Links 24/11/2019: Linux 5.5 Coming Soon, VirtualBox 6.1 Also Close To Release

Posted in News Roundup at 5:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Best companies selling Linux powered laptops and PCs

        So you use Linux and want a Linux powered laptop or a PC. Or maybe you just want to upgrade your old system with a new one, if that is the case then this is the post you must keep reading. In this guide, you will get to know about the best companies selling Linux powered laptops and PCs.

        As Linux folks we all are very up-to-date with “Prodyogiki Ki Duniya” (Technology World), that is why I am presenting to you the popular 5 companies that build and sell Linux powered customized systems both Laptops & PCs. These companies are best at what they do and always offer the latest hardware. Yes! you heard it right, always upgraded to the latest generation of CPU, GPU, latest extensible storage & memory options.

        As you can understand that they are very must user-centric and not like big companies that are stock selling centric. Here is the list that I am trying to pitch for the last minute.

    • Kernel Space

      • 64-Bit ARM Updates Sent In Ahead Of The Linux 5.5 Cycle

        Catalin Marinas who oversees the 64-bit ARM (ARM64 / AArch64) architecture code within the mainline kernel has already submitted his pull request early for the Linux 5.5 kernel cycle beginning tonight or early on Monday.

      • Btrfs Gets A Big Improvement For More Robust RAID1 In Linux 5.5

        David Sterba sent in his pull request early of the Btrfs file-system changes that are ready for merging into the Linux 5.5 merge window next week.

        The biggest improvement is the Btrfs native RAID support now supporting three and four copy options for RAID1. Btrfs’ RAID1 code up to now has always relied upon two copies of data while now there is support for three and four copies if desired for better data integrity. This new “RAID1C3″ mode is intended as a replacement of RAID6 profile on meta-data and more resiliency against the possible failure of two drives in an array.

      • NVIDIA’s Proactive Memory Compaction Work Revised For The Linux Kernel

        A few weeks back I wrote about NVIDIA’s Nitin Gupta working on proactive memory compaction for the Linux kernel to more proactively compact memory rather than doing so on-demand when it can lead to high latencies for applications needing lots of huge-pages.

        That proactive compaction work at the time was flying under a “request for comments” flag but with continued work by Nitin and developer comments, he has now published a revised patch series that is no longer RFC.

    • Applications

      • VirtualBox 6.1 Enters Development with Linux Kernel 5.4 Support, UI Improvements

        VirtualBox 6.1 promises to be the biggest update so far to the latest VirtualBox 6 series, which launched a year ago with major new features and improvements. This first major VirtualBox 6 point release brings support for the upcoming Linux 5.4 kernel series for both Linux hosts and guests, as well as experimental support for file transfers for Linux hosts on Windows guests.

        Moreover, VirtualBox 6.1 adds several enhancements to the graphical user interface (GUI), among which we can mention soft keyboard visual improvements, improved mouse pointer and integration scaling, usability related fixes for the Export Appliance wizard, more consistent selection of the medium, showing users known images and allowing them to select the medium via the file picker.

      • VirtualBox 6.1 Enters Development with Linux Kernel 5.4 Support, UI Improvements
      • VirtualBox 6.1 Close To Release With 3D Improvements, Nested Hardware Virtualization

        In addition to Oracle having shipped a Solaris update this past week, prior to calling it a weekend their virtualization crew released VirtualBox 6.1 RC1.

        VirtualBox 6.1 is nearing the official release and are likely to see it debut as stable before Q4 is through. VirtualBox 6.1 continues improving the 3D support from the VirtualBox 6.0 series rewrite, continued integration around Oracle Cloud infrastructure, and various other features.

      • PHP Web Server GUI – Version 1.0.0 Released

        PHP’s built-in web server is a CLI feature, as such it requires a specific command to use, one which is easy to forget and gets buried in your terminal’s history. While writing a script can help, it too gets buried in your terminal history, or is often located in an inconvenient place on the filesystem, requiring you to browse to the script before you can use it. This basic GTK+ GUI solves these issues. It’s as easy to use as any other app on your system.

        It’s also a great tool for teaching PHP or the fundamentals of how web servers work. It’s an easy tool for students to use, for learning programming, in Raspberry Pi projects, robotics, or anything else that requires a web-based interface or centralized server communication. Many of these things are true of PHP’s built-in web server itself, this GUI just makes it easier to use for people who are not comfortable using the command line.

      • Proprietary

        • 110 Nursing Homes Cut Off from Health Records in Ransomware Attack

          At around 1:30 a.m. CT on Nov. 17, unknown attackers launched a ransomware strain known as Ryuk inside VCPI’s networks, encrypting all data the company hosts for its clients and demanding a whopping $14 million ransom in exchange for a digital key needed to unlock access to the files. Ryuk has made a name for itself targeting businesses that supply services to other companies — particularly cloud-data firms — with the ransom demands set according to the victim’s perceived ability to pay.

          In an interview with KrebsOnSecurity today, VCPI chief executive and owner Karen Christianson said the attack had affected virtually all of their core offerings, including Internet service and email, access to patient records, client billing and phone systems, and even VCPI’s own payroll operations that serve nearly 150 company employees.

        • Apple pulls all customer reviews from online Apple Store

          AppleInsider received a tip from a reader who had noted the buyer review section was missing on Apple’s online retail store page. The user also pointed out that the pages have been removed from U.S., U.K., and Australian Apple online stores, which suggests this is not simply a mistake, but rather an intentional move on Apple’s behalf.

          The reviews were pulled over the weekend, though it’s not clear as to why this has happened. Apple had been known for leaving up even especially negative reviews, which demonstrated both transparency and integrity to their customers.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • This week in KDE: Polishing it up

          We’re nearing the release of the 19.12 versions of many KDE apps, and in the first third of the Plasma 5.18 cycle. With this week, all the major regressions from 5.17 that I’ve been tracking have gotten fixed! If you’re still suffering from other 5.17 regressions not listed here and not yet fixed, please let me know. We want to make sure that the 5.18 LTS release is as smooth and stable as possible.

        • KF6 Sprint – Day Three

          Last day of the KF6 sprint at the MBition office in Berlin.

          Yesterday evening we had a nice group dinner with all sprint members.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Sourcetrail code navigator now free open source

        Sourcetrail, a tool intended to simplify source code navigation, is now available as free, open source software.

        With the open sourcing, Sourcetrail developer Coati Software thus abandons its commercial license model. Positioned as a cross-platform source code explorer, Sourcetrail is tool to help developers be productive with unfamiliar source code. The goal is to answer all questions about source code.


        Not every developer saw the value of the tool, which made it hard to sell. The tool also has had scalabilty issues, although it can handle projects with multiple millions of lines of code. Coati now seeks contributions via Patreon to fund maintenance and support of Sourcetrail.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • LibreOffice coverity scan

          When we make C++17 a requirement for LibreOffice at the end of 2018 the version of coverity provided by scan.coverity.com no longer worked for us. In July 2019 a newer version of the coverity tooling was available which supported C++17 and analysis resumed.

          Prior to losing coverity support we had a defect density (i.e. defects per 1,000 line of code) of 0, on its return this had inflated to 0.06 due to both new defects introduced during the down period and old defects newly detected due to additional checks introduced in the new version.

      • BSD

        • Solene runs BSD

          As an OpenBSD developer, I have been mostly working on ports at first, then I have learned about how man page are written. This made me contribute to OpenBSD documentation and I really enjoy it. I’ve been quite active on OpenBSD IRC channel, I’ve seen people being clueless due to missing explanations here and there, so I’ve did my best to enhance documentation to make it easier to understand to everyone. Lately, I’ve resurrected stable binary packages (which disappeared around OpenBSD 4.x I think) and I am very happy about this.


        • GNUstep Might Deprecate Support For GNU’s GCC In Favor Of LLVM Clang

          GNUstep, the longstanding GNU Project implementing Apple’s Cocoa frameworks, might end up deprecating support for the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) to focus its compiler support on LLVM’s Clang.

          While GNUstep deprecating support for the GNU’s own compiler may seem like an odd move to make, it comes down to LLVM’s Clang compiler currently having much better support for Objective-C 2.0 compared to what is found in GCC — thanks to Apple’s contributions to Clang and using it on macOS/iOS. Implementing all of the missing Objective-C 2.0 features into GCC is estimated to take two to three engineering years. If they had an interesting developer, some view that the resources could be better spent investing in GNUstep itself with different projects rather than implementing features in GCC already found within Clang.

        • GNU Parallel 20191122 (‘Quantum Supremacy’) released [stable]

          GNU Parallel 20191122 (‘Quantum Supremacy’) [stable] has been released. It is available for download at: http://ftpmirror.gnu.org/parallel/
          No new functionality was introduced so this is a good candidate for a stable release.
          GNU Parallel is 10 years old next year on 2020-04-22. You are here by invited to a reception on Friday 2020-04-17.


          GNU Parallel is a shell tool for executing jobs in parallel using one or more computers. A job can be a single command or a small script that has to be run for each of the lines in the input. The typical input is a list of files, a list of hosts, a list of users, a list of URLs, or a list of tables. A job can also be a command that reads from a pipe. GNU Parallel can then split the input and pipe it into commands in parallel.
          If you use xargs and tee today you will find GNU Parallel very easy to use as GNU Parallel is written to have the same options as xargs. If you write loops in shell, you will find GNU Parallel may be able to replace most of the loops and make them run faster by running several jobs in parallel. GNU Parallel can even replace nested loops.

      • Programming/Development

        • Dirk Eddelbuettel: digest 0.6.23: More sha1 refinements

          Another new version of digest got onto CRAN earlier today, and was also uploaded to Debian.

          digest creates hash digests of arbitrary R objects (using the md5, sha-1, sha-256, sha-512, crc32, xxhash32, xxhash64, murmur32, and spookyhash algorithms) permitting easy comparison of R language objects. It is a fairly widely-used package (currently listed at 868k monthly downloads) as many tasks may involve caching of objects for which it provides convenient general-purpose hash key generation.

          This release comes again one month after the previous release and contains further refinements for sha1 digests, thanks once more to Bill Denney and Thierry Onkelinx who added more support for formulae and better support for object attributes. I added some refinement for the encoding / utf8 filename tests from the previous to round things off.

        • Zsh prompt with asynchronous Git status

          Zsh ships vcs_info, a function fetching information about the VCS state for the current directory and populating a variable that can be used in a shell prompt.

        • Talk Python to Me: #239 Bayesian foundations

          In this episode, we’ll dive into one of the foundations of modern data science, Bayesian algorithms, and thinking. Join me along with guest Max Sklar as we look at the algorithmic side of data science.

        • Support windows bar calendar

          Like any large suite of applications, Open edX software (my day job) depends on a number of underpinnings: Django, Python, Ubuntu, MySQL, and so on. We want to stay up-to-date on those dependencies, or at least ensure we are using supported versions of each.

          To help with that, I wanted to make a chart of the support windows for different versions of each dependency. I figured the simplest way to draw a chart like that was to make a spreadsheet. Google Sheets is enough for something like this, and makes it easy to share the result with others who need to refer to it.

          To create the spreadsheet programmatically, I used the JavaScript scripting support. My program went through a few other iterations before landing on this technique, so it’s in kind of a strange form now: it’s a Python program that writes JavaScript, which you then paste into a spreadsheet and run.

  • Leftovers

    • Science

      • The Early History of Usenet, Part IV: Implementation and User Experience

        To understand some of our implementation choices, it’s important to remember two things. First, the computers of that era were slow. The Unix machine at UNC’s CS department was slower than most timesharing machines even for 1979 — we had a small, slow disk, a slow CPU, and — most critically — not nearly enough RAM. Duke CS had a faster computer — they had an 11/70; we had an 11/45 — but since I was doing the first implementation, I had to use what UNC had. (Log in remotely? How? There was no Internet then, neither department was on the ARPANET, and dialing up would have meant paying per-minute telephone charges, probably at daytime rates. Besides, a dial-up connection would have been at 300 bps, but if I stayed local, I could do 9600 bps via the local Gandalf port selector.)

        The second important point is that we knew we had to experiment to get things right. To quote from the first public announcement of Usenet, “Yes, there are problems. Several amateurs collaborated on this plan. But let’s get started now. Once the net is in place, we can start a committee. And they will actually use the net, so they will know what the real problems are.” None of us had designed a network protocol before; we knew that we’d have to experiment to get things even approximately right. (To be clear, we were not first-time programmers. We were all experienced system administrators, and while I don’t know just how much experience Tom and Jim (and Dennis Rockwell, whose name I’ve inadvertently omitted in earlier posts) had, I’d been programming for about 14 years by this time, with much of my work at kernel level and with a fair amount of communications software experience.)

      • North Carolina aims to bring more women into computer science

        It’s well-known that women are under-represented in computer science and technology. A new initiative led by the NC Department of Public Instruction, Duke University, and IBM is working to reverse that trend by using an open source approach to bringing more computer science instruction into NC public schools.

        “If we are going to truly shatter the outdated and unfortunately often dehumanizing system of education that we know today, we have got to use an open source approach to do it,” says Duke University professor Aria Chernik, who co-presented the Lightning Talk with Mary Hemphill of the NC Department of Public Instruction.

        Watch “#IAmCS: An open source approach for equity-focused computer science education,” their Lightning Talk at the seventh annual All Things Open conference, to learn more about the #IAmCS campaign that aims to enroll more female students in computer science classes and encourage them to pursue careers in the field.

    • Hardware

      • Here’s One Reason the U.S. Military Can’t Fix Its Own Equipment

        At the time, I hadn’t heard of “right-to-repair” and didn’t know that a civilian concept could affect my job in the military. The idea behind right-to-repair is that you (or a third-party you choose) should be able to repair something you own, instead of being forced to rely on the company that originally sold it. This could involve not repairing something (like an iPhone) because doing so would void a warranty; repairs which require specialized tools, diagnostic equipment, data or schematics not reasonably available to consumers; or products that are deliberately designed to prevent an end user from fixing them.

    • Security (Confidentiality/Integrity/Availability)

    • Defence/Aggression

      • What Do Iraqi Protesters Want?

        During the last 6 weeks, over 300 Iraqis have been killed and over 15,000 injured in a bloody uprising that has been absent from US headlines. Inspired by the uprising in Lebanon and demonstrations in Egypt, in October Iraqis took to the streets to protest their own government. Most of the protesters are a new generation of young Iraqis who came to age after the US-led invasion…

      • Pope Denounces ‘Evil’ of Nuclear Weapons in Japan Trip

        Pope Francis denounced the “evil” of nuclear weapons on Saturday as he began a three-day visit to Japan and fulfilled a dream to be a missionary in a land with a rich but bloody Christian past.

    • Environment

      • The Collapse of Civilization May Have Already Begun

        “It is now too late to stop a future collapse of our societies because of climate change.”

        These are not the words of a tinfoil hat-donning survivalist. This is from a paper delivered by a senior sustainability academic at a leading business school to the European Commission in Brussels, earlier this year. Before that, he delivered a similar message to a UN conference: “Climate change is now a planetary emergency posing an existential threat to humanity.”

      • German Rights Commissioner Urges Release Of Iranian Conservationists

        Germany’s most senior human rights official has expressed “shock” at the recent sentencing in Iran of six members of a local wildlife conservation group to lengthy prison terms on charges of espionage.

        Baerbel Kofler, a lawmaker and the German federal government’s commissioner for human rights policy and humanitarian aid, also called for the activists’ immediate release.

      • Energy

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

      • Internal OPCW E-Mail

        Wikileaks today publishes an e-mail, sent by a member of an OPCW fact-finding mission to Syria to his superiors, in which he expresses his gravest concern over intentional bias introduced to a redacted version of the report he co-authored.

        The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons sent a team of experts to investigate allegations that a chemical attack took place in the Syrian city of Douma on the 7th of April 2018. The author of the e-mail was a member of that team and claims the redacted preliminary version of the report, misrepresents the facts he and his colleagues discovered on the ground. The e-mail is dated 22nd of June. It is addressed to Robert Fairweather, Chief of Cabinet, and forwarded to his deputy Aamir Shouket and members of the fact-finding mission to Douma.

      • OPCW management accused of doctoring Syrian chemical weapons report

        The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons sent a team of experts to investigate allegations that a chemical attack took place in the Syrian city of Douma on the 7th of April 2018. The author of the e-mail was a member of that team and claims the redacted preliminary version of the report, misrepresents the facts he and his colleagues discovered on the ground. The e-mail is dated 22nd of June. It is addressed to Robert Fairweather, Chief of Cabinet, and forwarded to his deputy Aamir Shouket and members of the fact-finding mission to Douma.

        He says this misrepresentation was achieved by selective omission, introducing a bias which undermines the credibility of the report. Further it is claimed that crucial facts, that have remained in the redacted version: “…have morphed into something quite different to what was originally drafted.” This is said to have been done at the behest of the Office of the Director General (a post that was held by Turkish diplomat Ahmet Üzümcü at the time, he has since been replaced by Spaniard Fernando Arias).

      • Esau and Gustavo arrested

        FORMER fisheries minister Bernhard Esau and businessman Ricardo Gustavo were arrested today by the police.

        Police inspector general Sebastian Ndeitunga confirmed the arrest today.

        “It’s true that we arrested them. We still have 48 hours to make sure that the investigation advances,” he said.

        Ndeitunga added that “they have the right to apply for bail.

        The arrests come around to weeks after they were exposed in a fishing scheme that generated kickbacks of at least N$150 million over four years.

        The Namibian understands that the police is looking for three other high-profile people implicated in this saga. He declined to comment on this.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • The Holocaust of Living
      • Islamists are waging an online war on feminism

        But just as feminists come together online so do their opponents. From Twitter to mainstream media, Islamist affiliates and allies of groups such as Hizb ut-Tahrir are relentlessly trying to silence and isolate women who speak out.

      • [Older] Provocative Atlantic asks how civil war can be avoided

        Trump is a symptom of what has been happening to the country, not the cause, the editor said.

        Lest the issue seem unrelentingly negative, it also contains a wistful piece by author Tom Junod on how Mister Rogers might react to the current times, and playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda explores the impact of art in a troubled era.

        While Atlantic writers offer some suggestions on how to get beyond current problems, Goldberg cautioned that “it’s not the job of journalists to make you feel better. It’s the job of journalists to tell you what’s going on.”

      • Statement from Asheville Anti-Racism on a recent attempt by DHS and ICE to serve a subpoena.

        Asheville Anti Racism was recently alerted to the existence of an investigation being conducted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Department of Homeland Security on November 4, 2019. Riseup.net received a subpoena requesting any and all records/information related to names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, IP addresses, MAC addresses, payment information for the following email: [email protected]

        Riseup responded to the request on October 21, 2019 indicating that they do not keep records of the information that was requested and that they planned on notifying the account by email after one week of the existence of the subpoena.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Civil society groups protest the sale of .ORG to a private equity fund and a collection of Republican billionaires

        This doesn’t just mean that nonprofits — for whom the .org top-level domain was created — will pay higher prices to maintain their domains, and it doesn’t just mean that private equity funds — rather than a transparent, nonprofit NGO — will be able to censor what gets posted to .org domains, by kicking out any domain that it doesn’t like (remember when everyone was cheering because Nazi websites were being stripped of their domain names by registrars? This cuts both ways: if registrars have the power and duty to respond to speech they object to by taking away organizations’ domains, then that duty and power also applies to billionaires and private equity-appointed administrators).

    • Monopolies

      • Copyrights

        • Millions in Crypto & Cash Seized in Movie Piracy Investigation

          Police in New Zealand have reportedly seized $6.7m in cryptocurrency and $1.1m in cash as part of a money laundering investigation. According to a local report, a man from Hamilton allegedly received the funds from a US-based movie piracy site he helped to create. PayPal noticed unusual activity on an account linked to the suspect and reported the case to the IRS.

        • Microsoft Leaves Anti-Piracy Group After it Scolded EFF’s New Board Chair

          Microsoft has cut its ties with anti-piracy group CreativeFuture, after the group criticized the copyright track record of the new EFF board chair. This decision didn’t sit well with CreativeFuture, which wrote a scathing letter arguing that Microsoft is turning its back on the copyright industries that helped the company to thrive.

Prof. Moglen on Privacy and Social Control Media

Posted in Videos at 5:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Source/direct: re:publica 2019 – Eben Moglen: Why Freedom of Thought Requires Attention

Microsoft Will Never Love Linux Because It Cannot

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 4:59 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“IF the powerful people love Linux so much, why are the central figures behind this achievement under attack? WHY?”Tom Grz

Attack Linux to sell Windows; Show you love Linux

Summary: Microsoft’s actions — not words — suggest an ongoing effort to extinguish GNU/Linux, not to “embrace” or to “love” it

THERE are some things that cannot change, for instance Microsoft's loyalty to Windows.

"Microsoft 'Loves Linux' So Much That It Lobbies Huawei Against GNU/Linux," we wrote upon media reports about the lobbying. “Apparently Microsoft “loves Linux” so much that it’s complaining to the US government only when foreign firms move to GNU/Linux.”

“When Huawei switches to Linux,” one reader told us this weekend, “Microsoft bites and scratches to get an exemption to trade with them again…”

“Because Microsoft Loves Linux funerals.”Citing “Microsoft granted license to trade software with Huawei,” he thought this was funny. To quote: “Following the ban, two three-month license extensions were approved, one in May and the other in August.”

Because Microsoft Loves Linux funerals.

“They love WSL… that’s it,” told us a person who used to work for Microsoft. “Since Windows is basically dead, I can see them releasing their own Linux distro.”

Where’s Linux Foundation in all this? Well, they don’t even use GNU/Linux! So do they care about anything but money? Remember that to these people GNU/Linux advocacy is like "religion"; the guy they put in charge of Linux.com tweets almost every day about his “Macs”. Talk about “religion”…

IRC Proceedings: Saturday, November 23, 2019

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:55 am by Needs Sunlight



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