Linux-powered rifle can hit targets a mile away

In today's open source roundup: TrackingPoint's Mile Maker Linux rifle. Plus: Microsoft and Linux in 2015, and SparkyLinux 3.6 GameOver has been released

TrackingPoint's Linux-powered rifle

TrackingPoint is a company known for its Linux-powered rifles. At CES the company revealed its latest model, a rifle known as the "Mile Maker" that can accurately hit targets a mile away.

Lee Hutchinson at Ars Technica reports:

Dubbed the “Mile Maker,” the prototype was described by TrackingPoint representative Anson Gordon as “mostly” representative of the final product. The weapon at least for now is built around an enormous, enormously heavy, custom-milled steel barrel, which fires what TrackingPoint is calling “338TP”—a round somewhat similar to .338 Lapua Magnum but with some customized attributes. The company decided to continue on with their own cartridges for the longer-range rifle instead of moving up to a bigger round (like .50 BMG) because of the superior ballistics of the .338 bullet over the bigger .50 round.

Aside from the “Mile Maker,” TrackingPoint also announced that it will be expanding its weapons’ audio and visual capabilities—rather than streaming videos directly over local Wi-Fi or recording and uploading things after the fact to YouTube or Facebook, TrackingPoint firearms will gain the ability to live-stream the scope’s picture to remote users using TrackingPoint’s smartphone app.

More at Ars Technica

The TrackingPoint site has information on how the company got started:

The story of TrackingPoint began in early 2009 when founder John McHale went on an African safari. He personally saw the challenge of moderate- to long-distance hunting while taking several challenging shots in Tanzania.

One particularly difficult shot was a 350-yard attempt to hit a Thompson’s Gazelle, a prized, smaller African game animal. McHale had taken every trophy he was after on the trip, except for the Thompson’s. He had had a chance at a shot, but it had just not been possible to factor in the range, ballistics, stability, and other factors in the time available to convert, on multiple attempts.

With a strong background in technology, McHale knew that this problem should be solvable. He started thinking that with the newly emerging sensor technology, he could build a rifle scope that could make that shot possible for any shooter, regardless of training or experience.

More at TrackingPoint

Why Microsoft will love Linux in 2015

Much has been made in the media about Microsoft's new-found love for Linux. But what will happen in 2015 between Microsoft and Linux? A writer at TechRepublic has explored that topic and has an optimistic point of view.

Jack Wallen at TechRepublic:

...Microsoft will find itself in a love fest with Linux this year. They will become best of friends, snap selfies together, and post on one another's Facebook wall. Even once Windows 10 is released, this won't change. I firmly believe that Microsoft has finally come to grips with the idea that the desktop is no longer the be-all end-all to their bottom line. Azure brings in roughly $5 billion in annual revenue for Microsoft -- all the while sidling up to that which their one-time CEO called "a cancer." Remove Linux from the picture, and that $5 billion in annual revenue shrinks drastically.

Fiction and reality have finally merged. Microsoft and Linux are sharing a spotlight that no one ever thought the penguin could possibly enjoy, all because the platform has become secondary to the new King -- software and service.

More at TechRepublic

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