12.07.21

Gemini version available ♊︎

Links 7/12/2021: Firefox 96 Beta and Fedora 37 Abandons ARMv7

Posted in News Roundup at 3:51 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • The 9 Best Linux Distros for Windows Users

        Windows has evolved over the years, and there is no denying how Windows users are spoilt for options. Multiple OS versions rolled out at regular intervals, making it one of the best operating systems in the market.

        Nevertheless, people are on the lookout for open-source options for their systems. Windows, being a closed-source OS, is not suitable for every computer user out there. Alternatively, Linux is an open-source operating system, and this Linux distro list is ideal if you are looking to switch from Windows to Linux.

        Rest assured, you won’t have to stay away from your Windows favorites for very long.

      • 5 Honest Reasons To Avoid Switching To Linux

        Linux has been a wonderful operating system for many people. It’s free, it’s open source, it’s customizable, secure and much more.

        We, like many other open source enthusiasts around the world as well, have been trying to convince people to switch to Linux from Windows for many reasons. These reasons should be all known for you by now.

        But we have to be honest and admit that Linux is not for everybody. There are some specific cases where staying as an avid Windows user could be better for you than switching to Linux, and we’ll be seeing some of these in today’s article.

      • What Is a Physical Kill Switch, and Does Your PC Need One?

        Purism is a company founded on the idea of having strict privacy and security features built into its computers. The Librem 14 is a prime example of this philosophy, and its hardware, firmware, and operating system have been designed with a significantly higher level of paranoia than typical computers.

        The Librem 14 Linux laptop features multiple physical kill switches, which the company claims absolutely disables the related hardware. There are switches for the webcam and microphone as well as WiFi and Bluetooth. When it comes to the Librem 14 in particular, there are so many additional privacy features that the kill switches really are the least of it, but there are examples of such kill switches in regular laptops that don’t go to such extremes.

        All the way back in 2018, HP was already shipping laptops with physical kill switches for the webcam. Their Specter laptops included these switches, so hopefully the chances of a hacked webcam recording you when you don’t want it to are virtually zero.

        Kill switches may not always take the form of a traditional sliding switch on the side of a laptop. It’s entirely possible to integrate the kill switch with a physical, built-in camera shutter.

      • Partaker Intel Core i3-8130U fanless mini PC Win 10 Linux supported $423

        Partaker have created a new fanless mini PC equipped with a wealth of connectivity and capable of supporting both the Microsoft Windows 10 and operating system most Linux distributions depending on your preference. Pricing starts from $423 for the Intel Core i3-8130U processor version although a more affordable Intel Celeron 3865u/3867u/3965u processor version is also available with prices starting from $246. Both are barebone systems meaning that you will need to provide your own memory, storage and operating system, enabling you to tailor the system to your exact requirements.

      • IGEL Releases Support for VMware Workspace ONE Intelligent Hub for Linux
    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • Custom Linux allows Raspberry Pi to drive ADI peripherals

        Called Kuiper Linux, it incorporates Linux device drivers for ADI products, and supports other hardware including Digilent Zedboard, TerASIC DE10-Nano and Digilent Cora

        “The reasoning behind creating this distribution is to minimise the barriers to integrating ADI hardware devices into a Linux-based system,” according to the company. “When starting with a generic Linux distribution, the kernel typically would have to be rebuilt with the desired drivers enabled. While this is not difficult for an engineer that is familiar with the process, it can be a daunting task even when everything goes right. ADI Kuiper Linux solves this problem, and includes a host of additional applications, software libraries, and utilities.”

      • Rust takes a major step forward as Linux’s second official language | ZDNet

        It wasn’t that long ago that the very idea that another language besides C would be used in the Linux kernel would have been laughed at. Things have changed. Today, not only is Rust, the high-level system language moving closer to Linux, it’s closer than ever with the next “patch series to add support for Rust as a second language to the Linux kernel.”

      • Apple SoC PMGR driver for 5.17
        Hi SoC folks,
        
        Please merge the new PMGR driver for 5.17.
        
        This should not have any hard deps with the previous pulls. The 
        MAINTAINERS change already rode along the DT pull, for simplicity.
        
      • More Apple Silicon M1 Bring-Up On The Way For Linux 5.17 – Phoronix

        The enablement work for supporting Apple’s M1 SoC under Linux continues and with the v5.17 kernel next year will be yet more additions.

        Among the new driver activity for Linux 5.17 is an Apple PMGR driver for controlling the power states. The Apple PMGR block on their SoC has high-level power state controls for SoC devices. At the moment not all features are supported but important step forward for power management with Apple Silicon on Linux.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Intel’s SWR Removed From Mainline Mesa, More Classic Code Cleaning Continues – Phoronix

          Last Friday Mesa classic drivers were removed from the mainline code-base and punted off to an “Amber” code branch where they will receive whatever attention moving forward. With that classic Mesa code removed, more code cleaning is now happening on top of the tens of thousands of lines of code already removed. Intel’s OpenSWR driver has also now been removed from mainline.

          Since the original classic Mesa drivers consisting of Radeon R100/R200, original Nouveau, and Intel i915 / i965 drivers were removed, more code cleaning can now happen on mainline for code that was just sticking around for these old, rather unmaintained drivers.

        • XWayland Lands DRM Leasing Support To Handle VR Headsets – Phoronix

          Along with XWayland touchpad gestures, another shiny feature was merged this week into X.Org Server Git for XWayland: DRM leasing support!

          XWayland now has mainline support for the DRM leasing (drm-lease-v1) protocol for allowing X11 clients running through XWayland to lease non-desktop connectors/outputs from the underlying Wayland compositor. This is particularly useful and designed around the needs of virtual reality (VR) head-mounted displays.

    • Benchmarks

      • Amazon Linux 2022 Performs Well, But Intel’s Clear Linux Continues Leading In The Cloud

        AWS recently introduced Amazon Linux 2022 in preview form as the latest iteration of their Linux distribution now based on Fedora with various alterations to catering to their customers running it on EC2. Last week were benchmarks looking at Amazon Linux 2022 compared to Amazon Linux 2 and other distributions like CentOS and Ubuntu. In this article we are seeing how Amazon Linux 2022 can compete with Intel’s own Clear Linux performance-optimized distribution.

    • Applications

      • Quickly Create And Run Optimized Linux, macOS And Windows Virtual Machines With Quickemu (With Auto ISO Download) – Linux Uprising Blog

        Quickemu is a command line wrapper for QEMU that can be used to quickly create and run highly optimized Linux, macOS, *BSD and Windows desktop virtual machines. It’s currently only intended for use on Linux hosts (it also works on WSL), but in the future it might also support macOS hosts.

        Instead of expecting an exhaustive list of configuration options, Quickemu tries to automatically “do the right thing” and creates the VM configuration automatically for you. Besides this, the tool also automatically downloads the Linux, macOS or Windows image, so all you have to do is run and install the OS in the virtual machine.

        Even though using Quickemu you don’t need to configure anything, e.g. it automatically calculates the number of CPU cores and RAM it should allocate to a VM based on the host computer specifications, you can still use custom config options in the .conf file.

        What’s more, if using the command line is not your thing, there’s also a third-party GUI for Quickemu written in Flutter, called Quickgui:

      • Weekly-ish recap — 7 December 2021: Blender 3.0

        This is one of the most exciting releases in 2021. I wholeheartedly recommend watching the “Every new feature in 6 minutes” video, it provides a pretty good summary of the most important changes.

      • 4 Best Free and Open Source DVD Authoring Tools

        DVD authoring is the process of creating a DVD video capable of playing on a DVD player. DVD authoring software must conform to the specifications set by the DVD Forum. DVD videos are logically divided into a first-play section, a set of top-level menus (called VMGM for Video Manager Menus) and one or more video title-sets (VTSs). Each title-set is logically divided into menus and titles, meaning the main content of the disc.

        DVD authoring is the second step in the process of producing finished DVDs. The first step is the creation of the movie and the second, the authoring, is the creation of artwork, user menus, insertion of chapter points, overdubs/commentaries, setting autoplay and/or repeat options, etc. The final step is the manufacturing (replication) process to mass-produce finished DVDs.

        This article showcases the best free and open source DVD authoring tools that run under Linux.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • SSH Key Rotation with the POSIX Shell – Sunset Nears for Elderly Keys | Linux Journal

        OpenBSD has recently stressed to us the value of key rotation by their use of “Signify” distribution release signatures. We have realized that SSH keys should also rotate, to reduce the risk of powerful keys that fall into the wrong hands which become “the gift that keeps on giving.” There have always been open questions on the retirement of SSH keys. These questions have grown in volume and many are joining the advocacy for SSH certificate authorities.

        To “rotate” an SSH key is to replace it, in such a way that it is no longer recognized, requiring removal from the authorized_keys file. SSH rotation is commonly addressed with Ansible, but this leaves many users on smaller systems or lacking privilege without recourse. A more basic and accessible method to migrate SSH keys is sorely lacking.

        Below is presented an SSH key rotation script written in nothing more than the POSIX shell.

        There is palpable danger in the misuse of such a tool. Many administrators control inaccessible systems that entail massive inconvenience in a loss of control. Demonstrated here are rotation schemes of increasing risk, for any holder of a key to choose, to their own tolerance. Hopefully, I have not made grave mistakes in the design.

        The most conservative users of this approach should tread with extreme caution, test carefully, and ensure alternate means of access prior to any deployment. As the author, I have no desire to assume any responsibility for a failed rotation, and its consequences. I especially disavow the “wipe” option below to remove entries from authorized_keys. It is presented as commentary, not working code.

        In any case, we foolishly rush in where the more prudent fear to tread.

      • Replicating Slow Latency on Linux — Virtualization Review

        I recently found that, in order to demonstrate some monitoring software, I needed to replicate a slow network that was being used in a VDI environment. Using the Linux Traffic Control (tc) command, which is found on most modern Linux systems, I was able to easily accomplish this. I used it on a virtual machine (VM), but I have also used it on physical systems with the same results.

        In two previous articles, I showed you how I installed Ubuntu on older equipment and on a virtual machine (VM), and then how I installed the VMware Horizon Client on it and was able to use it to connect to a Horizon desktop. I decided to focus on this topic as I have found that, due to the current chip shortage, many people are having to repurpose older systems because they simply cannot find new devices to use to attach to remote desktops.

        I logged into my Linux system and was able to launch the Horizon Client and connect to a Horizon desktop without any issues.

      • Best Tools to Install on Fresh Linux Mint Installation [Ed: Horrible advice; lots of spyware, DRM, and proprietary software, even Microsoft's; this is the way to ruin the whole OS]

        So, you have just installed a fresh copy of Linux Mint 20 and are ready to make the most of your new system. How do you move forward?

        In this guide, we will highlight some of the useful tools to consider installing which will enhance your user experience in Linux Mint.

        Note that this is not a comprehensive list of the tools you need to install, but a collection of some of the most popular tools that will considerably enhance your experience.

      • Anyone can draw on Linux with Inkscape | Opensource.com

        Inkscape is an illustration application, and it works in vectors to ensure limitless resolution for your drawings. Vector illustration is different from freehand illustration. If you’re used to drawing freehand, vectors may at first feel restrictive, but once you get used to how vectors get created and how you can use them to construct an image, it’s a powerful way to build visuals of all sorts. And if you’re not much of an illustrator at all, you might just find that the hands-off approach of vectors means you can draw in Inkscape even though you can’t draw with pen and paper.

      • EasyOS: All downloads now to /files folder

        As you can see in the photo in above link, there is /files, with sub-directories such as ‘downloads’, ‘media’, etc. Folder /files is no longer a symlink. Up to the current release of EasyOS, /files is a symlink to the actual /files folder at /mnt/wkg/files, that is, on the working-partition.

      • EasyOS: File /etc/fstab is now empty

        For a very long time I have considered this file to be deprecated. The time has now come to retire that file completely.

      • Install WebVirtCloud KVM Management on CentOS 8 – Unixcop the Unix / Linux the admins deams

        WebVirtCloud the (virtualization web interface for admins and users).

        So, WebVirtCloud is a virtualization web interface for admins and users.It can delegate Virtual Machine’s to users. A noVNC viewer presents a full graphical console to the guest domain. KVM is currently the only hypervisor supported.

      • How to install Python pip 21 on Ubuntu 21.10 – NextGenTips

        Pip is a package management system written in Python and is used to install and manage software packages. It connects to an online repository of public packages called the Python Package Index. It can also be configured to connect to other package repositories.

        Usually, Pip is automatically installed while working in a virtual environment, and also if you are using Python that has not been modified by the redistributor to remove ensure pip.

        Pip is recommended tool for installing Python packages. For you to start using pip, you need to have python installed on your system.

      • How To Install Podman on AlmaLinux 8 – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Podman on AlmaLinux 8. For those of you who didn’t know, Podman is a daemon-less container engine for developing, managing, and running OCI Containers on your Linux System. Containers can either be run as root or in rootless mode. Podman provides a Docker-compatible command-line front end that can simply alias the Docker CLI.

        This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you through the step-by-step installation of the Podman container on an AlmaLinux 8. You can follow the same instructions for CentOS and Rocky Linux.

      • How to mirror your Android device on Linux, macOS and Windows – TechRepublic

        Sometimes it’s nice when those devices can be consolidated. So, when I discovered a little tool called scrcpy, I was thrilled. Why? Because I could easily mirror my Android phone on my desktop and interact with it without having to always be picking up the device.

        Now, there are a couple of caveats to this. I can’t unlock my Pixel 6 phone from the desktop (because it requires a fingerprint). Nor can I take calls from the desktop. I can answer calls from the mirrored version of Android, but I have to immediately switch to speakerphone or pick up the device to actually speak to the caller. Unless said caller is spam … then I can just block ‘em from within the mirrored window (which I always do).

    • Games

      • Bridging Game Worlds With The ‘Impossible’ Pokémon Trade | Hackaday

        Transferring hard-earned Pokémon out of the second generation GameBoy game worlds into the ‘Advance Era’ cartridges (and vice versa) has never been officially supported by Nintendo, however [Goppier] has made these illicit trades slightly easier for budding Pokémon trainers by way of a custom PCB and a healthy dose of reverse engineering.

        Changes to the data structure between Generation II on the original GameBoy (Pokémon Gold, Silver and Crystal) and Generation III on the GameBoy Advance (Pokémon Ruby, Sapphire, FireRed, LeafGreen and Emerald) meant that trades between these cartridges was never a possibility – at least not through any legitimate means. In contrast, Pokémon trades are possible between the first and second generation games, as well as from Generation III and beyond, leaving the leap from Gen II to Gen III as an obvious missing link.

      • Punk Wars, Axis & Allies 1942 Online, Melvor Idle, Unpacking … – itsfoss.net

        One more to liven up the December bridge, and that is that there is nothing more entertaining to pass the time than to play a game and that is partly Linux Play, our premiere native games section for Linux with this, its monthly edition with the best that came out in November. Including construction and survival title and Punk wars, the classic war strategy of Axis & Allies 1942 Online, the RPG hardcore Melvor idle… And a lot more, without forgetting the free title with which we close the list and that this time transfers the television phenomenon of The Squid Game to PC controls under the name of Crab Game. Linux Play!

      • NeuroNet: Mendax Proxy gets some first footage, mixing elements of Your Grace & Reigns | GamingOnLinux

        NeuroNet: Mendax Proxy is an upcoming adventure that the developer claims blends together elements found in the likes of Your Grace, Reigns and Astrologaster into something new.

        Set to launch in 2022, NeuroNet sees you take control of an AI charged with managing a city called Catena. You will need to make quick-fire decisions that impact the future and the prosperity of its citizens, with every choice and decision taken having a lasting effect on those you meet and the city’s status. Lots of cyberpunk theming going on here with a new trailer giving a look into what to expect you can see below.

      • The Jackie and Daria update for Spiritfarer lands December 13 | GamingOnLinux

        The biggest update yet for the award-winning Spiritfarer lands on December 13, with plenty of new content. Spiritfarer is a casual thoughtful experience about being a ferrymaster for the deceased. You build up a boat, explore and care for various spirits before letting them go.

        With the new update coming the developer said it is the biggest yet with a new island to explore, there’s two new spirits to make friends with and a hospital to bring back from the brink. On top of that there’s also some sort of new platforming event and new upgrades for your ferry.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Plasma Mobile Gear 21.12 Released for Linux Phones with ModemManager, Improved Apps

          Packing three months worth of improvements since the Plasma Mobile Gear 21.08 update, Plasma Mobile Gear 21.12 is the first release of the software suite to switch its telephony stack from oFono to ModemManager.

          As you may know, ModemManager integrates with the NetworkManager network management daemon, which is currently being used by many popular GNU/Linux distributions for network connectivity of all sorts, including but not limited to Wi-Fi, wired and mobile connections, as well as for telephony functions.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Enable This Cool 3D Cube Desktop Effect on Ubuntu 21.10

          Now the 3D cube effect is back thanks to Simon Schneegans (of GNOME Pie/Fly Pie fame). Much like the original Compiz cube it’s inspired by, this marvellous re-make isn’t masquerading under any pretence. The GitHub project description even states: “indulge in nostalgia with useless 3D effects”.

          Fancy giving it a go?

          This 3D Cube GNOME extension requires GNOME 40 or above. So to use the Desktop Cube GNOME extension on Ubuntu you need to be using Ubuntu 21.10 or later (or a Linux distribution with GNOME 40 or above).

          The add-on also requires the default horizontal workspace switcher to be present, so be sure to disable any workspace-altering extensions prior to this one.

    • Distributions

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Fedora 36 Establishing ELN-Extras, Fedora 37 To Retire ARMv7 – Phoronix

          he Fedora Engineering and Steering Committee (FESCo) has signed off on more feature work for the current Fedora 36 cycle as well as Fedora 37 due out toward the end of next year.

          Arguably most interesting from the latest batch of approved changes is Fedora 36 establishing ELN-Extras. ELN as “Enterprise Linux Next” continues going strong with the various Fedora / Red Hat / CentOS organizational changes. ELN-Extras now is a new build target similar to ELN but closer in function to Extra Packages for Enterprise Linux (EPEL). ELN-Extras will be the target for preparing and maintaining packages that are planned for EPEL N+1 while ELN is still targeting RHEL N+1.

        • [Solved] Error rpmdb damaged header in Fedora, RHEL – OSTechNix

          Today I tried to update all packages with sudo dnf –refresh upgrade command in my Fedora 35 desktop. During the package update, I encountered with this issue – error: rpmdb: damaged header #5904 retrieved — skipping.

          I kept getting this error a lot. I couldn’t update the Fedora system. After a couple web searches, I found that the RPM database is corrupted for some reason.

          If you ever stuck into a situation like mine, you can easily solve the “rpmdb damaged header” error by rebuilding the RPM database as shown in the following steps.

        • Visualize your Apache Kafka Streams using the Quarkus Dev UI

          This article shows how you can visualize Apache Kafka Streams with reactive applications using the Dev UI in Quarkus. Quarkus, a Java framework, provides an extension to utilize the Kafka Streams API and also lets you implement stream processing applications based directly on Kafka.

        • Digital transformation: 4 strategies to set the right goals

          Digital transformation initiatives should be comprehensive and defined by a vision that leads organizations toward more efficient, data-driven, and goal-oriented performance. Digital transformation requires a clear end goal as well as detailed benchmarks to help lead teams in the right direction. The more specific and considered the goals and benchmarks, the more likely the organization is to see progress and ultimate success.

          As your organization establishes its digital transformation vision, the most important question may be whether it is goal-oriented or outcome-oriented. While a goal-based perspective considers the big picture and long-term priorities, focusing on outcomes will prioritize steady progress and finding opportunities for incremental improvement on existing processes. The outcomes of that progress – cost savings or reduced workload, for example – help to build buy-in and momentum for the broader transformation.

          Regardless of your overall approach, it’s important to use frequent, consistent measurements to ensure that work is moving forward. Regular measurement helps you identify your most successful efforts, which you can then replicate in other areas of the business. It’s also essential to not only review your goals regularly but also refine them. Benchmarks that made sense in January may no longer be ambitious enough after review in July.

        • Automation strategy: 6 key elements

          IT automation often occurs organically – a sysadmin writing Bash scripts to simplify redundant tasks in their day-to-day job, for example. This kind of incremental automation doesn’t preclude big-picture vision and planning, however.

          Automation strategies should be incremental. As recently noted by Red Hat technology evangelist Gordon Haff, incremental progress is part of the attraction. It’s in automation’s DNA.

          “This is automation through the lens of traditional system admins and even site reliability engineers in many cases,” Haff says. “Do something manually more than once and automate it so that you don’t have to, ever again.”

          This is a perfectly reasonable progression that can also be aligned with a higher-level strategy.

        • Tech careers: Hiring tips for candidates and leaders | The Enterprisers Project

          Tech careers are hotter than ever these days, but candidates still need to stand out in this competitive field. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, technology-related jobs will grow much faster than jobs in most other fields over the next decade. So, what does an ideal candidate look like at a startup or a large established corporation?

        • AS400 – Russell Coker

          The IBM i operating system on the AS/400 is a system that runs on PPC for “midrange” systems. I did a bit of reading about it after seeing an AS/400 on ebay for $300, if I had a lot more spare time and energy I might have put in a bid for that if it didn’t look like it had been left out in the rain. It seems that AS/400 is not dead, there are cloud services available, here’s one that provides a VM with 2GM of RAM for “only EUR 251 monthly” [1], wow. I’m not qualified to comment on whether that’s good value, but I think it’s worth noting that a Linux VM running an AMD64 CPU with similar storage and the same RAM can be expected to cost about $10 per month.

        • Single Node OKD (OpenShift)

          Everytime I get to use Red Hat’s Open Shift I think to myself: “I should use OpenShift more”. It is a really great tool not just for high availability clusters but for general software development also. Its Web interface is super intuitive and nice to use, and you can provision all sorts of stuff in minutes. And everything is open source. Its really great.

          So naturally I decided to run it locally, especially after the news that starting from version 4.8 you can use it on single node architecture also. I decided to run it virtualized in libvirt so I can destroy it if I no longer needed. Hooray!

        • Fedora on NVIDIA Jetson Xavier – nullr0ute’s blog

          The last two years or so I’ve been working with NVIDIA on general distro support including UEFI and ACPI for their Jetson Xavier platforms. Their Xavier platform, except a few quirks, are mostly SystemReady-ES compliant, so having a SBBR compliant firmware goes quite some way to having a widely available, relatively affordable, platform that “just works” for the arm ecosystem. I was very excited to finally have NVIDIA finally release the first version in March this year. This firmware is a standard UEFI firmware based on the open source TianoCore/EDK2 reference firmware, it allows booting in either ACPI or Device-Tree mode and supports all the basic things needed. The ACPI mode is not as fully featured as the Device-Tree mode as yet. In ACPI you get compute (cpu/memory/virt etc), PCIe, USB, network, which is just fine if you’re just looking for standard server or for testing a SystemReady system but there’s no display or accelerator support as yet. The Device-Tree mode is more feature full but both work pretty well with upstream kernels and NVIDIA are improving and upstreaming more things regularly.

          For flashing with the latest Fedora releases you’ll want the Linux for Tegra (L4T) R32.6.1 release and the latest UEFI firmware (1.1.2 ATM). The R32.6.1 release fixes issues with python3.9 and later so you’ll need that for Fedora. The following will extract everything into a directory called Linux_for_Tegra. Note the release for Xavier is different to the L4T for the TX1/TX2 series of devices such as the nano.

        • An introduction to Red Hat Insights for Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform

          Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform is a framework for building and operating IT automation at scale. The platform includes many of the tools you’ll need to implement automation across your organization, allowing you to simplify and centralize control of your infrastructure.

          Ansible Automation Platform includes a visual dashboard, role-based access control (RBAC) and automation tools, including Red Hat Insights for Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform.

        • 20 years of Red Hat Product Security: The rise of branded exploits (Part 2)

          In part 1 of this story we traced the history of Red Hat Product Security from its inception in 2001 through to its shift into the Customer Experience and Engagement (CEE) team in 2013.

          But that was just the beginning…security was always important, of course, but it was about to become front-page news.

        • CentOS Community Newsletter: December 2021

          As we approach the end of 2021, I wanted to thank all of you who have worked so hard this year towards the betterment of the project. This year we’ve made governance more transparent, welcomed several new SIGs, made big strides in consolidating infrastructure with Fedora where it made sense, and begun to return to in-person events. We could not have done this without the passion and hard work of the project community. Thank you.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Pop!_OS is Moving PPA Repositories to its Own System: Is System76 Considering to Switch its Ubuntu Base? – It’s FOSS News

          Pop!_OS has been making news for some of its recent development decisions.

          For instance, they introduced a customized GNOME-based desktop environment experience with COSMIC. Moving forward, they decided to create their desktop environment from scratch based on Rust.

          Overall, Pop!_OS has been putting a lot of effort into providing a unique desktop experience keeping all the essential factors in mind like user-friendliness, resource efficiency, and security.

          Now, in a tweet, a Pop!_OS user noticed that System76 had replaced the PPA repositories with its self-hosted APT system in Pop!_OS 21.10 beta, instead of Canonical’s launchpad.

          And, to that, System76’s Principal Engineer, Jeremy Soller, responded with a confirmation sharing more details.

        • Freespire 8.0 Comes Tightly Integrated with Google Services

          The developers behind Freespire 8.0 have decided to put strong focus and take full advantage on Google’s services with this release.

          For those of you unfamiliar with what Freespire is, let’s start with some history. Freespire started off under the name Lindows twenty years ago as an easy-to-use Linux-based operating system with great Wine integration and easy application support, but then changed to Linspire following a Microsoft lawsuit.

          Nowadays, Freespire is a desktop oriented Ubuntu-based Linux distro powered by Xfce. It’s the open source equivalent of Linspire, but containing mostly FOSS components.

          Freespire is sponsored by Linspire, a commercial, desktop-oriented Linux distrio based on Debian and Ubuntu and owned by PC/OpenSystems LLC.

          A couple of days ago the Freespire development team announced the release of Freespire 8.0, so let’s take a brief look at it.

    • Devices/Embedded

      • Open Hardware/Modding

        • Retro Reproduction Captures The Style Of The Sol-20 | Hackaday

          In the early years of the computer revolution, a machine like the Sol-20 really stood out. Where most hobbyist machines had front panels that bristled with toggle switches and LEDs, the Sol-20 was a sleek, all-in-one that looked like an electric typewriter in a walnut-trimmed box. Unfortunately, it was also quite expensive, so not that many were sold. This makes them hard enough to find 40 years later that building his own reproduction Sol-20 is about the only way for [Michael Gardi] to have one of his own.

        • Imagination Catapults into RISC-V

          Imagination unveiled four RISC-V-based “Catapult” CPU cores: two 32-bit MCU cores and two 64-bit designs that run Linux, including an automotive functional safety core.

          The big news on the first day of the RISC-V Summit in San Francisco was the announcement from Imagination Technologies that it was launching four RISC-V core designs under a Catapult brand. This summer, Imagination revealed it was building RISC-V CPU cores, and it has now announced four Catapult CPU designs.

          The in-order cores include two 32-bit MCU-like cores and two 64-bit models that run Linux. The UK-based company refers to the four core categories as “dynamic microcontrollers; real-time embedded CPUs; high-performance application CPUs; and functionally safe automotive CPUs.”

        • Adding Optical Audio to the Raspberry Pi with One Chip

          In the home theater space most people would tell you the age of optical audio, known officially as TOSLINK, is over. While at one time they were the standard for surround sound systems, the fiber cables with their glowing red tips have now been largely supplanted by the all-in-one capabilities of HDMI on new TVs and audio receivers. But of course, that doesn’t mean all that TOSLINK-compatible hardware that’s in the field simply disappears.

          If you’re looking to connect a Raspberry Pi to the optical port of your AV system, [Nick Sayer] has you covered. His “TOSLINK Transceiver Hat” utilizes a WM8804 chip from Cirrus Logic to go from the Pi’s I2S audio output to S/PDIF. From there the signal goes directly into the TOSLINK input and output modules, which have the appropriate fiber optic hardware and drivers built-in. All you have to do from a software standpoint is enable a boot overlay intended for a digital-to-analog converter (DAC) from HiFiBerry.

        • Guitar Pickguard Adds MIDI Capabilities

          For a standard that has been in use since the 1980s, MIDI is still one of the most dominant forces on the musical scene even today. It’s fast, flexible, and offers a standard recognized industry-wide over many different types of electronic instruments. Even things which aren’t instruments can be turned into musical devices like the infamous banana keyboard via the magic of MIDI, and it also allows augmentation of standard instruments with other capabilities like this guitar with a MIDI interface built into the pick guard.

          [Ezra] is the creator of this unique musical instrument which adds quite a few capabilities to his guitar. The setup is fairly straightforward: twelve wires run to the pick guard which are set up as capacitive sensors and correspond with a note on the chromatic scale. Instead of using touchpads, using wires allows him to bend away the “notes” that he doesn’t need for any particular piece of music. The wires are tied back to an Adafruit Feather 32u4 microcontroller behind the neck of the guitar which also has a few selectors for changing the way that the device creates tones. He can set the interface to emit single notes or continuously play notes, change the style, can change their octave, and plenty of other features as well.

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Firefox 96 Enters Public Beta Testing with More Performance and Security Improvements

            Firefox 96 isn’t a major update, but it’s the first release of the open-source web browser in 2022 and it introduces several performance and security improvements to make your browsing experience more enjoyable, more reliable, and much safer.

            For example, the upcoming Firefox release significantly reduces the main thread load, significantly improves noise-suppression and auto-gain-control, slightly improves echo-cancellation, and enforces the Cookie Policy: Same-Site=lax option by default to protect users against Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF) attacks.

          • Firefox 95 Released! Available in Microsoft Store & New Sanboxing Technology
          • Firefox 95.0, See All New Features, Updates and Fixes

            RLBox — a new technology that hardens Firefox against potential security vulnerabilities in third-party libraries — is now enabled on all platforms.

            We’ve reduced CPU usage on macOS in Firefox and WindowServer during event processing.

            You can now move the Picture-in-Picture toggle button to the opposite side of the video. Simply look for the new context menu option Move Picture-in-Picture Toggle to Left (Right) Side.

          • Firefox 95.0 and Firefox ESR 91.4.0

            Firefox 95.0 is now available. With this version the RLBox sandboxing technology is enabled on all platforms, as is the Site Isolation security architecture, which protects against side-channel attacks.

          • Firefox ESR 91.4.0
      • SaaS/Back End/Databases

        • MySQL a ‘pretty poor database’ says departing Oracle engineer

          You’ve collected your leaving card, novelty presents, and perhaps a bottle of wine – what’s next on the list for the departing developer? For one, it’s a blog rubbishing the technology he’s been working on for five years.

          That was the choice of Steinar Gunderson, a former principal software engineer at Oracle and member of the MySQL optimiser team.

          In an online missive, the engineer, who has now taken up a role in Google’s Chrome team, left no reader in doubt of his views on MySQL.

          With the caveat that his reasons for leaving were complex, he went on to say: “MySQL is a pretty poor database, and you should strongly consider using Postgres instead.

          “Coming to MySQL was like stepping into a parallel universe, where there were lots of people genuinely believing that MySQL was a state-of-the-art product.”

        • PostgreSQL: MySQL-to-PostgreSQL v5.5 has been released

          New version of MySQL-to-PostgreSQL, a program to migrate MySQL, MariaDB or Percona databases to PostgreSQL, has been released.

        • PostgreSQL: check_pgbackrest 2.2 has been released

          check_pgbackrest is designed to monitor pgBackRest backups from Nagios, relying on the status information given by the info command.

          It allows to monitor the backups retention and the consistency of the archived WAL segments.

        • Learn more about distributed databases with ShardingSphere

          Apache ShardingSphere is an open source distributed database, plus an ecosystem users and developers need for their database to provide a customized and cloud-native experience. In the three years since it joined the Apache Foundation, the ShardingSphere core team has worked hard with the community to create an open source, robust, and distributed database and a supporting ecosystem.

          ShardingSphere doesn’t quite fit into the usual industry mold of a simple distributed database middleware solution. ShardingSphere recreates the distributed pluggable system, enabling actual user implementation scenarios to thrive and contributing valuable solutions to the community and the database industry.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • Winners in the Month of LibreOffice, November 2021!

          At the start of November, we revved up a new Month of LibreOffice, celebrating community contributions all across the project. We do these every six months – so how many people got sticker packs this time? Check it out…

      • Programming/Development

        • Rblpapi 0.3.12: Fixes and Updates

          The Rblp team is happy to announce a new version 0.3.12 of Rblpapi which just arrived at CRAN. Rblpapi provides a direct interface between R and the Bloomberg Terminal via the C++ API provided by Bloomberg (but note that a valid Bloomberg license and installation is required).

          This is the twelveth release since the package first appeared on CRAN in 2016. Changes are detailed below and include both extensions to functionality, actual bug fixes and changes to the package setup. Special thanks goes to Michael Kerber, Yihui Xie and Kai Lin for contributing pull requests!

        • LLVM Now Has “Official” Support For Targeting NEC’s Vector Engine (VE) – Phoronix

          The LLVM compiler infrastructure supports not only a growing number of CPU architectures but continues to lead when it comes to its support for different accelerators. Back in 2019 NEC was working to upstream their SX-Aurora VE “Vector Engine” Accelerator and now as of this week that target is considered officially supported upstream.

          NEC originally launched the SX-Aurora Vector Engine (VE) back in 2018 as a PCI Express accelerator card and supporting up to eight vector processors per server. The NEC SX-Aurora has its own architecture for the “VE” and is backed by HBM2 memory. The current VE processor is rated for 1.53 TB/s of memory bandwidth and a double precision peak performance of 3.07 TFLOPS or 4.91 single precision TFLOPS.

        • 5 Excellent Free Books to Learn CSS – LinuxLinks

          Web pages are built with HTML, which specifies the content of a page. CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) is a separate language which specifies a page’s appearance.

          CSS code is made of static rules. Each rule takes one or more selectors and gives specific values to a number of visual properties. Those properties are then applied to the page elements indicated by the selectors.

          Here’s our recommended books to learn CSS.

        • Perl/Raku

          • Day 7: Neural Nets in Raku (Part 1) – Raku Advent Calendar

            Thinky the Elf was sitting in his office, it had been a closet but he’d been given it as his office after the great baked beans incident. It wasn’t his fault. He was right that feeding the reindeer beans would give them a jet boost but Santa had not been all that happy about it. And his tendency to stare of into space while suddenly having a thought wasn’t great while working on the shop floor meant it was safer to put him out of the way to do some thinking.

            Recently he’d been thinking about how to sort children into naughty or nice. This was Santa’s big job all year and Thinky thought that there must be a way to simplify it, he’d spent some time watching videos on YouTube and there was one that gave a brilliant description of Neural Networks (jump to 20 minutes for that bit but it’s an interesting video). As Thinky watched this he couldn’t help thinking about Raku and how the connections between nodes felt like Supplies.

  • Leftovers

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Pseudo-Open Source

        • Security

          • A mysterious threat actor is running hundreds of malicious Tor relays

            Since at least 2017, a mysterious threat actor has run thousands of malicious servers in entry, middle, and exit positions of the Tor network in what a security researcher has described as an attempt to deanonymize Tor users.

            Tracked as KAX17, the threat actor ran at its peak more than 900 malicious servers part of the Tor network, which typically tends to hover around a daily total of up to 9,000-10,000.

            Some of these servers work as entry points (guards), others as middle relays, and others as exit points from the Tor network.

            Their role is to encrypt and anonymize user traffic as it enters and leaves the Tor network, creating a giant mesh of proxy servers that bounce connections between each other and provide the much-needed privacy that Tor users come for.

            Servers added to the Tor network typically must have contact information included in their setup, such as an email address, so Tor network administrators and law enforcement can contact server operators in the case of a misconfiguration or file an abuse report.

          • Someone Is Running Lots of Tor Relays

            Since 2017, someone is running about a thousand — 10% of the total — Tor servers in an attempt to deanonymize the network…

          • Security updates for Tuesday [LWN.net]

            Security updates have been issued by CentOS (nss), Debian (roundcube and runc), openSUSE (aaa_base, brotli, clamav, glib-networking, gmp, go1.16, hiredis, kernel, mozilla-nss, nodejs12, nodejs14, openexr, openssh, php7, python-Babel, ruby2.5, speex, wireshark, and xen), Oracle (kernel and nss), Red Hat (kpatch-patch, nss, rpm, and thunderbird), SUSE (brotli, clamav, glib-networking, gmp, kernel, mariadb, mozilla-nss, nodejs12, nodejs14, openssh, php7, python-Babel, and wireshark), and Ubuntu (busybox, mariadb-10.3, mariadb-10.5, python-django, and samba).

          • Hitachi Energy RTU500 OpenLDAP | CISA

            All information products included in https://us-cert.cisa.gov/ics are provided “as is” for informational purposes only. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) does not provide any warranties of any kind regarding any information contained within. DHS does not endorse any commercial product or service, referenced in this product or otherwise. Further dissemination of this product is governed by the Traffic Light Protocol (TLP) marking in the header. For more information about TLP, see https://us-cert.cisa.gov/tlp/.

          • Hitachi Energy XMC20 and FOX61x | CISA

            All information products included in https://us-cert.cisa.gov/ics are provided “as is” for informational purposes only. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) does not provide any warranties of any kind regarding any information contained within. DHS does not endorse any commercial product or service, referenced in this product or otherwise. Further dissemination of this product is governed by the Traffic Light Protocol (TLP) marking in the header. For more information about TLP, see https://us-cert.cisa.gov/tlp/.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Digital Transparency: A Right to Information Report for November 2021

        Since our last report for the month of November, IFF has filed 37 RTI requests and 1 first appeal. Here, we give you an overview of the requests filed and an analysis of the responses we have received from the different public authorities. This report highlights why demanding transparency and accountability from Government authorities is one of the key elements in our fight to protect digital rights.

        [...]

        The Right to Information (RTI) Act is thus one of the most important tools at the disposal of the public to engage with, and demand transparency and accountability from, the Government. We use the Act to routinely extract information about various ongoing policies and projects that the Government launches. In the month of November, we have filed 37 RTI requests and 1 First Appeal electronically with authorities at the Central level as well as through speed posts with relevant authorities at the States’ levels, concerning the various issues on which we engage with the Government.

        Note: The number of RTI requests are calculated from the date of the previous report. While we try to make this a monthly report, some RTI requests from the previous month that were filed after that month’s report may be included in the present report.

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • Cracking the Spotify Code

        Spotify offers a little picture that, when scanned, opens almost anything searchable with Spotify. Several lines are centered on the Spotify logo with eight different heights, storing information in octal. Many visual encoding schemes encode some URI (Uniform Resource Identifier) that provides a unique identifier for that specific song, album, or artist when decoded. Since many URIs on Spotify are pretty long (one example being spotify :show:3NRV0mhZa8xeRT0EyLPaIp which clocks in at 218 bits), some mechanism is needed to compress the URIs down to something more manageable. Enter the media reference, a short sequence encoding a specific URI, generally under 40 bits. The reference is just a lookup in a database that Spotify maintains, so it requires a network connection to resolve. The actual encoding scheme from media reference to the values in the bars is quite complex involving CRC, convolution, and puncturing. The CRC allows the program to check for correct decoding, and the convolution enables the program to have a small number of read errors while still having an accurate result. Puncturing is just removing bits to reduce the numbers encoded, relying on convolution to fill in the holes.

    • Monopolies

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DecorWhat Else is New


  1. [Meme] EPO: Pursuing an Eastern and Western District of Europe (for Patent Trolls and Software Patents)

    With the EPO so flagrantly lying and paying for misinformation maybe we should expect Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos to have delusions of grandeur… such as presiding over the Eastern and Western District of Europe, just like Mr. Gilstrap and Mr. Albright (political appointment by Donald Trump, ushering in “the swamp”)



  2. Gemini at 2,000: 86% of Capsules Use Self-Signed Certificate, Just Like the Techrights Web Site (WWW)

    As shown in the charts above (updated an hour ago), the relative share of ‘Linux’ Foundation (LE/LF; same thing, same office) in the capsules’ certificates has decreased over time; more and more (in terms of proportion) capsules choose to sign their own certificate/s; the concept of ‘fake security’ (centralisation and consolidation) should be rejected universally because it leaves nobody safe except plutocrats



  3. [Meme] UPC: Many Lies as Headlines, Almost Exclusively in Publishers Sponsored by EPO and Team UPC to Produce Fake News (Lobbying Through Misinformation)

    Lest we forget that EPO dictators, like Pinky and the Brainless Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos, have long littered the EPO's official Web site as well as publishers not directly connected to the EPO (but funded by it) with disinformation about the UPC



  4. EPO as the 'Ministry of Truth' of Team UPC and Special Interests

    The 'Ministry of Truth' of the patent world is turning the EPO's Web site into a propaganda mill, a misinformation farm, and a laughing stock with stock photography



  5. Microsoft 'Delighted' by Windows 11 (Vista 11) Usage, Which is Only 1% Three Months After Official Launch and Six Months After Release Online

    Microsoft boosters such as Bogdan Popa and Mark Hachman work overtime on distraction from the failure Vista 11 has been (the share of Windows continues to fall relative to other platforms)



  6. Links 27/1/2022: Preinstalled GNU/Linux (Ubuntu) and Arch Linux-Powered Steam Deck 30 Days Away

    Links for the day



  7. Don't Fall for Microsoft's Spin That Says Everything is Not Secure and Cannot be Secured

    Microsoft keeps promoting the utterly false concept that everything is not secure and there's nothing that can be done about it (hence, might as well stay with Windows, whose insecurity is even intentional)



  8. At Long Last: 2,000 Known Gemini Capsules!

    The corporate media, looking to appease its major sponsors (such as Web/advertising giants), won't tell you that Gemini Protocol is rising very rapidly; its userbase and the tools available for users are rapidly improving while more and more groups, institutions and individuals set up their own capsule (equivalent of a Web site)



  9. Links 26/1/2022: Gamebuntu 1.0, PiGear Nano, and Much More

    Links for the day



  10. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, January 25, 2022

    IRC logs for Tuesday, January 25, 2022



  11. Links 26/1/2022: No ARM for Nvidia, End of EasyArch, and WordPress 5.9 is Out

    Links for the day



  12. Why the Unified Patent Court (UPC) is Still Just a Fantasy and the UPC's Fake News Mill Merely Discredits the Whole Patent 'Profession'

    Patents and science used to be connected; but now that the patent litigation 'sector' is hijacking patent offices (and even courts in places like Texas) it's trying to shove a Unified Patent Court (UPC) down the EU's throat under the disingenuous cover of "community" or "unity"



  13. Links 25/1/2022: Vulkan 1.3 Released, Kiwi TCMS 11.0, and antiX 19.5

    Links for the day



  14. Gemini Milestones and Growth (Almost 2,000 Known Gemini Servers Now, 39,000 Pages in Ours)

    The diaspora to Gemini Protocol or the transition to alternative 'webs' is underway; a linearly growing curve suggests that inertia/momentum is still there and we reap the benefits of early adoption of Gemini



  15. [Meme] Get Ready for Unified Patent Court (UPC) to be Taken to Court

    The Unified Patent Court (UPC) and Unitary Patent system that’s crafted to empower EPO thugs isn’t legal and isn’t constitutional either; even a thousand fake news 'articles' (deliberate misinformation or disinformation) cannot change the simple facts because CJEU isn’t “trial by media”



  16. The EPO Needs High-Calibre Examiners, Not Politicians Who Pretend to Understand Patents and Science

    Examiners are meant to obstruct fake patents or reject meritless patent applications; why is it that working conditions deteriorate for those who are intellectually equipped to do the job?



  17. Free Software is Greener

    Software Freedom is the only way to properly tackle environmental perils through reuse and recycling; the mainstream media never talks about it because it wants people to "consume" more and more products



  18. Links 25/1/2022: Git 2.35 and New openSUSE Hardware

    Links for the day



  19. IRC Proceedings: Monday, January 24, 2022

    IRC logs for Monday, January 24, 2022



  20. Links 25/1/2022: GPL Settlement With Patrick McHardy, Godot 4.0 Alpha 1, and DXVK 1.9.4 Released

    Links for the day



  21. Proprietary Software is Pollution

    "My daughter asked me about why are we throwing away some bits of technology," Dr. Andy Farnell says. "This is my attempt to put into words for "ordinary" people what I tried to explain to a 6 year old."



  22. Microsoft GitHub Exposé — Part XV — Cover-Up and Defamation

    Defamation of one’s victims might be another offence to add to the long list of offences committed by Microsoft’s Chief Architect of GitHub Copilot, Balabhadra (Alex) Graveley; attempting to discredit the police report is a new low and can get Mr. Graveley even deeper in trouble (Microsoft protecting him only makes matters worse)



  23. [Meme] Alexander Ramsay and Team UPC Inciting Politicians to Break the Law and Violate Constitutions, Based on Misinformation, Fake News, and Deliberate Lies Wrapped up as 'Studies'

    The EPO‘s law-breaking leadership (Benoît Battistelli, António Campinos and their corrupt cronies), helped by liars who don't enjoy diplomatic immunity, are cooperating to undermine courts across the EU, in effect replacing them with EPO puppets who are patent maximalists (Europe’s equivalents of James Rodney Gilstrap and Alan D Albright, a Donald Trump appointee, in the Eastern and Western Districts of Texas, respectively)



  24. Has the Administrative Council Belatedly Realised What Its Job in the European Patent Organisation Really Is?

    The "Mafia" which took over the EPO (the EPO's own workers call it "Mafia") isn't getting its way with a proposal, so it's preventing the states from even voting on it!



  25. [Meme] Team UPC is Celebrating a Pyrrhic Victory

    Pyrrhic victory best describes what's happening at the moment (it’s a lobbying tactic, faking/staging things to help false prophecies be fulfilled, based on hopes and wishes alone), for faking something without bothering to explain the legal basis is going to lead to further escalations and complaints (already impending)



  26. Links 24/1/2022: Scribus 1.5.8 and LXLE Reviewed

    Links for the day



  27. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, January 23, 2022

    IRC logs for Sunday, January 23, 2022



  28. [Meme] Team UPC Congratulating Itself

    The barrage of fake news and misinformation about the UPC deliberately leaves out all the obvious and very important facts; even the EPO‘s António Campinos and Breton (Benoît Battistelli‘s buddy) participated in the lying



  29. Links 24/1/2022: pgBadger 11.7 Released, Catch-up With Patents

    Links for the day



  30. The Demonisation and Stereotyping of Coders Not Working for Big Corporations (or 'The System')

    The war on encrypted communication (or secure communications) carries on despite a lack of evidence that encryption stands in the way of crime investigations (most criminals use none of it)


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