'No, Microsoft Won't Rebase Windows to Linux' Argues Canonical's Manager for Ubuntu on WSL
Last month Eric Raymond suggested Microsoft
might be moving to a Linux kernel that emulates Windows. ZDNet contributing editor Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols argued
such a move "makes perfect sense", and open source advocate Jack Wallen even
suggested Microsoft abandon Windows altogether for a new distro named Microsoft Linux.
It eventually drew the attention of Canonical's engineering manager for Ubuntu on WSL, who published a blog post with his own personal thoughts. Its title? "
No, Microsoft is not rebasing Windows to Linux."
The NT kernel in Windows offers a degree of backward compatibility, long-term support, and driver availability that Linux is just now approaching. It would cost millions of dollars to replicate these in Linux. Microsoft has plenty of paying customers to continue supporting Windows as-is, some for decades. Windows is not a drain on Microsoft that would justify the expense of rebasing to Linux for savings, as Raymond has argued... It is unclear if the Windows user space could even be rebased from NT to the Linux kernel and maintain the compatibility that Windows is known for, specifically what enterprise clients with mission-critical applications are paying to get....
Microsoft has doubled down on Windows in recent years. Microsoft has invested in usability, new features, and performance improvements for Windows 10 that have paid off. These improvements, collaborations with OEMs, and the Surface helped revitalize a PC market that at one point looked in danger of falling to iPads and Chromebooks... Internal reorganizations in 2018 and 2020 show that the future of the Surface and Windows are now inextricably linked. Windows powers the Xbox and we are in a resurgence of mostly Windows-based PC gaming. Microsoft also has ideas for Windows 10X, the next operating system concept following Windows 10 (that I think we will get in gradual pieces), with future hardware like the Surface Neo in mind...
The much more interesting question is not whether Microsoft is planning to rebase Windows to Linux, but how far Windows will go on open source. We are already seeing components like Windows Terminal, PowerToys, and other Windows components either begin life as or go open source. The more logical and realistic goal here is a continued opening of Windows components and the Windows development process, even beyond the Insiders program, in a way that benefits other operating systems...
Raymond is correct in one key part of his blog. I do think the era of the desktop OS wars is ending. We are entering a new era where your high-end workstation will run multiple operating systems simultaneously, like runtimes, and not necessarily all locally. The choice will not really be Windows or Linux, it will be whether you boot Hyper-V or KVM first, and Windows and Ubuntu stacks will be tuned to run well on the other. Microsoft contributes patches to the Linux kernel to run Linux well on Hyper-V and tweaks Windows to play nicely on KVM. The best parts of Ubuntu will come to Windows and the best open source parts of Windows will come to Ubuntu, thanks to an increasing trend towards open source across Microsoft.
The key take-away though is that open source has won. And Raymond can be proud of helping to articulate the case for the open source development model when he did.
The post also explores "the reasons why I think this fantasy this keeps cropping up on Slashdot and Hacker News," calling the idea "a long-held fantasy for open source and Linux advocates."
But instead he concludes "Neither Windows nor Ubuntu are going anywhere. They are just going to keep getting better through open source."
Motley Fool: AMD 'Isn't Done Hammering Intel Yet'
The Motley Fool writes:
AMD held just under 18% of the CPU market at the end of 2016 before Ryzen arrived. The latest third-party estimates suggest that the chipmaker now controls close to 37% of the market. Other reliable estimates from the likes of video gaming platform Steam also suggest that AMD has been consistently chipping away at Intel's CPU dominance. And AMD isn't done hammering Intel in CPUs just yet — especially since the arrival of its latest Ryzen 5000 CPUs...
According to AMD's own claims, a high-end Ryzen 5000 processor can deliver a 26% jump in gaming performance over the previous-generation chip. AMD also claims that the chip is 7% faster in gaming performance than the competing Intel chip...
Rumors suggest that Intel may not launch its 12th-generation 10nm Alder Lake processors until the second half of 2021 to compete with AMD's 7nm process. So AMD is likely to continue enjoying a technology lead over Intel, especially considering that it could make the move to a 5nm manufacturing process with the Zen 4 microarchitecture by the end of 2021, according to rumors. As such, don't be surprised to see AMD continuing to eat Intel's market share, and remaining a top growth stock in the future thanks to a combination of improved CPU sales and stronger pricing power.
Make Remote Work Permanent? No Way, Say Bay Area Leaders
Last month a regional government agency in the San Francisco Bay Area voted "to move forward" with a proposal to eventually require people at large, office-based companies
to work from home three days a week "as a way to slash greenhouse gas emissions from car commutes," according to NBC News.
But today local newspapers report "
Bay Area leaders are already saying, no way." [Shorter,
non-paywalled article here.]
The Metropolitan Transportation Commission is drawing heavy fire from lawmakers, the business commmunity and transit supporters for a proposal that would require big companies to have their employees work from home at least 60 percent of the time by 2035.
The proposal is aimed at reducing vehicle commuters and greenhouse gas emissions, but Bay Area politicians and business leaders say it would encourage Silicon Valley companies to pick up and leave. "This will spur a flight of large employers from the Bay Area," said San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, comparing the idea to paving lanes directly from Silicon Valley to Texas. After recovering from the pandemic-caused recession, Liccardo said, "we're going to miss those jobs." Liccardo and San Francisco Mayor London Breed this week urged MTC leaders to find a better solution to hit the region's long-term clean air goals...
Rebecca Saltzman, a BART director, is introducing a resolution asking MTC to re-examine the requirement, which was added late in the process. It would drive down transit use with no clear proof it would reduce greenhouse gases, she said. "We know we would lose riders," she said. Bay Area lawmakers said a work-from-home mandate would hurt small businesses located around large employers, drain vitality from downtowns and diminish transit use. The requirements would also fall heavily on low-wage workers who typically must report to work to cook, clean, build or serve customers. San Jose and San Francisco both have tech giants — Google and Salesforce — spending billions of dollars to design and develop new campuses with a higher density of homes and apartments near transit. A work-from-home mandate could disrupt those plans, Liccardo said.
"I'm concerned about a parade of unintended consequences," he said. "This undermines the incentives to live near work."
Google/EdX Are Charging $298 For Their Remake of a Free 2012 How-to-Google Course
Long-time Slashdot reader
After near death, MOOCs are booming during the coronavirus pandemic, reported the NY Times in May. That news apparently wasn't lost on Google and EdX, who on Thursday announced they've teamed up and are asking $298 (temporarily reduced to $268.20!) for Google's Power Searching with Google XSeries Program (learn "how to create an effective search query to yield the most relevant results").
In case that seems familiar to some, Google offered a free 5-hour online course called Power Searching with Google with the same instructor way back in 2012 (followed by the free Advanced Power Searching with Google in 2013). But before dismissing the new program as tone-deaf pandemic price gouging, check out the $0 course audit option for yourself or your kids.
The instructor for both Power Searching with Google and Advanced Power Searching With Google is Google's Daniel Russell, author of The Joy of Search, who gives students an engaging lesson in how to conduct fast and effective online research. Sure beats card catalog, and Readers' Guide to Periodical Literature searches, kids!
How Ransomware Puts Your Hospital At Risk
a New York Times opinion piece:
In March, several cybercrime groups rushed to reassure people that they wouldn't target hospitals and other health care facilities during the Covid-19 pandemic. The operators of several prominent strains of ransomware all announced they would not target hospitals, and some of them even promised to decrypt the data of health care organizations for free if one was accidentally infected by their malware. But any cybersecurity strategy that relies on the moral compunctions of criminals is doomed to fail, particularly when it comes to protecting the notoriously vulnerable computer systems of hospitals.
So it's no surprise that Universal Health Services was hit by ransomware late last month, affecting many of its more than 400 health care facilities across the United States and Britain. Or that clinical trials for a Covid-19 vaccine have been held up by a similar ransomware attack disclosed in early October. Or that loose-knit coalitions of volunteers all over the world are working around the clock to try to protect the computer systems of hospitals that are already straining under the demands of providing patient care during a global pandemic.
In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, the potential consequences of these cyberattacks are terrifying. Hospitals that have lost access to their databases or had their networks infected by ransomware may not be able to admit patients in need of care or may take longer to provide those patients with the treatment they need, if they switch to relying on paper records...
Every hospital and clinic should be re-evaluating their computer networks right now and ramping up the protections they have in place to prevent their services from being interrupted by malware or their sensitive patient data from being stolen.
College President Resigns After 712 Students Test Positive For Covid-19
The president of the State University of New York at Oneonta has resigned, as the school grapples with hundreds of reported Covid-19 cases within the university since the beginning of the semester... SUNY Oneonta has reported 712 student cases of Covid-19 since residence halls opened on August 17...
The resignation of the sitting president of SUNY Oneonta comes after the university decided not to test students or quarantine them on arrival. Soon after, the University saw an uptick in positive results. By the time leadership tried to take punitive measures against students for disobeying social distancing orders, the virus had spread...
SUNY Oneonta has about 6,700 students enrolled, according to its website.
In an official statement the school's chancellor said the president now wanted to "pursue other opportunities."
But one student told CNN the outbreak was partly the fault of the student body. "I believe that much of the spreading could have been prevented if the students hadn't partied or hadn't gone anywhere without masks on."
Tesla Owner: I Butt-Dialed a $4,280 Autopilot Upgrade -- And They Haven't Refunded Me
On September 24th, physician Dr. Ali Vaziri was unpleasantly surprised by a mobile alert from his bank, which said he had just purchased a $4,280 upgrade for his Tesla Model 3. The large transaction, he quickly surmised, was a "butt dial" or accidental purchase made through the Tesla app on his iPhone. "My phone was in my jeans," Vaziri told CNBC. "I took it out, put it on this charger that comes with your Tesla and that's it. A minute later? I got the text. I've never purchased anything through the Tesla app before...."
Moments after he received the mobile alert from his bank, Vaziri called his local Tesla store and service center. They couldn't help directly, but gave him the number for a customer service hotline. He called the number, and requested a refund. Instead of processing the doctor's refund request on the spot, the customer service rep told Vaziri to click on the refund button in his Tesla app to process his request. Vaziri informed them there was no such button in the Tesla app, just some text and a link to the refund policy. An e-mail he received from Tesla confirming the unauthorized purchase contained only vague information about a refund, and no buttons to click or links to a page where he could process a refund request either. The email, which Vaziri shared with CNBC, drove him to Tesla's support web site, which in turn told him to call his local service center.
To this date, Vaziri says, Tesla customer service has not provided him with a refund, nor has the call center provided him with so much as a confirmation number or e-mail to acknowledge his calls about the refund. Instead, he processed a stop payment request through his credit card company.
US Antitrust Regulators Could Target Google's Chrome Browser For Breakup
alternative_right shares a report from Politico:
Justice Department and state prosecutors investigating Google for alleged antitrust violations are considering whether to force the company to sell its dominant Chrome browser and parts of its lucrative advertising business, three people with knowledge of the discussions said...
The conversations — amid preparations for an antitrust legal battle that the Department of Justice is expected to begin in the coming weeks — could pave the way for the first court-ordered break-up of a U.S. company in decades. The forced sales would also represent major setbacks for Google, which uses its control of the world's most popular web browser to aid the search engine that is the key to its fortunes.
Discussions about how to resolve Google's control over the $162.3 billion global market for digital advertising remain ongoing, and no final decisions have been made, the people cautioned, speaking anonymously to discuss confidential discussions. But prosecutors have asked advertising technology experts, industry rivals and media publishers for potential steps to weaken Google's grip... A major antitrust report that the House Judiciary Committee released this week found that Chrome's market share allows Google to "effectively set standards for the industry," an issue of particular relevance as Chrome phases out cookies. "Google's ad-based business model can prompt questions about whether the standards Google chooses to introduce are ultimately designed primarily to serve Google's interests," the House report said. "Market participants are concerned that while Google phases out third-party cookies needed by other digital advertising companies, Google can still rely on data collected throughout its ecosystem."
Friday Politico reported the antitrust suit against Google is likely to be filed "early next week, but
without the sign-on of any Democratic attorneys general, four people familiar with the case said Friday — upending the Trump administration's hopes to enlist bipartisan support for its fight against the internet giant..."
Instead a bipartisan group of states "expects to file an antitrust complaint challenging Google's search practices at a later date, the people said. That group, led by Democratic attorneys general in Colorado and Iowa along with Nebraska's Republican attorney general, has expressed concern about what they view as the Justice Department's narrow approach to the case, the people said. Filing a separate suit would allow more leverage if the Department of Justice negotiates a settlement with Google they don't like, they said."
Home-Made Covid Vaccine Appeared to Work, but Questions Remained
"Josiah Zayner's plan was simple: replicate a Covid-19 vaccine that had worked in monkeys, test it on himself and then livestream the experiment online over a period of months," reports Bloomberg.
"Zayner discovered, testing a vaccine is far more complicated than he had imagined."
Even though his experiment yielded a promising result, Zayner found too many unanswered questions to say that it worked. For one, it wasn't clear whether antibodies he found in his own body in extremely tiny measures before the experiment began made a difference... As the U.S. rushes to bring a vaccine to market far faster than has ever been done, Zayner said he has discovered why the long, slow process of clinical trials shouldn't be rushed. A promising early stage result is just that: promising...
Initially, Zayner assumed that the experiment he named Project McAfee, after the antiviral software, would be relatively straightforward. The vaccine selected had triggered protective immunity against the virus in rhesus macaque monkeys in a paper published in May. Zayner was able to order the same spike protein sequence from the DNA-synthesis company the researchers had used. The plan: He and two fellow biohackers — Daria Dantseva in Ukraine and David Ishee in Mississippi — would themselves test the concoction they ordered online. They would then livestream the entire process online over several months, with the first showing to occur in June.
But early on in the experiment, complications arose. Before starting, Zayner took a test at Lab Corp Inc. that told him he didn't already have antibodies to the virus. But when he performed a similar test on himself shortly afterward, he found that he did have some antibodies, just not enough to produce a positive result on Lab Corp's test. While those antibodies didn't appear to be the neutralizing type, he wondered whether the result came because the vaccine was picking up signals from antibodies to a different virus — or how this faint antibody signal might affect things. "I'm very suspicious of my own data," he said.
He's not alone. Hank Greely, a bioethicist at Stanford University, said Zayner's experiment pointed out an underappreciated reality of vaccine development. "Actually making the vaccine isn't that hard," he said. "It's testing it and knowing that it's safe — and knowing that it's effective...." Zayner's next project will focus on showing people how to grow chicken cells to make their own fake meat. With vaccines, Zayner concluded, "Large scale clinical trials are probably required, because it is so messy."
A Chicken Nugget Was Just Launched Into Space
A British supermarket celebrated its 50th anniversary by playing with its food — specifically,
one lucky piece of breaded protein:
The grocery store chain hired Sent Into Space to launch the chicken nugget into space. According to its website, Sent Into Space is the "world's leading space marketing company, specialising in space-themed marketing campaigns and publicity stunts."
"From a site in rural Wales, the nugget traveled through the Earth's atmosphere to an altitude of 110,000 feet (that's 33.5 km) where it floated in the region known as Near Space," Sent Into Space wrote in a statement on its website. That would be 20.7 miles. The nugget spent an hour "floating" in space in low pressure and temperatures that can drop to -65 degrees Celsius, according to Sent Into Space... The nugget was launched near the company's headquarters in Wales in a gas-filled weather balloon with an auxiliary satellite tracking system and integrated camera support. The Irish News reported that the nugget descended at 200 mph, with a parachute deploying around 62,000 feet for the nugget's protection.
Trump Scrambles To Loosen America's Biometric Data and Gig Worker Regulations
"Facing the prospect that President Trump could lose his re-election bid, his cabinet is
scrambling to enact regulatory changes affecting millions of Americans in a blitz so rushed it may leave some changes vulnerable to court challenges," reports the New York Times:
The effort is evident in a broad range of federal agencies and encompasses proposals like easing limits on how many hours some truckers can spend behind the wheel, giving the government more freedom to collect biometric data and setting federal standards for when workers can be classified as independent contractors rather than employees. In the bid to lock in new rules before Jan. 20, Mr. Trump's team is limiting or sidestepping requirements for public comment on some of the changes and swatting aside critics who say the administration has failed to carry out sufficiently rigorous analysis. Some cases, like a new rule to allow railroads to move highly flammable liquefied natural gas on freight trains, have led to warnings of public safety threats...
If Democrats take control of Congress, they will have the power to reconsider some of these last-minute regulations, through a law last used at the start of Mr. Trump's tenure by Republicans to repeal certain rules enacted at the end of the Obama administration. But the Trump administration is also working to fill key vacancies on scientific advisory boards with members who will hold their seats far into the next presidential term, committees that play an important role in shaping federal rule making...
The Homeland Security Department is also moving, again with an unusually short 30-day comment period, to adopt a rule that will allow it to collect much more extensive biometric data from individuals applying for citizenship, including voice, iris and facial recognition scans, instead of just the traditional fingerprint scan. The measure, which the agency said was needed to curb fraud, would also allow it for the first time to collect DNA or DNA test results to verify a relationship between an application for citizenship and someone already in the United States.
Sweden's New Car Carrier Is the World's Largest Wind-Powered Vessel
An anonymous reader quotes a report from CNN:
Oceanbird might look like a ship of the future, but it harks back to ancient maritime history -- because it's powered by the wind. The transatlantic car carrier is being designed by Wallenius Marine, a Swedish shipbuilder, with support from the Swedish government and several research institutions. With capacity for 7,000 vehicles, the 650 foot-long vessel is a similar size to conventional car carriers, but it will look radically different. The ship's hull is topped by five telescopic "wing sails," each 260 feet tall. Capable of rotating 360 degrees without touching each other, the sails can be retracted to 195 feet in order to clear bridges or withstand rough weather.
The sails, which will be made of steel and composite materials, need to be this size to generate enough propulsive power for the 35,000-ton ship. Although "the general principles of solid wing sails is not new," designing the Oceanbird's sails has been a challenge, says Mikael Razola, a naval architect and research project manager for Oceanbird at Wallenius Marine. That's because these are the tallest ship sails that have ever been constructed. "This ship, at the top of the mast, will be more than 100 meters (328 feet) above the water surface," says Razola. "When you move up into the sky that much, wind direction and velocity change quite a lot." Oceanbird has a projected top speed of about 10 knots and will take around 12 days to cross the Atlantic. While that's considerably slower than standard car carriers, which can travel at 17 knots, the Oceanbird will emit 90% less CO2 than conventional car carriers.
Razola says their plan is "to see Oceanbird sailing in 2024."
New Benchmark Shows iPhones Throttle So Hard They Lose Their Edge Over Android
Apple has repeatedly asserted its dominance in terms of performance versus competitive mobile platforms. And it has been historically true that, in cross-platform benchmarks, iPhones generally can beat out Android phones in both CPU and GPU (graphics) performance. However, a new benchmark recently released from trusted benchmark suite developer UL Benchmarks sheds light on what could be the iPhone's Achilles' Heel in terms of performance, or more specifically, performance over extended duration.
The new benchmark, 3DMark WildLife, employs Apple's Metal API for rendering and Vulkan on Android devices. In testing at HotHardware, for basic single-run tests, again iPhones trounce anything Android, including flagship devices like the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra, ASUS ROG Phone 3 and OnePlus 8. However, in the extended duration WildLife Stress Test, which loops the single test over and over for 20 minutes, the current flagship iPhone 11 Pro and A13 Bionic's performance craters essentially to Snapdragon 865/865+ performance levels, while Android phones like the OnePlus 8 maintain 99+% of their performance. Though this is just one gaming benchmark test that employs the latest graphics technologies and APIs, it's interesting to see that perhaps Apple's focus on tuning for quick bursty workloads (and maybe benchmark optimization too?) falls flat if the current class of top-end iPhone is pushed continuously.
Japan Decides To Release Treated Fukushima Water Into the Sea
hcs_$reboot shares a report from CBS News:
Japan will release more than a million tons of treated radioactive water from the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant into the sea in a decades-long operation, reports said Friday, despite strong opposition from environmentalists, local fishermen and farmers. The release of the water, which has been filtered to reduce radioactivity, is likely to start in 2022 at the earliest. The decision ends years of debate over how to dispose of the liquid that includes water used to cool the power station after it was hit by a massive tsunami in 2011. A government panel said earlier this year that releasing the water into the sea or evaporating it were both "realistic options." The treated water is currently kept in a thousand huge tanks at the Fukushima Daiichi site, where reactors went into meltdown nearly a decade ago after the earthquake-triggered tsunami. Plant operator TEPCO is building more tanks, but all will be full by mid-2022.