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Endless OS Now Ships With Steam And Slack FlatPak Applications (endlessos.com) 95

An anonymous reader writes: Steam and Slack are now both included as Flatpak applications on the Endless OS, a free Linux distribution built upon the decades of evolution of the Linux operating system and the contributions of thousands of volunteers on the GNOME project. The beauty of Flatpak is the ability to bridge app creators and Linux distributions using a universal framework, making it possible to bring this kind of software to operating systems that encourage open collaboration...

As an open-source deployment mechanism, Flatpak was developed by an independent cohort made up of volunteers and contributors from supporting organizations in the open-source community. Alexander Larsson, lead developer of Flatpak and principal engineer at Red Hat, provided comment saying, "We're particularly excited about the opportunity Endless affords to advance the benefits of open-source environments to entirely new audiences."

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Endless OS Now Ships With Steam And Slack FlatPak Applications

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Want to like Linux for a desktop OS. But I just can't and mainly its because stuff just doesn't work, or doesn't always work or works poorly on Linux and much better on Windows or a Mac. If I am going to dump Windows 10 I will obviously choose Mac OS over any sort of Linux flavor. Sounds so great to be free which is about all Linux desktop has going for it these days. Maybe Chrome OS is a option for some, I myself have tried it and its just too Googleish for me. Steam totally failed on its Linux systems and

  • Advert (Score:5, Insightful)

    by umafuckit ( 2980809 ) on Sunday May 21, 2017 @10:07AM (#54458925)
    OS nobody has heard of now ships with Steam and Slack... Great.
  • Uh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jon3k ( 691256 ) on Sunday May 21, 2017 @10:11AM (#54458943)
    "built upon the decades of evolution of the Linux operating system and the contributions of thousands of volunteers on the GNOME project. "

    That seemed kind of unnecessary. Are we going to start announcing all distro news in this way?
    • by Herve5 ( 879674 )

      :-D
      and now, I'm thinking this sentence does convey information indeed : what it means, is that the authors of EndlessOS feel they are so much unknown, that they need to heavily insist on their noble Linux origins :-)
      A sentence like that to me is a repellent, I thank you for having raised my attention there.
      I'll come back when they feel secure enough to not need hitch hiking... (indeed let's leave this thread altogether)

      • Or alternately, that their marketing is trying to appeal to people that aren't already deeply familiar with Linux. Certainly their simplified "tablety" desktop is clearly not designed to appeal to the bulk of desktop-Linux enthusiasts, and the video and many sub-$250 (and sub $100) pre-installed systems they offer suggest that they're targetting education and wealthier developing-world markets.

    • by kqs ( 1038910 )

      XKCD 630 [xkcd.com]

    • by Anonymous Coward

      This is what IO call a "trap" distro. Codecs are a paid extra. Standard tools like apt don't work because they're too hard for the type of user they want to "help". Maybe people fleeing WannaCrypt-Windoze?

      Tony Robbins is one of their advisors if you dig around their FAQ and About pages. So the BS is laid on thick with this one.

      Rating: minus 2 stars.

      Recommendation: avoid.

      The Cure: just download Ubuntu MATE or Linux Mint.

  • by bogaboga ( 793279 ) on Sunday May 21, 2017 @10:16AM (#54458971)

    Folks, I am still looking for Linux's worthy office competitor. To me, this means an application that can be scripted, an application in which business logic can be programmed. I have developed many such applications using VBA.

    Once Linux gets something near equivalent to Office on Windows, I will bite.

    And yes, I am aware of LibreOffice and the like if one simply googles them. None of what I have seen cuts it, unfortunately.

    • by ledow ( 319597 ) on Sunday May 21, 2017 @10:27AM (#54459019) Homepage

      I'd query why places think they need to run their business logic in a desktop OS via a word processor's macro language (effectively).

      All the office-integration I see looks like it should be no more than a temporary, or rarely used, system of operation.

      What kind of things do you script in VBA that you can't do effectively with a dedicated system?

      • by Dog-Cow ( 21281 )

        People who run businesses are not programmers. They are not interested in architectural purity. They want to get their work done. Yesterday. They use the tools at hand. If you want them to do a better job (whatever that means to you), you have to give them better tools.

        • by ledow ( 319597 ) on Sunday May 21, 2017 @11:50AM (#54459323) Homepage

          Exactly - better tools, more suited to the task. And if you're programming in VBA (like the OP), chances are you don't have those better tools.

          What job do you need to perform in Word, Excel or Access that can't be done better using something else more suited to the task?

          The reason people use them is because they have them there. And then they carry on buying them because they are so accustomed to having them there. On Linux etc. you have OTHER things there. But you're not accustomed to them.

          But still, whenever I see an Excel spreadsheet used as anything other than a sheet to tinker in, or Word used as some automated letter-creator from a CSV, or an Access database that sits standalone instead of ODBC to a proper SQL server (of any kind), it makes me wonder why people have done that.

          And the reason is "because we already have it, and it can be bodged to do what we're doing today". You can't convert those kind of people to ANYTHING else, even another office suite, while that's true.

          It's nothing to do with architectural purity. It's to do with not running your business on the basis of there always being the one guy who understands the VBA code that does something virtually-the-same-but-with-a-tiny-business-rule as everyone else on the planet, coupled with the thing you bought to write letters or check your email.

          And, again, I'd question - what business task are you running that requires Office? How often? What does it save? What kind of investment in development? Because putting that investment into proper tools would return dividends, and cost less in the long run.

          VBA is job security in places that don't know that they shouldn't be hacking things together in Excel and Access. It's fine for running numbers and interfacing with a proper database, but it's at best an ad-hoc query/reporting/prototyping tool, not a thing for building business-critical processes.

          • by Immerman ( 2627577 ) on Sunday May 21, 2017 @01:02PM (#54459599)

            >whenever I see..., it makes me wonder why people have done that.

            Because they're not programmers. And they aren't interested in hiring competent programmers to write their mostly-still-trivial "programs", especially since the programmer will often have to expensively recreate a lot of functionality already included in Excel/Word/etc, starting with reading and writing data into extremely complex and poorly documented Office file formats for interoperability with everything else they do.

            They write complex monstrosities in Excel, not because it's the right tool for the job, but because it's the only tool they know that's even vaguely appropriate to the job, and they can learn new "tricks" incrementally from whatever place of developmental ignorance they start from. And VBA is an outgrowth of that - a "horrible" language that encourages you to do a whole lot of things in really bad ways, but easy to learn in tidbit-sized chunks when you just need to add *this* little bit of extra functionality beyond what you and your predecessors have already managed to do.

          • by BronsCon ( 927697 ) <social@bronstrup.com> on Sunday May 21, 2017 @01:51PM (#54459739) Journal
            As a programmer, when my wife needed a simple way to track sales for her print business, I gave her an Excel spreadsheet with a few macros.

            By taking that shortcut (and using the access management facilities which already exist in Office) I was able to avoid building an entire I/O interface complete with entry forms and reports, didn't have to worry about infrastructure or what the database should look like, and could skip right over authentication. For what amounts to a single user system, it actually makes perfect sense.

            This was done done during my workday, it took me about 2 hours; I could have spent a week, full-time, developing the database, implementing a secure authentication system, designing and implementing the forms, designing and implementing the reports, and tweaking all of that until it made sense to the end user, an it would have cost between $2600 and $6000 depending on which client(s) I was setting aside in order to get that done. In the end, I worked two hours extra the day I did it, so it didn't cost me anything; but there's no way I would have put in an extra 40 for that.

            Now, when someone's paying me they're gonna get the whole enchilada, because that's what they're paying me for... and because I can bill for it. But, even then there are times when they tell me it's for one person, or one event, or some other single-use reason, and they don't want to pay for it -- I point out how the work may be useful in the future and, when they can show me that it won't be, they get an Office "application" if that's what they're after.

            Sometimes the right tool for the job is the tool that can do the job quickly, cheaply, and without requiring a bunch of other tools.
          • by Anonymous Coward

            "What job do you need to perform in Word, Excel or Access that can't be done better using something else more suited to the task?"
            When you graduate from high school and enter the business world you could probably answer this question for yourself but for now you need to know that that there are millions of Word, Excel, Access, and PowerPoint objects being used in enterprise level environments.

            • by ledow ( 319597 )

              20 years experience running the IT in million-dollar companies.

              Now tell me... what was your actual answer again?

              And who mentioned PowerPoint? Nobody scripts Powerpoint.

              We're not saying "Who uses Office?". Word processors and spreadsheets are necessary and vital tools for day-to-day operations.

              But we're saying "Who scripts their office suite and then runs their business on that script?". Because the answer is as I said: People in tiny companies, who are happy with bodges, who never put in a proper system

    • by Yosho ( 135835 )

      I have developed many such applications using VBA.

      I am so, so sorry. I hope your job hunt to find a place that doesn't force you to use VBA is successful.

      But more seriously, can you mention any specific things that you're trying to do that you haven't found an equivalent for? "Business logic" is pretty vague. Most of the time, people who say that are just talking about adding up cells in spreadsheets.

      • by Immerman ( 2627577 ) on Sunday May 21, 2017 @01:15PM (#54459643)

        "Business logic" seems to mostly be code for just that - really basic math (and often convoluted conditionals) that can be implemented (badly) in a spreadsheet (augmented by basic scripting), by people who aren't competent programmers, aren't interested in becoming so, and aren't interested in paying for someone who is to do the work for them.

        And lets be honest, that last one is actually a pretty reasonable position considering the difficulty in evaluating the competence and integrity of anyone claiming to be a competent programmer for short-duration contract work.

        And frankly the first two are as well - these are people hired as office workers - if they had the skill and desire to become programmers, they mostly wouldn't be there in the first place.

        Scripting and "business logic" is basically the badly programmed glue that holds together projects not worth hiring a dedicated programmer for. Or at least that's where it starts, though like any program feature creep feeds its cancer-like growth, potentially fueled by business growth until you've got something so large that it really should be done right, but now it will take years of expensive programmer time to re-implement properly without breaking anything.

  • Seems like a nice idea to put software like steam into a flatpak, which isolates it against the system. The only question is, how much isolation against system properties will steam and other tolerate before they say "hey, our drm is not working, when we cannot read your primary MAC address and processor type!".

    • I'm not really into this, but I installed Firejail here (basic Ubuntu Mate), and among the examples given one specifically explained how to not only 'jail Steam engine', but also firejail the Steam installer itself (that contains closed source).
      And as I found this explained somewhere in my non-english language, I presume the thing must be extremely well known elsewhere ;-)
      Ah, I found an english-speaking url : http://jorisvr.nl/article/stea... [jorisvr.nl]

  • Finally, at long last, someone has built a new Linux distro based on Ubuntu LTS. Not only that, they are an early adopter of Flatpak, which you cannot otherwise download install yourself. http://flatpak.org/getting.htm... [flatpak.org] And it runs Gnome! Seriously though, Endless is yet another Ubuntu derivative in an endless sea of Ubuntu derivatives.
  • UmmmmWHUT? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by macraig ( 621737 ) <mark.a.craig@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Sunday May 21, 2017 @11:11AM (#54459181)

    What is this frigging doublespeak that to me seems to say nothing special at all? This especially irks me: "the ability to bridge app creators and Linux distributions using a universal framework, making it possible to bring this kind of software to operating systems that encourage open collaboration".

    • Worse than that. It leaves itself open to attacks. I have read (but cannot prove) that Steam is not all that secure.. For the same reason, I don't use Empathy or any other video communication.
  • by Halo5 ( 63934 ) on Sunday May 21, 2017 @11:40AM (#54459279) Homepage

    Looking at the website, here is some of the included software (pulled directly from the website):

    Metrics Kit
    Metrics API — Lightweight API for recording user metrics from apps and system services.

    Event Recorder Daemon — Saves recorded user metrics and transmits them in small batches when there’s an internet connection.

    Metrics Instrumentation Daemon — Records information about the system, such as performance info.

    Phone Home — Anonymous user counter.

    A Linux distro that phones home. Well, now I think I've seen it all!

    • Nothing new... just becoming more common.

      With all this freemium stuff showing up in the commercial world and people asking for decades how to make money on FOSS, is anyone really surprised Linux distros are jumping on the bandwagon?

  • by thegarbz ( 1787294 ) on Sunday May 21, 2017 @11:40AM (#54459281)

    To be able to write 133 words without actually saying anything at all is a real gift.

  • Also, IANAL, but I don't think I like this clause from their "Redistribution Policy":

    "Physical Redistribution:You may redistribute pristine, unmodified copies of Endless OS on physical media such as CD/DVD, USB disk or SD/MMC card."

    Since it's based on the Linux kernel, I'm pretty sure we can modify and redistribute it pretty much however the f#ck we want! They can restrict logos, graphics, any commercial components, etc., but that's about it. Of course, just because a company puts something in their licen

    • Not really, keep reading on the link, and you see the point is to preserve trademarks. The flat-pack modules may or may not constitution a modified work when distributed with the core system. You would have to carefully study the license of each to know if you were allowed to redistribute that part of the work.

    • There's various ways you can further restrict redistribution - for example I believe trademark is the original basis on which you're not allowed to redistribute Red Hat Linux. Remove all the trademarks and bundled non-open software and you can do what you like (subject to the normal GPL, etc.). You just can't call it Red Hat (or Endless OS as this case). Which is kind of the entire reason for the existence of Cent OS.

      • by Halo5 ( 63934 )

        Yes, I did point out about the trademarks that they have and I understand that. What I don't understand is what they're saying here: "Physical Redistribution:You may redistribute pristine, unmodified copies of Endless OS on physical media."

        From the sound if this, they're implicitly saying that you CAN'T distribute modified versions of the OS. It sounds to me like what they're saying is that forking the distro (they can call it "Whatever OS" if they want to but, if it's using the Linux kernel as its core,

  • by fahrbot-bot ( 874524 ) on Sunday May 21, 2017 @01:16PM (#54459647)

    Much easier to maintain than a "six-pack".

    On the other hand, the lead developer is from Red Hat, and works on Gnome, and some of their other developers [wikipedia.org] have caused a lot of heartburn ... (not naming any names, of course)

  • Did Poettering go over there? If not, can we send him there? And try to undo some of completely broken scheisse that has infected our Linux distributions in the last 4-6 years or so? All you GNOME developers trying to re-create a commercial desktop OS can keep your toys over there, while those of us who need deterministic, predictable server OS's can fix this mess ourselves. Thanks.

  • yet ANOTHER linux distribution nobody every heard of until this post..

  • ... a free Linux distribution built upon the decades of evolution of the Linux operating system and the contributions of thousands of volunteers on the GNOME project. The beauty of Flatpak is the ability to bridge app creators and Linux distributions using a universal framework, making it possible to bring this kind of software to operating systems that encourage open collaboration...

    This is so full of bile, it's amazing, it's like making Slashdot great again. The buzz makes the head spin:
    * "thousands of vo

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