Tag: ubuntu

Users will not update IoT devices leaving them wide open

Safe-with-Open-Door_Silver-Trading-Company_iStock_000016460757_ExtraSmallThe security state of the IoTs is going to be precarious because users will not be bothered to update their gear, according to a new survey.

Writing in his Ubuntu bog, Core evangelist Thibaut Rouffineau said that his organisation surveyed  2000 consumers about their Internet of Things devices.

They found that only a third of consumers that own connected devices perform updates as soon as they become available.

Another 40 per cent have never consciously performed updates on their devices and two thirds thought that it was not their responsibility to keep firmware updated.

A fifth believed it was the job of software developers, while 18 per cent considered it to be the responsibility of device manufacturers.

Canonical thinks that better automatic mechanisms were needed to fix vulnerabilities remotely as a way to secure IoT.

“We need to remove the burden of performing software updates from the user and we need to actively ban the dreaded ‘default password’, as Canonical has done with Ubuntu Core 16,” Rouffineau said.

“It’s clear to us that too many of the solutions to IoT security proposed today involve either mitigating security issues after-the-fact, or living in a world where IoT security problems are the accepted norm. This should not and cannot be the case.”

Canonical yells at European cloud provider

cloudOpen saucy outfit Canonical is in the middle of a legal dispute with an unnamed  “a European cloud provider” over the use of its  own homespun version of Ubuntu on their cloud servers.

Canonical is worried that the implementation disables even the most basic of security features and Canonical fears that when something bad happens, the great unwashed will not blame the cloud provider but will instead blame Ubuntu.

Writing in the company bog, Canonical said that it has spent months trying to get the unnamed provider to use the standard Ubuntu as delivered to other commercial operations to no avail. It said that Red Hat and Microsoft wouldn’t be treated like this.

Mark Shuttleworth, the founder of Ubuntu, wrote that Ubuntu is “the leading cloud OS, running most workloads in public clouds today,” whereas these homegrown images “are likely to behave unpredictably on update in weirdly creative and mysterious ways. We hear about these problems all the time, because users assume there is a problem with Ubuntu on that cloud; users expect that ‘all things that claim to be Ubuntu are genuine’, and they have a right to expect that.

“To count some of the ways we have seen home-grown images create operational and security nightmares for users: clouds have baked private keys into their public images, so that any user could SSH into any machine; clouds have made changes that then blocked security updates for over a week… When things like this happen, users are left feeling let down. As the company behind Ubuntu, it falls to Canonical to take action.”

Ubuntu might beat Windows to phone convergence

ubuntu-wallpaper2It is starting to look like the Linux OS Ubuntu might beat Windows to true phone convergence.

One of the headline OS’s features for Windows 10 for PCs and Windows 10 for phones won’t be is true phone convergence. But it looks like Ubuntu might beat Vole to the punch.

Canonical’s Box Mark Shuttleworth said that the Unbuntu smart phone will fit in your pocket; which will be a phone; and which will give you a desktop experience.
“So, that pocket PC experience is real on Ubuntu. And, while I enjoy the race, I also like to win. And I bet you do too. And so it will be lovely for us to drive free software first into the convergence world,” he said.

Shuttleworth said that Ubuntu Phone’s application platform already allows for applications that can resize to fit various screen sizes, from smartphone-size to windows on your desktop. After focusing on Ubuntu Phone’s unique interface and design to get it out the door, Canonical is beginning to talk about convergence.

So just like Microsoft is doing with Windows 10, Ubuntu is aiming for convergence across all device types. But unlike Vole it is going to move a bit faster.

Word on the street is that while Windows 10 for PCs will ship this summer Windows 10 for phones will be much later.

The release date slip gives Ubuntu a chance to beat Microsoft to launching this feature. Both projects are scrambling to get the software done with a release date of sometime in 2015.

However there are also signs that Canonical might also have problems. The Unity 8 desktop interface and Mir are still in fairly rough.

Unity 8 and Mir were supposed to have been part of the default Ubuntu desktop image for several releases now, but this is clearly taking longer than expected. Unity 8 and Mir may be ready for Ubuntu 15.10, “Wily Werewolf,” in October.

Ubuntu Edge hits crowd funding block

An ambitious crowd funded campaign to create a smartphone which transforms into a PC is running aground, nearly $20 million below its target.

The Ubuntu Edge has raised $11.3 million at the time of publication, which is very impressive for crowdfunding – but it still has $22 million to go. The money has been raised on Indiegogo, and the money will only go into the Edge if it reaches its goal. There are just days left.

All this suggests that there is a limit to the amount of cash you can raise on crowdfunding sites. The previous record holder, smartwatch maker Pebble, topped out at $10.3 million on Kickstarter.

The idea of a superphone was rather nice. It would run both Ubuntu mobile OS and Android, and convert into a desktop PC via a monitor.

However, according to All things Digital, it does not appear that Canonical actually expected to reach its goal.

Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth went on record as saying he was surprised at the level of interest. He indicated that it was possible that the campaign would be extended, or that large manufacturers might help. 

Ubuntu claims to have fixed Microsoft

Ubuntu has finally fixed a bug which Mark Shuttleworth claimed blighted the operating system from the first day.

The first bug on Launchpad was created by Mark Shuttleworth in August 2004 and it claimed that Ubuntu’s number one bug was that “Microsoft has a majority market share”.

Shuttleworth said that the way to reproduce the bug was to visit a local PC store and buy a machine without any proprietary software.

However, Shuttleworth has now closed the bug – saying that the PC is a broader proposition than it was in 2004: phones, tablets, wearables and other devices are all part of the mix for our digital lives.

He added that from a competitive perspective, the broader market has healthy competition, with IOS and Android representing a meaningful share.

Shuttleworth wrote it’s important to recognise that the shift has taken place. So from Ubuntu’s perspective, this bug is now closed.

Philosophically there are some slight problems with this statement. When he wrote bug one, he was claiming that the reason that Ubuntu was not going anywhere was because of Microsoft. Now it turns out that even without Microsoft, Ubuntu is not going anywhere.

Firefox about to lose the Ubuntu Linux vote

The long love affair between Linux users and Firefox appears to be over as the developers of Ubuntu talk about dropping the browser and replacing it with Chromium.

Of course you will still be able to run Firefox in Ubuntu 13.10 it is just that it will not be the default. The reason is that the Ubuntu Touch stack is being powered largely by Chromium/WebKit so they now have a vested interest in its success.

It was not an automatic choice.  According to Phoronix, some felt that data migration from Firefox isn’t too obvious, extensions don’t migrate between browsers, and Chromium isn’t supported on all architectures.   Chromium doesn’t work with the Orca screen reader and doesn’t integrate well for accessibility reasons, there is no native PDF plug-in, and Chromium is said to have worse performance under memory pressure. There were also some concerns expressed about differences with WebApps in Chromium.

But Chromium currently provides a better user experience for the desktop and surpasses Firefox in its features and performance.  It is not a unilateral change.  Ubuntu developers are planning a discussion on an Ubuntu mailing list to solicit a more broad range of feedback on switching from Firefox to Chromium.

But as far as Firefox is concerned, it is another sign that it is slowly falling from grace with the IT community.

Increasingly, message boards are filled with complaints that Firefox has evolved into a “bloated resource chewing monster”.  After all, its existence was to provide a better browser than IE – but it is now a “memory hogging CPU killer” which hijacks the entire PC resources and “crawls along at the slowest pace” if more than four or five  tabs are in use.  It also does not give back memory after it has been closed down.

Open source community wades into Ubuntu phone

While many open saucers are getting moist about the chances of a pure Linux phone running Canonical’s Ubuntu Phone, there are a few who are blowing trumpets of caution.

KDE’s Plasma Active team leader Aaron Seigo wrote on his blog that his eyebrows were raised when he saw Canonical’s press release and saw that the Ubuntu code will deliver a mobile, tablet, desktop or TV experiences depending on what device it is installed on, or where it is docked.

Seigo, having looked at the code behind Ubuntu’s Unity interface, thinks Canonical’s claim is hollow because the new phone will be based on QML, which Unity isn’t. 

He pointed out that there is a high level of fudge factor in the Ubuntu announcement and he thinks that Canonical is being “ethically weak”. In open source land that is fighting talk.  

Seigo said that the free software community was being told a fairy tale in hopes that it will swallow it and, as a result, support Canonical “under what amounts to false pretences”.

He added that if you are a free software developer, user, or supporter, and buy into these claims, “you’re being duped”.

Seigo thought the Ubuntu Phone is great, and the world needs more free software mobile efforts, particularly those using Qt/QML. But it was difficult “to sit on one’s hands and say nothing when such communication techniques that are not healthy for the free software movement are employed”.

Open source Pope Richard Stallman is not a big fan of Ubuntu which he has called spyware because the operating system sends data to Ubuntu maker Canonical when a user searches the desktop. Needless to say he is not impressed with the Linux phone either.

Top developer hits out at Fedora 18

A top Linux kernel developer has dubbed Fedora 18 “the worst Red Hat distro” he has ever seen.

lan Cox, presently employed by Intel,  has switched to Ubuntu as a result of his disastrous experience with Fedora 18.

Writing in his blog, Cox said that the Fedora 18 installer is unusable, the updater is buggy. The default desktop has been eviscerated to the point of being slightly less useful than a chocolate teapot, and instead of fixing the bugs in it they’ve added them.

“It can’t even manage to write valid initrds for itself instead on one machine of simply bombing into a near undebuggable systemd error, ” Cox complained.

He is  not the only one. Comments on his blog include lots of users who had bad experiences, although not as bad as Cox’s. One user said that the upgrade was painless once he worked out why Fedora 18 was breaking his install scripts. The installer does randomly fail and he did not like the fact that the new Red Hat did not have a CLI for network configuration.

Another said that while he was a huge supporter of Red Hat and Fedora,  the latest release is a bit disappointing.

“Multiple items that worked great with F16 and F17 won’t work with with this release, no matter how much time I put into trying to get them to work. I went back to Debian. I hope these issues are resolved soon so I can put Fedora back on this laptop,” the user said.

Another user moaned that his complaints to Red Hat were not going anywhere.

“Filing a bug report seems to be useless. I’ve got mail from bugzilla some days ago regarding the EOL of F16 and “we’re not fixing this”,” the user moaned.

Ubuntu's Shuttleworth gets all sniffy with his Christmas message

Queen of desktop Linux, Mark Shuttleworth gave out his Boxing Day message yesterday in which he sniffly dismissed those who think his Unity interface is the spawn of Satan.

Shuttleworth has been championing Unity on his Ubuntu Linux software claiming that it is the best thing since sliced bread. He has been saying this in the face of heated opposition from those who wish he would support some other form of interface.

In his Christmas message, Shuttleworth shaping the future meant boldly going where no one has gone before. When you explore territory that is unfamiliar, uncertain it is easy to criticism he said.

“And in this regard, we know, scientifically, that Ubuntu with Unity is better than anything else out there,” he said. He did not mention which scientist said this and we must have missed the peer reviewed journal where it was published, but if Shuttleworth says it, it must be true.

He said that his scientific claims were not meant to diminish the works of others, or the opinions of those that prefer something else, but celebrated that the world of free software. So, in other words, everyone else smells of Wii and the fact we are saying it is what the world of free software is all about.

Looking ahead to 2013, Shuttleworth said he will be bringing Ubuntu to phones and tablets.

He also wants to broaden the Ubuntu community to include mobile developers who need new tools and frameworks to create mobile software.

This apparently means defining new form factors that enable new kinds of work and play altogether.

There were the usual comments about the importance of the cloud and the claim that such work can be done faster on Ubuntu than any other platform. He didn’t mention that this claim was scientific, but we are sure he meant it. 

Ubuntu goes the way of Internet Explorer

Canonical has developed a tool which can make web apps and sites behave more like ordinary software in Ubuntu.

Dubbed Ubuntu WebApps, the feature will allow applications that normally run in the web browser to have some functionality within the Ubuntu desktop.

Product manager Pete Goddall told PC Pro  that it means that apps that were normally confined to the web browser now work much better in the workflow of how people actually use their computers.

In something which sounds like Microsoft would come up with in describing Windows 8, Goddall said that there is a line bluring between what is a web app and what is a local app.

Under the cunning plan, Ubuntu users visit a website and a click a link to add the service. An icon is added in the left-hand launcher which, when clicked will either take you to a tab where the site is already running, or open a new browser.

Goddall admits it is close to something similar being used in IE 9 but claims there are more features in WebApps.

One major difference is how the WebApps will interact with the OS so that Gmail will display notifications in the message centre. If you are listening to music on Last.FM you can use the built-in sound menu.

WebApps uses the Head Up Display (HUD) which allows users to speak or type a command, rather than dig through menus.

So far there are 40 such apps created to use the system, including Facebook, Twitter, Last.FM and Gmail.

The feature will arrive in Ubuntu 12.10 in October, and will also be released soon as an add-on for 12.04, the long-term support version of the OS.