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Liam Proven

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Cheat Win XP DEATH: Little-known tool to save you from the XPocalypse

Howto Windows XP's date with destiny has passed. As of Tuesday, Microsoft will NOT be releasing any new security updates. With one in five PCs still running Windows XP, there's a chance you are among those whose computer is now running an unsupported operating system. What now? Doing an in-place upgrade to Windows 7 isn't a good …
Liam Proven, 10 Apr 2014
Psion Organiser II

Bugger the jetpack, where's my 21st-century Psion?

Way back in 2011 we covered a handy category of portable computer that has completely disappeared. The early A4 portables were a specialist item, much beloved of journalists but not a big hit with the wider world. It took a different design to win those hearts. Psion Organiser II Psion Organiser II Source: babbagecabbage …
Liam Proven, 07 Mar 2014

Inside Steve Ballmer’s fondleslab rear-guard action

Windows 8 is going down like a bucket of cold sick - but you're going to have to get used to it. It's not going away. If Microsoft has a future, this is it. Worse still, if you're a pro, you're going to have to support the thing. Microsoft had to make this desperate, poorly integrated attempt to foist a Version 1.0 touchscreen …
Liam Proven, 06 Dec 2013

How to relieve Microsoft's Surface RT piles problem

Somewhere in Redmond (at least metaphorically speaking) are several very large piles of unsold Surface RT tablet components. Why did the long-awaited and much-hyped ARM tablet running "Windows for ARM" Windows RT flop so badly, when ARM tablets running iOS for ARM from Apple are doing so well? It's not just the Modern Windows …
Liam Proven, 14 Nov 2013
Steampunk fan with goggles

Fed up with Windows? Linux too easy? Get weird, go ALTERNATIVE

It's hard to believe, looking at the modern computing world, but there is still more to life than Windows or Unix… and today, most of the alternatives run on vanilla x86 hardware and are free. Most of them need considerably lower resources than the market-leaders, too, so an old PC is ideal for trying them out. VMs are fine, but …
Liam Proven, 01 Nov 2013

How the clammy claws of Novell NetWare were torn from today's networks

Anniversary Before the internet, local area networks were the big thing. A company called Novell was the first to exploit the trend for connecting systems, ultimately becoming "the LAN king" with its NetWare server operating system. There were alternatives to Novell and NetWare in the 1990s - 3Com’s 3+Share, for example – but such was its …
Liam Proven, 16 Jul 2013
Cat 5 cable

Windows NT grandaddy OpenVMS taken out back, single gunshot heard

Digital Compaq HP has announced the end of support for various flavours of OpenVMS, the ancient but trustworthy server operating system whose creator went on to build Windows NT. OpenVMS started out as VAX/VMS on Digital Equipment Corporation's VAX minicomputers, then later was ported to DEC's fast Alpha RISC chips – before the …
Liam Proven, 10 Jun 2013
A rude gnome

How Microsoft shattered Gnome's unity with Windows 95

Feature There never will be a year when Linux conquers the desktop, because desktop computers are going to merge into tablet-style touch-driven devices and disappear. But desktop Linux was getting close, until Microsoft derailed it a few years back. The GNOME project’s recent release, GNOME 3.8, served to remind me of the significance …
Liam Proven, 03 Jun 2013
Ubuntu RHS teaser

Ubuntu without the 'U': Booting the Big Four remixes

Review It's the end of April, so that means that there's a new release of Ubuntu. Well, actually, no - it means that there are eight of them. Don't like standard Ubuntu's Mac-OS-X-like Unity desktop? Here's where to look. There are umpteen "remixes" alongside the eponymous distro. These mostly differ by having a different desktop - and …
Liam Proven, 26 Apr 2013
What Linus Torvalds thinks of NVIDIA

The GPL self-destruct mechanism that is killing Linux

Analysis Does one of the biggest-ever revolutions in software, open source, contain the seeds of its own decay and destruction? Poul-Henning Kamp, a noted FreeBSD developer and creator of the Varnish web-server cache, wrote this year that the open-source world's bazaar development model - described in Eric Raymond's book The Cathedral …
Liam Proven, 09 Nov 2012

What's new in Windows Server 2012

Windows Server 2012 – "Cloud OS" as Microsoft sometimes refers to it, and "WS2012" as we'll call it for short – is the result of the deepest and broadest developer effort in the history of Microsoft server products: 10,000 engineers working for four years. Comments from testers and early adopters have included "jaw-dropping", " …
Liam Proven, 02 Nov 2012
Windows server 2012 logo

Windows Server 2012: Microsoft's other Big Push

In 1985, Commodore held the UK launch of the Amiga 1000 at the World of Commodore Show at the Novotel in Hammersmith. Twenty-seven years later, Microsoft used the same venue to host the Technical Launch of Windows Server 2012. Microsoft Windows Server 2012 UK technical launch day The Amiga was Commodore's response to the …
Liam Proven, 01 Nov 2012
The Register breaking news

Party like it's 1999: CDE Unix desktop REBORN

The original Unix desktop, the Common Desktop Environment or CDE, is back. Seven years after Sun replaced it with GNOME on Solaris, the Open Group's Common Desktop Environment has returned, now fully open-source and with a modern Linux port. CDE was developed about 20 years ago as a unified desktop environment for all the …
Liam Proven, 09 Aug 2012
Cat 5 cable

Raspberry Pi IN THE SKY: Wallet-sized PC is disaster drone brain

A British-led Japan-based group is building a free-software-powered flying robot for use by disaster relief organisations – and at its heart is tech darling the Raspberry Pi. There are lots of uses for the £30 Pi, from an educational device to a media player, if you can get hold of one of the boards. OpenRelief is planning …
Liam Proven, 12 Jun 2012
BeagleBoard ARM PC

Best and the Rest: ARM Mini PCs

Product round-up The Best... RH Numbers Reg Hardware PC Week The Raspberry Pi – if you can get your hands on one – isn't the only small, inexpensive ARM computer around these days. There are quite a few options with varying speeds and price points. So here we take up ARMs with a full review of the ARMini – uniquely British offering that is …
Liam Proven, 10 May 2012
LTE Advance Logo

Faster mobile data: the road to 4G

Feature Reg Hardware Mobile Week The great thing about standards, as some wit once said, is that there are so many to choose from. Mobile phones are afflicted worse than most technology – a multiplicity of standards, nested within one another like a messy set of Russian dolls filled with alphabet soup. The 'generations' of mobile …
Liam Proven, 29 Feb 2012

Release the brakes on your virtual servers

One of the dirty little secrets of virtualisation is the performance cost: operating systems running inside a virtual machine are slower than those running natively on the same hardware, sometimes by quite some margin. This is termed virtualisation overhead, and with current whole-system virtualisation, it's a given. It always …
Liam Proven, 17 Nov 2011
server room

Where are all the decent handheld scribbling tools?

Part 1 As the market for computerised devices grows ever bigger and the internet takes over its users' social lives, it's a good time to be a gadget fan. They're everywhere, from smartphones and fondleslabs to pocket games consoles. There are notebooks of every size and shape from netbooks to desktop replacements. What were once mere …
Liam Proven, 10 Nov 2011
cable

Ubuntu republic riven by damaging civil wars

Analysis There's a popular misconception about open source: that it's democratic, that all users have a vote over its direction and development or even the running of the community around it. The users of Ubuntu, arguably the world's most popular Linux distro these days, are currently discovering that this is not how it works. The result …
Liam Proven, 08 Nov 2011

Cheap as chips: The future of PC virtualisation

A brief history of virtualisation VMware was founded in 1998, and until the launch of its eponymous product the next year, the PC’s x86 architecture had been considered to be impossible to fully virtualise. Since that time, although VMware continues to prosper, prices of virtualisation tools have fallen to an all-time low – in fact, most hypervisors are free, …
Liam Proven, 25 Jul 2011

Virtualisation soaks up corporate IT love

A brief history of virtualisation Virtualisation is the in-thing in corporate IT. You’d think it was some kind of shiny new concept that had never been done before, a panacea for all computing ills. Everyone seems to be doing it. It’s not even restricted to servers any more. Suppliers and customers are both getting excited about Virtual Desktop Infrastructure …
Liam Proven, 21 Jul 2011
Cat 5 cable

Fun and games in userland

Operating-system level virtualisation As we explained in part 2 of this series, A brief history of virtualisation, in the 1960s, it was a sound move to run one OS on top of a totally different one. On the hardware of the time, full multi-user time-sharing was a big challenge, which virtualisation neatly sidestepped by splitting …
Liam Proven, 18 Jul 2011

Before the PC: IBM invents virtualisation

Virtualisation is not a novelty. It's actually one of the last pieces of the design of 1960s computers to trickle down to the PC – and only by understanding where it came from and how it was and is used can you begin to see the shape of its future in its PC incarnation. As described in our first article in this series, current …
Liam Proven, 14 Jul 2011
Broken CD with wrench

Before 'the cloud' was cool: Virtualising the un-virtualisable

Buzzwords often have very short lifetimes in IT. Today it's cloud computing, but there would be no infinitely scalable cloud without the previous "big new thing": virtualisation. We take it for granted now, but it's worth remembering that it is still quite a new and relatively immature technology, with a long way to go. In this …
Liam Proven, 11 Jul 2011
Mac OS X 10.7

'Lion' Apple Mac OS X 10.7: Sneak Preview

Review The first major update to Apple's Mac operating system in some five years is nearly ready, and what has been removed is as significant as its improvements. Mac OS X 10.7, known informally as Lion, continues the trend of removing "legacy" components and technologies from OS X with a zeal that would leave Microsoft quivering in …
Liam Proven, 01 Jul 2011
The Register breaking news

CIX conferencing system is bought out – again

CIX, probably the oldest surviving online service in the UK, has a new owner, ICUK, which hopes to grow the system and attract new users. CIX - or the Compulink Information Exchange - started off in the pre-web days of the mid-1980s as a shareware distribution house's Fidonet bulletin board service, but the online community …
Liam Proven, 27 May 2011
LTE Advance Logo

WTF is... 4G

The great thing about standards, as some wit once said, is that there are so many to choose from. Mobile phones are afflicted worse than most technology – a multiplicity of standards, nested within one another like a messy set of Russian dolls filled with alphabet soup. LTE Advance Logo The 'generations' of mobile networks …
Liam Proven, 24 May 2011
Mac Mini with Snow Leopard Server

Apple Mac Mini with Snow Leopard Server

Review With Apple’s Xserve now discontinued, the only two Mac servers available are the Mini and the Mac Pro Server. The Mac Mini is Apple’s lowest-cost computer yet in its more expensive server incarnation it dispenses with the optical drive of its desktop sibling, instead opting for a second 2.5in hard disk. Mac Mini with Snow …
Liam Proven, 30 Nov 2010
The Register breaking news

A Linux server OS that's fiddly but tweakable

Review ClearOS is the new name for Point Clark Network's ClarkConnect, which was a commercial server distro, released in 2000, with a limited free version. Now, though, Point Clark has restructured and the distro is managed by ClearConnect, which has made it free and open source. The result is that what was the top-of-the-range …
Liam Proven, 19 Nov 2010
The Register breaking news

A young and pretty Linux server OS that takes a bit of work

Review Zentyal 2 is something a little bit different, although it too has changed its name recently: version 1 was called e-Box. A decade younger than its rivals, it is based on Ubuntu, but its developers skip the normal semi-annual releases, and only use the Long Term Support ones that Canonical releases every other year. E-Box …
Liam Proven, 18 Nov 2010
The Register breaking news

A Linux server OS that's had 11 years to improve

Review: SME Server is pretty much the original ready-rolled server distribution. Although it has changed hands – and names – a few times, it's been around since 1999, when it was known as e-Smith, a name you'll still see in a few places. Name: SME Server 7.5.1 Supplier: Free download Price: Free, no subscriptions or registration …
Liam Proven, 17 Nov 2010
The Register breaking news

Linux servers for Windows folk: go on, give it a bash

Despite all the hullabaloo about Ubuntu and other desktop offerings, for most organisations, the main use of Linux is on servers. Ignore all the waffle about flashy desktops and which browser is best, because the truth is, most organisations run on Windows and tons of Windows software – perhaps with a few Macs thrown in – and …
Liam Proven, 17 Nov 2010
The Register breaking news

Windows 7 SP1 'beta' leaks, hits torrents

A beta version of Service Pack 1 for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 has apparently leaked onto the torrent networks, if you're exceptionally brave and fancy installing a knock-off version of a major OS update. The intrepid can take some slight reassurance from the information that it can be uninstalled, so your Windows …
Liam Proven, 25 Jun 2010
The Register breaking news

Student's brilliant idea: A peer-to-peer social network

Comment Benjamin Birt, a CompSci student at the University of St Andrews, has announced a new type of social network, which he calls PeerBook. We note that there are some folks in Hamburg who might want to chat to him about the name and an international academic working group who might like a quiet word about this being a whole new …
Liam Proven, 25 Jun 2010

RISC OS runs on fastest hardware ever

RISC OS is alive and well and running on the fastest hardware it's ever been on – and the kit only costs £120. But "kit" is the operative word... Acorn may sadly be no more than a brand name attached to fairly generic netbooks now, but Acorn's products are thriving. The Acorn RISC Machine, later renamed the Advanced RISC Machine …
Liam Proven, 25 Jun 2010
The Register breaking news

The Reg guide to Linux, part 3

Linux has changed almost beyond recognition since version 1.0 in 1994 and Ubuntu is about as polished and professional as it gets. It's approaching the level of polish of Mac OS X, is faster and easier to install than Windows, includes a whole suite of apps and offers tens of thousands more, runs on cheap commodity hardware and …
Liam Proven, 24 Jun 2010
The Register breaking news

Oracle updates free web RAD tool

If you have to knock up a web front-end to an Oracle database in a hurry, you might appreciate the newly-released version 4 of Oracle Application Express – or APEX, as it's known to its mates. Version 4 has been a while coming – it's been in preview since December and the last version, 3.2, came out in March last year. Formerly …
Liam Proven, 24 Jun 2010
The Register breaking news

Getting the most out of Gmail

So long as you don't mind the company indexing all of your mail and keeping it forever – plus the odd, easily-ignorable advert - Gmail is one of Google's handiest services. It's got probably the best interface of any webmail system, it scales down well onto smartphones and so on, but it does rather more besides. You can use it …
Liam Proven, 23 Jun 2010
The Register breaking news

The Reg guide to Linux, part 2: Preparing to dual-boot

On Monday, we suggested Ubuntu as a good starting point for experimenting with desktop Linux. If you have the option, dedicate a machine to it – by 2010 standards, even a modest-spec PC will run it fine. You'll be very pleasantly surprised by the transformation from a lumbering old XP box burdened with years of cruft to one with …
Liam Proven, 23 Jun 2010
The Register breaking news

Apple iOS4 upgrade adds multitasking, folders... and pain

As usual, the latest Apple operating system upgrade is stranding quite a few unhappy users with broken machines. This time it's iOS4, which was released for some older iPhone models on Monday. Apple's products often appeal to non-technical users and some are getting bitten when they try to upgrade. Whereas any half-competent …
Liam Proven, 22 Jun 2010
The Register breaking news

The Reg guide to Linux, part 1: Picking a distro

One of the common complaints about Linux is that there are too many different editions (or “distributions”) to choose from, and only a hardcore nerd can tell them apart. Well, it's true, but you can safely ignore 99 per cent of them. Welcome to The Register's guaranteed impartiality-free guide. Tomorrow, we'll tell you how to …
Liam Proven, 21 Jun 2010
Linutop 2

Linutop 2

Review A whole heap of companies have started offering miniature Linux-powered PCs in the last few years, from Zonbu, Sumo and Koolu to DecTOP, that sells the device formerly known as AMD's Personal Internet Communicator. A number bear an almost suspicious resemblance to x86-powered thin clients, being based around inexpensive, low- …
Liam Proven, 12 May 2009