An anonymous reader writes "Google has launched the Google Voice Search Hotword extension for Chrome, bringing the 'OK Google' feature to the desktop. You can download the new tool, currently in beta, now directly from the Chrome Web Store. Android users with version 4.4 KitKat will recognize the feature: it lets you talk to Google without first clicking or typing. It's completely hands-free, provided you're already on Google.com: just say 'OK Google' and then ask your question." Quick, someone wire Pocketsphinx up to Firefox, or integrate Simon into Krunner.
Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive
A year after the first schematics were completed and a few months after the first prototype board shipped, Make Play Live has released Improv, the first engineering card for EOMA-68 (EOMA-68 is a specification for modular systems that splits the cpu board from the rest of the system, allowing the end user to use the same core with several devices or upgrade e.g. a tablet without having to pay for a new screen shell). From Aaron Seigo's weblog post: "The hardware of Improv is extremely capable: a dual-core ARM® Cortex-A7 System on Chip (SoC) running at 1Ghz, 1 GB of RAM, 4 GB of on-board NAND flash and a powerful OpenGL ES GPU. To access all of this hardware goodness there are a variety of ports: 2 USB2 ports (one fullsize host, one micro OTG), SD card reader, HDMI, ethernet (10/100, though the feature card has a Gigabit connector; more on that below), SATA, i2c, VGA/TTL and 8 GPIO pins. The entire device weighs less than 100 grams, is passively cooled and fits in your hand. Improv comes pre-installed with Mer OS, sporting a recent Linux kernel, systemd, and a wide variety of software tools. By default it boots into console, so if you are making a headless device you needn't worry about extra overhead running that you don't need. If you are going to hook it up to a screen (or two), then you have an amazing starting point with choices such as X.org, Wayland, Qt4, Qt5 and a full complement of KDE libraries and Plasma Workspaces. Improv takes advantage of the open EOMA68 standard to deliver a unique design: the SoC, RAM and storage live on one card (the 'CPU card'), the feature ports are on a PCB it docks with (the 'feature board'). The two dock securely together with the CPU card sitting under the feature board nestled in a pair of rails; they are undocked from each other by pushing a mechanical ejector button." Check out the specs and pictures. The card is available now for $75. Improv is open hardware, with the schematics licensed under the GPL and available soon.
jones_supa writes "Kdenlive's project leader Jean-Baptiste Mardelle, who always used to let people know if he was going to be away for a couple of days, seems to have just disappeared. His last e-mail and blog post were in early July and they didn't suggest any problems. While there's many Kdenlive fans out there for the KDE-focused open-source video editor, it seems new development efforts around the project have ceased. Also the Kdenlive Git repository hasn't seen any new commits (aside from the automated l10n daemon script) since early July. There has been also people in KDE forums and Kdenlive developers' mailing list pondering about the status of the project, being left none the wiser."
sfcrazy writes "Last week Canonical sent a cease and desist letter to EFF staffer Micah F Lee asking him to remove the word Ubuntu from the URL as well as the Ubuntu logo from the site. Lee responded through an attorney who said that Canonical's 'request were not supported by trademark laws and interferes with protected speech.' Shuttleworth apologized, though it was cheeky, and while he dubbed the Mir opponents as non-technical (hello KDE, systemD, Wayland, Intel) he also went on to explain why they needed to protect their trademark. Now there is an official response from EFF. In the blog post EFF has explained that Shuttleworth is far from reality and was totally wrong about trademark."
An anonymous reader writes "According to the official announcement, Slackware 14.1 includes the following: 'Slackware 14.1 brings many updates and enhancements, among which you'll find two of the most advanced desktop environments available today: Xfce 4.10.1, a fast and lightweight but visually appealing and easy to use desktop environment, and KDE 4.10.5, a recent stable release of the 4.10.x series of the award-winning KDE desktop environment.' Installation ISOs can be found here."
llebeel writes "Canonical announced its free Ubuntu 13.10 Linux operating system (OS) release, on the same day as Microsoft's remedial Windows 8.1 service pack update. We speak to Canonical founder and Ubuntu creator Mark Shuttleworth who tells us what to expect." Adds reader jrepin: "Kubuntu Linux 13.10 has just been released and is available for download. It comes with KDE Software Compilation 4.11, a new application for discovering and installing software, a simpler way to manage your system users. and a new Network Manager applet gives a simpler UI for connecting to a range of network types. You can now setup Wifi networking from the installer making it easier to install updates and extra packages during the install." ZDNet has a fairly tepid review of the incremental rather than startling improvements of the new release, and notes "Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, due for release on 17 April next year, will now perhaps come as even more of a shock if its promised big changes are fully realised."
jrepin writes "The KDE libraries are being methodically reworked into a set of cross platform modules that will be readily available to all Qt developers. The KDE Frameworks, designed as drop-in Qt Addons, will enrich Qt as a development environment with functions that simplify, accelerate and reduce the cost of Qt development. For example, KArchive (one of the first Frameworks available) offers support for many popular compression codecs in a self-contained and easy-to-use file archiving library. Just feed it files; there's no need to reinvent an archiving function." This is a pretty major thing: "The introduction of Qt's Open Governance model in late 2011 offered the opportunity for KDE developers to get more closely involved with Qt, KDE's most important upstream resource. ... These contributions to Qt form the basis for further modularization of the KDE libraries. The libraries are moving from being a singular 'platform' to a set of 'Frameworks'. ... Instead it is a comprehensive set of technologies that becomes available to the whole Qt ecosystem." The new KDE Frameworks will be layered as three tiers of components, with each tier consisting of three semi-independent groups of libraries (the article explains the category/tier dependencies; it's a bit hairy for a quick summary). A dashboard shows the status of each component.
sfcrazy writes "After shooting down Canonical's Mir, Intel and Red Hat teams have increased collaboration on the development of Wayland. Developers at Intel and Red Hat are working together to 'merge and stabilize the patches to enable Wayland support in GNOME,' as Christian Schaller writes on his blog. The teams are also looking into improving the stack further. Weston won't be used anymore, so GNOME Shell will become the Wayland compositor. It must be noted that Canonical earlier committed to supporting and embracing Wayland. Despite that promise, the company silently stopped contribution, and it was later learned that they were secretly working on their own display server, Mir. Intel's management recently rejected patches for Mir, leaving its maintainance to Canonical. Before Intel's rejection, GNOME and KDE also refused to adopt Mir. Intel's message is clear to Canonical: if you promise to contribute, then do so."
sfcrazy writes "Kubuntu is one of those few GNULinux based distributions which brings the two leading technologies together — Ubuntu and KDE. There are quite a lot of businesses which are using this combination in their set-up. Until now there was no professional support available for Kubuntu users. To fill this gap the Kubuntu community has launched commercial support for businesses, organizations and individuals. The Kubuntu team is partnering with Emerge Open to offer this service which is called 'Kubuntu Commercial Support provided by Emerge Open'."
jrepin writes "Music player Amarok 2.8 has been released and it brings a fancy audio analyzer visualization applet, smooth fade-out when pausing music, many UI improvements and visual tweaks including better support for alternate color themes, significantly enhanced MusicBrainz tagger, power management awareness with a pair of new configuration options, and performance optimizations and responsiveness tuning all over Amarok."
jrepin writes "The Calligra team is proud and pleased to announce the release of version 2.7 of the Calligra Suite, Calligra active and the Calligra Office Engine. Words, the word processing application, has a new look for the toolbox. In the same toolbox there are also new controls to manipulate shapes with much enhanced usability. Author, the writer's application, has new support for EPUB3: mathematical formulas and multimedia contents are now exported to ebooks using the EPUB format. There is also new support for book covers using images. Plan, the project management application, has improvement in the scheduling of tasks. The formula shape now has new ways to enter formula: a matlab/octave mode and a LaTEX mode."
jrepin writes "Around a year ago, a school in the southeast of England, Westcliff High School for Girls Academy (WHSG), began switching its student-facing computers to Linux, with KDE providing the desktop software. The school's Network Manager, Malcolm Moore, contacted us at the time. Now, a year on, he got in touch again to let us know how he and the students find life in a world without Windows." And they didn't even meet much resistance: "Younger students accept it as normal. Older students can be a little less flexible. There are still a few that are of the view that I can get rid of Microsoft Word when I can pry it from them. Staff are the same (although it is surprisingly not age-related). Some are OK and some hate it. Having said that, an equal number hate Windows 7 and nobody liked Windows 8. I think the basic problem is that Windows XP is a victim of its own success. It works fairly well from a user point of view, it's been around practically forever, and people don't like change, even some students, oddly."
At a press conference dubbed "Breakfast With Sundar," Google announced two new pieces of hardware and a minor revision to Android. Complete stories and commentary are still coming in, but in the mean time you can skim a liveblog or two First is the new Nexus 7. The hardware is slightly improved (full HD screen, better graphics, etc.). The specs managed to "leak" hours before the event through Best Buy opening preordering too early. On the software side, they've announced a minor revision to Android, 4.3. It features improved Bluetooth support (including Bluetooth 4.0), OpenGL ES 3.0, enhanced internationalization, enhanced DRM, and multi-user support. The multi-user support looks most exciting: now you can share a tablet with more than one person. One of the features Google focused on was restricted profiles: a device owner can create accounts that e.g. cannot make in-app purchases (Junior won't rack up a $3000 bill again). Bad news: Google is implementing stricter DRM for books and video, locking down the entire video stack. The consolation prize is that Netflix will work on more devices and at 1080p. Also demoed were a new version of Chrome that brings the tablet experience closer to the desktop, improved hangouts, and improved maps. Google also appears to be making a push into gaming, emphasizing tablet-only games that integrate into Google+. In addition to gaming, they have secured deals with five major textbook publishers to sell students presumably DRMed electronic textbooks that can be purchased or rented, enhanced with better search and highlighting (because PDF readers don't support those features already). As usual lately, all of the really nice additions to Android are proprietary and tied to Google services, further eroding the open nature of Android. Finally, they announced a tiny $35 dongle named Chromecast that appears to be the successor of the Nexus Q. Running Chrome OS, it connects to any HDMI port, finds your Wi-Fi network, and Just Works (tm) for online video. The online and mobile Youtube and Netflix interfaces will allow you to hit a single button and forward the video to your television as well. Google Music streaming to the television is also supported. The Chromecast looks like a handy little device, hopefully it is turns out it can be reflashed. Of course, when using your browser as a remote, all of the commands go through The Cloud. An SDK and more details on the software side of things are slated for release later today, although conspiciously absent on their supported platforms list is GNU/Linux, listing only Chrome OS and Android. Update: 07/24 18:01 GMT by U L : The Chromecast SDK is out, but with an awfully restrictive license that requires written permission from Google to distribute any cast enabled applications, which appears to make it completely incompatible with Free/Open Source software.
sfcrazy writes "Aaron Seigo, a lead KDE developer, says that the ambitious KDE tablet Vivaldi is shipping to the team for quality testing. Seigo writes on his Google+ page, 'A great start to the week with a warm, sunny, quiet Monday. Well, almost quiet. The first Vivaldi tablets, new dual-core engineering boards and the custom EOMA68 developer workbenches we commissioned have all been shipped out. Don't get too excited: the tablets are pre-certification (EC/FCC) and are on their way to us so we can verify the Q/A targets we set out. Still ...'" It looks like long-time reader lkcl's EOMA-68 initiative is working out; in related news the first batch of Allwinner A10 EOMA-68 cards is shipping to the "...20 Free Software developers brave enough to take one of these at this very early phase." Update: 07/23 17:16 GMT by U L : Correction from lkcl: the first batch of EOMA-68 cards are actually using the Allwinner A20, a bit of an upgrade from the original design.
hypnosec writes "The Fedora Project has officially announced the release of Fedora 19 'Schrödinger's Cat' today. New features for the open source distribution include the developer's assistant, which accelerates development efforts by providing templates, samples and toolchains for a different languages; OpenShift Origin, which allows easy building of Platform-as-a-Service infrastructure; node.js; Ruby 2.0.0; MariaDB; Checkpoint & Restore, which allows users to checkpoint and restore processes; and OpenLMI, which makes remote management of machines simpler. The distribution also packs GNOME 3.8, KDE Plasma Workspace 4.10 and MATE Desktop 1.6."
hypnosec writes "Knoppix 7.2 has been released for public testing — unlike its predecessor, Knoppix 7.1, which was only made available through the annual Linux Magazine CeBIT edition. Based on Debian "Wheezy", Knoppix 7.2 packs quite a few new features, including newer desktop packages from Debian/testing and Debian/unstable Jessie. The latest version uses the Linux 3.9 kernel and xorg 7.7, and comes loaded with LibreOffice 4.0, GIMP 2.8, Chromium 27 (and Firefox/Iceweasel 21), Wine 1.5, and Virtualbox version 4.2.10. It uses LXDE by default. For users who still want to go for KDE or GNOME, version 4.8.4 and 3.4.2 of the respective desktops are available from the Knoppix DVD."
oever writes "Software freedom is an interesting concept, but being able to study the source code is useless unless you are certain that the binary you are running corresponds to the alleged source code. It should be possible to recreate the exact binary from the source code. A simple analysis shows that this is very hard in practice, severely limiting the whole point of running free software."
An anonymous reader writes "Martin Gräßlin, maintainer of the KWin window manager, writes an informative blog post about his experiences with the less favorable pockets of the Free Software community. Quoting: 'Years ago I had a clear political opinion. I was a civil-rights activist. I appreciated freedom and anything limiting freedom was a problem to me. Freedom of speech was one of the most important rights for me. I thought that democracy has to be able to survive radical or insulting opinions. In a democracy any opinion should have a right even if it's against democracy. I had been a member of the lawsuit against data preservation in Germany. I supported the German Pirate Party during the last election campaign because of a new censorship law. That I became a KDE developer is clearly linked to the fact that it is a free software community. But over the last years my opinion changed. Nowadays I think that not every opinion needs to be tolerated. I find it completely acceptable to censor certain comments and encourage others to censor, too. What was able to change my opinion in such a radical way? After all I still consider civil rights as extremely important. The answer is simple: Fanboys and trolls.'"
An anonymous reader writes "With the upcoming KDE 4.11, there's an initial Wayland backend through the KWin manager. The author notes on his blog: 'Once the system is fully started you can just use it. If everything works fine, you should not even notice any difference, though there are still limitations, like only the three mouse buttons of my touchpad are supported ;-)'"