GM seeds rather than buying new seeds from Monsanto, making the technology attractive to biotech companies again. Some environmentalists also see 'terminator' seeds as a way of avoiding GM crops contaminating organic/non-GM crops."
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