Thousands of DOS games have been added to the Internet Archive

Found on Ars Technica on Monday, 14 October 2019
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The Internet Archive has been updated with more than 2,500 DOS games, marking the most significant addition of games to the archive since 2015.

Many of these games were added to the Internet Archive as a result of the eXoDOS game preservation and restoration project.

If you download all those games you probably need less space on your disk than for a single game today; and let's be honest, those old games have more story.

'Collapse OS' Is an Open Source Operating System for the Post-Apocalypse

Found on Vice on Friday, 11 October 2019
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According to Dupras, Collapse OS must “run on minimal and improvised machines, interface through improvised [keyboards, displays, and mice], edit text files, compile assembler source files for a wide range of MCUs and CPUS, read and write from a wide range of storage devices, and replicate itself.”

“Participation requires a very specific set of inclinations (believing in collapse) and skills (electronics and z80 assembly). I think that very few people fitting those requirements exist. But if they do, I'd like to find them.”

In a post-apocalyptic and dystopian world, it might be possible to get your hands on a couple of Z80 microcontrollers, but how are you supposed to download the OS from Github?

Windows 10 update panic: Older VMware Workstation Pro app broken

Found on The Register on Wednesday, 09 October 2019
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In a thread on Microsoft's site, one affected user complained that upgrading their 100 VMware Workstation licences would cost €11,500.

There are other factors, though. A user trying to run the networking software GNS3 found that after upgrading, the software no longer worked. In addition, newer versions of VMware do not work on some older processors, so an upgrade is not always possible.

This is part of the Application Compatibility Framework which is able to patch applications on the fly as well as informing the user of compatibility issues. Some desperate users (not only in the VMware case) have tried replacing this file with an older version to get blocked applications to run.

Another Windows update, another fallout. Usually the updates are loaded with bugs that cause a wide range of unpleasant errors or even data-loss, but this time the block was intentional. Microsoft could just scan the system before borking it and notify users, giving them the option to decline the update; but in the new world, forced updates are mandatory even if they break your system.

Adobe shuts down Photoshop in Venezuela

Found on BBC News on Tuesday, 08 October 2019
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Users have until 28 October to download content, after which accounts will be deactivated, Adobe said.

On a help page, the firm explained: "The US government issued executive order 13884, the practical effect of which is to prohibit almost all transactions and services between US companies, entities and individuals to Venezuela. To remain compliant with this order, Adobe is deactivating all accounts in Venezuela."

It said it "was unable to issue refunds" because the sanctions included "sales, service, support, refunds, credits, etc".

Adobe has moved to a subscription-only model for the latest versions of its products meaning users will not be able to buy standalone versions.

Welcome to the new world of failures. In the past you bought a software, installed it and could use it forever. Now when someone does not like you anymore, you just get cut off of what you paid for, left with empty hands and unable to continue your work. Think ahead a little next time you buy anything cloud-based.

Oracle demands $12K from network biz that doesn't use its software

Found on The Register on Friday, 04 October 2019
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According to Palmer, while the IP addresses cited fall within Merula's assignment range, they're not all those used by the biz, which runs a virtual network for several other companies that control their own IP addresses. So those it does control aren't part of its core or hosting environment; rather they're used by customers on broadband connections.

"Although your organization might be an ISP however if your use is outside of your customer base beyond 30 days, payments are due to Oracle," the confusingly worded billing demand says.

"When companies use their legal department as a profit center it is highly indicative that the products they claim they are incorporated to provide are no longer competitive in the marketplace," he said.

Oracle must be aware that they are wrong here, but that has never stopped them from trying to squeeze money out of someone. They should just file a lawsuit and be laughed out of court.

The D in Systemd is for Directories: Poettering says his creation will phone /home in future

Found on The Register on Thursday, 26 September 2019
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Systemd inventor Lennart Poettering told the crowds at the All Systems Go Linux user-space event in Berlin he intends to reinvent home directories to fix issues with the current model that are otherwise insoluble.

He is also much concerned with a security issue, which is that even when full-disk encryption is in use, when the system is suspended the decryption key is held in memory, so that if a laptop is stolen while suspended it would be possible to access the data.

A person at the session asked what should be done by a university student, for example, who wanted to log in to a Linux machine that was rebooted overnight from 200 miles away. The answer: "If you really want that this system can come up on its own, don't use this stuff. This is about security."

It's not about security, it's about Poettering stroking his little ego. If he seriously believes that the risk of accessing an in-memory in a suspended laptop justified messing up the entire /home ecosystem, then someone should tell him that anybody who really wants his decryption key will just beat him up hard until he tells them. It's just more and more of this cancer that is spreading through the system, going against Unix philosophy. Lennart really has to fork and create the "Poettering Operating System" or "POS" for short.

German ministry hellbent on taking back control of 'digital sovereignty', cutting dependency on Microsoft

Found on The Register on Saturday, 21 September 2019
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In an official statement, the Federal Minister of the Interior Horst Seehofer states that “in order to ensure our digital sovereignty, we want to reduce dependencies on individual IT providers. We are also considering alternative programs to replace certain software. This will be done in close coordination with other EU countries.”

The analyst identifies several pain points ("Schmerzpunkten"). The first is data security. Telemetry transfers data to Microsoft, the user has limited insight and control over this, and it may contain personal data and therefore risk of breaching GDPR, the report suggests.

First Munich moves from Windows to Linux, then it moves back. It is important to mention that the migration not only saved millions of Euros, but also reduced support requests and in general was a success. However, after Microsoft promised to mayor Dieter Reiter (who calls himself a Microsoft fan) to move its headquarters to Munich, a rollback to Windows was announced. That, of course, costs the taxpayer tens of millions of Euros, even though most of the workers were satisfied with LiMux. All this makes it sound like a really nasty bribery affair.

Firefox will encrypt web domain name requests by default

Found on Engadget on Monday, 09 September 2019
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Mozilla's Firefox privacy protections will soon include one of the most basic tasks for any web browser: fielding the domain name requests that help you visit websites. The developer will make DNS over encrypted HTTPS the default for the US starting in late September, locking down more of your web browsing without requiring an explicit toggle like before.

If all goes smoothly, Firefox may become a go-to option for anyone who insists on securing as much of their web traffic as possible.

So, in their infinite wisdom, Mozilla decided to mess with an perfectly fine core protocol of the Internet, making it harder for system admins to trace down problems and circumventing custom DNS settings which are used to effectively avoid malware and advertising domains. Even worse, they wrap DNS requests into HTTP, adding more layers to the transport of a basic request. To top it all, they have the gall to accounce it as a much needed solution for your privacy while sending all DNS requests to Cloudflare; totally ignoring the fact that DNS over TLS already exists and is working fine and even has its own RFC.

Over half the world is now running Windows 10

Found on The Inquirer on Tuesday, 03 September 2019
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It has taken over four years and a hell of a lot of marketing, some good, some dodgy, but it's finally happened - Windows 10 now has over half the operating system market on desktop and laptop machines.

Most of those extra bums-on-seats come from Windows 7 which is now at 30 per cent (-1.49). That's still a big chunk of machines though, nearly a third, which is going to prove an increasing headache as we hit the last few months before the venerable OS is retired in January 2020.

Funny how most of the news you can read about Windows 10 are how updates cripple systems and delete the data users have on it.

npm bans terminal ads

Found on ZD Net on Sunday, 01 September 2019
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After last week a popular JavaScript library started showing full-blown ads in the npm command-line interface, npm, Inc., the company that runs the npm tool and website, has taken a stance and plans to ban such behavior in the future.

However, the JavaScript community didn't react in the way Aboukhadijeh hoped, and his initiative was criticized by most developers, who claimed the ads were polluting application logs.

Now if only NPM would be banned too. Nobody who is serious would ever consider using that in anything remotely close to a production environment; but then we're talking about Javascript...