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MPW on Mac OS X
By Thom Holwerda on 2015-01-30 23:49:07

Back in the days of Mac OS X 10.2-10.4, I toyed with backporting some of my programming projects, originally developed in Carbon with Project Builder, to MacOS 9, and downloaded MPW (since it was free, and CodeWarrior was not) to do so. The Macintosh Programmer’s Workshop was Apple’s own development environment for developing Mac apps, tracing its lineage from the Lisa Programmer’s Workshop, which was originally the only way to develop Mac apps (yes, in 1984 you could not develop Mac software on the Mac itself).

A follow-up from last week's MPW story.

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Tizen-powered Samsung Z1 doesn't avoid Google's ecosystem
By Thom Holwerda on 2015-01-30 23:45:41

Following delays of over a year, Samsung finally shipped its first Tizen-powered handset, the Z1, earlier this month in India. The arrival of Tizen on smartphones - remember it's been on Samsung's Gear smartwatches for almost a year now - has been a long time coming, and there's been plenty of speculation among press and mobile industry watchers that Tizen could emerge as a viable alternative to Android for the Korean electronics giant.

What we've found during our initial hands-on time with an Indian Samsung Z1, however, is a phone that's very much at ease with Google's ecosystem.

I want one of these - if only to see what Samsung can build if they're not just shipping Android.

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LibreOffice 4.4 released
By Thom Holwerda on 2015-01-30 21:04:43

The highlight of the new release is a far-reaching visual refresh, with menus, toolbars, status bars, and more being updated to look and work better. While LibreOffice retains the traditional menus-and-toolbars approach that Microsoft abandoned in Office 2007, the new version is meant to make those menus and toolbars easier to navigate.

What are the reasons to use either OpenOffice or LibeOffice?

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Report: Apple gives Chinese government access to source code
By Thom Holwerda on 2015-01-29 23:46:00

While there was no other information available on the paper’s website, the tweet echoes a report in the Beijing News (link in Chinese) that Apple chief executive Tim Cook informed Lu last month that Apple would let China's State Internet Information Office conduct "security checks" on all products that it sells on the mainland. China has been concerned that Apple devices like the iPhone enable the company - or worse, US intelligence agencies - to spy on Chinese citizens.

[...]

What would "security checks" entail? Apple hasn't provided any information on the matter and did not respond to requests for comment. But analysts said the most likely interpretation is that the company is giving Beijing access to its operating system source code in return for being able to continue to do business in China - arguably Apple's most important market, but one that has been imperiled by regulatory obstacles.

This whole story seems highly unlikely to me. If Apple were to give the Chinese government access to the iOS source code, it'd leak all around the web in no-time. Even if Apple could somehow get a 100% guarantee that there would be no leaks, this whole thing seems incredibly un-Apple. Then again - it may simply be a fait accompli for Apple; if the Chinese government demands source code access in order for Apple to keep operating in the Chinese market, Apple may simply have no choice but to comply.

Even if this story is true, the only possible way I could remotely see this work is Apple setting up a special, dedicated office on its own premises where Chinese government officials get a peek.

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How I built the developer's dream keyboard
By Thom Holwerda, submitted by krakal on 2015-01-29 23:33:27

Working one day in August of 2007, I couldn't help but realize that my regular PC keyboard didn't serve me as much as possible. I had to move my hands between the various blocks of my keyboard excessively, hundreds if not thousands of times per day, and my hands were uncomfortably close to each other. There must be a better way, I thought.

This realization was followed by an overwhelming feeling of excitement as I thought about creating the perfect hacker keyboard 0 and later, the realization that, as a software developer, I was hopelessly clueless about hardware.

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Apple's crazy iPhone sales prove that hardware still matters
By Thom Holwerda on 2015-01-29 21:53:18

As vast and sophisticated as the mobile tech industry may have become, in the end it still relies on some very basic ways for making money. You can either sell hardware, like Apple's doing, or sell ads, which account for roughly the same proportion of Google's regular income. Netflix and Amazon's Kindle store have found success as cross-platform services, but spending on mobile software is unlikely to ever match that of the old days when we paid for Windows, Office, and Photoshop on the desktop. It's easier to sell things that a person can touch and interact with physically. This is why HTC is diversifying into selling weird cameras, why LG and Samsung keep churning out new smartwatches in search of a perfect formula, and why everyone at CES earlier this month had a wearable of some kind to show off. And in spite of their lamentations about tough competition, HTC, LG, and Lenovo are all generating profits from their smartphone operations, and Samsung's recent sales decline hasn't been enough to put the Korean company on the wrong side of the ledger. None of these manufacturers have a profit driver of the caliber of the iPhone, but they're running sustainable businesses even while relying almost wholly on Google's Android software.

Just to illustrate: Apple has sold one billion iOS devices to date, and last year alone, one billion Android smartphones have been shipped (so this excludes tablets). These numbers - Apple's profits, Android devices shipped in just a year - are insane.

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"Have you ever kissed a girl?"
By Thom Holwerda on 2015-01-29 18:50:33

An old (2010) story from former Sun employee Jeremy Allison.

David Miller wrote (at the end of a long email explaining how Sparc Linux used cache optimizations to beat Solaris on performance):

"One final note. When you have to deal with SunSOFT to report a bug, how "important" do you have (ie. Fortune 500?) to be and how big of a customer do you have to be (multi million dollar purchases?) to get direct access to Sun's Engineers at Sun Quentin? With Linux, all you have to do is send me or one of the other SparcLinux hackers an email and we will attend to your bug in due time. We have too much pride in our system to ignore you and not fix the bug."

To which Bryan Cantrill replied with this amazing retort:

"Have you ever kissed a girl?"

Talk about missing the point and underestimating the competition.

The article offers an interesting look at why Sun eventually failed. I stumbled upon this story because Rob Landley mentioned the girl comment in his email about BSD/SysV.

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Microsoft to invest in rogue Android startup Cyanogen
By Thom Holwerda on 2015-01-29 18:43:24

Remember the nonsense from CyanogenMod CEO McMaster we talked about a few days ago? It turns out the motivation for the baseless comments from McMaster may not exactly be his own. As always, follow the money.

People familiar with the matter say Microsoft is putting money into Cyanogen, which is building a version of the Android mobile-operating system outside of Google's auspices.

Microsoft would be a minority investor in a roughly $70 million round of equity financing that values Cyanogen in the high hundreds of millions, one of the people said. The person said the financing round could grow with other strategic investors that have expressed interest in Cyanogen because they're also eager to diminish Google's control over Android. The identity of the other potential investors couldn't be learned.

Oh right.

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The BSD/System V split
By Thom Holwerda on 2015-01-29 18:34:54

Rob Landley:

So gcc's library bindings strongly preferring System V system calls to BSD was due to the flood of Solaris end-users dominating the late 80's gcc development community to avoid paying Ed Zander extra for Sun's Solaris compiler. This combined with Linus reading Sun workstation manuals to get a system call list gave linux a very System V flavor.

Interesting - if opinionated - view on the whole situation. Not sure if all the dates check out, but it's a fun read nonetheless.

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Samsung reportedly rushing to dismantle TouchWiz
By Thom Holwerda on 2015-01-29 17:51:24

TouchWiz has long been known as being far too full of bloat and unnecessary software, but the real problem with Samsung's version of Android is that these added features come with a hard hit on performance. According to a report this morning from SamMobile, the Korean company might be going as far as to remove all features from the OS that can possibly be downloaded - and this just so happens to coincide with today's market share numbers showing that Apple and Samsung were neck-and-neck in Q4.

Isn't competition lovely?

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