Patent warfare is a veritable fixture of the mobile world these days, sadly, and — by virtue of Android — that heaps a whole lot of mess within the boundaries of the blogosphere’s Linux territories. We’ve seen plenty of skirmishes come and go already, of course, but the latest example is being called nothing short of “thermonuclear” war.
Ever since Burger King hit the proverbial nail on the head with its famed “Have It Your Way” slogan back in 1974, everyone has known that people like to — well, have it their own way. Customization has been a growing trend, but until recently, smartphones were a glaring exception. Linux Girl can no longer even count the number of times she’s asked for a big “L” and an image of Tux emblazoned on her device.
Well it was a relatively quiet week here in the Linux blogosphere, where all the code is strong and the UIs good-looking. Yes, we had the good news about Tor and its NSA resistance, and yes, the Unu three-way gaming device and the Lenovo Android laptop both generated some excitement of their own. Truth be told, though, Linux fans have been overloaded with good news lately.
With all the cornucopia of Valve-related announcements for gamers over the past few weeks, it may be difficult to imagine that the Linux world could have any more good news in store. That supremely encouraging gaming news, surely, was enough to last us a few good months here in the Linux blogosphere. Well think again! Our friends at Intel have been busy at work with the interests of a different set of users in mind.
Valve cofounder Gabe Newell has made no secret of his disdain for Windows 8 and his newfound love for Linux as a gaming platform over the past year or so. It seems fair to say, however, that few here in the Linux community expected the colossal bear hug of support Valve gave our favorite operating system last week. First, it announced SteamOS; then it was the hardware side.
Valve Software will later this year beta test 300 hardware boxes running its Linux-based SteamOS, a standalone operating system for entertainment appliances in consumers’ living rooms. The prototype box for the Steam platform, which is optimized for gaming in the living room, is completely upgradable and open. Beta testers are encouraged to hack or mod the box.
Here in the tech community, declaring the birth or death of an era is a tried-and-true path to social fame. For that reason, proclamations to that effect are pretty dang common. Those of us here in the Linux community are pretty accustomed to such announcements by now — just witness the never-ending “year of Linux desktop” and “death of desktop Linux” rotation that seems to besiege us year after year.
Few would deny that the world has changed since the National Security Agency’s PRISM surveillance program was revealed, and not for the better. Here in the Linux blogosphere, FOSS fans have been mulling the implications ever since the unsettling news broke back in June, but just recently things have taken on an even darker cast. Turns out not even encryption techniques can hold the NSA at bay.
The days of summer may be dwindling at last here in the Linux blogosphere, but that doesn’t mean things are cooling off. No indeed, the unseasonably scorching temperatures have been matched only by the sizzling nature of the news — in particular, Ballmer is out, and Microsoft is purchasing Nokia! More than a few Linux bloggers have been stuck in the doldrums, truth be told.
It seems like only yesterday that we here in the Linux blogosphere were celebrating Linux’s 20th birthday, but now here we are, two years later. Linux has reached the ripe old age of 22, and its creator — Linus Torvalds — marked the occasion in characteristically understated fashion. Specifically, echoing his original message from 1991, Torvalds published a similarly worded note late last month.