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LibreOffice 7.0 is Finally Available Now! Here are the Key Changes in this Major Release

Wednesday 5th of August 2020 02:06:55 PM

LibreOffice 7.0 is the latest major release after version 6.4. There are plenty of additions to improve the LibreOffice experience.

In this article, I’ll share some details on the key changes on LibreOffice 7 and how to get it.

LibreOffice 7: Key Changes

As mentioned, LibreOffice 7 does not introduce major new features but several improvements contributing to a major release. Here, I’ve highlighted the features that I think are important:

Visual Changes

Don’t expect an overhaul — but you will find the addition of a new icon theme Sukapura. It looks similar to Apple’s color palette in macOS.

So, if you’re using LibreOffice in macOS or just want that look and feel, you can utilize this new theme.

You may also observe some new icons and banners when installing LibreOffice (depending on the platform you’re using it).

Changes to LibreOffice Calc

It’s good to see new spreadsheet functions “RAND.NV()” and “RANDBETWEEN.NV()” which are non-volatile random number generating functions that does not get affected by updates on other cell. Previously, RAND/RANDBETWEEN functions were being re-calculated whenever a new value was added to any other cell — which was not convenient.

Some of the spreadsheet functions like TEXT() and OFFSET() had issues with how it worked. The TEXT() function now allows the second argument to be an empty string and the OFFSET() function now has a rule of allowing value greater than 0 for width & height parameter.

Even though these are minor improvements, it fixes a lot of issues for the users who rely on these functions.

Changes in LibreOffice Writer

The added support for padded numbering, improvements to the auto-correct feature, and support for semi-transparent texts are some of the key highlights for the changes coming to LibreOffice Writer.

You will also find some minor improvements like highlighting the invisible fields with gray area for better visibility when editing.

Not to forget, the Navigator also received a couple of improvements to make it more useful and accurate.

Changes to LibreOffice Impress & Draw

You now have the support for semi-transparent texts on Draw/Impress. Also, Draw supports page sizes larger than 200″ (508 cm) when exporting a PDF, they’ve removed the limit.

There are also performance improvements here when you work with animations, table editing mode, and PPT file load speed.

Accessibility Improvements

An accessibility check tool has been introduced to make sure that the documents are more accessible before exporting it.

Vulkan Support

The switch from Cairo library for rendering to Skia graphics library now allows optional GPU-based Vulkan acceleration support which should improve the performance as well.

ODF 1.3 Support

With the latest release, you can now export to new versions of ODF that includes ODF 1.3 as well. You can also find the previous versions — but it’s recommended to use ODF 1.3

Improvements to DOCX Export

To improve compatibility for users with files from different versions of Microsoft Office, DOCX now saves in 2013/2016/2019 mode instead of the 2007 compatibility mode. Also, the support for glow effects on objects and some other minor improvements should make the experience better when working with DOCX files.

Help Page improvements

No major overhaul here — but you will find some basic syntax diagrams (more than ever) and the help pages have different colors for modules.

Help page is not something everyone cares about, but updating the accuracy of it and adding more information is always a good thing.

Other Improvements

You will find improvements to proof-reading tools, language support, scripting, configuration options, and several other stuff.

To get all the details for what has changed, you can refer to the official release notes of LibreOffice 7.0.

Download LibreOffice 7.0

Your Linux distributions may take some time to provide you the latest LibreOffice 7 version.

For Ubuntu-based distributions, there is an official PPA but version 7.0 is not available via this PPA yet. I’ll update the article with the instructions when it is available.

For now, if you really want to use it, you can download the DEB/RPM installer files from the official download page.

Download LibreOffice 7.0

I am glad that LibreOffice removed the ‘Personal Edition’ labelling it was bound to create controversy.

What do you think of the changes in LibreOffice 7.0? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

How to Install Arch Linux on a Raspberry Pi 4 [Step-by-step Tutorial for Beginners]

Wednesday 5th of August 2020 01:52:21 PM

Raspberry Pi has been undoubtedly the way to go for inexpensive single-board computing. You can create Raspberry Pi projects for powering everything from robots to smart home devices.

When the Raspberry Pi 4 launched in 2019, the performance amazed the Raspberry Pi enthusiasts. A more powerful CPU, USB 3.0 support, native Gigabit Ethernet, plus the ability to output 4K video at 60 Hz on dual monitors are the major improvements. The intent was to pitch Raspberry Pi as an entry-level desktop computer.

More recently, the Raspberry Pi 4 offers an 8 GB RAM model, which is better not only as a desktop but also for hosting databases and servers.

There are many operating systems that can be installed on a Raspberry Pi. Apart from the official Raspberry Pi OS (previously known as Raspbian), we have covered installation of Ubuntu MATE on Raspberry Pi. And in this tutorial I will cover a step by step Arch Linux installation.

Installing Arch Linux on a Raspberry Pi 4


Arch Linux doesn’t support ARM architecture (used by devices like Raspberry Pi) officially. But there is a separate project called Arch Linux ARM that ports Arch Linux to ARM devices. But it is only available in 32-bit format.

I am going to use it for getting Arch on Raspberry Pi.

You’ll need the following things for this tutorial:

Since the installation procedure is purely terminal-based, you should have intermediate knowledge of the Linux command line and you should be comfortable in using terminal.

Step 1: Insert the microSD card in your card reader

When you insert you microSD card in your card reader, open the terminal, get root /sudo access and list the block devices to identify the card. The installation process needs to be done using root priviledges.

fdisk -l

My block device is the mmcblk0, your device may be different.

Step 2: Format and create the partitions

Partition the SD card using fdisk command. Keep in mind to replace the device name with your sd card’s name.

fdisk /dev/mmcblk0

At the fdisk prompt, the existing partitions have to be deleted and a new one should be created.

  1. Type o. This will purge any partitions on the drive.
  2. Type p to list partitions. To check if any partition is still present.
  3. To create the boot partition: Type n, then p for primary, 1 for the first partition on the drive, press ENTER to accept the default first sector, then type +100M for the last sector.
  4. Type t, then c to set the first partition to type W95 FAT32 (LBA).
  5. To create the root partition: Type n, then p for primary, 2 for the second partition on the drive, and then press ENTER twice to accept the default first and last sector.
  6. Write the partition table and exit by typing w.
Create and mount the FAT & ext4 filesystems

At this point, I will create the filesystem for the boot and root partition using mkfs command and then mount it. If in doubt about the partition names, list again the partitions as you did in the first step.

mkfs.vfat /dev/mmcblk0p1 mkdir boot mount /dev/sdX1 boot mkfs.ext4 /dev/mmcblk0p2 mkdir root mount /dev/sdX2 root Download and extract Arch Linux for Raspberry Pi 4

Make sure that you have root access (otherwise the process may fail), and run the following commands (with sudo, if you are not root).

wget bsdtar -xpf ArchLinuxARM-rpi-4-latest.tar.gz -C root sync

Now move the boot files to the boot partition you had created:

mv root/boot/* boot umount boot root

You might see “Failed to preserve ownership” errors. That’s normal because the boot partition isn’t owned by anyone.

Step 3: Insert the microSD card into the Raspberry Pi and, connect the power supply and to the Internet.

At this step Arch Linux is installed on the SD card, and the rest of the configurations will be done from the Raspberry pi.

You can either follow the rest of the tutorial, either directly on the Raspberry Pi by connecting a monitor and a keyboard set, or you can connect remotely to the Raspberry Pi via SSH (if you don’t have a spare monitor, you need to connect via Ethernet to your local network).

I will connect to my Raspberry Pi via SSH for this tutorial. To get the IP address of the Raspberry Pi, check the devices connected to your network and see which one is the Raspberry Pi.

Connect via WiFi

If an Ethernet connection is not an option, you can access your WiFi network after you login as root using the following command. Please note that you need a keyboard set and a monitor to initially connect on your WiFi.

Note: I am aware that wifi-menu is being discontinued in the original Arch Linux. For the moment, it works in Arch Linux ARM.


Once you find the IP address of your Raspberry pi, type the following command at your computer’s terminal using your IP address:

ssh alarm@raspberry_pi_ip_address

Please note the default user name is alarm and the default user password is alarm. The default root password is root.

To complete the installation process, you need to initialize the pacman keyring and populate the Arch Linux ARM package signing keys:

pacman-key --init pacman-key --populate archlinuxarm

At this point the installation process has been completed and you can upgrade the system packages as root using the same pacman commands as you do with an x86 architecture machine.

pacman -Syu

If you want to reboot your Raspberry pi after a system upgrade, simply type reboot in the terminal and connect again via SSH.

Bonus tips after installing Arch Linux on Raspberry Pi

To make the use of Arch Linux on a Raspberry Pi 4 more convenient I will show you a few tweaks/additions that you can do.

  • Connect directly as root via SSH
  • Change the default username and password
  • Add a user to the sudoers
  • Change the default root password
  • Change your hostname
  • Install an AUR Helper
Connect directly as root via SSH

In order to change the default username you have to logoff and login as root only.

By default it is not permitted to directly login as root via SSH, but you can change that.

As a root user, edit the sshd_config file found in /etc/ssh/sshd_config:

nano /etc/ssh/sshd_config

Uncomment the PermitRootLogin and next to it type yes, or add the following line to the file. You can add it anywhere but it’s good practice to find the authentication block and add it there.

Save and exit the file, and restart the SSH server.

systemctl restart sshd

Now type exit twice, to exit root and exit the SSH remote connection.

To connect to your raspberry pi as root, use the root name instead the default username and your ip address.

ssh root@raspberry_pi_ip_address

Remember that the default root password is root.

Change the default username and password and the default root password

To change the default username and password type the following commands at your terminal

usermod -l new_username old_username passwd username usermod -d /home/new_username -m new_username

To change the default root password type the following command at your terminal

passwd Give sudo privileges for your user

To be able to give sudo privileges to a user, you need to install the sudo package as a prerequisite.

pacman -S sudo

The configuration file for sudo is /etc/sudoers. It should always be edited with the visudo command.

EDITOR=nano visudo

Once you open the configuration file, add your username in a similar way as I do, preferably under the root user. Then save the file and exit.

Change the default hostname

To change system hostname on Systemd based distributions, you need to use hostnamectl command as shown:

hostnamectl set-hostname New_Hostname

Now type exit, to terminate the SSH session and login again with your new username, and your new user password.

ssh username@raspberry_pi_ip_address Install an AUR Helper

Many users prefer Arch Linux or an Arch Linux based distribution for the large Arch User Repository. You can use the AUR packages on an ARM instruction set machine but, not all of them are compatible with this architecture.

To begin with, make sure that you have the git package and base-devel group installed.

sudo pacman -S git base-devel

You can now install whichever package from the AUR you like or via an AUR Helper in a similar manner which is a package in AUR too. My personal choice is yay, but you can install whichever you prefer.

git clone cd yay makepkg -si Conclusion

Although I’m an Arch Linux user and a rolling release distribution is my way to go, you may want to choose another distribution for the Raspberry pi 4 with 8GB RAM, as at the moment that this tutorial is written, this image is a 32bit OS (armv7).

An alternative solution but with a desktop environment could be the Manjaro ARM distribution which supports 64bit (armv8). If you want a 64bit OS, other than the official Raspberry Pi OS, without a desktop environment the Ubuntu Server is also a good choice and the installation is insanely easy.

That said, I will keep the Arch Linux on my Raspberry Pi 4, as I bought the 2 GB model, to use it for a very specific purpose.

Are you curious about what I will do with my Raspberry Pi and Arch Linux? Make sure you subscribe to our newsleter and I will reveal it in my future articles!

How to Install Itch on Ubuntu and Other Linux Distributions

Tuesday 4th of August 2020 12:56:57 PM

Itch is a platform for independent digital creators with main focus on indie games. It was actually started as website to host, sell and download indie video games but these days, Itch also provides books, comics, tools, board games, soundtracks and more digital content from indie creators.

As a user, you can download these digital content either for free or for a price set by the creator. All your downloads and purchases are synced to your account so that you can download them whenever you want.

Consider it like Steam but more focused on indie developers and creators.

You can browse Itch from its website but Itch also provides and open source desktop client that gives you some additional advantages. With the desktop client:

  • You can browse games and other content and download them on your system.
  • The desktop client is automatically updated with all the new features.
  • Your downloaded games are also automatically updated.
  • If you play browser-based game on Itch, you can play it offline using the Itch desktop client.

In this tutorial, I’ll show you the steps to install Itch on Ubuntu or any other Linux distribution.

Installing Itch on Linux desktop

Itch provides an installer file named itch-setup. You can download this file from its download page.

Download Itch for Linux

This itch-setup file should work on any Linux distribution as long as it has GTK 3 (libgtk-3-0) installed. Most recent Linux distributions should have it.

Once you download the setup file, right click on it and give it execute permission.

Right click and give the file execute permission

Now run this setup file by double-clicking on it. It will start downloading the latest version of Itch.

It will take some time depending upon your internet speed. In a few minutes, you should see the this screen asking you to log in to your Itch account.

Once you are logged in, you can browse games and other contents and download/purchase them.

The entire installation process is similar to Steam installation on Ubuntu.

You can find the Itch files in ~/.itch folder. The content you download from Itch usually resides in ~/.config/itch. If you didn’t know, ~ means your home directory.

Remove Itch desktop application from your system

For some reasons, if you do not want to use Itch anymore, you can remove it from your system. For that, unfortunately, you’ll have to use the terminal.

Open a terminal and use the following command:

~/.itch/itch-setup --uninstall

It won’t remove your content library. If you want to remove the downloaded games and stuff, you can delete the ~/.config/itch folder manually.

rm -r ~/.config/itch

Do you use Itch?

Itch is an ethical platform for indie creators and supporters of such models. Itch uses “pay what you want to pay” where the buyer can pay any amount equal or greater than the price set by the content creator.

Itch also has open revenue sharing model. The creators can share some or no part of their generated revenue with Itch.

Personally, I prefer such ethical businesses like Itch and Humble Bundle. Like Humble Bundle, Itch also runs sales and bundles from time to time. This helps you save money and support indie developers and creators.

Do you use Itch or Humble Bundle? Which other similar platform do you use?

It’s FOSS is an affiliate partner with Itch. Please read our affiliate policy for more information.

Linux Kernel 5.8 “The Biggest Release of All Time” is Finally Available Now

Monday 3rd of August 2020 02:56:13 AM

Linux 5.8 is one of the biggest releases of all time as pointed out by Linus Torvalds. However, unlike other releases, you may not see a lot of eye candy changes for an average user to understand.

Overall, the Linux kernel 5.8 release introduces a bunch of driver support, security improvements, and optimizations.

Just to put it in perspective, Linus Torvalds did mention this with Linux 5.8 RC1 release:

But again, 5.8 is up there with the best, despite not really having any single thing that stands out. Yes, there’s a couple of big driver changes (habanalabs and atomisp) that are certainly part of it, but it’s not nearly as one-sided as some of the other historical big releases have been.

In this article, let’s take a look at what’s new in Linux Kernel 5.8.

Linux Kernel 5.8: Key Changes

While considering it as one of the biggest releases, it’s obvious to see a lot of technical changes. Here, we will focus on the important highlights that mostly matter to the end-user.

Adreno 405 / 640 / 650 GPUs open source driver support

Linux 5.8 involves updates the to the open-source MSM drivers (Freedreno) which now brings support for Qualcomm’s Adreno 405, 640, and 650 GPUs.

This isn’t something significant for desktop Linux — but you can find these mobile GPUs on some of the latest SoCs like Snapdragon 855+ and Snapdragon 865 (which you can find on Galaxy S20 smartphone).

Improved Radeon Driver support

AMD has been hard at work to improve its GPU support on the latest Linux Kernel 5.8.

Along with some performance improvements, you will also find encrypted vRAMs enabled with the help of TMZ (Trusted Memory Zone) support on AMDGPU kernel driver on Linux 5.8.

Not to forget, the driver also has an improvement for dealing with critical thermal faults. In other words, if your AMD GPU goes above the safe temperature limit, the driver will shut down the GPU to prevent damage to your Graphics Card.

Spectre Mitigation Fixes

It’s evident that Intel can’t get enough of security vulnerabilities in its chipsets. However, it looks like there are some important changes made to Linux’s spectre mitigation handling.

I’m not an expert about this – but it looks like the mitigation handling that was implemented impacted AMD CPUs for no reason. Hence, it was necessary for a fix. This change is also being back ported to stable series.

Support for POWER10 Processor

POWER10 is an upcoming IMB + OpenPOWER processor to arrive in 2021.

And, it’s going to be manufacturing using a 7 nm process (Intel, come on!) and aims to offer big improvements over POWER9 micro architecture.

New Arm SoCs support

While I already mentioned the support for open-source drivers on modern mobile SoCs. But, with Linux 5.8, it looks like there are some new boards (or SoCs) like Realtek RTD1195 supported in this release.

Introduces AMD Energy Driver

If you have a Zen/Zen2 AMD CPU, you will be happy to know that with Linux 5.8 release, the AMD Energy Driver is finally in!

This will enable you to get energy reports on per-socket/per-core on Zen/Zen2 CPUs, which you weren’t able to know before. In case you’re wondering, this is useful for the users curious about their CPU power consumption.

exFAT Driver Improvements

Even though Linux 5.7 involved the addition of exFAT file-system driver, Samsung has sent some optimization improvements and fixes for it on Linux 5.8.

Improved DAX support

If you’re fond of using Intel’s Optane memory to speed things up on your system, the improved DAX code will allow the persistent memory to directly access files without needing the page cache. So, Linux 5.8 will make the best of it.

If you’re curious to learn more about it, I’ll suggest you to go through one of the documentations about Intel Optane DC persistent memory.

Improved Thunderbolt support

It looks like with Linux 5.8, we will also see Thunderbolt support for non-x86 systems as well (ARM support).

In addition to that, you will also notice Thunderbolt support for Intel Tiger Lake.

Of course, there are some other USB improvements as well such as USB Type-C driver updates among the others.

Other Changes in Linux Kernel 5.8

Linux Kernel 5.8 is indeed an important release with a lot of driver updates, security improvements, and performance optimizations.

As usual, Phoronix tracks all the detailed reports for every change involved in Linux 5.8. You may refer to their Linux 5.8 Kernel feature article to dive into more technical details for the changes involved.

How to get Kernel 5.8?

As we have explained in the past, most Linux distributions don’t provide the latest kernel. Rolling release distributions like Arch might have it available soon but stability focused distributions like Debian or Ubuntu won’t make it available for all its users.

This doesn’t mean that you cannot get kernel 5.8 in Ubuntu or Debian. If you really want and if you have intermediate knowledge of the Linux command line, you can upgrade to the latest mainline Linux kernel in Ubuntu manually. But do that only if you need it and only if you are comfortable doing it. I don’t recommend it for everyone.

Wrapping Up

What do you think about Linux Kernel 5.8? Do you think it’s an exciting release given that it is the biggest release of all time?

Feel free to let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Manjaro vs Arch Linux: What’s the Difference? Which one is Better?

Saturday 1st of August 2020 12:35:45 PM

Manjaro or Arch Linux? If Manjaro is based on Arch, how come is it different from Arch? Read how Arch and Manjaro are different in this comparison article.

Most of the beginner-friendly Linux distributions are based on Ubuntu. As Linux users gains more experience, some try their hands on the more ‘advanced distributions’, mostly in the ‘Arch domain’.

This Arch domain dominated by two distributions: Arch Linux itself and Manjaro. There are other Arch-based Linux distributions but none are as popular as these two.

If you are confused between Arch and Manjaro then this comparison should help you out.

Manjaro and Arch Linux: How different or similar are they?

I have tried to compare these two distributions on various points. Please keep in mind that I have not exclusively focused on the differences. I have also pointed out where they are similar.

Both are rolling release distributions but not of the same kind

There are no “releases” every few months or years in Arch and Manjaro like Ubuntu or Fedora. Just keep your Arch or Manjaro system updated and you’ll always have the latest version of the operating system and the software packages. You don’t need to worry about upgrading your installed version like ever.

If you are planning to do a fresh install at some point, keep in mind that both Manjaro and Arch update the installation ISO regularly. It is called ISO refresh and it ensures that newly installed systems don’t have to install all the new system updates made available in last few months.

But there is a difference between the rolling release model of Arch and Manjaro.

Manjaro maintains its own independent repositories except for the community-maintained Arch User Repository (AUR). These repositories also contain software packages not provided by Arch. Popular software packages initially provided by the official Arch repositories will first be thoroughly tested (and if necessary, patched), prior to being released, usually about two weeks behind Arch, to Manjaro’s own Stable Repositories for public use.

A consequence of accommodating this testing process is that Manjaro will never be quite as bleeding-edge as Arch. But then, it makes Manjaro slightly more stable than Arch and less susceptible to breaking your system.

Package Management – Pacman and Pamac

Both Arch and Manjaro ship with command-line based package management tool called Pacman which was coded in C and uses tar to package applications. In other words, you can use the same pacman commands for managing packages in both distributions.

In addition to the Pacman, Manjaro has also developed a GUI application called Pamac for easily installing software on Manjaro. This makes using Manjaro easier than Arch.

Pamac GUI Package Manager by Manjaro

Do note that you may also install Pamac from AUR in Arch Linux but the tool is integral part of Manjaro.

Manjaro Hardware Detection Tool (MHWD)

Pamac is not the only GUI tool developed by Manjaro team to help its users. Manjaro also has a dedicated tool for detecting hardware and suggest drivers for them.

Manjaro hardware configuration GUI tool

This hardware detection tool is so useful that it can be one of the main reasons why Manjaro is loved by the community. It is insanely easy to detect/install/use or switch from one driver to another and makes the hardware compatibility an issue from the past.

Drivers support

Manjaro offers great support for GPU drivers. As we all know for many years Linux has issues installing drivers (Specially Nvidia).

While installing Manjaro it gives options to start with open source (free) or non-open source (non-free) graphics driver installation. When you choose “non-free” it automatically detects your graphics card and install the most appropriate driver for it and hence GPU works out of the box.

Installing graphics driver is easier even after installing Manjaro thanks to the hardware detection tool you saw in the previous section.

And if you have a system with Nvidia Optimus card (Hybrid GPU) it works fine with Manjaro. You will get plenty of options of get it working.

In Arch Linux, you have to install (if you could find) the appropriate drivers for your machine.

Access to the Arch User Repository (AUR)

Arch User Repository (AUR) is a community-driven repository for Arch-based Linux distributions users. The AUR was created to organize and share new packages from the community and to help accelerate popular packages’ inclusion into the community repository.

A good number of new packages that enter the official repositories start in the AUR. In the AUR, users are able to contribute their own package builds (PKGBUILD and related files).

You can use AUR in both Arch and Manjaro.

Desktop environments

Alright! You can use virtually any desktop environments on any Linux distribution. Arch and Manjaro are no exceptions.

However, a dedicated desktop flavor or version makes it easier for users to have a seamless experience of the said desktop environments.

The default Arch ISO doesn’t include any desktop environment. For example, you want to install KDE on Arch Linux, you will have to either download and install it while installing Arch Linux or after that.

Manjaro, on the other hand, provides different ISO for desktop environments like Xfce, KDE and GNOME. Manjaro community also maintains ISO for MATE, Cinnamon, LXDE, LXQt, OpenBox and more.

Installation procedure Arch Live Boot

Manjaro is based on Arch Linux and it is Arch compatible, but it is not Arch. It’s not even a pre-configured version of Arch with just a graphical installer. Arch doesn’t come with the usual comfort out of the box, which is why most people prefer something easier. Manjaro offers you the easy entry, but supports you on your way to becoming an experienced user or power user.

Documentation and support

Both Arch and Manjaro have their own wiki pages and support forums to help their respective users.

While Manjaro has a decent wiki for documentation, the Arch wiki is in a different league altogether. You can find detailed information on every aspect of Arch Linux in the Arch wiki.

Targeted audience

The key difference is that Arch is aimed to users with a do-it-yourself attitude who are willing to read the documentation, and solve their own problems.

On the other hand Manjaro is targeted at Linux users who are not that experienced or who don’t want to spend time assembling the operating system.


Some people often say that Manjaro is for those who can’t install Arch. But I think that’s not true. Not everyone wants to configure Arch from scratch or doesn’t have much time.

Manjaro is definitely a beast, but a very different kind of beast than Arch. Fast, powerful, and always up to date, Manjaro provides all the benefits of an Arch operating system, but with an especial emphasis on stability, user-friendliness and accessibility for newcomers and experienced users.

Manjaro doesn’t take its minimalism as far as Arch Linux does. With Arch, you start with a blank canvas and adjust each setting manually. When the default Arch installation completes, you have a running Linux instance at the command line. Want a graphical desktop environment? Go right ahead—there’s plenty to choose from. Pick one, install, and configure it. You learn so much doing that especially if you are new to Linux. You get a superb understanding of how the system goes together and why things are installed they way are.

I hope you have a better understanding of Arch and Manjaro now. You understand how they are similar and yet different.

I have voiced my opinion. Don’t hesitate to share yours in the comment section. Between Arch and Manjaro, which one do you prefer and why.

With additional inputs from Abhishek Prakash.

How to Install the Latest Version of Handbrake on Ubuntu-based Linux Distributions [Quick Tip]

Friday 31st of July 2020 04:11:53 AM

This quick tutorial shows how to install the latest version of HandBrake on Ubuntu-based distributions using its official PPA.

HandBrake is one of the most popular open source video converter for Linux, Windows and macOS.

This GUI application enables you to convert videos from one format to another in just a few clicks. You can also customize the output video as per your requirement.

HandBrake is available in the universe repository of Ubuntu but it might not always provide the latest version. Let me show you how you can get the latest HandBrake on Ubuntu and other Ubuntu-based distributions like Linux Mint, Linux Lite, elementray OS etc.

Installing the latest HandBrake on Ubuntu based Linux distributions

The developers of HandBrake maintain an official PPA. Using this PPA, you can easily install the latest version of HandBrake on your Ubuntu based distribution.

Open a terminal and use the following command to add the PPA repository. Press enter when asked for it:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:stebbins/handbrake-releases

You may have to update the local package cache (not required in Ubuntu 18.04 and higher version):

sudo apt update

Now install the latest version of the HandBrake using this command:

sudo apt-get install handbrake-gtk

The best thing is that this method removes the older handbrake package on your system and thus avoiding installing two different instances of handbrake.

Enjoy the latest and greatest HandBrake and convert videos on your Linux system.

Uninstall HandBrake from your system

For some reasons, if you don’t like HandBrake and want to remove it, here’s what you need to do.

Open a terminal and use the following command to uninstall HandBrake:

sudo apt remove handbrake-gtk

Now that you have removed the application, it will be a good idea to remove the PPA that you added as you don’t need it anymore.

sudo add-apt-repository -r ppa:stebbins/handbrake-releases

Confirm when asked for it.

In this quick Ubuntu tutorial, you learned the steps for installing the latest HandBrake using PPA. You also learned the steps for removing it properly.

I hope you find this quick tip useful. If you have questions or suggestions, please leave a comment below.

Beginner-friendly Terminal-based Text Editor GNU Nano Version 5.0 Released

Thursday 30th of July 2020 05:11:35 AM

Open source text editor GNU nano has reached the milestone of version 5.0. Take a look at what features this new release brings.

There are plenty terminal-based text editors available for Linux. While editors like Emacs and Vim require a steep learning curve with bunch of unusual keyboard shortcuts, GNU nano is considered easier to use.

Perhaps that’s the reason why Nano is the default terminal-based text editor in Ubuntu and many other distributions. Upcoming Fedora 33 release is also going to set Nano as the default text editor in terminal.

GNU nano 5.0 has just been released. Here are the new features it brings.

New features in GNU nano 5.0

Some of the main highlights of GNU nano 5.0 as mentioned in its changelog are:

  • The –indicator option will show a kind of scroll bar on the right-hand side of the screen to indicate where in the buffer the viewport is located and how much it covers.
  • Lines can be tagged with Alt+Insert keys and you can jump to these tags with Alt+PageUp and Alt+PageDown keys.
  • The Execute Command prompt is now directly accessible from the main menu.
  • On terminals supporting at least 256 colors, there are new colors available.
  • New –bookstyle mode in which any line that begins with whitespace is considered as the start of a paragraph.
  • Refreshing the screen with ^L now works in every menu. It also centers the line with the cursor.
  • Bindable function ‘curpos’ has been renamed to ‘location’, long option –tempfile has been renamed to –saveonexit and short option -S is now a synonym of –softwrap.
  • Backup files will retain their group ownership (when possible).
  • Data is synced to disk before “… lines written” is shown.
  • Syntaxes for Markdown, Haskell, and Ada were added.
Getting GNU nano 5.0

The current version of nano in Ubuntu 20.04 is 4.8 and it’s less likely that you’ll be getting the new version anytime soon in this LTS release. When and if it is available from Ubuntu, you should get it via the system updates.

Arch users should be getting it before everyone else, as always. Other distributions should also provide the new version, sooner or later.

If you are one of the few who likes installing software from its source code, you can get it from its download page.

If you are new to it, I highly recommend this beginner’s guide to Nano editor.

How do you like the new release? Are you looking forward to using Nano 5?

How to Install Discord Application in Ubuntu and Other Linux Distributions [3 Methods]

Tuesday 28th of July 2020 07:15:28 AM

Discord is a popular messaging application. It was originally intended for gamers but these days, it is considered a Slack alternative even for team and community communication. You can use it for text, voice and video messaging.

Several open source project use it for communicating with project members and users.

Discord is available on various platforms including desktop Linux. In this tutorial, I’ll show you various ways of installing Discord on Ubuntu, Debian and other Linux distributions.

Non-FOSS alert!

Discord application is not open source. But since they provide a Linux client and many Linux users rely on it, it’s been covered here.

Method 1: Installing Discord in Ubuntu and Debian-based Linux Distributions

Go to the download page of Discord and download the deb file. Keep in mind that, Discord is only available for 64-bit systems.

Download Discord for Linux

Installing deb file is easy. Just double click on it to open it in the software manager and install it from there. You may also install and use Gdebi tool for this purpose.

It will take a few seconds for installing and you should see a log in screen like this:

The problem with this approach is that though you’ll have the latest Discord version, it won’t be updated to a newer version automatically in the future.

You can either uninstall it from the software center or use this command in the terminal:

sudo apt remove discord Method 2: Installing Discord on Ubuntu and other Linux distributions using Snap package

You can easily install Discord using Snap package in Ubuntu and various other Linux distributions with snap package support.

The advantage is that you’ll always have the latest version of Discord and your installed version gets automatically updated. The downside is that Snap packages take longer to start.

Ubuntu user can find Discord snap package in the Software Center and install from there:

Discord snap package is available in Ubuntu Software Center

If you have enabled Snap support on your Linux distribution, you can use the following command to install it:

sudo snap install discord

If you want to remove it, you can use the snap command to uninstall it:

sudo snap remove discord

Please note that Discord is also available in Flatpak package format. You can use Flatpak to install it in Fedora and other Linux distributions.

Method 3: Installing Discord in other Linux Distributions (intermediate to advanced level)

Discord also provides a generic isntaller for using Discord on Linux. It comes in the traditional tar gz file.

If you go for this way of installing Discord on Linux, then you should have at least a moderate understanding of Linux directory structure and Linux commands. You must also be comfortable using the terminal because this method involves using the terminal all the way.

Step 1: Download Discord for Linux

First download the tar.gz file from Discord’s website.

I am using Discord version 0.0.10 in the tutorial. Your file name may or may not be different. Pay attention to it.

Step 2: Extract the downloaded file to opt directory

Go to directory where you have downloaded the file. Use the tar command to extract the .tar.gz file in the /opt directory.

sudo tar -xvzf discord-0.0.10.tar.gz -C /opt

Traditionally, the /opt directory is used for installing/keeping files of optional or additional Linux software. Since you opted for the traditional way, it only makes sense to use the traditional convention.

Step 3: Create Discord command in bin directory

Now you should have /opt/Discord directory with files related to Discord. You should have two important files to tackle here. A binary file named Discord and a desktop file named discord.desktop.

Now, you should create a symbolic link to this binary file in /usr/bin directory.

sudo ln -sf /opt/Discord/Discord /usr/bin/Discord

The /usr/bin directory contains the binary executables for commands in your system. This way, any user can run the commands from anywhere in the system.

Step 4: Create desktop icon and menu entry

You have Discord available as a command for all users on the system. But you cannot find it in the system menu to launch it graphically.

For that, you’ll have to use the discord.desktop file located in the extracted folder in the opt directory.

You should pay attention to two lines here: Exec and Icon.

The exec is for executable file and you can set it to /usr/bin/Discord . The Icon is for the image of Discord that will be displayed when you search for Discord in the menu. You can set it to the /opt/Discord/discord.png. This image is present in the extracted folder.

You can use nano editor with sudo for editing this file or whichever terminal-based text editor you prefer. Your discord.desktop may look something like this:

Your discord.desktop file is still in the /opt/Discord directory. You need to move it to /usr/share/applications directory so that your system can access this desktop entry.

sudo cp -r /opt/Discord/discord.desktop /usr/share/applications

Normally, you should see Discord added in the list of available applications in the menu immediately. If not, log out and log in again.

Step 5: Run Discord

You are done. Now if you search for Discord, you will find it in the menu and when you run it for the first time, it will do some configuration.

Running Discord for the first time

After that, it will bring you to the login screen. It automatically tried to log you in from your default browser.

Enjoy Discord on Linux. If there is a new version of Discord in the future, you’ll have to remove the already installed version and then repeat the procedure with the new version.

Removing Discord installed in the traditional way

It would be unfair to just discuss how to install Discord. Let me give you some pointers about removing it as well.

When you install Discord on Linux, it saves config file in .config/discord folder in your home directory. Delete these files:

rm -r ~/.config/discord

Next, remove the Discord directory from the /opt directory:

sudo rm -rf /usr/bin/Discord

Also delete the symbolic link you had created:

sudo rm /usr/bin/Discord

As the last step, remove the desktop file:

sudo rm /usr/share/applications/discord.desktop

Did you manage to install Discord on Linux? Which method did you use?

I gave you various ways of installing Discord application on Linux. The traditional Linux way is somewhat complicated but at least this way you can install it on any Linux distribution.

Did you manage to install it? Which method did you use and prefer?

BigBlueButton: Open Source Software for Online Teaching

Monday 27th of July 2020 10:59:40 AM

Brief: BigBlueButton is an open-source tool for video conferencing tailored for online teaching. Let’s take a look at what it offers.

In the year 2020, remote working from home is kind of the new normal. Of course, you cannot do everything remotely — but online teaching is something that’s possible.

Even though a lot of teachers and school organizations aren’t familiar with all the amazing tools available out there, some of the best open-source video conferencing tools are filling in the requirements to some extent.

Among the ones I mentioned for video calls, BigBlueButton caught my attention. Here, I’ll give you an overview of what it offers.

BigBlueButton: An Open Source Web Conferencing System for Online Teaching

BigBlueButton is an open-source web conferencing solution that aims to make online learning easy.

It is completely free to use but it requires you to set it up on your own server to use it as a full-fledged online learning solution.

BigBlueButton offers a really good set of features. You can easily try the demo instance and set it up on your server for your school.

Before you get started, take a look at the features:

Features of BigBlueButton

BigBlueButton provides a bunch of useful features tailored for teachers and schools for online classes, here’s what you get:

  • Live whiteboard
  • Public and private messaging options
  • Webcam support
  • Session recording support
  • Emojis support
  • Ability to group users for team collaboration
  • Polling options available
  • Screen sharing
  • Multi-user support for whiteboard
  • Ability to self-host it
  • Provides an API for easy integration on web applications

In addition to the features offered, you will find an easy-to-use UI i.e. Greenlight (the front-end interface for BigBlueButton) to set up when you configure it on your server.

You can try using the demo instance for casual usage to teach your students for free. However, considering the limitations (60 minutes limit) of using the demo instance to try BigBlueButton, I’d suggest you to host it on your server to explore all the functionality that it offers.

To get more clarity on how the features work, you might want to take a look at one of their official tutorials:

Installing BigBlueButton On Your Server

They offer a detailed documentation which should come in handy for every developer. The easiest and quickest way of setting it up is by using the bbb-install script but you can also explore other options if that does not work out for you.

For starters, you need a server running Ubuntu 16.04 LTS at least. You should take a look at the minimum requirements before deploying a server for BigBlueButton.

You can explore more about the project in their GitHub page.

Try BigBlueButton

If you’re someone who’s looking to set up a solution for online teaching, BigBlueButton is a great choice to explore.

It may not offer native smartphone apps — but you can surely access it using the web browser on your mobile. Of course, it’s better to find a laptop/computer to access an online teaching platform — but it works with mobile too.

What do you think about BigBlueButton for online teaching? Is there a better open-source project as an alternative to this? Let me know in the comments below!

How to Install Google Chrome in Arch-based Linux Distributions

Monday 27th of July 2020 04:41:40 AM

Brief: A step-by-step beginner’s tutorial showing how to install Google chrome in Arch, Manjaro and other Arch-based Linux distributions.

Google Chrome is undeniably the most popular web browser. It is not open source software and this is why you won’t see it preinstalled in Linux distributions you use. You won’t even find Chrome in the software center.

Installing Google Chrome is easy in Ubuntu and Fedora based distribution. You can go to Chrome’s website and download the DEB or RPM installer files and install it easily.

Arch Linux users may notice that there is no package for them on the official Google Chrome website.

Fortunately, Google Chrome is available on Arch User Repository (AUR) for Arch, Manjaro and other Arch-based Linux distributions. You can install Google Chrome using an AUR Helper easily or use Git to install it without AUR helper.

I will cover both options in this tutorial.

Method 1: Installing Google Chrome with an AUR Helper

I hope that you are familiar with the concept of AUR (Arch User Repository) and AUR helpers. If not, please read our articles on what is AUR and what are AUR helpers and how to install them.

Step 1: Install an AUR helper (if you haven’t got one already)

There are quite a few AUR Helpers to choose but in this tutorial, I will use yay which I have installed on my machine. You should install it if you haven’t got it already:

sudo pacman -S --needed base-devel git sudo git clone cd yay makepkg -si Step 2: Install Google Chrome using AUR helper

Now, to install Google Chrome in Arch Linux using yay:

yay -S google-chrome

As you see, yay found all the available packages related to Google Chrome. I will choose the stable package to install, the same as I chose for the other installation method.

Step 3: Upgrading Chrome version with yay

You successfully installed Chrome on your Arch-based distribution. However, you should also know what to do if there is a new version of Google Chrome available.

You cannot upgrade AUR packages with pacman command unfortunately. But the good thing is that Yay and pacman share common flags for performing similar actions.

Keep in mind that unlike pacman, yay shouldn’t be run with “sudo” privilege.

The following command will upgrade all the packages – both AUR and official.

yay -Syu Method 2: Install Google Chrome without an AUR Helper

You’ll still be getting the package from Arch User Repository. However, instead of AUR helper, you’ll be doing it manually.

Step 1: Install base-devel package

To install a package from AUR you must have Git and base-devel group installed. Base-devel group contains all the essential tools for compiling from source.

sudo pacman -S --needed base-devel git Step 2: Install Chrome from AUR

Clone Google Chrome from the AUR and install it like this:

git clone cd google-chrome makepkg -si Step 3: Upgrading Google Chrome afterward

When a new version of Google Chrome is released and it is available in the AUR, you can upgrade it manually like this:

git pull makepkg -si Conclusion

As you can see, it is slightly complicated to install Google Chrome in the Arch domain. But that’s the beauty of it. Many people use Arch because it gets you doing more things in the terminal.

If you encountered any difficulty when you try to install Google Chrome, let us know at the comment section or share your thoughts.

Make sure to subscribe on our social media to get first the latest Linux news!

Dreamweaver Alternatives: 5 Open Source HTML and CSS Editors for Web Developers and Designers

Saturday 25th of July 2020 06:33:46 AM

Adobe Dreamweaver is a popular tool for professionals to design websites. Even though it enjoyed all its glory in the past decade, it’s no longer the most popular tool out there (at least, as far as I’m aware of).

Its expensive subscription plans and the availability of free and open-source alternatives has left an impact to its popularity.

Moreover, with the growth of popular open source CMS options and drag-drop website builders, it’s really easy to build a website when compared to the previous decade.

Unless you’re a professional with a specific set of requirements, there’s no reason to use Dreamweaver. So, here, in this article, I’m going to list some of the best free open-source Dreamweaver alternatives that lets you edit HTML/CSS.

Open source HTML and CSS editors for web developers

I understand that some web developers and designers prefer WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) feature. Not all the editors mentioned here offer this feature but when they do, I have highlighted it explicitly.

I have used this website template for testing out the HTML editors. This list is in no particular order of ranking.

1. Bluefish Editor

Key Highlights:

  • Auto-completion
  • Preview in browser
  • Site upload/download options
  • Code block folding
  • Support for several programming languages
  • Supports WordPress language definition files
  • Cross-platform support

Bluefish is a feature-rich editor that’s perfectly suitable for both beginners and experienced web designers.

Even though it does NOT offer WYSIWYG, the browser preview feature lets you make changes to the coding and see it in action quickly without any special configuration. It’s also a lightweight application – so it isn’t heavy on resources.

Try it out to explore more about it.

How to install it?

You may find it listed in your software center. If you don’t, you can follow the official installation instructions to add the repository and install it on your Linux distribution.

Also, there’s a Flatpak package available in case you prefer using it. I’d suggest you to refer our Flatpak guide if you don’t know about it.

Bluefish 2. BlueGriffon

Key Highlights:

  • WYSIWYG editor
  • Black and light theme
  • Responsive Design support
  • EPUB 3.1 support
  • Cross-platform support

BlueGriffon is an impressive WYSIWYG HTML/CSS editor. You can choose to edit the codes and check the design or simply edit it visually without needing to fiddle with the codes.

This is especially helpful for folks who aren’t comfortable with HTML/CSS and just starting out. It makes it easy to edit while offering all the necessary features for a web designer.

How to install it?

You can download the deb package from its official website or opt for other installers and source code depending on the Linux distribution you’re using.

You may want to read the different ways to install a DEB file if you’re on an Ubuntu-based distro.

BlueGriffon 3. SeaMonkey

Key Highlights:

  • WYSIWYG Editor
  • Separate browser
  • HTML editing
  • Cross-platform support

SeaMonkey isn’t your typical code editor — but it’s a collection of Internet applications like a browser, email, IRC chat, and HTML editor.

It does support editing the source code of a web page and the ability to edit visually without needing to know HTML.

You can explore more about it when you get it installed.

How to install it?

You can simply download the package for Linux available on their official site and run the executable SeaMonkey application file to get started.

SeaMonkey 4. Brackets

Key Highlights:

  • Live preview option
  • Tailored for web design
  • Auto-completion
  • Cross-platform

Brackets is already one of the best modern text editors for coding in Linux. It was primarily built for web developers while also supporting other programming languages.

Surprisingly, it’s an open-source project by Adobe, which isn’t super actively maintained — but it’s there.

How to install it?

You can simply grab the deb file from its official website for Ubuntu 19.10 or lower. For Ubuntu 20.04 or any other Linux distro, you will be better off using the Flatpak package or the Snap.

You may also explore their GitHub releases section for other downloads.

Brackets 5. NetBeans

Key Highlights:

  • HTML Editor
  • Cross-platform

NetBean isn’t technically an out-of-the-box HTML-CSS editor. But, you can use it as an HTML editor when building an HTML5 application.

It isn’t the go-to solution for HTML editing, but it’s an option out there for a specific group of programmers. You can give it a try to see if it does what you expect it to.

How to install it?

You can find it listed in your software center. In either case, you can just head to the official download page to get it installed.


Which HTML editor do you use?

There are a few more editors that you can use for editing HTML and CSS. There is Aloha Editor Community Edition preferred by some web developers.

You can surely use other modern code editors like Atom and VS Code or the good-old Geany text editor to edit HTML and CSS files.

If you regularly work on web design and development, which open source HTML editor do you use and recommend? We might add your recommendation to our list here. You may also mention non-open source WYSIWYG editors but that won’t be added in the list for obvious reasons.

7 New Feature Changes Coming to Fedora 33 Release

Friday 24th of July 2020 06:30:39 AM

Development for Fedora 33 is in progress and looking at the proposed changes, it looks to be one of the biggest release ever.

Fedora 33 should be releasing in mid to late October 2020. But there is no specific release date or schedule like Ubuntu here.

Let’s see what are these changes that make Fedora 33 a release worth following.

New features in Fedora 33

Most of the features listed here are confirmed changes. I’ll update the article with more feature changes in the future.

Btrfs is the new default filesystem

In a surprising move, Fedora announced that it will be using Btrfs as the default filesystem for the new installations starting with Fedora 33.

This is a big move and not everyone agrees with. You should still be able to use Ext4 filesystem while installing Fedora 33 but you have to do a bit of effort for that.

Nano is the default terminal-based text editor

Starting with Fedora 33, Nano will be the default text editor in the terminal. If you are not familiar with it, try the Nano beginner’s guide I have written earlier.

Keep in mind that you can still change the default text editor in terminal if you don’t like Nano.

Swap on zRAM by default

Fedora 33 will utilize zram instead of swap partition by default. zram is RAM drive that uses compression. Due to compression, it uses half as much memory as its size.

So when the RAM is full and the system needs more memory, instead of using swap partition, Fedora will use the zram device (usually under /dev/zram0). Here’s the explanation on the change:

The system will use RAM normally up until it’s full, and then start paging out to swap-on-zram, same as a conventional swap-on-drive. The zram driver starts to allocate memory at roughly 1/2 the rate of page outs, due to compression. But, there is no free lunch. This means swap-on-zram is not as effective at page eviction as swap-on-drive, the eviction rate is ~50% instead of 100%. But it is at least an order of magnitude faster than drive based swap.

zram has about 0.1% overhead or ~1MiB/1GiB. If the workload never touches swap, this overhead is the sole cost. In practice when not used at all, feature owner has experienced ~0.04% overhead.

systemd-resolved enabled by default

Fedora is trying to standardize on upstream systemd service. Standardizing reduces behavior differences between different Linux distributions.

In that effort, Fedora 33 is going to use systemd-resolved by default. This systemd service provides network name resolution.

Improved hardening for 64-bit ARM devices

Fedora 33 changes enables support for newer ARMv8.3~8.5-level code hardening features in order to enhance the security. This should serve to make Fedora more resistant to a couple further classes of runtime attacks.

GNOME 3.38 and all the visual changes it brings Default wallpaper in GNOME 3.38

GNOME version 3.38 should be released by mid-September. This means that Fedora 33 will have this new release.

There will be some performance improvements and visual changes to it. They even plan to add touchpad gesture for switching workspaces.

Animated background based on time of day

This is not a serious change but a little eye candy is not a bad deal. Fedora 33 will use animated background that will change the color shades based on the time of the day.

This feature is getting quite popular and if I remember correctly, Manjaro Linux 20 also uses it.

Dropping legacy BIOS support (under discussion)

Fedora developers are also discussing dropping legacy BIOS support and go with UEFI-only approach. Before you get outraged, do keep in mind that Intel is ending legacy BIOS support in 2020.

This change is not confirmed yet and it is still under discussion.

Other changes

Fedora is also updating the system-wide crypto policy to further disable legacy cryptographic protocols (TLS 1.0 and TLS 1.1), weak Diffie-Hellman key exchange sizes (1024 bit), and use of the SHA-1 hash in signatures.

Apart from that, there are some software changes that you might find interesting:

  • Latest MinGW
  • GNU Make 4.3
  • Ruby on Rails 6.0
  • Boost 1.73
  • Golang 1.15
  • glibc 2.32
  • Java 11
  • LLVM 11
  • Node.js 14.x series
  • Perl 5.32
  • Include Python 3.9, drop Python 2.6 and 3.4
  • RPM 4.16
Do you agree with the changes?

As I mentioned earlier, Fedora 33 should be released in late October this year. Existing Fedora 32 users should be able to upgrade to the new release when the stable version is available.

Which Fedora 33 feature you like the most? Do you agree with changing the default filesystem and the editor? Do share your views in the comment section.

Linux Foundation Announces Advanced Cloud Engineer Bootcamp to Turn Sysadmins into Cloud Administrators

Wednesday 22nd of July 2020 07:17:43 AM

Brief: Linux Foundation, the official organization behind Linux project, has launched a 6 months online training program to turn system administrators into cloud administrators as the demand for cloud-skilled people grows in the IT industry.

Last month, Linux Foundation launched the Cloud Engineer Bootcamp program. This one was focused on preparing candidates for entry level jobs as a cloud engineer.

Based on the feedback received, Linux Foundation has now launched Advanced Cloud Engineer Bootcamp focusing on helping seasoned sysadmin to move into devops world with cloud related technologies.

Advanced Cloud Engineer Bootcamp: Go from system admin to cloud admin

The course is designed for sysadmins who are already familiar with Linux, of course. Since the traditional sysadmin is not sufficient anymore and the IT infrastructure is relying more on cloud technologies, it is time that seasoned sysadmins should also learn the new in-demand skills.

The bootcamp starts with containers and Kubernetes fundamentals, moving to system monitoring, cloud native logging, and Kubernetes application management, providing all the knowledge needed to work as a cloud administrator.

Here’s what you’ll get if you join the bootcamp:

  • Self-paced online video classes
  • Hand-on labs and assignments
  • 12 months access to the online courses
  • Dedicated discussion forums to ask for help with option to live chat with the instructor (within office hours on weekdays)
  • Retake for the certification exam within a period of a year
  • Advanced Certified Cloud Engineer badge for completing the bootcamp
  • 3-day money-back guarantee

The course is self-paced and you should cover it in 6 months with an effort of 15-20 hours a week.

Advanced Cloud Engineer Bootcamp is priced at $2300 but if you join before July 31, you can get it for $599.

Advanced Cloud Engineer Bootcamp

If you compare it with the Cloud Engineer Bootcamp, the Advanced bootcamp doesn’t have the sysadmin related courses and certifications. Instead, it adds the advanced topics like Prometheus, Fluentd and Helm.

Obviously, the advanced bootcamp presumes that you already have knowledge of how Linux functions.

$600 may not seem like a small amount but when you are looking to keep your job or seeking a promotion or salary raise, you’ll have to invest into skill improvement.

As I have said it before, Linux Foundation hardly makes any effort for “desktop Linux” but it does focus on promoting Linux in the IT industry. These training programs are part of that effort.

It’s FOSS is an affiliate partner with Linux Foundation. Please read our affiliate policy.

Tiny Yet Useful: 13 Raspberry Pi Zero Alternatives That Cost Less Than $20

Tuesday 21st of July 2020 02:34:35 AM

The Raspberry Pi Zero and the Raspberry Pi Zero W were added to the line up of Raspberry Pi’s in the last few years. These ultra-small form-factor SBC’s have been a big hit and continue to be a part of Raspberry Pi projects from the maker and DIY communities.

Due to the smaller form factor and the prices these boards are targeting, they have had to cut down on many features like a dedicated Ethernet port, slower processor (compared to their full-fledged cousins).

In an earlier article, we listed the best alternatives to Raspberry Pi. In this one, I’ll list some alternatives to Raspberry Pi Zero and Zero W.

Preview Product Price CanaKit Raspberry Pi Zero W (Wireless) Complete Starter Kit - 16 GB Edition $32.99 Buy on Amazon Alternative to Raspberry Pi Zero: Tiny single board computers for IoT and Embedded Projects

We have great alternatives with variety of feature sets for different projects, thanks to open source designs and open source software stacks. All the boards in this round up run embedded Linux in various flavors.

Even though the Raspberry Pi Zero was released at $5 and the Zero W at $10, it’s often very hard to find them at those prices even in US. Outside US they usually cost around $12 – $20 .

Keeping that in mind let’s take a look at some of the alternatives for the Raspberry Pi Zero boards for under $20.

1. Banana Pi BPI M2 Zero

The Banana Pi M2 Zero at $18 is has the same layout as a Raspberry Pi Zero W. It looks like a clone of the Pi Zero W but other than the form factor it is anything but a clone. It has a faster Allwinner H2+ SOC at its heart and Ethernet can be added externally . It can also run a variety of Linux based operating systems.

Key Specifications

  • Allwinner H2+ Quad-core Cortex-A7 H265/HEVC 1080P with Mali400MP2 for the GPU
  • 512M DDR3(shared with GPU)
  • 40 Pins Header,compatible with Raspberry Pi 3
  • WiFi (AP6212) & Bluetooth onboard. Extra antenna connector
  • A CSI input connector Camera
  • Power and Reset Button
  • Mini HDMI Output

You can get more information from the Banana Pi Wiki and pick one up from here.

2. Banana Pi BPI-M2 Magic (BPi-M2M)

There are two variants of this board the one without the eMMC flash onboard costs $20. It is another tiny SBC with quite a lot of processing power for its size. Off the top of my head this board is a good fit for a touch control panel and dashboard for IoT and home automation. The on-board battery management system is quite attractive.

Key Specifications

  • Allwinner A33/R16 Quad Core ARM Cortex-A7, MALI 400 MP2 GPU
  • WiFi 802.11 b/g/n 2.4GHz (AP6212) & BT v4.0 with BLE
  • 512MB DDR3 (shared with GPU)
  • MIPI Display Serial Interface (DSI) interface(4 data lanes)
  • A CSI input connector Camera, video capture up-to 1080p at 30fps
  • Onboard microphone and battery management
  • No HDMI output

You can get more information from the Banana Pi Wiki and pick one up from here.

3. Banana Pi BPI-P2 Maker

This board at $13 ($19 with POE module) is one of the smallest SBC’s with on board Ethernet and support for POE(power over ethernet). With the same Allwinner H2+ SOC as the M2 zero, this is quite an interesting board.It has an onboard eMMC storage of 8Gb and a camera interface, with POE you can convert this into a DIY security camera and also use the powerful processor for basic ML.

Key Specifications

  • CPU: Allwinner H2+, Quad-core Cortex-A7
  • 512MB DDR 3 SDRAM.
  • WiFi (AP6212) & Bluetooth onboard.
  • 8G eMMC flash onboard
  • 100M LAN
  • Mini HDMI
  • CSI Camera Interface
  • IEEE 802.3af PoE standard PoE module support

You can get more information from the Banana Pi Wiki and pick one up from here.

4. Orange Pi Zero LTS

At $11.49 ($9.49 for the 256 MB version) this is the cheapest and the smallest board with onboard Ethernet and POE functionality. It has the ever common Alwinner H2+ at its heart and a solid expansion options via the GPIO and the 13 pin functional header.

Key Specifications

  • Allwinner H2+ Quad-core Cortex-A7 H.265/HEVC 1080P
  • Mali400MP2 GPU @600MHz
  • 256MB/512MB DDR3 SDRAM(Share with GPU)(256MB version is Standard version)
  • 10/100M Ethernet RJ45 POE is default off
  • WiFi with XR819, IEEE 802.11 b/g/n
  • 26 Pin GPIO Header
  • 13 Pins Header, with 2x USB, IR pin, AUDIO(MIC, AV)

You can get more information from their official page and pick one up from Amazon.

Preview Product Price Orange Pi Zero Single Board Computer Quad Core Open-Source Development Board 512MB with WiFi Antenna $11.99 Buy on Amazon 5. Orange Pi i96

At $8.8 this board is smallest one yet at 6cm x 3cm. It uses the RDA8810PL SOC meant for a fairly advanced feature phone. The board is suited for camera applications(according to the manufacturer) can capture upto 1080p at 30fps. It has a fairy good IO for the price.

Key Specifications

  • RDA8810PL ARM Cortex-A5 32bit single core processor
  • Vivante’s GC860 GPU
  • Integrated 256MB LPDDR2 SDRAM
  • WiFi + BT using the RDA5991
  • CSI Camera Input
  • 40 pin GPIO header

You can get more information from their official page and pick one up from here.

6. Orange Pi PC

This board packs in a lot of goodies for $15. It’s one of the very few boards which offer 1GB of RAM at such a price point. It uses the Allwinner H3 SOC and can decode 4K HEVC/H.265 video. It has an HDMI port with support for HDCP , CEC as well. This SBC can make a good media box with the right software. It even has onboard IR Receiver and a Microphone.

Key Specifications

  • Allwinner H3 Quad-core Cortex-A7 , 1.6GHz
  • 1GB DDR3 (shared with GPU)
  • HDMI with support for 4K video
  • CSI Camera interface and onboard microphone
  • SD Card slot
  • IR Receiver
  • 3.5mm Audio Jack
  • Ethernet
  • No WiFi/Bluetooth onboard

There is also a cut down version of the Orange Pi PC powered by the same SOC but with less RAM.

You can get more information from their official page and pick one up from here.

7. Orange Pi One & Orange Pi Lite

These two boards are also powered by the Alwinner H3 SoC used in the Orange Pi PC. But these come with 512MB of RAM instead of the 1GB offered by the Orange Pi PC.

Key Specifications

  • Allwinner H3 Quad Core
  • HDMI with 4K support
  • SD Card slot
  • 512 MB of DDR3 RAM
  • CSI Camera Interface

The Orange Pi Lite comes in at $12, it does not feature an on-board Ethernet and offers WiFi instead. It also has onboard microphone and IR receiver. You can get more info from their official page and buy one from here.

The Orange Pi One on comes in at $11 and features on-board Ethernet for wired networking and does not offer any WiFi support. You can get more info from their official page and buy one from here.

Before we finish up with the Orange Pi boards, I do want to quickly mention a couple more boards they offer for custom applications.

  • Orange Pi R1 – This is a tiny board with dual Ethernet ports, you can use it to build a network device.
  • Orange Pi 2G IOT & Orange Pi 3G IOT- These boards feature 2G & 3G cellular connectivity for IoT Applications.

These boards also cost less than $20 and you can check them out on their official website.

8. NanoPi Neo LTS

Starting at $9.99, this board is very simple and tiny(4cm x 4cm), a similar form factor as the Orange Pi Zero. Unlike the Orange Pi Zero it is powered by the more powerful Allwinner H3 SoC and upto 512MB of RAM. It does not feature any onboard WiFi/BT chipset but you can add one via the USB port. This is a really good board to run headless Linux servers, DNS filters like Pi-Hole and it’ll make a really good edge device for any IoT Applications. Using the GPIO you can expand the functionality to match your needs.

Key Specifications

  • Allwinner H3 Quad Core Cortex A7 upto 1.2GHz
  • Upto 512 MB of RAM
  • Micro SD slot (upto 128GB)
  • 10/100 Ethernet
  • Additional interfaces via the abundant GPIO

You can get more information and also purchase them from their official page .

There is a bare bones version of the NanoPi NEO called the NanoPi NEO Core LTS which adds eMMC for industrial applications and lets go of the onboard USB and Ethernet ports. All features are available via the GPIO expansion. You can check it out here .

There is also a WiFi/BT version of the NanoPi NEO called the NanoPi NEO Air which also adds eMMC and camera input and lets go of the onboard USB and Ethernet ports. You can check it out here.

9. Zero Pi

This is one of my favorite boards from this round up, it costs $9.99 and has a fast 1Gbps Ethernet onboard. With the Allwinner H3 at its heart, this can be a very powerful and tiny machine on your network. It supports OpenWRT which is great considering the 1Gbps Ethernet. You can easily run multiple instances of Pi-Hole along with a DNS Server.

Key Specifications

  • Allwinner H3 Quad Core Cortex A7 at upto 1.2GHz
  • 512MB of RAM
  • USB 2.0 Port
  • Support for OpenWRT

You can get more information and also purchase them from their official page .

10. NanoPi NEO 2

At $19.99 , the NanoPi NEO 2 costs twice the NEO. It retains the same form factor and brings in the Allwinner H5 SoC and 1Gbps Ethernet. This makes the board a tiny power house.

Key Specifications

  • Allwinner H5, Quad-core 64-bit high-performance Cortex A53
  • Hexacore Mali450 GPU
  • 512MB RAM
  • 1Gbps onboard Ethernet
  • 24 pin GPIO
  • Functional headers for Audio and other interfaces like IR

You can get more information and also purchase them from their official page .

That’s about all the boards in the NanoPi series, they also have a few more interesting boards with dual 1Gbps ports and a couple focused around camera.

11. La Frite

From the makers of the Le Potato , this board at $20 is mainly geared towards applications involving media consumption or media streaming. It supports 1080p video playback with HDR metadata via the HDMI 2.0 port. It supports the latest Android 9/TV, upstream Linux, u-boot, Kodi, and more.

Key Specifications

  • Amlogic S805X SoC, Quad Core Cortex-A53 @ 1.2GHz
  • Upto 1GB DDR4 SDRAM
  • Amlogic Video Engine 10, support for H.264,H.265 and VP9 decoding upto 1080p 60fps
  • 100Mbps Ethernet
  • IR Receiver
  • 40 pin GPIO

You can get more information from their official page .

12. Onion Omega2+

If you’re looking for an IoT application the Onion Omega 2+ can be a good alternative to the Raspberry Pi Zero. It is an IoT centric development platfrom and runs on LEDE (Linux Embedded Development Environment) Linux OS – a distribution based on OpenWRT.

Key Specifications

  • MT7688 SoC
  • 2.4 GHz IEEE 802.11 b/g/n WiFi
  • 128 MB DDR2 RAM
  • 32 MB on-board flash storage
  • MicroSD slot
  • USB 2.0
  • 12 GPIO pins

You can pick one up as bare bones module for $13 or various kits from their website.

13. VoCore2

The VoCore2 is definitely the smallest of the bunch, the bare-bones module is only 1″x1″ in size and costs $17.99. The tiny size makes it easy to embed in different applications and allows selective expansion of features based on the need. It is powered by the MediaTek MT7628 which was specially designed for low to mid-range routers. The manufacturer claims that they’ll keep up the production till 2025 which is really good.

Key Specifications

  • MediaTek MT7628, 580 MHz, MIPS 24K
  • 128MB RAM, DDR2 166MHz
  • Ethernet – 1 port/5 ports, up to 100Mbps
  • Wireless – 802.11n, 2T2R, speed up to 300Mbps
  • Storage – 16M NOR on board, support SDXC up to 2TB
  • One on board U.FL slot (Antenna Connector)

You can get more information about the board from here and pick one up from their official website.

Wrapping up

It’s undeniable that there are all kinds of SBC’s available in various form factors and feature sets for a wide variety of use cases. On top of that most of these are open source designs and run on open source software. An absolute wonderland for a hardcore tinkerer.

With COVID-19 hanging around it might be a little tough to get your hands on these boards. Let’s hope things get better soon!

If you guys know of any other interesting alternatives for the Raspberry Pi Zero and Zero W put them in the comments below and we’ll check them out.

Video Trimmer: A No-nonsense, Simple Video Trimming Application for Linux Desktop

Monday 20th of July 2020 09:29:34 AM

Brief: A dead simple tool to trim videos quickly without re-encoding it. Here, we take a look at what it offers.

You probably are already aware of some of the best free video editors for Linux but not everyone needs all the features offered.

Sometimes you just want to perform a single operation quickly, for instance — trimming a video.

Would you rather choose to explore a full-fledged video editor just to perform a simple trim operation or prefer a quick tool to help you trim the video?

Of course, it would depend on your personal preferences and what you’d want to do with the video. But, for the majority of the users, a tool that makes it super easy to trim a video will be the preference.

Hence, I’d like to highlight a dead simple open-source tool to trim videos quickly – “Video Trimmer“.

Video Trimmer: A simple application to trim videos quickly

Video Trimmer is an open-source application that helps in trimming video clips without re-encoding them.

So, basically, you’ll be able to trim videos without losing the original quality.

All you have to do is – just open the video file using Video Trimmer and then select the region to trim using the mouse.

You can manually set the time range to trim or just drag the region to trim using the mouse. Of course, it could take a while to manually set the timestamp if it’s a long video file and you don’t know where to look at.

To give you an idea, take a look at the screenshot below to see the options available when using Video Trimmer:

Installing Video Trimmer on Linux

Video Trimmer is only available as a Flatpak package on Flathub. So, you should be able to install it on any Linux distribution with Flatpak support without any issues.

In case you didn’t know about Flatpak, you might want to refer our guide on using and installing Flatpak.

If you’re using Arch or Manjaro, you can find it listed on AUR (Arch User Repository) as well.

Video Trimmer (Flathub) Wrapping Up

Video Trimmer uses ffmpeg underneath it. What it does can be done easily using ffmpeg commands in the terminal. But then not everyone wants to use terminal for cutting part of a video. Tools like Video Trimmer help such people (like me).

For some reason, if you want to look for an alternative to this, you may try VidCutter as well. Of course, you can always rely on top video editors available for Linux (like OpenShot) to trim videos along with the ability to perform some advanced operations.

What do you think about using “Video Trimmer” on Linux? Do you already have another favorite video trimming tool? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

Why People Are Crazy About Arch Linux? What’s so Special About it?

Sunday 19th of July 2020 06:13:20 AM

BTW, I use Arch!

You may have come across this term in Linux forums, discussion or in memes.

You might wonder why Arch Linux is so popular? Why people like it so much when there are easier to use, if not better, Arch-based distributions available.

In this article, I’ll list some of the reasons why Linux users like to use Arch Linux.

6 reasons why people love to use Arch Linux

Now, this is my perception. There is no set rule, of course, why you should be using Arch Linux. It’s what I have observed in my over a decade of experience with Linux users and communities.

Let’s see why Arch Linux is so popular.

1. The DIY approach gives you the control over every aspect of your operating system

I have always found Arch Linux as a DIY (Do It Yourself) operating system. From installing to managing, Arch Linux lets you handle everything.

You decide which desktop environment to use, which components and services to install. This granular control gives you a minimal operating system to build upon with elements of your choice.

If you are a DIY enthusiast, you’ll love Arch Linux.

2. With Arch Linux, you get a better understanding of how Linux works Installing Arch Linux by creating partition and making filesystem via command line

If you ever tried to install Arch Linux, you know the complexity that comes with it.

But that complexity also means that you’ll be forced to learn things that you probably never bother to in other distributions.

For example, configuring network itself while installing Arch Linux is a good learning lesson.

If you start to get overwhelmed, Arch Wiki is there for you. It is the most extensive and awesome community-managed documentation on the internet. Just browsing through Arch Wiki will teach you plenty of things.

3. Latest kernel and software with rolling release model System update in Arch Linux

Arch Linux is a rolling release distribution. That means new kernel and application versions are rolled out to you as soon as they are released.

While most other Linux distributions serve you old Linux kernel versions, Arch is quick to provide you the latest kernel.

The same goes for software. If a new version of software in the Arch repositories is released, Arch users get the new versions before other users most of the time.

Everything is fresh and cutting edge in the rolling release model. You don’t have to upgrade operating system from one version to another. Just use the pacman command and you always have the latest version.

4. Arch User Repository aka AUR

Arch Linux has plenty of software in its repository. The AUR extends the software offering of Arch Linux. You get a huge number of software with AUR in Arch Linux.

AUR is the community driven approach to provide newer applications. You can search and install applications with the help of an AUR helper tool.

5. Sense of accomplishment

As James Clear mentions in his book Atomic Habits, human brain loves a challenge, but only if it is within an optimal zone of difficulty.

Remember the feeling when you first installed any Linux distribution even if it was installing Linux Mint? That gave you a sense of achievement. You successfully installed Linux!

If you have been using Ubuntu or Fedora or other distribution for some time and you start to get comfortable (or bored), try installing Arch Linux.

For a moderately experienced Linux user, successfully installing Arch Linux itself gives a sense of accomplishment.

It is a challenge but an achievable one. If you suggest a new Linux user to try Arch Linux or even more complicated one like Linux From Scratch, the challenge would be too difficult to achieve.

This sense of successfully completing a challenge is also one of the reasons why people use Arch Linux.

6. No corporate involvement! Arch is created, supported and owned by community

Ubuntu is backed by Canonical, Fedora is from Red Hat (part of IBM now) and openSUSE is from SUSE. All these major distributions are corporate backed.

This is not bad or crime in itself. But a few people do not like corporate involvement in open source projects.

Like Debian, Arch Linux is one of the rare few community-only Linux distribution projects.

You may point out that many other distributions like Linux Mint etc are also not sponsored by corporate. Well, that might be true but Linux Mint itself is based on Ubuntu and uses Ubuntu’s repositories. Arch Linux is not derivative of another distribution.

In that sense, Debian and Arch Linux are more pure community-driven projects. It may not matter to many people but a few people do care about such things.

According to you, why Arch Linux is so popular?

Now, you may not agree with all the points I made and that’s okay. I would like your views on why Arch Linux is so popular and has cult status among Linux users?

While you write the comments, let me share a BTW, I use Arch meme :)

Ubuntu 19.10 Reaches End of Life. Upgrade to Ubuntu 20.04 As Soon As Possible!

Friday 17th of July 2020 04:08:40 AM

Ubuntu 19.10 Eoan Ermine has reached end of life. That it means it won’t get any security or maintenance updates. Continue using Ubuntu 19.10 would be risky as your system may be vulnerable in future for the lack of security updates. You should upgrade to Ubuntu 20.04.

Ubuntu 19.10 was released in October 2019 bringing some new features that prepared a base for Ubuntu 20.04.

As a non-LTS release, it had a lifespan of nine months. It has completed its life cycle and as of 17th July 2020, it won’t be getting any updates.

End of life for Ubuntu 19.10

I have explained Ubuntu release cycle and end of life in detail earlier. I’ll reiterate what it means to you and your system if continue using Ubuntu 19.10 beyond this point.

Software usually have a predefined life cycle and once a software version reaches end of life, it stops getting updates and support.

Beyond the end of life, Ubuntu 19.10 won’t get system updates, security updates or application updates from Ubuntu anymore.

If you continue using it, your system may fell victim to potential cyberattacks as hackers tend to exploit vulnerable system.

Later, you might not be able to install new software using apt command as Ubuntu will archive the repository for 19.10.

What to do if you are using Ubuntu 19.10?

First, check which version of Ubuntu you are using. This can be done quickly by entering this command in the terminal:

lsb_release -a No LSB modules are available. Distributor ID: Ubuntu Description: Ubuntu 19.10 Release: 19.10 Codename: Eoan

If you see Ubuntu 19.10, you should do either of these two things:

  • If you have a good speed, consistent internet connection, upgrade to Ubuntu 20.04 from within 19.10. Your personal files and most software remain untouched.
  • If you have a slow or inconsistent internet connection, you should do a fresh installation of Ubuntu 20.04. Your files and everything else on the disk will be erased so you should make backup of your important data on an external disk.
How to upgrade to Ubuntu 20.04 from 19.10 (if you have good internet connection)

I have discussed the Ubuntu version upgrade in details previously. I’ll quickly mention the steps here as well.

First, make sure that your system is set to be notified of new version in Software & Updates.

Go to Software & Updates:

Go to Updates tab and set “Notify me of a new Ubuntu version” to “For any new version”:

Now, install any pending updates.

Now, run Update Manager tool again. You should be given the option to upgrade to Ubuntu 20.04. Hit the upgrade button and follow the instructions.

It installs packages of around 1.2 GB. This is why you need a good and consistent internet connection.

Upgrading this way keeps your home directory as it is. Having a backup on external disk is still suggested, though.

Are you still using Ubuntu 19.10?

If you are still using Ubuntu 19.10, you must prepare for the upgrade or fresh installation. You must not ignore it.

If you don’t like frequent version upgrades like this, you should stick with LTS versions that are supported for five years. The current LTS version is Ubuntu 20.04 which you’ll be upgrading to anyway.

Were/are you using Ubuntu 19.10? Have you already upgraded to Ubuntu 20.04? Let me know if you face any issue or if you have any questions.

OpenCV Project Announces Raspberry Pi-like Hardware Kits to Make Embedded AI Projects

Thursday 16th of July 2020 10:17:34 AM

In the vast field of artificial intelligence, computer vision and image recognition is perhaps what most people take interest in.

Computer Vision is how the machine analyzes the images and videos

If you are interested in this field, you must have heard of OpenCV. OpenCV is a popular open source project aimed at real-time computer vision.

The OpenCV project has announced its hardware project: OpenCV Artificial Intelligence Kit (OAK). It is basically a Raspberry Pi like single board computer specially focused on Computer Vision. This project is running a Kickstarter funding campaign.

If you’re someone already working on computer vision, you may have heard of Nvidia Jetson Nano developer kit as one of the Raspberry Pi alternatives tailored for AI projects.

Even though Jetson Nano could be a better option for AI projects, it looks like OpenCV AI kit actually makes it easy to get started with building projects with OpenCV out of the box.

Let’s take a look at some details.

OpenCV AI Kit Overview Oak And Oak D Size Comparison with a coin

OpenCV AI Kit (OAK) is an MIT-licensed open source software and Myriad X-based hardware solution for computer vision by OpenCV (if that wasn’t obvious).

You can train your own neural networks or just get started with tracking and detecting things using the existing neural networks that include mask/no-mask detection, age recognition, face detection, object detection, vehicle detection, and more.

Not to forget, you can always use OpenVINO to deploy your own model using any available dataset.

You will find two variants of the kit — OAK-1 and OAK-D.

The OAK-1 includes a 4K AI camera module and the OAK-D features a three-camera setup, both leveraging the stereo depth sensor.

OAK-1 and OAK-D supports Linux, Windows, and macOS as hosts.

Even though the OAK API software lets you do a lot of things, there are some board-specific features for OAK-1 and OAK-D that you can find on their Kickstarter campaign page.

As an overview, the official announcement sums up what the OpenCV AI Kit is made up of:

  • A single-camera 4k @ 60fps hardware module which includes a Myriad X and is a tiny 45 mm x 30 mm.
  • A module with a 4k @ 60fps camera and stereo depth cameras which provide spatial 3D tracking capability. It is about the size of a Raspberry Pi.
  • A nsoftware library for advanced on-device real-time neural network processing for the OAK boards.
  • Both boards can run Deep Learning models for image classification, object detection, segmentation, human pose estimation, and many more in real time even on low-power hosts like the Raspberry Pi.
OpenCV AI Kit Pricing & Availability

For now, you can’t get your hands on it without being a backer on Kickstarter.

But, it’s good to see that the funding goal of $20,000 was completed in about 20 minutes of launching the campaign or so as they claim.

However, you might want to join in as a backer on Kickstarter because the retail pricing of the AI kit will be twice as what you see right now.

The OAK-1 is priced at $99 and the OAK-D is available for $149, which was just $79 and $129 for early bird backers.

After the Kickstarter campaign ends, you may notice a retail price of $199 and $299 respectively.

Looking at other Myriad-X based options, OpenCV AI Kit looks a lot more promising, cheaper, and easy to get started.

And, considering that they’re a company you can vouch for — it might be a good time to become a backer if you want to get your hands on it.

Wrapping Up

Looking at the pricing and the feature list, it’s definitely a unique offering to what already exists out there.

What do you think about it? Let me know your thoughts on the same.

Decentralized Messaging App Riot Rebrands to Element

Thursday 16th of July 2020 06:25:27 AM

Riot is/was a decentralized instant messaging app based on the open source Matrix protocol.

In late June, Riot (the instant messaging client) announced that they would be changing their name. Yesterday, they revealed that their new name is Element. Let’s see more details on why Riot changed its name and what else is being changed.

Why change the name from Riot to Element?

Before we get to the most recent announcement, let us take a look at why they changed their name in the first place.

According to a blog post dated June 23rd, the group had three reasons for the name change.

First, they stated that “a certain large games company” had repeatedly blocked them from trademarking the Riot and product names. (If I had to guess, they are probably referring to this “games company”.)

Second, they originally chose the name Riot to “evoke something disruptive and vibrant”. They are worried that people are instead thinking that the app is “focused on violence”. I imagine that current world events have not helped that situation.

Thirdly, they want to clear up any confusion created by the many brand names involved with Riot. For example, Riot is created by a company named New Vector, while the Riot is hosted on Modular which is also a product of New Vector. They want to simplify their naming system to avoid confusing potential customers. When people look for a messaging solution, they want them to only have to look for one name: Element.

Element is everywhere

As of July 15th, the name of the app and the name of the company has been changed to Element. Their Matrix hosting service will now be called Element Matrix Services. Their announcement sums it up nicely:

“For those discovering us for the first time: Element is the flagship secure collaboration app for the decentralised Matrix communication network. Element lets you own your own end-to-end encrypted chat server, while still connecting to everyone else in the wider Matrix network.

They chose the name Element because it “reflects the emphasis on simplicity and clarity that we aimed for when designing RiotX; a name that highlights our single-minded mission to make Element the most elegant and usable mainstream comms app imaginable”. They also said they wanted a name “evokes the idea of data ownership and self-sovereignty”. They also thought it was a cool name.

More than just a name change

The recent announcement also makes it clear that this move is more than just a simple name change. Element has also released its “next generation Matrix client for Android”. The client was formerly known as RiotX and is now renamed Element. (What else?) It is a complete rewrite of the former client and now supports VoIP calls and widgets. Element will also be available on iOS with support for iOS 13 with “entirely new push notification support”.

The Element Web client has also received some love with a UI update and a new easier to read font. They have also “rewritten the Room List control – adding in room previews(!!), alphabetic ordering, resizable lists, improved notification UI and more”. They have also started working to improve end-to-end encryption.

Final thought

The people over at Element are taking a big step by making a major name change like this. They may lose some customers in the short term. (This could mainly be due to not being aware of the name change for whatever reason or not liking change.) However in the long run the brand simplification will help them stand out from the crowd.

The only negative note I’ll mention is that this is the third name change they have made in the app’s history. It was originally named Vector when it was released in 2016. The name was changed to Riot later that year. Hopefully, Element is here to stay.

If you found this article interesting, please take a minute to share it on social media, Hacker News, or Reddit.

How to Install Linux Mint 20 [The Simplest Way Possible]

Wednesday 15th of July 2020 06:25:01 AM

Undoubtedly, Linux Mint is one of the best Linux distributions for beginners. It is easy to use, doesn’t consume lots of system resource and has tons of software available.

Linux Mint 20 is released. There are some performance improvements and several new features in Mint 20.

There are various ways to install Linux Mint:

In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to install Linux Mint removing other operating systems from your computer.

Install Linux Mint by replacing Windows or any other operating system

I am using Linux Mint 20 Cinnamon edition. However, the steps work for other Mint versions and desktop variants like Xfce and MATE. The screenshot might look a little bit different but the steps remain the same.


  • A USB of at least 4 GB in size. You may also use a DVD.
  • Active internet connection for downloading Linux Mint ISO and live-USB making tool. Internet is not required for installing Linux Mint.
  • This is optional but if you have important data on the system where you are going to install Linux Mint, you should copy the files on an external disk.

Minimum system requirements for Linux Mint 20 default Cinnamon edition:

  • Minimum 1 GB RAM (2 GB recommended for a comfortable usage).
  • Minimum 15 GB of disk space (20 GB recommended).
  • Minimum 1024×768 resolution (on lower resolutions, press ALT to drag windows with the mouse if they don’t fit in the screen).


This method of installing Linux Mint formats your entire disk. That means any data present on the system will be wiped out.

For this reason, please save your data on an external USB disk so that you can copy it back after installing Mint.

Step 1: Download Linux Mint ISO

Go to Linux Mint website and download Linux Mint in ISO format. This file is used for creating the installation USB.

Download Linux Mint

You’ll find three variants:

  • Cinnamon
  • MATE
  • Xfce

If you do not know about them, go with the default Cinnamon edition. When you click on that, you’ll find various mirror websites and torrent link to download the ISO file.

If you have a good internet connection for downloading 2 GB of file without any issue, use a mirror which is closer to your country of residence (for faster download).

If you do not have a good, consistent internet connection, opt for the torrent version (if you know what torrent is).

Download Linux Mint Step 2: Create a live USB of Linux Mint

Now that you have downloaded the ISO, it is time for creating a live USB of Linux Mint.

You’ll need a dedicated software that creates a live USB. There are several such tools available for free. You can use Etcher which is available on Windows, Linux and macOS.

If you are using Windows, you can also use Rufus. In the example here, I have used Rufus.

Download Rufus and run the .exe file and you’ll see a screen like the below image.

You select the ISO. You may confuse over the partitioning scheme. Almost all the computers in last 7 years or so use GPT partitioning scheme. Older computers may use the MBR partitioning. You should check which one your system uses to be sure.

If you choose the incorrect partitioning scheme, you may not be able to Linux Mint. In that case, come back to this step and recreate the USB by choosing the other partitioning scheme.

Step 3: Boot from the live Linux Mint USB

Once you have successfully created the Linux Mint USB, it is time to use it for installing the awesome Linux Mint.

Plug in the live USB of Linux Mint and restart your system. At the boot screen when you see the logo of your computer manufacturer, press F2 or F10 or F12 to enter the BIOS settings.

In here, you should make sure that booting for USB or removable media is on the top of the boot order.

Move the USB on the top of the boot order

This screen may look different for different manufacturers. You’ll have to find this setting on your own or search the internet.

Make the changes, save and exit.

Step 4: Install Linux Mint

Now you should boot into the live Linux Mint environment. You’ll see a screen like this that gives you a couple of options. Go with the first option.

In a few seconds you’ll be inside the Linux Mint live environment. It may take more time if you have USB 2.

You’ll see a “Install Linux Mint” icon on the desktop. Click on it to start the installation procedure.

It will ask you to choose some basic configurations like language and keyboard layout. Choose the most appropriate ones for your system.

Avoid connecting to internet during installation

I strongly advise NOT connecting to internet while installing Linux Mint. This way the installation is quicker as it does not try downloading updates while installation.

Not connecting to the internet may also save you a few unpleasant surprises. I encountered a “‘grub-efi-amd64-signed’ package failed to install into /target” error and my installation failed. I plugged out the live USB and tried installing it again without connecting to the internet and the error didn’t appear this time.

The next screen is the most important part of Linux Mint installation. You are going to format the entire hard disk and install Linux Mint. Linux Mint will be the only operating system on your computer.

Again, this means that you’ll lose all the data on the disk. Please copy important files on an external disk.

In this method, Linux Mint handles everything on its own. It creates an ESP partition for EFI boot manager of about 500 MB and the rest of the disk is allocated to root partition. The root consists a swapfile for swap usage and your home directory. This is the easiest setup with no extra effort.

You’ll be warned that disk will be formatted. Hit continue and you’ll have to select timezone in the next. You may change it later as well.

Timezone Selection Linux Mint

After that, you’ll face a screen that asks you to set username and password. Use an easy to remember password because you’ll have to use it all the time.

Create User and Password While Installing Linux Mint

Things are pretty straightforward from here. You just have to wait for like 5-10 minutes for the installation to complete.

Once the installation finishes, it will ask you to restart the system. Restart it.

Linux Mint Installation Finishes

When the system turns off, it also asks you to remove the live USB and press enter.

Remove the USB and press enter

Well, that’s it. You’ll now boot into Linux Mint. Enter your password you had created earlier and you’ll enter Linux Mint to see a welcome screen like this:

Linux Mint Welcome Screen Enjoy Linux Mint

Since you just installed it, do read our recommendation of things to do after installing Linux Mint 20.

I hope this tutorial helped you in installing Linux Mint 20 easily. If you face any issues or difficulties or if you have any confusion, feel free to leave a comment below.

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  • Linux commands for user management
  • CONSOOM All Your PODCASTS From Your Terminal With Castero
  • Install Blender 3D on Debian 10 (Buster)
  • Things To Do After Installing openSUSE Leap 15.2
  • GSoC Reports: Fuzzing Rumpkernel Syscalls, Part 2

    I have been working on Fuzzing Rumpkernel Syscalls. This blogpost details the work I have done during my second coding period.

  • Holger Levsen: DebConf7

    DebConf7 was also special because it had a very special night venue, which was in an ex-church in a rather normal building, operated as sort of community center or some such, while the old church interior was still very much visible as in everything new was build around the old stuff. And while the night venue was cool, it also ment we (video team) had no access to our machines over night (or for much of the evening), because we had to leave the university over night and the networking situation didn't allow remote access with the bandwidth needed to do anything video. The night venue had some very simple house rules, like don't rearrange stuff, don't break stuff, don't fix stuff and just a few little more and of course we broke them in the best possible way: Toresbe with the help of people I don't remember fixed the organ, which was broken for decades. And so the house sounded in some very nice new old tune and I think everybody was happy we broke that rule.

Programming Leftovers

  • Podcast: COBOL development on the mainframe

    Nic reached out when COBOL hit the news this spring to get some background on what COBOL is good for historically, and where it lives in the modern infrastructure stack. I was able to talk about the basics of COBOL and the COBOL standard, strengths today in concert with the latest mainframes, and how COBOL back-end code is now being integrated into front ends via intermediary databases and data-interchange formats like JSON, which COBOL natively supports.

  • What I learned while teaching C programming on YouTube

    The act of breaking something down in order to teach it to others can be a great way to reacquaint yourself with some old concepts and, in many cases, gain new insights. I have a YouTube channel where I demonstrate FreeDOS programs and show off classic DOS applications and games. The channel has a small following, so I tend to explore the topics directly suggested by my audience. When several subscribers asked if I could do more videos about programming, I decided to launch a new video series to teach C programming. I learned a lot from teaching C, and in the process, I came across some meaningful takeaways I think others will appreciate. Make a plan For my day job, I lead training and workshops to help new and emerging IT leaders develop new skills. Outside of regular work, I also enjoy teaching as an adjunct professor. So I'm very comfortable constructing a course outline and designing a curriculum. That's where I started. If you want to teach a subject effectively, you can't just wing it. Start by writing an outline of what topics you want to cover and figure out how each new topic will build on the previous ones. The "building block" method of adding new knowledge is key to an effective training program.

  • Google's Flutter 1.20 framework is out: VS Code extension and mobile autofill support
  • Google Engineers Propose "Machine Function Splitter" For Faster Performance

    Google engineers have been working on the Machine Function Splitter as their means of making binaries up to a few percent faster thanks to this compiler-based approach. They are now seeking to upstream the Machine Function Splitter into LLVM. The Machine Function Splitter is a code generation optimization pass for splitting code functions into hot and cold parts. They are doing this stemming from research that in roughly half of code functions that more than 50% of the code bytes are never executed but generally loaded into the CPU's data cache.

  • Modernize network function development with this Rust-based framework

    The world of networking has undergone monumental shifts over the past decade, particularly in the ongoing move from specialized hardware into software defined network functions (NFV) for data plane1 and packet processing. While the transition to software has fashioned the rise of SDN (Software-defined networking) and programmable networks, new challenges have arisen in making these functions flexible, efficient, easier to use, and fast (i.e. little to no performance overhead). Our team at Comcast wanted to both leverage what the network does best, especially with regards to its transport capacity and routing mechanisms, while also being able to develop network programs through a modern software lens—stressing testing, swift iteration, and deployment. So, with these goals in mind, we developed Capsule, a new framework for network function development, written in Rust, inspired by Berkeley's NetBricks research, and built-on Intel's Data Plane Development Kit (DPDK).

  • This Week in Rust 350
  • Firefox extended tracking protection

    This Mozilla Security Blog entry describes the new redirect-tracking protections soon to be provided by the Firefox browser.

  • Karl Dubost: Browser developer tools timeline

    I was reading In a Land Before Dev Tools by Amber, and I thought, Oh here missing in the history the beautifully chiseled Opera Dragonfly and F12 for Internet Explorer. So let's see what are all the things I myself didn't know.

  • Daniel Stenberg: Upcoming Webinar: curl: How to Make Your First Code Contribution

    Abstract: curl is a wildly popular and well-used open source tool and library, and is the result of more than 2,200 named contributors helping out. Over 800 individuals wrote at least one commit so far. In this presentation, curl’s lead developer Daniel Stenberg talks about how any developer can proceed in order to get their first code contribution submitted and ultimately landed in the curl git repository. Approach to code and commits, style, editing, pull-requests, using github etc. After you’ve seen this, you’ll know how to easily submit your improvement to curl and potentially end up running in ten billion installations world-wide.

Security: Zoom Holes, New Patches and etcd Project Security Committee

  • Zoombomber crashes court hearing on Twitter hack with Pornhub video
  • Security updates for Wednesday

    Security updates have been issued by Debian (net-snmp), Fedora (mingw-curl), openSUSE (firefox, ghostscript, and opera), Oracle (libvncserver and postgresql-jdbc), Scientific Linux (postgresql-jdbc), SUSE (firefox, kernel, libX11, xen, and xorg-x11-libX11), and Ubuntu (apport, grub2, grub2-signed, libssh, libvirt, mysql-8.0, ppp, tomcat8, and whoopsie).

  • The CNCF etcd project reaches a significant milestone with completion of security audit

    This week, a third-party security audit was published on etcd, the open source distributed key-value store that plays a crucial role in scaling Kubernetes in the cloud. For etcd, this audit was important in multiple ways. The audit validates the project’s maturity and sheds light on some areas where the project can improve. This sort of audit is required criteria for any project in the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) to qualify for graduation from the CNCF. Read the CNCF blog post that I co-authored to learn more about the audit and what it uncovered. As one of the project maintainers and one of two members of the etcd Project Security Committee, I’d love to share a few reasons I’m hopeful for etcd’s future and why now is a great time to contribute to etcd’s open source community.

Linux Plumbers Conference and Kernel Developments in METRICFS, FS-Cache, HWMON

  • Application Ecosystem Microconference Accepted into 2020 Linux Plumbers Conference

    We are pleased to announce that the Application Ecosystem Microconference has been accepted into the 2020 Linux Plumbers Conference! The Linux kernel is the foundation of the Linux systems, but it is not much use without applications that run on top of it. The application experience relies on the kernel for performance, stability and responsiveness. Plumbers is the perfect venue to have the kernel and app ecosystems under one roof to discuss and learn together and make a better application experience on the Linux platform.

  • Google Opens Patches For "METRICFS" That They Have Used Since 2012 For Telemetry Data

    The METRICFS file-system has been in use internally at Google since 2012 for exporting system statistics to their telemetry systems with around 200 statistics being exported per machine. They are now posting the METRICFS patches as open-source for review and possible upstreaming. A "request for comments" on METRICFS was sent out today on the Linux kernel mailing list. Their motives for now finally publishing these patches is as a result of the recent Statsfs proposal by a Red Hat engineer for a RAM-based file-system for exposing kernel statistics to user-space. METRICFS has a similar aim to Statsfs.

  • FS-Cache Rewritten But Even Its Developers Are Hesitant About Landing It For Linux 5.9

    FS-Cache provides the Linux kernel with a general purpose cache for network file-systems like NFS and AFS but also other special use-cases like ISO9660 file-systems. FS-Cache has been rewritten for better performance and reliability, among other benefits, and while it has been sent in as a pull request for Linux 5.9 even its own developers provide some caution over landing it this cycle. FS-Cache has seen work to "massively overhaul" it with a variety of improvements. The new and improved FS-Cache will now use async direct I/O in place of snooping for updated pages that in turn means less virtual memory overhead. The new FS-Cache implementation has simpler object management, changes to object invalidation, and a variety of other work.

  • Corsair Commander Pro Driver Sent In To Linux 5.9

    The hardware monitoring (HWMON) subsystem has a new driver that is likely to excite some enthusiasts wanting greater control over thermal monitoring and fan control for their systems. The previously covered Corsair Commander Pro Linux driver is now coming with Linux 5.9. The Commander Pro offers six 4-pin fan ports with PWM controls, two RGB LED channels, and four thermal sensors. An interested user/developer created this Linux driver without the support from Corsair. The thermal and fan control support is in place with this new HWMON driver while the RGB lighting controls are available from OpenRGB.