Serial GPL Violators Fancy Being Called ‘Open Source’ and the Linux Foundation is Happy to Oblige

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, GPL, VMware at 5:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Welcome to the PR universe; Proprietary software is “open source” now…

Summary: Everything we were told is wrong! Proprietary software is apparently open, the Open Source community loves proprietary software and violating Open Source licences by exploiting the code (without meeting the most basic obligations) doesn’t really matter

THE “OPENWASHING” epidemic is spreading. Quite the pandemic!

Microsoft is far from the sole culprit when it comes to openwashing. That much should be obvious and our weekly openwashing reports barely mention Microsoft. Today we’d like to focus on VMware.

“Microsoft is far from the sole culprit when it comes to openwashing.”There has been an extraordinary effort lately to label malicious VMware software “open”. There’s even an openwashing piece [1] with the CEO in a site connected to the Linux Foundation and the author isn’t joking (only coming across as somewhat ignorant if not worse — corruptible). What is this inane PR campaign? It’s like saying that "Open Source loves Microsoft". Lies are the business model now. “Perception management” is what they sometimes call it in the PR industry which the Foundation is based upon.

The openwashing of VMware went up a gear over the past few days because of an event of theirs. Check out Packt Hub’s piece about Pivotal. They’re openwashing their proprietary software by separating just one component out. “Pivotal and Heroku teamed up to create Cloud Native Buildpacks for Kubernetes,” it says. “Cloud-Native Buildpacks turn source code into production-ready Docker images that are OCI image compatible and is based around the popular Buildpack model. Yesterday, they open-sourced kpack, which is a set of experimental build service Kubernetes resource controllers.”

“VMware is, of course, a surveillance and back doors company (see Snowden leaks about EMC’s response and RSA’s revelations).”What about all the rest? Proprietary of course. Remember who’s buying Pivotal… VMware, with Dell Technologies as the main owner. Dell and VMware are joined by the EMC hip and we recently named Dell as a joint openwashing culprit (with AT&T). How about “Dell Adds Kubernetes Support to VxRail”? Dell wants us to believe that it likes Open Source merely because it exploits it. It’s like saying you love cows because you frequently eat beef.

VMware is, of course, a surveillance and back doors company (see Snowden leaks about EMC’s response and RSA’s revelations). Who would give it data? Or a whole database? Sadly, some would. And new reports reveal this thirst for data [1, 2] — a subject which no doubt won't bother the Foundation.

“They set up some group called “Open Source” something to pretend that because less than 1% of the staff has the term “open” somewhere in the job title it therefore means that the whole company is “open”.”Meanwhile we’ve noticed that Swapnil continues that gross, Linux Foundation-funded (i.e. VMware-funded) openwashing of a GPL violator and back doors giant. He’s doing another PR stunt with “Dirk Hohndel, VP and Chief Open Source Officer at VMware [who] talks about the importance of Open Source Program Office.”

They set up some group called “Open Source” something to pretend that because less than 1% of the staff has the term “open” somewhere in the job title it therefore means that the whole company is “open”. Sadly, Swapnil’s site (TFiR) is full of PR spam of proprietary software for proprietary software platforms (e.g. “Aqua Security Brings Aqua CSP to VMware Cloud Marketplace”). Swapnil has reduced himself to an openwasher of VMware who merely copies and edits press releases for proprietary software companies (compare to the original press release; it’s just embarrassing). It’s about Platform9, which in VMworld 2019 made its planned appearance. There’s lots and lots of openwashing coming out of this event, e.g. this from Mellanox Technologies.

Remember, people… VMware is open! The VMware-funded Linux Foundation tells us so. VMware says so too.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. VMware CEO Sets Lofty Open Source Goals

    VMware hasn’t traditionally had the best reputation in the open source community, VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger admits. In fact, he sums it up in one word: “Bad.”

Links 28/8/2019: MX Linux 19 Beta and Kodachi 6.2

Posted in News Roundup at 1:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop

      • Floppy Disks vs 21st Century Linux

        Recent headlines proclaim the imminent demise of support for the venerable floppy disk drive in the Linux kernel. My stomach churned and my heart gave a flutter or two. I have been in this business quite a few years and my collection of floppy disks goes back to 8-inchers. “Not again!” I thought.

        Fortunately, further research indicated that the headlines overstated the situation somewhat. All floppy support isn’t going away—just support for drives connected to dedicated floppy controllers. That USB drive you bought to bring diskette read/write capability to newer computers uses a different support mechanism and will continue to be supported—for now. All the same, it seemed like now was a good time to do something with all these diskettes.


        To be sure, many of these old diskettes contain data files of one sort or another and the files could be copied to a directory on my Linux system. Since I use Linux Mint KDE, I don’t even have to manually mount the diskettes. Mint will offer to do that for me when the diskette is inserted. Open my file manager and I can simply drag and drop files to their new locations.

      • Dell Announced the XPS 13 Developer Edition “7390”, Which Powered by 10th Generation

        Dell have announced that the new XPS 13 developer edition (7390) will soon be available in the US, Canada and Europe, according to Dell’s Barton George update.

      • Google Does A Good Job Sticking Close To Upstream For Their Linux Kernels On Chromebooks

        For those wondering how Google manages the Linux kernel sources they use for shipping on the dozens of different Chromebooks and maintaining the support for the respective cycles, Douglas Anderson of Google presented at last week’s Embedded Linux Conference in San Diego on the matter.

        Google tries to stick close to the upstream kernel as possible to reduce their maintenance burden as well as making it easier to upstream changes. Google engineers pick an LTS kernel on an annual basis that they use for all devices for the given year.

    • Server

      • IBM

        • Modernize with open source, containers, hybrid cloud, and more to achieve real-time payments

          Financial services institutions understand that today’s banking customers expect fast, easy-to-use services they can tap into anytime, anywhere, and are therefore accelerating adoption of digital technologies to enable a variety of new offerings. That often includes real-time payments that let businesses, consumers, and even governments send and accept funds that provide both availability to the recipient and instant confirmation to the sender.

          In many ways, the rapid adoption of mobile commerce and mobile banking has whet the appetite for real-time payments among consumers. PwC makes this case in its report, “Financial Services Technology 2020 and Beyond: Embracing disruption,” which discusses the evolution of the digital wallet. The report points to the benefits of digital wallets that give consumers “a fast, secure, low-cost method to use, store and send money over the Internet,” and notes that banks are pursuing greater control over mobile banking channels so they can “manage the security, user experience, and customer connectivity at the point of purchase.”

        • Of Ranchers and iPads: How British Columbia Replaced Paperwork with OpenShift and Aporeto

          The cattle rancher relies on a few trusty belongings out on the dusty trail: a good horse, strong coffee and a well-charged iPad with a backup battery. That last pairing of items may seem far astray from the rucksacks of those that herd “dogies,” steer and moo-cows, but in the north western region of Canada, there used to be even stranger things being carried in trail bags by cowherd.

          For many years, herds of cattle grazing on provincial government land had to be documented and accounted for by hand. That meant a mountain of paperwork for rangers upon their return to the ranch. Instead of a bag full of beans and rawhide, they were lugging around a phonebooks-worth of paperwork to account for just where their bovines had been.

          When Todd Wilson, product director of Enterprise DevOps for the Province of British Columbia, and his team began working with Red Hat OpenShift and Aporeto, they weren’t thinking about the cattle grazing on grasslands 1,000 miles north of them. Instead, they were looking for a way for the software developers inside the government of British Columbian to accelerate their velocity.

        • RHEL top tasks survey: help us put your needs at the center of our process

          What really matters to our users and what do they care about most? Answering these questions are essential first steps to ensure that we’re measuring user experience and improving our products the right way.

          Top tasks is a descriptive process that allows us to see which types of tasks are most important to the users and to guide future user research studies and development, ensuring that Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) can meet the needs of our users. The user research team at Red Hat is currently conducting a study to see what users see as the top tasks in RHEL and your input would be greatly appreciated! Please take a few minutes and complete our “Top tasks” survey.

        • Red Hat Launches OpenShift Service Mesh for hybrid cloud developers

          With Kubernetes becoming a hybrid cloud’s foundation, we need a way to manage the network connections between the containerized applications and decentralized services. That’s where Red Hat’s just-released Red Hat OpenShift Service Mesh comes in. With it, you can connect, observe, and simplify Kubernetes applications service-to-service communication on Red Hat OpenShift 4.

          A service mesh is the underlying networking architecture for Kubernetes containerized programs and microservices. It’s responsible for traffic management, policy enforcement, and service identity and security.

          Red Hat’s take, OpenShift Service Mesh, is built on the Istio, Kiali, and Jaeger projects and enhanced with Kubernetes Operators. Istio provides the service mesh itself, while Kiali gives Istio an observability console and Jaeger enables you to monitor and troubleshoot transactions in complex distributed systems. Put it all together, and developers get an efficient way to deploy and manage microservices-based application architectures, without the blood, sweat, and tears of implementing networking services from scratch.

        • Should sysadmins learn SQL?

          A couple of weeks ago, an interesting discussion popped up on the r/sysadmin subreddit:

          “Learning SQL – Yay or Nay? I’m looking into which area I should be studying next and I often see SQL mentioned on job listings. I’d love some advice if it is the correct thing for my current skill set, or If I should be focusing on different skills.”

          Without interjecting too much of my personal opinion, I thought the commentary was interesting and definitely interjected some considerations I hadn’t made before.

          While of course it’s helpful to know more about nearly any technology you might encounter in your day job, what to learn has to be a matter of priority. But I’ve always found querying and filtering to be critical: Whether you’re using SQL, regular expressions at the command line, or just some basic filters in a spreadsheet, it’s essential to know how to break down big piles of data into something digestible, or just find that one thing you need.

        • IBM Mainframe Is A Great Platform For Linux Developers | Elizabeth K Joseph

          In this episode of Let’s Talk, we sat down with Elizabeth Joseph – Developer Advocate at IBM to talk about Mainframe and why it’s a great platform for Linux developers.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • LHS Episode #298: JOTA Deep Dive and Feedback-o-Rama

        Hello and welcome to the 298th installment of Linux in the Ham Shack. In this episode, we take a close look at getting Scouts on the air with the JOTA and JOTI programs. It’s a great way to get involved in amateur radio, whether or not you’re into Scouting. Also, we address a bunch of feedback that’s been queuing up over the last few weeks. Lots of great information there as well. Hope everyone has a great week and, as always, thank you for downloading and listening!

      • Crystal Clear | Coder Radio 372

        We’re back and going crazy about Crystal, a statically typed language that’s as fast as C and as slick as ruby.

        Plus an update on Rails 6, Intel’s growing adoption of Rust, and the challenge of making breaking changes.

      • Linux Action News 120

        More tools to keep your Linux box and cloud servers secure this week, OpenPOWER responds to Risc-V competition, and we ponder the year-long open-source supply chain attacks.

        Plus our reaction to Android dropping dessert names, the Confidential Computing consortium, and more.

      • SMLR 31# Detroit Linux
      • GNU World Order 13×35
    • Kernel Space

      • The biggest events in Linux’s history

        Linus Torvalds and friends

        You can argue about Linux’s official birthday. Heck, even Linus Torvalds thinks there are four different dates in 1991 that might deserve the honor. Regardless, Linux turns twenty-eight. Here are some of its highlights and lowlights.

      • Linux Kernel Turns 28 Today

        August 25th is taken to be the official birthday of the Linux. What’s so special about 28? Well we managed to miss 21 and 25 so we are making sure we mark it this time around,

        August 25th 1991 was when Linus Torvalds, first announced that he was working on an operating system based on MINIX. At the time Torvalds, then 21, was studying at Finland’s University of Helsinki. He’d learned about MINIX from Andrew Tanenbaum’s book Operating Systems: Design and Implementation and at the beginning of 1991 bought a 386-based PC clone, installed a copy of MINIX and started work on his one-man cloned operating system. He graduated in 1996 with a Masters degree having submitted a thesis titled Linux: A Portable Operating System.

      • Celebrating the 28th Anniversary of the Linux Kernel
      • In comics: Linux celebrates 28th birthday

        n 26 August 1991, Linus Torvalds announced hobby project that was supposed to better than Minix operating systems. He said I am doing a free operating system. Just a hobby and won’t be big or professional like GNU. Linux turns 28 years old, and we are going to celebrate Linux’s birthday by sharing comics in pop culture that made it even more popular.

      • Linux Foundation

        • Marketing Open Source Projects

          Marketing is as crucial as code to any open source project’s success. Organizations that participate in open source projects play a vital role in developing a sustainable ecosystem around a project by marketing the project through their own networks. Organizations, in turn, benefit from those marketing efforts by growing their visibility in the project community and associating their own brand with the project. The benefits can be seen in a growing project leadership role, attracting developers to your organization, and promoting your open source products and services. The key is to promote the project first and always remain authentic and true to the open source ethos of openness and transparency.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Sway 1.2 Released For This Popular i3 Inspired Wayland Compositor

          Sway 1.2 brings with it compatibility updates for i3 version 4.17, better XWayland support, new protocol coverage, output toggle support, better layout handling behavior, and a variety of other new features and fixes.

        • Mesa 19.3′s LLVMpipe Driver Adds Support For Shader Image Extensions

          A number of months have passed since having anything new to report on the progress of the LLVMpipe software driver, but David Airlie now has landed a number of improvements to this LLVM-leveraging “soft” OpenGL driver for Mesa 19.3.

          Following a number of commits made today, the LLVMpipe driver in Mesa 19.3 Git now exposes ARB_shader_image_load_store and ARB_shader_image_size. Those are extensions for OpenGL 4.2 and 4.3, respectively, as well as being part of OpenGL ES 3.1.

        • AMD To Land Support For Navi 14 Into The Upcoming Mesa 19.2 Driver Stack

          As a possible sign that AMD Navi 14 graphics cards could be coming sooner rather than later, support for Navi 14 is slated to be back-ported to the Mesa 19.2 release due out in a few weeks rather that entered its feature freeze earlier this month rather than waiting for next quarter’s Mesa 19.3.

          Mesa 19.2 should make it into the likes of Fedora 31, Ubuntu 19.10, and other autumn Linux distribution updates. Prominent AMD RadeonSI Gallium3D driver Marek Olšák has announced his interest in back-porting Navi 14 to Mesa 19.2 and intends to merge that code today.

    • Applications

      • Top 20 Best Notepad++ Alternatives for Linux in 2019

        Notepad++ is arguably the most popular source code editors among users of the Microsoft Windows systems. It replaced the legacy Notepad editor around 15 years back and since then has been the subject of constant admiration. The software enjoys widespread popularity due to its lightweight footprint, flexible features, and hard to match performance. Thankfully, Linux doesn’t fall short when it comes to code editors and offers some of the most rigorous text editors available right now. There’re quite a lot of worthy Notepad++ alternatives for Linux that you might want to check out.

      • Google Summer of Code 2019 with Pitivi Final Report

        For GSoC 2019, I worked on improving the effects user experience in Pitivi.

      • [Pitivi] Millan Castro: GSoC: Final report

        Google Summer of Code 2019 has come to an end. This post is part of my final submission. It summarizes my contribution to Pitivi, providing links to my work.

        My proposal consisted on a interval time system with different applications for Pitivi video editor. Originally, one of the applications would be to be able to set up markers at selected positions in the timeline, to store user metada.


        My work in GES is co-authored with my mentor, Mathieu Duponchelle. It includes the new classes GESMarkerList and GESMarker, and tests for them. It is already merged.

        GESMarkerList allows to have a list of GESMarker in every class that implements GESMetaContainer. Its API includes methods for create, serialize and deserialize a GESMarkerList, and for add, move, get and remove GESMarker. Also include signals to notify this operations.

        The class GESMarker implements GESMetacontainer. It has a position property.

        A set of new tests checks that everything works fine.

      • Pngquant – A Command-line Utility To Compress PNG Images On Linux

        Pngquant is a free, open source and cross-platform command-line lossy PNG compressor. It is based on a portable libimagequant library and is written in C99. It reduces the file size significantly by converting the PNG image to more efficient 8-bit PNG format and preserves full alpha transparency. As you may already know, 8-bit PNG files are often 60-80% smaller than 24/32-bit PNG files. The images compressed using Pngquant are fully-compatible with all web browsers and operating systems. Pngquant can compress one or multiple images at once.

      • Rufus: Creating A Persistent Storage Live USB With Ubuntu Or Debian From Windows

        Rufus 3.7 beta, released yesterday, has finalized the persistent partition support for Debian and Ubuntu, allowing users to create persistent storage live USBs of recent Debian Live ISOs, and Ubuntu Live ISOs created after 1st of August, 2019.

        Rufus is a popular free and open source graphical tool to create bootable USB drives from Windows. It can be used to create not only bootable Windows drives from ISO files or disk images, but also create bootable Linux USB drives from Windows.

        This application is able to create persistent live drives that work in both UEFI (MBR or GPT) and BIOS mode, with casper-rw being used for the persistent storage partition, so it can have a size of more than 4GB.

        Experimental persistent partitions support was first added to this Windows bootable Live USB creation tool with version 3.6, but it didn’t seem to work properly, as in my test, any changes made to the Live USB did not persist between reboots. With the latest Rufus 3.7 beta though, the persistent partition feature works (I tested it with the latest daily build of Ubuntu 19.10 Eoan Ermine). But it doesn’t support every Linux distribution out there.

        The Rufus 3.7 beta release notes mention that with this release, the persistent partition support is finalized (so it’s not longer experimental) for Debian and Ubuntu. BUT as far as Ubuntu is concerned, the persistence feature only works with ISOs of Ubuntu 19.10 Eoan Ermine created later than August 1st, 2019 (e.g. the Ubuntu Eoan Ermine daily ISO from here should work). The reason for this is a bug that caused persistence on casper-rw partitions to break when the mount sequence order was changed, which was only recently fixed.

      • Proprietary

        • FreeOffice

          There is a new tool available for Sparkers: FreeOffice

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine or Emulation

    • Games

      • From Orbit has you hop from one planet to the next in this RTS, out now with Linux support

        Manage the crew of a small spaceship as you hop between planets in uncharted space, From Orbit has a fun idea. Disclosure: Key provided by the developer to our Steam Curator.

        From Orbit is a strategy game of survival and finding your way home against increasingly hostile odds. The basic loop is always the same, with you hopping across planets to mine resources and when you think you’re ready you go onto the next. You have no idea what each planet will present you with though of course and some can be pretty challenging.

      • The Bard’s Tale IV: Director’s Cut is now out, adding Linux support and other goodies

        Linux gamers have had to wait a while but, with the launch of the new director’s cut, The Bard’s Tale IV now has a native port. The new enhanced version also has a lot of new improvements over the original game.

      • Best Chess Games To Install on Ubuntu

        “I have come to the personal conclusion that while all artists are not chess players, all chess players are artists.” – Marcel Ducham

        One of the oldest skill games and a lesson in history, chess is famously played all over the world. It is a war fought over the board and every war requires strategy, the main playing component of chess. A game of intelligence and intellect, chess is played for no prize other than one’s honor. A defeat in chess, or becoming subject to a checkmate, is such a harrowing and mighty defeat. But even in defeat, there is irreplaceable excitement and learning!


        Learning a game now is as easy as installing a program of only a few Mbs and directly getting started with it! Let us look at a few of the best chess games available for download on Linux systems.

      • Unity 2019.3 Beta Released With Renderer Improvements, Linux & Vulkan Fixes [Ed: Mono warning]

        The beta release of Unity 2019.3 is out today for this wildly popular cross-platform game engine.

        Unity 2019.3 Beta brings a revamp to its input system, significant improvements to its Universal Render Pipeline (Lightweight Render Pipeline as it was previously called), better physics, and initial ray-tracing support.

        The better physics support with Unity 2019.3 comes via moving from NVIDIA’s PhysX 3.4 to version 4.1. The ray-tracing support for now is just available with the DirectX DXR API and unfortunately no Vulkan ray-tracing for Linux support at this time.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • polkit-qt-1 0.113.0 Released

          Some 5 years after the previous release KDE has made a new release of polkit-qt-1, versioned 0.113.0.

          Polkit (formerly PolicyKit) is a component for controlling system-wide privileges in Unix-like operating systems. It provides an organized way for non-privileged processes to communicate with privileged ones. Polkit has an authorization API intended to be used by privileged programs (“MECHANISMS”) offering service to unprivileged programs (“CLIENTS”).

          Polkit Qt provides Qt bindings and UI.

        • [GSoC – 6] Achieving consistency between SDDM and Plasma

          Roughly a year ago I made a post titled How I’d improve KDE Plasma – a user’s point of view. I never shared the post publicly, but revisiting the first topic of the post — “my biggest pet peeve” — makes for an interesting story.

          You probably guessed it, my biggest pet peeve is what I’ve been trying to solve with this GSoC project. A year go you would find me ricing my Plasma and wondering why SDDM was doing “its own thing” instead. Fast-forward to now and I’m pretty happy to have an option to sync settings between the two, ever more so given that I could have contributed to creating it.

        • Pay another respect to kritacommand–which we are going beyond

          Krita’s undo system, namely kritacommand, was added 8 years ago to Calligra under the name of kundo2, as a fork of Qt’s undo framework. The use of undo commands, however, might have an even longer history. Undo commands provide a way to revert individual actions. Up to now, most (though not all) undo commands do it by providing two sets of code that do and undo the actions, respectively. Drawbacks of this system includes (1) it is not very easy to manage; (2) it may introduce duplicated code; and (3) it makes it hard to access a previous document state without actually going back to that state. What I do is to start getting rid of such situation.

          The plan for a new system is to use shallow copies to store documents at different states. Dmitry said “it was something we really want to do and allows us to make historical brushes (fetch content from earlier document states).” And according to him, he spent years to implement copy-on-write on paint layers. He suggested me to start from vector layers which he thought would be easier since it does not need to be very thread-safe.

          I completely understood that was a challenge, but did not realize where the difficult part was until I come here. Copy-on-write is not the challenging part. We have QSharedDataPointer and almost all the work is to routinely replace the same code. Porting tools is more difficult. The old flake tools are running under the GUI thread, which makes no requirement on thread-safety. Technically we do not need to run it in a stroke / in image thread but with no multithreading the tools runs too slowly on some computers (read as “my Thinkpad laptop”) so I am not unwilling to take this extra challenge. In previous posts I described how the strokes work and the problems I encountered. Besides that there are still some problems I need to face.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Joaquim Rocha: Whereabouts

          It’s been almost two months since my last day at Endless, and some people keep asking me what am I up to now. The change was nothing top-secret so I told my closest friends and colleagues about what I was doing, but I have been so busy — first with the job change, personal life (whose events I will leave for a later post), then with some vacation time in Portugal, and this past week with my son’s first days in the Kindergarten — that I kept neglecting writing a post about that.

          I had met Endless when it was still a small startup, in a shared working space in San Francisco, and joined it a few years after that, because it was all I could think about. Having spent almost 4 years with the company, it is and will always be a special place for me, not only because of its mission, but also because of its people and the experiences we shared, and I will keep rooting for their success.

        • Mayank Sharma: GSoC’

          It has rightly been said – “All good things come to an end”. Google Summer of Code too was one of the good experiences I’ve had, in the sense that I didn’t know anything about the Open Source world. It provided the exact platform that I needed to kickstart my open source contributions and to let me feet as fantastic a community as GNOME.

        • How to Run a Usability Test

          Conducting usability testing on free software shouldn’t be an afterthought of the development process but rather it should be a deeply integrated component. However, the reality is that the resources of free software projects (including large ones like GNOME) are quite limited, so one of my goals with this post is to empower you to do more usability testing on your own—you don’t have to be an expert—and to help out and contribute to larger software projects to make up for the limits on resources.

    • Distributions

      • List Of The Best Linux Distros For Laptops In 2019

        Linux is not only the server-side operating system as it is already creating a big impact in desktop and laptop segment too. There are plenty of Linux based operating systems developed for different purposes.

        In this post, we are going to write about some of the best Linux distros suitable for the Laptops in 2019.

      • New Releases

        • Proxmox Mail Gateway 6.0 released!

          We’re happy to announce the final release of the new Proxmox Mail Gateway 6.0! It’s based on the latest stable release of Debian 10.0 (Buster) with a 5.0.21 kernel including the latest security fixes.

          We’d like to thank all of you who contributed to the project by testing and providing feedback!

        • LFS 9.0-rc1 Release

          The Linux From Scratch community announces the release of LFS Version 9.0-rc1. It is a preliminary release of LFS-9.0. Major changes include toolchain updates to gcc-9.2.0 and glibc-2.30. In total, 33 packages were updated since the last release. Changes to the text have also been made throughout the book. The Linux kernel has also been updated to version 5.2.8.

          Note that the major version of LFS has changed to 9. This has been done to keep LFS and BLFS version numbers synchronized. The BLFS System V version has added the elogind package which now allows Gnome to be built in the new environment.

        • MX Linux 19 Beta 1 is here — download the Debian-based operating system now

          Another day, another Linux distribution. Yeah, it can get a bit tedious reading about so many operating systems based on the open source kernel, so here at BetaNews we typically try to inform you about the better ones. You see, there are many garbage Linux distributions that can simply be ignored — they are either low-quality or overly redundant. Ultimately, it all becomes noise, harming the Linux community overall. Yes, having too much choice can be a negative.

          Today, a wildly popular operating system achieves Beta status, and you should be interested — it is worth your attention. Called “MX Linux,” it has quietly gained a fairly large following, topping the charts at the legendary DistroWatch. MX Linux 19 Beta 1 is based on Debian 10 Buster and features the recently released Xfce 4.14 desktop environment. So, yeah, this is fairly bleeding edge stuff, although the Linux kernel is only at 4.19.5.

        • MX-19 Beta 1 available for testing

          MX-19 Beta 1 available for testing


          August 25, 2019

          Updated iso images

        • Kodachi 6.2

          Linux Kodachi operating system is based on Xubuntu 18.04 it will provide you with a secure, anti-forensic, and anonymous operating system considering all features that a person who is concerned about privacy would need to have in order to be secure.

          Kodachi is very easy to use all you have to do is boot it up on your PC via USB drive then you should have a fully running operating system with established VPN connection + Connection established + service running. No setup or knowledge is required from your side we do it all for you. The entire OS is functional from your temporary memory RAM so once you shut it down no trace is left behind all your activities are wiped out.

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • Fedora Family

        • Jakub Kadlčík: Flock report 2019

          This year’s Flock is inevitably over, so the right thing to do now is to capture its best moments. This time, the conference took place in the unbelievably beautiful city of Budapest, starting from Thursday 8th of August and carried on till the end of the week. I would like to thank all organizers, sponsors, volunteers and the community for putting the effort and resources into hosting such a great conference and also my employer for giving me an opportunity to attend. It was a wild ride!

        • Inkscape – Python 3 in f32+

          I’ve just updated Inkscape in f32 to a git snapshot to allow it to move to Python 3. It seems to work well for me, but please test and file bugs.

        • Pooja Yadav: Flock-2019

          First day started with “The State of Fedora” session by Matthew Miller where he discussed about Fedora current and future state. Then Cate Huston presented a very interesting talk on how we can make a great and successful team. She shared interesting facts to make failing team functional. It was good to see “Facebook Loves Fedora” and Facebook employees are using it. In this they shared their experience and challenges faced. After lunch I attended “The future of langpacks in Fedora”, it was a great discussion on langpacks. In evening I attended Fedora CI by David and Tim Flink and Getting started with Fedora QA by Suprith Gangawar and Geoffrey Marr. Day 1 ended with Slideshow Karaoke organised by Amita and Adam Samalik.

      • Debian Family

        • Netrunner 19.08 Released, Which is Based on Debian 10 “Buster”

          The Netrunner development team has announced the availability of Netrunner 19.08, it’s code named as “Indigo”.

          It is based upon Debian 10 “Buster” and comes with a few new updated software versions.

          The Netrunner 19.08 ships with a brand new Look with combination of darker blue and lighter blue together with classic white like gray, the Breeze Icon theme.

        • EasyOS 2.1 Released, Which is Based on Debian 10 “Buster”
        • Kali Linux Team has Renamed their Meta-packages to More Meaningful

          Kali Linux team has renamed their meta-packages to more meaningful to understand it in a better way.

          This implementation will optimize Kali, reduce ISO size, and organize meta-packages in a better way.

          Some of you may already know about it, however, i will give you an overview about meta-package before discuss further on this topic.

          What’s Meta-package?

          Meta-packages are specialized packages, they do not contain any files usually found in packages.

          Meta-package is a way to collect and group related software packages, they simply depend on other packages to be installed.

          It allows entire sets of software to be installed by selecting only the appropriate meta-package.

          Say for example, Each Linux desktop environments comes with a wide range of applications, it can be installed by running a single command because they were already grouped together.

          This will reduce download requirements, i mean to say, this will obtain all the Gnome packages in one download.

        • Molly de Blanc: Free software activities (July 2019)

          Debian AH rebranded to the Debian Community Team (CT) after our sprint back in June. We had meetings, both following up on things that happened at the meeting and covering typical business. We created a draft of a new team mission statement, which was premiered, so to speak, at DebConf19.

        • Mike Gabriel: Debian goes libjpeg-turbo 2.0.x [RFH]

          I recently uploaded libjpeg-turbo 2.0.2-1~exp1 to Debian experimental. This has been the first upload of the 2.0.x release series of libjpeg-turbo.

          After 3 further upload iterations (~exp4 that is), the package now builds on nearly all (except 3) architectures supported by Debian.

          @all: Please Test

          For those architectures that libjpeg-turbo 2.0.2-1~exp* is already available in Debian experimental, please start testing your applications on Debian testing/unstable systems with libjpeg-turbo 2.0.2-1~exp* installed from experimental. If you observe any peculiarities, please file bugs against src:libjpeg-turbo on Debian BTS. Thanks!

          Please note: the major 2.x release series does not introduce an SOVERSION bump, so applications don’t have to be rebuilt against the newer libjpeg-turbo. Simply drop-in-replace installed libjpeg62-turbo bin:pkg by the version from Debian experimental.

        • Mark Brown: Linux Audio Miniconference 2019

          As in previous years we’re going to have an audio miniconference so we can get together and talk through issues, especially design decisions, face to face. This year’s event will be held on Sunday October 31st in Lyon, France, the day after ELC-E. This will be held at the Lyon Convention Center (the ELC-E venue), generously sponsored by Intel.

          As with previous years let’s pull together an agenda through a mailing list discussion – this announcement has been posted to alsa-devel as well, the most convenient thing would be to follow up to it. Of course if we can sort things out more quickly via the mailing list that’s even better!

          If you’re planning to attend please fill out the form here.

        • Release of nx-libs (Call for Testing: Keyboard auto-grab Support)

          Long time not blogged about, however, there is a new release of nx-libs: nx-libs
          What is nx-libs?

          The nx-libs team maintains a software originally developed by NoMachine under the name nx-X11 (version 3) or shorter: NXv3. For years now, a small team of volunteers is continually improving, fixing and maintaining the code base (after some major and radical cleanups) of NXv3. NXv3 aka x2goagent has been the only graphical backend in X2Go [0], a remote desktop framework for Linux terminal servers, over the past years.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Kubernetes 1.16 beta now available, with support from Canonical

          Canonical announces full enterprise support for Kubernetes 1.16, starting with the beta release, with support covering the following installation mechanisms – kubeadm, Charmed Kubernetes, and MicroK8s.

          The beta release of Kubernetes offers users an opportunity to test some of the upcoming features and to validate containerised workloads on the latest Kubernetes technology. It also offers the user community a chance to give early feedback on the next release, ensuring new features work as intended, and the existing features you rely upon haven’t regressed.

          For quick, secure, and reliable Kubernetes installations in a single step, the MicroK8s beta channel will be updated with Kubernetes 1.16 beta. In addition to supporting the beta, the MicroK8s community has recently added one line installs of Helm and Cilium. With MicroK8s 1.16 beta you can develop and deploy Kubernetes 1.16 on any Linux desktop, server or VM across 42 Linux distros. Mac and Windows are supported with Multipass.

        • MicroK8s Version 1.16.0 Beta Released!

          We’re excited to announce the release of MicroK8s 1.16 beta! MicroK8s is a lightweight and reliable Kubernetes cluster delivered as a single snap package – it can be installed on any Linux distribution which supports snaps or Windows and Mac using Multipass. MicroK8s is small and simple to install and is a great way to stand up a cluster quickly for development and testing. Try it on your laptop!

        • A guide to developing Android apps on Ubuntu

          Android is the most popular mobile operating system and is continuing to grow its market share. IDC expects that Android will have 85.5% of the market by 2022, demonstrating that app development on Android will continue to be an in-demand skill.

          For developers looking to build Android apps, Ubuntu is the ideal platform in conjunction with Android Studio – the official Android development environment. Ubuntu features a wide variety of software development tools including numerous programming language compilers, integrated development environments (IDEs) and toolchains to enable developers to target multiple hardware platforms.

        • The Fridge: Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 593
        • Snaps help Xibo rekindle its relationship with Linux

          Sometimes, relationships just don’t work out. At first, it seemed that Xibo and Linux were made for each other. Xibo had a popular open source digital signage and player system, while Linux brought a community of enthusiastic users. Dan Garner of Xibo remembers why they broke up in 2015: “Releasing our player on Linux was too heavy on development resources, we were a small team, and it was difficult to make deployment stable”.

          So, Linux releases were shelved, much to the disappointment of users. Xibo’s software remained available as open source and as binaries. However, Linux users had to do the heavy lifting to install it and make it work. Hardcore fans often built their Xibo systems directly from the source code, creating a patchwork of different generations of the software in a universe outside Xibo’s mainstream activities.

        • Connect to Wi-Fi From Terminal on Ubuntu 18.04/19.04 with WPA Supplicant

          In this tutorial, we are going to learn how to connect to Wi-Fi network from command line on Ubuntu 18.04/19.04 server and desktop using wpa_supplicant. In a modern home wireless network, communications are protected with WPA-PSK (pre-shared key) as opposed to WPA-Enterprise, which is designed for enterprise networks. WPA-PSK is also known as WPA-Personal. wpa_supplicant is an implementation of the WPA supplicant component. A supplicant in wireless LAN is a client software installed on end-user’s computer that needs to be authenticated in order to join a network.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Rabbit Holes: The Secret to Technical Expertise

        Sometimes, the simplest questions take you on exciting journies. This was, in fact, the most powerful and motivating force that got me into doing computery things from a very young age. I would ask a question, how do I X? And after some poking around I discover that I can’t do X without learning about Y and Some Authoritative Resource says you definitely can’t do Y without also knowing the arcane black magic of Z. And so on and so forth until I get myself so buried in tangents that at a certain point, I have no choice but to stop and come up for air. Or a potty break and snack.

        In the glamorous tech sector, we call these things rabbit holes. Unless you got into tech solely for the money (you monster), it’s stuff like this that we nerds live for. It’s how we got our start and crucially, it’s how we continue to learn and hone our skillset.

        But what, you ask, does a rabbit hole look like? And anyway, don’t rabbits live in dens or burrows? First of all, nobody asked you to critique the metaphor. Second, I’ll show you. This isn’t the deepest or most complex rabbit hole that I’ve stumbled down but it is recent and that counts for something when I’m itching to write something. Please feel free to follow along on your own instance of Ubuntu 18.04 if you have one handy. When you log into such a host, you are greeted with 27 lines of this here nonsense: [...]

      • Events

        • FSFE booth on Veganmania Donauinsel 2019

          Once more free software activists from Vienna used the opportunity of the local vegan summer festival to inform about the possibility to increase our independence on computers and mobile devices. It was the second such event in Vienna this year. But unlike the first which was directly in the city center with loads of passers by this street festival took place in Viennas big recreation area on the island in the Danube river. It is rather close to the city center also and therefore many local people visit it in their spare time. The organisers estimated 9000 visitors per day.

          The FSFE booth was manned there all the time from Saturday between 12:00 and 21:00 and Sunday from 10:00 to 19:00. It had a great spot far enough away from the stage with live music in order to allow undisturbed conversations and still close enough to the other 90 stalls with drinks, food, merchantise and a variety of stalls on other subjects like animal welfare, veganism sustainability, shelters and environmental protection.

          Since it was an outdoor event on a meadow and because we don’t own a tent we couldn’t hang-up our posters. We just used our umbrella to not be exposed directly to the strong summer sun. And we had huge luck with the weather. Shortly after the festival was closed down on Saturday heavy rain started and it lasted until shortly before the event started again the next day.

          Over the years we have collected a few regulars on our information stalls who normally drop by but again mostly totally new people frequented our FSFE information desk. Many of them had no prior knowledge what free software is about. Most of the time we were engaged in conversations with interested people and many explicitly thanked us for being there. We frequently explained why we man an FSFE information stall on a vegan summer festival: If you use the same ethical considerations that lead people to adopt a vegan life style in information technology you end up with free software.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • IRL (podcast): Making Privacy Law

            The word “regulation” gets tossed around a lot. And it’s often aimed at the internet’s Big Tech companies. Some worry that the size of these companies and the influence they wield is too much. On the other side, there’s the argument that any regulation is overreach — leave it to the market, and everything will sort itself out. But over the last year, in the midst of this regulation debate, a funny thing happened. Tech companies got regulated. And our right to privacy got a little easier to exercise.

            Gabriela Zanfir-Fortuna gives us the highlights of Europe’s sweeping GDPR privacy law, and explains how the law netted a huge fine against Spain’s National Football League. Twitter’s Data Protection Officer, Damien Kieran explains how regulation has shaped his new job and is changing how Twitter works with our personal data. Julie Brill at Microsoft says the company wants legislators to go further, and bring a federal privacy law to the U.S. And Manoush chats with Alastair MacTaggart, the California resident whose work led to the passing of the California Consumer Privacy Act.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • Don’t get trapped by your office suite

          The new trend among software vendors is to push towards online subscription models, even when the customer would rather stick to desktop software. Users need to keep paying in order to access the software – and therefore their documents. Their very own documents!

          As we’ve seen, this can be disastrous for end users. If you can’t make a payment, or the “authentication server” doesn’t work, you lose access to your data. The Document Foundation, started to fight for digital freedoms, rejects this kind of model. We think powerful office tools should be free to use, share and modify.

          LibreOffice, which is free, open source and developed by a worldwide community, doesn’t have subscriptions, or registrations, or yearly license fees, or anything like that. You can use it as you please (subject to the Mozilla Public License 2.0). You install LibreOffice on your own computer, and run it whenever and wherever you want. Even offline.

      • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

        • [Old] SystemD – it keeps getting worse

          My first impression of SystemD was “why on earth do that?”. Digging a little, it became “What the? That’s not right.”. Now I’ve gone further into it via using it on a couple of platforms and had that sinking feeling when “everything you know is wrong, now” and had some inexplicable bad behaviours from those systems. (Things like a directory in which I was residing being apparently deleted and recreated and “kill -9 PID” not causing that Process ID to die.)

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

      • Programming/Development

        • “Rust is the future of systems programming, C is the new Assembly”: Intel principal engineer, Josh Triplett

          At Open Source Technology Summit (OSTS) 2019, Josh Triplett, a Principal Engineer at Intel gave an insight into what Intel is contributing to bring the most loved language, Rust to full parity with C. In his talk titled Intel and Rust: the Future of Systems Programming, he also spoke about the history of systems programming, how C became the “default” systems programming language, what features of Rust gives it an edge over C, and much more.

          Until now, OSTS was Intel’s closed event where the company’s business and tech leaders come together to discuss the various trends, technologies, and innovations that will help shape the open-source ecosystem. However, this year was different as the company welcomed non-Intel attendees including media, partners, and developers for the first time.

        • Introducing nushell, a shell written in Rust
        • Wing Tips: Introducing Variables with Refactoring in Wing Pro

          In past issues of Wing Tips we covered a number of the refactoring operations available in Wing Pro, such as renaming symbols, moving symbols, and introducing functions and methods. To finish our series on refactoring, let’s take a look at how to introduce a variable based on existing Python code, using Wing Pro’s Introduce Variable refactoring operation.
          This operation is used to replace selected occurrences of an expression with a new local variable, either to make code more readable or to avoid redundant computation.

        • A Guide to Excel Spreadsheets in Python With openpyxl

          Excel spreadsheets are one of those things you might have to deal with at some point. Either it’s because your boss loves them or because marketing needs them, you might have to learn how to work with spreadsheets, and that’s when knowing openpyxl comes in handy!

          Spreadsheets are a very intuitive and user-friendly way to manipulate large datasets without any prior technical background. That’s why they’re still so commonly used today.

        • Combine Multiple Excel Worksheets Into a Single Pandas Dataframe
        • Minimax with Alpha-Beta Pruning in Python

          Shortly after, problems of this kind grew into a challenge of great significance for development of one of today’s most popular fields in computer science – artificial intelligence. Some of the greatest accomplishments in artificial intelligence are achieved on the subject of strategic games – world champions in various strategic games have already been beaten by computers, e.g. in Chess, Checkers, Backgammon, and most recently (2016) even Go.

          Although these programs are very successful, their way of making decisions is a lot different than that of humans. The majority of these programs are based on efficient searching algorithms, and since recently on machine learning as well.

          The Minimax algorithm is a relatively simple algorithm used for optimal decision-making in game theory and artificial intelligence. Again, since these algorithms heavily rely on being efficient, the vanilla algorithm’s performance can be heavily improved by using alpha-beta pruning – we’ll cover both in this article.

        • Python MANOVA Made Easy using Statsmodels

          n previous posts, we learned how to use Python to detect group differences on a single dependent variable. However, there may be situations in which we are interested in several dependent variables. In these situations, the simple ANOVA model is inadequate.

          One way to examine multiple dependent variables using Python would, of course, be to carry out multiple ANOVA. That is, one ANOVA for each of these dependent variables. However, the more tests we conduct on the same data, the more we inflate the family-wise error rate (the greater chance of making a Type I error).

          This is where MANOVA comes in handy. MANOVA, or Multivariate Analysis of Variance, is an extension of Analysis of Variance (ANOVA). However, when using MANOVA we have two, or more, dependent variables.

        • Mike Driscoll: PyDev of the Week: Frank Wiles

          This week we welcome Frank Wiles (@fwiles) as our PyDev of the Week! Frank is the President and Founder of Revolution Systems and President of the Django Software Foundation. If you’d like to know about Frank, you should take a moment to check out his website or his Github account. For now, let’s take some time to get to know him better!


          I switched to a new laptop a couple of months ago and am trying to do most everything in Docker containers and fully 12-Factor, which has the side benefit of things I would not normally release publicly can be. So I’m trying to code “in the open” a bit more than I used to.

          I’m currently working on improving the docs around some of REVSYS’ open source projects like django-test-plus.

        • Quick and dirty mock service with Starlette

          The Python ecosystem is full of strong options to address the first part of the solution. Django, Flask, Pyramid, Bottle, and any other web framework you can think of would handle that with ease.

          The second part of the solution is harder. If I’m not careful, then being simple goes out the window, and I’ve destroyed the third objective.

        • Profitable Python Episode: Put Your Family First

          During the interview, I was asked how I would like to have Python runnable in the browser and I couldn’t recall the name of a product that makes this sort of thing possible. The product I was thinking of was Anvil, which while still not quite having Python in the browser, it’s close.

        • Test and Code: 85: Speed Up Test Suites – Nicklas Meinzer

          Good software testing strategy is one of the best ways to save developer time and shorten software development delivery cycle time.

          Software test suites grow from small quick suites at the beginning of a project to larger suites as we add tests, and the time to run the suites grows with it.

          Fortunately, pytest has many tricks up it’s sleave to help shorten those test suite times.

        • AI Driven Automated Code Review With DeepCode

          Software engineers are frequently faced with problems that have been fixed by other developers in different projects. The challenge is how and when to surface that information in a way that increases their efficiency and avoids wasted effort. DeepCode is an automated code review platform that was built to solve this problem by training a model on a massive array of open sourced code and the history of their bug and security fixes. In this episode their CEO Boris Paskalev explains how the company got started, how they build and maintain the models that provide suggestions for improving your code changes, and how it integrates into your workflow.

        • Introduction to AWS beanstalk platform

          In this tutorial, I am going to show you how to deploy your Python based flask application to AWS Beanstalk.

          There could be 2 ways to host your application to AWS beanstalk platform, one is using web interface of AWS beanstalk and another is Command Line Interface (CLI).

        • PyCoder’s Weekly: Issue #383 (Aug. 27, 2019)
        • Python for NLP: Multi-label Text Classification with Keras

          This is the 19th article in my series of articles on Python for NLP. From the last few articles, we have been exploring fairly advanced NLP concepts based on deep learning techniques. In the last article, we saw how to create a text classification model trained using multiple inputs of varying data types. We developed a text sentiment predictor using textual inputs plus meta information.

          In this article, we will see how to develop a text classification model with multiple outputs. We will be developing a text classification model that analyzes a textual comment and predicts multiple labels associated with the comment. The multi-label classification problem is actually a subset of multiple output model. At the end of this article you will be able to perform multi-label text classification on your data.

          The approach explained in this article can be extended to perform general multi-label classification. For instance you can solve a classification problem where you have an image as input and you want to predict the image category and image description.

          At this point, it is important to explain the difference between a multi-class classification problem and a multi-label classification. In multi-class classification problem, an instance or a record can belong to one and only one of the multiple output classes. For instance, in the sentiment analysis problem that we studied in the last article, a text review could be either “good”, “bad”, or “average”. It could not be both “good” and “average” at the same time. On the other hand in multi-label classification problems, an instance can have multiple outputs at the same time. For instance, in the text classification problem that we are going to solve in this article, a comment can have multiple tags. These tags include “toxic”, “obscene”, “insulting”, etc., at the same time.

        • Python Software Foundation Fellow Members for Q1 & Q2 2019

          We are happy to announce our newest PSF Fellow Members! This group includes nominated Fellows from Q1 and Q2 of 2019.

        • EPS Board 2019/2020

          For those of you who were not at EuroPython 2019, we’re happy to announce our new board for the next term:
          Anders Hammarquist (Treasurer)
          Angel Ramboi
          Jakub Musko
          Marc-André Lemburg (Chair)
          Martin Christen (Vice Chair)
          Raquel Dou
          Silvia Uberti
          Stéphane Wirtel

        • How to Use Python Lambda Functions

          Python and other languages like Java, C#, and even C++ have had lambda functions added to their syntax, whereas languages like LISP or the ML family of languages, Haskell, OCaml, and F#, use lambdas as a core concept. Python lambdas are little, anonymous functions, subject to a more restrictive but more concise syntax than regular Python functions.

        • Learning Python

          Did I need to read a fifteen hundred page book to learn Python?
          At the end of fourteen hundred pages, I can safely assure you, I did not.

          If you want to just solve your pressing issues or scratch your itch, or just plain get started with programming (and programming in Python specifically), I’d recommend starting with a simple, fast paced book, like Python for you and me, and then doing tons of practice.1

          Mark Lutz, as he closes the book, himself laments that Python has gotten too big to hold in your head. And by doing so, has lost some of the simplicity and the joy and fun and the magic, Python held for the early adopters of the language.

  • Leftovers

    • Science

      • Reliable after 50 years: The Apollo Guidance Computer’s switching power supplies

        We recently restored an Apollo Guidance Computer, the revolutionary computer that helped navigate to the Moon and land on its surface.1 At a time when most computers filled rooms, the Apollo Guidance Computer (AGC) took up just a cubic foot. This blog post discusses the small but complex switching power supplies that helped make the AGC compact enough to fit onboard the spacecraft.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Retailers face pressure to get BPA-like chemicals out of their receipts

        Some retailers removed BPA-coated receipt paper, but replaced it with nearly identical bisphenol substances, like BPS, according to the groups, which include Environmental Defence, the United Food and Commercial Workers Canada, and Breast Cancer Action Quebec. They say these coatings pose a risk to retail workers and consumers.

        “The notion that … by doing one’s job that one is being exposed to these toxins would quite naturally concern us,” said Derek Johnstone, a spokesman for the UFCW Canada, which represents thousands of cashiers.

    • Security (Confidentiality/Integrity/Availability)

      • Nmap: scan IP ranges
      • Security updates for Tuesday

        Security updates have been issued by Debian (apache2 and xymon), openSUSE (putty and vlc), Red Hat (kernel and ruby), Scientific Linux (advancecomp, bind, binutils, blktrace, compat-libtiff3, curl, dhcp, elfutils, exempi, exiv2, fence-agents, freerdp and vinagre, ghostscript, glibc, gvfs, http-parser, httpd, kde-workspace, keepalived, kernel, keycloak-httpd-client-install, libarchive, libcgroup, libguestfs-winsupport, libjpeg-turbo, libmspack, libreoffice, libsolv, libssh2, libtiff, libvirt, libwpd, linux-firmware, mariadb, mercurial, mod_auth_openidc, nss, nss-softokn, nss-util, and nspr, ntp, opensc, openssh, openssl, ovmf, patch, perl-Archive-Tar, polkit, poppler, procps-ng, python, python-requests, python-urllib3, qemu-kvm, qt5, rsyslog, ruby, samba, sox, spice-gtk, sssd, systemd, tomcat, udisks2, unixODBC, unzip, uriparser, Xorg, zsh, and zziplib), Slackware (kernel), and SUSE (ardana-ansible, ardana-db, ardana-freezer, ardana-glance, ardana-input-model, ardana-nova, ardana-osconfig, ardana-tempest, caasp-openstack-heat-templates, crowbar-core, crowbar-ha, crowbar-openstack, crowbar-ui, documentation-suse-openstack-cloud, galera-python-clustercheck, openstack-cinder, openstack-glance, openstack-heat, openstack-horizon-plugin-monasca-ui, openstack-horizon-plugin-neutron-fwaas-ui, openstack-ironic, openstack-keystone, openstack-manila, openstack-monasca-agent, openstack-monasca-api, openstack-monasca-persister, openstack-monasca-persister-java, openstack-murano, openstack-neutron, openstack-neutron-gbp, openstack-neutron-lbaas, openstack-nova, openstack-octavia, python-Beaver, python-oslo.db, python-osprofiler, python-swiftlm, venv-openstack-magnum, venv-openstack-monasca, venv-openstack-monasca-ceilometer, venv-openstack-murano, venv-openstack-neutron and qemu).

      • Ransomware attacks

        Safely tucked away in the sub-basement server dungeon of Linux Format Towers, were largely unaware of the icecream-melting heat of these summer days, though the walls are left mighty dannk from the river Avon worming its way through the ground towards our self-imposed entombment.

        What does worry us though is the creeping threat of ransomware attacks and social engineering of our feeble human brains. So we tasked Jonni – inbetween tea making runs – to write a guide on how to beat ransomware, better protect from social engineering attacks and more! I

      • CPU Security Mitigation on openSUSE | Tuning it for Your Case

        This is a little outside of my normal blatherings format but after stumbling upon a video from Red Robbo’s YouTube channel. I wanted to investigate his claims that maybe, just maybe the security mitigations that I have chosen they are a bit excessive for my use case. Recently, openSUSE has added a feature to make this easily user adjustable. Since they made it easy, obviously, someone far smarter than I am has decided that some of the mitigations may be excessive and not worth the performance loss for all use cases. I written about the mitigations some time ago and how it is fun to see all that is being implemented. Maybe it’s time to dial it back.

      • Rootkits 101

        Rootkits originated in the early days of UNIX-based systems. They can be broadly defined as a collection of malicious software and tools used to exploit security vulnerabilities in any UNIX operating system.

        But in modern parlance, since Windows systems dominate the cyber ecosystem, rootkits have a much narrower definition — those that target Windows systems. They are divided into those that restrict themselves to the software space (user) of the OS, and those that delve into the deeper levels with direct firmware access (kernel).

      • Solving the Cyber Security Problem: Mission Impossible

        Why nothing is working in cyber security?

      • Secret backdoor inserted into Webmin tool

        Cameron has traced the modification to an incident in April last year involving the Webmin development build server being exploited. The vulnerability was added to one of Webmin’s scripts, and the timestamp of the modified script was set back so that the modification was not detected.

        The same backdoor is present in versions 1.900 to 1.920 of the tool, but is only exploitable if an administrator had enabled the feature to allow the changing of expired passwords.

    • Environment

      • Tree loss brings more warming as world heats

        Blazing forests cannot dampen climate change, tree loss will worsen it, and poorly nourished trees will make the next century more challenging.

      • Bolsonaro’s legal bonfire fuels Amazon inferno

        Brazil’s president has destroyed the protection enacted by his predecessors, leaving an Amazon inferno to torch the rainforest.

      • DNC Shuts Down Climate Debate Compromise

        The Democratic National Committee (DNC) will not let 2020 primary candidates share the stage in a debate devoted to the climate crisis, the party voted Saturday during its summer meeting in San Francisco.

        The DNC resolutions committee had already voted against holding a party-sanctioned debate on the topic Thursday, but it did approve language that would have allowed candidates to speak face-to-face on the issue at a third-party sponsored event. That compromise was voted down 222-137 Saturday, CNN reported. CNN and MSNBC both plan to hold climate forums in September, but the candidates will have to speak separately and will not be able to engage each other.

        “This decision is as baffling as it is alarming,” candidate and former Texas Representative Beto O’Rourke tweeted of the decision. “Our planet is burning—the least we can do as a party is debate what to do about it.”

      • Energy

        • On David Koch’s Passing and the Koch Network’s Ongoing War on Clean Energy

          Billionaire libertarian activist and oil industry tycoon David Koch died on Friday, leaving a toxic legacy that includes helping birth the climate denial movement, fighting against regulations that protect worker and public health, and — critical to our work here on DeSmog’s KochvsClean project — helping fund and coordinate a decades-long attack on clean energy and low carbon energy solutions.

        • Comment: Rail Industry Publication Attacks New York Times Over Lac-Mégantic Oil Train Tragedy

          Six years after the oil train derailment and explosion in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec — which claimed 47 lives and destroyed the downtown of this small lakeside town — The New York Times reviewed what progress has been made since the disaster, with a headline that noted “Deadly Cargo Still Rides the Rails.”

          However, Railway Age, the leading rail industry publication, attacked The Times’ coverage in an incredibly flawed critique. The title of finance editor David Nahass’s take-down is “Clickbait Journalism at The New York Times.”

        • Green peer reacts to reports of a possible cut to fuel duty

          Responding to reports of a possble cut to fuel duty (1), Green peer Jenny Jones has said:

          “The UK has declared a climate emergency, there’s grave global concern about the Amazon, ‘the lungs of the world’, being consumed by fire, and yet what we hear from our Prime Minister is the floating of a populist policy that he hopes will win over the votes of Brexit Party backers.
          “Thus is Boris Johnson boosterism exposed as the nakedly self-interested, short-termist approach that it is. It has not the interests of the British people or the fragile, threatened planet at heart, but the political interests of one man.
          “This is no way to run a country.”

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • The Federal Government’s Cruel War Against Wildlife

          Wildlife advocates got a much-needed win recently when the EPA withdrew its support for M-44 “cyanide bombs” used to kill coyotes and other animals. The devices — which attract animals with tasty bait and then inject a deadly dose of sodium cyanide into their mouths — have been used for decades by a USDA program called Wildlife Services to eliminate animals that are perceived as threats to agricultural interests.

          The announcement came just five days after the EPA re-approved the use of M-44s, a move that generated outcry from around the country.

          While this success is noteworthy, M-44s are just one of the weapons in Wildlife Service’s arsenal. The program’s staff uses a variety of additional tools and methods to complete their tasks, including several that wildlife advocates consider to be cruel and inhumane.

          These methods add up. All told Wildlife Services killed 2.6 million animals in 2018, including 1.1 million invasive species and 1.5 million native animals.

        • Rare baby wildebeest born at Newquay Zoo

          John Meek, curator of animals at the zoo, said: “The birth of this little one is a great effort towards the conservation of this species and towards the captive breeding programme Newquay Zoo is involved in.

          “Mum and baby are doing great! Dessi is very protective over her first born and has taken to motherhood extremely well.”

          Despite the species’ conservation status of Least Concern, black wildebeest are a rare species as a result of over-hunting and hybridisation with the blue wildebeest.


Links 27/8/2019: Glimpse, D9VK 0.20, GNU Spotlight

Posted in News Roundup at 12:08 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • 4 best Microsoft Windows alternative operating systems

    Windows is not a secure or private operating system. This is partly because Windows is the most popular desktop operating system in the world, and so it has been the major target for hackers and malware peddlers. Also lets’s not forget that Microsoft was also the first company (by some margin) to cooperate with the NSA’s PRISM mass surveillance program.

    In this guide we list the 4 best alternatives to Windows operating system and further detail the privacy concerns around Windows OS.

  • Desktop

    • You Can Buy the $199 Pinebook Pro Linux Laptop Right Now

      Members of the Pine64 messaging board have been able to buy the 13-inch notebook over the course of the past few weeks. But, as of August 25, the company is widening allocation to “public” pre-orders too.

      No special “coupons” or membership criteria are required; anyone with $199 (plus whatever shipping costs apply) can buy a Pinebook Pro.

      Orders made in the current window are expected to be fulfilled in mid-October. But Pine64 say to not panic if you miss out on the first batch as a second pre-order window will be available in mid-September.

      (Unlike traditional devices which are manufactured and then sold, Pinebook’s are — seemingly — sold and then manufactured in batches).

      Uniquely, the Pinebook Pro is also not sold with a massive markup attached. Pine64 say they sell this device, like its $99 predecessor, virtually at cost.

    • Google touts managed Linux, gets cosy with Dell in Chromebook Enterprise push

      Google has rolled out its “first Chromebook Enterprise devices,” these being a couple of Dell Latitude laptops launched at the VMWorld shindig currently under way in San Francisco.

      The Dell Latitude 5400 and Latitude 5300 2-in-1 will now come loaded with an enterprise version of Chrome OS – though note that Chrome Enterprise is not new, and what Google is referring to is that Dell is packaging Chrome OS with the Enterprise Upgrade so it is available out of the box.

      In the release Google also emphasised the ability to enable “managed Linux environments” on Chromebooks, primarily with development in mind. The latest Android Studio is supported on Chrome OS, via the ability to run Linux, even though Linux on Chrome OS is still in beta.

  • Kernel Space

    • KernelShark Has More Plans For Improving This GUI Around Linux’s Ftrace

      KernelShark lead developer Steven Rostedt of VMware shared some plans for KernelShark 2.0 at last week’s Open-Source Summit in San Diego. For KernelShark 2.0 the plan is to support flame graph visualizations, tracing virtual machines with hosts, recording improvements, spinning off some functionality into a library (libkshark), and also supporting plug-ins that could further customize the tracing views.

    • Linux 5.2.10

      I’m announcing the release of the 5.2.10 kernel.

      All users of the 5.2 kernel series must upgrade.

      The updated 5.2.y git tree can be found at:
      git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-stable.git linux-5.2.y
      and can be browsed at the normal kernel.org git web browser:


    • Linux 4.19.68
    • Linux 4.14.140
    • Linux 4.9.190
    • Linux 4.4.190
    • Linux 5.3 Moves Ahead With No Longer Advertising RdRand On Older AMD CPUs/APUs

      Just prior to yesterday’s Linux 5.3-rc6 kernel release, a change was pulled into the code-base that disables the advertising of RdRand support on older AMD CPUs/APUs.

      The change pulled into the current Linux 5.3 tree (as opposed to being delayed until Linux 5.4) is over hiding RdRand support on AMD Bulldozer and Jaguar era processors. RdRand is the instruction for returning random numbers from the CPU for what began as an Intel extension. The RdRand instruction will continue to function on affected AMD processors if encountered but the CPU ID bit is being cleared so that it won’t be advertised for software checking for the presence of this bit. This is being done since those pre-Zen AMD CPUs tend to have issues with their RdRand instruction support following suspend/resume cycles for many motherboards.

    • Linux Kernel Clearing Up Intel CPU Names With Proliferation Of Different Cores

      Stemming from recent discussions over Intel’s Linux enablement for Intel’s Lightning Mountain SoC that characterized it as a “AIRMONT_NP” for a “network processor” even though it’s not limited to networking use-cases, and with Intel’s proliferation of different CPU cores in general, the Linux kernel is seeing some cleaning up of their different Intel CPU names.

      Within macro definitions and the like, the Intel CPU/core names are being cleaned up to better follow their naming convention of INTEL followed by the family, micro-architecture, and possible differentiations based on market segments.

    • Graphics Stack

      • VKMS Getting PRIME Import Support For Helping To Test Linux’s PRIME Functionality

        The VKMS virtual kernel mode-setting driver is seeing support for PRIME import added to it so this software solution can be used for helping to test multi-GPU PRIME configurations on Linux even without the hardware attached.

      • AMD Renoir Graphics Power Management Gets Wired Up

        While AMD’s next-gen Renoir APUs are Vega-based and not Navi, beyond the initial Linux driver enablement seen over the past few weeks coming out a few days ago were a set of patches just getting the power management in order.

        The graphics power management support for Renoir is where we’re seeing a larger deviation in the driver code than the rest of the driver enablement that mostly pegs it as a Vega/GFX9 Raven Ridge refresh past Picasso. The power features for Renoir has come in at 37 patches amounting to around one thousand lines of new code, more than would be necessary for just a Raven Ridge / Picasso facsimile.

    • Benchmarks

      • 20-Way Linux Graphics Card Comparison For Total War: Three Kingdoms

        Total War: Three Kingdoms is the newest Linux game port from Feral Interactive and saw a same-day release back in May. While back then it was said there weren’t benchmarking capabilities for this game, there now is a test profile. For those wondering how Three Kingdoms performs on Linux, here is a twenty way graphics card comparison using the newest AMD Radeon and NVIDIA drivers.

        Total War: Three Kingdoms is rendered on Linux using Vulkan and for the minimum GPU requirements for this game is a Radeon R9 285 or GeForce GTX 680. Feral recommends though a Radeon RX 480 / GeForce GTX 970 or better for the best gaming experience. On Windows meanwhile the recommended cards are a GeForce GTX 970 or Radeon R9 Fury X.

  • Applications

    • Tuhi – an application to support Wacom SmartPad devices

      Sounds like déjà vu? Right, I posted a post with an almost identical title 18 months ago or so. This is about Tuhi 0.2, new and remodeled and completely different to that. Sort-of.

      Tuhi is an application that supports the Wacom SmartPad devices – Bamboo Spark, Bamboo Slate, Bamboo Folio and Intuos Pro. The Bamboo range are digital notepads. They come with a real pen, you draw normally on the pad and use Bluetooth LE and Wacom’s Inkspace application later to sync the files to disk. The Intuos Pro is the same but it’s designed as a “normal” tablet with the paper mode available as well.

      18 months ago, Benjamin Tissoires and I wrote Tuhi as a DBus session daemon. Tuhi would download the drawings from the file and make them available as JSON files over DBus to be converted to SVG or some other format by … “clients”. We wrote a simple commandline tool to debug Tuhi but no GUI, largely in the hope that maybe someone would be interested in doing that. Fast forward to now and that hasn’t happened but I had some spare cycles over the last weeks so I present to you: Tuhi 0.2, now with a GTK GUI…

    • Webmin: A web-based Linux management tool

      You’re probably thinking, “Oh great, another tool to learn,” but Webmin is different. It’s a web-based Linux management tool that streamlines your Linux management tasks to a few clicks, dropdowns, and prompted fill-in-the-blank fields, which untangles the web of complexity associated with common applications such as Apache, Perl, and Sendmail. Webmin enables you to manage your Linux system’s hardware and software, native and third-party applications, Webmin itself, and even log in with a web-based text terminal for those command-line purists.

    • Bookworm is a new ebook reader for Linux – Goodereader

      Calibre was originally developed to convert ebooks from one format to another and assist in delivering ebooks to your e-reader. The company has introduced more features, such being able to read ebooks right in the app. They not only have a program for Windows and MAC, but also Linux. There have been few alternatives to Calibre on Linux, one of them is a new program called Bookworm.

      Bookworm was developed for Elementary OS, but also available for other Linux distributions such as Ubuntu or OpenSUSE. Options to install from source or flatpack are provided as well. It reads many popular ebook formats such as EPUB, PDF, MOBI, FB2, CBR and CBZ.

    • Glimpse is the G-Rated GIMP Fork We All, Er, Apparently Need…

      Enter the Glimpse Image Editor, a fledgling fork of The GIMP (herein referred to simply as ‘GIMP’) whose name is certifiable G (or U or L or whatever is “suitable for everyone”).

      Is the world really crying out for a fork of GIMP?

      There have been a few usability “projects” built on, for, and around GIMP in the years that I’ve been covered open source and Linux (10 years next month, fact fans).

      The best known “effort” of these is the (surprisingly still active) GIMP Shop.

    • Ghostwriter is an open source markdown editor with a polished interface

      Ghostwriter is a distraction-free open source markdown editor that is available for Linux and Windows.

      Windows users can install the Ghostwriter program on their device or use a portable version instead that does not need to be installed. Ghostwriter is based on Qt5.

      We reviewed similar applications in the past. You can check out Zim, an open source wiki-like text editor, the distraction-free Linux app FocusWriter, the Atom text editor for Linux, or Text Editor Pro for Windows.

    • Someone Forked GIMP into Glimpse Because Gimp is an Offensive Word

      In the world of open source applications, forking is common when members of the community want to take an application in a different direction than the rest. The latest newsworthy fork is named Glimpse and is intended to fix certain issues that users have with the GNU Image Manipulation Program, commonly known as GIMP.

      When you visit the homepage of the Glimpse app, it says that the goal of the project is to “experiment with other design directions and fix longstanding bugs.” That doesn’t sound too much out of the ordinary. However, if you start reading the project’s blog posts, a different image appears.

      According to the project’s first blog post, they created this fork because they did not like the GIMP name. According to the post, “A number of us disagree that the name of the software is suitable for all users, and after 13 years of the project refusing to budge on this have decided to fork!”

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Sorry Linux Gamers, The ‘Halo: The Master Chief Collection’ Situation Isn’t Looking Good

        “Halo MCC uses EasyAntiCheat,” writes redditor WhitestBunny. “Just wanted to let you guys know, as I got an Insider key. Incredibly disappointing. At least the menu screen runs great.”

        A report on ProtonDB (possibly from the same user) categorizes the game as “Borked.”

        Though it’s a widely accepted tool to prevent hacking and cheating, Easy Anti-Cheat (EAC) has been the bane of Linux gamers. It’s what consistently stops an otherwise playable Windows game dead in its tracks when running through Wine or Steam Proton. There are dozens of developers and at least 100+ games that implement EAC, including Fortnite and The Division 2.

        There may be a bright side to all this, though. Eventually. With Valve’s continuing efforts to get more games running under Proton (a compatibility layer that lets gamers install and play Windows games inside the Steam for Linux client), it’s also working on a solution for this very problem.

      • Valve’s New Version Of Steam Proton For Linux Gives Game Controllers What They Deserve

        The other notable addition is D9VK (currently on version 0.20), which translates DirectX 9 to Vulkan. The Vulkan graphics API is Linux-friendly, and the foundation of Proton is being able to “interpret” Windows-exclusive graphics API DirectX to Vulkan. Something it’s getting increasingly good at! This is exactly how we can now play so many titles through Steam Play on Linux, such as Shadow of the Tomb Raider, No Man’s Sky, Monster Hunter World and literally thousands more Windows-exclusive games.

        This is hugely important since many popular games on Windows use DirectX 9, which potentially opens the door to an even larger library playable via Steam Proton as D9VK matures.

      • Steam Play Proton 4.11-3 is out, big changes for gamepads and new D9VK

        Valve and CodeWeavers continue pushing Linux gaming along with another release of Proton for Steam Play with 4.11-3.

        The biggest change here seems to be for gamepads. Proton will no longer emulate them all as if they were Xbox controllers, instead games will access them directly. So DualShock 4 (PS4) gamepads, fighting pads and more should behave more like they do on Windows.

        fsync (the experimental replacement for esync) also saw some improvements to hangs and crashes, as well as gaining configurable spin count. This new config ability they say might help performance but it’s disabled by default.

      • BuyDRM Releases The KeyOS MultiKey Server For Linux With Multi-DRM Support
      • Techland update Dying Light again with a new enemy and new dockets to come

        Dying Light, easily the best Zombie game I’ve ever played continues getting better years after release with Techland pushing out a new update for their 2015 hit.

        A new type of infected has been spotted, a “Silver Hazmat” Zombie which is the more deadly variation of the normal Gas Tank Zombie. Damn, those are annoying enough when I accidentally hit the tank as it explodes and then they all come running.

      • Co-op submarine sim Barotrauma makes hosting games easier plus a Karma and Traitor system added

        Co-op submarine survival sim Barotrauma has a big update out, hopefully making it easier to host games and dealing with nuisance players with some griefing moderation tools. Note: You can see some initial thoughts we had on it here.

        You should no longer have to fudge around with opening ports, as the in-game hosting option now actually uses Steam Networking. Not only does it make hosting easier, it also now allows you to join people from your Steam friends list.

      • Conquest Mode for the single-player FPS Ravenfield is finally going to make an appearance

        Ravenfield, the fun single-player FPS from SteelRaven7 is finally going to get the Conquest game mode and it sounds like it could be quite interesting.

        In the Conquest Mode, your main objective is to capture the enemy HQ tile. To do so, you need to work your way through different nodes on a big map. Each of these nodes will result in a first-person battle and once you capture a node it can give you resources like money for equipment, research points and production for your troops.

      • Freakout: Calamity TV Show, an intense top-down shooter that’s like a modern Smash TV

        Freakout: Calamity TV Show is one we missed here at GamingOnLinux, an intense top-down shooter that takes a big inspiration from the classic Smash TV.

        They don’t name Smash TV as a reference but it’s pretty clear, they do say it was inspired by “old school arcade games and more recent Die & Retry shooters”. The idea of Freakout: Calamity TV Show is that you’re in a world filled with mutants and killing machines, forced to star and fight for your life in a brutal reality to show.

      • Eliza from Zachtronics is a Visual Novel that’s worth your time

        Eliza, not the usual type of game Zachtronics are known for but their puzzle games are always great so with the recent release of their Visual Novel game Eliza I was pretty curious about it.

      • The emulation and media player front-end RetroArch just had a huge new release

        Today is a big day for the emulation scene, as RetroArch have officially announced a big new release. While it’s used for other things, RetroArch is most noted for making emulation a bit easier.

        Something big that finally made it in is support for real CD-ROM functionality. They say it’s far from finished and is very much drive and OS-dependent, with Linux currently being more “fleshed out of the two platforms so far”. This feature currently supports these cores: Genesis Plus GX, Mednafen/Beetle PSX, Mednafen/Beetle Saturn, Mednafen/Beetle PCE/Fast and 4DO.

      • Invisigun Reloaded, a revamp of Invisigun Heroes where everyone is invisible

        After launching back in 2017, Invisigun Heroes had a great idea and some really fun gameplay with invisible characters but there just wasn’t enough to give it a healthy online player-base. Enter Invisigun Reloaded with a revamped single-player campaign.

      • D9VK 0.20 ‘Frog Cookie’ is out further advancing this great D3D9 to Vulkan layer

        Developer Joshua Ashton has just today released another build of D9VK code-named ‘Frog Cookie’, further polishing this D3D9 to Vulkan layer that was forked from DXVK.

        Included in this release are multiple performance improvements, new fixed function support, multiple new D3D9 features added in and supported including one needed for Undertale, along with little something for Unreal Engine 3 titles so hopefully they should work better. Plenty of bugs were eaten up for this release too—something about Frogs?

      • D9VK 0.20 Offers Performance Improvements, New Features For Direct3D 9 Over Vulkan

        Joshua Ashton has released D9VK 0.20 “Frog Cookie” as the newest version of this project mapping Direct3D 9 over Vulkan to help improve the Windows gaming on Linux experience.

        As is commonly the case for these different Direct3D over Vulkan translation layers, D9VK 0.20 brings more performance improvements. There are various optimizations, no longer using device local memory for shader constant buffers, and other performance improvements.

      • Strength Of The SWORD ULTIMATE no longer coming to Linux after the successful Kickstarter

        After a successful Kickstarter that planned Linux support and now being released on Steam, the developer of Strength Of The SWORD ULTIMATE has issued a post about platforms no longer happening.

        I spoke to the developer personally after a comment was posted on their Kickstarter a few days ago, noting that they were unsure if the Linux and Mac versions were going to happen. Since this was buried in a comment on a Kickstarter post, I wanted to find out what was going on. The developer explained the situation, so I advised them to be open and honest and make a proper announcement on it.

      • OpenRA has a huge new testing release out with savegame support

        OpenRA, the open source game engine for classic RTS games like Command & Conquer, Red Alert and Dune 2000 has a brand new big testing release available.

        This includes a bunch of features previously teased and it’s quite an exciting one!

      • The creative action-platformer DASH where you make levels has a new lower price

        After multiple updates and not too many sales, the developer of DASH: Danger Action Speed Heroes has decided to make the game a bit cheaper in the hopes of attracting more players.

        Originally priced $17.99 when it entered Early Access in July, they’ve slashed it down without any discounts to $14.99. Not a huge difference but with competition so vast with other games doing things in a very similar way (like Million to One Hero), perhaps this will help.

      • Resolutiion, a very stylish fast-paced action-adventure made with Godot now has a teaser trailer

        Resolutiion, developed with the FOSS game engine Godot Engine is a very promising and stylish fast-paced action-adventure coming to Linux.

        If you missed it, one of the team behind Resolutiion actually wrote an article for us about developing on Linux. That was way back in February last year and progress has continue on since then.

      • Hexa Trains, an economic sim based on planets made from hexagons to release in October

        Developed by Game Studio Abraham Stolk who previously made The Little Crane That Could, Hexa Trains is an economic sim that looks rather interesting with planets full of hexagons.

        The developer actually tried to gather funding on Kickstarter, which sadly failed to be successful but they’ve managed to continue developing it towards a release. Someone else I find interesting, is that they do Linux first with the game ported to Windows using their own SDL2 and OpenGL game engine.

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • Xfce 4.16 Gets Underway, Plans New Release Next Year

      And there’s some good news: it will arrive much sooner than you, I, or any other fan of this minimally-minded desktop environment could’ve imagined.

      “We want to certainly stick closer to our release model (which prescribes a 6-month release cycle) this time and go for roughly a year to get to our next stable release,” says Xfce release manager Simon Steinbeiss.

      The development of Xfce 4.14 roughly 4 years from planning to release — hey, it had a lot of Gtk3 porting to do — so word of a shorter timeframe for the 4.16 cycle is very welcome indeed.

    • Xfce 4.16 Desktop Environment Expected in Early 2020 with Minor Improvements

      More than four years in the works, the Xfce 4.14 desktop environment hit the streets two weeks ago, on August 12th, 2019, bringing lots of new features and improvements, such as HiDPI, VSync, and XInput2 support for the window manager, and better compatibility with Nvidia proprietary graphics drivers.

      It also features support for RandR’s primary monitor functionality, hybrid sleep support in the session manager, window grouping in the tasklist plugin, a brand-new settings dialog for managing color profiles, as well as support for saving and restoring entire multi-display configurations.

    • The Enlightenment Desktop Scores Its First Major Release in 2 Years

      A brand new version of Enlightenment is now available to download.

      Enlightenment 0.23 (which is also referred to simple as E23) is the first update to this desktop shell-come-composited X11 window manager-come-Wayland compositor for almost two years.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • The Many Features and Improvements of the KDE Plasma 5.17 Desktop Environment

        Long-time KDE developer Nate Graham shares in his latest blog posts (here and here) some of the new features and improvements coming to the KDE Plasma 5.17 desktop environment, starting with the ability for GTK3 apps with CSD (Client-side decorations) and headerbars to respect the active KDE color scheme when using the Breeze GTK theme.

        Also new in KDE Plasma 5.17 is support for the zwp_linux_dmabuf_v1 interface on Wayland in the KWin window manager, which should offer better performance and lower memory usage, the ability to set a maximum volume that is lower than 100 percent, along with audio feedback support for the volume slider when you finished dragging it.

      • Plasma desktop with global menu, app title and panel buttons

        Several weeks ago, I wrote my article slash guide on how to style the Plasma desktop to appear somewhat like a Mac. It wasn’t a perfect one-to-one transformation, but it was sufficiently pretty and elegant. Then I got me thinking. How far can I take this experiment? How about full Unity?

        Again, this ain’t a new topic, and I have already made the Plasma instance on my Asus Vivobook, which used to run Trusty and have since been upgraded to Bionic, look somewhat like the Unity desktop – in addition to the actual Unity desktop, that is. Not a complete change, though. And that’s my next objective. However, this is a rather lengthy and non-trivial topic, so I’ll start with something simpler. Let’s first see how you can have integrated buttons for maximized windows and application titles in the top panel in Plasma.

      • Day 92 – The last day

        After the second coding period, I was in the begin of the backend development. I’ll list and explain what was made in this period. After GSoC, I’ll still work on Khipu to move it out from Beta soon, then, I’ll fix the bugs and try to implement the things that are missing and new features.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Millan Castro Vilariño: GSoC: Final report

        Google Summer of Code 2019 has come to an end. This post is part of my final submission. It summarizes my contribution to Pitivi, providing links to my work.

        My proposal consisted on a interval time system with different applications for Pitivi video editor. Originally, one of the applications would be to be able to set up markers at selected positions in the timeline, to store user metada.

        After the first discussions it was clear that the core of the whole problem would be to implement the markers abstraction in GES (GStreamer Editing Services). They could store the information about position and duration needed. This was the base of my work.

      • Final Report for Google SoC’19

        The ultimate goal of my project was to redesign and redevelop the GTK’s official website https://gtk.org by providing it a design that follows current trends and content updation that really matters to the users and developers by using modern static site generators. This website uses Gitlab CI for deployment purposes. The project is a major milestone belonging to the release of GTK 4.0.

  • Distributions

    • Fedora

    • Debian Family

      • Neptune 6.0 Linux Distro Released, It’s Based on Debian GNU/Linux 10 “Buster”

        Dubbed “Spike,” the Neptune 6.0 release is based on the Debian GNU/Linux 10 “Buster” operating system and powered by the Linux 4.19.37 kernel, which is patched with all the necessary hardware support for latest devices. It also ships with the KDE Plasma 5.14.5 desktop environment, which brings various improvements and new features over previous releases.

        “Plasma Discover is able to upgrade hardware firmware now and features a more modern and polished look and feel,” said the devs in the release announcement. “New improved desktop effects and handling of compositing in the window manager KWin result in a better more fluid user experience. The lockscreen is now invoked when changing users.”

      • man-db 2.8.7

        I’ve released man-db 2.8.7 (announcement, NEWS), and uploaded it to Debian unstable.

        There are a few things of note that I wanted to talk about here. Firstly, I made some further improvements to the seccomp sandbox originally introduced in 2.8.0. I do still think it’s correct to try to confine subprocesses this way as a defence against malicious documents, but it’s also been a pretty rough ride for some users, especially those who use various kinds of VPNs or antivirus programs that install themselves using /etc/ld.so.preload and cause other programs to perform additional system calls. As well as a few specific tweaks, a recent discussion on LWN reminded me that it would be better to make seccomp return EPERM rather than raising SIGSYS, since that’s easier to handle gracefully: in particular, it fixes an odd corner case related to glibc’s nscd handling.

      • The status of WebKitGTK in Debian

        Like all other major browser engines, WebKit is a project that evolves very fast with releases every few weeks containing new features and security fixes.

        WebKitGTK is available in Debian under the webkit2gtk name, and we are doing our best to provide the most up-to-date packages for as many users as possible.

        I would like to give a quick summary of the status of WebKitGTK in Debian: what you can expect and where you can find the packages.

      • Jonathan Dowland: Debian hiatus

        Back In July I decided to take a (minimum) six months hiatus from involvement in the Debian project. This is for a number of reasons, but I completely forgot to write about it publically. So here we are.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu and ZFS on Linux [and how to get it right]

            In some ways, ZFS on Linux still falls short from the ZFS on Solaris. It is fully ingrained in the Solaris ecosystem, from the boot environment all the way to the graphical user experience. You could even manage your snapshots and more from GNOME. Adding root support for ZFS is a wonderful next step for the Ubuntu distribution. However, I am more intrigued to see what comes next in the integration of ZFS from within the Ubuntu operating environment.

          • Ubuntu & Debian Moving Along With Plans For Removing Python 2 Packages

            With Debian 10 “Buster” out the door and Python 2 hitting end-of-life at the end of the year, Debian is working on their process of removing Python 2 packages that don’t get ported to Python 3 and Ubuntu is working on similar action for their Python 2 packages not found in upstream Debian.

            Debian 10 will continue offering Python 2 support but looking ahead to Debian 11 “Bullseye” and Ubuntu 20.04 LTS is where each distribution is looking to respectively do away with their older support and just focus on Python 3. With just a little more than five months to go until Python 2 will officially be retired, they are working on transitioning capable packages over to using Python 3 where able and for unmaintained code comes down to removing them when there are no reverse dependencies.

          • Ubuntu 18.04.3 LTS Makes It Easier to Patch the Linux Kernel without Rebooting

            Powered by the Linux 5.0 kernel series from Ubuntu 19.04 (Disco Dingo), Ubuntu 18.04.3 LTS is the third maintenance updates to the long-term supported Ubuntu 18.04 LTS operating system series, which is supported by Canonical with security and software updates for at least five years, until 2023.

            Apart from the updated kernel and graphics stacks, the Ubuntu 18.04.3 LTS release also introduces enhanced Livepatch desktop integration to make it easier for users of the GNOME desktop environment to patch the Linux kernel without rebooting their systems.

          • RaspEX Project Brings Ubuntu 19.10 “Eoan Ermine” with LXDE to the Raspberry Pi 4

            While Ubuntu 19.10 “Eoan Ermine” is not out yet, RaspEX Build 190807 is here based on it and designed to run on the latest Raspberry Pi 4 single-board computer, which comes with impressive hardware, including a Quad-Core 1.5GHz 64-bit ARM Cortex-A72 CPU, up to 4GB RAM, as well as on-board dual-band 802.11 b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5.0 (BLE).

            Apart from being based on the upcoming Ubuntu 19.10 “Eoan Ermine” operating system, due for release on October 17th, the new RaspEX release also includes packages from the recently released Debian GNU/Linux 10 “Buster” operating system series and the open-source Linaro software for ARM SoCs, and it’s powered by the Linux 4.19.63 kernel.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Source is more than licenses

    A few weeks ago I was honored to deliver the keynote of the Open Source Awards in Edinburgh. I decided to talk about a subject that I wanted to talk about for quite some time but never found the right opportunity for. There is no video recording of my talk but several people asked me for a summary. So I decided to use some spare time in a plane to summarize it in a blog post.

    I started to use computers and write software in the early 80s when I was 10 years old. This was also the time when Richard Stallman wrote the 4 freedoms, started the GNU project, founded the FSF and created the GPL. His idea was that users and developers should be in control of the computer they own which requires Free Software. At the time the computing experience was only the personal computer in front of you and the hopefully Free and Open Source software running on it.

    The equation was (Personal Hardware) + (Free Software) = (Digital Freedom)

  • How to crack Open Source?

    Open Source has become a big thing, now everyone heard the term, and know about it (in their own way). It became so popular, that Indian college students now want to crack it like any other entrance examination (to MBA or M.Tech course).

    While discussing the topic with Saptak, he gave some excellent tips on how to crack it. Do these with your own risk though, we can not guarantee the success or outcome.

  • DeepMind details OpenSpiel, a collection of AI training tools for video games

    Reinforcement learning, the AI training technique that’s brought to fruition systems capable of defeating world poker champions and guiding self-driving cars, isn’t the simplest thing in the world to wrangle. That’s particularly true in the gaming domain, where cutting-edge approaches sometimes require bespoke tools that aren’t publicly available.

    Fortunately, that’s changing. In a paper recently published on the preprint server Arxiv.org, researchers at Alphabet’s DeepMind describe a game-oriented reinforcement learning framework dubbed OpenSpiel. At its core, it’s a collection of environments and algorithms for research in general reinforcement learning and search and planning in games, with tools to analyze learning dynamics and other common evaluation metrics.

    “The purpose of OpenSpiel is to promote general multiagent reinforcement learning across many different game types, in a similar way as general game-playing but with a heavy emphasis on learning and not in competition form,” wrote the researchers. “We hope that OpenSpiel could have a similar effect on general [reinforcement learning] in games as the Atari Learning Environment has had on single-agent [reinforcement learning].”

  • FFmpeg Lands OpenCL-Powered Video Stabilization Filter

    FFmpeg has landed a “deshake” OpenCL filter to its code-base to serve for video stabilization support.

    The newest OpenCL-using component to FFmpeg is this video stabilization filter to try to remove the shakiness from any video recordings.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • NetBSD Made Progress Thanks To GSoC In Its March Towards Steam Support

      Ultimately the goal is to get Valve’s Steam client running on NetBSD using their Linux compatibility layer while the focus the past few months with Google Summer of Code 2019 were supporting the necessary DRM ioctls for allowing Linux software running on NetBSD to be able to tap accelerated graphics support.

      Student developer Surya P spent the summer working on compat_netbsd32 DRM interfaces to allow Direct Rendering Manager using applications running under their Linux compatibility layer.


    • GNU Spotlight with Mike Gerwitz: 15 new GNU releases in August!

      15 new GNU releases in the last month (as of August 26, 2019):


  • Programming/Development

    • Why Spinnaker matters to CI/CD

      It takes many tools to deliver an artifact into production. Tools for building and testing, tools for creating a deployable artifact like a container image, tools for authentication and authorization, tools for maintaining infrastructure, and more. Seamlessly integrating these tools into a workflow can be transformative for an engineering culture, but doing it yourself can be a tall order.

      As organizations mature, both the number of tools and the number of people managing them tend to grow, often leading to confusing complexity and fragmentation. A bespoke continuous delivery (CD) process may work at a smaller scale, but it becomes increasingly challenging to maintain and understand. It can take a long time for new engineers to discover and sort through all the tools needed to deploy even the simplest of changes.

    • A dozen ways to learn Python

      Python is one of the most popular programming languages on the planet. It’s embraced by developers and makers everywhere. Most Linux and MacOS computers come with a version of Python pre-installed, and now even a few Windows computer vendors are installing Python too.

      Maybe you’re late to the party, and you want to learn but don’t know where to turn. These 12 resources will get you started and well on your way to proficiency with Python.

    • Excellent Free Books to Learn Pascal

      Pascal is an imperative and procedural programming language designed in the late 1960s by Niklaus Wirth to teach structured programming using subprograms called procedures and functions. The language is a direct descendant from ALGOL 60, and takes programming components from ALGOL 68 and ALGOL-W. Pascal was named in honour after the French mathematician, physicist, and philosopher Blaise Pascal who helped to pioneer computer development.

      Pascal is a popular teaching language to introduce structured programming techniques to students. There are many benefits from this type of programming such as code reusability, partitioning code into readable modules and procedures, and help programmers work together on code simultaneously. The language also lends itself to teaching with its easy syntax. Pascal is a strongly typed language, procedural, case insensitive, with extensive error checking. It has built in data types such as arrays, records, files and sets. There are also user defined data types. Pascal supports object oriented programming.

    • Beware the developer with time on his hands and dreams of Disney

      Reader “Ivor” was working for an up and coming US trucking company that was so up and coming that it had realised it needed 24-hour programming support to keep things ticking over.

      Ivor explained, “A team was assembled to cover the second shift and a lone programmer volunteered to provide support for the midnight to eight AM shift.”

      He continued: “As with most support teams, sometimes things work the way they are supposed to and you sit around twiddling your thumbs.”

      Regular readers will be nodding their heads sagely at this point, suspecting what that solitary programmer got up to.

      “After reading all the available tech manuals, the third shift person took an interest in developing character-based graphics for the terminals on our IBM mid-range servers,” said Ivor, “he realized that you could move the images across the screen by rewriting the screen multiple times.”

      Animation on the terminals! Neat!

      Being a loyal employee, the programmer came up with an animation showing an image of a delivery truck with the company’s initials on it. The truck would rumble from one side of the screen to another.


  • 6 crucial tips for leading a cross-functional team

    Executive sponsors who care will make your work feel like you’re not swimming against the tide. Ideally, you’ll want a sponsor who understands your project’s importance to the organization—someone who can regularly motivate the team by demonstrating how this project delivers on the organization’s goals, and who will, in the process, celebrate and promote the successful work the team achieves.

    If your executive sponsor doesn’t look like this, then your first responsibility as a leader is to guide them to clarity. Using the open organization value of inclusivity, give your sponsor clear feedback that will help them identify the project’s priority. For you to be successful, your executive sponsor needs to clearly understand why they’re sponsoring this project and be willing to support it all the way to its completion. That means being prepared to commit some time after the project kick-off to receive updates, remind the team about why this project is important, and to celebrate success. Your duty is to help them understand this.

    Having this conversation with your executive sponsor might seem confrontational, but you’re actually stepping up to your role as leader by caring about the success of the project and all the people who will be involved. On a few projects in which I was involved, this step helped the executive sponsor see that they didn’t really need this project. Think of all the resources saved because the executive sponsor made that decision earlier rather than later.

  • Security

    • Security updates for Monday

      Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (firefox, libreoffice-still, nginx, nginx-mainline, and subversion), Debian (commons-beanutils, h2o, libapache2-mod-auth-openidc, libmspack, qemu, squid, and tiff), Fedora (kubernetes, libmodbus, nfdump, and nodejs), openSUSE (dkgpg, libTMCG, go1.12, neovim, python, qbittorrent, schismtracker, teeworlds, thunderbird, and zstd), and SUSE (go1.11, go1.12, python-SQLAlchemy, and python-Twisted).

    • #OSSummit: Linux Continues to Pay the Price for CPU Hardware Vulnerabilities – Infosecurity Magazine

      More than a year and a half ago, the world first learned of the Spectre and Meltdown attacks impacting Intel and other CPU vendors. The flood of somewhat related CPU hardware issues has continued since then as operating systems developers, including Linux kernel developers, have raced to keep pace with patching.

      In a keynote at the Open Source Summit in San Diego, California on August 22, Greg Kroah-Hartman, who maintains the stable Linux kernel, outlined the many new CPU hardware security challenges that Linux developers have faced in the past year, that extend far beyond just the original Spectre and Meltdown issues.

      Back in May 2019, researchers disclosed the MDS set of vulnerabilities impacting Intel and other CPU vendors. The MDS vulnerabilities include multiple specific issues carrying names such as RIDL, Fallout and Zombieload. Kroah-Hartman explained that the MDS issues are yet another class of Spectre and Meltdown related vulnerability found in CPUs.

Technology is Political

Posted in FUD at 3:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Free as in speech

Voting boxSummary: Why excluding politics from discussions about technology boils down to a set of lies, whose net effect is oppressive

THE longstanding denial that politics may belong in technology is the fault of people intolerant of opposing views. The risk of having to defend one’s views or the heartache associated with a — gasp! — open debate is what deters political discussions in technical contexts. However:

  • Digital surveillance is political. It’s enabled by political parties.
  • Back doors are political. Spies and militaries demand these and when things go awry politicians never hold them accountable.
  • Censorship in platforms is political. Technology companies block particular people and organisations (sometimes whole countries) based on politicians’ ‘taste’.
  • Embargoes and bans on ‘export’ of particular software is political. Foreign policies, not technical considerations, are responsible for it.
  • Political figures enter technology companies and organisations like the Linux Foundation. They use these to advance their political goals
  • There are more examples along similar lines, but the above might suffice towards making a point. Wikipedia (which is also political) defines politics as “a set of activities associated with the governance of a country or an area. It involves making decisions that apply to members of a group.” It’s a management thing. So to say “politics” is almost like management. “No politics” means “no talk about the management” (or governance).

The bottom line is, when people herald that some mailing list or forum should be a politics-free zone they basically seek to muzzle people whom they potentially don’t agree with. They don’t want to be in a position to confront issues that are potentially, inherently even, political in nature. It limits the breadth of expression or speech, for instance pointing out one’s conflicts of interest.

“Software is political. Hardware is increasingly political too (there are built-in restrictions and sometimes back doors). Technical stuff as a whole is very political.”Techrights never shied away from politics; our daily links are full of it, our IRC channels don’t restrict that (this is abundant, but we get along at the end). We realise this may mean that we can alienate some readers. Earlier this month we wrote about people who mistake links for endorsements.

This is loosely related to what we wrote two days ago about diversity politics; they’re often likely to be leveraged by those in positions of power to silence those who are not.

Software is political. Hardware is increasingly political too (there are built-in restrictions and sometimes back doors). Technical stuff as a whole is very political. Be very suspicious of projects or groups that ban rather than transcend politics. We’re not talking about death threats; those aren't politics and hardly protected speech either (there are clear laws against these).

Image credit: Angelus, CC BY-SA 3.0

Computers Becoming Disposable

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Hardware, Microsoft, Windows at 1:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

ZimmerSummary: People’s control over their own computers is being taken away; the model of rental better describes many of today’s purchases

IT HAS long been the case that computers are sold with an operating system rather than tested for a variety of them and handed over for the user to install one (of the user’s choosing). The bundling of operation systems has been an enabler of Microsoft’s monopoly, which pursued tying Windows to hardware and called everything else “naked PC” or “piracy”.

But there may be an even bigger problem, exacerbated in part by so-called ‘smart’phones, tablets and things such as Chromebooks. There seems to be no obligtation whatsoever to keep them updated for more than a few years; after that the users are left unable to upgrade the operating system and installing something else is technically difficult. There’s the expectation that this hardware will then be treated as ‘obsolete’ or “End of Life”, only for a new machine to be purchased to replace perfectly fine hardware. Of course the more technical people might choose to install GNU/Linux or otherwise deal with a critically vulnerable and out-of-date operating system that was never designed for security anyway.

“…there may be an even bigger problem, exacerbated in part by so-called ‘smart’phones, tablets and things such as Chromebooks.”What is Chrome OS anyway? Built on top of GNU/Linux or based on Gentoo, Chrome OS is designed to (mostly) spy on users and when it speaks of “Linux” it’s mostly just reinventing the wheel, allowing users to get back what they’d otherwise get on a platform such as Gentoo, including free updates, upgrades, maybe rolling releases.

Chromebooks were traditionally used to exchange the data invasion for subsidies that made these laptops somewhat cheaper, but at the higher end this is not the case. Announced yesterday, for instance, was this grossly overpriced product:

Google today announced a slew of Chrome Enterprise updates, including a faster Google Admin console and managed Linux environments. The company also unveiled the first Chromebook Enterprise laptops: Dell’s Latitude 5300 for $819 and Latitude 5400 for $699.

In August 2017, Google launched Chrome Enterprise for $50 per managed Chromebook per year. The subscription gives Chromebooks enterprise features like advanced security protections and fleet management. Today’s updates are Google’s latest push to bring Chrome OS to more businesses.

How long before the users are alerted that these are no longer supported and another expensive machine must be purchased to comply with business regulations?

“My laptop’s age is 10 and modern distributions can easily be installed on it without having to tinker with bootloaders, BIOS and such.”This is sadly becoming somewhat of a ‘norm’ — a normalcy wherein machines become ‘disposable’ even when they’re very expensive (almost a thousand bucks). There’s an envionmental impact.

My laptop’s age is 10 and modern distributions can easily be installed on it without having to tinker with bootloaders, BIOS and such.

The idea that Chrome OS can break Microsoft or end a Windows monopoly is a convenient one. But what are we striving to replace Windows with if not something that’s based on Linux but offers no freedom (libre)?

As somebody put it in a comment yesterday:

The battle is won, but the war is lost…

Everything runs on OSS these days, but the Libre part of it is missing more than ever. The biggest issue I see is the issue of “ownership”.
Physical ownership: I own my phone, my car, my house.
Virtual ownership: I own my data.

Streaming services are a case in point. You rent everything for $xx a month. If an actor becomes a persona non grata, and data with them is scrubbed (Think the Kevin Spacey situation, and, per events in march 2019, maybe upcoming with Michael Jackson), you don’t have access to it anymore.
Another case in point is Amazon’s removal of purchased e-books of 1984 from Kindle devices (in 2009, if memory serves).
You can’t (easily) rewrite a book purchased in paper form. You can rewrite an ebook.

The formula (Personal Hardware) + (Free Software) = (Digital Freedom) is more important than ever, but we do need to focus more on the Personal hardware part, and I agree it is part of a greater issue…

Control over one’s own hardware (that one pays for) is being diminished over time and with it the expectation of ownership as opposed to rent. We’re becoming mere tenants of what we’re paying a full price for.


Links 26/8/2019: Linux 5.3 RC6

Posted in News Roundup at 3:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • TenFourFox FPR16b1 available

        FPR16 got delayed because I really tried very hard to make some progress on our two biggest JavaScript deficiencies, the infamous issues 521 (async and await) and 533 (this is undefined). Unfortunately, not only did I make little progress on either, but the speculative fix I tried for issue 533 turned out to be the patch that unsettled the optimized build and had to be backed out. There is some partial work on issue 521, though, including a fully working parser patch. The problem is plumbing this into the browser runtime which is ripe for all kinds of regressions and is not currently implemented (instead, for compatibility, async functions get turned into a bytecode of null throw null return, essentially making any call to an async function throw an exception because it wouldn’t have worked in the first place).

        This wouldn’t seem very useful except that effectively what the whole shebang does is convert a compile-time error into a runtime warning, such that other functions that previously might not have been able to load because of the error can now be parsed and hopefully run. With luck this should improve the functionality of sites using these functions even if everything still doesn’t fully work, as a down payment hopefully on a future implementation. It may not be technically possible but it’s a start.

  • BSD


    • GNU Guile 2.9.4 (beta) released

      We are delighted to announce GNU Guile 2.9.4, the fourth beta release in preparation for the upcoming 3.0 stable series. See the release announcement for full details and a download link.

      This release enables inlining of references to top-level definitions within a compilation unit, speeding up some programs by impressive amounts. It also improves compilation of floating-point routines like sin, implements the Ghuloum/Dybvig “Fixing Letrec (reloaded)” algorithm, and allows mixed definitions and expressions within lexical contours, as is the case at the top level. Try it out, it’s good times!

      GNU Guile 2.9.4 is a beta release, and as such offers no API or ABI stability guarantees. Users needing a stable Guile are advised to stay on the stable 2.2 series.

      Experience reports with GNU Guile 2.9.4, good or bad, are very welcome; send them to guile-devel@gnu.org. If you know you found a bug, please do send a note to bug-guile@gnu.org. Happy hacking!


  • Security

    • VMware Is Exploring Reducing Meltdown/PTI Overhead With Deferred Flushes

      VMware engineer Nadav Amit who previously pursued “Optpolines” and other possible performance optimizations in light of Spectre / Meltdown vulnerabilities is now proposing patches for deferring PTI flushes to help with addressing the performance overhead caused by Meltdown.

      Kernel page table isolation (PTI) for mitigating Meltdown caused a sizable hit in affected workloads while now Nadav is hoping that improving the behavior around flushes could help in offsetting some of that slowdown.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Amazon wildfires: Full scale of rainforest devastation is impossible to tell

      It was only after the wrath of world leaders was unleashed on Friday that the Brazilian president responded with meaningful action.

      Initially, Jair Bolsonaro denied the very existence of the fires – and since then, Brazilians have listened to days of arguments about who had started them.

      Now President Jair Bolsonaro has authorised the mobilisation of 43,000 troops to try and put them out.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Best Email Services For Privacy Concerned People

      Email services like Gmail, Outlook, and a couple of other email service providers are quite popular. Well, they’re definitely secure in a way – but not necessarily private (i.e they do not respect your privacy with utmost care).

      Maybe, you want to share something confidential and you want it to be well-protected. Or, maybe, you just want to talk about Area 51? (shh, CIA wants to know your location!) Or you just don’t want to the service providers to read your emails to serve you ads.

      No matter what. If you are concerned about the privacy and security of your email conversation and want them to be as private as possible – this article shall help you find the best email services for the job.

Covering What Other Sites Fail to Cover or Do Not Want to Cover

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents at 3:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Silently but steadily Microsoft is ‘taking over’ more parts of GNU/Linux, its direct competition; this is a problem that must not be ignored anymore

It is almost the end of summer and the fight against 35 U.S.C. § 101/Alice (SCOTUS) has not gotten very far, has it? The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has carried on with Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) inter partes reviews (IPRs), we still closely follow Federal Circuit outcomes (in our daily links) and it’s more of the same, Coons et al haven’t made much more progress with their bill (also in our daily links) and about a week ago an Internet troll who is also a patent troll lost his defamation case (we did not write about as it would feed the troll, twofold).

“Nowadays the Foundation is outsourcing almost everything to Microsoft (GitHub) and actively praising Microsoft.”It seems fair to say, judging by the tone at IAM and Watchtroll, that they too don’t expect anything major to change. They’ve come to the realisation that outside China and Europe it is very difficult to pursue software patents. In Europe it’s hard to enforce these in courts, just like in the US, but they’re being granted anyway.

The above observation motivated a focus shift last Christmas, a couple of weeks before Iancu pretended that he could just supersede judges (he cannot); that move from him hasn’t yielded any significant, noticeable changes, certainly not in courtrooms (which actively dismissed his agenda). As for the EPO, things continue to get worse, but courts stand in the way (impeding enforcement of European Patents) and the UPC is nowhere on the radar. Even if miraculously enough the complaint in Germany got dismissed (which we doubt), the German government would still not ratify; the UPCA is just a waste of paper.

“It’s something that we probably should have done years ago, but the urgency wasn’t the same.”Earlier this year, owing to sources, we began an investigation of the Linux Foundation and offered pointers of interest. It’s something that we probably should have done years ago, but the urgency wasn’t the same. Nowadays the Foundation is outsourcing almost everything to Microsoft (GitHub) and actively praising Microsoft.

Longtime readers have long been consulted about changes (to the site, to its focus and so on), so it’s time to request some feedback (E-mail or IRC may do). We’re thinking that, as per the past few days, there’s room for expansion along the lines of tech rights (like our name), such as privacy. Additionally, we may carry on increasing our GNU/Linux focus. At what expense? Not EPO coverage. We’re making big contributions in that area and the underlying issues there have not been addressed or resolved. It’s more likely that we’ll spend even less time covering US patent affairs and instead ‘shelve’ news to that effect in our daily links. Much as we hoped last Christmas, all these efforts to turn things around (Iancu, Coons, PTAB leadership changes) did not impact the legal certainty associated with software patents. When this site started back in 2006 it was an entirely and profoundly different reality. Software patents certainly did have ‘teeth’ in court and quite a few were used against GNU/Linux (we’ve documented lawsuits against Red Hat). That’s hardly the case anymore. It’s actually a lot safer to write both Free software and proprietary software without fear of being sued in the US (in case of a frivolous lawsuit PTAB can be petitioned). Knowing that the UPC is likely a dead (for good) project, the same is true in Europe.

“…how much longer can we pretend that it’s OK for GNU/Linux components, projects and sometimes even entire distros to be hosted by Microsoft’s GitHub?”Our coverage of GNU/Linux matters/affairs will revolve around original and unexplored aspects. So for instance, if there’s a new distro release and it can be mentioned by means of linking, we’ll leave that ‘relegated’ or ‘confined’ to the daily links. There’s no point writing about an event which is already properly covered by the originator/s; we can link instead. A lot of effort in today’s media (sadly enjoying the lion’s share of readers’ time) goes into merely repeating known facts, such as a distro being released; unless there’s a backstory or something special to add, what’s the point/purpose of merely repeating? Expanding the reach and audience of an announcement? Probably. Tux Machines can do that without necessarily writing long and detailed articles. Social Control Media can do the same. No doubt distro releases are important (much work associated with each such release). But that still leaves much more important aspects unexplored. The unturned stones are where the future of GNU/Linux gets determined. For instance, how much longer can we pretend that it’s OK for GNU/Linux components, projects and sometimes even entire distros to be hosted by Microsoft’s GitHub? Almost nobody talks about it. Certainly not blogs or media sites. Why?


The War on Privacy Escalated

Posted in Law at 10:37 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

No encryption

Summary: People’s ability to behave freely and speak freely (without scrutiny from above) is running out of time; the tracking of people’s every word, movement and thought is a tyrannical pivot many are conditioned to accept as “necessary” even though those standing to gain the most are perpetrators of abuse at higher levels

EACH time I travel it seems like counters (manned by operators) gradually vanish, cash payments are not allowed (or discouraged), ‘free’ Wi-Fi means bandwidth in exchange for very aggressive spying and transport is closely tracked, usually through phones. We’re supposed to believe that this is done for our convenience or for collective security, yet there’s no evidence to support that. Now that we’re in Ireland it initially seemed like surveillance was decreased somewhat, but we soon saw cameras in ‘smart’ stations in the streets and Wi-Fi is prohibitive unless or until one provides a lot of personal details. Sure, one can provide fake details, but that’s not the point.

“The common tale told by mainstream media is that privacy is only important to drug dealers, child molesters and terrorists. Nobody wishes to be classified as an apologist of these groups.”In our daily links we’ve had a section dedicated to privacy for nearly a decade. It’s a digital rights or a tech rights issue. Things have gotten considerably worse since then, despite Snowden’s leaks, Cablegate and so on. It’s like no matter the extent of public backlash — while it actually lasts — spies and spying corporations carry on as if no controversy even exists and they just need to label their surveillance operations “confidential” and “secure” (thanks for that, Linux Foundation).

The relative absence of resistance to this war on everyone’s privacy (treating law-abiding citizens like potential/closeted/wannabe bombers) motivates us to write more on the subject of privacy, as we did yesterday in the early morning. What we include in our daily links is insufficient and unoriginal. One way to tout the advantages of Free software is to speak of the privacy impact — an aspect which sadly enough the EFF barely mentioned (it continued to back proprietary software) and the FSF has never exploited much. Surveillance does not only harm liberty, discredit the governments and corrode people’s dignity; it also helps shield powerful/well-connected criminals from scrutiny, e.g. by identifying who speaks about them (and who with). Surveillance is all about control. It is a form of oppression. Apathy towards it is typically a product of indoctrination. The common tale told by mainstream media is that privacy is only important to drug dealers, child molesters and terrorists. Nobody wishes to be classified as an apologist of these groups.

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