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Communications

Comcast Says There's 6 Million Unhappy DSL Users Left To Target (dslreports.com) 141

Karl Bode, writing for DSLReports: As we noted last week, cable is effectively demolishing phone companies when it comes to new broadband subscriber additions, and Comcast still says the company has plenty of room to grow. Comcast and Charter alone added 500,000 net broadband subscribers last quarter, while the nation's biggest telcos collectively lost 360,783 broadband users during the same period. With AT&T and Verizon backing away from unwanted DSL users, and Windstream Frontier and CenturyLink only eyeing piecemeal upgrades, the bloodshed is far from over. Speaking this week at the Nomura 2016 Media, Telecom & Internet Conference, Comcast VP Marcien Jenckes stated that the company has plenty of unhappy DSL customers left to nab. In fact, Comcast says the company still has around 6 million DSL subscribers in its territory, many of which are likely frustrated by outdated speeds.
Microsoft

Ask Slashdot: How Will You Handle Microsoft's New 'Cumulative' Windows Updates? (slashdot.org) 399

Microsoft's announced they'll discontinue "individual patches" for Windows 7 and 8.1 (as well as Windows Server 2008 R2, 2012, and 2012 R2). Instead they'll have monthly "cumulative" rollups of each month's patches, and while there will be a separate "security-only" bundle each month, "individual patches will no longer be available." This has one anonymous Slashdot reader asking what's the alternative: We've read about the changes coming to Windows Update in October 2016... But what happens when it's time to wipe and reload the OS? Or what about installing Windows on different hardware? Admittedly, there are useful non-security updates worth having, but plenty to avoid (e.g. telemetry).

How does one handle this challenge? Set up a personal WSUS box before October to sync all desired updates through October 2016? System images can work if you don't change primary hardware, but what if you do? Or should one just bend the knee to Microsoft...?

Should they use AutoPatcher? Switch to Linux? Or just disconnect their Windows boxes from the internet... Leave your answers in the comments. How do you plan to handle Microsoft's new 'cumulative' Windows Updates?
Windows

Microsoft Announces 'Cumulative' Updates Will Become Mandatory For Windows 7 and 8.1 (microsoft.com) 275

Microsoft's now changing the way updates are delivered for Windows 7 and 8.1. Slashdot reader JustAnotherOldGuy writes: Microsoft's Senior Product Marketing Manager Nathan Mercer just announced that, "From October 2016 onwards, Windows will release a single Monthly Rollup that addresses both security issues and reliability issues in a single update... Each month's rollup will supersede the previous month's rollup, so there will always be only one update required for your Windows PCs to get current."

What this means is that individual patches will no longer be available after October 2016, and Windows 7 and Windows 8 users will now only have two choices: stop updating completely and leave your computers vulnerable to security holes, or accept everything single thing Microsoft sends you whether you want it or not.

Microsoft says their new approach "increases Windows operating system reliability, by eliminating update fragmentation and providing more proactive patches for known issues." They added that "Several update types aren't included in a rollup, such as those for Servicing Stack and Adobe Flash," and that "the .NET Framework will also follow the Monthly Rollup model." According to Microsoft's blog post, they'll also be releasing a monthly "security-only" update, but again, "individual patches will no longer be available".
Open Source

New FreeBSD 11.0 Release Candidate Tested By Phoronix (phoronix.com) 60

"The first release candidate for the upcoming FreeBSD 11.0 is ready for testing," reports Distrowatch, noting various changes. ("A NULL pointer dereference in IPSEC has been fixed; support for SSH protocol 1 has been removed; OpenSSH DSA keys have been disabled by default...") Now an anonymous Slashdot reader writes: Sunday Phoronix performed some early benchmark testing, comparing FreeBSD 10.3 to FreeBSD 11.0 as well as DragonFlyBSD, Ubuntu, Intel Clear Linux and CentOS Linux 7. They reported mixed results -- some wins and some losses for FreeBSD -- using a clean install with the default package/settings on the x86_64/amd64 version for each operating system.

FreeBSD 11.0 showed the fastest compile times, and "With the SQLite benchmark, the BSDs came out ahead of Linux [and] trailed slightly behind DragonFlyBSD 4.6 with HAMMER. The 11.0-BETA4 performance does appear to regress slightly for SQLite compared to FreeBSD 10.3... With the BLAKE2 crypto test, all four Linux distributions were faster than DragonFlyBSD and FreeBSD... with the Apache web server benchmark, FreeBSD was able to outperform the Linux distributions..."

Portables (Apple)

Apple Should Stop Selling Four-Year-Old Computers (theverge.com) 472

It's been a while since Apple upgraded its MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and Mac Pro models. Four years, one month, and twenty-four days, to be exact, in case of the MacBook Pro. Apple is inexplicably still selling the exact same models for its Mac line that it introduced in 2012. Pretty much every Windows OEM has had an Intel Skylake-powered processor in its laptops for more than a year now, but Apple's computing lineup is still shipping with the three-to-four years old processor, and graphics card. Things have gotten so bad, that MacRumors' Buying Guide, which is considered to be an "online institution" among Apple nerds, has flagged all of Apple laptops as "Don't Buy" In a column, The Verge's Sam Byford says that Apple should stop selling the old laptops. He writes: Apple iterates quickly and consistently in mobile because the rate of technological progress is so much more dramatic in that arena. The company does amazing work to keep its iPhones and iPads ahead of competitors, performance-wise. Simple Intel processor upgrades are less important to laptops these days, however, and I'm finding this 2012 MacBook Pro fine to work from right now -- faster than my 2015 MacBook, at least, which is enough for my needs. But that doesn't mean it isn't unconscionable for Apple to continue to sell outdated products to people who may not know any better. Is the company really saving that much money by using 2012 processors and 4GB of RAM as standard? Even an update to Intel's Haswell chips from 2013 would have brought huge battery life improvements. Apple is bound by the whims of its suppliers to a certain extent, and it may not always make sense for the company to upgrade its products with every single new chip or GPU that comes out. But there's a certain point at which it just starts to look like absent-mindedness, and many Mac computers are well past that point now. [...] If Apple doesn't want to keep its products reasonably current, that's its prerogative. But if that truly is the case, maybe it shouldn't sell them at all.It's also ironic, coming from a company whose executive not long ago made fun of people who had five years old computer. Folks at Accidental Tech Podcast also discussed the same recently.
Microsoft

Slashdot Asks: Free Upgrade To Windows 10 Ends Today: What's Your Thought On This? 503

Exactly one year ago, Microsoft released Windows 10 to the general public. The latest version of company's desktop operating system brought with it Cortana, and Windows Hello among other features. While users have lauded Windows 10 for performance improvements, the Redmond-based company's aggressive upgrade tactics have spoiled the experience for many. Whether it was installing Windows 10 on computers without users' consent, or eating up tons of bandwidth for users who couldn't afford it, or whether it was deceptive dialog boxes, Microsoft definitely deserves a lot of blame -- and rightfully, a bunch of lawsuits. But many of these things, hopefully, will end today -- July 29, 2016 (or to be exact, Saturday morning 5:59am EDT / 2:59am PDT) Today is officially the last day when eligible Windows 7 and Windows 8 computers could be upgraded to Windows 10 for free of charge. After this, an upgrade to Windows 10 will set you back by at least $119.
We asked you a couple of weeks ago whether or not would you recommend someone to update their computer to Windows 10, and the vast majority of you insisted against it. What's your thought on this now? Those who opt out of updating to Windows 10 will also miss the Anniversary Update -- and its features -- which Microsoft plans to release on August 2 for free of charge.
Windows

Microsoft Faces Two New Lawsuits Over Aggressive Windows 10 Upgrade Tactics 105

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) 128

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.'

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