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Windows

Microsoft Faces Two New Lawsuits Over Aggressive Windows 10 Upgrade Tactics 63

Microsoft is facing two more lawsuits over its Windows 10 upgrade tactics. The first lawsuit comes from U.S. District Court in Florida, where the company has been accused of violating "laws governing unsolicited electronic advertisements" The suit, PCWorld reports, says Microsoft's tactics are against the FTC's rules on deceptive and unfair practices. The second lawsuit was filed last month in Haifa, Israel alleging that Microsoft installed Windows 10 on users' computer without their consent. It's similar to another recent lawsuit that was filed against Microsoft in which the Redmond company had to pay a sum of $10,000. The company, however, believes that these new lawsuits won't succeed. In a statement to The Seattle Times, the company said:We believe the plaintiffs' claims are without merit and we are confident we'll be successful in court.
Businesses

Tesla and Autopilot Supplier Mobileye Split Up After Fatal Crash (usatoday.com) 124

An anonymous reader quotes a report from USA Today: Tesla and Mobileye, one of the top suppliers to its Autopilot partial self-driving system, are parting ways in the wake of the May accident that killed an owner of one of its electric Model S sedans. Mobileye is considered a leader in developing the equipment that will be needed for fully self-driving cars. The Israeli tech company will continue to support and maintain current Tesla products, including upgrades that should help the Autopilot system with crash avoidance and to better allow the car to steer itself, said Chairman Amnon Shashua in releasing the company's second-quarter earnings Tuesday. Shashua said moving cars to higher levels of self-driving capability "is a paradigm shift both in terms of function complexity and the need to ensure an extremely high level of safety." He added there is "much at stake" in terms of Mobileye's reputation, and that it is best to end the relationship with Tesla by the end of the year. Tesla CEO Elon Musk, meeting with reporters at the company's new battery Gigafactory outside Reno, indicated that Tesla can go forward without Mobileye. "Us parting ways was somewhat inevitable. There's nothing unexpected here from our standpoint," Musk said. "We're committed to autonomy. They'll go their way, and we'll go ours."
Open Source

Linux Kernel 4.7 Officially Released (iu.edu) 60

An anonymous Slashdot reader writes: The Linux 4.7 kernel made its official debut today with Linus Torvalds announcing, "after a slight delay due to my travels, I'm back, and 4.7 is out. Despite it being two weeks since rc7, the final patch wasn't all that big, and much of it is trivial one- and few-liners." Linux 4.7 ships with open-source AMD Polaris (RX 480) support, Intel Kabylake graphics improvements, new ARM platform/board support, Xbox One Elite Controller support, and a variety of other new features.
Slashdot reader prisoninmate quotes a report from Softpedia: The biggest new features of Linux kernel 4.7 are support for the recently announced Radeon RX 480 GPUs (Graphic Processing Units) from AMD, which, of course, has been implemented directly into the AMDGPU video driver, a brand-new security module, called LoadPin, that makes sure the modules loaded by the kernel all originate from the same file system, and support for generating virtual USB Device Controllers in USB/IP. Furthermore, Linux kernel 4.7 is the first one to ensure the production-ready status of the sync_file fencing mechanism used in the Android mobile operating system, allow Berkeley Packet Filter (BPF) programs to attach to tracepoints, as well as to introduce the long-anticipated "schedutil" frequency governor to the cpufreq dynamic frequency scaling subsystem, which promises to be faster and more accurate than existing ones.
Linus's announcement includes the shortlog, calling this release "fairly calm," though "There's a couple of network drivers that got a bit more loving."
Microsoft

Microsoft Store Offers Free Laptop If They Can't Upgrade Your PC To Windows 10 (microsoft.com) 126

Microsoft is now promising that their Microsoft Store employees "will give you a free Dell laptop if the staff can't do a same-day upgrade on your eligible PC by close of business," reports new Slashdot submitter Pritam Dash. To be eligible for the Dell Inspiron 15, the PC must meet Microsoft's upgrade requirements -- and be checked in by noon -- and in a further effort to boost adoption for their of the Windows 10 operating system, Microsoft is also announcing that "If your PC isn't compatible with Windows 10, we'll recycle it and give you $150 toward the purchase of a new PC." (This second offer is limited to PCs already running Windows 8). Both offers are valid until July 29th, "while supplies last."

Meanwhile, the U.S. army is "half a year behind the January 2017 deadline to adopt Windows 10 set by Defense Department Chief Information Officer Terry Halvorsen," and has hired Microsoft engineers to assess their 1.1 million devices and legacy systems.
Open Source

Linux Mint 18 'Sarah' Released, Supports Generic GTK X-Apps (linuxmint.com) 98

Slashdot reader Type44Q writes: The Linux Mint team announced the immediate availability of their latest release, Mint 18 "Sarah," in Cinnamon and MATE flavors. These follow on the heels of their respective beta versions, which have been out for nearly a month.
"Linux Mint 18 is a long-term support release which will be supported until 2021," the team announces on MATE's "new features" page, adding they've improved their update manager, included support for the Debian syntax of "apt", and are working on the "X-Apps" project to "produce generic applications for traditional GTK desktop environments...to replace applications which no longer integrate properly outside of a particular environment."
Operating Systems

'UpgradeSubscription.exe' File In Preview Build Hints At Windows 10 Subscriptions (zdnet.com) 285

An anonymous reader writes: A file named "UpgradeSubscription.exe" is found buried in the System32 folder of Windows 10 build 14376, alongside 590 other .exe files. ZDNet reports the file has been part of other recent preview builds, but just recently uncovered. "In the file's properties, it's described as the Windows Upgrade to Subscription Tool, and its date and time stamp corresponds to other administrative tools in the same build," reports ZDNet. You can view the screenshot here. Microsoft responded to ZDNet saying: "The Windows Upgrade to Subscription tool, found in the latest Windows Insider builds, helps to manage certain volume licensing upgrades from Windows 10 Pro Anniversary Update to Windows 10 Enterprise. This binary file is not associated with the free consumer upgrade offering nor is it applicable to consumer Windows editions." When pressed for additional details, Microsoft responded with, "No further comment." While the file does nothing, it does appear to confirm that it's related to licensing, referencing a registry value called AllowWindowsSubscription. Build 14376 reveals a few references to servicing packages named Microsoft-Client-License-Platform-Upgrade-Subscription-Package. Last year, there was some talk about Windows 10 being the last version of Windows as Microsoft is pushing a "Windows as a service" vision. When news broke in April about Windows Phone's sharp revenue declines, PCWorld reported that CEO Satya Nadella's strategy is to grow Microsoft's revenues by convincing customers to adopt its paid subscription services.
Wireless Networking

Wi-Fi Gets Multi-Gigabit, Multi-User Boost With Upgrades To 802.11ac (arstechnica.com) 74

The Wi-Fi Alliance has announced its certification program for IEEE 802.11ac Wave 2, a technology that has been around on the market for more than a year. Wave 2 can deliver up to 6.8Gbps and lets an access point interact with more than one device at a time. Wave 2 features MIMO (or MU-MIMO) which improves the MIMO technology that lets Wi-FI transmit over more than one stream through the air. Wave 2 standard utilizes channels up to 160MHz wide (up from 80MHz channels available with Wave 1). It also creates more spatial streams and uses spectrum more efficiently, the industry group said on Wednesday. Ars Technica adds:On top of MU-MIMO, wider channels, and more streams, the Wi-Fi Alliance says Wave 2 features now being certified bring "support for a greater number of available channels in 5GHz," a change that "makes more efficient use of available spectrum and reduces interference and congestion by minimizing the number of networks operating on overlapping channels." You may have already noticed routers supporting some of these features, since the specification details have been available for a few years. In fact, routers with MU-MIMO started appearing in July 2014, and you can find routers that use 160MHz channels. The certification program takes a while to catch up with real-world implementations, but it ensures compatibility between devices and may spur faster adoption by vendors. End-user devices such as phones, tablets, and laptops must also be updated to take advantage of new features such as MU-MIMO.
Windows

Microsoft To Make Saying No To Windows 10 Update Easier (zdnet.com) 212

Less than a week after a California-based woman won $10,000 lawsuit against Microsoft over Windows 10 upgrades, the Redmond-based company has announced it will make it easier for users to say no to Windows 10 updates. The company plans to change the Windows 10 update prompt to make it clearer and easier for Windows 7 and Windows 8.x users to schedule or reject upgrading to Windows 10. ZDNet reports:Microsoft officials said late on June 27 that the new update experience -- with clearer "upgrade now, schedule a time, or decline the free offer" -- will start rolling out this week. Microsoft also will revert to making clicking on the Red X at the corner of the Windows 10 update box dismiss the update, rather than initiate it, as it has done for the past several weeks. Microsoft officials said they are making the change "in response to customer feedback."
Microsoft

Woman Wins $10,000 Lawsuit Against Microsoft Over Windows 10 Upgrades (seattletimes.com) 443

An anonymous reader shares this story from the Seattle Times: A few days after Microsoft released Windows 10 to the public last year, Teri Goldstein's computer started trying to download and install the new operating system. The update, which she says she didn't authorize, failed. Instead, the computer she uses to run her Sausalito, California, travel-agency business slowed to a crawl. It would crash, she says, and be unusable for days at a time. "I had never heard of Windows 10," Goldstein said. "Nobody ever asked me if I wanted to update."

When outreach to Microsoft's customer support didn't fix the issue, Goldstein took the software giant to court, seeking compensation for lost wages and the cost of a new computer. She won. Last month, Microsoft dropped an appeal and Goldstein collected a $10,000 judgment from the company.

Microsoft denies any wrongdoing, and says they only halted their appeal to avoid the cost of further litigation.
Programming

New C++ Features Voted In By C++17 Standards Committee (reddit.com) 286

New submitter lefticus writes: The upcoming C++17 standard has reached Committee Draft stage, having been voted on in the standards committee meeting in Oulu, Finland this Saturday. This makes C++17 now feature complete, with many new interesting features such as if initializers and structured bindings having been voted in at this meeting.

An [audio] interview with the C++ committee chair, Herb Sutter, about the status of C++17 has also been posted.

Programming

ECMAScript 2016: New Version of JavaScript Language Released (softpedia.com) 165

An anonymous Slashdot reader writes: Ecma International, the organization in charge of managing the ECMAScript standard, has published the most recent version of the JavaScript language. ECMAScript 2016 (ES7 or JavaScript 7th Edition in the old naming scheme) comes with very few new features. The most important is that JavaScript developers will finally get a "raise to the power" operator, which was mysteriously left out of the standard for 20 years. The operator is **...
It will also become much easier to search for data in a JavaScript array with Array.prototype.includes(), but support for async functions (initially announced for ES2016), has been deferred until next year's release. "From now on, expect smaller changelogs from the ECMAScript team," reports Softpedia, "since this was the plan set out last year. Fewer breaking changes means more time to migrate code, instead of having to rewrite entire applications, as developers did when the mammoth ES6 release came out last year."
Businesses

Time Warner Cable Suspends Broadband Upgrades After Merger (dslreports.com) 72

Karl Bode, reporting for DSLReport: Time Warner Cable has confirmed that the company has suspended its "Maxx" broadband and TV upgrades while the dust settles from Charter's $79 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks. Time Warner Cable's Maxx upgrades not only deliver faster top speeds up to 300 Mbps, but a notably overhauled improvement to the company's set top box interface. But Time Warner Cable has been telling company support techs and engineers that the upgrades were actually put on hold as of May 26. "[...] All speed increases and customer communications were placed on a temporary hold beginning Thursday, May 26," states the internal communication. "Once the updated launch schedule is determined, updated hub schedules will be posted to KEY and area management will be notified. Customers will continue to receive notification when the new speeds are available in their hubs."
The Internet

Qualcomm's Connected Car Reference Platform To Connect Smart Cars To Everything (networkworld.com) 110

An anonymous reader writes: Qualcomm wants to supply the next generation of autonomous and connected cars with networking to connect everything inside and outside of the cars. That means 5G, WiFi, Bluetooth, GNSS, DSRC, V2X, OABR, CAN, etc. ... [Networkworld reports: "Qualcomm today announced its Connected Car Reference Platform intended for the car industry to use to build prototypes of the next-generation connected car. Every category from economy to luxury car will be much smarter than the connected luxury car of today, creating a big opportunity for Qualcomm to supply semiconductors to automakers and suppliers. Qualcomm described the following features of the Connected Car Reference Platform in its release:

Scalability: Using a common framework that scales from a basic telematics control unit (TCU) up to a highly integrated wireless gateway, connecting multiple electronic control units (ECUs) within the car and supporting critical functions, such as over-the-air software upgrades and data collection and analytics.
Future-proofing: Allowing the vehicleâ(TM)s connectivity hardware and software to be upgraded through its life cycle, providing automakers with a migration path from Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC) to hybrid/cellular V2X and from 4G LTE to 5G.
Wireless coexistence: Managing concurrent operation of multiple wireless technologies using the same spectrum frequencies, such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Bluetooth Low Energy.
OEM and third-party applications support: Providing a secure framework for the development and execution of custom applications."]

Cellphones

Smartphone Sales Growth Will Drop To Single Digits In 2016, Says Gartner (techcrunch.com) 78

An anonymous reader writes from a report via TechCrunch: According to a report from Gartner, smartphone sales growth is expected to shrink from 14.4 percent growth in 2015 to just 7 percent in 2016, with only 1.5 billion smartphone units expected to ship globally this year. Gartner notes the market grew 73 precent in 2010, which was a high-point for the industry. One of the main reasons why the growth is shrinking is because consumers have less of a reason to upgrade their devices each year. Gartner notes that new devices offer only incremental upgrades over existing hardware and carriers have been moving away from subsidizing upgrades. The lifetime of a premium smartphone is between 2.2 and 2.5 years in emerging markets. The biggest smartphone growth is expected in India, where an estimated 139 million smartphones will be sold this year alone. The industry is growing 29.5 percent year-over-year in India. As for China, Gartner expects "little growth" in the region in the next five years calling it a "saturated yet highly competitive" market. Last week, it was reported that Microsoft is selling about 1,500 of its patents to Chinese device maker Xiaomi to build a 'long-term partnership.'
Microsoft

Microsoft Could Turn Every PC Into an Xbox (theverge.com) 255

For the past few years, Microsoft has been trying to mold Xbox One system's user interface and functionalities to resemble that of Windows 8 and Windows 10's Modern UI. But the company has also hinted that we will be seeing a closer integration in the coming months. It is expected to unveil some of that at E3 tradeshow next week. Long-time Microsoft watcher Tom Warren reports for The Verge: Microsoft is currently working on a secret project internally, codenamed Helix. Kotaku originally reported on the Project Helix name, and the work is designed to more closely combine Xbox and Windows 10. Some of that work has started, but more of it is due later this year and next year with future upgrades to Windows 10. Microsoft wants to enable features like streaming PC games to the Xbox One, but sources familiar with the company's plans also tell us there are greater ambitions to make Xbox One games playable on a PC without needing a console for streaming. Part of this could involve bringing the full Xbox One UI and system directly into desktop versions of Windows 10. The latest Xbox One dashboards are built on top of Windows 10, so most of the work involved would be customizing the interface towards keyboard and mouse. Bringing the Xbox One UI over to Windows 10 machines would effectively turn every PC into an Xbox One, especially if they're also capable of running the latest console games.
Microsoft

EFF Petitioned To Investigate Windows 10 Upgrades (change.org) 312

An anonymous reader writes: One of the most frustrating things about the ongoing stream of stories about Windows 10 upgrades is that there seems to be no way to hold Microsoft to account. Or perhaps there is: a petition asking the Electronic Frontier Foundation to investigate has now been posted on Change.org.
The petition argues "people are being tricked or forced into upgrading to Windows 10 from their current, preferred version of Windows," and describes Microsoft's actions as "ignorantly unethical at best and malicious at worst."
Microsoft

Even In Remotest Africa, Windows 10 Nagware Ruins Your Day (theregister.co.uk) 224

Iain Thomson, writing for The Register: When you're stuck in the middle of the Central African Republic (CAR) trying to protect the wildlife from armed poachers and the Lord's Resistance Army, then life's pretty tough. And now Microsoft has made it tougher with Windows 10 upgrades. The Chinko Project manages roughly 17,600 square kilometres (6,795 square miles) of rainforest and savannah in the east of the CAR, near the border with South Sudan. Money is tight, and so is internet bandwidth. So the staff was more than a little displeased when one of the donated laptops the team uses began upgrading to Windows 10 automatically, pulling in gigabytes of data over a radio link. And it's not just bandwidth bills they have to worry about. "If a forced upgrade happened and crashed our PCs while in the middle of coordinating rangers under fire from armed militarized poachers, blood could literally be on Microsoft's hands," said one member of the team.This is not a one-off case. We're reading about similar incidents everyday. Automatic updates, accidental automatic update, and the humongous data that these updates eat are ruining user experience for many. These are real issues. It's been roughly a year since Windows 10 has been officially available to consumers, and Microsoft is yet to address the issue.
Businesses

Nest CEO Tony Fadell Steps Down After Tumultuous Two Years At Google (bloomberg.com) 35

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: Tony Fadell is stepping down as head of Nest Labs, just over two tumultuous years after selling the smart-home gadget maker to Google. Fadell will leave Nest immediately and be replaced by Marwan Fawaz, former executive vice president of Motorola Mobility where he served as CEO of Motorola Home, Nest said in a statement. Fadell will still advise Alphabet Inc. and Larry Page, the Google co-founder and chief executive officer of the holding company. Nest took longer than expected to release new products and a smoke and carbon monoxide detector was recalled due to software problems. When the company did release an updated product, the Nest Cam security camera in June 2015, Fadell admitted it had been a "grueling" year. In recent months, Nest employees complained publicly about Fadell's management, while claiming the business had missed sales targets, botched upgrades and delayed future products. Fadell said, "I don't know of any regrets that I have. To do what we do at the level we do it, no one's done it before. So you're bound to make mistakes."
Microsoft

Ask Slashdot: Would You Recommend Updating To Windows 10? 982

Plenty of users are skeptical about upgrading to Windows 10. While they understand that Microsoft's newest desktop operating system comes with a range of interesting features, they are paranoid about the repeated update fiascos that have spoiled the experience for many users. Reader Quantus347 writes: Whenever I think of Windows 10 these days I, like so many others out there, immediately feel a swell of rage over the heavy-handed way the "upgrade" has been forced on me and so many others. I had to downgrade one of my computers that installed windows 10 over a weekend I was away, and as a result, I have been fending off the update ever since. I find myself wondering if Windows 10 is actually that bad. With the end of the "free" upgrade period quickly coming to an end, my fiscally conservative side is starting to overwhelm my fear and distrust of all things new, and I'm wondering if it's time to take the leap. I've been burned too many times for being an early adopter of something that proved to be an underdeveloped product, but Windows 10 has been around for long enough that I'm wondering if it might have it's kinks worked out.

So I ask you, Slashdot, what are your experiences with Windows 10 itself, aside from the auto-upgrade nonsense? How does it measure up to its predecessors, and is it a worthwhile OS in its own right?
Microsoft

Massive Backlash Building Over Windows 10 Upgrades (fortune.com) 501

Some Windows users are now disabling critical updates on their systems rather than face the prospect of mistakenly upgrading to Windows 10. An anonymous reader writes: "By pushing it on users in such a heavy-handed way, Microsoft is encouraging users who have very valid reasons to stick with Windows 7/8 to perform actions that leave their machines open to attack," writes PC World's senior editor. He adds that "Over the past week, I've received more contact from readers about this issue than I have about everything else I've written over the rest of my career combined."

Now even China's official news agency is reporting that users are angry about stealthy Windows 10 upgrades, saying over 1.2 million complaints appeared on one microblogging site. It quotes a legal advisor with the Internet Society of China, who says Microsoft "has abused its dominant market position and broken the market order for fair play," saying that lawsuits would be justified over Microsoft's action. "Yang Shuo, a worker at a Beijing-based public relations company, told Xinhua that the sudden update interrupted his drafting of a business plan and led to a meeting cancellation for a deal worth 3 million yuan ($457,735). 'Just because I didn't see the pop-up reminder does not mean I agreed.'"

In a possibly-unrelated development, the Chinese military plans to send nuclear submarines into the Pacific Ocean.

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