Security

Why Screen Lockers On X11 Cannot Be Secure 347

Posted by Soulskill
from the targeted-for-improvement dept.
jones_supa writes: One thing we all remember from Windows NT is the security feature requiring the user to press CTRL-ALT-DEL to unlock the workstation (this can still be enabled with a policy setting). The motivation was to make it impossible for other programs to mimic a lock screen, as they couldn't react to the special key combination. Martin Gräßlin from the KDE team takes a look at the lock screen security on X11. On a protocol level, X11 doesn't know anything of screen lockers. Also the X server doesn't know that the screen is locked as it doesn't understand the concept. This means the screen locker can only use the core functionality available to emulate screen locking. That in turn also means that any other client can do the same and prevent the screen locker from working (for example opening a context menu on any window prevents the screen locker from activating). That's quite a bummer: any process connected to the X server can block the screen locker, and even more it could fake your screen locker.
Windows

Latest Windows 10 Preview Build Brings Slew of Enhancements 192

Posted by Soulskill
from the lots-to-break-and-lots-to-fix dept.
Deathspawner writes: Following its huge Windows 10 event last Wednesday, Microsoft released a brand-new preview build to the public, versioned 9926. We were told that it'd give us Cortana, Microsoft's AI assistant, as well as a revamped Start menu and updated notifications pane. But as it turns out, that's not even close to summing up all that's new with this build. In fact, 9926 is easily the most substantial update rolled out so far in the beta program, with some UI elements and integral Windows features seeing their first overhaul in multiple generations.
Opera

Opera Founder Is Back, WIth a Feature-Heavy, Chromium-Based Browser 157

Posted by timothy
from the sink-within-a-sink dept.
New submitter cdysthe writes Almost two years ago, the Norwegian browser firm Opera ripped out the guts of its product and adopted the more standard WebKit and Chromium technologies, essentially making it more like rivals Chrome and Safari. But it wasn't just Opera's innards that changed; the browser also became more streamlined and perhaps less geeky. Many Opera fans were deeply displeased at the loss of what they saw as key differentiating functionality. So now Jon von Tetzchner, the man who founded Opera and who would probably never have allowed those drastic feature changes, is back to serve this hard core with a new browser called Vivaldi. The project's front page links to downloads of a technical preview, available for Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows. Firefox users who likewise prefer a browser with more rather than fewer features (but otherwise want to stick with Firefox) might also consider SeaMonkey, which bundles not just a browser but email, newsgroup client and feed reader, HTML editor, IRC chat and web development tools.
Software

Windows 10 IE With Spartan Engine Performance Vs. Chrome and Firefox 171

Posted by Soulskill
from the attempting-to-battle-back dept.
MojoKid writes: In Microsoft's latest Windows 10 preview build released last week, Cortana made an entrance, but the much-anticipated Spartan browser did not. However, little did we realize that some of Spartan made the cut, in the form of an experimental rendering engine hidden under IE's hood. Microsoft has separated its Trident rendering engine into two separate versions: one is for Spartan, called EdgeHTML, while the other remains under its legacy naming with Internet Explorer. The reason Microsoft doesn't simply forego the older version is due to compatibility concerns. If you're running the Windows 10 9926 build, chances are good that you're automatically taking advantage of the new EdgeHTML engine in IE. To check, you can type 'about:flags' into the address bar. "Automatic" means that the non-Spartan Trident engine will be called-upon only if needed. In all other cases, you'll be taking advantage of the future Spartan web rendering engine. Performance-wise, the results with IE are like night and day in certain spots. Some of the improvements are significant. IE's Sunspider result already outperforms the competition, but it has been further improved. And with Kraken, the latency with the Spartan-powered Trident engine dropped 40%. Similar results are seen with a boost in the Octane web browser test as well.
Windows

Windows 10: Charms Bar Removed, No Start Screen For Desktops 375

Posted by samzenpus
from the check-it-out dept.
jones_supa writes Late last week, Microsoft pushed out a new build (9926) of Windows 10 to those of you who are running the Technical Preview. The latest version comes with many new features, some easily accessible, others bubbling under, but two big changes are now certain: the Charms bar is dead, and Start Screen for large devices is no more. Replacing the Charms bar is the Action Center, which has many of the same shortcuts as the Charms bar, but also has a plethora of other information too. Notifications are now bundled into the Action Center and the shortcuts to individual settings are still easily accessible from this window. The Start Screen is no longer present for desktop users, the options for opening it are gone. Continuum is the future, and it has taken over what the Start Screen initiated with Windows 8.
Graphics

DirectX 12 Lies Dormant Within Microsoft's Recent Windows 10 Update 133

Posted by timothy
from the until-activated-by-a-trigger-word dept.
MojoKid writes After last Wednesday's Windows 10 event, early adopters and IT types were probably anxious for Microsoft to release the next preview build. Fortunately, it didn't take long as it came out on Friday, and it's safe to say that it introduced even more than many were anticipating (but still no Spartan browser). However, in case you missed it, DirectX 12 is actually enabled in this Windows 10 release, though unfortunately we'll need to wait for graphics drivers and apps that support it, to take advantage of DX 12 features and performance enhancements.
Programming

Ask Slashdot: Is Pascal Underrated? 485

Posted by timothy
from the let's-make-a-wager dept.
An anonymous reader writes In the recent Slashdot discussion on the D programming language, I was surprised to see criticisms of Pascal that were based on old information and outdated implementations. While I'm sure that, for example, Brian Kernighan's criticisms of Pascal were valid in 1981, things have moved on since then. Current Object Pascal largely addresses Kernighan's critique and also includes language features such as anonymous methods, reflection and attributes, class helpers, generics and more (see also Marco Cantu's recent Object Pascal presentation). Cross-platform development is fairly straightforward with Pascal. Delphi targets Windows, OS X, iOS and Android. Free Pascal targets many operating systems and architectures and Lazarus provides a Delphi-like IDE for Free Pascal. So what do you think? Is Pascal underrated?
Internet Explorer

In Addition To Project Spartan, Windows 10 Will Include Internet Explorer 99

Posted by timothy
from the ultra-backwards-compatible dept.
An anonymous reader writes After unveiling its new Project Spartan browser for Windows 10, Microsoft is now offering more details. The company confirmed that Windows 10 will also include Internet Explorer for enterprise sites, though it didn't say how exactly this will work. Spartan comes with a new rendering engine, which doesn't rely on the versioned document modes the company has historically used. It also provides compatibility with the millions of existing enterprise websites specifically designed for Internet Explorer by loading the IE11 engine when needed. In this way, the browser uses the new rendering engine for modern websites and the old one for legacy purposes.
Bug

Linus Fixes Kernel Regression Breaking Witcher 2 126

Posted by timothy
from the where-is-your-itch? dept.
jones_supa writes There has been quite a debate around the Linux version of The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings and the fact that it wasn't really a port. A special kind of wrapper was used to make the Windows version of the game run on Linux systems, similar to Wine. The performance on Linux systems took a hit and users felt betrayed because they thought that they would get a native port. However, after the game stopped launching properly at some point, the reason was actually found to be a Linux regression. Linus quickly took care of the issue on an unofficial Witcher 2 issue tracker on GitHub: "It looks like LDT_empty is buggy on 64-bit kernels. I suspect that the behavior was inconsistent before the tightening change and that it's now broken as a result. I'll write a patch. Serves me right for not digging all the way down the mess of macros." This one goes to the bin "don't break userspace". Linus also reminds of QA: "And maybe this is an excuse for somebody in the x86 maintainer team to try a few games on steam. They *are* likely good tests of odd behavior.."
Google

Google Just Made It Easier To Run Linux On Your Chromebook 169

Posted by timothy
from the danger-in-keeping-that-little-fulcrum-in-place dept.
TechCurmudgeon writes A story in PCWorld's "World beyond Windows" column outlines coming improvements in Chrome OS that will enable easily running Linux directly from a USB stick: "Have you ever installed a full desktop Linux system on your Chromebook? It isn't all [that] hard, but it is a bit more complex than it should be. New features in the latest version of Chrome OS will make dipping into an alternative operating system easier. For example, you'll be able to easily boot a full Linux system from a USB drive and use it without any additional hassle!"
Windows

Surface RT Devices Won't Get Windows 10 158

Posted by Soulskill
from the take-that-early-adopters dept.
whoever57 writes: In its announcement of Windows 10, Microsoft indicated not all devices would get the updated operating system. Now, Microsoft says its Surface devices running Windows RT won't be receiving full updates, though it does plan to roll some new functionality into them. "Given that Windows RT and RT 8.1 were designed for power economizing devices sporting 32-bit ARM architecture, and never had the same functionality — to many users' frustration — as full-blown Windows 8 and 8.1, it comes as little surprise that the RT versions of the operating system should be left out of the latest update loop. In fact, a week before Microsoft's big Windows 10 reveal on January 21, the company released firmware updates for all three models of its Intel-powered Surface Pro series, but neither of the ARM-based Surface tablets — the Surface 2 or Surface RT — received any new updates this month." The Surface Pro line of tablets, which run a normal version of Windows, will be getting an update to Windows 10.
Windows

Microsoft Announces Office 2016 and Office For Windows 10 Coming Later This Year 148

Posted by samzenpus
from the coming-soon dept.
An anonymous reader writes At its Windows 10 event yesterday, Microsoft unveiled the touch-optimized version of Office. Today, the company offered more details about that version, and then snuck in another announcement: the next desktop version is under development, it is called Office 2016, and it will be generally available "in the second half of 2015." Office for Windows 10 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and Outlook), meanwhile, is also slated to arrive later this year, though Microsoft has shared more about it and plans to offer a preview in the coming weeks. These new Office apps will be pre-installed (they will be free) on smartphones and small tablets running Windows 10. They will also be available to download from the Windows Store for other devices.
Security

Adobe Patches One Flash Zero Day, Another Still Unfixed 47

Posted by timothy
from the cross-platform dept.
Trailrunner7 writes Adobe has released an emergency update for Flash to address a zero-day vulnerability that is being actively exploited. The company also is looking into reports of exploits for a separate Flash bug not fixed in the new release, which is being used in attacks by the Angler exploit kit. The vulnerability that Adobe patched Thursday is under active attack, but Adobe officials said that this flaw is not the one that security researcher Kafeine said Wednesday was being used in the Angler attacks. The patch for Flash comes just a day after Kafeine disclosed that some instances of the Angler exploit kit contained an exploit for a previously unknown vulnerability in the software. Adobe officials said Wednesday that they were investigating the reports. Kafeine initially saw Angler attacking the latest version of Flash in IE on Windows XP, Vista, 7 and 8, but said the exploit wasn't being used against Chrome or Firefox. On Thursday he said on Twitter that the group behind Angler had changed the code to exploit Firefox as well as fully patched IE 11 on Windows 8.1.
Windows

Microsoft Reveals Windows 10 Will Be a Free Upgrade 570

Posted by samzenpus
from the try-it-free dept.
mpicpp was one of many to point out this bit of news about Windows 10."Microsoft just took another big step toward the release of Windows 10 and revealed it will be free for many current Windows users. The company unveiled the Windows 10 consumer preview on Wednesday, showcasing some of the new features in the latest version of the operating system that powers the vast majority of the world's desktop PCs. The developer preview has been available since Microsoft first announced Windows 10 in the fall, but it was buggy, limited in scope and very light on new features. Importantly, Windows 10 will be free for existing Windows users running versions of Windows back to Windows 7. That includes Windows 7, 8, 8.1 and Windows Phone. Microsoft specified it would only be free for the first year, indicating Windows would be software that users subscribe to, rather than buy outright. Microsoft Corporate Vice President of the Operating Systems Group Joe Belfiore showed off some of the new features in Windows 10. While Microsoft had already announced it would bring back the much-missed Start Menu, Belfiore revealed it would also have a full-screen mode that includes more of the Windows 8 Start screen. He said Windows machines would go back and forth between to two menus in a way that wouldn't confuse people. Belfiore also showed a new notification center for Windows, which puts a user's notifications in an Action Center menu that can appear along the right side, similar to how notifications work in Apple OS X. Microsoft Executive Vice President of Operating Systems Terry Myerson revealed that 1.7 million people had downloaded the Windows 10 developer preview, giving Microsoft over 800,000 individual piece of feedback. Myerson explained that Windows 10 has several main intents: the give users a mobility of experience from device to device, instill a sense of trust in users, and provide the most natural ways to interact with devices." More details are available directly from Microsoft.
Windows

Windows Server 2003 Reaches End of Life In July 156

Posted by Soulskill
from the countdown-to-crying dept.
Several readers sent word that we're now less than six months away from the end of support for Windows Server 2003. Though the operating system's usage peaked in 2009, it still runs on millions of machines, and many IT departments are just now starting to look at replacements. Although Microsoft publishes support deadlines long in advance -- and has been beating the drum to dump Server 2003 for months -- it's not unusual for customers to hang on too long. Last year, as Windows XP neared its final days of support, there were still huge numbers of systems running the aged OS. Companies lined up to pay Microsoft for extended support contracts and PC sales stabilized in part because enterprises bought new replacement machines. Problems replacing Windows Server 2003 may appear similar at first glance, but they're not: Servers are critical to a business because of the applications that run on them, which may have to be rewritten or replaced.

[In many cases, legacy applications are the sole reason for the continued use of Server 2003.] Those applications may themselves be unsupported at this point, the company that built them may be out of business or the in-house development team may have been disbanded. Any of those scenarios would make it difficult or even impossible to update the applications' code to run on a newer version of Windows Server. Complicating any move is the fact that many of those applications are 32-bit -- and have been kept on Windows Server 2003 for that reason -- and while Windows Server 2012 R2 offers a compatibility mode to run such applications, it's not foolproof.
Media

The Current State of Linux Video Editing 223

Posted by Soulskill
from the stop-motion-tux dept.
An anonymous reader writes: The VFX industry has for most of the last 30 years been reliant on Macs and Windows machines for video editing, primarily because all of the Linux-based FOSS tools have been less than great. This is a shame, because all of the best 3D and 2D tools, other than video, are entrenched in the Linux environment and perform best there. The lack of decent video editing tools on Linux prevents every VFX studio from becoming a Linux-only shop. That being said, there are some strides being made to bridge this gap. What setup do you use? What's still missing?
PC Games (Games)

Sid Meier's New Game Is About Starships 227

Posted by Soulskill
from the klingons-off-the-starboard-bow dept.
jones_supa writes: The next game from the mind of veteran strategy and simulation game designer Sid Meier has been revealed. 2K and Firaxis Games have announced Sid Meier's Starships, a turn-based interstellar strategy game scheduled to arrive in early 2015 for Windows, OS X, and iOS (iPad). In the game, you control a fleet of starships as you journey through the galaxy to complete missions, protect planets and their inhabitants, and build a planetary federation. As you trek through the stars, you will be challenged to expand your federation's influence and reach. You shall also amass futuristic technology and take part in combat using a deep roster of customizable ships. When designing Starships, Meier was intrigued by the idea of exploring the next chapter in the story of Civilization: Beyond Earth. "What happens after we colonize our new home and eventually build starships to take to the stars? What has become of our long-lost brothers and sisters from the planet Earth," Meier asks. "My goal was to create an experience that focuses on starship design and combat within a universe filled with interstellar adventure, diplomacy, and exploration."
Programming

Interviews: Alexander Stepanov and Daniel E. Rose Answer Your Questions 42

Posted by samzenpus
from the read-all-about-it dept.
samzenpus (5) writes "Alexander Stepanov is an award winning programmer who designed the C++ Standard Template Library. Daniel E. Rose is a programmer, research scientist, and is the Chief Scientist for Search at A9.com. In addition to working together, the duo have recently written a new book titled, From Mathematics to Generic Programming. Earlier this month you had a chance to ask the pair about their book, their work, or programming in general. Below you'll find the answers to those questions."
Windows

Windows 10: Can Microsoft Get It Right This Time? 489

Posted by samzenpus
from the tenth-time's-a-charm dept.
An anonymous reader shares this article about what Microsoft needs to accomplish with Windows 10 in order to make gains in the mobile market and everywhere else. "Later this week Microsoft will provide more details of Windows 10, most likely focusing on how the new operating system will look and feel on smartphones and tablets. According to Mary Jo Foley, Microsoft is likely to unveil a version of Windows 10 that's expected to work on Windows Phones and smaller Windows tablets running ARM and perhaps Intel processors. Microsoft will be hoping that by making it easier for developers to build for tablets and smartphones it can take some of its dominance of the desktop world and port that to the mobile world. That may help a bit, but will not in itself create the breakthrough that Microsoft wants: when it comes to mobile, Microsoft's Windows Phone is still a distant third in a two-horse race."
Android

Ask Slashdot: Can I Trust Android Rooting Tools? 184

Posted by timothy
from the spider-sense dept.
Qbertino writes After a long period of evaluation and weighing cons and pros I've gotten myself a brand new Android tablet (10" Lenovo Yoga 2, Android Version) destined to be my prime mobile computing device in the future. As any respectable freedom-loving geek/computer-expert I want to root it to be able to install API spoofing libraries and security tools to give me owners power over the machine and prevent services like Google and others spying on me, my files, photos, calendar and contacts. I also want to install an ad-blocking proxy (desperately needed — I forgot how much the normal web sucks!). I've searched for some rooting advice and tools, and so far have only stumbled on shady looking sites that offer various Windows-based rooting kits for android devices.

What's the gist on all this? How much of this stuff is potential malware? What are your experiences? Can I usually trust rooting strategies to be malware-free? Is there a rule-of-thumb for this? Is there perhaps a more generic way for a FOSS/Linux expert who isn't afraid of the CLI to root any Android 4.4 (Kitkat) device? Advice and own experiences, please.