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Links 11/11/2019: Linux 5.4 RC7, HandBrake 1.3.0 and Analysis of XFCE

  • GNU/Linux

    • No Disney+ on Linux

      With the new version 4.10.1582.1 of the Widevine DRM plugin package for Chromium that I uploaded today (chromium-widevine-plugin) I really hoped that this would fix the playback error on Linux of the new Disney+ streaming service.

      As you may know, Disney is preparing for the official launch of its movie streaming service this week tuesday, 12 November. But we in the Netherlands could enjoy a free test period of two months before the go-live and so I watched several episodes of the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. series and the Captain Marvel movie, casting from my phone at first but now via an official app on my smart TV. The bad performance of the app and frequent freezes of the video streams have largely been taken care of and fixed during the test period. If you are a fan of the Disney and Fox movie portfolio or enjoy the Marvel and Star Wars movies, then I guess this new platform is for you. It’s still rather limited in scope of course.

      Worse in my opinion is the fact that Disney did the Linux community a disservice. The streaming of video does not work – on any browser. The web site works fine, you can browse and explore, but video playback is not possible and an annoying “Error 83” appears instead.

    • Server

      • IBM

        • Obsidian joins Red Hat Forums in South Africa to highlight the power of open source

          Leading open source technology and services provider Obsidian Systems has confirmed its participation as a silver sponsor of the EMEA Red Hat Forum 2019. This will be held at Century City Conference Centre in Cape Town on November 19 and at the Gallagher Convention Centre in Johannesburg on two days later.

          The Red Hat Forum is an opportunity for business leaders to deep dive into the opportunities represented by technology and technology trends including open source cloud computing, platforms, virtualisation, middleware, storage and system management.

          “We endorse the central theme of the Red Hat Forum which is that in as far as establishing a firm technical foundation for your business, the thinking and rationale around strategy should be flexibility, achieving scale, expansion and clever control,” said Muggie van Staden, Managing Director of Obsidian Systems.

          “Interoperability, adjustability and elasticity – these are the hallmarks of a market that is fast maturing and ready to benefit from hybrid cloud, from Linux and containers, and positioning the business to build using open source infrastructure.”

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • Reiser4 File-System Is Still Ticking In 2019 - Now Updated For Linux 5.3 Compatibility

        Edward Shishkin continues near single-handedly maintaining the out-of-tree Reiser4 code that at this point still has no apparent trajectory towards mainline. The former Namesys developer previously indicated it's unlikely to see Reiser4 merged unless there is a company backing it to get it through the review process for merging into mainline. While Reiser4 was quite promising for its early time, it's only getting more difficult with Reiser4 effectively stagnating for years now while SUSE/openSUSE continues backing Btrfs, Ubuntu increasingly investing in ZFS support, Red Hat developing Stratis, XFS continuing to be advanced by Red Hat and others as well, Google continuing to invest in the likes of EXT4/F2FS, and there also being Bcachefs and other open-source storage solutions that are more promising than Reiser4 in 2019. Nevertheless, the out-of-tree kernel patches continue to be updated.

      • Linux 5.4-rc7
        Another week, another rc. Nothing looks all that scary, but we
        definitely do have more changes than I would wish for.

        In terms of pure lines of code, we have the new 'vboxsf' staging driver, but ignoring that (and you should) everything looks normal. Except we've got closer to 300 non-merge commits, and I really wish we didn't have that many.

        It's all over the place - about 55% is drivers (and that's ignoring the vboxsf thing), the rest is networking, misc filesystem fixes (octfs2, btrfs, ceph), arch updates (x86, arm64), tooling fixes, and some core kernel and vm fixes.

        Nothing looks _bad_, but there is too much of it.

        So I'm leaning towards an rc8 being likely next weekend due to that, but I won't make a final decision yet. We'll see.

        Last time around, v5.3-rc7 was even bigger. We did do an rc8 for that one (although there were other reasons for that rc8).

        We'll see how this week goes and how I feel about it next Sunday. Maybe I'll feel like there's no reason to do an rc8 at that point.

        But it would be lovely if you all went out and kicked the tires and tested it all out..

      • Linux 5.4-rc7 Kernel Released With VirtualBox Shared Folder Driver In Place

        Notable for Linux 5.4-rc7 is VirtualBox Guest Shared Folder Support coming as a late addition with the "vboxsf" kernel driver making it into the staging area of the kernel. While the merge window for Linux 5.4 has long passed, this new driver is allowed as it doesn't risk regressing any existing support. Also in Linux 5.4-rc7 is a "critical" scheduler fix among other bug/regression fixes.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Virtual KMS Driver To Work On Virtual Refresh Rate Support (FreeSync)

          Over the past year and a half the VKMS Linux DRM driver has come together as the "virtual kernel mode-setting" implementation for headless systems and other environments not backed by a physical display. Interestingly being tacked on their TODO list now is VRR (Variable Refresh Rate) support. Separately, the prominent VKMS developer is now employed by AMD.

          The VKMS code got into shape originally back in 2018 when Rodrigo Siqueira was a student participating in Google Summer of Code. Since this past August, however, he began working for AMD in Toronto as a software engineer on their new display technologies, new ASIC/hardware bring-up, and other driver work focused on the display side. He is though still working on the open-source VKMS effort albeit not as much as previously and doesn't appear to be doing so in an official capacity for AMD.

    • Benchmarks

      • Windows 10 vs. Ubuntu 19.10 vs. Clear Linux Performance On The Dell Ice Lake Laptop

        Last month I posted benchmarks looking at the Windows 10 vs. Linux OpenGL and Vulkan graphics performance for the Ice Lake "Gen11" graphics. But for those wondering about the CPU/system performance between Windows and Linux for the Core i7-1065G7 with the Dell XPS 7390, here are those benchmarks as we compare the latest Windows 10 to Ubuntu 19.10 and Intel's own Clear Linux platform.

    • Applications

      • HandBrake 1.3.0 Released with UI Tweaks, Discord Presets + More

        A new version of HandBrake, the free open source media convertor utility, has been released.

        HandBrake is a powerful tool you can use to convert one video format in to another, with broad support for modern and widely used video codecs.

        HandBrake 1.3.0 includes a crop of improvements to its video transcoding features, including new presets, and intros support for AMD VCE encoding on sported hardware).

      • HandBrake 1.3.0

        HandBrake is an open-source, GPL-licensed, multiplatform, multithreaded video transcoder, available for MacOS X, Linux and Windows. Handbrake can process most common multimedia files and any DVD or BluRay sources that do not contain any kind of copy protection.


        This release includes a redesigned queue interface, new presets for the PS4 Pro and Discord, support for Ultra HD Blu-ray discs (without copy protection), AV1 decoding, WebM container support, many new and updated translations, and much more.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Tencent Wants to Make Games for the U.S. With Nintendo, DJ Says

        Tencent Holdings Ltd is looking to make more of its partnership with Nintendo Co. to create video games for the U.S. market, Dow Jones reported.

      • Steam for Linux client adds support for Linux namespaces

        The Steam client for Linux now supports using namespaces (a.k.a containers) to run game titles.

      • Steam For Linux Beta Adds Experimental Namespaces/Containers Support

        Longtime Linux game developer Timothee Besset has outlined the support introduced by Valve this week in their latest Steam Linux client beta for supporting Linux namespaces / containers. This experimental functionality may in the end provide better support for 32-bit compatibility as more Linux distributions focus solely on x86_64 packages, reducing some of the fragmentation/library conflicts between some Linux distributions and Steam, and other headaches currently plaguing the Steam Linux space.

      • Steam for Linux can now run games in a special container

        In the latest Steam Beta Client for Linux, Valve have added a new way to run Linux games through a special container.

        This is something that was being hinted, as we noticed when the new Steam Library was rolled out (noted at the bottom) you could briefly install the Steam Linux Runtime from the Tools menu before it was hidden again. Now we know why!

        It's a new experimental feature, allowing you to better isolate games from the host system as detailed in a post on Steam from developer Timothee Besset. As the post from Besset states, it can help Valve support older titles on newer distributions, allow developers to test directly against it reducing QA time, other runtimes can be added using newer compilers and libraries, allow you to isolate your Home folder and a whole lot more.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • Analyzing XFCE keyboard shortcuts

        Hello one more time! Last week I analyzed GNOME keyboard shortcuts because I’m in an endeavor to analyze keyboard shortcuts in most major DEs just so that I can provide insight into what the best defaults would be for KDE Plasma.

        I must say, this one brings me memories since XFCE was my second Desktop Environment, and it also rendered quite some nice insight since a significant basis for comparisons has already been established—my blog should target primarily Plasma users, after all, and GNOME, a keyboard-enabling environment, was already verified.

        With that said, let’s start our analysis of XFCE keyboard shortcuts.


        For testing XFCE, I installed full xubuntu-desktop on my work machine which includes Kubuntu 19.04 (with backports).

        I also used a Xubuntu 19.10 live USB on both my home and work machines. Oh, how I missed that squeaky mascot placeholding the interactive area of whisker menu!

        I checked MX Linux, Sparky Linux, Arco Linux, EndeavourOS and Void musl XFCE on VMs for comparison. Generally speaking, Xubuntu, MX Linux and Arco Linux had very different keyboard shortcuts, and I must say beforehand: the distro which comes closest to that seems to be Void, which does not even include a panel by default (similarly to Openbox) and does not seem to change anything about XFCE keyboard shortcuts, whereas the most complete experience was Xubuntu. As it has the most polish and is arguably the most popular one, I’ll talk first about Xubuntu and comment on the others using it as parameter.

        For sources, since XFCE themselves do not provide lists with keyboard shortcuts, I initially used this random but minimally comprehensive page to acquire the typical modifier combos so that I could experiment; however, afterwards I would learn that XFCE, unlike Plasma and GNOME, stores its keyboard shortcuts in a single file, which made my life easier. It is stored in /etc/xdg/xfce4/xfconf/xfce-perchannel-xml/xfce4-keyboard-shortcuts.xml, and it is the default configuration for XFCE; distros however instead prepare a user config file stored in ~/.config/xfce4/xfconf/xfce-perchannel-xml/xfce4-keyboard-shortcuts.xml, even if no significant changes were made.

        I must mention two things: first, it would be useful for readers to pay particular attention to when I mention “XFCE” and when I mention “Xubuntu”, as those are not used interchangeably. In addition, reading of my previous post on workspace dimensions should make things more clear for those who never read my blog or this series before.

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Using Heaptrack and Hotspot

          Some weeks ago at the Open Source Summit & Embedded Linux Conference there was also a talk by David about using heaptrack and hotspot. Since these tools are extremely valuable, I thought I’d blog to make these tools a bit more visible in the KDE community.

    • Distributions

      • Fedora Family

        • Review: Fedora 31 Workstation

          Fedora 31, like all recent Fedora releases, has a wide selection installation media available, each focused on some different function or desktop environment. The Fedora website treats the Workstation edition, which is the desktop version featuring the GNOME desktop, and the Server edition as the main downloads. Below Workstation and Server are three emerging Fedora versions: Fedora CoreOS, "an automatically updating, minimal, container-focused operating system"; Fedora Silverblue, "an immutable desktop operating system aimed at good support for container-focused workflows"; and Fedora IoT, which is designed to "[provide] a trusted open source platform as a strong foundation for IoT ecosystems". Tucked down closer to the bottom of the page are the options to download Fedora Spins, which are installation media with different default desktop environments, and Fedora Labs, which provide a preselected set of packages designed around a specific task. For the purposes of this review, I mostly look at Fedora 31 Workstation, but also take a brief look at Fedora Silverblue to see how that project is progressing.


          Fedora 31 is another in a long line of recent Fedora releases that are slightly more polished and updated than the previous version. Fedora 31 brings in updated packages and some nice polish, but it is a very boring release for anyone looking to try something different. However, users looking for a combination of mature, polished GNOME desktop should be very happy with what Fedora 31 Workstation offers. There are a few minor issues, but those should be fixed shortly. If you are looking for a distribution that fits nicely between mature and bleeding edge, Fedora 31 Workstation is an excellent choice. If you want to try something very different, Fedora Silverblue is also an excellent choice, but be aware that is does take more effort to get the system to a usable state.

      • Debian Family

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • The future of innovation is collaboration — Tech Leaders Summit keynote 2019

        The culmination of innovation over the last 50 years has been the invention of internet — Sir Tim Berners-Lee’s creation. However, in its nascent stage, connectivity hindered the convergence of the internet with tech. Brock pointed to smart tablets and fridges — these are nothing new and existed in the 1990s, but were unable to scale because of a lack of connectivity.

        What was the game changer? According to Brock, it was the arrival of the smartphone, specifically Apple’s iPhone in 2007. “You have to give credit where credit is due,” she said. The arrival of the smartphone was the beginning of interactive and converged devices. Since 2007 and the emergence of the smartphone, the number of applications and connected interactions has skyrocketed, and data has become the new oil. Where has all this taken place? For the most part, in the cloud; which is now “largely outsourced,” explained Brock, moving onto the next part of her keynote.

        Innovation in the cloud has stemmed from open source. “Red Hat,” explained Brock, “went hammer and tong against Canonical, but both collaborated on Open Stack [the open source software platform.

        “It created an environment where competitors could sit at the table together, something I call, coopetition.”

        But, there was another factor stifling this innovation in the cloud… software patents.

      • The challenge of making money through open source software [Ed: Overlooking the point that proprietary software can also be extremely difficult to profit from. What proportion of 'secret code' programs actually make money? Very tiny.]
      • Waves Releases WavesFX, a New Open Source Crypto Wallet for Desktop

        Waves is an open blockchain platform and toolset development for Web 3.0 applications and decentralized solutions. The platform has recently introduced WavesFX, its new wallet product, according to CryptoNinjas.

      • Binance CEO: New Open-Source Wallet Solution Will “Reshape the Landscape” of Custodial Services

        Changpeng Zhao, the CEO of Binance, is known for making big strides in the cryptocurrency industry, and he seems to have a lot of faith in their new solution available to wallet providers and custodians. In fact, CZ states that the open-sourced option is “far superior” to the multi-sig security presently offered by many custodians, and he believes that its introduction will reshape the entire industry.

      • The Apache Software Foundation Announces Apache€® SINGAâ„¢ as a Top-Level Project

        The Apache Software Foundation (ASF), the all-volunteer developers, stewards, and incubators of more than 350 Open Source projects and initiatives, announced today Apache€® SINGAâ„¢ as a Top-Level Project (TLP).

        Apache SINGA is an Open Source distributed, scalable machine learning library. The project was originally developed in 2014 at the National University of Singapore, and was submitted to the Apache Incubator in March 2015.

      • Chinese companies fuelling OpenStack adoption in APAC

        Led by Chinese tech giants such as Tencent and China Mobile, the Asia-Pacific region will account for a third of the global OpenStack market by 2023

      • OpenStack Foundation and China Electronics Standardization Institute Create Partnership to Advance OpenStack in China

        Today at the Open Infrastructure Summit in Shanghai, representatives from the OpenStack Foundation (OSF) and China Electronics Standardization Institute (CESI) announced a strategic partnership to implement new technology, assessment and certification for OpenStack software in China. The collaboration highlights the validation of OpenStack as the open source infrastructure cloud standard in China partnered with the OSF's commitment to the growing OpenStack community in China, a region expecting significant growth in a global market valued at 53.9 billion yuan ($7.7 billion USD) in 2023.

      • Capitalize on the advantages of open source software in IT

        Another advantage of open source software is always a major business factor: cost. Open source tools are inherently free to use, which means businesses can reallocate their budget to hire better talent to use and support the tools. For instance, Git is a completely free open source IT tool that developers commonly use for software version control.

        In addition, open source tools offer enterprises the ability to further customize software to meet their specific needs.

      • NearForm clocks in with hackable open source JavaScript AI smartwatch

        The Irish county town of Kilkenny is known for its medieval buildings and castle, its rich history of brewing, its distinctive black marble and as the home of White House architect James Hoban.

        In more recent times, Kilkenny has become known as the home of the NodeConf EU conference, a coming together of Node.js specialists who all gravitate towards this open source cross-platform JavaScript runtime environment that executes JavaScript code outside of a browser.

        This year’s event saw NearForm Research and Espruino surprise delegates by giving out something better than plain old lanyards and name tags — the two companies came together to offer an arguably rather more exciting Machine Learning (ML)-driven smartwatch to act as attendee’s conference badges.

        Bangle.js is said to be the first open source JavaScript (JS) smartwatch to be powered by Machine Learning via Google’s TensorFlow Lite. It is hoped to be a step towards the mainstream adoption of JS and ML in low cost consumer electronics.

      • Deezer Releases AI Tool That Quickly Isolates Vocal Tracks
      • Deezer releases open-source AI tool that splits vocals from finished tracks
      • Journalism

        • What is Datashare? FAQs about our document analysis software

          Datashare is free, open-source software built by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists that helps users better analyze information, in all its forms.

          Datashare allows you to index, search, star, tag, filter and analyze the key content in your own documents – whatever the format (text, spreadsheets, pdf, slides, emails, etc). Datashare will automatically highlight and extract the names of people, locations and organizations in your documents, as well as email addresses.


          Datashare won’t give you access to any of ICIJ’s leaks or data, of course. But it will help you search through your own documents.

          Datashare has been developed by ICIJ’s tech team under an open-source license. Anyone can read the code, use it and suggest contributions.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Hacktoberfest 2019

            I've been marking student submissions in my open source course this weekend, and with only a half-dozen more to do, the procrastinator in me decided a blog post was in order.

            Once again I've asked my students to participate in Hacktoberfest. I wrote about the experience last year, and wanted to give an update on how it went this time.

            I layer a few extra requirements on the students, some of them to deal with things I've learned in the past. For one, I ask them to set some personal goals for the month, and look at each pull request as a chance to progress toward achieving these goals. The students are quite different from one another, which I want to celebrate, and this lets them go in different directions, and move at different paces.

      • Linux Foundation

        • Linux Foundation bans person for Tone Policing.

          On November 6th, The Linux Foundation made a public statement that it had banned an individual from one of their upcoming events (KubeCon) -- the banning was based on that individuals public tweets (including a picture with a red "Make America Great Again" hat) and statements, unrelated to KubeCon, that were determined to violate the Linux Foundation Events Code of Conduct.

          This action by the Linux Foundation promptly drew both praise and criticism.

          Regardless of the personal opinions of any one of us, this moment provides an interesting opportunity to observe, and evaluate, the efficacy of this sort of Code of Conduct, along with the process and methods used to enforce it. Due to the unusually public nature of how all of this transpired, it also allows us to see how individuals (and groups) can impact the outcome -- and be personally impacted in return.

          With that in mind, as we walk through the events, this writer will endeavor to keep personal opinions at bay... focusing purely on the known facts, with as much input from those involved as possible.

      • CMS

        • Here's why Indians are joining open-source social network Mastodon in large numbers

          Mastodon is a "free and open-source project" that is Indian cyberspace's latest obsession. The network, named after an extinct elephant-like mammal (reflected in its logo), was launched almost two years ago.


          Mastodon is clean and clutter-free, and the social network has gained immense popularity in the country over the past 24-36 hours. Local search interest has spiked significantly November 6 onward, according to Google Trends.

      • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

      • BSD


        • GNU Health HMIS 3.6 released !

          I am very proud to announce the release of the GNU Health 3.6 series ! This version is the result of many developments and integration of ideas from the community. We are now 11 years old. We should all be very proud because not only we have built the best Libre Health and Hospital Information System, but we have created a strong, committed and friendly international community around it.

        • GNS@ICANN66

          The ICANN Annual General Meeting is concluded. We were invited to join a panel discussion on Emerging Internet Identifier Technologies in order to share our ideas and work on the GNU Name System (GNS). You can find the presentation on GNS in our video section. The project, which proposes a decentralized, blockchain-based governance of the root zone (as opposed to governance by ICANN), joined us on the panel. The full video including questions and answers can be found here.

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

        • What does open government mean for digital transformation?

          Openness is a critical tenet for democracy. It enables transparency, which enables accountability, which in turn drives better public outcomes and ideally a useful check and balance on power. But openness is also a critical tenet for modern public sectors if they are to be capable of responsiveness and resilience in the face of dramatic and rapid change, and to best ensure evidence-driven policy, programs, and service delivery. As part of this Public Sector Pia Review, I wanted to talk about open government as it applies to digital transformation of the public sector, beyond the usual (but important!) scope of transparency and freedom of information.

          I do recommend you also check out the Open Government Partnership (including Australia’s participation and the community around it), the great work of Open Australia over many years, and the Digital 9 (a collection of governments committed to open digital government), all three of which sit in the interesting intersection of open and digital government. I also encourage you to look closely at how Taiwan is dramatically raising the bar for open inclusive government in a digital world. There are also a lot of initiatives around the non-digital specific world of open government, including the Accountability Roundtable, Transparency International Australia, and many more. I also encourage you to read some of the great case studies that explore the intersection of digital and open government in this report on ‘Upgrading Democracy’ by the Centre for Policy Development from 2009.

        • Open Data

          • (the struggle) Towards an open source policy

            Public availability and tracability of results from publically-funded work is a topic that gets more and more attention from funding agencies and scientific policy makers. However, most policies focus on data as the output of research. In this contribution, we focus on research software and we introduce the ASTRON Open Source Policy. Apart from the license used (Apache 2.0), the policy is written as a manual that explains how to license software, when to assign a Digital Object Identifier (DOI), and defines that all code should be put in an ASTRON managed repository. The policy has been made publically available, a DOI has been assigned to it and it has been put in a repository to stimulate the ADASS community to start a conversation on how to make our code publically accessible and citable.

          • Philadelphia to dissolve Office of Open Data and Digital Transformation

            ODDT’s Open Data team has joined OIT’s centralised data team under Chief Geographic Information/Data Officer, Henry Garie. Content strategists, user experience designers and visual designers are moving to OIT at the end of the year. ODDT developers will also join OIT’s software engineering team, led by the Director of Software Engineering, Dan Lopez.

            ODDT service designers and design researchers will spin off into the Service Design Studio, led by Dragoman. The Studio will work on City-wide process-improvement efforts.

        • Open Hardware/Modding

          • Google Open-Sources Cardboard To Keep ‘No-Frills’ VR Widely Available
          • Gigantic FPGA In A Game Boy Form Factor, 2019 Supercon Badge Is A Hardware Siren Song

            Look upon this conference badge and kiss your free time goodbye. The 2019 Hackaday Superconference badge is an ECP5 FPGA running a RISC-V core in a Game Boy form factor complete with cartridge slot that is more open than anything we’ve ever seen before: multiple open-source CPU designs were embedded in an open system, developed using the cutting-edge in open-source FPGA tools, and running (naturally) open-source software on top. It’s a 3,000-in-one activity kit for hardware people, software people, and everyone in between.

            The brainchild of Jeroen Domburg (aka Sprite_TM), this design has been in the works since the beginning of this year. For more than 500 people headed to Supercon next week, this is a source of both geeky entertainment and learning for three action-packed days and well beyond. Let’s take a look at what’s on the badge, what you need to know to hack it, and how the design serves as a powerful development tool long after the badge hacking ceremonies have wrapped up.

          • CHIPS Alliance announces technical milestones, three new workgroups including Chisel and the 3rd Chisel Community Conference

            CHIPS Alliance, the leading consortium advancing common, open hardware for interfaces, processors and systems, today announced the creation of Interconnects, Rocket and Chisel workgroups. In addition, a November verification workshop in Munich and a Chisel conference in January will be held giving engineers an opportunity to learn about open source development efforts in CHIPS Alliance. Lastly, the CHIPS Alliance toolchain and cores workgroups have made contributions to open source development tools.

            CHIPS Alliance is the project hosted by the Linux Foundation to foster a collaborative environment to accelerate the creation and deployment of open SoCs, peripherals and software tools for use in mobile, computing, consumer electronics, and Internet of Things (IoT) applications. The CHIPS Alliance project develops high-quality open source Register Transfer Level (RTL) code and software development tools relevant to the design of open source CPUs, RISC-V-based SoCs, and complex peripherals for Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) and custom silicon.

          • Elk Audio OS goes open source with a Raspberry Pi development kit

            Elk Audio OS is an audio operating system from Elk (formerly MIND Music Labs) that can run plug-ins on hardware instruments and audio devices in realtime with low latency. The company has now made the system open source and has released a development kit for Raspberry Pi. This could be a good solution for hosting some of those CPU heavy software instruments and effects at an affordable price.

            You can get your hands on the Elk Audio SDK and Development Kit for Raspberry Pi today through the Elk Audio website, but the company is working on a beta version of the OS to be released in the upcoming weeks. The Raspberry Pi Development Kit includes a custom Elk Pi Audio Hat, which Elk say is “one of the most advanced pro Audio Hats in the markets with down to 1ms latency”.

          • BCN3D Releases Open Source Files for Sigma R19 and Sigmax R19 Printers
          • Xaxxon’s OpenLIDAR sensor is tiny, inexpensive and open source

            Xaxxon’s OpenLIDAR Sensor is a rotational laser scanner with open software and hardware, intended for use with autonomous mobile robots and simultaneous-location-and-mapping (SLAM) applications.

            Xaxxon Technologies is a Vancouver-based developer and manufacturer of open source robotic devices. Its most recent offering is a standalone, OpenLIDAR sensor for robotic developers, educators and hobbyists. It consists of a Garmin Lidar-Litev3 sensor that is wired through a rotational slip ring, with stepper motor drive, two 3D-printed frame parts, and an Arduino compatible printed circuit board (PCB). The resulting offering weighs 180 grams and has a maximum range up to 40m, a sample rate up to 750Hz, a resolution of 1 to approximately 2.5cm and a scanning speed up to 250 RPM.

          • Traffic Updates On The Seven Seas: Open Source Chart Plotter Using A Raspberry Pi

            Automatic Identification System (AIS) is a GPS tracking system that uses transponders to transmit a ship’s position data to other ships or receiver stations in an area. This is used for collision avoidance and by authorities (and hobbyists) to keep an eye on shipping traffic, and allow for stricken vessels to be found easily. [James]’ DIY chart plotter overlays the received AIS data over marine charts on a nice big display. A Raspberry Pi 3B+, AIS Receiver Hat, USB GPS dongle and a makes up the core of the system. The entire setup cost about $350. The Pi runs OpenCPN, an open source chart plotter and navigation software package that [John] says is rivals most commercial software. As most Pi users will know the SD card is often a weak link, so it’s probably worth having a backup SD card with all the software already installed just in case it fails during a voyage.

            We’ve seen AIS receiver stations built using the RTL-SDR, as well as a number of projects around the AIS equivalent in aviation, ADS-B. Check out [John]’s video after the break.

          • The Open Source Smart Home

            [Tijmen Schep] sends in his project, Candle Smart Home, which is an exhibit of 12 smart home devices which are designed around the concepts of ownership, open source, and privacy.

            The central controller runs on a Raspberry Pi which is running Mozilla’s new smart home operating system. Each individual device is Arduino based, and when you click through on the site you get a well designed graphic explaining how to build each device.

          • Supercon Keynote: Dr. Megan Wachs On RISC-V

            The RISC-V isn’t a particular chip, but rather it’s a design for how a CPU works, and a standard for the lowest-level language that the machine speaks. In contrast to proprietary CPUs, RISC-V CPUs from disparate vendors can all use the same software tools, unifying and opening their development. Moreover, open hardware implementations for the silicon itself mean that new players can enter the space more easily, bring their unique ideas to life faster, and we’ll all benefit. We can all work together.

            It’s no coincidence that this year’s Supercon badge has two RISC-V cores running in its FPGA fabric. When we went shopping around for an open CPU core design, we had a few complete RISC-V systems to pick from, full compiler and development toolchains to write code for them, and of course, implementations in Verilog ready to flash into the FPGA. The rich, open ecosystem around RISC-V made it a no-brainer for us, just as it does for companies making neural-network peripherals or even commodity microcontrollers. You’ll be seeing a lot more RISC-V systems in the near future, on your workbench and in your pocket.

            We’re tremendously excited to hear more about the project from the inside, and absolutely looking forward to Megan’s keynote speech!

      • Programming/Development

        • Keith Packard: Picolibc Hello World Example

          It's hard to get started building applications for embedded RISC-V and ARM systems.

        • Fedora 31 : another FASM tutorial with Linux.

          Today I wrote another tutorial about FASM and assembly language on my website. Because I used the Fedora distro I add my tutorial here. If you want to learn assembly programming for Windows O.S. or Linux with the Intel C.P.U. then you need the FASM tool and this manual. Today I will show you how to create a file using my Fedora 31 Linux distro and FASM tool.

        • Shell scripts – What can you change

          In most, if not all, shells, you have a script that starts your shell. Learn how to change it and you can have your own environment in the terminal. These settings most obvious use is changing the looks and the prompt you are shown when the shell starts. On a more functional note, you can set aliases, environment variables and daemons that change your prompt depending on the directory you are in. If you use the command line rarely and only with a few odd commands, you might not be interested. However, you will loose out on the power of the command line. With a little bit of scripting skills, you can enhance your experience and make many tasks much easier. Above all, you can become faster with some administrative tasks. The graphical choice is usual for a very special case, as soon as you know scripting, you can do exactly what you want. It is also more fun than most people think to have written any code, even just a few lines and you get it to do what you intended.

        • Scheduling tasks Using Python

          Some tasks in our life are really time taking and we get bored doing those tasks repeatedly. In order to avoid those boring tasks we automate those tasks in our system. Python has many automation modules which can be used to automate our stuff. Below we will discuss the importance of automation and how to automate our stuff using python. We will also discuss some automation modules in python which help to automate our stuff. Then we will see some use cases of automation using python. At the end we will see how we can schedule our python script to run automatically at start up.

        • Open software platform GitLab considers suspending hires in China and Russia

          San Francisco-based GitLab, an open platform for developing and collaborating on coding, is looking at suspending new hiring for sensitive positions in China and Russia because of customer feedback in the “current geopolitical climate.”

          In a post published on GitLab’s website, one of the company’s executives said the venture wanted to enable a “job family country block” for team members who have access to customer data and singled out two countries involved in the decision – China and Russia. The post also says current team members should be prevented from moving to these two countries.

        • SD Times Open-Source Project of the Week: Titan

          Data is becoming more important than ever, and developers are beginning to realize they need better ways to harness and work with data. The problem, however, is that data isn’t handled the same way development is and therefore it can become a time-consuming and complex process.

          “The rise of git, docker, and DevOps has created a new world where developers can easily build, test, and deploy right from their laptop. Despite these advances, developers still struggle to manage structured data with the same speed and simplicity. Techniques like SQL scripts, database dumps, and plain text exports still leave a lot of work for developers,” the Delphix Titan team wrote on a website.

          To address this, Delphix open sourced Titan earlier this year. Titan is an open-source project that enables developers to treat data like code.

        • Using Open Source for Better DevOps Outcomes

          Many insurers have jumped on the DevOps bandwagon in order to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their systems and systems implementations. Very few insurers, however, spend much time thinking about the open source software community as a way to improve their DevOps approach–and the skills of their developers–and in that regard they’re missing a golden opportunity. In fact, insurers often restrict their developers from updating or contributing to open source libraries because they don’t realize the potential benefits available to them by participating more actively in the open source community.

        • Survey Surfaces Uneven Approaches to DevSecOps

          A survey of 57 cybersecurity professionals conducted by ZeroNorth, a provider of a platform for orchestrating vulnerability scanning tools, highlights the extent of the DevSecOps challenge. The survey finds 63% of respondents said their organization currently employs six or more scanning tools. The most widely employed are network scanning (53%) and vulnerability scanning (51%). However, a quarter (25%) don’t know if their organization is using interactive application security testing (IAST), while 19% don’t know if they are using software composition analysis (SCA) tools.

  • Leftovers

    • 82-year-old British cyclist completes 1 million miles

      Mantle has been building up miles since 1952 and has kept detailed, handwritten logs of his time on the saddle, recording not only the total mileage, but also the names of towns he rides through and even the cafes where he stops during his rides.

    • Security (Confidentiality/Integrity/Availabilitiy)

      • Critical Remote Code Execution Flaw Found in Open Source rConfig Utility

        The network configuration management utility has two unpatched critical remote code execution vulnerabilities.

        Two bugs in the network configuration utility rConfig have been identified, both allowing remote code execution on affected systems. Worse, one is rated critical and allows for a user to attack a system remotely – sans authentication.

        RConfig is a free open-source configuration management utility used by over 7,000 network engineers to take snapshots of over 7 million network devices, according the project’s website.

        The vulnerabilities (CVE-2019-16663, CVE-2019-16662) are both tied to rConfig version 3.9.2. The more serious of the two vulnerabilities (CVE-2019-16662) allows an attacker to execute system commands on affected devices via GET requests, which can lead to command instructions.

      • Scammers are exploiting an unpatched Firefox bug to send users into a panic

        The exploit spotted by Segura is a common subclass of browser lock attacks. This subclass relies on authentication popups. Earlier this year, Mozilla shipped a comprehensive fix for these types of attacks some 12 years after being reported. Chrome and other browsers have also been vulnerable to this variety of attacks.

        Segura said he's aware of a separate Firefox browser lock bug that remains unfixed two years after it was reported. Although it was actively exploited in the past, Segura said, he hasn't seen any recent attacks targeting the flaw.

        For many people, it's not clear what to do when a browser becomes unresponsive while displaying a scary or threatening message. The most important thing to do is to remain calm and not make any sudden response. Force quitting the browser can be helpful, but as Segura has found, that fix is far from ideal since the offending site can reload once the browser is restarted. Whatever else people may do, they should never call the phone number displayed.

      • How can using open source frameworks hook students in STEM?

        The U.S. Department of Labor predicts a shortage of 1.8 million cybersecurity professionals by next year, and educators will play a critical role in meeting this challenge for years to come.

        From our vantage point as instructors working at the intersection of education and technology, we believe we’ll meet our goals if we take an open approach to educating tomorrow's cybersecurity experts. And we mean "open" in terms of both software and mindset.

        Here at Murray State University in Kentucky, we’ve done just that for the last decade.

        Being recently recognized by the NSA as a Center for Academic Excellence in Cyberdefense (CAE-CD), we're using open principles gleaned from open source software communities to empower students to train themselves in the use of tools to resolve problems. In so doing, we prepare students not simply for cybersecurity jobs, but for careers that involve continuous learning — which is critical given the current pace of technological, societal and business change.

      • County unveils new election machines

        The machine is “not a bad one,” said Coastsider Brent Turner, secretary of the California Association of Voting Officials, a nonprofit whose mission is to develop new voting systems that utilize open-source software.

        But Turner said he objects to the system “because it is not open-source — the public has no oversight regarding the software code.”

        Some reports suggest closed-source voting system vendors like DVS use vulnerable software, have outdated equipment, and provide faulty voting machines.

        “So, we don’t know if the final tabulation is correct or not,” said Turner. “There’s no way to subpoena that code.”

        Irizarry said the new DVS machines address this problem.

        “This system leaves a paper-audit trail and a digital one,” said Irizarry. “We will know every step of the way who touched that ballot, what scanner scanned it, what vote center processed it, and how it was adjudicated.”

        However, multiple reports suggest these new machines still have vulnerabilities: They auto-fill the parts of any ballot that are left blank, and they do not allow voters to verify that the information in the printed barcode matches their voting choices.

        Support for open-source voting has gained traction over the years. In a letter sent to the country’s three largest voting system vendors, including DVS, four U.S. senators noted the potential for open-source voting systems to overcome technical vulnerabilities in existing voting machines.

        Government agencies like the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency are currently funding research and development of an open-source voting system. Microsoft, in an effort to make elections more secure and transparent, recently released ElectionGuard, an open-source voting platform for handling voting data.

        The security of open-source voting systems, however, depends on its users.

        According to a 2018 report by a San Francisco civil grand jury, since the source code in an open-source project is available for anybody to inspect, it becomes easier to find vulnerabilities and potentially exploit them. However, the larger the number of people inspecting and maintaining the source code, the more secure the system will be. A 2016 report by the University of Pennsylvania concluded the same.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • NRA Turmoil Creates Rift Among Some Big Donors

        Joe Olson was once such a passionate supporter of the National Rifle Association that he pledged to bequeath several million dollars from his estate to the gun organization upon his death.

    • Environment

      • Climate ‘Is the Election Priority’ for the UK

        The real issue facing the United Kingdom in next month’s general election is not whether to choose Brexit, to stay in the European Union or leave it, a prominent lawyer says, because the climate “is the election priority” for the UK.

      • Energy

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Monopolies

      • Copyrights

        • Spammers Abuse to Spread 'Pirate' Scams

          Scammers are using the online publishing platform Medium to spread links to supposedly pirated movies and TV-shows. The issue plagues many platforms, but as one of the world's most visited websites, Medium is an ideal tool to lure prospective pirates into signing up for dubious subscriptions.

        • ACE Hits Two More Pirate Streaming Sites, Seizes More Openload Domains

          Global anti-piracy coalition Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment is continuing its drive to purge pirate sites from the Internet. In addition to the dramatic taking down of Openload last week and a related domain seizure run, another two streaming services have succumbed to the Alliance's wishes by closing down their operations and handing their domains to the MPA.

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