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Links 4/10/2020: FreeBSD 12.2 RC1, MyKDE Introduced

Posted in News Roundup at 6:54 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • TUXEDO announce the Ryzen 7 4700U powered Aura 15

        After a new AMD Ryzen powered Linux laptop for work and some gaming too? Germany company TUXEDO are back with another announcement with the Aura 15. Using the latest generation AMD Ryzen 7 4700U you get access to 8 fantastic cores of power.

        TUXEDO have announced quite a lot over the last year, as they continue expanding like the Polaris 15 / 17 and the absolute monster with the TUXEDO Book XUX7. This Aura 15 is however a much cheaper offering than a lot of their other choices this year while still providing a good bit of power for a range of needs.

    • Google

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • LBRY Keeps Getting Better As An Alternative To YouTube

        When I joined LBRY at the beginning of 2020, I never could have imagined the kind of growth that the platform would receive. In just a few months, there are so many more creators and viewers on LBRY, the website has undergone some improvements, and the desktop and mobile apps keep better.

      • Tmux Is Still Bloat: Use DVTM For Terminal Multiplexing

        In this 2nd part of tmux is bloat I show you the partner of Abduco called dvtm, unlike Abduco which was a standalone terminal sesion manager, this tool is a standalone terminal multiplexer and combined you can get most of what you’ll want to have from something like Tmux, obviously it’s not perfect but if you don’t need the extra features this might be a good choice.

    • Kernel Space

      • EXT4 Has A Big Optimization For Linux 5.10 For File Overwrites

        The EXT4 file-system with the upcoming Linux 5.10 kernel has an optimization yielding big benefits for file overwrites in some circumstances.

        With the EXT4 iomap code used in direct access (DAX) and direct I/O (DIO) modes there is an optimization for checking whether blocks are already allocated. In these cases of the blocks already having been allocated (hence an overwrite), the mapping information can be returned immediately and for multi-threaded overwrite requests there is an especially big performance benefit — again, assuming you are using DAX/DIO such as on persistent memory with the likes of Intel Optane DCPMM or even simulating persistent memory within virtual machines.

      • XCP-ng 8.2 LTS To Bring Rewritten UEFI, Core Scheduling To Fend Off Side Channel Attacks

        XCP-ng as the open-source hypervisor built atop XenServer is preparing for its 8.2 LTS release while this week marked the availability of the first beta.

        This XenServer-based open-source hypervisor is in the process of picking up many features for the 8.2 LTS release. There is a re-implementation of XCP-ng’s UEFI support, Openflow controller access support with Xen Orchestra, experimental core scheduling, experimental storage driver support for Gluster / ZFS / XFS / CephFS, support for Intel Icelake and Comet Lake processors, and a variety of other improvements.

    • Intel

      • Intel’s Meteor Lake CPUs Spotted In Linux Patches, Aiming A 2022 Launch With Next-Gen Cores & New Process Node

        The Intel Meteor Lake line of CPUs is a far-future family that will appear sometime in 2022. The new line of processors will succeed Intel’s Alder Lake family which will make its debut in the second half of 2021. The CPU family is expected to make use of next-generation core technologies and feature a brand new process node but before that, let’s see what details the Linux patches unveil for Intel’s Meteor Lake.

      • Intel Discloses New CPU Instructions, Enhanced Hardware Feedback Interface (EHFI)

        Intel updated their programming reference manual this week with some interesting new additions, primarily around user interrupts and the enhanced hardware feedback interface.

        While Intel has already disclosed AMX (Advanced Matrix Extensions) as coming with Sapphire Rapids and some other new instructions, they have now disclosed more instructions that are on the way. Some appear to be coming with Sapphire Rapids while others on the client side with Alder Lake. New Intel instructions documented by this latest PRM revision include CLUI, HRESET, SENDUIPI, STUI, TESTUI, UIRET, VPDPBUSD, VPDPBUSDS, VPDPWSSD and VPDPWSSDS.

      • Intel Begins Linux Hardware Enablement Work For Meteor Lake

        Meteor Lake is Intel’s first 7nm microarchitecture not expected until late 2022 or 2023 that will pair “Ocean Cove” with “Gracemont” cores as the successor to Alder Lake. Intel engineers continue doing a lot of bring-up work for Alder Lake in recent months and that work coming together nicely for the Linux kernel and related components like the GNU and LLVM compiler toolchains. With the Alder Lake work beginning to settle down and wanting to ensure great Linux out-of-the-box support in time for launch, attention is turning soon enough to Meteor Lake.

    • Applications

      • 8 Productive Free and Open Source Clipboard Managers

        Technology tools do have their limits. No one will become a master chef simply because they use chef-endorsed saucepans, the finest ingredients, or have access to sought-after recipes. For example, a diary application can make it easier for individuals to keep track of their daily activities and thoughts, but will the application really bring order into a chaotic world? Time tracker apps help users keep track of how much time is spent on various activities during the day, but still the user has to remember to start them.

        Don’t get us wrong. There’s a real burning passion inside us for small productivity tools. Lean tools that focus on a single productivity enhancing activity can make an enormous difference to the way time is spent. Bloated, complex productivity tools tend to only slow you down, and complex solutions require too much maintenance.

      • 9 Best Free and Open Source Command Line Navigation Tools

        The desktop environment with its bundle of programs sharing a common graphical user interface (GUI) remains a firm favorite with users. Not surprising really given that a good desktop environment makes computing fun and simple. The graphical desktop environment has become so ingrained in almost everyone’s computer activities that it might seem the command line will wither away. Yet, there is still an important role to play for the humble command-line interface (CLI).


        The whole is greater than the sum of its parts is a very famous quote from Aristotle, a Greek philosopher and scientist. This quote is particularly pertinent to Linux. In my view, one of Linux’s biggest strengths is its synergy. The usefulness of Linux doesn’t derive only from the huge raft of open source (command line) utilities. Instead, it’s the synergy generated by using them together, sometimes in conjunction with larger applications.

        The cd command is a command-line OS shell command used to change the current working directory. A directory is a logical section of a file system used to hold files. Directories may also contain other directories. The cd command can be used to change into a subdirectory, move back into the parent directory, move all the way back to the root directory or move to any given directory.

        The purpose of this article is to identify some tiny but useful tools that complement the cd command. They help users to navigate faster around the filesystem, and increase productivity when using the shell. We feature 9 tools each with their own portal page, a full description with an in-depth analysis of its features, together with links to relevant resources.

        Here’s our recommendations.

      • Repo Review: XnConvert

        XnConvert is a powerful batch image processor that allows you to easily perform a wide range of adjustments to a batch of images and convert them to many different formats. XnConvert is available as freeware for private non-commercial use, but companies are required to purchase a license. The pricing for an XnConvert commercial license starts at 15.00€ per license.

        The user interface is fairly straightforward and easy to use. From the Input tab, you can load in images by dragging and dropping them into the program, or using the Add files and Add folder buttons. XnConvert can open over 500 different image formats, including many RAW camera formats. Once loaded in, you can begin processing the images.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Action-packed roguelike Burning Knight gains local co-op with a big content update out now

        The first major post-launch update for the action-packed roguelike Burning Knight is out now. On top of new content, there’s also now local co-op support.

        What is Burning Knight? It’s a real-time action roguelike built in the spirit of Nuclear Throne, Enter The Gungeon and others like it. You get a different area to run through each time, facing off against various enemies and traps as you progress through a castle.

      • Wildermyth to get a live-instrument OST recorded thanks to a Kickstarter campaign

        Currently available in Early Access, the game Wildermyth is a very impressive mix of an RPG with turn-based tactical battles with a brilliant papercraft style. It also appears to be getting a slick new soundtrack.

        We all know that a good soundtrack can really get you personally engrossed a game, and it can be the difference between being a good game and an awesome game you tell people about. One of those essential parts of the experience and composer Candy Emberley is very aware of this. Therefore they wish to get funding together to record properly with live instruments, instead of mixing together samples to produce a much richer soundtrack.

      • Minecraft is getting another big upgrade with the Caves & Cliffs Update
      • 11 of the Best Linux Games in 2020

        There have been many false dawns for Linux gaming, but in recent years things have been improving unabated. The launch of the Proton compatibility layer meant that thousands of DirectX-only games can now be translated to Vulkan and therefore work on Linux, while new Linux-compatible games continue to be released as well. If you want to play Windows-only games on Linux, see our guide on how to set up Proton and Steam Play. If, however, you just want to check out all the best Linux games in 2020 you can play, then read on below.


        As an open-source platform itself, it’s only right that Linux is home to plenty of great free open-source games as well. There’s Brutal Doom for example – a beefed-up version of ZDoom, the open-source port of Doom, Doom 2, Final Doom and Master Levels. It features extra animations, gore, and weapons, as well as redesigned maps, modernized controls and UIs.

        OpenRA lets you play Westwood strategy games like Red Alert, Tiberian Dawn and Dune 2000 online in high resolutions. There’s 0 AD – the seemingly endless project to make an Age-of-Empires strategy game, not to mention the brilliant Dark Mod, which is a Thief-style game in the Doom 3 engine with hundreds of brilliant player-created levels.

        Other than these free Linux games, you can also install DosBox to play old DOS games on Linux. Alternatively, you can also play Windows or Android games on Linux.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Announcing MyKDE

          I’m happy to announce the successful deployment of the new identity system in KDE, codename MyKDE. The new identity system is now available in my.kde.org. You should be able to login into the my.kde.org website with your normal KDE credential.

          For the moment, only the wikis are using MyKDE but in the comming months this should change with more and more services switching to MyKDE. I will let you all know of the progress of the migration.

        • August/September in KDE Itinerary

          Time for another update on what has happened around KDE Itinerary recently. Similar as in the last report the reduced global travel activity resulted in a focus on features related to mapping and navigation around large transportation hubs. KDE Akademy also fell into that time, with a number of relevant topics for this being discussed there.


          Something that nicely shows what is possible by putting the building blocks we already have together is the support for rental bikes or scooters. It turned out KPublicTransport, which was originally meant to provide access to real-time data for trains and busses, only needed a few small extensions to access information about shared vehicles from OpenTripPlanner or GBFS services. Similarly, our station map only needed a small adaptor to visualize this in the right spots.


          While field testing and collecting training samples of travel documents is still difficult, there’s plenty of other things that can be done. The KDE Itinerary workboard or the more specialized indoor map workboard show what’s on the todo list, and are a good place for collecting new ideas. For questions and suggestions, please feel free to join us on the KDE PIM mailing list or in the #kontact channel on Matrix or Freenode.

    • Distributions

      • BSD

        • FreeBSD 12.2-RC1 Now Available
          The first RC build of the 12.2-RELEASE release cycle is now available.
          Installation images are available for:
          o 12.2-RC1 amd64 GENERIC
          o 12.2-RC1 i386 GENERIC
          o 12.2-RC1 powerpc GENERIC
          o 12.2-RC1 powerpc64 GENERIC64
          o 12.2-RC1 powerpcspe MPC85XXSPE
          o 12.2-RC1 sparc64 GENERIC
          o 12.2-RC1 armv6 RPI-B
          o 12.2-RC1 armv7 BANANAPI
          o 12.2-RC1 armv7 BEAGLEBONE
          o 12.2-RC1 armv7 CUBIEBOARD
          o 12.2-RC1 armv7 CUBIEBOARD2
          o 12.2-RC1 armv7 CUBOX-HUMMINGBOARD
          o 12.2-RC1 armv7 RPI2
          o 12.2-RC1 armv7 WANDBOARD
          o 12.2-RC1 armv7 GENERICSD
          o 12.2-RC1 aarch64 GENERIC
          o 12.2-RC1 aarch64 RPI3
          o 12.2-RC1 aarch64 PINE64
          o 12.2-RC1 aarch64 PINE64-LTS
          Note regarding arm SD card images: For convenience for those without
          console access to the system, a freebsd user with a password of
          freebsd is available by default for ssh(1) access.  Additionally,
          the root user password is set to root.  It is strongly recommended
          to change the password for both users after gaining access to the
          Installer images and memory stick images are available here:
          The image checksums follow at the end of this e-mail.
          If you notice problems you can report them through the Bugzilla PR
          system or on the -stable mailing list.
          If you would like to use SVN to do a source based update of an existing
          system, use the "releng/12.2" branch.
          A summary of changes since 12.2-BETA3 includes:
          o OpenSSL 1.1.1h has been merged.
          o A fix for UFS hash checking had been added.
          o A fix for mmap'd writes in fusefs for writes in direct_io mode had
            been addressed.
          o Amazon EC2 AMIs for arm64 have been updated to include ebsvnme-id.
          o A fix to NFSv4.1 addressing a locking issue had been addressed.
          o Other miscellaneous bug fixes.
          A list of changes since 12.1-RELEASE is available in the releng/12.2
          release notes:
          Please note, the release notes page is not yet complete, and will be
          updated on an ongoing basis as the 12.2-RELEASE cycle progresses.
          === Virtual Machine Disk Images ===
          VM disk images are available for the amd64, i386, and aarch64
          architectures.  Disk images may be downloaded from the following URL
          (or any of the FreeBSD download mirrors):
          The partition layout is:
              ~ 16 kB - freebsd-boot GPT partition type (bootfs GPT label)
              ~ 1 GB  - freebsd-swap GPT partition type (swapfs GPT label)
              ~ 20 GB - freebsd-ufs GPT partition type (rootfs GPT label)
          The disk images are available in QCOW2, VHD, VMDK, and raw disk image
          formats.  The image download size is approximately 135 MB and 165 MB
          respectively (amd64/i386), decompressing to a 21 GB sparse image.
          Note regarding arm64/aarch64 virtual machine images: a modified QEMU EFI
          loader file is needed for qemu-system-aarch64 to be able to boot the
          virtual machine images.  See this page for more information:
          To boot the VM image, run:
              % qemu-system-aarch64 -m 4096M -cpu cortex-a57 -M virt  \
          	-bios QEMU_EFI.fd -serial telnet::4444,server -nographic \
          	-drive if=none,file=VMDISK,id=hd0 \
          	-device virtio-blk-device,drive=hd0 \
          	-device virtio-net-device,netdev=net0 \
          	-netdev user,id=net0
          Be sure to replace "VMDISK" with the path to the virtual machine image.
          === Amazon EC2 AMI Images ===
          FreeBSD/amd64 EC2 AMIs are available in the following regions:
            af-south-1 region: ami-0b78d5e770bcdeb5e
            eu-north-1 region: ami-0505a8c0c52cfff31
            ap-south-1 region: ami-0c4c09e714e3a6e9f
            eu-west-3 region: ami-00e0dae18af349d16
            eu-west-2 region: ami-06e6d824cb38c5eef
            eu-south-1 region: ami-077bfe44af5272bfc
            eu-west-1 region: ami-0830c03d9511775c6
            ap-northeast-2 region: ami-00d438c5be9106d1a
            me-south-1 region: ami-01efb2372fa56c3dd
            ap-northeast-1 region: ami-0276c6be8130eac10
            sa-east-1 region: ami-075bc30f68a1ef652
            ca-central-1 region: ami-0e6349ad57b6ec50e
            ap-east-1 region: ami-0934a82e2fe4fc324
            ap-southeast-1 region: ami-082ef5fab8053e525
            ap-southeast-2 region: ami-034eced9d3b0a5fcb
            eu-central-1 region: ami-003b3ecea55e0f34a
            us-east-1 region: ami-046ecf67c8b89748a
            us-east-2 region: ami-02a876a6124ba82ca
            us-west-1 region: ami-076e14c698318f4a1
            us-west-2 region: ami-0397116051898a487
          FreeBSD/aarch64 EC2 AMIs are available in the following regions:
            af-south-1 region: ami-04c4b469b7a750631
            eu-north-1 region: ami-0a5c67bbe7b0e8109
            ap-south-1 region: ami-0b1deff23e65431f0
            eu-west-3 region: ami-06968c110a4e11fd1
            eu-west-2 region: ami-04d9f8ba0273d9c53
            eu-south-1 region: ami-08f7137dc70ba9340
            eu-west-1 region: ami-09bdce51a19f36c5a
            ap-northeast-2 region: ami-0a943f6eb97da5f83
            me-south-1 region: ami-0640892b8fe159522
            ap-northeast-1 region: ami-0785670f49ecef76f
            sa-east-1 region: ami-07edcd782d88c3d98
            ca-central-1 region: ami-0e1a9498537799d77
            ap-east-1 region: ami-0f946da19f79ace77
            ap-southeast-1 region: ami-09080b7b686213e52
            ap-southeast-2 region: ami-0ca96c25f1ab45e19
            eu-central-1 region: ami-04362b308dedebe83
            us-east-1 region: ami-07ce6d0ad55d93d8a
            us-east-2 region: ami-0367f7addcbc6a4f3
            us-west-1 region: ami-0d5a5ef688e8d1dbd
            us-west-2 region: ami-02cfa06ec6b5efd78
          === Vagrant Images ===
          FreeBSD/amd64 images are available on the Hashicorp Atlas site, and can
          be installed by running:
              % vagrant init freebsd/FreeBSD-12.2-RC1
              % vagrant up
          === Upgrading ===
          The freebsd-update(8) utility supports binary upgrades of amd64 and i386
          systems running earlier FreeBSD releases.  Systems running earlier
          FreeBSD releases can upgrade as follows:
          	# freebsd-update upgrade -r 12.2-RC1
          During this process, freebsd-update(8) may ask the user to help by
          merging some configuration files or by confirming that the automatically
          performed merging was done correctly.
          	# freebsd-update install
          The system must be rebooted with the newly installed kernel before
          	# shutdown -r now
          After rebooting, freebsd-update needs to be run again to install the new
          userland components:
          	# freebsd-update install
          It is recommended to rebuild and install all applications if possible,
          especially if upgrading from an earlier FreeBSD release, for example,
          FreeBSD 11.x.  Alternatively, the user can install misc/compat11x and
          other compatibility libraries, afterwards the system must be rebooted
          into the new userland:
          	# shutdown -r now
          Finally, after rebooting, freebsd-update needs to be run again to remove
          stale files:
          	# freebsd-update install
        • FreeBSD 12.2-RC1 Available

          3 October: The first RC build for the FreeBSD 12.2 release cycle is now available. ISO images for the amd64, armv6, armv7, arm64, i386, powerpc, powerpc64, powerpcspe, and sparc64 architectures are available on most of our FreeBSD mirror sites.

      • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva/OpenMandriva Family

        • PCLinuxOS Family Member Spotlight: Gerrit Draisma

          What would you like to see happen within PCLOS that would make it a better place? What are your feelings?

          A better place? I do not know, but this is what I like about PCLOS: It gives us access to state of the art software like the Gimp for photo editing, R for computations, Texlive for writing reports, Firefox and Thunderbird for staying connected, LibreOffice for occasional writing and drawing, Shotwell for organizing our photos, Skype for seeing the family and lots more. It has a forum that is nice to visit with helpful people from all over the world.

          And when doubting whether mankind is able to solve its problems in a peaceful way, I can always think of all the people that built this environment and keep it up! Thanks to all!

        • [PCLinuxOS] Screenshot Showcase
        • PCLinuxOS Mag: Welcome From The Chief Editor

          Here’s something that I bet many people don’t know about me. I love doing woodworking. Oh, trust me. I’m no “master carpenter” like our forum buddy sam2fish. But, I still love working with wood. But between working my regular job, the magazine, wrangling two young children and taking care of other things that come up, I haven’t had a lot of time to scratch my woodworking itch in quite some time.

          No, don’t get me wrong. That itch is still present. I’ve not really had any extra time to work on scratching that itch. But that itch is becoming more prominent.

          When I first moved into my house, I built my own mailbox. I wanted it big enough so that any magazines I receive in the mail didn’t have to be “rolled up” just to fit in the mailbox. It opens up sort of like a night deposit box, a box within a boxed frame that opens by tilting out the inner box at the top, where the top of the inner box is open for the placement of mail. I even built the handle for the mailbox, routing it out of a piece of wood with places for your finger tips. It’s stained and finished, and looks as good today as the day I made it.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • IBM Emeritus IWB: The Real Business of Blockchain

          “Companies in industries as diverse as finance, sports, health care, retail, oil and gas, and pharma are engaging in a wave of blockchain experiments,” write Gartner analysts David Furlonger and Christophe Uzureau in their recently published book The Real Business of Blockchain. “Many see it as the solution for bringing trust and transparency to digital environments.” Blockchain has indeed been capturing the imagination of business. According to a Gartner Research Forecast, the business value-add of blockchain is expected to exceed $3 trillion by 2030, over half that amount by 2025. But, in plain English, what does this all mean?

          “It means you can theoretically do business with an unknown partner located anywhere on the planet and trade any asset at any transaction size and not need a lawyer, a bank, an insurance company, or any other intermediary making sure both of you follow through on what you’ve promised to do,” write the book’s authors. “Such a solution vastly expands the range of assets that a business could trade. The arrangement also greatly increases who or what a business could directly trade with, without needing a third party (which would take a piece of the value).”


          Sometime after 2025, blockchain networks will start embracing a number of advanced, complementary technologies, especially AI, IoT, and identity solutions. Blockchains will then be able to handle a much greater number of small transactions and microtransactions supported by smart contracts with no need for human intervention. Such blockchains will help create new markets by expanding the types of assets that can monetized and exchanged as digital tokens. In addition, decentralized identity solutions will allow participants in an enhanced blockchain network to secure their personal data in a digital wallet and share it according to pre-established rules.

          “As new forms of value come online with enhanced blockchain solutions, businesses will likewise innovate new business models using decentralized operational structures. Organizations will be technically able to delegate economic decision making to ‘things,’ which would act autonomously and according to the terms defined in a smart contract that runs on the blockchain. These enhanced things could remove humans from the transaction and eventually move blockchain networks toward completely autonomous transactions and ultimately the establishment of decentralized autonomous organizations.”

        • September 2020 rewind

          This past month was a great one for all of us here at Enable Sysadmin. We blasted past our viewership record and our unique visitors record while receiving over 370k views from 40 published articles. We covered a huge number of topics from a diverse cast of sysadmin professionals, and we’re certain that there’s something here for every tech enthusiast.

        • Red Hat Code Sleuths Uncover Mysterious Bug in Registry Service [Ed: Notice that this site now takes money to write puff pieces about products; this is a betrayal of the very core principles of journalism]

          You’ve heard stories, but if you’re lucky, you’ve never experienced it. The bug is below you. It’s above you. It’s in the walls. It’s listening to us right now.

          Troubleshooting and debugging are time-honored traditions of the methodical and systematic elimination of possibilities. But what happens if you cannot rule out a portion of the stack because your team does not have deep knowledge of it? Or worse yet, what if one of the layers of your stack is closed source software?

          What if, horror of horrors, your stack is entirely open source and the bug is down in one of those layers? In Kubernetes? In Linux? Can your teams even begin to comprehend tracking down that type of bug? Can they even eliminate it as a possibility without reading hundreds of pages of code and documentation?

      • Debian Family

        • Ben Hutchings: Debian LTS work, September 2020

          I was assigned 16 hours of work by Freexian’s Debian LTS initiative and carried over 9.75 hours from August. I only worked 8.25 hours this month, and will return the remaining hours to the pool.

          I attended and participated in the LTS team meeting on the 24th.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • 12 Open-source Chat and Messaging Development SDK and Frameworks

        While deciding to build chat or a messenger application the developer often look for different options, at the end it’s all about the requirements.

        There are many commercial services and development tools to build chat/ messaging applications with different features set. However, it’s difficult to find open-source and free options.

        In this article we will explore open-source options that aid developers to build real-time chat apps.

        Why would you choose an open-source tool for building a messaging app?

      • CMS

        • Meet the Baconator

          As a member of the team responsible for keeping ProPublica’s website online, there were times when I wished our site were static. Static sites have a simpler configuration with fewer moving parts between the requester and the requested webpage. All else being equal, a static site can handle more traffic than a dynamic one, and it is more stable and performant. However, there is a reason most sites today, including ProPublica’s, are dynamically generated.

          In dynamic sites, the structure of a webpage — which includes items such as titles, bylines, article bodies, etc. — is abstracted into a template, and the specific data for each page is stored in a database. When requested by a web browser or other end client, a server-side language can then dynamically generate many different webpages with the same structure but different content. This is how frameworks like Ruby on Rails and Django, as well as content management systems like WordPress, work.

      • Programming/Development

        • String Length in C Language

          A string in C language is an array of characters that is terminated with a null character (\0). The string length is the number of characters in a string. In the string length ‘\0,’ a character is not counted.

        • Dirk Eddelbuettel: pinp 0.0.10: More Tweaks

          A new version of our pinp package arrived on CRAN two days ago, roughly one year after the previous release. The pinp package allows for snazzier one or two column Markdown-based pdf vignettes, and is now used by a few packages. A screenshot of the package vignette can be seen below. Additional screenshots are at the pinp page.

        • Apache’s TVM Deep Learning Compiler Picks Up WebAssembly, Better Rust Support

          The first release candidate of TVM 0.7, the Apache incubator project providing a deep learning compiler stack, is now available.

          Apache TVM is a compiler stack for deep learning systems in providing end-to-end compilation support for a variety of back-ends from all of the models from key deep learning frameworks. TVM supports a variety of targets including the leveraging of LLVM for supporting code generation on the major CPU architectures as well as the likes of NVIDIA CUDA. With the Apache 0.7 release candidate there is even WebGPU and WebAssembly support for outputting to those browser-focused standards.

        • Steve Kemp: Writing an assembler.

          Recently I’ve been writing a couple of simple compilers, which take input in a particular format and generate assembly language output. This output can then be piped through gcc to generate a native executable.

          Public examples include this trivial math compiler and my brainfuck compiler.

          Of course there’s always the nagging thought that relying upon gcc (or nasm) is a bit of a cheat. So I wondered how hard is it to write an assembler? Something that would take assembly-language program and generate a native (ELF) binary?

          And the answer is “It isn’t hard, it is just tedious”.

        • Perl/Raku

          • The Tau Station Kickstarter has gone live! (Oops)

            Tau Station is the world’s first Biblio-RPG. It’s a massive, immersive, narrative sci-fi MMO. Missions in most games are things like “kill five rabid dogs and get a dagger.” BORING. Our missions are rich, immersive, short stories where you control the outcome.

            It’s 400,000 plus lines of Perl, with a PostgreSQL backend.

        • Python

          • Python Numbers and Arithmetic Operations

            Python is a powerful, efficient, and modern high-level programming language. When developing software systems, it is necessary to use numerical and arithmetic operations for performing calculations. Python provides a variety of numbers and arithmetic operations for this purpose. In this article, we will teach you about Python numbers, conversion of one data type into another data type, and arithmetic operations. The Spyder3 editor is used to create and run the Python script.

          • Unravelling rich comparison operators

            For the next part of my blog series on pulling apart Python’s syntactic sugar, I’m going to be tackling rich comparison operators: ==, !=, >, <, >=, <=.

          • Adding some reporting functionality

            I just added some code to the surveil app, the beginnings of what will be a reporting feature.


            I found that the surveil app uses quite a bit of bandwidth when sending video, on the mobile network anyway, so I added an option to just store the videos locally a while ago.

            That works, but then the surveillance app can stop making videos for whatever reason and nobody’s the wiser.

            So I figured it would be nice with a daily report of the videos created, so that it is possible to keep an eye on things, even if videos aren’t mailed.

          • Weekly Python StackOverflow Report: (ccxliv) stackoverflow python report
        • Java

          • Sealed Java State Machines

            A few years back I posted about how to implement state machines that only permit valid transitions at compile time in Java.

            This used interfaces instead of enums, which had a big drawback—you couldn’t guarantee that you know all the states involved. Someone could add another state elsewhere in your codebase by implementing the interface.

            Java 15 brings a preview feature of sealed classes. Sealed classes enable us to solve this downside. Now our interface based state machines can not only prevent invalid transitions but also be enumerable like enums.

    • Standards/Consortia

      • New Object Storage Protocol Could Mean the End for POSIX

        POSIX has been the standard file system interface for Unix-based systems (which includes Linux) since its launch more than 30 years ago. Its usefulness in processing data in the user address space, or memory, has given POSIX-compliant file systems and storage a commanding presence in applications like deep learning that require significant data processing. The POSIX-compliant Lustre file system, for example, powers most supercomputers, and POSIX’s dominance continues down market too.

        POSIX has its limits, though and features like statefulness, prescriptive metadata, and strong consistency become a performance bottleneck as I/O requests multiply and data scales, limiting the scalability of POSIX-compliant systems. That’s often an issue in deep learning, AI and other data-intensive uses now, but as data and the need to analyze it grow exponentially, the problem has, over time, moved down market.

        Enter object storage. Unlike a file system, object storage requires no hierarchical data structure. It’s a flat pool of data, with each piece of data defined by its meta data. It has no scalability limits, making it ideal for high-end storage and applications, but it has one performance limitation that POSIX doesn’t have: data requests have to go through the POSIX file system stack. POSIX gets around that problem with the mmap() function, which makes the user space an intermediary between the operating system and storage.

      • Will New Object Storage Protocol Mean the End For POSIX?

        “POSIX has been the standard file system interface for Unix-based systems (which includes Linux) since its launch more than 30 years ago,” writes Enterprise Storage Forum, noting the POSIX-compliant Lustre file system “powers most supercomputers.”

      • Will New Object Storage Protocol Imply the Finish For POSIX?
  • Leftovers

    • Midas’ Lost Brother

      One of life’s mysteries is how two brothers, from the same mother and father, can be so different. One of the most notorious examples is that of King Midas. He is remembered in Greek mythology for turning everything he touched into gold. It is known as the Midas touch. His brother, whom we’ll call Donsonius, given the scant references about him, was totally different. Everything he touched was turned into filth.

    • A Lesser Man: the Fight to Save Breitenbush

      Should you ever find yourself surrounded by flames a hundred feet high, surely you will find yourself. I was brewing an untenable third cup of coffee when two firefighters clad in Nomex brush-gear pulled up outside the kitchen window in a golf cart. I went out and wished them a good morning. According to them it was not a good morning. A fire was on its way: evacuation level two, poised to go to three.

    • Full Disclosure

      At last!  Good news!


      The good news is not in what they did or what they are: the good news is that by their clownish, degraded Lucha Libre hog-rassle they have exposed openly, indisputably, the obscene charade our political system has evolved into: a stark horror that craftier, more elegant behavior and smoother, more amiable burlesques, have kept hidden from the American people for generations. Forever!

      We are a blinded, despised, bamboozled people. To keep us so is the purpose and intent of the system that rules us. From its beginnings, America was a Capitalist racket run on manipulation and exploitation of its people. From Shea’s Rebellion to Citizens United it has jammed one vicious, rank perversion of justice after another down our throats. Lincoln knew better—as his letters reveal—than to laud a government of, by, and for the people.

      The job of Presidents, Congress, and the nomenklatura of the Deep State has been to keep the great mass of Americans completely oblivious to the Capitalist Tyranny that owns them. Our “leaders” are trained to present a wholesome, ideal image of the nation, using the deep hunger of the ignorant and powerless to identify with a heroic, victorious force to bind their loyalty in the brazen face of their endless betrayal, feeding them poison exceptionalism instead of the nurture proper to a civilized state.

    • Health/Nutrition

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • The ‘Introduction to Linux’ Course on edX.org Surpasses One Million Enrollments

                The Introduction to Linux training course on edX.org, currently in its sixth edition, has surpassed a milestone of one million enrollments, according to The Linux Foundation.

                This 14-week, introductory course helps students develop a working knowledge of Linux using both the graphical interface and command line across the major Linux distribution families.

        • Security

          • How Secure Are YOUR Passwords?

            It seems like this whole issue revolving around secure passwords just keeps coming up over and over and over, year after year after year. And, it’s probably for a good reason: people just aren’t getting the message. If they are, they aren’t changing their habits and behaviors.

            I get it, and I bet a lot of you “get it,” too. It’s difficult to remember a unique, complex password for each site. This leads to password reuse between sites, even though everyone knows such behavior is bad and a poor security practice.

            So, just how difficult is it for a hacker to break your password using brute force? Well, that was exactly the topic of a Reddit thread recently. The graphic posted in the thread pretty much speaks for itself.

          • Short Topix: Linux Servers, Workstations Hackers’ Next Target

            It’s true that Windows machines are a preferred target for mass malware attacks, but advanced persistent threats (APTs) are more of a threat to Linux, since the threat actor is usually either a nation state or state-sponsored group who establishes a long term presence on a network to wreak havoc. According to Kaspersky, there are over a dozen APT actors who have been seen using Linux malware or some Linux based modules.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Police Violence: Institutionalized Terrorism

        The list of Americans killed by the police this year continues to increase with no end in sight. Many are familiar with the sad stories involving Breonna Taylor, Tyree Davis, Daniel Prude, Rayshard Brooks, Sean Monterrosa and Michael Forest Reinoehl. As of Sept 6, 2020, the police had killed 781 people; Wikipedia offers detailed profiles of many of these killings.

      • Why is the World Going to Hell?

        If you’re wondering what the hell is going on right now – the “Why is the world turning to shit?” thought – you may find Netflix’s new documentary The Social Dilemma a good starting point for clarifying your thinking. I say “starting point” because, as we shall see, the film suffers from two major limitations: one in its analysis and the other in its conclusion. Nonetheless, the film is good at exploring the contours of the major social crises we currently face – epitomised both by our addiction to the mobile phone and by its ability to rewire our consciousness and our personalities.

    • Environment

    • Finance

      • Amid Growing Economic Misery, Not One House Republican Voted for Bill to Boost Unemployment Benefits, Send Another Round of Checks

        Following passage of the House bill, one advocate said “it is past time for Senate Republicans to move to help the American people instead of focusing on trying to ram through the confirmation of another Supreme Court Justice.”

      • Nikola Is Having A Bad Month: GM Contract Now Potentially In Jeopardy

        Nikola Motor Company, to put it mildly, is having itself a bad month. First came the bombshell reports from a hedge fund that founder Trevor Milton lied in 2016 when he told the world that the company had a fully functional Nikola 1 electric semi truck. Worse than that, it was revealed that a promotional video in 2018 showing the truck rolling down a lonely highway, was actually showing a Nikola 1 rolling down a hill, since the truck couldn’t actually move under its own power. Milton resigned after those reports, but the hits kept coming. Two women have come forward claiming that Milton inappropriately groped them when each was fifteen, with one of those women being his cousin. For the record, Milton has denied both allegations.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Whatever Removes Donald Trump—a Miserable Bastard—From Public Life Is Good

        Donald Trump has been laying waste to our Constitution, our democracy, and our very society.

      • No Sympathy For the Devil
      • So-Called ‘Election Integrity’ Panel in Pennsylvania Seen as GOP Trojan Horse to Help Trump Steal Election

        State Democratic lawmakers called the situation “a national emergency” and said Republican efforts are a “dangerous threat to democracy.”

      • Don and Joe Play Talk Radio

        This essay is part of a periodic series on the 2020 presidential election. Some earlier pieces can be found here.

      • Election to Nowhere

        As a metaphor for American electoral politics, the taste test used by marketers of food products is a master stroke of misdirection. In a taste test, ‘food’ is reduced to a matter of taste— versus digestion, metabolism, nutritional content, conditions of production and aesthetic appeal, for purposes of comparison. The products being compared are chosen to affect a predetermined outcome— they aren’t the result of honest inquiry. Finally, majority opinion— a social artifact, is used to place dissenters in a minority position. Choosing a losing product calls one’s judgment into question.

      • Trump Can’t Do That, Can He?

        Notwithstanding his gift for self-deception, even Donald Trump knows that he would now lose anything like a free and fair election. He would lose the popular vote more soundly than four years ago, and he would lose in the Electoral College as well.

      • The Supreme Male Head Unmasked

        Fascism is unique among political systems in that it treats society as a diseased body that needs to be purified. Certainly, the political left thinks that society is in need of reform, often to the point of advocating revolution, but the distinguishing feature of fascism, especially of the Nazi variety, is its organic imagery—the idea that the body politic is not just flawed but diseased. Where the left proposes political and economic solutions to social problems, Nazis propose a cure of the diseased body politic. Unlike a disease of the physical body, which can be treated with biomedical procedures, fascism’s remedy is the removal of foreign bodies and the collective spilling of blood. Sociologist Klaus Theleweit has explored this body imagery in narratives produced by members of the Freikorps (paramilitaries who inspired the Nazis), while a key premise of Nazi ideology was the organic metaphor of Blud und Boden (Blood and Soil), both of which needed to be purified before Germany could become great again.

      • Electionland 2020: PA Voting, NYC Absentee Ballots, Legal Battles and More
      • Something Far Out of the Norm is Liable to Happen

        A great deal far out of the norm has already happened in Donald J. Trump’s presidency. Norms seem to be in his view, weak spots, vulnerable points of attack, often surprise attacks because some norms have been taken as staunch realities for so long. That’s a serviceable definition of a norm: a way of behaving and thinking that long has had residency in the order of things.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • When the Government Stops Counting

        By ignoring demands to release incarcerated people during the pandemic, prison administrators and elected officials relegate them to mass death under the fatal logic of public safety.

        In this watercolor by James Hough—who was imprisoned for twenty-seven years—the lifeless body of a black man fuels the prison economy in which incarcerated people are paid a pittance to produce boxers that are then sold back to them. The Big House Products label is attached to all the commodities they produce. Hough created the work while incarcerated in Pennsylvania to critique the extractive practices of prisons: the removal of people from their communities, the warehousing and exploitation of their labor, and the diminishing of their lives.

        Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Hough and others are advocating for people to be released from facilities without social distancing, protective equipment, routine handwashing, and adequate healthcare. By ignoring these demands, prison administrators and elected officials relegate people to mass death under the fatal logic of public safety.

        In Ohio, one of the first states where cases were reported, Governor Mike DeWine ordered that the entire state prison population be tested. After over 80 percent tested positive in two prisons, Ohio abruptly stopped mass testing—because accounting for the number of cases would force officials to acknowledge the system’s investment in the disposability of human life, laying bare larger truths about America’s economy. Those most susceptible to the violence of carceral capitalism—frontline workers, undocumented laborers, people held in prison cells—get sick and receive little or no care. Like the body in Hough’s painting, their labor produces goods and fuels economies, while their lives and deaths are unaccounted for.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Congressional Republicans With No Strategy On Pandemic, Healthcare, Societal Problems… Have Decided That The Internet Is The Real Problem

        We’ve pointed out just how ridiculous it is that Congress seems wholly focused on destroying the open internet by gutting the Section 230 protections that enable the open internet to exist in its present form. We’re in the midst of a variety of pretty major issues, and yet Congress is introducing new anti-internet and anti-tech bills like it’s last call before the bar shuts down.

      • Report Says 20 Million U.S. Broadband Complaints Went Unresolved Last Year

        42 million Americans lack access to any broadband whatsoever. Another 83 million American consumers can only get access to broadband from one ISP, usually Comcast. Tens of millions more are stuck under a broadband duopoly, usually comprising of Comcast/Spectrum and some apathetic telco that refuses to upgrade or repair its aging DSL lines. Data makes it extremely clear the end result of this lack of competition is some of the highest prices for broadband in the developed world, and some of the worst customer service of any industry in America.

    • Monopolies

      • Epic Games acknowledges liability toward Apple for breach of contract with recent Fortnite version if Epic loses its antitrust case

        Epic Games wants this dispute to be only about what percentage of Fortnite in-app purchasing (IAP) revenues the app developer–Epic–and what complementary (100% minus the former) percentage the platform maker and operator–Apple–will get. Now, they’re not actually asking the court to lower Apple’s 30% cut, but they say they want to be permitted to offer alternative in-app payment methods and they want alternative iOS app stores to be allowed to compete with Apple’s App Store, with the ultimative objective of bringing down that percentage. They furthermore claim that customers will get better service, but that’s just because they want to show that consumers are harmed (a key issue in antitrust cases) in the sense of being deprived of certain benefits they could have if only Apple was less heavy-handed.

        If, say, Epic served 50% of its customers directly, Apple would get its 30% only on the remaining 50%, resulting in an effective rate of 15%, which would already be pretty close to the 12% Epic is charging developers who offer their products via Epic’s PC and Mac app store. In reality, Epic would presumably hope for Apple to simply reduce its 30% under such competitive pressure, thereby reducing or entirely eliminating any incentives for developers like Epic to deal with payment processing themselves.

        The risk-opportunity picture would be quite appealing to Epic if the best case was a (potentially drastic) reduction of Apple’s 30%, and the worst case would just be for Epic having to pay Apple what it owes under the current Apple developer contracts anyway, plus legal fees on top, which will quickly be in the tens of millions in this case, but that’s just a rounding error on the balance sheet of the multi-billion-dollar business that is Epic.

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DecorWhat Else is New

  1. EPO-Bribed IAM 'Media' Has Praised Quality, Which Even EPO Staff (Examiners) Does Not Praise

    It's easy to see something is terribly wrong when the people who do the actual work do not agree with the media's praise of their work (a praise motivated by a nefarious, alternate agenda)

  2. Tux Machines is 17.5 Years Old Today

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  3. Approaching 100

    We'll soon have 100 files in Git; if that matters at all...

  4. Improving Gemini by Posting IRC Logs (and Scrollback) as GemText

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  5. Links 4/12/2021: IPFire 2.27 Core Update 162 and Genode OS Framework 21.11

    Links for the day

  6. Links 4/12/2021: Gedit Plans and More

    Links for the day

  7. Links 4/12/2021: Turnip Becomes Vulkan 1.1 Conformant

    Links for the day

  8. IRC Proceedings: Friday, December 03, 2021

    IRC logs for Friday, December 03, 2021

  9. Links 4/12/2021: EndeavourOS Atlantis, Krita 5.0.0 Beta 5, Istio 1.11.5, and Wine 6.23; International Day Against DRM (IDAD) on December 10th

    Links for the day

  10. Another Gemini Milestone: 1,500 Active Capsules

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  11. [Meme] António Campinos and Socialist Posturing

    Staff of the EPO isn’t as gullible as António Campinos needs it to be

  12. António Campinos as EPO President is Considered Worse Than Benoît Battistelli (in Some Regards) After 3.5 Years in Europe's Second-Largest Institution

    The EPO's demise at the hands of people who don't understand patents and don't care what the EPO exists for is a real crisis which European media is unwilling to even speak about; today we share some internal publications and comment on them

  13. Media Coverage for Sale

    Today we're highlighting a couple of new examples (there are many other examples which can be found any day of the year) demonstrating that the World Wide Web is like a corporate spamfarm in "news" clothing

  14. Links 3/12/2021: GNU Poke 1.4 and KDDockWidgets 1.5.0

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  15. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, December 02, 2021

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  16. Links 3/12/2021: Nitrux 1.7.1 and Xen 4.16 Released

    Links for the day

  17. Links 2/12/2021: OpenSUSE Leap 15.4 Alpha, Qt Creator 6

    Links for the day

  18. The EPO's “Gender Awareness Report”

    There’s a new document with remarks by the EPO’s staff representatives and it concerns opportunities for women at the EPO — a longstanding issue

  19. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, December 01, 2021

    IRC logs for Wednesday, December 01, 2021

  20. EPO Staff Committee Compares the Tactics of António Campinos to Benoît Battistelli's

    The Central Staff Committee (CSC) of the EPO talks about EPO President António Campinos, arguing that “he seems to subscribe to the Manichean view, introduced by Mr Battistelli…”

  21. Prof. Thomas Jaeger in GRUR: Unified Patent Court (UPC) “Incompatible With EU Law“

    The truth remains unquestionable and the law remains unchanged; Team UPC is living in another universe, unable to accept that what it is scheming will inevitably face high-level legal challenges (shall that become necessary) and it will lose because the facts are all still the same

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    Links for the day

  23. EPO Cannot and Will Not Self-Regulate

    The term financialisation helps describe some of the activities of the EPO in recent years; see Wikipedia on financialisation below

  24. [Meme] Germany's Licence to Break the Law

    Remember that the young Campinos asked dad for his immunity after he had gotten drunk and crashed the car; maybe the EPO should stop giving diplomatic immunity to people, seeing what criminals (e.g. Benoît Battistelli) this attracts; the German government is destroying its image (and the EU’s) by fostering such corruption, wrongly believing that it’s worth it because of Eurozone domination for patents/litigation

  25. EPO Dislikes Science and Scientists

    The EPO's management has become like a corrupt political party with blind faith in money and monopolies (or monopoly money); it has lost sight of its original goals and at this moment it serves to exacerbate an awful pandemic, as the video above explains

  26. Links 1/12/2021: LibreOffice 7.3 Beta, Krita 5.0, Julia 1.7

    Links for the day

  27. Links 1/12/2021: NixOS 21.11 Released

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  28. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, November 30, 2021

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  30. [Meme] EPO Administrative Council Believing EPO-Bribed 'Media' (IAM Still Shilling and Lying for Cash)

    IAM continues to do what brings money from EPO management and Team UPC, never mind if it is being disputed by the patent examiners themselves

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