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Linux Community Hit by the Blight of Social Justice Warfare, A Great Purge is Coming

Through the 1990s, Microsoft had become a super-corporation threatening to monopolize all of computing. A band of talented developers got together with lawyers that could fish out loopholes in proprietary licenses, and with some generosity from big software, Linux grew from a scrappy Unix-like OS kernel to the preeminent operating system for enterprises at first, and handheld consumer electronics later. Today it's most popular operating system on the planet. Like every big organization, the Linux Foundation is hit by employee-activism.

Employee-activism is the new unionism. Whereas trade-unions of the old fought for tangible bread-and-butter issues affecting blue-collar folk of the early Industrial era, today's employee-activist is an intellectual predator seeking to maximize their organizational footprint on the backs of other people echoing their political ideas, often through blatant insubordination and disregard for the chain of command. Survival of the fittest has changed to "survival of the loudest." From forcing Linus Torvalds to apologize for speaking his mind in public, to coming up with a new Code of Conduct document, social-justice activism within the Linux Foundation threatens to devolve the culture of meritocracy to a toxic "safe space" prioritizing inclusion of identity rather than skill, as HardOCP comments. A major blow-back from the meritocrats is taking shape.

AMD CEO Speaks with Jim Cramer About the "Secret Sauce" Behind its Giant-Killing Spree

Jim Cramer of CNBC Mad Money interviewed AMD CEO Dr. Lisa Su on the floor of the NYSE remarking her company as the year's biggest tech turnaround stories. The two spoke a variety of topics, including how the company went from a single-digit stock and a loss-making entity to one of the hottest tech-stocks, which threatens both Intel and NVIDIA. Dr. Su placed emphasis on taking long term strategic decisions that bear fruit years down the line.

"We decided to make the right investments. Technology is all about making the right choices, where we're going to invest, and where we're not going to invest...three or four years ago, it was mobile phones, tablets, and IoT that were the sexy things, and we were like 'hey we know that those are good markets, but those are not AMD.' We focused on what we thought the future would hold for us," said Dr. Su. "We are making decisions now that you won't see the outcome of for the next 3-5 years. We're making some good decisions," she added.

Amazon Could be Pointing to Halo 5: Guardians Release for PC

A box listing update for 343 Industries' Halo 5: Guardians over the weekend may have spilled the beans on a planned release of the title for PC gamers. Via an updated box art posted on Amazon, the new Halo 5: Guardians changes the previous "Only on XBOX One" adage of games that could only be found on Microsoft's console - and nowhere else - to a much more interesting "XBOX One Console Exclusive". This particular wording has become prevalent ever since Microsoft introduced its "XBOX Play Anywhere" initiative, which sees copies of games being mirrored in both the PC and console platforms - much like it happened on Halo Wars 2.

If this were to happen, of course, we'd expect nothing less that a very well optimized port for the PC version of the game. Microsoft hasn't been saving expenses in gearing up their Play Anywhere titles up to the best features and performance metrics PC gaming has to offer, and with a Halo game, those efforts are sure to be doubled. The franchise still remains Microsoft's juggernaut and best representative of their overall brand identity, and Microsoft - and 343 Industries - wouldn't want to be missing an opportunity to prepare a whole new world of potential gamers and buyers of Halo: Infinite via a less than exquisite launch of Halo 5: guardians on PC. Until then, you can always just hop into the free Forge mode on Windows 10.

Microsoft Unveils Windows 10 October 2018 Update

Microsoft at its IFA Berlin briefing named its next major update to Windows 10, dubbed October 2018 Update, bound for the date of its namesake. Technically Windows 10 version 1809, the operating system will introduce a few user-interface improvements such as Dark Mode, and a cloud-linked clipboard that lets you copy things between your various Windows devices linked to the same Microsoft account. Microsoft will also introduce improvements to Game Mode and add functionality to Game Bar, including some hardware monitoring features. This would also present Redmond with the opportunity to introduce a new version of Edge. Microsoft could sign off the release by late-September, and start distribution sometime in October.

Forza Horizon 4 PC Requirements Revealed

The PC requirements for the latest, upcoming iteration of Forza Horizon (now in its fourth installment) have just been outed. Of course, you wouldn't expect these to be much different from those of Forza Motorsport 6. Forza Horizon 4, developed by Microsoft Games Studios' Playground Games, will launch on October 4th, and promises to take you to new heights in arcade racing.

Being a Games for Windows game, of course, means Windows 10 is part of the minimum requirements - specifically, version 15063.0 of the OS (the Creators Update released back in 2017). Catch up on the rest of the requirements after the break - but if you have an Intel i3-4170, or an NVIDIA GT 740/ AMD R7 250X, you're gold for the minimum.

UL's Raytracing Benchmark Not Based on Time Spy, Completely New Development

After we've covered news of UL's (previously known as 3D Mark) move to include a raytracing benchmark mode on Time Spy, the company has contacted us and other members of the press to clarify their message and intentions. As it stands, the company will not be updating their Time Spy testing suite with Raytracing technologies. Part of the reason is that this would need an immense rewrite of the benchmark itself, which would be counterproductive - and this leads to the rest of the reason why it's not so: such a significant change would invalidate previous results that didn't have the Raytracing mode activated.

As such, UL has elected to develop a totally new benchmark, built from the ground up to use Microsoft's DirectX Raytracing (DXR). This new benchmark will be added to the 3D Mark app as an update. The new test will produce its own benchmarking scores, very much like Fire Strike and Time Spy did, and will provide users with yet another ladder to climb on their way to the top of the benchmarking scene. Other details are scarce - which makes sense. But the test should still be available on or around the time of NVIDIA's 20-series launch, come September 20th.

Intel Gags Customers from Publishing Performance Impact of Microcode Updates

Much of the secret sauce that made Intel processors faster than AMD is going sour, as the cybersecurity community is finding gaping security vulnerabilities by exploiting features such as speculative execution. Intel's microcode updates that mitigate these vulnerabilities impact performance. Intel isn't too happy about public performance numbers put out by its customers, which it fears could blunt the competitive edge of its products. The company has hence updated the license terms governing the microcode update distribution to explicitly forbid its users from publishing comparative "before/after" performance numbers of patched processors.

The updated license for the microcode update has this controversial sentence (pay attention to "v"):
"You will not, and will not allow any third party to (i) use, copy, distribute, sell or offer to sell the Software or associated documentation; (ii) modify, adapt, enhance, disassemble, decompile, reverse engineer, change or create derivative works from the Software except and only to the extent as specifically required by mandatory applicable laws or any applicable third party license terms accompanying the Software; (iii) use or make the Software available for the use or benefit of third parties; or (iv) use the Software on Your products other than those that include the Intel hardware product(s), platform(s), or software identified in the Software; or (v) publish or provide any Software benchmark or comparison test results."

Microsoft at Gamescom 2018: Where's the Heart of Gaming After All?

We stopped by Microsoft's booth at Gamescom 2018 in Koln, Germany, to see what the behemoth company was pushing for its Xbox family of products - and, of course, Windows 10. However, the company's presence lacked most of its heavy-hitters - Halo was absent, Gears of War was as well. In fact, Microsoft's presence at this years' Gamescom was limited to Forza Horizon 4 and Ori and the Will of the Wisps, when it comes to in-house exclusives. Though that McLaren does look great over there, doesn't it? Oh my.

Windows 10 Preview Build 17733 Introduces Instant Dark Windows

The "Night Light" toggle introduced with Windows 10 was an instant hit with users staying up long hours on the PC. When flicked, DWM applies a shader that filters out blue light, and adjusts the color temperature accordingly at a software-level, so even people without monitors that do this can have some degree of protection from the harshness of high color temperature and blue light. The same demographic of people are also looking for an instant toggle that changes Windows to a dark theme. Ask they did, and Microsoft responded in kind, with the Preview Build 17733.

The dark mode can be toggled in the Notifications Center menu of Windows 10. When flicked, all of the areas in Explorer that are normally white, or some brighter shade of gray, turn to black, or a darker shade. Such a UI from Microsoft dates back to the 1990s with its Encarta suite. You can use the dark theme even now, but you'd have to enable it via Windows Settings. It would now take three clicks to bring up the Notifications Center, and toggle both dark mode and night light.

Snail Mail Malware: Chinese Hackers Go Old School

In today's world, data breaches, phishing attacks, malware, and exploits are a daily occurrence. We are all familiar with the typical phishing emails that grace our inbox day in day out. You might even get a phone call from a fake Microsoft tech support employee, who attempts to gain access to your system. However, in our always-online world, it is a bit surprising to hear about hackers that would decide to use snail mail. In what will likely elicit a few giggles, U.S. state and local government agencies, along with the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS-ISAC) have issued an alert, in what I can only describe as an attack from the stone age; malware infested CDs.

Riding on Strong Azure Performance, Microsoft Crushes Estimates, Jumps 4% in Stock Valuation

Following Microsoft's Earnings report last Thursday, the company enjoyed a smooth uphill with its stock value in after-hours trading. Riding on the strong of greater than expected Microsoft Azure Cloud earnings, Microsoft beat all estimates by a margin: earnings per share were announced at $1.14, versus $1.08 expected (GAAP), and revenue was declared at $30.1 billion, versus $29.2 billion expected. That's an extra billion dollars in revenue for all intents and purposes - and stock pricing increased by more than the additional revenue did, with investors expressing confidence on "strong guidance".

Productivity and Business Processes, with Microsoft Office, was up 13% from the year-ago period, to $9.7 billion. Intelligent Cloud, which encompasses the Microsoft Azure cloud-computing platform and related technologies, was up 23%, to $9.6 billion. And More Personal Computing, which includes Windows, the Xbox, and the Surface hardware business, was up 17%, to $10.8 billion (7% up in the Windows business alone). The Azure folder was the one with the most growth, by far: it saw revenue growth of 89% from the same period in 2017. LinkedIn revenue went up 37% from the same time last year, and gaming revenue saw a 39% increase - a boost not related to hardware, but Xbox software and services, which accounted for 36% of that figure. The Surface business is up 25% from this time last year, something Microsoft credits to both a strong hardware lineup this year and a less than stellar 2017 performance.

Windows Notepad Gets its First Update in Decades

Microsoft is giving Notepad, the humble plaintext editor, its first major update in decades. The update will be shipping in the next major update to Windows 10, currently referred to as Redstone 5. To begin with, Notepad is getting an under-the-hood performance boost that will let it work with large text files more responsively. More functionality is added to the status bar (which stays hidden by default). The status bar now allows you to zoom in and out of text (this doesn't change font size, only its display). To zoom in/out, hold down ctrl, and turn the scroll wheel up or down. The status bar also displays cursor position in lines and columns, and character encoding. Notepad will also, at long last, receive support for *nix and Mac line endings. Lastly, ctrl+backspace (deleting a previous word instead of a character) will finally be supported.

Microsoft Announces the Surface Go Convertible at $399

Today, Microsoft announces Surface Go: the most portable and affordable Surface product yet. Many of us play different roles throughout the day, moving from work or school to home and everywhere in between. Our team designs every Surface to adapt to that dynamic lifestyle, to strike a balance between performance and versatility, form and function. Our products don't do just one thing because people don't do just one thing.

We pioneered categories like the 2:1 to provide the mobility of a tablet with the performance of a laptop, inspiring new ways of creating. As you pursue your passions, connect with friends and family, and work with your team, the products you're able to take on the go with you are the ones that can keep up with the huge range of things you want to accomplish.

Microsoft Launching New Budget Surface Tablet on July 13th

Expectations of a budget Microsoft Surface tablet that would bring the company's reach to mainstream pricing ranges have been doing the rounds for years now. The company, however, has preferred to build on its product design chops on a higher margin market, going after Apple's usual product language. It now seems those days are over, as rumors and leaks have somewhat coalesced into an actual, impending product launch - if insiders are correct, this product should materialize this Friday, July 13th.

The new Surface tablet will launch starting from $399 under Microsoft's Education program, but configuration options should bring options up to the $829 mark. The screen is expected to be a 10" affair, with an 1800x1200 resolution. CPU options should start with Intel's "Gemini Lake" Pentium Silver N5000, a quad-core SoC with a 1.1 GHz base clock and up to 2.7 GHz boost. The more expensive versions will likely feature the Intel Pentium Gold 4410Y and the Intel Pentium Gold 4415Y, both based on the "Kaby Lake" architecture. Base configurations should carry 4 GB of DDR4 memory (configurable up to 8 GB), and 64 GB of storage (up to 256 GB), on a 562 g body and USB Type-C. A special-purpose Type cover and mouse will be made available as well.

Swedish Firm EQT Acquires SuSE from Microsoft-funded Previous Owners

Swedish company EQT, which invests heavily in tech stocks, and even owns tech IP, closed a deal with Micro Focus to acquire SuSE, lock stock and barrel. Over the past 15 years, SuSE changed many owners. In 2004, the Nuremberg-based Linux distributor was acquired by Novell. In 2010, Novell was swallowed by Attachmate, with funding from Microsoft. In 2014, ten years since its original foreign acquisition, Micro Focus acquired Attachmate and spun off SuSE as a separate division within the company. EQT purchased this division from Micro Focus in a deal valued at USD $2.5 billion.

Recognizable by its quirky chameleon mascot, SuSE's biggest product is SuSE Linux, a commercial distribution of Linux for enterprises, which integrates certain proprietary software and drivers, with a business-model similar to that of RHEL (Red Hat Enterprise Linux). There's also a GNU-friendly, community-maintained free distribution of SuSE called OpenSuSE, which is made entirely of free and open-source software. The acquisition of SuSE is big, not just because of its valuation, but also because certain EU-based businesses and governments use it in their vital IT infrastructure. The EQT acquisition keeps SuSE within the EU.

Xbox Architect Rob Wyatt Joins the Atari VCS Team

Atari - one of the world's most iconic consumer brands and interactive entertainment producers - today announced that game platform architecture expert Rob Wyatt and his Boulder, Colorado-based company Tin Giant, are officially joining the Atari VCS team. Wyatt, an expert in GPU Hardware and 3D graphics, has worked on everything from hardware design to graphics applications for a variety of well-known game systems and software platforms. While at Microsoft, Wyatt held roles on the development teams on DirectX and the Windows kernel before becoming the system architect of the original Xbox game console. Wyatt later contributed to the graphics systems of the PlayStation 3 before moving on to become the graphics architect at Magic Leap, an augmented reality startup. Along the way, he has also lent his expertise to many AAA video games and high-end movie special effects.

The Atari VCS is a completely new connected gaming and entertainment device slated to begin shipping in mid-2019. Atari has partnered with chipmaker AMD, who will provide the Atari VCS custom processor featuring Radeon Graphics Technology. The operating system of the Atari VCS is based on Linux, and the platform's highly-anticipated open Sandbox will allow users to create and port additional content to personalize their experience.

Microsoft and Razer Collaborating on New Gaming Keyboards and Mice for Xbox

Microsoft has been in and out of the PC gaming peripherals business with its Sidewinder family, and is heavily invested in gaming with the Xbox console and its ecosystem. The company is looking to expand the functionality of the console to bring more PC-like input to the console for certain game genres that cannot be played well with a gamepad or an Xbox controller. RTS games, for example, require rapid, high-precision pointing, and dozens of macros quickly accessible via a keyboard. Microsoft seems to have decided that it's time Xbox has proper keyboard+mouse input, and so it's collaborating with Razer to design new peripherals.

Microsoft already shared the implementation plans of bringing keyboard+mouse input to the Xbox platform, with game developers earlier this year, so they could either retrofit their released titles, or develop future titles with it (and work on ports of popular RTS games that are exclusive to the PC). This includes two new APIs for the console - "Windows.Input.Devices" and "Windows.UI.Core.CoreWindow," which brings a semblance of the UWP to the console. It also proposed new multi-player matchmaking rules to ensure players with keyboards+mice don't get into lobbies with players that have controllers, and end up with an advantage in genres such as FPS. Razer's Xbox peripherals could be both cost-effective keyboards and mice sold separately from each other; or contraptions such as the Razer Turret, which combine a keyboard, mouse, and mousepad into a single, living room-friendly, wireless device that you can put on your lap. Since UWP on the Xbox also paves the way for certain non-gaming apps, one can expect Razer to bring Synapse and Chroma to the platform.

Microsoft Releases Updates for Older Windows 10 Builds

While not much happened during June's Microsoft Patch Day, the company is now pushing out updates for earlier builds of Windows 10, namely for the Anniversary Update (1607), Creators Update (1703), Fall Creators Update 1709). There is no updates for the latest Windows 10 April 2018 Update (1803).
The change logs are below. You will receive those updates via Windows Update.

343 Industries Announces Halo Infinite, (Eventually) Coming to XBOX and Windows 10 PCs

343 Industries and Microsoft, at its E3 press conference, opened up hostilities with a reveal trailer for the next installment in the Halo series. Presented as Halo Infinite, the new Halo game will mark the first time a mainline Halo experience is launched in both the XBOX platform and Windows PCs, and thus marks a new era, with even greater market penetration, for the critic and user-acclaimed series.

The reveal trailer is more of a technical showcase rather than a full-blown reveal trailer for the game; the idea was to showcase the new Slipspace Engine. This new engine marks the second one to have ever been used in the mainline Halo series (not counting the Saber engine used in the Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary by Saber Interactive, or the engines used for Halo Wars). The Halo series has been using virtually the same game engine since the series' inception with Halo: Combat Evolved back in 2001 (heavily modified each year, of course). The new Slipspace Engine is a chance to build new tools which will apparently lead to an open-world setting - that's what some publications are expecting. Honestly, I would expect something more akin to hub locations in a galaxy-spanning conflict, in an approach similar to Destiny and Destiny 2, with quasi-open world settings at each one. Side-quests are likely to be introduced, likely in a way similar to what Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare delivered (but hoepfully beatter and more meaningful in their introduction). For now, this is all speculation, though, so take it with a bucketload of salt.

Microsoft to Acquire GitHub for $7.5 Billion

Microsoft Corp. on Monday announced it has reached an agreement to acquire GitHub, the world's leading software development platform where more than 28 million developers learn, share and collaborate to create the future. Together, the two companies will empower developers to achieve more at every stage of the development lifecycle, accelerate enterprise use of GitHub, and bring Microsoft's developer tools and services to new audiences.

"Microsoft is a developer-first company, and by joining forces with GitHub we strengthen our commitment to developer freedom, openness and innovation," said Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft. "We recognize the community responsibility we take on with this agreement and will do our best work to empower every developer to build, innovate and solve the world's most pressing challenges."

Microsoft Acquires GitHub?

In a move that could significantly shake up the software industry, reports are emerging that Microsoft may have acquired GitHub, and that an announcement to that effect could be made on Monday (4th June). A 2015 valuation of GitHub put it at USD $2 billion, but it's not clear at what price Redmond struck this deal. GitHub had been struggling for the past few quarters and hadn't appointed a full-time CEO since the departure of Chris Wanstrath in August 2017.

This deal could have sweeping ramifications on the software industry because proprietary software companies use GitHub for private repositories of software source-code, so their developer teams spread across the globe could collaborate (they now have to content with Microsoft owning GitHub); and for ideologically-charged free software (and OSS) developers to continue to run their projects on GitHub. Microsoft has been a top contributor on GitHub, with over 1,000 employees pushing code to public and non-public projects on the platform.

Matrox G200 - Celebrating 20 Years of Graphics Excellence

Matrox Graphics Inc. is pleased to announce the 20-year anniversary of its Matrox G200 graphics chip. The milestone celebrates two decades of dedicated, active software development and support for multiple technology nodes across countless Microsoft Windows and Linux operating systems. Developed for 2D, 3D, and video acceleration, the G200 powered a number of industry-first, graphics and multi-monitor-based product lines that delivered unprecedented image quality across one or more displays. Today, G200 is and remains the trusted and preeminent integrated graphics solution of choice for the majority of baseboard management controllers used in servers worldwide.

On the New Subscription Age, EA Acquires Game Streaming Service Gamefly

Seems like almost every industry is looking towards transitioning to a subscription model for its goods and services. Netflix may be the most iconic one such company, having acquired millions of subscribers that allow it to have a relatively stable, monthly influx of liquidity (yes, we can also count World of Warcraft on such a scenario). However, many other industries have taken to the same approach (think lootcrates, all kinds of crates, subscription services for online features, etc).

That said, few industries can take the same amount of data from their subscribers such as these media-consumption based ones, where an Internet connection is required, and user data - be it views or, the most interesting metric, engagement rates - are king in determining exactly what the user base expects and craves more of. Netflix's algorithms and view history have been responsible for the selection of its future investments. The base idea for the movie Bright, for example, was developed based on a mash-up of genres Netflix's algorithms indicated as the more captivating to the user base - and Netflix's sci-fi portfolio, for instance, has recently grown towards becoming the single biggest investment from the company, as users seem to gobble-up such content (I'm dully guilty as charged for that one sin as well, I have to admit).

Microsoft's Hit Surface Hub is Getting a Second-Gen Product in 2019

Microsoft has listed a second-generation approach to their original Surface Hub, the innovative conference room computer built for collaborative work scenarios that was met with considerable success. That success, of course, stems from the integration of a whiteboard/computing solution, that brings interactivity and computing to usually less... techy collaborations.

According to Microsoft, the idea behind the Surface Hub 2 is simple: "A new culture of work is emerging. One where unlocking the power of the team has never been more important. I see it with our team daily. People coming together, creating together. Making products stronger through collaboration, whether they're in the same room or separated by thousands of miles." And Microsoft may have put in some of the improvements to do just that.

AMD Introduces Broad AMD Ryzen PRO Mobile & Desktop APU Systems for Enterprise

AMD today announced unprecedented adoption of its AMD Ryzen PRO processors - including new notebooks and desktops powered by Ryzen PRO processors with built-in Radeon Vega graphics now available from the world's three largest enterprise PC OEMs. AMD Ryzen PRO APUs for premium commercial desktop and notebooks provide commercial PC buyers with new levels of choice and innovation and enable Dell, HP, and Lenovo to create a range of business systems, from sleek enterprise notebooks to powerful commercial desktops. Combined, these systems make up the broadest portfolio of AMD processor-based enterprise PCs in the company's history.
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