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Links 16/2/2021: Sailfish OS Koli, KDE Plasma 5.21, and Plasma Pass 1.2.0

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • How to install Linux in 3 steps

        In 2021, there are more reasons why people love Linux than ever before. In this series, I'll share 21 different reasons to use Linux. Here's how to install Linux.

        Installing an operating system (OS) is always daunting. It's something of a puzzle to most people: Installing an OS can't happen from inside the OS because it either hasn't been installed, or it's about to be replaced by a different one, so how does it happen? And worse yet, it usually involves confusing questions about hard drive formats, install destinations, time zones, user names, passwords, and a bunch of other stuff that you just don't normally think about. Linux distributions know this, and so they've worked diligently over the years to reduce the time you spend in the OS installer down to the absolute minimum.


        When you boot from a Linux install DVD or thumb drive, you're placed into a minimal operating environment designed to run one or more useful applications. The installer is the primary application, but because Linux is such a flexible system, you can usually also run standard desktop applications to get a feel for what the OS is like before you commit to installing it.

        Different Linux distributions have different installer interfaces. Here are two examples:

        Fedora Linux has a flexible installer (called Anaconda) capable of complex system configuration.

    • Server

      • 5 Best free to use Linux Server distributions for 2021

        Linux is an open-source software platform developed initially for home computers but later become a dominated Server operating system. Linux Server OS are popular because of their small size and ability to quickly convert to perform some specific operations such as Web server, File server, monitoring tool, etc. That’s why you will see almost all computing cloud platforms prefer Linux servers to distribute their computing services.

        Apart from powring thousands of racks at hosting companies, in server farms, and at cloud providers, you can also see Linux command line servers nested in container instances or in virtual machines, in short Linux keeps the Internet alive. As a server, Linux today supports more architectures and processors than any other kernel – from very large to very small.

    • Kernel Space

      • Intel Looking To Finally Upstream Linux Driver For Their Gaussian & Neural Accelerator - Phoronix

        Found with mobile Intel CPUs across Tiger Lake, Ice Lake, and even Cannon Lake has been the Intel GNA accelerator. This Gaussian & Neural Accelerator is also found with Intel Gemini Lake processors and various development kits. The Intel GNA has been backed by an out-of-tree Linux driver while now the company is finally working to upstream their GNA support in the Linux kernel.

        Intel's Gaussian and Neural Accelerator is a neural co-processor that can be used for offloading inference workloads. The GNA on modern Intel laptops has been used for tasks like noise reduction and speech recognition, assuming you setup the out-of-tree Intel GNA kernel driver and various user-space components like OpenVINO.

      • Linux 5.12 Bringing DTPM So You Don't Burn Yourself On Hot Devices - Phoronix

        Linux 5.12 pull requests continue coming in for the newly-opened merge window that in turn should see its stable release in late April.

        Linux power management maintainer Rafael Wysocki of Intel submitted the updates on Monday along with the routine ACPI updates. On the power management front most notable is the introduction of the Dynamic Thermal Power Management (DTPM) framework after missing out on 5.11 landing plus there are a lot of other miscellaneous updates throughout this important area of the kernel with modern devices.

      • Linux 5.12 Crypto Brings AES-NI Acceleration For CTS, Faster XTS With Retpolines - Phoronix

        On Monday the crypto subsystem updates were sent in to the Linux 5.12 kernel by crypto maintainer Herbert Xu.

        This time around there are a few notable crypto updates with this kernel. For systems relying on return trampolines "Retpolines" as part of their Spectre Variant 2 mitigations, Linux 5.12 will offer much faster AES-NI XTS crypto performance. Since Retpolines were added back in 2018, the Retpolines behavior ended up heavily regressing the AES-NI XTS performance that went unnoticed until recently. As a result reworking that kernel code is now yielding a very significant speedup for Retpoline-enabled AMD/Intel systems for hardware needing Retpolines.

      • Graphics Stack

        • The Vulkan API Is Now Five Years Old And Enjoying Phenomenal Success

          Today marks five years since the announcement of Vulkan 1.0. Over the past five years we have seen incredible adoption of this high performance graphics API across multiple platforms, open-source Vulkan drivers that are kept up to date well with the latest spec revisions, exciting new extensions, and the spec continues to receive new extensions and revisions on an almost bi-weekly basis.

        • Zink With Mesa 21.1 Now Advertises OpenGL 4.6 - Phoronix

          Mike Blumenkrantz continues to be on a mad roll when it comes to getting all of the Zink patches upstreamed into mainline Mesa... This Gallium3D-based OpenGL over Vulkan translation layer now has OpenGL 4.6 turned on for Mesa 21.1!

          It was just last week Mesa 21.1 saw OpenGL 4.3 for Zink and then just days later OpenGL 4.5 was reached. Now as of Monday night in Mesa Git is OpenGL 4.6 being advertised for the Zink OpenGL-on-Vulkan code.

    • Applications

      • 7 Best Free and Open Source Console Based XMPP Clients

        XMPP (also known as Jabber) is an open and free alternative to commercial messaging and chat providers. It is a secure battle-tested protocol developed by an independent standards organization.

        XMPP was designed for real-time communication, which powers a wide range of applications including instant messaging, presence, media negotiation, whiteboarding, collaboration, lightweight middleware, content syndication, EDI, RPC and more.

        The “X” in XMPP stands for “Extensible”, which means the core protocol is updated and extended with more features through a transparent process at the non-profit XMPP Standards Foundation every now and then. This results in some clients not implementing every feature of XMPP; for example, a typical instant messaging client won’t implement Internet-of-Things functionality.

        Set it up for your company, organisation, or just your family and friends. You are in control, and your communication is private to you.

        You can set up your own XMPP service on your server (dedicated, VPS, etc.) or on a box on your local network, to serve your home or office. Either way you can use it to converse with anyone else on the Jabber network, including people using Google Talk, probably the largest Jabber service on the network.

      • Fwupd 1.5.6 Released with Support for System76’s Keyboard, Star LabTop Mk IV Laptop

        Fwupd 1.5.6 is part of monthly updates to fwupd and introduces support for System76’s upcoming keyboard, the ability to download firmware from IPFS (InterPlanetary File System), support for StarLabs’ Star LabTop Mk IV Linux laptop, as well as support for RMI PS2 devices.

        Furthermore, this release adds support for GD32VF103 RISC-V microcontrollers, which is used in development boards like the Longan Nano, brings back the ability to use an external services provider (ESP), and adds BAT metadata to the fwupd EFI binary.

      • Richard Hughes: fwupd 1.5.6

        Today I released fwupd 1.5.6 which the usual smattering of new features and bugfixes. These are some of the more interesting ones:

        With the help of a lot of people we added support for quite a bit of new hardware. The slightly odd GD32VF103 as found in the Longan Nano is now supported, and more of the DFU ST devices with huge amounts of flash. The former should enable us to support the Pinecil device soon and the latter will be a nice vendor announcement in the future. We’ve also added support for RMI PS2 devices as found in some newer Lenovo ThinkPads, the Starlabs LabTop L4 and the new System76 Keyboard. We’ve refactored the udev and usb backends into self contained modules, allowing someone else to contribute new bluetooth peripheral functionality in the future. There are more than a dozen teams of people all working on fwupd features at the moment. Exciting times!

        One problem that has been reported was that downloads from the datacenter in the US were really slow from China, specifically because the firewall was deliberately dropping packets. I assume compressed firmware looks quite a lot like a large encrypted message from a firewalls’ point of view, and thus it was only letting through ~20% of the traffic. All non-export controlled public firmware is now also mirrored onto the IPFS, and we experimentally fall back to peer-to-peer downloads where the HTTP download failed. You can prefer IPFS downloads using fwupdmgr --ipfs update although you need to have a running ipfs daemon on your local computer. If this works well for you, let me know and we might add support for downloading metadata in the future too.

      • SonoBus Is An Open Source Low Latency Peer-To-Peer Audio Streaming Application

        SonoBus is a free and open source application for high quality, low latency peer-to-peer audio streaming over the Internet or a local network. It's available for Linux, macOS, Microsoft Windows and iOS (with an Android app being under development).

        The application is relatively new, having its first public release back in August 2020, but it's already working great and has a good set of features. Use this real-time audio streaming collaboration tool to create podcasts, remotely jam with band members, and much more.

      • Great Official AppImages Lately (Enve2D, KeePassXC, Zulip)

        Portable apps make GNU/Linux computer easier to users. Do you know AppImages? They are portable applications you can download officially and run on your GNU/Linux computers. Lately, I found more prestigious Free Software apps proudly made available as AppImages for example Enve2D (animation), Digikam (photography), Zulip (communication), even FlightGear and Red Eclipse (games) among others as mentioned below. Now let's see and quickly get them all!

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • How to Install Etcher USB Image Writing Tool on Ubuntu 20.04

        Etcher is an open-source USB image writing tool that is extensively used all across the world. It is a tool that is available for many operating systems like Windows, Mac, and all of the major Linux platforms. In this article, we will provide users a walkthrough of how to install Etcher on the Ubuntu 20.04 system.

      • The ultimate Linux commands cheat sheet

        The world of Linux is uniquely structured by its maze of commands that continue to make it more than just an ordinary operating system. A typical Linux desktop user might relate to several hundreds of these commands. On the other hand, a server administrator used to bare-bone Linux server’s packages installation and management can count over 1000 differing commands.

      • Parallel shells with xargs: Utilize all your cpu cores on UNIX and Windows

        One particular frustration with the UNIX shell is the inability to easily schedule multiple, concurrent tasks that fully utilize CPU cores presented on modern systems. The example of focus in this article is file compression, but the problem rises with many computationally intensive tasks, such as image/audio/media processing, password cracking and hash analysis, database Extract, Transform, and Load, and backup activities. It is understandably frustrating to wait for gzip * running on a single CPU core, while most of a machine's processing power lies idle.

        This can be understood as a weakness of the first decade of Research UNIX which was not developed on machines with SMP. The Bourne shell did not emerge from the 7th edition with any native syntax or controls for cohesively managing the resource consumption of background processes.

        Utilities have haphazardly evolved to perform some of these functions. The GNU version of xargs is able to exercise some primitive control in allocating background processes, which is discussed at some length in the documentation. While the GNU extensions to xargs have proliferated to many other implementations (notably BusyBox, including the release for Microsoft Windows, example below), they are not POSIX.2-compliant, and likely will not be found on commercial UNIX.

        Historic users of xargs will remember it as a useful tool for directories that contained too many files for echo * or other wildcards to be used; in this situation xargs is called to repeatedly batch groups of files with a single command. As xargs has evolved beyond POSIX, it has assumed a new relevance which is useful to explore.

      • How to Enable HTTP/2.0 in Nginx Server: Step-by-Step Guide | UbuntuPIT

        As you are using a Linux system, you probably already know that HTTP is an internet protocol that establishes your internet connection to your requested server through your web browser. It sends requests from the client’s end to the server end and conveys data from the server to the client. Well, that is enough to know about the HTTP protocol if you are a regular internet user. If you are a server administrator or a network manager or host your own website on an Nginx server, you need to know more about HTTP, HTTP/2.0, and how to enable HTTP/2.0 in the Nginx server.

      • How to manage Linux container registries | Enable Sysadmin

        If we have a close look at LEGO€® products, we can see that they are all made of the same building blocks. However, the composition of these blocks is the key differentiator for whether we are building a castle or space ship. It's pretty much the same for Podman, and its sibling projects Buildah, Skopeo, and CRI-O. However, instead of recycled plastic, the building blocks for our container tools are made of open source code. Sharing these building blocks allows us to provide rock-solid, enterprise-grade container tools. Features ship faster, bugs are fixed quicker, and the code is battle-tested. And, well, instead of bringing joy into playrooms, the container tools bring joy into data centers and workstations.

      • TeXstudio 3.0.5 Released, Install it via Official Ubuntu PPA | UbuntuHandbook

        TeXstudio released new 3.0.5 version a few days ago with important bug-fixes. Here’s how to install or update it in Ubuntu 16.04, Ubuntu 18.04, Ubuntu 20.04, Ubuntu 20.10 via PPA.

      • Migrate To AlmaLinux From CentOS 8 Using Almalinux-deploy Script - OSTechNix

        Good news, Enterprise Linux users! The much anticipated AlmaLinux migration tool is released!! I guess we don't need to rely on the unofficial AlmaLinux migration method anymore. The official script named Almalinux-deploy that helps you to migrate to AlmaLinux from CentOS 8 is out. It is time to convert your CentOS machines (hopefully other Enterprise Linux systems) to AlmaLinux. The almalinux-deploy script is written in Bash and the source code is available in GitHub.

      • What is PPA Purge? How to Use it in Ubuntu and other Debian-based Distributions?

        PA is a popular method of installing additional applications or newer versions of a software in Ubuntu.

        I have written a detailed guide on PPA so I will just quickly recall it here. PPA is a mechanism developed by Ubuntu to enable developers to provide their own repositories. When you add a PPA, you add additional repository to your system and thus you can download applications from this additional repository.

      • How To Delete Partition In Linux Using Command Line (fdisk)

        Sometimes we stuck in a situation where we just have access to the terminal and need to delete partition, or you have stepped down in Linux, and your logical mind pushes you to delete the partition using a command.

        But you don’t know how to delete the partition using the terminal, not a big deal, and I’m here to rescue you just follow the instruction, and your motive will be accomplished.

      • How To Install Composer on Linux Mint 20 - idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Composer on Linux Mint 20. For those of you who didn’t know, Composer is an incredible dependency manager device used to put in and upgrade libraries for dynamic, PHP applications and projects. This application used to facilitate the installation and replacement of the assignment dependencies which also shows the proper variants required for the assignment requirements.

        This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you through the step by step installation of Composer on a Linux Mint 20 (Ulyana).

      • How to Install MySQL Server in Ubuntu

        MySQL is a relational database management system and one of the most popular relational databases in use today. Similar to most other database management systems, MySQL is delivered with two main components separately: the server and the client.

        As you might know, the server in a SQL database is a background process (daemon) that processes SQL statements. It can be called from a client, which can be a command line or a GUI based utility, or it can be called programmatically inside the source code. A client can also call a remote MySQL server.

      • Pi IoT In C Using Linux Drivers -The DHT22

        Linux drivers are make working with devices so easy - assuming you know how. In this extract from Chapter 7 of my recent book on using Linux Drivers in C on the Raspberry Pi

      • How to Enable (UP)/Disable (DOWN) Network Interface Port (NIC) in Linux?
      • Install MATE 1.14 In Ubuntu MATE 16.04 (Xenial Xerus) Via PPA

        After about a year of hard work, developers of MATE desktop announced the release of MATE Desktop 1.24 and sent a message of appreciation to all participants in the project.

        MATE Desktop offers Linux users an intuitive, beautifully filled, and moreover, attractive user interface with all the traditional analogies.

        The new version of MATE Desktop comes with abundant new features, enhancements, and great functionalities which we shall talk about in the next section

      • Handling secrets in your Ansible playbooks | Enable Sysadmin

        It’s finally happened. You’ve gone all-in with Ansible. You’ve read all the great articles, seen the use cases, and are excited to start building repeatable infrastructure and managing your configuration as code. There’s just one problem: You have a configuration file or a task that requires a password or other piece of mission-critical information. You know that you shouldn’t store the password in your plaintext files, so you’re not quite sure where it should go.

        Fear not, this article guides you through the different options for handling sensitive information in your playbooks. Whether you’re looking for simple solutions, such as prompting an administrator to enter a password, or more complex options, such as integrating with an existing secrets management environment, Ansible has you covered.

      • How to properly use 3rd party Debian repository signing keys with apt
    • Games

      • ANATHEMA is an upcoming FPS roguelike about making friends and enemies | GamingOnLinux

        Currently in development and now crowdfunding on Kickstarter, ANATHEMA looks absolutely wild. A first-person shooter roguelike about making friends and enemies.

        It looks seriously stylish and I absolutely feel like I need it. Coming with a "fine-tuned arsenal of classic FPS weapons" it's promising combat that will be "fast, deep, and bloody". What actually is it though? Anathema itself is a magical, ever shifting cave system where long ago the world's horrors were sealed and every generation one must go in. Spooky.


        The Kickstarter campaign also makes it clear that ANATHEMA will support Linux at release.

      • DemonCrawl the Minesweeper-roguelite RPG is adding an online multiplayer mode | GamingOnLinux

        DemonCrawl was already highly unique with the Minesweeper styled roguelite gameplay, now it's going a step further with an online multiplayer mode inspired by auto-battlers.

        Yes, really. It sounds just as unique as the main gameplay. DemonCrawl Arena is the name of the upcoming update, currently available in a Beta to their Patreon subscribers with gameplay that takes ideas from the likes of Hearthstone Battlegrounds, Teamfight Tactics and Dota Underlords.

        You create a custom stage and compete against 7 other DemonCrawl players in a fight for world domination. The Minesweeping is mostly automatic, with the AI doing the exploring for you as long as there's no guesswork involved so that you can focus on loot collecting, item management and everything else.

      • Adventure game about Death's daughter 'PRIM' is up on Kickstarter - try the great demo | GamingOnLinux

        PRIM is a point and click adventure game with some of the best art and most impressive demos I've seen for a while in the genre, and now you can help make the full game a reality.

        Inspired by LucasArts, Tim Burton, Terry Pratchett and Greek mythology it follows Death's teenage daughter PRIM on a strange adventure through the Land of the Living. Now live on Kickstarter, project lead Jonas Christian Fisch is hoping to hit at least €17,500 by March 18 and it looks like the campaign is off to a good start. Linux support is fully planned and is already available in the short demo.

        "At its core, PRIM is a story of a father learning to let go and a girl finding out who she really is. But it's also a thrilling adventure, full of magic and darkness. On her journey, Prim repeatedly has to switch between the Realm of the Dead and the Land of the Living, where she faces demons, real ones and ones within herself, while always being accompanied by her sidekick, an eye with spider legs."

      • Volo Airsport went open source with main development discontinued | GamingOnLinux

        Here's a bit of open source news we missed from the end of last year. Volo Airsport, which entered Early Access back in 2014 has been discontinued by the developer and it went open source.

        This is something I wished happened more often, ensuring all the time and effort isn't for nothing when a developer plans to move on from a game (especially when not finished). It turns out they actually walked away from it back in 2017, and then suddenly in December 2020 announced it was open source.

      • The Tuxedo Polaris: A Daring Linux Gaming Laptop - Boiling Steam

        Tuxedo Computers is a Linux PC manufacturer based in Augsburg, Germany. Their slogan is “Linux hardware in a tailor-made suit,” hence the name Tuxedo. They started out in 2004, a year before System76, and like System76, Tuxedo sells laptops, desktops, and mini-desktops, although it seems they don’t sell servers. As far as I know, Tuxedo Computers is the only other Linux gaming computer company out there besides System76.

        Also like System76, the individual components that make up their machines are from China, but their systems are assembled and installed in Germany. They also provide “self-programmed driver packages, support, installation scripts.”

        Aside from the not-so-great English on their website, there’s quite a few different categories to explore in terms of their laptop or desktop lineup, as well as accessories. New products can be viewed via the “Novelties” tab. Notebooks are divided by screen size, business-orientation, deep learning AI, gaming, etc. Desktops are categorized by AMD/Intel, Mini, or what they call “Midi” and “Maxi”, which I’m guessing is medium-sized and large-sized desktops respectively. Books, as well as Tux plush dolls, computer components, docking stations, and laptop bags can be ordered through the “Accessories” tab.

        When purchasing a product from Tuxedo, you have the choice of what operating system it ships with. The default is Tuxedo OS (20.04 at the time of writing this), but you can choose Ubuntu instead or no operating system at all. Operating systems can be encrypted at no additional charge.

      • Valheim is now one of the most successful survival games on Steam with two million sold | GamingOnLinux

        13 days after release and it seems there's no stopping the absolute insane rise of the co-op survival game Valheim, as the developer has now announced two million sales. For a game largely developed on Linux that supports Linux fully, this is pretty amazing.

        This makes Valheim one of the most successful survival games on Steam, ever. Not only that, it makes it one of the most successful Early Access games ever too. It repeatedly hits new highs on the player count, most recently hitting 392,862 online on February 15.

        Valve have certainly taken notice too, as the Steam store page will now greet you with this when you first take a look. This is something not many games get, especially not indie games in Early Access it's often reserved for the big names.

      • Monado now officially OpenXR conformant, gets a SteamVR driver

        Monado, the free and open source OpenXR runtime for Linux has reached a massive milestone as it's now officially conformant. This announcement from Collabora came along with the release of Monado 21.0.0.

        As a quick refresher: Monado aims to jump-start development of an open source XR ecosystem and provide the fundamental building blocks for device vendors to target Linux as a platform.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • The Difference Between Window Managers and Desktop Environments

        When using Windows, your desktop is just that: your desktop. It’s the virtual surface you use to interact with your computer. When moving to Linux, though, you meet two terms that define the desktop experience. There are Window Managers and Desktop Environments. While they are functionally similar, they are not the same. Learn the differences between window managers and desktop environments.

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Plasma Pass 1.2.0

          Plasma Pass, a Plasma applet for the Pass password manager version 1.2.0 is out.

          The applet now supports OTP codes (in the format supported by the pass OTP plugin). The ‘clock’ icon appears next to all passwords, even those that do not have OTP code. This is a limitation caused by the passwords being stored in files encrypted and being decrypted only when the user requests it - so the applet cannot know whether there’s an OTP code available in the password file until you click on it. There were also some small fixups and UI improvements.

        • KDE Plasma 5.21 Released. This is What’s New

          The KDE team announced a brand new Plasma Desktop. This release comes with many new features and updates. Here are the details with download links.

        • KDE Plasma 5.21 Brings in a New Application Launcher, Wayland Support, and Other Exciting Additions

          KDE finally announced the release of Plasma 5.21. This release focuses completely on usability and the look/feel of it.

          Even though KDE Plasma is undoubtedly an exciting desktop environment and evolving over the years, in this article, let’s take a quick look at what features and improvements this new version has to offer.

        • KDE Plasma 5.21 Desktop Environment Officially Released with New App Launcher, More

          KDE Plasma 5.21 is here as the next-generation of the Plasma desktop environment for Linux-based distributions on both desktop and mobile. It’s a huge release that brings dozens of improvements, new features, new apps, and whatnot.

          The biggest change in KDE Plasma 5.21 is a brand-new application launcher that finally replaces the old Kickoff menu used in the last years. The new app launcher features a double-pane interface to make navigation faster, a grid-style view of favorite apps, alphabetically ordered list of installed apps, better keyboard, mouse, and touch support, improved accessibility, support for more KRunner runners, and RTL (Right-to-Left) support.

        • KDE Plasma 5.21 Released With Better Wayland Support, Desktop Improvements

          The KDE community today released Plasma 5.21 as the latest major release of this open-source desktop.

        • Plasma 5.21 rolls out as one of the best looking Linux desktops available

          Love your PC to look flashy? The KDE team put in a lot of effort to be both beautiful and functional with the latest Plasma 5.21 release which is out now. Part of the ongoing work to make KDE Plasma look as good as possible, with lots of work big and small going into many areas in this release.

          Plasma 5.21 from KDE brings in the brand new application launcher, featuring two panes to make it simple to find the programs you want to launch long with improved navigation for different input types. The older Kickoff launcher is still available too for anyone who prefers it. Plenty of improvements to the default Plasma theme with a refreshed colour scheme and header style, a new Breeze Twilight theme combining dark and light together, there's a brand new Plasma System Monitor for keeping an eye on your system, huge progress towards great KWin and Wayland support as part of their mission to have first class support for Wayland and much more.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Have You Found GNOME Desktop’s Hidden Easter Egg Yet?

          Oh yes! Even the developers behind the most popular open source desktop environment in the world aren’t averse to injecting a little levity to their wares.

          And since discovering the neat novelty via Reddit I can’t stop playing with it. In fact, I could go as far as to call this unexpected treat the Greatest of All Time — or GOAT, as the kids say.

          Alas, that pun won’t make sense until you’ve seen the Easter egg in action for yourself...

    • Distributions

      • Hands-On with Solus Linux 4.2: Fast to install, and very pleasant to use

        I first wrote about Solus Linux and the Budgie Desktop exactly four years ago. I haven't done much with it since then, it was always installed and occasionally updated on at least one of my computers, but because of the other activities I had going on I didn't spend much more time on it. Now that I have time, and they have just announced the release of Solus 4.2, this seems like a good time to take a fresh look.

        Why Solus?

        With so many other good Linux distributions available, what make Solus different or special? In my opinion it is two things - first, Solus is an independent distribution, built from scratch – it is not derived from Debian, Ubuntu or one of the other major distributions. Second, Solus is developed and maintained by a small, dedicated group of people.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

      • Slackware Family

        • Slackware 15.0 On Approach With An Early Alpha Build Available

          While Slackware carries the badge of being the oldest still maintained Linux distribution, it doesn't see new releases too often and doesn't carry the popularity it once did. In any case, Slackware 15.0 is being prepared as the next release.

          Slackware 14.0 debuted all the way back in 2012 while the current point release as Slackware 14.2 came out in mid-2016. Thus it's long overdue for seeing a new major release, which fortunately is on the way.

          Following a mass package rebuild, the latest build is considered to be effectively Slackware 15.0 "Alpha1" with coming up short of calling it a beta.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Open source contributions go far beyond code

          The source in open source projects is not always code. It’s documentation, web content, and social media. It’s systems administration, content management, and quality assurance. The source is any aspect of an open source project, and because the source can be nearly anything, any contributor interested in being part of a community should be able to find the source with which they can work.

          As community leaders and architects, the key is to examine your community and determine how tasks and responsibilities can be delegated out to more than just developers, and be more inclusive with the project’s processes. Establish who are the best fits to help build and maintain these different aspects of the community. Build process-oriented and culture-oriented paths to guide these new contributors into your project. You should soon find that the diversity of insights and creativity alone will bring a richer community experience to your open source project.

        • Is CentOS Dead? The reports of its demise are greatly exaggerated.

          End of last year, CentOS project announced that they are shifting their focus to CentOS Stream.

          Not surprisingly, this triggered a major outlash from users worldwide, especially from those who barely understand the change, and merely react to perception raised by various online media, who are not even contributors to the Fedora nor CentOS project. The general tone is, “RedHat have killed CentOS”, “CentOS is dead”, and similar perception.


          Historically, CentOS tracks RHEL, of which a new CentOS release is created, after a new RHEL release is launched. This make sense at the early days of CentOS, where it is primarily a rebranded rebuild of RHEL. But take note, the point releases of RHEL recent years, are primarily a snapshot of a specific state of the RHEL updates repositories, akin to a mid-release Fedora respin. This allows sysadmin to create a new installation with latest set of packages with latest bugfixes from the start, rather than installing an old point release, and yum update afterwards. A legacy from the era where internet was a fraction of the speed available today.

          If you are a sysadmin that regularly run yum update on your server, basically nothing will change for you. If you use containers and always ensure you containers runs yum update during build, nothing will change for you too.

        • GT Software Announces Releases of NetCOBOL for Linux and .NET Platforms

          NetCOBOL for Linux V12.2, supported on Red Hat Linux V8, includes a web browser interface and a faster, more secure platform to run NetCOBOL applications. Specifically, system libraries that NetCOBOL depends on are now upgraded to remove unsecure legacy protocols and now supports newer network security packages, adding an additional layer of protection to an organization’s servers.

        • How Ansible got started and grew |

          Recently, Flagsmith founder Ben Rometsch spoke to Michael DeHaan, founder of open source IT automation software Ansible (now part of IBM/Red Hat), on The Craft of Open Source podcast about how he developed Ansible and what he's been doing since.


          Ansible came after Michael spent a short spell working for Puppet. Afterward, he worked for another company that was trying to create an integration, but the job wasn't a good fit, and he wanted to return to working on a project in the open source community.

          Frustrated that it still took several days (or longer) to get a setup working due to DNS and NTP problems, Michael decided to create an open source solution to automate installations. The idea was to build something SSH- and push-based, without a load of management agents.

          Ansible was the result of this design goal. It provided an easy, quick solution, rather than spending hours or days using tools like Chef and Puppet. At the time, companies were employing full-time teams of people to manage cloud installations and configurations. Ansible provided a solution that one person could employ in less than one day.

        • Git repo branch name changes – Fedora Community Blog [Ed: "Fedora vision" is pretending that the word "master" universally says something about slavery]

          In line with the Fedora vision, we just completed some changes to the git branch names used on and elsewhere. We removed the “master” branch for those repositories. For rpms and containers, the default branch is now named “rawhide”, with a symref (alias) of “main”. For flatpaks, “stable” is the default/only branch. The fedpkg tool is updated on all supported released to accommodate this change.

        • Red Hat Satellite 6.9 Beta now available with Smart Management

          As part of Red Hat Smart Management, we are pleased to announce the availability of Red Hat Satellite 6.9 Beta. This release includes a number of new and updated features to help organizations streamline management and automation, along with continued improvements in simplification and a more streamlined connected experience.

          Red Hat Satellite is part of the Red Hat Smart Management subscription that makes it easier for enterprises to manage patching, provisioning, and subscription management of Red Hat Enterprise Linux infrastructure. Red Hat Smart Management is fully integrated with Red Hat Insights and Red Hat Ansible Automation for automated identification and immediate resolution of compliance issues, misconfigurations and security risks, providing an automated solution to manage Red Hat Enterprise Linux environments at scale, regardless of where they are running.

      • Debian Family

        • Sparky APTus 0.4.36

          Sparky APTus has been upgraded up to 0.4.36 (Sparky 5) & 0.4.38 (Sparky 6).

          There are small, but notable changes of APTus, which provide: – added Debian RealTime Linux kernel installation (Sparky 5 & 6) – added Debian Backports Linux kernel installation (Sparky 5) – Added Debian Backports RealTime Linux kernel installation (Sparky 5) – separated Linux kernel amd64 & i686 installation of Debian and Liquorix kernels (Sparky 5 & 6); it means, the kernel installer shows amd64 kernels only on the list of amd64 machines and shows i686 & i686-pae kernels only on machines i686.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ubuntu 21.04 to Use Dark GNOME Shell Theme By Default?

          Plans are afoot to make Ubuntu 21.04 use a dark theme by default — but which dark theme do I mean?

          That confusion is kinda key to this.

          See, if you’ve used Ubuntu in the past year or so you will know it comes with three theme options: light, standard, and dark. But — and it’s a notable but for this post — these theme options only affect the appearance of application windows and their headers. They do not affect the appearance of the GNOME Shell UI.

          Which is what some people expect to happen, right?

          A user picks ‘dark’ theme and expects it to enable full dark mode in Ubuntu but —drats!— it doesn’t change the notification/calendar, the system menu, or modal dialogs.

          Alas it doesn’t; there are two themes at play: GTK theme and GNOME Shell theme. They aren’t (or as I understand it can’t) be switched together; they operate somewhat independently.

        • Ubuntu in the wild- 16th of February 2021

          The Ubuntu in the wild blog post ropes in the latest highlights about Ubuntu and Canonical around the world on a bi-weekly basis. It is a summary of all the things that made us feel proud to be part of this journey. What do you think of it?


          With Thunderbird 68 not being supported anymore, the Ubuntu developers had to reflect on a tough question: how to allow users to access newer softwares on LTS releases while maintaining their stability? This article explains why they chose to backport Thunderbird 78 to Ubuntu 20.04 LTS.

        • Ubuntu Blog: Improving the code experience in Vanilla

          For a long time, code in Vanilla was simply set in a monospace font, and we saw an opportunity to improve the way we deliver code examples to users.

          A key goal is code clarity – code is not particularly resistant to errors: a missing character (or in some languages, a space or tab) can lead to problems and frustrated users – so the user should be able to select and copy the code easily. Syntax highlighting goes further toward making the code legible and we felt this was important to include via a third-party library.

          Many code examples for modern applications and APIs can have different versions of the same snippet, for example for different languages or versions of the API. We wanted to allow for this so users can easily switch between examples from the code snippet itself.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Open Source Advocates Want Share in Wealth

        A survey of 4,440 developers who actively participated in open source projects in 2020 finds more than half (54%) of respondents said they feel that individuals should be paid for their contributions to open source projects. The report, conducted by DigitalOcean, a cloud service provider, finds only 14% of respondents are currently paid for their contributions.

        Developer opinions vary, depending on age group, about whether individuals should be paid for their contributions to open source, with those between the ages of 18-25 being more likely to be in favor (60%), while only 34% of those aged 55 or above agreed.

        “A lot more people want to be compensated,” said Raman Sharma, vice president of product marketing for DigitalOcean. “That may mean there will be a need for more sponsorships by vendors.”

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

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

        Apache Gobblin is a distributed Big Data integration framework used in both streaming and batch data ecosystems. The project originated at LinkedIn in 2014, was open-sourced in 2015, and entered the Apache Incubator in February 2017.

        "We are excited that Gobblin has completed the incubation process and is now an Apache Top-Level Project," said Abhishek Tiwari, Vice President of Apache Gobblin and software engineering manager at LinkedIn. "Since entering the Apache Incubator, we have completed four releases and grown our community the Apache Way to more than 75 contributors from around the world."

      • Transfers vs connections spring cleanup |

        Warning: this post is full of libcurl internal architectural details and not much else.

        Within libcurl there are two primary objects being handled; transfers and connections. The transfers objects are struct Curl_easy and the connection counterparts are struct connectdata.

        This is a separation and architecture as old as libcurl, even if the internal struct names have changed a little through the years. A transfer is associated with none or one connection object and there’s a pool with potentially several previously used, live, connections stored for possible future reuse.

      • FSF

      • Programming/Development

        • Qt 6.1 Alpha released

          As usual, you can add the Qt 6.1 Alpha to the existing online installation by using the maintenance tool. Or you can do a clean installation by using the Qt Online Installer. Qt 6.1 Alpha source packages can be downloaded from the Qt Account portal and the as well.

        • What does being 'technical' mean?

          The word "technical" describes many subjects and disciplines: technical knock-out, technical foul, technical courses for rock-climbing competitions, and technical scores for figure skating in sports. The popular cooking show The Great British Bake-Off includes a technical baking challenge. Anybody who has participated in the theatre may be familiar with technical week, the week before the opening night of play or musical.

          As you can see, the word technical does not apply strictly to software engineering and operations, so when we call a person or a role "technical," what do we mean, and why do we use the term?

          Over my 20-year career in tech, these questions have intrigued me, so I decided to explore this through a series of interviews. I am not an engineer, and I don't write code, yet this does not make me non-technical. But I'm regularly labeled such. I consider myself technical, and through this series, I hope you will come to understand why.

          I know I'm not alone in this. It is important to discuss because how a person or role is defined and viewed affects their confidence and ability to do their job well. If they feel crushed or disrespected, it will bring down their work quality and squash innovation and new ideas. It all trickles down, you see, so how can we improve this situation?


          Here are a few examples: Urban Dictionary defines a non-technical manager as "a person that does not know what the people they manage are meant to do."

        • Google Now Accepting Applications for 2021 Season of Docs

          A technical writer guide is available to help writers who want to get involved. If your organization is interested in participating, check out the organization administrator guide and responsibilities.

          This year’s Season of Docs will also allow open source organizations to apply for a grant based on their documentation needs; for more information, refer to the grants for organizations guide.

        • Vincent Fourmond: QSoas tips and tricks: permanently storing meta-data

          It is one thing to acquire and process data, but the data themselves are most often useless without the context, the conditions in which the experiments were made. These additional informations can be called meta-data. In a previous post, we have already described how one can set meta-data to data that are already loaded, and how one can make use of them.

          QSoas is already able to figure out some meta-data in the case of electrochemical data, most notably in the case of files acquired by GPES, ECLab or CHI potentiostats. However, only a small number of constructors are supported as of now[1], and there are a number of experimental details that the software is never going to be able to figure out for you, such as the pH, the sample, what you were doing...

        • Perl/Raku

          • Perl weekly challenge 100

            We are finally here - we have hit week 100 of Manwar's Perl Weekly Challenges, and here are solutions to this weeks challenges from the Perl Weekly Challenge.

        • Rust

  • Leftovers

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • A New Twist to Virtual Desktop Cloud Computing

          The U.S.-based startup went online in the first quarter of last year. Since then, CEO and founder Alex Lee has been drumming up favorable responses from businesses, casual users, and Linux developers. The cloud computing alternative to Chromebooks and aging computers is also becoming an attractive offering to schools, noted Lee.

        • Security

          • Security updates for Tuesday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (spip), Mageia (chromium-browser, kernel, kernel-linus, and trojita), openSUSE (mumble and opera), Red Hat (container-tools:rhel8, java-1.8.0-ibm, kernel, kernel-rt, net-snmp, nodejs:10, nodejs:12, nodejs:14, nss, perl, python, and rh-nodejs10-nodejs), and SUSE (jasper, python-bottle, and python-urllib3).

          • SQLite patches use-after-free bug that left apps open to code execution, denial-of-service exploits

            SQLite has issued a security patch after the discovery of a use-after-free bug that, if triggered, could lead to arbitrary code execution or denial of service (DoS).

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Microsoft Azure is Sharing Customer Information and Allowing Publishers to Contact Customers [Ed: Microsoft-connected spin]

              A security researcher says Microsoft Azure and Canonical are creating a privacy issue by allowing sales reps to track users spinning Ubuntu Linux on Azure. Bentley Systems advisor Luca Bongiorini was stunned when a Canonical sales rep contact him shortly after he spun an instance of Ubuntu 18.04 on Microsoft’s cloud platform.

              Just three hours later, he received a message from a rep saying, “I saw that you spun up an Ubuntu image in Azure.” Bongiorni was stunned that a salesperson was able to track him in such a manner. It is worth noting Canonical is the developers behind Ubuntu.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • In Cameroon’s separatist war, children are the biggest losers

        I long for a Cameroon where anglophone children no longer mimic the sound of gunfire, and Mondays are no longer “stay-at-home” days decreed by armed men.

        I want to go back to a time – not so long ago – when education was a religion in every household, and schools were places children were eager to attend, promising a brighter future.

        These days, we have school massacres, boycotts, kidnappings.

        We have more than 80 percent of schools closed, and over 1.1 million children out of class. We have teachers and students stripped naked, terrified, jeered at by gunmen, and those images posted to social media.

        We have stay-at-home days – ordered by separatist fighters to demonstrate anglophone solidarity – that merely impoverish us all.

        There has been four years of war, but all that suffering seems to be largely ignored by the rest of the world. That’s why, as an investigative human rights journalist, I feel compelled to write this.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • Deeper insights into the patent system [Ed: Corrupt EPO is corrupting academia, offering bribes in exchange for propaganda that covers up for EPO abuses]

          Five scientific and economic reports published today provide new insights into the patent system, addressing such diverse topics as the impact of university innovation on local businesses in European regions, the analysis of standard-essential patents using semantic comparison, the digital transformation of the automotive industry, following the development of green technologies using trajectories, and the enrichment of the EPO’s public database with linked open data.

        • Corning and Schott battle over flexible glass handset displays

          The European Patent Office has revoked EP 30 99 644, owned by US manufacturer Corning, which covers the production of flexible glass for use in mobile devices. Schott had previously filed an opposition against the patent. However, in January 2021 an EPO opposition proceeding revoked EP 644 because the patent and the invention were found to not meet European Patent Convention requirements.

          According to JUVE Patent information, the EPO Opposition Division had doubts about the lack of reproducibility of Coning’s bendable glass. The US company can appeal the decision to the EPO Boards of Appeal.

          Corning had already lost a second patent in May 2020, after Schott successfully challenged the grant of EP 30 99 643. In summer, Corning then filed an appeal against the decision of the EPO Opposition Division (case ID: T 1521/20-3.3.06). The office has not yet set a date for the oral hearing.

          But a further opposition hearing by Schott against a third patent of Corning will take place on 26 April. The patent in question, EP 30 99 642, protects the manufacturing of stack assemblies in bendable glass.

      • Copyrights

        • Five considerations for the transposition and application of Article 17 of the DSM Directive

          Nearly two years have passed since the adoption of the Directive on copyright in the Digital Single Market 2019/790 (DSM Directive). As it was probably bound to happen, the discussion of its content – notably of its Article 17 – is no less heated now than in 2016-2019, that is the period between the release of the Commission’s original Proposal and the adoption of this piece of EU copyright legislation.

          Member States have until 7 June 2021 to transpose the Directive into their own laws, though delays are likely to occur due to a number of reasons. Besides the disruption caused by the ongoing COVID pandemic, the publication of the Commissions’ Guidance on the application of Article 17 (see Article 17(10)) has been also postponed to a later time than originally expected. In the meantime, different positions have emerged regarding the interpretation and application of this important and complex provision, with contributions made by interest groups, activists, scholars, and government-appointed experts alike.


          Also because of the approaches in certain implementation drafts at the national level, an important debate that has emerged further to the adoption of the DSM Directive is that concerning the legal nature of the provision vis-à-vis Article 3 of the InfoSoc Directive 2001/29.

          Some commentators have argued that the nature of Article 17 would be that of a special right or even a new sui generis right. In turn, this latter interpretation would mean that national legislatures would not be bound to comply with the list of exceptions and limitations in Article 5 of the InfoSoc Directive and could even introduce their own exceptions or limitations to the right of communication to the public under Article 17.

          In his 2020 Opinion in the pending YouTube/Cyando cases [Katpost here], Advocate General Saugmandsgaard Øe held the view that, whilst the platforms at issue in those references (YouTube and cyberlocker Uploaded) would be liable in principle under Article 17 lacking a licence, the same would not be true under Article 3 of the InfoSoc Directive alone. In this sense, Article 17 of the DSM Directive would be a novel regime without retroactive application.

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