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08.05.20

Links 6/8/2020: FSF Has New Chief, LibreOffice 7.0, Linux App Summit Goes Online

Posted in News Roundup at 9:53 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Forget Windows, I just installed Elementary OS on my Chromebook and it’s awesome

        In my path to Chrome OS enlightenment, I’ve explored many method with which users can run non-native applications and even alternative operating systems. My most recent endeavor involved installing a full-blown version of Windows 10 inside the Linux container on Chrome OS. While I have absolutely no use for such a monstrosity, the path that brought me there was fun and I believe a lot of users were excited about the premise of running Windows alongside Chrome OS. All of this was made possible thanks to an update to the Linux kernel that is available to some users inside the Chrome OS Linux container. My first theory was that this was being tested exclusively on ‘Hatch’ devices that are equipped with the Comet Lake family of processors. After some input from some colleagues, it appears that the ability to run qemu/kvm in a nested environment is more widely available than I presumed. I have seen reports that users have successfully installed Windows on devices ranging from a Core i5 Pixel Slate to the aging Dell Chromebook 13 that has a Broadwell CPU. Perhaps it is the Core i CPU that is the key. Who knows?

        [...]

        Elementary OS is an Ubuntu-based OS but make no mistake, it stands out as its own operating system. Many have called the the macOS of Linux but as you can read in a blog post from the Elementary CEO, the OS design and function are very intentional and quite unique in its own right. All of that is neither here nor there. Elementary OS caught my eye as a distinct and very different distro that I had never used and I wanted to give it a try and see how it ran on Chrome OS. My Windows experiment was a success, for the most part, but Windows is chunky and often times I found the OS struggling to work well inside the VM. Elementary OS is a “pay what’s fair” platform which means exactly what you’d think. While you can technically download the .iso image for free, a donation of your choosing is recommended and I’m sure, well appreciated as it is open-source software.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Destination Linux 185: Let’s Fix Linux Tech Support

        On this week’s episode of Destination Linux, we’re transitioning from the topic of Bug Reporting last week to Tech Support in Linux this week. We’re going to check in on Wayland’s progress with Plasma’s new release, we have an sandbox MMO for gaming, and our popular tips/tricks and software picks. All of this and so much more, coming up right now on Destination Linux.

      • FLOSS Weekly 590: Rensselaer Center for Open Software – A Community of Open Source Developers

        RCOS is a group of RPI students who work on open-source projects. The goal of RCOS is to empower students to develop open-source solutions to real-world problems. They have created 300+ open source projects over the years. Doc Searls and Simon Phipps talk with Wes Turner, a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Computer Science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) and the Director of the Rensselaer Center for Open Source. They discuss teaching open source and the hardships that come along with that, especially with e-learning. They also discuss what the future could look like if we could have more open-source programs like RCOS in other universities.

      • The Best Raspberry Pi Laptop Kit | CrowPi 2 Review

        The Best Raspberry Pi Laptop Kit | CrowPi 2 Review of the kit, usage, and examples.

      • 2020-08-05 | Linux Headlines

        LibreOffice 7 dodges its rebranding controversy, the Pinta bitmap editor sees its first new version in 5 years, Red Hat accommodates certification seekers with new pandemic-friendly rules, and ownCloud 10.5 brings background sync changes to the platform.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.7.13

        I’m announcing the release of the 5.7.13 kernel.

        All users of the 5.7 kernel series must upgrade.

        The updated 5.7.y git tree can be found at:
        git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-stable.git linux-5.7.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 5.4.56
      • Linux 4.19.137
      • Linux 4.14.192
      • Linux 5.8 launched: Linus Torvalds’s ‘biggest release of all time’ brings these new updates

        Linux 5.8 has finally been released, previously described by Linux kernel creator Linus Torvalds as “one of our biggest releases of all time”.

        The new version of the Linux kernel brings a number of updates to Linux 5.7 spanning security, core components, drivers, memory management, networking and improvements to the kernel’s design, amongst others.

      • Kernel 5.8: Collabora’s biggest & most significant contributions yet!

        Earlier this week, the Linux 5.8 kernel was released. It is one of the biggest releases of all time, as if developers started to code more during the recent lockdowns across the globe. As usual, you can the find the most important changes for this release in the always great LWN.net articles – part 1 and part 2.

        According to Linus himself, the 5.8 release is big. While Collabora modestly contributed to this massive release, Linux 5.8 marks our biggest and most significant contributions yet. Everyone at Collabora has been impressed by the efforts put together by our kernel developers. Working directly upstream, contributing to the Linux kernel has long been a key objective of Collabora as an organization. Over the past decade we have been growing our participation in this essential effort that Linux is.

        The ability for a relatively small software consultancy such as Collabora to contribute at this level demonstrates a fantastic improvement in vendors’ mindset when it comes to working Open First (hence Collabora’s tagline). Providing mainline support out-of-box as early as possible is really becoming a priority for all our customers and we appreciate them all the more for it.

        So a big thank you to all our clients for the continued trust they are placing in Collabora. We look forward to continuing to contribute on their behalf of years to come.

      • Collabora’s Contributions to Linux Kernel 5.8 Were Their Biggest Yet

        Collabora reports today on their contributions to the latest Linux 5.8 kernel series, which is one of the biggest releases of all time according to Linus Torvalds. Collabora’s contributions to Linux kernel 5.8 would be its biggest yet too.

        Linux kernel 5.8 was released over the weekend by Linus Torvalds, after almost two months in development, which kicked off as one of the biggest releases of all time. Now, the final release is here and it turns out it’a indeed a massive update to the Linux kernel.

        Highlights include Shadow Call Stack and Branch Target Identification (BTI) support for ARM platforms, LZO-RLE compression for the F2FS file system, new boot parameter to specify the initial RAM disk image, inline encryption support in the block layer, and a new event-notification mechanism.

        Additionally, Linux kernel 5.8 features Thunderbolt 4 support, Kernel Concurrency Sanitizer (KCSAN) dynamic data race detector for kernel space, support for multiple private instances in the /proc file system, and mitigations for the SRBDS/CrossTalk hardware vulnerability.

      • Application Ecosystem Microconference Accepted into 2020 Linux Plumbers Conference

        We are pleased to announce that the Application Ecosystem Microconference has been accepted into the 2020 Linux Plumbers Conference!

        The Linux kernel is the foundation of the Linux systems, but it is not much use without applications that run on top of it. The application experience relies on the kernel for performance, stability and responsiveness. Plumbers is the perfect venue to have the kernel and app ecosystems under one roof to discuss and learn together and make a better application experience on the Linux platform.

      • Google Opens Patches For “METRICFS” That They Have Used Since 2012 For Telemetry Data

        The METRICFS file-system has been in use internally at Google since 2012 for exporting system statistics to their telemetry systems with around 200 statistics being exported per machine. They are now posting the METRICFS patches as open-source for review and possible upstreaming.

        A “request for comments” on METRICFS was sent out today on the Linux kernel mailing list. Their motives for now finally publishing these patches is as a result of the recent Statsfs proposal by a Red Hat engineer for a RAM-based file-system for exposing kernel statistics to user-space. METRICFS has a similar aim to Statsfs.

      • FS-Cache Rewritten But Even Its Developers Are Hesitant About Landing It For Linux 5.9

        FS-Cache provides the Linux kernel with a general purpose cache for network file-systems like NFS and AFS but also other special use-cases like ISO9660 file-systems. FS-Cache has been rewritten for better performance and reliability, among other benefits, and while it has been sent in as a pull request for Linux 5.9 even its own developers provide some caution over landing it this cycle.

        FS-Cache has seen work to “massively overhaul” it with a variety of improvements. The new and improved FS-Cache will now use async direct I/O in place of snooping for updated pages that in turn means less virtual memory overhead. The new FS-Cache implementation has simpler object management, changes to object invalidation, and a variety of other work.

      • Corsair Commander Pro Driver Sent In To Linux 5.9

        The hardware monitoring (HWMON) subsystem has a new driver that is likely to excite some enthusiasts wanting greater control over thermal monitoring and fan control for their systems.

        The previously covered Corsair Commander Pro Linux driver is now coming with Linux 5.9. The Commander Pro offers six 4-pin fan ports with PWM controls, two RGB LED channels, and four thermal sensors. An interested user/developer created this Linux driver without the support from Corsair. The thermal and fan control support is in place with this new HWMON driver while the RGB lighting controls are available from OpenRGB.

      • Graphics Stack

        • mesa 20.1.5
          Hi all,
          
          I'd like to announce Mesa 20.1.5, the fifth bugfix release for the 20.1 branch.
          
          The next bugfix release is planned for 2 weeks from now, on 2020-08-19.
          
          Cheers,
          Eric
          
          
        • Mesa 20.1.5 Released For The Latest Stable Open-Source Vulkan / OpenGL Drivers

          Mesa 20.1.5 provides the latest stable open-source Vulkan/OpenGL graphics drivers for the Linux desktop as the newest bi-weekly milestone.

          Mesa 20.2 remains under development as this quarter’s feature release due out in about one month’s time. Mesa 20.2 is running behind schedule as it should have been branched around the end of July but has yet to happen. In any case, more Mesa 20.2 feature work continues to land and more than likely will ship sometime in September. But until that occurs, Mesa 20.1 is the latest stable series.

        • Intel Workaround For Graphics Driver Regression: “The Platform Problem Going Crazy”

          Sent out over the weekend was a patch series for the Intel Linux kernel graphics driver entitled “Time, where did it go?” This set of 42 patches aims to provide incremental improvements to the driver to offset a performance regression in Linux 5.7 that Intel hasn’t been able to track down. This increased complication of the driver to offset the regression is now under the microscope.

          The set of 42 patches by longtime Intel open-source developer Chris Wilson provides incremental improvements to reduce the execution latency. He was upfront that the intent of these improvements are to “basically offsets the small regressions incurred when compared to [Linux kernel] 5.7.”

        • RadeonSI Resorts To Disabling SDMA For GFX9/Vega Due To APU Issues

          AMD’s RadeonSI Gallium3D driver has resorted to disabling SDMA (System DMA) async DMA engine support for all GFX9/Vega hardware due to issues plaguing some APUs.

          While SDMA has the potential of helping performance, GFX9 (Vega) is now seeing the support disabled due to bugs seeming to only affect APUs. Though it’s not entirely surprising as the open-source AMD Radeon Linux driver also is not enabling SDMA at this point for GFX8 (Polaris) or GFX10 (Navi) hardware either.

          Opened three months ago was the merge request for disabling SDMA on GFX9 and to back-port it to the stable series as well. Longtime AMD open-source developer Marek Olsak noted, “This is somewhat a radical step. All opinions welcome.”

    • Benchmarks

      • Intel’s Clear Linux Still Outperforming Other Distributions For Mid-2020

        Being well past the half-way point for the year, here is a look at how Intel’s performance-optimized Clear Linux distribution is performing compared to its rolling state last December. Plus there are also benchmarks looking at how the current Clear Linux is performing against other rolling-release distributions.

    • Applications

      • Pinta Image Editor Gets First Update in 5 Years

        The Pinta image editor and drawing tool was a one-time must-have for the Linux desktop thanks to its broad feature set and user-friendly interface.

        Sadly development just kinda stopped…

        But five years on — or 283 weeks if you’ve been keeping count — Pinta is back from the dead with a brand new release. in this post we take a closer look at what’s new, and show you how to install it on Ubuntu using a PPA.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • AWOW AK41 Mini Desktop PC – Gaming – Week 5

        This is a weekly blog chronicling my experiences of running the AWOW AK41 Mini Desktop PC on Linux.

        I’ve already touched on the graphics capabilities of the AWOW AK41. To recap, this Mini PC uses the Intel UHD Graphics 605, an integrated processor graphics unit from the Gemini Lake generation. Performance of the graphics unit is widely reported as in the low-end segment and rarely sufficient for modern games.

        It’s often touted that integrated graphics are not meant for gaming. But what does that really mean? There are tons of free games available for Linux. Many of them aren’t that graphically demanding.

      • Narrative-driven adventure Impostor Factory has new teaser trailer

        Following on in some way from To the Moon and Finding Paradise, the next title from Freebird Games is the previously announced Impostor Factory and now they have another teaser out. The question is: are you ready to have your heart broken again?

        Imposter Factory sounds downright bizarre too. Freebird Games describe it as a ‘narrative-driven adventure game that is categorically out of its mind’. The game follows Quincy, who apparently found a time machine in a bathroom at some party located at a suspiciously secluded mansion. After that, people start dying and ‘things get a little Lovecraftian and tentacles are involved’.

        [...]

        Since it appears to be coming somewhat closer though, I do wholeheartedly recommend you check out To the Moon and Finding Paradise both of which are loved and praised by a huge amount of players and critics like. You don’t need to have played either though as they’re all self-contained stories. That said, they all take part in the same universe as part of the To the Moon series and Freebird themselves often call it To the Moon 3. If you wish to, you can buy them both here:

      • Gaming on Linux in 2020: Way Better Than You Think

        Linux has always been seen as a rather rigid operating system for gaming. Many games used to be unavailable on Linux, and the ones that you could play used to have all sorts of bugs. However, the situation’s not the same anymore with Ubuntu 20.04.

        The OS is way better for gaming than you may think. In certain situations, games even run better on Linux than on Windows. This is quite impressive so let’s see what lead to Linux’s improvements.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • The 10 Best KDE Plasma Widgets for KDE Desktop Environment

          If you were looking for the best KDE Plasma widgets for your Linux desktop, then you are in the right place. There is much debate about the fact of who implemented the widget feature first on a computer GUI. But nobody can deny that the widgets have brought a new era in the modern user interface. Most of the people rely on beautiful widgets for performing different tasks without opening the main instance of the program. Although Windows ditched their native desktop widgets feature with their Windows 8 for the sake of the live tiles. Linux still has a great library of widgets that are being maintained by the developer community.

        • Linux App Summit Goes Online in November

          Once again, KDE and GNOME are teaming up to bring you THE conference for people interested in establishing Linux as a great end-user platform. At the Linux App Summit we work on making app creation for users easy and worthwhile.

          Since travel is complicated nowadays, we decided to make LAS 2020 a virtual conference. The event will open Thursday, 12th November and we’ll wrap up on Saturday, 14th November. Our goal is to engage people in multiple time zones and make the content available online after the conclusion.

          The Call for Talks is now open! Please take a look at the suggested topics and send in your ideas. We encourage new speakers, so don’t hesitate to submit a proposal!

          Save the date on your calendar and we look forward to seeing you at LAS 2020!

        • KBibTeX 0.10-alpha2 aka 0.9.81

          The release of KBibTeX 0.10 is approaching with the release of KBibTeX 0.10-alpha2 aka 0.9.81.

    • Distributions

      • BSD

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • Release Team to have retrospective meeting about openSUSE Leap 15.2

          Members of the openSUSE community will have two retrospective meeting on the release of openSUSE Leap 15.2 after receiving feedback from the recent survey.

          The meetings are scheduled for tomorrow, Thursday, at 06:00 – 08:00 UTC and 15:00 – 17:00 UTC.

          Release Manager Luboš Kocman provided a short summary about the feedback received and information about the meeting in an email this week to the project.

          “Thanks to everyone who participated in our openSUSE Leap 15.2 release retrospective that took place on survey.opensuse.org,” Kocman wrote. “The survey was fully anonymous and questions were: What went well and What didn’t go too well.

        • SUSE Documentation Survey 2020 – Second Take. Your Call to Action to Help Us Improve.

          The very first documentation survey we conducted last summer was a real success. We got a great amount of responses and highly valuable feedback about what we do right, but more importantly also where we can improve and what is missing in our documentation at SUSE. Now it is time for a sanity check. And to see if your needs and challenges have changed during the past 12 months. Of course we could not yet implement all the ideas and requirements you shared with us. The disastrous COVID-19 pandemic also had some impact and foiled some of our plans. But anyway, I assume we are all clear about the fact that enhancing documentation is a continuous process. And we would like to find out if we are at least on the right track.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • PAM by example: Use authconfig to modify PAM
        • Learning NFS through server and client configuration
        • World domination with cgroups part 8: down and dirty with cgroup v2

          Thanks for joining me again as we continue to look at cgroup v2, which became available with Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8. This time around, I’d like to take a very deep look at the virtual file system used to control the cgroup controllers and the special files inside. Understanding this will be necessary for doing custom work that used to be the domain of libcgroup (first introduced in RHEL 6, and not recommended for use in RHEL 8). We’re also going to try some fun with cpusets, which are now fully working with RHEL and systemd for the first time ever!

        • Build secure applications with OpenShift 4.3 on public cloud

          Building secure applications that ensure data privacy and security when deployed to a cloud environment is crucial for businesses that collect customer data, particularly for regulated industries like finance, retail, banking, and others. In this article, I introduce you to an example credit card application my team built to explore and share approaches for creating secure cloud-based applications with OpenShift 4.3 on IBM Cloud.

          We built the example credit card application with just a few straight-forward microservices that record dynamic user transactions in a PostgreSQL database. The JavaScript simulator application presents a Web-based view of a mobile application run by a Node.js service running inside an OpenShift cluster.

        • Ben Williams: F32-20200804 updated Live isos Released

          The Fedora Respins SIG is pleased to announce the latest release of Updated F32-20200804-Live ISOs, carrying the 5.7.11-200 kernel.

          This set of updated isos will save considerable amounts of updates after install. ((for new installs.)(New installs of Workstation have about 900+MB of updates)).

          A huge thank you goes out to irc nicks dowdle, dbristow, Southern-Gentleman for testing these iso.

        • Dan Williams: Kubernetes Watches will ghost you without warning

          Alternate title: if you’re ahead of Clayton you’re doing well, at least for a few hours.

          [...]

          Watches can and do terminate at any time, gracefully or not. Sometimes a new apiserver leader is elected and the old one terminates watches and clients must reconnect to the new leader. Sometimes the leader just goes away because its node got rebooted. Sometimes there’s a network hiccup and the HTTP connection backing the watch times out. Regardless of the cause, they happen and your code needs to handle them. OpenShift CI forces frequent leader elections to specifically catch these issues before they get to customers.

          A watch stuffs events into a Go channel. The code using the watch reads events out of the channel, usually in a for loop (to continuously grab events) with a select block (to ensure individual read operations don’t block which enables cancelation when the channel returned by ctx.Done() is closed). Reading from a Go channel (case event := <-pvcWatch.ResultChan()) returns an optional second boolean indicating whether the channel has been closed.

          The testcase loop doesn’t exit until either the testcase times out and the ctx.Done() channel is closed, one of the event handler cases fails the testcase, or the PersistentVolumeClaim is deleted. So what happens if the Watch is closed unexpectedly and nothing checks whether the channel is closed?

        • Copr: EOL Copr APIv1 and APIv2

          During Copr history, we got three APIs. For a long time, we maintained all versions.

          We decided that it is time to remove the old versions. We are going to start with APiv1.

        • Red Hat Virtualization 4.4 To Be Generally Available This Week

          Red Hat has announced that Red Hat Virtualization 4.4, the latest update to its virtualization solution for traditional virtual machine (VM)-based workloads, will be generally available this week.

          With this latest release, Red Hat Virtualization is now rebased to Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.2. It is said to offer a more seamless integration with Red Hat OpenShift, providing a solution that can launch the next-generation of cloud-native applications while providing a foundation for VMs today.

          “Based on RHEL 8.2, Red Hat Virtualization 4.4 inherits all of the stability, performance and security improvements that you trust for your most business critical workloads while adding new capabilities that make it even easier to manage a large virtual environment,” the company said.

      • Debian Family

        • Debian, Chris Lamb, NXIVM sex cult prosecution

          NXIVM was operated by Keith Raniere in collusion with his associate/girlfriend, the actress Allison Mack. Debian was officially led by Chris Lamb, while his girlfriend Molly de Blanc had created the infamous Anti-Harassment team, analogous to Scientology’s Sea Organization, to promote submissiveness and obedience under the guise of a “Code of Conduct”.

          [...]

          Early in 2018, Alexander “formorer” Wirth had set up Debian’s public Git repositories, hosted in the Salsa.debian.org service. Shortly after this, at DebConf18 in Taiwan, Lamb had started the discussions about how to brand volunteers with adverse records in Git / Salsa. A few days before Christmas, this weapon was unleashed on Dr Norbert Preining, who maintains the LaTeX packages used widely in the academic world.

          [...]

          Just as Debian oligarchs often use nicknames and acronyms, NXIVM’s founder, Raniere, had chosen to hide behind the pseudonym Vanguard, taken from an arcade game in which the destruction of one’s enemies increased one’s own power. It is a remarkable parallel to the style used by some of the worst leaders in Debian over the years.

          In fact, every year there are public discussions about who to kick out of Debian. Enrico Zini, one of the Debian Account Managers who is currently engaged in blackmailing a volunteer, asked candidates in the 2006 leadership election to publicly name five people they would expel.

          [...]

          Lamb, de Blanc and their associates, the Anti-Harassment team and Debian Account Managers, had been making secret findings of misconduct against volunteers and then making veiled threats to disclose these abusive decisions if the volunteers were not submissive enough. Dr Preining called their bluff by releasing a bundle of their nasty emails himself.

        • Holger Levsen: DebConf7

          DebConf7 was also special because it had a very special night venue, which was in an ex-church in a rather normal building, operated as sort of community center or some such, while the old church interior was still very much visible as in everything new was build around the old stuff.

          And while the night venue was cool, it also ment we (video team) had no access to our machines over night (or for much of the evening), because we had to leave the university over night and the networking situation didn’t allow remote access with the bandwidth needed to do anything video.

          The night venue had some very simple house rules, like don’t rearrange stuff, don’t break stuff, don’t fix stuff and just a few little more and of course we broke them in the best possible way: Toresbe with the help of people I don’t remember fixed the organ, which was broken for decades. And so the house sounded in some very nice new old tune and I think everybody was happy we broke that rule.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Daniel Stenberg: Upcoming Webinar: curl: How to Make Your First Code Contribution

        Abstract: curl is a wildly popular and well-used open source tool and library, and is the result of more than 2,200 named contributors helping out. Over 800 individuals wrote at least one commit so far.

        In this presentation, curl’s lead developer Daniel Stenberg talks about how any developer can proceed in order to get their first code contribution submitted and ultimately landed in the curl git repository. Approach to code and commits, style, editing, pull-requests, using github etc. After you’ve seen this, you’ll know how to easily submit your improvement to curl and potentially end up running in ten billion installations world-wide.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Review of Firefox “Fenix” for Android

            Mozilla has begun a staged roll-out of its redesigned and rearchitected Firefox browser for Android (codename “Fenix”). So far, Fenix has only been released in 14 countries through the Google Play Store. Here’s my review of Mozilla’s new flagship mobile browser as a long-time user and as an extension developer.

            Fenix’s user interface is minimal, but it represents a large amount of work under the hood. It’s built on GeckoView and Mozilla Android Components (MOZAC); a set of reusable components for mobile app developers that makes it easier to build a web browser based on Mozilla technology. These components are a modernization of the old codebase as well as a direct competitor to WebView — the web engine that’s built-in to Android, as well as Google’s ChromiumView.

          • Firefox extended tracking protection

            This Mozilla Security Blog entry describes the new redirect-tracking protections soon to be provided by the Firefox browser.

          • Karl Dubost: Browser developer tools timeline

            I was reading In a Land Before Dev Tools by Amber, and I thought, Oh here missing in the history the beautifully chiseled Opera Dragonfly and F12 for Internet Explorer. So let’s see what are all the things I myself didn’t know.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • Announcement of LibreOffice 7.0

          LibreOffice 7.0: the new major release of the best FOSS office suite ever is available on all OSes and platforms, and provides significant new features

        • LibreOffice 7: Now more Microsoft-compatible — and still free

          Microsoft has made it clear that it sees the desktop office suite future on the cloud, not on your PC. As a “last resort” — Microsoft’s words, not mine — Microsoft recommends Office 2019. Maybe paying an eternal subscription fee for Microsoft works for you. It does for many users. But, if you want an old-style office suite which lives on your PC, LibreOffice is now your top choice. Oh, and did I mention? LibreOffice won’t cost you a cent.

          This new major release comes with several improvements. At the top of the list for users who’ve spent their working lives with Microsoft Office, the best feature is better compatibility with DOCX, XLSX, and PPTX files. LibreOffice 7′s DOCX is now saved in native 2013/2016/2019 mode, instead of 2007 compatibility mode. This greatly improves interoperability across multiple MS Office versions. The program can also now export to XLSX files with sheet names longer than 31 characters and exporting XLSX checkboxes. A long time Office XLSS bug, the “invalid content error” when opening exported XLSX files with shapes has also been resolved. Finally, he PPTX import/export filter has been improved.

        • LibreOffice 7.0 Officially Released, This Is What’s New

          Many months in development, the LibreOffice 7.0 open-source and free office suite is finally here and will soon be available for installation from the stable software repositories of many popular GNU/Linux distributions, so you can enjoy a better and more modern office suite experience.

          As you can imagine, this is a major release that adds numerous new features and improvements over previous versions. Highlights include ODF 1.3 support with the ability to add visual digital signatures in existing documents, encrypt XML documents with the OpenPGP/GPG standard, change tracking, and additional details in the description of elements in first pages, text, numbers and charts.

        • LibreOffice 7.0 Released As The Open-Source, Vulkan-Accelerated Office Suite

          LibreOffice 7.0 has been released! Making LibreOffice 7.0 so exciting is that the Cairo code was replaced with Google’s Skia library and in the process gaining optional support for GPU accelerating the user-interface with Vulkan.

          Beyond the Skia+Vulkan support, LibreOffice 7.0 brings ODF 1.3 document support, better compatibility for Microsoft Office formats like DOCX / XLSX / PPTX, icon and other user-interface improvements, HiDPI improvements, removal of Adobe Flash export support, other import/export improvements, different performance optimizations, and other changes. At the last minute for the 7.0 release they did revert the “Personal Edition” branding their marketing folks originally proposed for this release.

        • LibreOffice 7.0 released

          Version 7.0 of the LibreOffice office suite is out. It brings a long list of new features, including: “support for OpenDocument Format (ODF) 1.3; Skia graphics engine and Vulkan GPU-based acceleration for better performance; and carefully improved compatibility with DOCX, XLSX and PPTX files”. The plan to create a differentiated “enterprise edition” that was discussed in July has been deferred and is not part of this release.

        • LibreOffice 7.0 Released, This is What’s New

          Naturally LibreOffice 7.0 boasts a raft of welcome improvements and notable new features, the bulk of which we take a look at in this post.

          The Document Foundation, the non-profit organisation driving the development of this free office suit, say LibreOffice 7.0 is a “new major release providing significant new features”.

          If you just want to download LibreOffice 7.0 for your Windows, macOS, or Linux system you can skip to the download section near the bottom of the post.

        • LibreOffice 7.0 is released. This is what’s new

          The latest version of LibreOffice 7.0 is here with major improvements and features. It is a massive release in terms of user features, compatibility and more.

        • LibreOffice 7.0 is Finally Available Now! Here are the Key Changes in this Major Release

          The much awaited LibreOffice 7.0 is finally released. Check out the key changes in this new release and learn how to get the latest release on your Linux distribution.

        • A new Writer Outline folding mode in LibreOffice

          Jim Raykowski, one from LibreOffice developers, realized so much requested feature – Writer Outline folding mode. You should enable Experimental features in Tools ▸ Options ▸ LibreOffice ▸ Advanced dialog to see “Show outline content visibility button” checkbox in Tools ▸ Options ▸ LibreOffice Writer ▸ View dialog.
          After checking it you’ll can see a button with arrow near any selected heading in your document. Click on it to fold all text from the current heading to next heading. Right click on it to fold all text from current heading to next the same level heading with all its subheadings.

      • FSF

        • Geoffrey Knauth elected Free Software Foundation president; Odile Bénassy joins the board

          The Free Software Foundation (FSF) today announced the addition of a new director to its board, and the election of a new president.

          Long-time free software activist and developer Odile Bénassy, known especially for her work promoting free software in France, was elected to the FSF’s board of directors. Geoffrey Knauth, who has served on the FSF’s board for over thirty years, was elected president.

          On her election, Bénassy said, “I’m happy and proud to accept FSF’s invitation to be part of the board. I want to help keep steady the principles of free software, and the philosophical values around it. Free software counts among what the world badly needs nowadays.”

          Knauth welcomed Bénassy, saying, “I am delighted that Odile Bénassy has agreed to become a director of the FSF, FSF’s first director from Europe. Odile is a mathematics educator, researcher, software engineer, and leader of the GNU Edu project. She has been advocating for and developing free software for more than twenty years.”

          FSF’s executive director, John Sullivan, added, “Being on the FSF’s board of directors means first and foremost standing as a guardian for free software and the associated user freedoms. With such a long track record, Odile has shown herself to be someone FSF members and supporters can count on. I’m really looking forward to working with her, and I’m excited to see all the ways she’ll help the FSF be better and stronger.”

          Describing his approach to his new position as president, Knauth posted a statement which begins, “The FSF board chose me at this moment as a servant leader to help the community focus on our shared dedication to protect and grow software that respects our freedoms. It is also important to protect and grow the diverse membership of the community. It is through our diversity of backgrounds and opinions that we have creativity, perspective, intellectual strength and rigor.”

        • FSF Has Finally Elected A New President

          The Free Software Foundation has elected Geoffrey Knauth as the new president. Knauth has been a FSF board member dating back to 1997. Knauth is a computer science professor in Pennsylvania and has contributed to the GNU Objective-C stack and other longtime involvement in the GNU and FSF.

          The Free Software Foundation announced the new president today while also naming French free software promoter Odile Bénassy to the board.

        • Statement from FSF’s new president, Geoffrey Knauth

          The FSF Board chose me at this moment as a servant leader to help the community focus on our shared dedication to protect and grow software that respects our freedoms. It is also important to protect and grow the diverse membership of the community. It is through our diversity of backgrounds and opinions that we have creativity, perspective, intellectual strength, and rigor.

          It is the community that has selflessly built the impressive collection of free software the world now enjoys. The community must be given credit for this achievement. The free software movement may have started with Richard Stallman’s passion and lifelong commitment, and we all are grateful to that spark of imagination that gave us high purpose. At the same time, we are all aware that this community has grown large over the years. That’s a very good thing.

          It requires renewed focus to achieve our goals. We must remember what unites us and why we came to free software in the first place. What inspired us in the past? What will keep us inspired, and what will inspire new generations of free software developers? We must be kind to each other and respect each other when our good faith arguments differ, in order to produce the best solutions together. I pledge to support honest dialog and emerging leaders in the quest to secure the future for free software for generations to come, and not to alter the tenets of the free software vision.

          I have been an active supporter and contributor from the moment the GNU Manifesto appeared, and by accident of time and space, I was lucky to witness the birth of a movement truly great and wonderful. To be honest, at the time my first thought was, “What a noble idea, but one person cannot do all this.” Then I saw how over time, many good people from literally every corner of the planet gave of themselves to make free software a reality. It is you who are important, it is you who joined the effort to help the world see the virtues of free software, the dedication of its thousands of contributors and volunteers, the high quality of free software used every day around the world, and its sheer endurance and ability to find itself in widespread use even by those who were once fierce opponents to free software. Take that to heart, let’s keep it going. Tell it to your children, and let’s make sure your children have the freedoms you have achieved, and more.

      • Programming/Development

        • Podcast: COBOL development on the mainframe

          Nic reached out when COBOL hit the news this spring to get some background on what COBOL is good for historically, and where it lives in the modern infrastructure stack. I was able to talk about the basics of COBOL and the COBOL standard, strengths today in concert with the latest mainframes, and how COBOL back-end code is now being integrated into front ends via intermediary databases and data-interchange formats like JSON, which COBOL natively supports.

        • What I learned while teaching C programming on YouTube

          The act of breaking something down in order to teach it to others can be a great way to reacquaint yourself with some old concepts and, in many cases, gain new insights.

          I have a YouTube channel where I demonstrate FreeDOS programs and show off classic DOS applications and games. The channel has a small following, so I tend to explore the topics directly suggested by my audience. When several subscribers asked if I could do more videos about programming, I decided to launch a new video series to teach C programming. I learned a lot from teaching C, and in the process, I came across some meaningful takeaways I think others will appreciate.

          Make a plan

          For my day job, I lead training and workshops to help new and emerging IT leaders develop new skills. Outside of regular work, I also enjoy teaching as an adjunct professor. So I’m very comfortable constructing a course outline and designing a curriculum. That’s where I started. If you want to teach a subject effectively, you can’t just wing it.

          Start by writing an outline of what topics you want to cover and figure out how each new topic will build on the previous ones. The “building block” method of adding new knowledge is key to an effective training program.

        • Google’s Flutter 1.20 framework is out: VS Code extension and mobile autofill support
        • Google Engineers Propose “Machine Function Splitter” For Faster Performance

          Google engineers have been working on the Machine Function Splitter as their means of making binaries up to a few percent faster thanks to this compiler-based approach. They are now seeking to upstream the Machine Function Splitter into LLVM.

          The Machine Function Splitter is a code generation optimization pass for splitting code functions into hot and cold parts. They are doing this stemming from research that in roughly half of code functions that more than 50% of the code bytes are never executed but generally loaded into the CPU’s data cache.

        • Python

        • Rust

          • Modernize network function development with this Rust-based framework

            The world of networking has undergone monumental shifts over the past decade, particularly in the ongoing move from specialized hardware into software defined network functions (NFV) for data plane1 and packet processing. While the transition to software has fashioned the rise of SDN (Software-defined networking) and programmable networks, new challenges have arisen in making these functions flexible, efficient, easier to use, and fast (i.e. little to no performance overhead). Our team at Comcast wanted to both leverage what the network does best, especially with regards to its transport capacity and routing mechanisms, while also being able to develop network programs through a modern software lens—stressing testing, swift iteration, and deployment. So, with these goals in mind, we developed Capsule, a new framework for network function development, written in Rust, inspired by Berkeley’s NetBricks research, and built-on Intel’s Data Plane Development Kit (DPDK).

          • This Week in Rust 350
  • Leftovers

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Are COVID-19 vaccine advance purchases a form of vaccine nationalism, an effective spur to innovation, or something in between?

        No vaccine for the novel coronavirus has been approved anywhere. Nevertheless, governments and international organizations around the world are announcing deals for billions of dollars to procure tens of millions of doses of vaccines from companies that are still running clinical trials, including a $2.1 billion deal with Sanofi and GSK announced by the US on Friday. What’s going on? And what do these deals tell us about innovation policy for COVID-19 vaccines? In this post, we lay out the landscape of COVID-19 vaccine pre-purchases; we then turn to the innovation impact of these commitments, and finish by asking what role patents and compulsory licensing have to play.

        [...]

        The US federal government has made substantial pre-purchases, including up to $2.1B for 100M doses from Sanofi-GSK, $1.95B for 100M doses from BioNTech-Pfizer, $1.6B for 100M doses from NovaVax vaccine, and $1.2B for 300M doses from AstraZeneca-Oxford. This is unusual! Most vaccines for US adults are purchased by the private sector or public insurers. (Also unusual is that the federal government will be directing allocation choices through the CDC and the Pentagon—which hopefully will go more smoothly than the distribution of the COVID-19 treatment remdesivir by FEMA and HHS.)

        Other governments are also making advance purchases of yet-to-be-approved vaccines, particularly the UK and other European countries. The UK has secured 250M doses from four suppliers; it has 66M people. (Obviously, it has planned in case not all of them work out.) Italy, Germany, France, and the Netherlands set up the Inclusive Vaccines Alliance—which other EU countries may join—and signed a €750M contract for 400M doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine. The EU is also concluding talks to purchase 300M doses of the Sanofi-GSK vaccine. China is developing its own vaccines, which other countries may struggle to access. And the few wealthy countries like Canada that are not making substantial COVID-19 vaccine investments face pressure to do so.

        These investments have led to charges of “vaccine nationalism” in the popular press, although as Professor Ana Santos Rutschman explains, these strategies are not new. Rutschman also describes the growth of public-private partnerships to offer a more global solution. Most notably, Geneva-based Gavi has created the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access (COVAX) Facility, which can be joined by both “self-financing” countries and donor-supported countries. COVAX will distribute vaccines to “all participating countries at the same rate until all countries have received sufficient doses through the Facility to ensure coverage of 20% of their populations,” although potential inequity in access by non-self-financing countries has led to some criticism. Many countries have expressed interest, though only 16 of the 36 OECD states, not including the US, Germany, France, Italy, or Spain. The European Commission has advised EU states not to join COVAX for the purpose of buying vaccines.

        [...]

        Compulsory licensing doesn’t address these concerns. Whatever merits compulsory licensing offers for some basic pharmaceuticals, vaccines are quite different. In the small-molecule context, entry by numerous generic manufacturers is relatively inexpensive and can rapidly increase supply. But for vaccines, as we’ve detailed before, the more significant impediments to producing a successful coronavirus vaccine lie on the manufacturing side, including issues regarding manufacturing scale-up, the risk of shortages, supply chain management, and other logistical hurdles. That doesn’t even include issues like administrative distribution (e.g., would people receive the vaccine from their employer, physician, or a third-party provider?), or vaccine skepticism that are bound to dog implementation of a COVID-19 vaccine.

        The scholarly attention to patents in the pandemic, rather, is part of a long-standing academic debate as to whether patents efficiently mediate a tradeoff of access to the goods they cover and incentives to develop them. But this tradeoff—especially in this context—doesn’t have to be, and often isn’t antagonistic. As we previously explained, whether developers receive high financial incentives from patents and other policies is a separate question from whether consumers face barriers to access; several proposals include provisions that a COVID-19 vaccine will be available to most patients for no out-of-pocket costs. More broadly, the economic and public health impact of COVID-19 counsels that whatever risk exists from payers overpaying for a patent-protected COVID-19 vaccine is a mere rounding error compared to the enormous harm—both economic and human—from the pandemic. If Pfizer stands to reap $2 billion to end a scourge that has already claimed 700,000 lives and stands to cost $82 trillion globally, it’ll be worth it. Given the difficulties of manufacturing and distributing a vaccine, it’s not clear how patent licensing would address the access problem frequently complained about. Rather than focusing on the margins, now is the time for policymakers to “go big. Really, really big.”

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Vivaldi Web Browser 3.2 Released with Improved Pop-out Video

          Vivaldi web browser 3.2 was released today. The new release added a mute button to the pop-out video (picture-in-picture) mode.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • New Open Source Initiative Consolidates Security Goals [Ed: This initiatives was founded by companies that put back doors in everything, so only fools and crackpots would believe it's about genuine security rather than domination]

                The Linux Foundation on Monday announced the formation of the Open Source Security Foundation (OpenSSF) as the latest initiative to improve software security.

              • Linux Foundation Addresses Open Source Security

                The Open Source Security Foundation (OpenSSF) will consolidate the efforts of existing open source security initiatives Core Infrastructure Initiative and the Open Source Security Coalition previously launched by GitHub. In addition, various security projects launched by other founding governing board members including, Google, IBM, JPMorgan Chase, Microsoft, NCC Group, OWASP Foundation, Red Hat and others will be incorporated.

        • Security

          • Zoombomber crashes court hearing on Twitter hack with Pornhub video
          • Security updates for Wednesday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (net-snmp), Fedora (mingw-curl), openSUSE (firefox, ghostscript, and opera), Oracle (libvncserver and postgresql-jdbc), Scientific Linux (postgresql-jdbc), SUSE (firefox, kernel, libX11, xen, and xorg-x11-libX11), and Ubuntu (apport, grub2, grub2-signed, libssh, libvirt, mysql-8.0, ppp, tomcat8, and whoopsie).

          • The CNCF etcd project reaches a significant milestone with completion of security audit

            This week, a third-party security audit was published on etcd, the open source distributed key-value store that plays a crucial role in scaling Kubernetes in the cloud. For etcd, this audit was important in multiple ways. The audit validates the project’s maturity and sheds light on some areas where the project can improve. This sort of audit is required criteria for any project in the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) to qualify for graduation from the CNCF.

            Read the CNCF blog post that I co-authored to learn more about the audit and what it uncovered. As one of the project maintainers and one of two members of the etcd Project Security Committee, I’d love to share a few reasons I’m hopeful for etcd’s future and why now is a great time to contribute to etcd’s open source community.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Why Hong Kongers Fight

        The West was still congratulating itself on the “end of history” when Hong Kong, one of Great Britain’s last colonial holdings, was handed over to the People’s Republic of China in 1997. The event was seen as a denouement to the age of colonialism, heralding the arrival of a new capitalist modernity unifying East and West. There was ample reason to believe China’s government—then negotiating its membership in the World Trade Organization—would before long become a steward of the liberal world order.
        Hong Kongers thought they would lead the way. It was not only the city’s capitalists who saw “One Country, Two Systems” as an opportunity. Beijing agreed to preserve Hong Kong’s way of life for at least “fifty years without change” and pledged to implement universal suffrage for the city’s leader. Progressives saw a chance to spearhead democracy in China.
        Twenty-three years later, the disillusionment of Hong Kong’s idealists is stark. Tidal waves of new wealth from China have failed to raise most residents’ wages, instead creating record inequality. And mainland elites’ enthusiasm for using Hong Kong as a conduit for their ballooning capital—aided by the city’s Beijing-backed bureaucrats—is equaled by their contempt for free elections. Hong Kong’s new “national security” law, recently passed unilaterally by the Chinese Communist Party, has essentially outlawed dissent, slamming the door shut on any hope of universal suffrage and ushering in a new era of repression.
        The city’s postcolonial constitution, the Basic Law, explicitly requires the local government to “safeguard the free flow of capital.” By contrast, the protest slogan “If we burn, you burn” describes a strategy of seeking leverage by damaging Hong Kong’s business operations, in defiance of the territory’s postcolonial compact. Protesters have smashed and even set fire to the symbols of the enemy: branches of the Bank of China, Xiaomi retailers, train stations run by the mega-landlord MTR. Recent surveys show the Hong Kong public continues to support the movement by a ratio of two-to-one even amid the pandemic, suggesting a broad acknowledgement that the city cannot be saved without forms of strategic destruction.

      • What the Beirut blast could mean for a battered Lebanon

        As rescue workers continue to look for survivors amongst the rubble of a massive explosion that killed a reported 100 people in Beirut’s port on Tuesday night, the humanitarian implications of the blast in Lebanon’s capital will likely not be clear for some time.

        At least 4,000 people are said to have been wounded, and the death toll from the blast could still rise. Hospitals have been struggling to deal with the influx of injured people as buildings collapsed and windows shattered throughout central Beirut.

        While the exact cause of the explosion was unclear, government officials said it was related to a large amount of ammonium nitrate confiscated years ago and stored at the port. Ammonium nitrate can be used as both a fertiliser and in bombs, but must be mixed with another substance to ignite.

        [...]

        Tuesday night’s explosion came as Lebanon was already at a crisis point: The economy has been in freefall for months, unemployment is rising, and the country’s foreign minister resigned on Monday, warning that the country risks becoming a “failed state”.

        The financial meltdown, which has seen the local currency collapse, has been worsened by COVID-19, as lockdowns slowed economic activity and remittances from abroad dropped off (a problem that has recently plagued many other countries that rely on money sent home from relatives).

        While those hit hardest by the crash have been society’s most vulnerable – including an estimated 1.5 million Syrian refugees and hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees – more and more Lebanese are feeling the pain too. Food prices are rising at a time when people have less money in their pockets, and aid groups have said eviction threats are increasing.

      • What happens to migrants forcibly returned to Libya?

        The killing last week of three young men after they were intercepted at sea by the EU-funded Libyan Coast Guard has thrown the spotlight on the fate of tens of thousands of migrants and asylum seekers returned to Libya to face detention, abuse and torture by traffickers, or worse.

        The three Sudanese nationals aged between 15 and 18 were shot dead on 28 July, reportedly by members of a militia linked to the Coast Guard as they tried to avoid being detained. They are among more than 6,200 men, women, and children intercepted on the central Mediterranean and returned to Libya this year. Since 2017, that figure is around 40,000.

        [...]

        Unlike official detention centres run by the GNA’s Directorate for Combating Illegal Migration (DCIM) – also under the Ministry of the Interior – and its affiliated militias, neither IOM nor the UN’s refugee agency, UNHCR, has access to these data-collection facilities, which are intended for the investigation of smugglers and not for detaining migrants.

        “We have been told that migrants are no longer in these [data-collection] facilities and we wonder if they have been transferred,” Safa Msehli, spokesperson for IOM in Libya, told TNH.

        “These are people going missing by the hundreds. We have also been told – and are hearing reports from community leaders – that people are going missing,” she said. “We feel the worst has happened, and that these locations [data-collection facilities] are being used to smuggle or traffic people.”

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