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07.31.19

Links 31/7/2019: Linux Mint 19.2, NetBSD 9.0 Coming

Posted in News Roundup at 3:19 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Linux Pet Peeves: 5 Things That Really Grind my Gears
    • Server

      • Cloud Native Applications in AWS supporting Hybrid Cloud – Part 1

        Let us talk first about what is cloud native and the benefits of SUSE Cloud Application Platform and AWS when building cloud native applications.

      • Cloud Native Applications in AWS supporting Hybrid Cloud – Part 2

        In my previous post , I wrote about using SUSE Cloud Application Platform on AWS for cloud native application delivery. In this follow-up, I’ll discuss two ways to get SUSE Cloud Application Platform installed on AWS and configure the service broker:

      • 10 Top Data Virtualization Tools

        With the continuing expansion of data mining by enterprises, it’s no longer possible or advisable for an organization to keep all data in a single location or silo. Yet having disparate data analytics stores of both structured and unstructured data, as well as Big Data, can be complex and seemingly chaotic.

        Data virtualization is one increasingly common approach for dealing with the challenge of ever-expanding data. Data virtualization integrates data from disparate big data software and data warehouses – among other sources – without copying or moving the data. Most helpful, it provides users with a single virtual layer that spans multiple applications, formats, and physical locations, making data more useful and easier to manage.

      • IBM

        • Running MongoDB with OCS3 and using different types of AWS storage options (part 3)

          In the previous post I explained how to performance test MongoDB pods on Red Hat OpenShift with OpenShift Container Storage 3 volumes as the persistent storage layer and Yahoo! Cloud System Benchmark (YCSB) as the workload generator.

          The cluster I’ve used in the prior posts was based on the AWS EC2 m5 instance series and using EBS storage of type gp2. In this blog I will compare these results with a similar cluster that is based on the AWS EC2 i3 instance family that is using local attached storage (sometimes referred as “instance storage” or “local instance store”).

        • OpenShift 4.1 Bare Metal Install Quickstart

          In this blog we will go over how to get you up and running with a Red Hat OpenShift 4.1 Bare Metal install on pre-existing infrastructure. Although this quickstart focuses on the bare metal installer, this can also be seen as a “manual” way to install OpenShift 4.1. Moreover, this is also applicable to installing to any platform which doesn’t have the ability to provide ignition pre-boot. For more information about using this generic approach to install on untested platforms, please see this knowledge base article.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • LHS Episode #293: Have Lawn Chair Will Broadcast

        Welcome to the 293rd installment of Linux in the Ham Shack! In the episode, the hosts tackle topics from upcoming RSGB contests on the new, hot FT-4 mode, the origin of “Mayday” as a distress call, magloop antennas, CoreCtrl, the vanishing floppy disk, DMR (Digital Mobile Radio) and much more. Thank you for tuning in and have a wonderful week.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.2.5

        I’m announcing the release of the 5.2.5 kernel.

        All users of the 5.2 kernel series must upgrade.

        The updated 5.2.y git tree can be found at:

        git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-stable.git linux-5.2.y

        and can be browsed at the normal kernel.org git web browser:

        https://git.kernel.org/?p=linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-s…

      • Linux 4.19.63
      • Linux 4.14.135
      • Linux Kernel 5.1 Reached End of Life, Users Urged to Upgrade to Linux Kernel 5.2

        Announced in early May 2019, the Linux 5.1 kernel series brought the ability to use persistent memory as RAM, as well as support for booting to a device-mapper device without using initramfs, support for cumulative patches in live kernel patching, and more preparations for year 2038.

        In addition, Linux kernel 5.1 introduced support for configuring Zstd compression levels in the Btrfs file system, more faster and scalable asynchronous I/O, improved power management, scalable monitoring of large filesystems, as well as numerous new and updated drivers for better hardware support.

      • Systemd 243 RC1 Brings Its PStore Service, Zen2/RdRand Workaround & More

        Lennart Poettering has made available the first release candidate of the upcoming systemd 243 update. Systemd 243 is a big one in seeing more than 1,700 commits since the April release of systemd 242.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Radeon RADV Vulkan Driver Adds Navi Wave32 Support For Compute Shaders

          Thanks to Valve’s open-source driver developer Samuel Pitoiset, there is now experimental support for using Wave32 support on Navi graphics cards for compute shaders.

          Navi/RDNA brings support for single-cycle issue Wave32 execution as an alternative to Wave64 for better efficiency. Just over a week ago the initial patches landed adding Wave32 support to RadeonSI for their OpenGL driver while now Samuel has tackled the initial implementation in the RADV driver.

    • Benchmarks

      • Mining Monero Cryptocurrency On The Open-Source POWER9 Raptor Blackbird

        Unlike my POWER8 server, the Blackbird cannot measure its own system power consumption (only the processor’s), so I used a simple watt meter to take measurements. When off, with just the BMC on, the system took so little power my meter could not measure it. It kept showing 0 W, so presumably it’s under a Watt. At idle, 55 W.

        [...]

        For each SMT mode, I tried six thread options. The SMT scaling is as expected, at SMT1 there are eight threads, and performance drops after; at SMT2 16 threads, and a corresponding drop after. The “more resources for each thread” effect is also slightly visible, with SMT1 having the highest result at eight mining threads.
        In SMT4, the efficiency scaling is quite nice, showing that a mere eight-core is not even close to the bottleneck here.

    • Applications

      • Blender 2.80 is out, a major advancement for this FOSS 3D creation suite

        Hot on the heels of the announcements of both Epic Games and Ubisoft supporting further Blender development, the massive Blender 2.80 release is now available.

        An incredible step-up for the project including a needed revamp to the user interface, along with a new dark theme and modern icon set. There’s also “Eevee”, a new physically based real-time renderer, with support for some advanced features like volumetrics, screen-space reflections and refractions, subsurface scattering, soft and contact shadows, depth of field and more.

      • Blender 2.80 is Here, And It Blows the Pants Off Any Release Before It

        A brand new version of the free 3D graphics software Blender is here — and I’ll be honest: it looks amazing.

        Am I skilled enough in the intricacies of 3D modelling, CGI, and visual effects work to the point that I can provide you with enlightened insight into the improvements — and boy are there improvements — on offer in this release?

        Heck no! I can barely navigate the real world, much less a CGI one.

      • Blender 2.80 Released! How to Install in Ubuntu 16.04, 18.04

        Blender 2.80 was officially released yesterday with redesigned UI, new render engine, and other improvements. Here’s how to install it in Ubuntu.

        [...]

        Blender offers official Snap packages (runs in sandbox) for Linux Desktop.

      • Collabora Announces xrdesktop, Blender 2.8 Released, Arduino Selects Auth0 as Its Identity Management Platform of Choice, Microway Showcasing Its Data Science WhisperStation at PEARC19 and KDE Plasma Maintenance Update

        Blender 2.80 has been released. This new version “features a redesigned user interface that puts the focus on the artwork that you create. A new dark theme and modern icon set were introduced. Keyboard, mouse and tablet interaction got a refresh with left click select as the new default. Quick Favorites menus provide rapid access to often-used tools.” See the Release Notes for details.

      • Blender 2.80 officially released with whole new Workspace and 3D Viewport

        Now available for download is the new Blender 2.80 that comes with a redesigned user interface and a whole bunch of new tools.

        Before we get into what the new Blender has to offer, let’s see what this freeware is all about! Blender is a complete 3D creation suite that deals with all elements of the 3D pipeline, such as modeling, simulation, animation, rendering, and video tracking. It is also worth mentioning that people from different walks of life have contributed to the development of this software, therefore the company really emphasizes on YOU, which can be seen from their tag line: ‘Blender, made by you’.

        Not like Blender 2.79 was lacking anything, the new Blender brings a lot of new stuff to the table. “What new stuff?”, you might ask. Well, let’s have a look!

      • 15 Best Free Linux Physics Tools

        Physics is a natural science concerned with the study of matter and energy applying laws that govern natural phenomena. It encompasses the study of the universe from the largest galaxies to subatomic particles, covering mechanics, radiation, heat, electricity, sound, magnetism and the structure of atoms.

        A good background of physics is essential in understanding our planet, our neighbouring planets, our solar system, and the universe. It offers explanations for every observed natural phenomenon. Physics is widely regarded as the most central and fundamental science and forms the basis of many other sciences including astronomy, chemistry, biology, oceanography, seismology, and zoology.

        Physics is an incredibly stimulating science, challenging our imagination with quantum mechanics, electrodynamics, chaos theory, and electromagnetism. It has contributed to modern society with the development of lasers, computers, homeland security, power transmission, biomedicine and drug development, cancer therapy, medical imaging, light sources, and much more.

        Science really prospers and advances when individuals share the results of their experiments with others in the scientific community. There is a certain logic that scientific software should therefore be released under an open source license. This article focuses on selecting the best open source software for physics and physics education. Hopefully there will be something for interest here for all budding physicists.

        Here’s our rating for each of the physics tools.

      • Digital signage platform Xibo launches as a snap

        Xibo provides a comprehensive suite of digital signage products, with its Content Management System (CMS) at the heart of this experience-led offering. Xibo for Linux is completely free and natively built for the Xibo CMS, which can be installed on servers or combined with Xibo cloud hosting.

        Snaps are containerised software packages designed to work across cloud, desktop, and IoT devices. They work natively on the most popular Linux distributions and feature automatic update and rollback functionality, enhanced security, and greater flexibility for developers.

        Utilising snaps allows Xibo to offer a simple, dependency-free installation, as well as the potential for feature enhancements in future offerings, and it works across many Linux distributions. It can be accessed worldwide, and when combined with Xibo in the Cloud, customers can choose whether to host in the UK, Germany, Singapore, Australia or the USA to ensure their content is kept close to them.

      • Drawing is a Promising ‘Microsoft Paint’ Alternative for Linux

        Looking for a program like Microsoft Paint but for the Linux desktop? Check out the aptly named ‘Drawing‘, a new GTK app that ably fills the gap.

        This simple image editor for Linux desktops is made in the mould of the Microsoft Paint. That mean it isn’t trying to out-do The GIMP, pitch itself as an alternative to Photoshop, or pick up where Pinta left off.

        What Drawing can’t do is almost as important as what it can do; that’s to say, it’s a simply designed app designed for simple use-cases.

        Think meme making, screenshot annotations, wobbly sketched moustaches on selfies, and that sort of thing.

      • Proprietary

        • Netherlands warns government employees not to use Microsoft’s online Office apps

          In one example, it was found that some 300,000 top tier Office users, with the ‘365 Pro Plus’ package were being sent back to the US for storage – exactly the sort of behaviour that got Dutch backs up.

          In a wider sense, this is a small but public battle in a much larger war, with the EU still leaning heavily on Microsoft to put its post-GDPR house in order.

        • The iPhone now makes up less than half of Apple’s business

          Apple today reported its fiscal third quarter 2019 earnings, earning $53.8 billion in revenue and earnings per share of $2.18. That revenue is a 1 percent jump year over year. iPhone revenue was $25.99 billion compared to $29.47 billion a year ago. That means the iPhone represented under half of Apple’s revenue for the first time since 2012.

          The all-important services unit took in $11.46 billion in revenue. Wearables saw a big boost, likely thanks to Apple’s second-generation AirPods. CEO Tim Cook said that when the services and wearables / home / accessories divisions are combined, they approach the size of a Fortune 50 company. Revenue from Mac sales was $5.82 billion, and iPads were $5.023 billion, up from $4.634 billion last year at this time.

        • Apple Finds Life After the iPhone While Still Banking on the iPhone

          Combined, Apple’s two major independent product lines not attached to the iPhone — Mac computers and iPads — made up only 20% of revenue in the fiscal third quarter, despite gains from the period a year ago, the Cupertino, California-based company reported Tuesday. Apple’s also working on a mixed augmented and virtual reality headset for the coming years, but that, too, is likely to be iPhone-reliant.

        • Chrome 76 for Mac, Windows rolling out: Flash blocked by default, Incognito loophole closed, Settings tweak

          As a big HTML5 proponent for the past decade, Google encouraged sites to switch away from Flash for faster, safer, and more battery-efficient browsing. In late 2016 and early 2017, Chrome blocked background Flash elements and defaulted to HTML5, with users having to manually enable the Adobe plug-in on a site-by-site basis.

        • Google Chrome 76 Released for Linux, Windows, and Mac with 43 Security Fixes

          Google promoted today the Chrome 76 web browser to the stable channel for all supported platforms, including GNU/Linux, Windows, and macOS.

          Google Chrome 76.0.3809.87 is now available as the latest stable version of the popular and cross-platform web browser from Google, based on the open source Chromium project. It contains various bug fixes and improvements, as well as no less than 43 security fixes for the latest vulnerabilities.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Waves : Notorious adds Linux support to Steam Early Access

        A Native Linux version of Wavessup2;: Notorious was add.

      • The VR Linux desktop is on its way

        Virtual reality (VR) is moving from games to work, but on the Linux desktop it’s had a hard row to hoe. While many VR peripherals and head-mounted display (HMD) support Linux, some “supported” games have trouble running on Linux. VR gaming on Linux is getting better. But if you wanted to use a Linux desktop via VR, you were out of luck. Your luck may be turning now with the xrdesktop.

        Xrdesktop is an open-source project. It’s designed to let you work with traditional desktop environments, such as GNOME and KDE, in VR. It does this by making window managers aware of VR. It then uses VR runtimes to render desktop windows in 3D space. Once there, you’ll be able to work on the desktop using VR controllers in place of a mouse and keyboard.

      • xrdesktop, a new Valve-funded open source project to bring Linux desktops into VR

        Valve seem to be pushing Linux support even harder now, with the announcement of the open source xrdesktop project from Collabora.

        This new project, funded thanks to Valve, enables interactions with traditional desktop environments, such as GNOME and KDE in Virtual Reality. With xrdesktop, Linux window managers will be aware of VR and be able to use VR runtimes to render your desktop windows in a 3D space. It also gives you the ability to manipulate them with VR controllers, which sounds pretty fun.

      • Steam Play Proton 4.11 released, a pretty huge release pulling in D9VK and a replacement for esync

        Valve have announced the release of Steam Play Proton 4.11, this is a pretty exciting one and it’s pretty huge overall.

        Firstly, it was re-based on top of Wine 4.11. So it brings thousands of improvements over, considering that’s quite a version bump. Additionally, 154 patches from Proton were upstreamed directly to Wine!

        The next exciting bit is that Valve are now funding D9VK (and have been since June according to developer Joshua Ashton), along with shipping it in Proton as part of this update. This Vulkan-based Direct3D 9 renderer is still experimental, so it’s not enabled by default as you need to use the “PROTON_USE_D9VK” setting.

      • The Humble Crusader Kings II Bundle seems like an amazing deal for strategy game fans

        Humble Bundle are back and they’ve provided a pretty good one this time, with the Humble Crusader Kings II Bundle. If you enjoy strategy games, this is a seriously good deal not to miss out on!

      • Valve’s new “ACO” Mesa shader compiler for AMD GPUs now has vertex shader support

        For our third bit of Valve news today, they also recently announced that their Mesa shader compiler “ACO” had a bit of an upgrade recently as well.

      • Unity 2019.2 released with lots of new features, improvements and fixes

        Further pushing what game developers are able to make, Unity 2019.2 is now officially available with plenty of new features, improvements and bug fixes.

        [...]

        There’s also various improvements to their OpenGL and Vulkan API implementations. For OpenGL, it can now use the SRP batcher. For Vulkan, it now supports all GPU formats for RenderTexture, multiple Vulkan crashes were solved, fixes to dynamic resolution when using Vulkan, multiple Vulkan XR fixes and so on. Curiously, Unity will now force NVIDIA drivers on Linux to turn off VSync.

      • Space colony sim “Oxygen Not Included” from Klei Entertainment has left Early Access

        Probably some of the finest work yet from Klei Entertainment, the space colony sim Oxygen Not Included has now left Early Access.

        [...]

        This isn’t just Klei pushing out what was there as released, it comes along with a big update to the game too. There’s a bunch of new buildings including an Ethanol Distiller, Airborne Critter Bait, Wood Burner, Duplicant Motion Sensor and more. Two new critters are included with the Pokeshell and Pip, five new plants, new animations, new types of asteroids to colonize, new foods, new biomes and…the list goes on. They’ve clearly put a huge amount of work into this release.

      • Waves 2: Notorious, an absolutely mad twin-stick shooter arrives on Linux

        As a follow-up to 2011′s Waves, Waves 2: Notorious has arrived on Linux as part of the 0.73 Early Access update on Steam. Originally entering Early Access in late 2015 it has continued to see big updates and the developer, Rob Hale (aka Squid In A Box Ltd), is planning a full release in Q2 next year. Note: Key provided by the developer.

        So what is it? Waves 2: Notorious puts you in the shoes of a Hacker or “Runner”, tasked with infiltrating computer networks in a cyberpunk-styled version of cyberspace. Here you must protect yourself against the attacks of the AI “Administrator”, while uploading viruses and downloading corporate secrets in an attempt to build your notoriety.

      • Lovecraftian horror RPG “Stygian: Reign of the Old Ones” announced for release in September

        Cultic Games and 1C Entertainment have today announced the Lovecraftian horror RPG, Stygian: Reign of the Old Ones, will be releasing with Linux support on September 26th.

        [...]

      • Previously a Humble Original, A Short Hike: The Extra Mile has released with Linux support

        This newly updated and released game adds in Linux support as part of an expanded game overall. The developer said a bunch of ideas couldn’t quite fit into the original release, so here we are. It includes new characters to meet, fishing, a better water shader, a new accessibility feature to change the pixel scaling and so on.

        [...]

        You can find A Short Hike: The Extra Mile on Steam and itch.io. Seems like a really sweet experience if you’re after something a little more chilled-out.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Krita 4.2.4

          We’re releasing Krita 4.2.4 today. The most important fixes are to the shortcut input system and the saving system. Krita 4.2.3 had a bug where a message window would often pop up complaining about a shortcut not being finished properly; this should no longer happen. Anna Medonosova has hardened the saving system even more, especially when closing Krita after initiating a save operation.

          There are some more bug fixes coming soon, and we will release 4.2.5 with those fixes in about two weeks, after the coming Krita sprint.

        • Plasma 5.16.4

          Tuesday, 30 July 2019. Today KDE releases a Bugfix update to KDE Plasma 5, versioned 5.16.4. Plasma 5.16 was released in June with many feature refinements and new modules to complete the desktop experience.

    • Distributions

      • Debian Family

        • Sylvain Beucler: Debian LTS – July 2019

          Here is my transparent report for my work on the Debian Long Term Support (LTS) project, which extends the security support for past Debian releases, as a paid contributor.

          In July, the monthly sponsored hours were split evenly among contributors depending on their max availability – I declared max 30h and got 18.5h.

        • Michael Prokop: Some useful bits about Linux hardware support and patched Kernel packages

          Now that we identified the relevant change, what’s the easiest way to test this change? There’s an easy way how to build a custom Debian package, based on the official Debian kernel but including further patch(es), thanks to Ben Hutchings. Make sure to have a Debian system available (I was running this inside an amd64 system, building for amd64), with according deb-src entries in your apt’s sources.list and enough free disk space, then run…

        • Chris Lamb: Free software activities in July 2019

          Here is my monthly update covering what I have been doing in the free software world during July 2019 (previous month)…

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Linux Mint 19.2 is Now Available to Download

          The final stable release of Linux Mint 19.2 is now available to download.

          Don’t get too excited; it not “officially” out yet, which is why the title of this post doesn’t say Linux Mint 1.92 has been released.

          But the blessed, finalised release .iso has been approved for release and is up on the Linux Mint servers and release mirrors, where the impatient can grab a copy.

          Do note that you won’t be able to upgrade to Linux Mint 19.2 from an earlier release until the release has been officially announced. You won’t have to wait too long: it’s due by the end of this week.

        • Linux Mint 19.2 “Tina” Is Now Available for Download

          Earlier this week, the leader of the Linux Mint project, Clement Lefebvre, revealed the fact that the Linux Mint 19.2 “Tina” operating system will be officially released later in the week for all supported flavors, including Cinnamon, MATE, and Xfce.

          Now, it looks like the final ISO images of Linux Mint 19.2 were pushed to the main download server, so you can grab them right now and install the operating system on your personal computer if you don’t want to wait for the official announcement later this week.

        • Ubuntu Touch Q&A 55

          Some of the problems we have had with the new adaptations to UT are caused by apps that do not function properly with Mir. There are conflicts with work done earlier by Canonical. The approach we have taken now is that if it does not work as we want, we kill the app. iOS and Android also kill apps in similar situations, so this is pretty normal practice. It avoids problems that follow when apps don’t behave correctly. The inability to close apps while not in focus has now been fixed.

          There needs to be a major refactoring in qtMir and Unity8. It general though, apps take a very complicated route when handled by Mir, so it is not easy to solve problems and the refresh needed will have to be big.

          Nevertheless, with those two changes we are very close to the point where Edge channel can be merged into Development channel.

        • UBports Is Working On Ubuntu Touch OTA-10

          The UBports community developers continuing to advance Ubuntu Touch have shared their latest work items and plans. OTA-10 is being developed while they are also working on ports for the PinePhone and Librem 5 smart-phones, among other items on their radar.

        • Linux Mint vs Ubuntu Comparison

          Ubuntu and Linux Mint for legal reasons do not distribute by default all the multimedia codecs that we would like. However, in Ubuntu using the terminal we can install the package ubuntu-restricted-extras where are the Flash plugin, Microsoft fonts, and other things.

          In Linux Mint we have that package, but we also have a more specialized one called codecs-multimedia that we can install from the main menu of the distribution.

          Conclusion

          Ubuntu and Linux Mint are quite mature Linux distributions with clear development goals and lines. Both offer the opportunity to have a nice, stable system with a great capacity to manage programs.

          In this post, we have explained the main differences between the two, however, internally there are still many more. It’s up to you to know which one you like best.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • DNS-over-HTTPS (DoH) Update – Detecting Managed Networks and User Choice

            At Mozilla, we are continuing to experiment with DNS-over-HTTPS (DoH), a new network protocol that encrypts Domain Name System (DNS) requests and responses. This post outlines a new study we will be conducting to gauge how many Firefox users in the United States are using parental controls or enterprise DNS configurations.

            With previous studies, we have tried to understand the performance impacts of DoH, and the results have been very promising. We found that DoH queries are typically the same speed or slightly slower than DNS queries, and in some cases can be significantly faster. Furthermore, we found that web pages that are hosted by Akamai–a content distribution network, or “CDN”–have similar performance when DoH is enabled. As such, DoH has the potential to improve user privacy on the internet without impeding user experience.

            Now that we’re satisfied with the performance of DoH, we are shifting our attention to how we will interact with existing DNS configurations that users have chosen. For example, network operators often want to filter out various kinds of content. Parents and schools in particular may use “parental controls”, which block access to websites that are considered unsuitable for children. These controls may also block access to malware and phishing websites. DNS is commonly used to implement this kind of content filtering.

          • New CSS Features in Firefox 68

            Firefox 68 landed earlier this month with a bunch of CSS additions and changes. In this blog post we will take a look at some of the things you can expect to find, that might have been missed in earlier announcements.

      • BSD

        • NetBSD 9.0 release process has started

          If you have been following source-changes, you may have noticed the creation of the netbsd-9 branch!

        • NetBSD 9.0 Prepping For Release With AArch64 Support, Kernel ASLR & Better NVMe Perf

          The NetBSD 9.0 code has now been branched and preparations underway for releasing the next version of this BSD operating system known for its vast architecture support.

          Coming for NetBSD 9.0 are many security improvements including optional kernel ASLR (Address Space Layout Randomization) support, partial ASLR by default, new kernel sanitizers of KLEAK/KASAN/KUBSAN, and other security enhancements.

          There is also NetBSD’s new NVMM hypervisor for virtualization, their open-source graphics drivers have been re-based against the Linux 4.4 kernel state, NPF performance improvements, NVMe performance improvements, removal of ISDN networking support, and other updates.

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

        • Open Hardware/Modding

          • RTL-SDR: Seven Years Later

            When I wrote that article in 2012, the RTL-SDR project and its community were still in their infancy. It took some real digging to find out which TV tuners based on the Realtek RTL2832U were supported, what adapters you needed to connect more capable antennas, and how to compile all the software necessary to get them listening outside of their advertised frequency range. It wasn’t exactly the most user-friendly experience, and when it was all said and done, you were left largely to your own devices. If you didn’t know how to create your own receivers in GNU Radio, there wasn’t a whole lot you could do other than eavesdrop on hams or tune into local FM broadcasts.

            Nearly a decade later, things have changed dramatically. The RTL-SDR hardware and software has itself improved enormously, but perhaps more importantly, the success of the project has kicked off something of a revolution in the software defined radio (SDR) world. Prior to 2012, SDRs were certainly not unobtainable, but they were considerably more expensive. Back then, the most comparable device on the market would have been the FUNcube dongle, a nearly $200 USD receiver that was actually designed for receiving data from CubeSats. Anything cheaper than that was likely to be a kit, and often operated within a narrower range of frequencies.

      • Programming/Development

        • Continuous Integration/Continuous Development with FOSS Tools

          One of the hottest topics within the DevOps space is Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment (CI/CD). This attention has drawn lots of investment dollars, and a vast array of proprietary Software As A Service (SaaS) tools have been created in the CI/CD space, which traditionally has been dominated by free open-source software (FOSS) tools. Is FOSS still the right choice with the low cost of many of these SaaS options?

          It depends. In many cases, the cost of self-hosting these FOSS tools will be greater than the cost to use a non-FOSS SaaS option. However, even in today’s cloud-centric and SaaS-saturated world, you may have good reasons to self-host FOSS. Whatever those reasons may be, just don’t forget that “Free” isn’t free when it comes to keeping a service running reliably 24/7/365. If you’re looking at FOSS as a means to save money, make sure you account for those costs.

          Even with those costs accounted for, FOSS still delivers a lot of value, especially to small and medium-sized organizations that are taking their first steps into DevOps and CI/CD. Starting with a commercialized FOSS product is a great middle ground. It gives a smooth growth path into the more advanced proprietary features, allowing you to pay for those only once you need them. Often called Open Core, this approach isn’t universally loved, but when applied well, it has allowed for a lot of value to be created for everyone involved.

        • Use Pandas Data Frame to display market data

          In the previous article, we have used the Blockchain API to display the Bitcoin vs world major currencies exchange rate in our application. In this article, we will use the Pandas Data Frame object to create a beautiful table for our displaying data. I have already introduced the Pandas Data Frame object before in the previous chapter, therefore, I won’t go through it again in this post. Let us go straight to the business.

        • Test and Code: 82: pytest – favorite features since 3.0 – Anthony Sottile

          Anthony Sottile is a pytest core contributor, as well as a maintainer and contributor to
          many other projects. In this episode, Anthony shares some of the super cool features of pytest that have been added since he started using it.

        • Intel’s OpenCL “NEO” Linux Driver Stack Rolls Out The Experimental SYCL Support

          We’ve been eagerly watching Intel’s open-source LLVM-based SYCL compiler support developed over the past number of months and today it finally premiered as an experimental feature in their modern OpenCL Linux driver package for its CPU run-time component.

          For Intel’s modern OpenCL Linux driver stack known as their “NEO” OpenCL driver now there is this experimental SYCL support bundled into their CPU-based run-time.

        • Learn a little jq, awk and sed

          sed and awk should be on every system you run across; jq is non standard, but easy to install. It’s worth spending some time getting to know these tools. So next time you are processing a text file and need to extract just a bit of it, reach for sed and awk. Next time you get a hairy json file and you are peering at it, look at jq. I think you’ll be happy with the result.

        • How to Build a Career in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning?

          Math is just one of the skillsets that aspiring AI and ML professionals are expected to have. This is only one half the requirement, the other half is one’s expertise in programming languages, such as Java, C++, Python, and R.

          While C++ helps engineers increase the speed of their coding process, Python will help them understand and create complex algorithms. Python is also the go-to choice for ML developers, and also offers various libraries and frameworks to ease the process of creating an AI model. Similarly, R and Java help professionals understand stats and implement mappers, respectively. They are important considering the role of visualization in explaining AI.

  • Leftovers

    • Science

      • Empiricism and Dogma: Why Left and Right Can’t Agree on Climate Change

        Rather than thinking about the political divide on global warming as the result of dogma versus logic, a better explanation is that people tend to embrace conclusions—scientific or otherwise—that support themes, ideologies, and narratives that are preexisting components of their worldview. It just so happens that the themes, ideologies, and narratives associated with human-caused global warming and its proposed solutions align well with the political predispositions of the Left and create tension with those of the Right.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • U.S. presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders joins ‘insulin caravan’ to Windsor, Ont.

        In the U.S. the cost of a vial of insulin is about $340 ($450 Cdn). In Canada, the same vial will average about $30. On Sunday, an “insulin caravan” rolled through the border city of Windsor, carrying about 15 people with Type 1 diabetes.

        According to Sanders, the massive price difference is a result of “pharma’s greed.”

        “Over the last 20 years, the pharmaceutical industry has spent hundreds of millions of dollars of campaign contributions. They buy and sell politicians — Republicans and Democrats,” Sanders told a crowd of supporters outside the pharmacy.

        “They continue to charge the American people any price they want.”

      • A deadly drug-resistant fungal infection is spreading fast, and doctors are sounding the alarm that ‘urgent’ action is needed

        In a new op-ed in Annals of Internal Medicine, a group of doctors called on the health-care community to improve infection control practices and further study the dangerous fungus to stop its spread.

        As of May 31, 2019, there were 685 confirmed cases of candida auris in the United States alone.

    • Security (Confidentiality/Integrity/Availability)

      • US issues hacking security alert for small planes [iophk: as planes become networked, attacks will no longer require physical access, such a thing has happened in cars.]

        The cybersecurity firm, Rapid7, found that an attacker could potentially disrupt electronic messages transmitted across a small plane’s network, for example by attaching a small device to its wiring, that would affect aircraft systems.

        Engine readings, compass data, altitude and other readings “could all be manipulated to provide false measurements to the pilot,” according to the DHS alert.

      • Small Airplanes Can Be Hacked to Display False Data in Flight

        However, the [attack] requires physical access.

        [...]

        Rapid7 verified the findings by investigating two commercially available avionics systems. It determined that only “some level of physical access” to the aircraft’s wiring was needed to pull of the hack, which could be delivered by attaching a small device to the plane’s Controller Area Network (CAN) bus to send the false commands.

        The key problem is that the CAN bus is integrated into the plane’s other components without any firewalls or authentication systems in place. This means untrusted connections over a USB adapter hooked up to the plane can send commands to its electronic systems.

      • No Jail Time for “WannaCry Hero” [iophk: the plea "bargain" still means he has become a convicted felon]

        Hutchins’ conviction means he will no longer be allowed to stay in or visit the United States, although Judge Stadtmeuller reportedly suggested Hutchins should seek a presidential pardon, which would enable him to return and work here.

      • Security updates for Wednesday

        Security updates have been issued by CentOS (389-ds-base, curl, and kernel), Debian (libssh2), Fedora (kernel, kernel-headers, and oniguruma), openSUSE (chromium, openexr, thunderbird, and virtualbox), Oracle (389-ds-base, curl, httpd, kernel, and libssh2), Red Hat (nss and nspr and ruby:2.5), Scientific Linux (httpd and kernel), SUSE (java-1_8_0-openjdk, mariadb, mariadb-connector-c, polkit, and python-requests), and Ubuntu (openjdk-8, openldap, and sox).

      • It’s 2019, and one third of businesses still have active Windows XP deployments [Ed: The problem is that they use Windows (back doors in all versions), not that they use "XP". They should move corporate data to something secure like BSD and GNU/Linux.]

        Zero-day attacks were the second-most cited concern among IT decision makers, according to SpiceWorks, with 18% of respondents citing that as their primary concern. Insider data leaks were the most cited, at 27%, while attacks on IoT devices was third (17%), followed by supply-chain attacks (15%), DDoS attacks (15%), and cryptojacking (15%). Fewer than 20% of respondents indicated their business was “completely prepared” for common security threats.

        Considering the risks that accompany unsupported software generally, and the larger attack surface that results from an unsupported (or otherwise unpatched) operating system, there is a relative lack of urgency to migrate from Windows 7. Certainly, while paid support for volume licenses is a possibility for some, smaller organizations ineligible for volume licensing will be left out in the cold. To date, Microsoft has shown no signs of wavering in their intent to grant a reprieve to the remaining users of Windows 7. Without a major shift, or a reprieve from Redmond, the prospect of unpatched, internet-connected systems is fertile ground for botnet creation.

      • NordLynx: NordVPN Builds New Tech Around WireGuard

        Well known Panama-based VPN provider NordVPN has announced their NordLynx technology today that is based on the WireGuard protocol.

        NordLynx is the company’s new “fast and secure” VPN solution built atop WireGuard. The company describes WireGuard as a “radical change” and “a breath of fresh air in the industry.”

      • NordVPN brings WireGuard-based NordLynx to Linux users

        NordVPN has announced an important new option for users of the Linux version of its eponymous VPN tool. The company is introducing a new technology called NordLynx which is based on the WireGuard protocol.

        The company says that it successfully combines the highspeed connection offered by WireGuard with NordVPN’s own privacy-protecting double NAT system.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • U.S. Senate Targets Saudi Nuclear Technology

        The bill, put forward by Democratic Sen. Chris Van Hollen and Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, would bar the U.S. Export-Import Bank from financing the transfer of nuclear technology and equipment to Saudi Arabia, absent nuclear cooperation agreements, and adopting restrictive international standards to safeguard against nuclear proliferation. The Export-Import Bank plays a key role in funding the export of U.S. nuclear energy equipment and technology abroad.

    • Environment

      • A Dutch city is turning bus shelters into bee sanctuaries

        More than 300 bus shelters have been transformed into bee-friendly green hubs to support biodiversity in the city. Grass and wildflowers have been planted on the roofs providing a safe haven for different types of bees that act as pollinators and help plants propagate.

        The green roofs also help capture fine dust, store rainwater and provide cooling for the heat, according to Maurice Prijs, a project manager with Utrecht’s municipal government.

      • Arctic Ice Is Crashing, and That’s Bad News For Everyone

        The heat wave currently bearing down on Greenland comes courtesy of the same weather pattern that caused Western Europe to experience its hottest day on record on Thursday—a strong, high pressure air mass associated with mild temperatures. That weather system migrated over Scandinavia this weekend, shattering heat records in southern Finland and causing many places in Norway to experience what the national meteorological service described as “tropical nights” on Sunday.

      • Before debates, Gretchen Whitmer urges Democrats to protect Great Lakes

        The release comes as 20 Democratic presidential hopefuls prepare for two nights of debates in Detroit Tuesday and Wednesday. Some candidates have already seized on one hot-button environmental issue on the campaign trail: the future of Enbridge Energy’s Line 5 pipeline in the Straits of Mackinac.

      • Arctic wildfires breaking records, in numbers and emissions

        Parrington said this year, between 250 and 300 fire detections, or “hot spots,” have been recorded north of the Arctic Circle each day.

        That’s four to five times higher than previous years. Normally, Parrington sees between 50 and 60 hot spots a day, which he estimates amounts to between 100 and 200 fires.

      • Are Bioplastics a Better Environmental Choice?

        Have you ever stood in front of a supermarket shelf and wondered if you should buy that product made from bioplastics rather than the conventional kind? Many people assume all bioplastics are made from plants and can break down completely in the environment. But that’s not the case.

        The term “bioplastics” is actually used for two separate things: bio-based plastics (plastics made at least partly from biological matter) and biodegradable plastics (plastics that can be completely broken down by microbes in a reasonable timeframe, given specific conditions). Not all bio-based plastics are biodegradable, and not all biodegradable plastics are bio-based. And even biodegradable plastics might not biodegrade in every environment. Sounds confusing? It certainly is.

        [...]

        Take polylactic acid (PLA), for example. This bioplastic is used to make shopping bags, transparent cups, 3-D printing material and other products. Because it can be derived from plant material like corn sugar, potato or sugarcane, it can reduce the demand for fossil fuels used to make conventional plastics.

        PLA is recyclable, biodegradable and compostable. But that doesn’t mean the ocean — or any other natural environment — can easily handle it.

        To Frederik Wurm, a chemist at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPIP), drinking straws made from PLA are “the perfect example for greenwashing.” They are more expensive than other plastic drinking straws, but don’t readily biodegrade on a beach or in the sea.

        “You put it on the package [that it] is biodegradable, but at the point where these materials are . . . fear[ed] to end up, they will not biodegrade,” Wurm says.

      • Only a climate revolution can cool the world

        Governments have completely failed to make progress in tackling the planetary emergency, and a climate revolution is the sole hope that they will do so.

        This sounds like a sound bite from Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish climate activist who is inspiring schoolchildren worldwide to go on strike, or a slogan from Extinction Rebellion, which has been disrupting city life in the UK and elsewhere to secure an urgent government response to the climate emergency.

        Both campaigns might agree with the statement, but it is in fact from a scholarly book, Burning Up, A Global History of Fossil Fuel Consumption, a detailed study into the burning of fossil fuels since 1950. It looks at fuel consumption in individual countries but also at the political forces that have driven and still drive the ever-growing inferno of fossil fuels, coal, oil and gas, across the world.

        The book illustrates the reasons behind the rather frightening fact that since the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, despite many promises and warnings, governments have failed to take decisive action on climate change and in fact have made it decidedly worse by continuing to subsidise fossil fuels more than renewables.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • The Philippines identified as the deadliest country for environmental activists

        The international nonprofit Global Witness has released an annual report on attacks against land and environmental defenders and has found that the Philippines is the deadliest country for these activists, averaging more than three deaths a week. In total, 164 activists were killed in 2018. A significant number of attacks on environmental activists are linked to the mining industry, as well as hydropower, agribusiness and logging projects. Additionally, many activists in the Philippines face death threats, intimidation and arrests.

      • The voice of Hong Kong’s revolution speaks

        When protesters stormed the Legco building in July they denounced the institution as illegitimate. Only half of its seats are directly elected by the public. And young protesters complain that they are not represented there. In 2016 record numbers of them elected legislators with “localist” views, such as self-determination or even independence for Hong Kong from China. Months later, two of those legislators were disqualified for amending their oaths of office in a way that Beijing disapproved of. The following year four more democrats were disqualified for the same thing.

        As well as disqualifying elected legislators, other candidates have been barred from running. [...]

      • Twitter suspends a conspiracy-filled account after Trump retweets it

        The account, which operated under the display name “LYNN THOMAS,” was reportedly suspended for breaking Twitter’s rules against “using multiple accounts to artificially amplify or disrupt conversations.” It’s the second account that the president has retweeted that Twitter has suspended for violating its rules.

      • Twitter Suspends Conspiracy Account After Trump Retweet

        Before the suspension, the account enthusiastically pushed Qanon conspiracy memes and bizarre theories about prominent Democrats murdering children to harvest their pineal glands. One such meme targeted Bill and Hillary Clinton, claiming they “torture and sacrifice children” to get at “a drug that can only be found inside the human skull.” That was posted last Thursday—five days before the current president graced the account with a retweet.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Congressman Who Was Sued For Blocking Constituents On Social Media Now Also Wants To Undermine Section 230

        It’s open season on Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act and everyone’s got ideas. Not good ones, mind you. But ideas. The latest comes from Rep. Paul Gosar whose claim to fame is that six of his own siblings took out an ad to his constituents, telling them not to re-elect their brother. Gosar also has a bit of a checkered history of his own in terms of tolerating “free speech” online. Last year, he was sued for blocking constituents on social media — leading him to agree to stop the practice in order to settle the lawsuit.

        He’s now introduced HR 4027, which is entitled the “Stop Censorship Act” (as opposed to Josh Hawley’s Stop Internet Censorship Act). The full text of the bill is not yet up, but Gosar has put up a press release and Twitter thread about the bill, saying that it will revoke what he (incorrectly) says is the “unprecedented and unwarranted immunities given to Big Tech” and replacing it with an immunity only to remove “unlawful activity” and some sort of mandate to provide end users their own filter tools.

    • Privacy/Surveillance

      • [Intruder] obtained personal information of 6 million people in Canada

        [Copied] data includes names, addresses, phone numbers and credit scores

      • What can we learn from Palantir’s secret user manual for police users of its big data software?

        It comes as no surprise that Palantir’s Gotham program offers these kind of features. They are precisely the kind of thing that you would expect modern data analytics software to provide. But what is striking from the screenshots of the manual pages obtained by Motherboard is how easy it is to search through distinct, distributed databases. As far as law enforcement officers are concerned, the process is seamless: they simply input a piece of information, and the program does the rest, searching through multiple stores of data, finding connections. Again, that is what you would expect a well-designed piece of software to do. But the implications are important.

      • The ‘Ghost User’ Ploy to Break Encryption Won’t Work

        Twenty-five years ago, the FBI decided it needed a surveillance system built into the nation’s telephone network to enable it to listen to any conversation with the flip of a switch. Congress obliged by passing the Communication Assistance to Law Enforcement Act (CALEA), forcing telephone companies to rebuild their networks to be “wiretap ready.” In the more than two decades since then, the FBI has been seeking both legislative and judicial approval to expand this authority to internet communications, insisting that its investigations have “gone dark” because of increasingly widespread use of encryption. Technologists and civil libertarians have so far been successful in opposing those efforts, warning that requiring technology companies to build a backdoor into our encrypted communications would compromise security for everyone and would empower not just the FBI, but repressive governments like China and Iran, to demand or gain access to private communications. But law enforcement and intelligence agencies have not given up.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Navalny blogs from jail: ‘I’ve never had allergies’

        His long time doctor, ophthalmologist Anastasiya Vasilyeva, separately said Navalny had been poisoned by “some sort of unknown chemical substance.”

      • Brazilian President Bolsonaro says Glenn Greenwald may ‘do jail time’

        “The latest statements from President Bolsonaro threatening Glenn Greenwald with jail time are an inappropriate and dangerous escalation of the Brazilian government’s troubling response to The Intercept Brasil’s reporting,” said CPJ Central and South America Program Coordinator Natalie Southwick in New York. “Brazilian authorities must respect journalists’ constitutional right to do investigative reporting and hold power to account.”

      • Mauritanian blogger freed after being held for nearly six years

        The death sentence he received in December 2014 on a charge of apostasy was eventually commuted to two years in prison by a Nouadhibou appeal court in November 2017. He should then have been released but many demonstrations calling for his execution had been held during his trial and the authorities continued to detain him on “security grounds”, denying him access to his family and lawyers.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Europe’s Latest Border Security Efforts Combines Junk Science With Lie Detectors

        There’s border garbage going on in Europe as well. A report by The Intercept shows border officials have cobbled together junk science, tech, and a spin on a notoriously-sketchy piece of equipment into its newest border security offering.

        It’s called Silent Talker. It subjects travelers to lie detector tests predicated on the fiction that people call tell other people are lying just by looking at them. It’s the same pseudo-science that powers the TSA’s useless “Behavioral Detection” program. Only this is possibly worse because it considers itself to be a lie detector and it’s been known for years lie detectors can’t reliably detect lies.

        It works like this: travelers upload their passports to the border agency’s website and are put face-to-”face” with a blue uniformed avatar. The software takes control of the device’s camera to scan the traveler’s face and eye movements for “signs of lying.”

        Here’s the thing: it doesn’t even work when it’s humans doing the face-to-face work. A report on the TSA’s Behavioral Detection program found it to be completely lacking in scientific background. The justification for the program was predicated on hearsay, conjecture, and anecdotal evidence. The TSA claimed it was hard science, but actual scientists have said there’s no evidence backing the claim that anyone can suss out lies just by looking at people’s faces.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • The DOJ’s Plan To ‘Fix’ The T-Mobile Merger Isn’t Going To Work

        As expected, the Department of Justice has signed off on T-Mobile’s controversial $26 billion merger with Sprint. You’d be hard pressed to find many objective folks who think greater consolidation in the telecom space is a good idea, given the deal will likely result in less competition, higher prices, and some major job cuts as redundant positions are inevitably eliminated. And in countries where four major wireless carriers were reduced to three, the resulting problems are usually pretty damn obvious.

        Still, both the FCC and DOJ have tripped over themselves to approve the deal after T-Mobile’s full-court lobbying press, which has included hiring Trump allies like Corey Lewandowski as advisors, and pandering up to the Trump administration by ramping up patronage of Donald’s hotels.

        To make its approval of the deal seem like a good idea, the DOJ has come up with a quirky solution: it is demanding that Sprint and T-Mobile offload prepaid brand Boost Mobile and some spectrum to Dish Network, who then will (theoretically) use those assets to create a new fourth carrier to replace Sprint.

    • Monopolies

      • Uber lays off 400 employees from global marketing team

        The move, announced Monday, follows a leadership shake-up in June when CEO Dara Khosrowshahi combined the company’s marketing, communications and policy teams.

      • Uber Lays Off 400 as Profitability Doubts Linger After I.P.O.

        The cuts, which were also announced internally on Monday, are taking place in multiple Uber offices around the world, the company said. The marketing team had more than 1,200 people before the layoffs. Uber employs almost 25,000 people globally, nearly half of whom are based in the United States, according to recent regulatory filings.

      • Mark Cuban says Facebook’s Libra is ‘dangerous’

        I’m not against cryptocurrency at all. I’m not against the distributed nature of cryptocurrency. I think the idea that there’s no central control is kind of overblown because there are so many forks and there are so many changes and administrational issues that you know there’s always some external factor forcing control. But the problem I have with Facebook is that Facebook is in a unique position with over 2.2 billion worldwide users.

        By having those tentacles everywhere globally, they have the opportunity to be more impactful in countries where there is less stability. And when you get a company like Facebook, with the power and leverage and the financial resources that they have, putting their tentacles into — not to pick on Africa, but African countries that have less stable currencies and governments — that can create issues that can lead to people dying. And so if Facebook were to say, “We’re going to start off the United States with Libra” or “We’re going to start off in the United States and Canada and Western Europe.” Fine, go for it. Let’s see what happens. But when you look to extend that into 2.2 billion users globally, the law of unintended consequences is inevitable, and most likely, it’s going to be a negative output.

      • Patents and Software Patents

        • U.S. House breaks with no new NAFTA tabled for ratification. Now what?

          That makes it all but certain that U.S. lawmakers won’t be in a position to take even the most tentative steps forward on the deal before the start of Canada’s federal election campaign, which is set to begin by mid-September at the latest.

          For some, that could mean fireworks for the Canadian campaign — ignited by a petulant Trump.

          Cyndee Todgham Cherniak, a Toronto-based international trade lawyer, said the Democrats are likely to want substantive changes that could leave the deal in limbo for many months. In the meantime, the Democrats will be sharpening their talking points on USMCA to use against Trump in the 2020 U.S. election, she said.

          And that could set Trump off, she said.

      • Copyrights

        • RIAA Targets Picosong Over Leaked Kanye West Track

          The operators of popular music upload site Picosong say that their project will shut down in October. The stated reason is that there are “better alternatives” so the site isn’t needed anymore. However, TorrentFreak has learned that the RIAA is currently trying to find out who runs the site after a leaked Kanye West track was uploaded to the platform.

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