Linux User & Developer, Issue 136

Linux User & Developer Issue 136This month’s Linux User & Developer is a little light on my content, with a planned interview with Mark Doran of the UEFI Forum being bumped to the next issue. It does, however, still include my regular four-page news spread.

The news section this month includes a look at the Intel Edison, the second product from the company to feature its embedded Quark processor. Based on an SD card form factor, the Edison is designed as the drop-in replacement for the Galileo. At the time, I hadn’t had the pleasure of playing with a Quark – which packs up to four Pentium architecture processing cores, offering full x86 compatibility – although I’ve since acquired a Galileo, and let’s just say Intel has a bit of work ahead of it if it wants to supplant ARM and dedicated microcontrollers in the market.

Additional topics covered include the merging of CentOS into Red Hat, with no changes expected as a result of the move; Firefox OS being drafted into future Panasonic Smart TVs following a muted reception of the open-source HTML-powered operating system on smartphones; a look at the US government’s programme to use open source software and open hardware for future generations of unmanned aerial vehicles; Google’s foundation of the Open Automotive Alliance, a transparent attempt to find new markets for Android; a new Steam OS release with support Intel and AMD graphics, in place of the original Nvidia-exclusive launch; Belkin’s release of a new open-source router, an update for the popular but long-outdated Linksys WRT54G; and a defacement attack on the openSUSE forums, blamed on the proprietary vBulletin software.

As always, a calendar for the month’s biggest events is also included for reference.

Linux User & Developer Issue 136 is available at all good newsagents and supermarkets now, or digitally via services including Zinio. More information is also available on the official website.

Linux User & Developer, Issue 132

Linux User & Developer Issue 132In this month’s Linux User & Developer magazine, in addition to my usual four-page spread of news from the free, libre and open source software and hardware world, I take a look at a gadget I was really rather excited to play with: the ZTE Open, the first globally available Firefox phone to come from a big-name brand.

I’m a heavy Firefox user myself – it’s installed on all my devices, although the Android version is a little buggy for me to use it as a day-to-day replacement for Chrome – so when I heard that ZTE was releasing a smartphone based on the Boot 2 Gecko (B2G) project, now known as Firefox OS, I had to snag a unit.

Sold directly through eBay, the ZTE Open is a budget-friendly beast. At just £59.99 SIM-free, the handset is priced to sell yet boasts the very latest build of Mozilla’s HTML5-powered operating system. Designed as an alternative to Google’s Android, Firefox OS doesn’t have ‘apps’ in the traditional sense: instead, it uses a chromeless build of Firefox to provide access to web-based applications, which are ‘installed’ on the handset in seconds without taking up any local storage space.

It’s a great theory, but does it come off in practice? Well, I wouldn’t want to spoil the review – but let’s just say I wasn’t too sad to see the back of the ZTE Open when the review was complete. I may be in the minority there, however: the company has sold thousands of the handsets since its recent launch, despite zero advertising.

If you’re interested in reading my review, or my regular four-page news spread, or even something that I didn’t write, you can pick up Linux User & Developer Issue 132 in any decent newsagent or supermarket, or digitally on Zinio or other magazine distribution platforms. You can also find more information on the official website.