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Check Hardware Information on Linux Graphically With Hardinfo

Thursday 30th of January 2020 06:58:50 AM

There are ways to get hardware information about your system in Linux. And majority of them are command line based solution.

As a desktop Linux user, if you feel more comfortable with a graphical application, let me tell you about a tool that you can use to get information about your system hardware.

The tool is called Hardinfo (short for hardware information). It is a system profiler and benchmark for Linux systems. It displays hardware (and some software) information in a neat GUI tool.

Hardinfo interface Install Hardinfo on Ubuntu and other Linux distributions

Hardinfo is a popular application and it should (hopefully) be available in all major Linux distributions’ repository.

On Ubuntu, Hardinfo is available via the universe repository. Normally it should already be enabled but no harm in verifying it:

Make sure to enable universe repository

With Universe repository enabled, you should find it in the Software Center. Just search for Hardinfo and you should see an application named System Profiler and Benchmark. That’s actually Hardinfo. You can click install here.

Hardinfo in Ubuntu Software Center

Alternatively, if you prefer installing applications via command line, you can use the following commands to enable universe repository and then install Hardinfo:

sudo add-apt-repository universe sudo apt install hardinfo

You should be able to find Hardinfo in your distribution’s software manager. You can easily install it via the package manager on your system. Please check and verify it.

Using Hardinfo to get hardware information on Linux

Once installed, you can start the application by looking for it in the menu:

Search for Hardinfo in application menu

Once you start it, you should see various parameters in the left sidebar and if you choose them, you can see related information on the right side.

A summary of system hardware

For example, you can see the processor information:

Processor Information

You can see what networking interfaces are available for your system:

Network Interface Information

You may also check the CPU temperature among other things:

Sensor temperature

All these information can be found in command line, specially from the /proc directory. But is is always good to have a tool that gives you all this information in one user-friendly interface. Don’t you think so?

I know there are other tools for getting system hardware information on Linux. If you prefer some other tool, which one is it?

Meet FuryBSD: A New Desktop BSD Distribution

Wednesday 29th of January 2020 03:16:29 AM

In the last couple of months, a few new desktop BSD have been announced. There is HyperbolaBSD which was Hyperbola GNU/Linux previously. Another new entry in the BSD world is FuryBSD.

FuryBSD: A new BSD distribution

At its heart, FuryBSD is a very simple beast. According to the site, “FuryBSD is a back to basics lightweight desktop distribution based on stock FreeBSD.” It is basically FreeBSD with a desktop environment pre-configured and several apps preinstalled. The goal is to quickly get a FreeBSD-based system running on your computer.

You might be thinking that this sounds a lot like a couple of other BSDs that are available, such as NomadBSD and GhostBSD. The major difference between those BSDs and FuryBSD is that FuryBSD is much closer to stock FreeBSD. For example, FuryBSD uses the FreeBSD installer, while others have created their own installers and utilities.

As it states on the site, “Although FuryBSD may resemble past graphical BSD projects like PC-BSD and TrueOS, FuryBSD is created by a different team and takes a different approach focusing on tight integration with FreeBSD. This keeps overhead low and maintains compatibility with upstream.” The lead dev also told me that “One key focus for FuryBSD is for it to be a small live media with a few assistive tools to test drivers for hardware.”

Currently, you can go to the FuryBSD homepage and download either an XFCE or KDE LiveCD. A GNOME version is in the works.

Who’s is Behind FuryBSD?

The lead dev behind FuryBSD is Joe Maloney. Joe has been a FreeBSD user for many years. He contributed to other BSD projects, such as PC-BSD. He also worked with Eric Turgeon, the creator of GhostBSD, to rewrite the GhostBSD LiveCD. Along the way, he picked up a better understanding of BSD and started to form an idea of how he would make a distribution on his own.

Joe is joined by several other devs who have also spent many years in the BSD world, such as Jaron Parsons, Josh Smith, and Damian Szidiropulosz.

The Future for FuryBSD

At the moment, FuryBSD is nothing more than a pre-configured FreeBSD setup. However, the devs have a list of improvements that they want to make going forward. These include:

  • A sane framework for loading, 3rd party proprietary drivers graphics, wireless
  • Cleanup up the LiveCD experience a bit more to continue to make it more friendly
  • Printing support out of box
  • A few more default applications included to provide a complete desktop experience
  • Integrated ZFS replication tools for backup and restore
  • Live image persistence options
  • A custom pkg repo with sane defaults
  • Continuous integration for applications updates
  • Quality assurance for FreeBSD on the desktop
  • Tailored artwork, color scheming, and theming
  • Directory services integration
  • Security hardening

The devs make it quite clear that any changes they make will have a lot of thought and research behind them. They don’t want to compliment a feature, only to have to remove it or change it when it breaks something.

FuryBSD desktop How You Can Help FuryBSD?

At this moment the project is still very young. Since all projects need help to survive, I asked Joe what kind of help they were looking for. He said, “We could use help answering questions on the forums, GitHub tickets, help with documentation are all needed.” He also said that if people wanted to add support for other desktop environments, pull requests are welcome.

Final Thoughts

Although I have not tried it yet, I have a good feeling about FuryBSD. It sounds like the project is in capable hands. Joe Maloney has been thinking about how to make the best BSD desktop experience for over a decade. Unlike majority of Linux distros that are basically a rethemed Ubuntu, the devs behind FuryBSD know what they are doing and they are choosing quality over the fancy bells and whistles.

What are your thoughts on this new entry into the every growing desktop BSD market? Have you tried out FuryBSD or will you give it a try? Please let us know in the comments below.

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

What Amazon Kindle? Here’s an Open Source eBook Reader

Tuesday 28th of January 2020 05:30:48 AM

When it comes to an eBook reader, the choices are limited. The market is dominated by Amazon's proprietary Kindle along with a few other options like Kobo, Nook and Onyx.

An interesting news for open source enthusiasts is that a developer, Joey Castillo, is working on creating an open source eBook reader appropriately named Open Book.

Open Book: An open source eBook reader

The Open Book aims to be a simple ‘open’ device that “anyone with a soldering iron can build for themselves”.

It’s hackable so if you are into DIY stuff and you have some knowledge, you may tweak it to your liking. For example, Joey used TensorFlow Lite to give voice commands for flipping the pages on Open Book. You can do things like this on your own on this open hardware device.

Voice commands on the #OpenBook with #TensorFlowLite. When I added a mic amp for voice, I considered this a “someday” feature; I didn’t imagine one could hack it together in an evening! Major credit to @adafruit; their TFL Arduino port makes this possible.

— joey castillo (@josecastillo) December 13, 2019

If that kind of scares you because you are not really into tinkering with hardware, I have a good news for you. Open Book was named winner of Hackaday’s Take Flight with Feather contest!

This means that when the hardware is ready, you should be able to purchase it from DigiKey. You should be able to fit the device as an eBook reader or experiment with it, if you feel like doing it.

It kind of reminds me of Game Shell, a single board computer based retro gaming console that could be tinkered into many other things.

Open Book specifications

There are two versions of Open Book: Open Book Feather and E-Book Feather Wing. The eBook wing does less than the Open Book Feather, mainly because it’s limited to using only the pins available via the Feather header.

You may guess from the name that the project uses Adafruit’s Feather development boards.

Here are the main specifications for the Open Book (both versions):

  • 4.2 inch, 400 x 300 pixel ePaper display
  • SAMD51 ARM Cortex-M4 32-bit processor
  • 7 buttons for navigation (directional pad, select button and page turn buttons)
  • status LED lights
  • A microSD card reader
  • Headphone jack

The display seems a bit small, isn’t it?

Open Book release, pricing and availability

Open Book is the winner of Take Flight with Feather competition by Hackaday. This means that at least 100 Open Book boards will be manufactured and made available for purchase.

Liliputing noted that Adafruit will be handling the manufacturing, and Digi-Key will eventually be selling Open Book boards.

At this point, it’s not clear how much will it cost and exactly when it will be available.

Remember that it’s an open source project. You can find all the circuit designs, source code on its GitHub page and if you have the skills, get the required hardware components and build an Open Book on your own.

Open Book on GitHub

Otherwise, wait for a couple of months (hopefully) for the release of the Open Book boards and then go about experimenting with the device.

If you like the project and want to support it, you can help Joey on Pateron. You can follow the updates on the Open Book on the Patreon page, Joey’s mailing list or Joey’s Twitter account.

Do you think the project has potential? Would you buy one when it is available? What do you think of it?

Joplin: The True Open Source Evernote Alternative

Monday 27th of January 2020 04:40:24 AM

Brief: Joplin is an open source note taking and to-do application. You can organize notes into notebooks and tag them. Joplin also provides a web-clipper to save articles from the internet.

Joplin: Open source note organizer

If you like Evernote, you won’t be too uncomfortable with the open source software, Joplin.

Joplin is an excellent open source note taking application with plenty of features. You can take notes, make to-do list and sync your notes across devices by linking it with cloud services like Dropbox and NextCloud. The synchronization is protected with end to end encryption.

Joplin also has a web clipper that allows you to save webpages as notes. The web clipper is available for Firefox and Chrome/Chromium browsers.

Joplin makes the switch from Evernote easier by allowing importing Evernote files in Enex format.

Since you own the data, you can export all your files either in Joplin format or in the raw format.

Features of Joplin

Here’s a list of all the features Joplin provides:

  • Save notes into notebooks and sub-notebooks for better organization
  • Create to-do list
  • Notes can be tagged and searched
  • Offline first, so the entire data is always available on the device even without an internet connection
  • Markdown notes with pictures, math notation and checkboxes support
  • File attachment support
  • Application available for desktop, mobile and terminal (CLI)
  • Web Clipper for Firefox and Chrome
  • End To End Encryption
  • Keeps note history
  • Notes sorting based on name, time etc
  • Synchronisation with various cloud services like Nextcloud, Dropbox, WebDAV and OneDrive
  • Import files from Evernote
  • Export JEX files (Joplin Export format) and raw files.
  • Support notes, to-dos, tags and notebooks.
  • Goto Anything feature.
  • Support for notifications in mobile and desktop applications.
  • Geo-location support.
  • Supports multiple languages
  • External editor support – open notes in your favorite external editor with one click in Joplin.
.ugb-ff14dab .ugb-ff14dab-wrapper.ugb-container__wrapper{border-radius:0px !important;padding-top:0 !important;padding-bottom:0 !important;background-color:#f1f1f1 !important}.ugb-ff14dab .ugb-ff14dab-wrapper > .ugb-container__side{padding-top:35px !important;padding-bottom:35px !important}.ugb-ff14dab .ugb-ff14dab-wrapper.ugb-container__wrapper:before{background-color:#f1f1f1 !important}.ugb-ff14dab .ugb-ff14dab-content-wrapper > h1,.ugb-ff14dab .ugb-ff14dab-content-wrapper > h2,.ugb-ff14dab .ugb-ff14dab-content-wrapper > h3,.ugb-ff14dab .ugb-ff14dab-content-wrapper > h4,.ugb-ff14dab .ugb-ff14dab-content-wrapper > h5,.ugb-ff14dab .ugb-ff14dab-content-wrapper > h6{color:#222222}.ugb-ff14dab .ugb-ff14dab-content-wrapper > p,.ugb-ff14dab .ugb-ff14dab-content-wrapper > ol li,.ugb-ff14dab .ugb-ff14dab-content-wrapper > ul li{color:#222222}

Recommended Read:

.ugb-78dfbc8 .ugb-blog-posts__featured-image{border-radius:0px !important}.ugb-78dfbc8 .ugb-blog-posts__title a{color:#000000 !important}.ugb-78dfbc8 .ugb-blog-posts__title a:hover{color:#00b6ba !important}EncryptPad – Encrypted Text Editor For Linux

Looking for a text editor with encryption in Linux? Meet EncryptPad, a text editor with built-in encryption.

Installing Joplin on Linux and other platforms

Joplin is a cross-platform application available for Linux, macOS and Windows. On the mobile, you can get the APK file to install it on Android and Android-based ROMs. You can also get it from the Google Play store.

For Linux, you can use AppImage file for Joplin and run the application as an executable. You’ll have to give execute permission to the downloaded file.

Download Joplin Experiencing Joplin

Notes in Joplin use markdown but you don’t have to know markdown notations to use it. The editor has a top panel that lets you graphically choose the bullet points, headings, images, link etc.

Though Joplin provides many interesting features, you have to fiddle around on your own to check things out. For example, the web clipper is not enabled by default and I had to figure out how to do it.

You have to enable the clipper from the desktop application. From the top menu, go to Tools->Options. You’ll find the Web Clipper option here:

Enable Web Clipper from the desktop application first

The web clipper is not as smart as Evernote’s web clipper that allows to clip portion of a web article graphically. However, you still have good enough options here.

It is an open source software under active development and I do hope that it gets more improvement over the time.


If you are looking for a good note taking application with web-clipper feature, do give Joplin a try. And if you like it and would continue using, try to help Joplin development by making a donation or improving its code and documentation. I made a sweet little donation of 25 Euro on behalf of It’s FOSS.

If you have used Joplin in the past or still using it, how’s your experience with it? If you use some other note taking application, would you switch to Joplin? Feel free to share your views.

Oh, Bummer! Rocket League is Ending Support For Linux

Friday 24th of January 2020 12:02:33 PM

If you’ve enjoyed playing Rocket League on Linux, you will be disappointed to know that Pysonix, the developer team behind Rocket League announced that they will be dropping support for Linux and Mac in March, 2020.

If it was just another casual game on Steam, I wouldn’t mind- but Rocket League is a quite popular online multiplayer game across every platform.

In fact, Rocket League was one of my favorite games to play on Linux (in addition to CS: GO). Even though I haven’t played it for a while – it is a bummer that I won’t be able to play it either.

So, this is definitely sad for Linux gamers who were looking forward to having fun in a popular online multiplayer game that required a decent hardware configuration to work flawlessly.

Why are they ending support?

In their announcement, they mentioned:

As we continue to upgrade Rocket League with new technologies, it is no longer viable for us to maintain support for the macOS and Linux (SteamOS) platforms. As a result, the final patch for the macOS and Linux versions of the game will be in March. This update will disable online functionality (such as in-game purchases) for players on macOS and Linux, but offline features including Local Matches, and splitscreen play will still be accessible.

Well, this certainly does not explain why they’re dropping support for Linux/Mac. But, it looks like the game will get its final patches in March.

After that, you will not be able to play multiplayer sessions – but will be restricted to the local multiplayer sessions (or split-screen).

Maybe you can try using Wine or Steam Play to play it on Linux? Doesn’t sound good though.

Some furious users/gamers on Reddit mentioned that this is a result of Epic Games acquiring Rocket League developer Psyonix. I wouldn’t comment on that one – feel free to share your thoughts in the comments though.

How to get a refund for your Rocket League purchase

To get a refund for your purchase of the Rocket League, you need to open a ticket on the Psyonix Support page.

If you’ve purchased it recently in the ongoing Steam sale – you might just get an instant refund from Steam if you initiate a refund.

If you have no plans to play it on a Windows machine (or trying Proton/Wine) on Linux – you should apply for a refund.

Wrapping Up

While this may not be a big-shot game for the platform but dropping support for Linux is not helping to improve the gaming scene on Linux.

If a game that worked quite well on Linux drops support for it – how can we expect newer games to consider adding support for Linux?

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments down below.

How to Turn on Dark Mode in Firefox

Thursday 23rd of January 2020 06:42:44 AM

More and more operating systems, applications and websites are adding support for the dark mode as people try to reduce eye strain.

Mozilla recently added support for dark mode. You can activate it in four easy steps. Let me show you how.

Enable dark mode in Mozilla Firefox web browser

Step 1: In Firefox, go to the the top right corner and open the menu by clicking the hamburger menu.

Click on the menu icon

Step 2: Click on the “Addons” menu entry. You could also use the Ctrl+Shift+A keyboard shortcut. On the “Addons” page you will see a list of the extensions that you have installed or disabled.

Firefox Dark Mode Step 2

Step 3: Now we need to switch to the themes page. You can do that by clicking “Themes” on the left hand of the screen.

Firefox Dark Mode Step 3

Step 4: You will see the “Dark” theme. Click on the “enable” button to immediately activate the dark mode.

Enable Dark Theme

Note: If you have Firefox Sync turned on, dark mode will be activated on all your Firefox installs.

Turning on Firefox’s dark mode only affects the browser’s theme. It does not change the website that you visit.

But that fails the point of using a dark theme if suddenly a web-page goes full bright into the eyes.

That would be inconvenient, won’t it? If you want to turn on dark mode for all the websites you visit, you can install Dark Reader.

Enable dark theme for the websites in Firefox with Dark Reader

Dark Reader is an open source browser extension available for Firefox, Chrome and Safari.

You can get Dark Reader extension for Firefox from this page. Just click on the Add to Firefox button to add this extension.

Dark Reader extension in Firefox

You may need to restart Firefox to see the changes into effect. Here’s a screenshot of It’s FOSS homepage with Dark Reader:

It’s FOSS Homepage in Dark Mode with Dark Reader

Dark Reader also provides you some options to set the intensity level of darkness, accent color etc. You can turn off dark mode on selected websites.

Dark Reader customization options

You can enjoy the dark mode on Firefox completely now. If you are using Chromium on Linux, you should be able to use Dark Reader on Chromium as well.

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

Wine 5.0 is Released! Here’s How to Install it

Wednesday 22nd of January 2020 09:14:25 AM

Brief: A new major release of Wine is here. With Wine 5.0, running Windows applications and games on Linux is further improved.

With some efforts, you can run Windows applications on Linux using Wine. Wine is a tool that you may try when you must use a software that is available only on Windows. It supports a number of such software.

A new major release for Wine has landed i.e Wine 5.0, almost after a year of its 4.0 release.

Wine 5.0 release introduces a couple of major features and a lot of significant changes/improvements. In this article, I’ll highlight what’s new and also mention the installation instructions.

What’s New In Wine 5.0?

The key changes in 5.0 release as mentioned in their official announcement:

  • Builtin modules in PE format.
  • Multi-monitor support.
  • XAudio2 reimplementation.
  • Vulkan 1.1 support.
  • Microsoft Installer (MSI) Patch Files are supported.
  • Performance improvements.

So, with Vulkan 1.1 support and multi-monitor support – Wine 5.0 release is a big deal.

In addition to the key highlights, you can also expect better controller support in the new version considering thousands of changes/improvements involved in the new release.

It is also worth noting that this release is being dedicated to the memory of Józef Kucia (lead developer of the vkd3d project)

They’ve also mentioned this in their release notes:

This release is dedicated to the memory of Józef Kucia, who passed away in August 2019 at the young age of 30. Józef was a major contributor to Wine’s Direct3D implementation, and the lead developer of the vkd3d project. His skills and his kindness are sorely missed by all of us.

How to install Wine 5.0 on Linux


If you have Wine installed before, you should remove it completely to avoid any conflict (as you wish). Also, the WineHQ key repository key was changed recently, you should refer to its download page for additional instructions on that according to your Linux distribution.

The source for Wine 5.0 is available on its official website. You can read more about building wine in order to make it work. Arch-based users should be getting it soon.

Here’ I’ll show you the steps to install Wine 5.0 on Ubuntu and Linux Mint. Please be patient and follow the steps one by one to install and use Wine. There are several steps involved here.

Keep in mind that Wine installs too many packages. You’ll see a huge list of packages and a download size of around 1.3 GB.

Install Wine 5.0 on Ubuntu (not valid for Linux Mint)

First, remove existing Wine install with this command:

sudo apt remove winehq-stable wine-stable wine1.6 wine-mono wine-geco winetricks

Then make sure to add 32-bit architecture support:

sudo dpkg --add-architecture i386

Download the official Wine repository key and add it:

wget -qO - | sudo apt-key add -

For Ubuntu 18.04 and 19.04, add the FAudio dependency with this PPA. Ubuntu 19.10 doesn’t need it.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:cybermax-dexter/sdl2-backport

Now use this command to add repository:

sudo apt-add-repository "deb $(lsb_release -cs) main"

Now that you have added the correct repository, you can install Wine 5.0 using this command:

sudo apt update && sudo apt install --install-recommends winehq-stable

Note that despite listing Wine 5 on stable in the package list, you might still see wine 4.0.3 with winehq-stable package. Perhaps it is not propagated to all geographical locations. As of this morning, I can see Wine 5.0.

Installing Wine 5.0 in Linux Mint 19.1, 19.2 and 19.3

As some readers notified me, the command apt-add repository doesn’t work for Linux Mint 19.x series.

Here’s another way to add a custom repository. You’ll have to do some steps same as Ubuntu. Like removing existing Wine packages:

sudo apt remove winehq-stable wine-stable wine1.6 wine-mono wine-geco winetricks

Adding 32-bit support:

sudo dpkg --add-architecture i386

And then adding the GPG key:

wget -qO - | sudo apt-key add -

Add the dependency with FAudio:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:cybermax-dexter/sdl2-backport

Now create a new entry for the Wine repository:

sudo sh -c "echo 'deb bionic main' >> /etc/apt/sources.list.d/winehq.list"

Update the package list and install Wine:

sudo apt update && sudo apt install --install-recommends winehq-stable

Wrapping Up

Have you tried the latest Wine 5.0 release yet? If yes, what improvements do you see in action?

Let me know your thoughts on the new release in the comments below.

Here’s a Kubuntu Exclusive Linux Laptop Priced at $2285

Wednesday 22nd of January 2020 05:05:47 AM

We have a lot of manufacturers focusing on Linux laptops nowadays. For instance, the latest $200 Pinebook Pro laptop. And, of course, System 76 also makes some of the best Linux laptops for several years.

Now, The Kubuntu Council, MindShareManagement Inc, and Tuxedo Computers teamed up to come up with a premium Kubuntu-powered laptop for power users: Kubuntu Focus.

Here, let me highlight some of the key specifications of the laptop and what you need to know about it.

Kubuntu Focus Specifications

Here’s what it offers:

  • CPU: Core i7-9750H 6c/12t 4.5GHz Turbo
  • GPU: NVIDIA RTX-2060/2070/2080
  • RAM: 32GB Dual Channel DDR4 2666 Mhz RAM expandable up to 64 Gigs
  • Storage: 1TB Samsung 970 EVO Plus NVMe SSD
  • Display: 16.1” matte 1080p IPS
  • Keyboard: LED-backlit, 3-4mm travel
  • Chassis: Metal and plastic, 0.78”
  • Broad suite of curated apps pre-loaded
  • Two-year warranty (1 Year limited warranty for the base model)
  • User expandable SDD, NVMe, and RAM
  • Superior cooling
What’s special about Kubuntu Focus?

The spec sheet is obviously impressive and it is quite competitive to what System 76 offers.

The design, the keyboard, the RGB lighting, and the screen may not be the strongest points for the laptop. You might just get a powerful laptop in that range from other manufacturers as well (and save money in the process).

However, with Kubuntu Focus, you get a customized and tailored Kubuntu experience. And, apparently, it does not look like the stock Kubuntu 18.04 LTS experience at all.

You can also take a look at Jason Evangelho’s first impressions on the laptop to know more about it. Here’s also a video for it by Jason:

Price & Availability

The base model costs $2285 and the top-end model would cost you about $3,550.

Even though you cannot choose a lower configuration for the processor (as of now), you can choose to increase the RAM, change the graphics card, and opt for a 2-year warranty when you head to purchase it.

You can purchase it right now from its official Shopify page.

kubuntu Focus

Apart from Pinebook, none of the Linux laptops have inexpensive offering. Kubuntu Focus takes it to the next level with a premium offering that costs above $2000.

What do you think about the ‘Kubuntu Focus’ laptop? Will you consider buying it? Let me know your thoughts on it in the comments below.

ProtonVPN Applications are Now 100% Open Source

Tuesday 21st of January 2020 02:19:12 PM

Brief: ProtonVPN becomes the first VPN provider to open source its client applications and undergo an independent security audit.

In this age of surveillance, VPNs have become a powerful tool in safeguarding your privacy.

But can you trust your VPN service provider? On more than one occasion, the VPN providers have been caught logging, snooping or sharing data with third party. What to do in such cases?

I have shared a list of privacy focused VPNs for Linux in the past and ProtonVPN is one of them. The good news is that ProtonVPN has just open sourced all its apps and underwent an independent security audit.

ProtonVPN open sources its applications

Swiss-based company Proton is run by CERN scientists. Their secure email service ProtonMail is hugely popular among privacy enthusiasts. It is used by over 20 million people worldwide.

Proton has always put its focus on security and transparency. They have a strict no logging policy for their VPN services even for the free version.

To ensure their commitment, they worked with renowned security firm SEC Consult on a full security audit, which verified the security of Proton’s software.

Transparency is again the motive behind releasing ProtonVPN applications’s source code under open source license.

By open sourcing all of its client code, ProtonVPN is allowing security experts from around the world to inspect its encryption implementations and how the company handles user data, giving users more confidence the company is adhering to its strict privacy policy.

VPN services can technically access some very sensitive user data, which is why users should choose services with a track record for transparency and security. This trust must be earned, and by publishing our code, we hope to demonstrate our commitment towards always going above and beyond when it comes to security and putting users first.

Dr. Andy Yen
CEO and Founder, Proton Getting ProtonVPN

ProtonVPN has clients for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android and Linux. You can get the source code for the clients on their GitHub repository.

If you like what ProtonVPN is doing and want to support them while securing your privacy, you may opt for their service.

There is a limited free offering from ProtonVPN but the premium version offers more features like high speed servers, multiple VPN connections, servers in more countries.

You can get 20% off on ProtonVPN annual offer and 33% off on their two-year plan. More details can be found on their website.

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

Your thoughts

I like when companies show their commitment to transparency and openness. Protonmail has done it in the past and they have done it again.

German-based Tutanota is another privacy-oriented service that I highly recommend. Unfortunately, they don’t offer VPN service yet.

Do you use ProtonMail or ProtonVPN? How is your experience with Proton services? By going open source, do you trust them more? Do share your views in the comment section.

Syncthing: Open Source P2P File Syncing Tool

Monday 20th of January 2020 02:00:08 PM

Brief: Syncthing is an open-source peer-to-peer file synchronization tool that you can use for syncing files between multiple devices (including an Android phone).

Usually, we have a cloud sync solution like MEGA or Dropbox to have a backup of our files on the cloud while making it easier to share it.

But, what do you do if you want to sync your files across multiple devices without storing them on the cloud?

That is where Syncthing comes to the rescue.

Syncthing: An open source tool to synchronize files across devices

Syncthing lets you sync your files across multiple devices (including the support for Android smartphones). It primarily works through a web UI on Linux but also offers a GUI (to separately install).

However, Syncthing does not utilize the cloud at all – it is a peer-to-peer file synchronization tool. Your data doesn’t go to a central server. Instead, the data is synced with all the devices between them. So, it does not really replace the typical cloud storage services on Linux.

To add remote devices, you just need the device ID (or simply scan the QR code), no IP addresses involved.

If you want a remote backup of your files – you should probably rely on the cloud.

Syncthing GUI

All things considered, Syncthing can come in handy for a lot of things. Technically, you can have your important files accessible on multiple systems securely and privately without worrying about anyone spying on your data.

For instance, you may not want to store some of the sensitive files on the cloud – so you can add other trusted devices to sync and keep a copy of those files.

Even though I described it briefly, there’s more to it and than meets the eye. I’d also recommend reading the official FAQ to clear some confusion on how it works – if you’re interested.

Features of Syncthing

You probably do not want a lot of options in a synchronization tool – it should be dead simple to work reliably to sync your files.

Syncthing is indeed quite simple and easy to understand – even though it is recommended that you should go through the documentation if you want to use every bit of its functionality.

Here, I’ll highlight a few useful features of Syncthing:

Cross-Platform Support Syncthing on Android

Being an open-source solution, it does support Windows, Linux, and macOS.

In addition to that, it also supports Android smartphones. You’ll be disappointed if you have an iOS device – so far, no plans for iOS support.

File Versioning Syncthing File Versioning

Syncthing utilizes a variety of File Versioning methods to archive the old files if they are replaced or deleted.

By default, you won’t find it enabled. But, when you create a folder to sync, that’s when you will find the option to toggle the file versioning to your preferred method.

Easy To Use

While being a peer-to-peer file synchronization tool, it just works out of the box with no advanced tweaks.

However, it does let you configure advanced settings when needed.

Security & Privacy

Even though you do not share your data with any cloud service providers, there are still some connections made that might gain the attention of an eavesdropper. So, Syncthing makes sure the communication is secured using TLS.

In addition to that, there are solid authentication methods to ensure that only the devices/connections you allow explicitly will be granted access to sync/read data.

For Android smartphones, you can also force the traffic through Tor if you’re using the Orbot app. You’ll find several other options for Android as well.

Other Functionalities

When exploring the tool yourself, you will notice that there are no limits to how many folders you can sync and the number of devices that you can sync.

So, being a free and open-source solution with lots of useful features makes it an impressive choice for Linux users looking to have a peer-to-peer sync client.

Installing Syncthing on Linux

You may not observe a .deb file or an .AppImage file for it on its official download webpage. But, you do get a snap package on the Snap store – if you’re curious you can read about using snap apps on Linux to get started.

You may not find it in the software center (if you do – it may not be the latest version).

Note: There’s also a Syncthing-GTK available if you want a GUI to manage that – instead of a browser.


You can also utilize the terminal to get it installed if you have a Debian-based distro – the instructions are on the official download page.

My experience with Syncthing

Personally, I got it installed on Pop!_OS 19.10 and used it for a while before writing this up.

I tried syncing folders, removing them, adding duplicate files to see how the file versioning works, and so on. It worked just fine.

However, when I tried syncing it to a phone (Android) – the sync started a bit late, it wasn’t very quick. So, if we could have an option to explicitly force sync, that could help. Or, did I miss the option? Let me know in the comments if I did.

Technically, it uses the resources of your system to work – so if you have a number of devices connected to sync, it should potentially improve the sync speed (upload/download).

Overall, it works quite well – but I must say that you shouldn’t rely on it as the only backup solution to your data.

Wrapping Up

Have you tried Syncthing yet? If yes, how was your experience with it? Feel free to share it in the comments below.

Also, if you know about some awesome alternatives to this – let me know about it as well.

Evernote’s Official Linux Client is Coming Soon

Monday 20th of January 2020 01:11:47 PM

Brief: One of the most popular notes organizing tools Evernote has a good news for Linux users. They will be releasing an Evernote desktop application for Linux this year.

If you are an Evernote fan, you probably have been missing it on Linux desktop. There is the web version available but you cannot use it offline if you are not a premium user.

Linux (almost) always has a way around. So, there are some third party applications that let you use Evernote on Linux. There are also some alternative applications to Evernote available on Linux.

A native Linux client for Evernote has been requested for a long time and the good news is that it should finally be coming to Linux in the year 2020.

Official Evernote client for Linux

In a recent blog post, CEO Ian Small revealed the planned updates for Evernote for the year 2020.

Ian mentions that a new client for Windows, Mac and Linux is onto the launching pad.

The re-engineered web client (in limited release), the new mobile clients (in first preview), and the (as yet unreleased) new clients for Windows, Mac, and (yes!) Linux, along with the ongoing re-architecture and data migration we’ve been doing in the cloud, will set up Evernote to be able to innovate and ship with quality at a pace we haven’t seen in a long time.

Ian Small
CEO, Evernote

It’s not clear at this point if the official Linux client will be an Electron version of the re-designed web client or a native application.

In simpler terms, an Electron app uses Chromium and Node.js to create a desktop application. Sometimes developers just wrap the web version in the form of an Electron application. Which is somewhat like running the service in a web browser. For example, Slack on Linux is an electron application.

I would prefer that Evernote develops a native application for Linux rather than an Electron app.

There is no set deadline for the Evernote Linux client release though. Since it is mentioned in the roadmap of 2020, it should be coming this year. Fingers crossed!

Evernote is not an open source application. If you want an open source application with similar features as Evernote, I recommend using Joplin.

What do you think of this announcement? Will a Linux client for Evernote entice you enough to get their premium subscription? What do you think?

How to Set or Change Timezone in Ubuntu Linux [Beginner’s Tip]

Saturday 18th of January 2020 01:59:19 PM

When you install Ubuntu, it asks you to set timezone. If you chose a wrong timezone or if you have moved to some other part of the world, you can easily change it later.

How to change Timezone in Ubuntu and other Linux distributions

There are two ways to change the timezone in Ubuntu. You can use the graphical settings or use the timedatectl command in the terminal. You may also change the /etc/timezone file directly but I won’t advise that.

I’ll show you both graphical and terminal way in this beginner’s tutorial:

Method 1: Change Ubuntu timezone via terminal

Ubuntu or any other distributions using systemd can use the timedatectl command to set timezone in Linux terminal.

You can check the current date and timezone setting using timedatectl command without any option:

abhishek@nuc:~$ timedatectl Local time: Sat 2020-01-18 17:39:52 IST Universal time: Sat 2020-01-18 12:09:52 UTC RTC time: Sat 2020-01-18 12:09:52 Time zone: Asia/Kolkata (IST, +0530) System clock synchronized: yes systemd-timesyncd.service active: yes RTC in local TZ: no

As you can see in the output above, my system uses Asia/Kolkata. It also tells me that it is 5:30 hours ahead of GMT.

To set a timezone in Linux, you need to know the exact timezone. You must use the correct format of the timezone (which is Continent/City).

To get the timezone list, use the list-timezones option of timedatectl command:

timedatectl list-timezones

It will show you a huge list of the available time zones.

Timezones List

You can use the up and down arrow or PgUp and PgDown key to move between the pages.

You may also grep the output and search for your timezone. For example, if you are looking for time zones in Europe, you may use:

timedatectl list-timezones | grep -i europe

Let’s say you want to set the timezone to Paris. The timezone value to be used here is Europe/Paris:

timedatectl set-timezone Europe/Paris

It won’t show any success message but the timezone is changed instantly. You don’t need to restart or log out.

Keep in mind that though you don’t need to become root user and use sudo with the command but your account still need to have admin rights in order to change the timezone.

You can verify the changed time and timezone by using the date command:

abhishek@nuc:~$ date Sat Jan 18 13:56:26 CET 2020 Method 2: Change Ubuntu timezone via GUI

Press the super key (Windows key) and search for Settings:

Applications Menu Settings

Scroll down a little and look for Details in the left sidebar:

Go to Settings -> Details

In Details, you’ll fine Date & Time in the left sidebar. Here, you should turn off Automatic Time Zone option (if it is enabled) and then click on the Time Zone:

In Details -> Date & Time, turn off the Automatic Time Zone

When you click the Time Zone, it will open an interactive map and you can click on the geographical location of your choice and close the window.

Select a timezone

You don’t have to do anything other than closing this map after selecting the new timezone. No need to logout or shutdown Ubuntu.

I hope this quick tutorial helped you to change timezone in Ubuntu and other Linux distributions. If you have questions or suggestions, please let me know.

Zorin Grid Lets You Remotely Manage Multiple Zorin OS Computers

Thursday 16th of January 2020 05:00:00 PM

One of the major hurdles institutes face is in managing and updating multiple Linux systems from a central point.

Well, Zorin OS has come up with a new cloud-based tool that will help you manage multiple computers running Zorin OS from one single interface. You can update the systems, install apps and configuration all systems remotely using this tool called Zorin Grid.

Zorin Grid: Manage a fleet of Zorin OS computers remotely

Zorin Grid is a tool that makes it simple to set up, manage, and secure a fleet of Zorin OS-powered computers in businesses, schools, and organizations.

When it comes to managing Linux distributions (here, Zorin OS) on a multitude of systems for an organization – it is quite time-consuming.

If it will be easier to manage Linux systems, more organizations will be interested to switch using Linux just like the Italian city Vicenza replaced Windows by Zorin OS.

For the very same reason, the Zorin team decided to create ‘Zorin Grid‘ with the help of which every school, enterprises, organizations, and businesses will be able to easily manage their Zorin OS-powered machines.

Zorin Grid features Zorin Grid Features

You might have guessed what it is capable of – but let me highlight the key features of Zorin Grid as per its official webpage:

  • Install and Remove Apps
  • Set software update and security patch policies
  • Monitor computer status
  • Enforce security policies
  • Keep track of software and hardware inventory
  • Set desktop settings
  • Organize computers into groups (for teams and departments)
  • Role-based access control and audit logging

In addition to these, you will be able to do a couple more things using the Zorin Grid service. But, it looks like most of the essential tasks will be covered by Zorin Grid.

How does Zorin Grid work?

Zorin Grid is a cloud based software as a service. Zorin will be charging a monthly subscription fee for each computer managed by Zorin Grid in an organization.

You’ll have to install the Zorin Grid client on all the systems that you want to manage. Since it is cloud-based, you can manage all the Zorin systems on your grid from a web browser by logging into you Zorin Grid account.

You choose how to configure the computers once and the Zorin Grid applies the same configuration to all or specific computers in your organization.

The price has not been finalized. Artyom Zorin, CEO of Zorin Group, told It’s FOSS that schools and non-profit organizations will get Zorin Grid for a reduced pricing.

While client-side software for Zorin Grid will be open source, the Zorin Grid server won’t be open source initially. Releasing it under an open source license is tentatively on their roadmap.

Artyom also told that they plan to support other Linux distributions starting with Ubuntu and Ubuntu-based distros after launching Zorin Grid for Zorin OS systems this summer.

In case you decide to migrate from Windows to Zorin OS for your organization or business, you will find a useful migration guide by the Zorin OS team to help you switch to Linux.

Zorin Grid

Wrapping Up

Let me summarize all the important points about Zorin Grid:

  • Zorin Grid is an upcoming cloud based service that lets you manage multiple Zorin OS systems.
  • It’s a premium service that charges for each computer used. The pricing is not determined yet.
  • Educational institutes and non-profit organizations can get Zorin Grid for a reduced pricing.
  • Initially it can only handle Zorin OS. Other Ubuntu-based distributions are on the road-map but there is no definite timeline for that.
  • The service should be available in the summer 2020.
  • Zorin Grid server won’t be open source initially.

Zorin Grid looks to be an impressive premium tool for organizations or businesses that want to use Linux while also being able to maintain their systems easily.

Personally, I wouldn’t mind paying for the service if it makes deploying and using Linux easier, in general.

Of course, it does not support every Linux distro as of yet – but it is indeed a promising service to keep an eye out for.

What do you think about it? Do you know of a better alternative to Zorin Grid? Do share your views in the comments.

Insights into Why Hyperbola GNU/Linux is Turning into Hyperbola BSD

Thursday 16th of January 2020 12:44:52 PM

In late December 2019, Hyperbola announced that they would be making major changes to their project. They have decided to drop the Linux kernel in favor of forking the OpenBSD kernel. This announcement only came months after Project Trident announced that they were going in the opposite direction (from BSD to Linux).

Hyperbola also plans to replace all software that is not GPL v3 compliant with new versions that are.

To get more insight into the future of their new project, I interviewed Andre, co-founder of Hyperbola.

Why Hyperbola GNU/Linux Turned into Hyperbola BSD

It’s FOSS: In your announcement, you state that the Linux kernel is “rapidly proceeding down an unstable path”. Could you explain what you mean by that?

Andre: First of all, it’s including the adaption of DRM features such as HDCP (High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection). Currently there is an option to disable it at build time, however there isn’t a policy that guarantees us that it will be optional forever.

Historically, some features began as optional ones until they reached total functionality. Then they became forced and difficult to patch out. Even if this does not happen in the case of HDCP, we remain cautious about such implementations.

Another of the reasons is that the Linux kernel is no longer getting proper hardening. Grsecurity stopped offering public patches several years ago, and we depended on that for our system’s security. Although we could use their patches still for a very expensive subscription, the subscription would be terminated if we chose to make those patches public.

Such restrictions goes against the FSDG principles that require us to provide full source code, deblobbed, and unrestricted, to our users.

KSPP is a project that was intended to upstream Grsec into the kernel, but thus far it has not come close to reaching Grsec / PaX level of kernel hardening. There also has not been many recent developments, which leads us to believe it is now an inactive project for the most part.

Lastly, the interest in allowing Rust modules into the kernel are a problem for us, due to Rust trademark restrictions which prevent us from applying patches in our distribution without express permission. We patch to remove non-free software, unlicensed files, and enhancements to user-privacy anywhere it is applicable. We also expect our users to be able to re-use our code without any additional restrictions or permission required.

This is also in part why we use UXP, a fully free browser engine and application toolkit without Rust, for our mail and browser applications.

Due to these restrictions, and the concern that it may at some point become a forced build-time dependency for the kernel we needed another option.

It’s FOSS: You also said in the announcement that you would be forking the OpenBSD kernel. Why did you pick the OpenBSD kennel over the FreeBSD, the DragonflyBSD kernel or the MidnightBSD kernel?

Andre: OpenBSD was chosen as our base for hard-forking because it’s a system that has always had quality code and security in mind.

Some of their ideas which greatly interested us were new system calls, including pledge and unveil which adds additional hardening to userspace and the removal of the systrace system policy-enforcement tool.

They also are known for Xenocara and LibreSSL, both of which we had already been using after porting them to GNU/Linux-libre. We found them to be well written and generally more stable than Xorg/OpenSSL respectively.

None of the other BSD implementations we are aware of have that level of security. We also were aware LibertyBSD has been working on liberating the OpenBSD kernel, which allowed us to use their patches to begin the initial development.

It’s FOSS: Why fork the kernel in the first place? How will you keep the new kernel up-to-date with newer hardware support?

Andre: The kernel is one of the most important parts of any operating system, and we felt it is critical to start on a firm foundation moving forward.

For the first version we plan to keep in synchronization with OpenBSD where it is possible. In future versions we may adapt code from other BSDs and even the Linux kernel where needed to keep up with hardware support and features.

We are working in coordination with Libreware Group (our representative for business activities) and have plans to open our foundation soon.

This will help to sustain development, hire future developers and encourage new enthusiasts for newer hardware support and code. We know that deblobbing isn’t enough because it’s a mitigation, not a solution for us. So, for that reason, we need to improve our structure and go to the next stage of development for our projects.

It’s FOSS: You state that you plan to replace the parts of the OpenBSD kernel and userspace that are not GPL compatible or non-free with those that are. What percentage of the code falls into the non-GPL zone?

Andre: It’s around 20% in the OpenBSD kernel and userspace.

Mostly, the non-GPL compatible licensed parts are under the Original BSD license, sometimes called the “4-clause BSD license” that contains a serious flaw: the “obnoxious BSD advertising clause”. It isn’t fatal, but it does cause practical problems for us because it generates incompatibility with our code and future development under GPLv3 and LGPLv3.

The non-free files in OpenBSD include files without an appropriate license header, or without a license in the folder containing a particular component.

If those files don’t contain a license to give users the four essential freedoms or if it has not been explicitly added in the public domain, it isn’t free software. Some developers think that code without a license is automatically in the public domain. That isn’t true under today’s copyright law; rather, all copyrightable works are copyrighted by default.

The non-free firmware blobs in OpenBSD include various hardware firmwares. These firmware blobs occur in Linux kernel also and have been manually removed by the Linux-libre project for years following each new kernel release.

They are typically in the form of a hex encoded binary and are provided to kernel developers without source in order to provide support for proprietary-designed hardware. These blobs may contain vulnerabilities or backdoors in addition to violating your freedom, but no one would know since the source code is not available for them. They must be removed to respect user freedom.

It’s FOSS: I was talking with someone about HyperbolaBSD and they mentioned HardenedBSD. Have you considered HardenedBSD?

Andre: We had looked into HardenedBSD, but it was forked from FreeBSD. FreeBSD has a much larger codebase. While HardenedBSD is likely a good project, it would require much more effort for us to deblob and verify licenses of all files.

We decided to use OpenBSD as a base to fork from instead of FreeBSD due to their past commitment to code quality, security, and minimalism.

It’s FOSS: You mentioned UXP (or Unified XUL Platform). It appears that you are using Moonchild’s fork of the pre-Servo Mozilla codebase to create a suite of applications for the web. Is that about the size of it?

Andre: Yes. Our decision to use UXP was for several reasons. We were already rebranding Firefox as Iceweasel for several years to remove DRM, disable telemetry, and apply preset privacy options. However, it became harder and harder for us to maintain when Mozilla kept adding anti-features, removing user customization, and rapidly breaking our rebranding and privacy patches.

After FF52, all XUL extensions were removed in favor of WebExt and Rust became enforced at compile time. We maintain several XUL addons to enhance user-privacy/security which would no longer work in the new engine. We also were concerned that the feature limited WebExt addons were introducing additional privacy issues. E.g. each installed WebExt addon contains a UUID which can be used to uniquely and precisely identify users (see Bugzilla 1372288).

After some research, we discovered UXP and that it was regularly keeping up with security fixes without rushing to implement new features. They had already disabled telemetry in the toolkit and remain committed to deleting all of it from the codebase.

We knew this was well-aligned with our goals, but still needed to apply a few patches to tweak privacy settings and remove DRM. Hence, we started creating our own applications on top of the toolkit.

This has allowed us to go far beyond basic rebranding/deblobbing as we were doing before and create our own fully customized XUL applications. We currently maintain Iceweasel-UXP, Icedove-UXP and Iceape-UXP in addition to sharing toolkit improvements back to UXP.

It’s FOSS: In a forum post, I noticed mentions of HyperRC, HyperBLibC, and hyperman. Are these forks or rewrites of current BSD tools to be GPL compliant?

Andre: They are forks of existing projects.

Hyperman is a fork of our current package manager, pacman. As pacman does not currently work on BSD, and the minimal support it had in the past was removed in recent versions, a fork was required. Hyperman already has a working implementation using LibreSSL and BSD support.

HyperRC will be a patched version of OpenRC init. HyperBLibC will be a fork from BSD LibC.

It’s FOSS: Since the beginning of time, Linux has championed the GPL license and BSD has championed the BSD license. Now, you are working to create a BSD that is GPL licensed. How would you respond to those in the BSD community who don’t agree with this move?

Andre: We are aware that there are disagreements between the GPL and BSD world. There are even disagreements over calling our previous distribution “GNU/Linux” rather than simply “Linux”, since the latter definition ignores that the GNU userspace was created in 1984, several years prior to the Linux kernel being created by Linus Torvalds. It was the two different software combined that make a complete system.

Some of the primary differences from BSD, is that the GPL requires that our source code must be made public, including future versions, and that it can only be used in tandem with compatibly licensed files. BSD systems do not have to share their source code publicly, and may bundle themselves with various licenses and non-free software without restriction.

Since we are strong supporters of the Free Software Movement and wish that our future code remain in the public space always, we chose the GPL.

It’s FOSS: I know at this point you are just starting the process, but do you have any idea who you might have a usable version of HyperbolaBSD available?

Andre: We expect to have an alpha release ready by 2021 (Q3) for initial testing.

It’s FOSS: How long will you continue to support the current Linux version of Hyperbola? Will it be easy for current users to switch over to?

Andre: As per our announcement, we will continue to support Hyperbola GNU/Linux-libre until 2022 (Q4). We expect there to be some difficulty in migration due to ABI changes, but will prepare an announcement and information on our wiki once it is ready.

It’s FOSS: If someone is interested in helping you work on HyperbolaBSD, how can they go about doing that? What kind of expertise would you be looking for?

Andre: Anyone who is interested and able to learn is welcome. We need C programmers and users who are interested in improving security and privacy in software. Developers need to follow the FSDG principles of free software development, as well as the YAGNI principle which means we will implement new features only as we need them.

Users can fork our git repository and submit patches to us for inclusion.

It’s FOSS: Do you have any plans to support ZFS? What filesystems will you support?

Andre: ZFS support is not currently planned, because it uses the Common Development and Distribution License, version 1.0 (CDDL). This license is incompatible with all versions of the GNU General Public License (GPL).

It would be possible to write new code under GPLv3 and release it under a new name (eg. HyperZFS), however there is no official decision to include ZFS compatibility code in HyperbolaBSD at this time.

We have plans on porting BTRFS, JFS2, NetBSD’s CHFS, DragonFlyBSD’s HAMMER/HAMMER2 and the Linux kernel’s JFFS2, all of which have licenses compatible with GPLv3. Long term, we may also support Ext4, F2FS, ReiserFS and Reiser4, but they will need to be rewritten due to being licensed exclusively under GPLv2, which does not allow use with GPLv3. All of these file systems will require development and stability testing, so they will be in later HyperbolaBSD releases and not for our initial stable version(s).

I would like to thank Andre for taking the time to answer my questions and for revealing more about the future of HyperbolaBSD.

What are your thoughts on Hyperbola switching to a BSD kernel? What do you think about a BSD being released under the GPL? Please let us know in the comments below.

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

Get Trained and Certified on Kubernetes and Other Cloud Technologies With Linux Foundation [70% Off]

Tuesday 14th of January 2020 02:15:15 PM

If learning cloud related technologies is one of your new year resolution then I have a good news for you.

Linux Foundation, the official organization behind Linux, is running a limited time sale on its cloud training and certification bundles.

There are three bundles in this offer for people with varying experience and interest.

Cloud Engineer Starter Pack

This bundle is for beginners to sysadmin, containers and Kubernetes. You will learn the fundamentals of Linux system administration, containers (Docker), Kubernetes, DevOps and Linux security.

This bundle includes the Certified Kubernetes Adminstrator exam. Obtaining the CKA certification assures employers you have the skills, knowledge, and competency to be a Kubernetes Administrator.

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The total price of these courses and the exam is $1695 but you get them all in this bundle for $329 if you use the code CESTARTER at checkout.

Cloud Engineer Starter Pack Turbo Charge Pack

This one is for the senior system administrators. It uses the CKA exam as the jumping-off point into the complementary sysadmin tools. You will learn specialized cloud and container skills to take your career to the next level.

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You pay only $329 instead of $1795 for this bundle by using CETURBO coupon code.

Cloud Developer Starter Pack

This pack is targeted for junior and mid-level developers. You’ll learn the basic knowledge on open source software development along with cloud and container technologies. The Certified Kubernetes Application Developer is perfect for boosting your resume.

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The regular price for the bundle is $1396 but you can get it for $329 using coupon code CDSTARTER at the checkout page.

The courses contain videos and supporting study material. You can access it for one year from the date of purchase. You can make two attempts at the certification exams within a year.

The sale ends January 21, 2020, 23:59 UTC. It’s FOSS is an affiliate partner of Linux Foundation. Please read our affiliate policy.

Root User in Ubuntu: Important Things You Should Know

Tuesday 14th of January 2020 04:02:18 AM

When you have just started using Linux, you’ll find many things that are different from Windows. One of those ‘different things’ is the concept of the root user.

In this beginner series, I’ll explain a few important things about the root user in Ubuntu.

Please keep in mind that while I am writing this from Ubuntu user’s perspective, it should be valid for most Linux distributions.

You’ll learn the following in this article:

What is root user? Why is it locked in Ubuntu?

In Linux, there is always a super user called root. This is the super admin account that can do anything and everything with the system. It can access any file and run any command on your Linux system.

With great power comes great responsibility. Root user gives you complete power over the system and hence it should be used with great cautious. Root user can access system files and run commands to make changes to the system configuration. And hence, an incorrect command may destroy the system.

This is why Ubuntu and other Ubuntu-based distributions lock the root user by default to save you from accidental disasters.

You don’t need to have root privilege for your daily tasks like moving file in your home directory, downloading files from internet, creating documents etc.

Take this analogy for understanding it better. If you have to cut a fruit, you use a kitchen knife. If you have to cut down a tree, you have to use a saw. Now, you may use the saw to cut fruits but that’s not wise, is it?

Does this mean that you cannot be root in Ubuntu or use the system with root privileges? No, you can still have root access with the help of ‘sudo’ (explained in the next section).

Bottom line:
Root user is too powerful to be used for regular tasks. This is why it is not recommended to use root all the time. You can still run specific commands with root.

How to run commands as root user in Ubuntu? Image Credit: xkcd

You’ll need root privileges for some system specific tasks. For example, if you want to update Ubuntu via command line, you cannot run the command as a regular user. It will give you permission denied error.

apt update Reading package lists... Done E: Could not open lock file /var/lib/apt/lists/lock - open (13: Permission denied) E: Unable to lock directory /var/lib/apt/lists/ W: Problem unlinking the file /var/cache/apt/pkgcache.bin - RemoveCaches (13: Permission denied) W: Problem unlinking the file /var/cache/apt/srcpkgcache.bin - RemoveCaches (13: Permission denied)

So, how do you run commands as root? The simple answer is to add sudo before the commands that require to be run as root.

sudo apt update

Ubuntu and many other Linux distributions use a special mechanism called sudo. Sudo is a program that controls access to running commands as root (or other users).

Sudo is actually quite a versatile tool. It can be configured to allow a user to run all commands as root. You may configure it run only a selected few commands as root. You can also configure to run sudo without password. It’s an extensive topic and maybe I’ll discuss it in details in another article.

For the moment, you should know that when you install Ubuntu, you are forced to create a user account. This user account works as the admin on your system and as per the default sudo policy in Ubuntu, it can run any command on your system with root privileges.

The thing with sudo is that running sudo doesn’t require root password but the user’s own password.

And this is why when you run a command with sudo, it asks for the password of the user who is running the sudo command:

abhishek@nuc:~$ sudo apt update [sudo] password for abhishek:

As you can see in the example above, user abhishek was trying to run the ‘apt update’ command with sudo and the system asked the password for abhishek.

If you are absolutely new to Linux, you might be surprised that when you start typing your password in the terminal, nothing happens on the screen. This is perfectly normal because as the default security feature, nothing is displayed on the screen. Not even the asterisks (*). You type your password and press enter.

Bottom line:
To run commands as root in Ubuntu, add sudo before the command.
When asked for password, enter your account’s password.
When you type the password on the screen, nothing is visible. Just keep on typing the password and press enter.

How to become root user in Ubuntu?

You can use sudo to run the commands as root. However in situations, where you have to run several commands as root and you keep forogetting to add sudo before the commands, you may switch to root user temporarily.

The sudo command allows you to simulate a root login shell with this command:

sudo -i abhishek@nuc:~$ sudo -i [sudo] password for abhishek: root@nuc:~# whoami root root@nuc:~#

You’ll notice that when you switch to root, the shell command prompt changes from $ (dollar key sign) to # (pound key sign). This makes me crack a (lame) joke that pound is stronger than dollar.

Though I have showed you how to become the root user, I must warn you that you should avoid using the system as root. It’s discouraged for a reason after all.

Another way to temporarily switch to root user is by using the su command:

sudo su

If you try to use the su command without sudo, you’ll encounter ‘su authentication failure’ error.

You can go back to being the normal user by using the exit command.

exit How to enable root user in Ubuntu?

By now you know that the root user is locked by default in Ubuntu based distributions.

Linux gives you the freedom to do whatever you want with your system. Unlocking the root user is one of those freedoms.

If, for some reasons, you decided to enable the root user, you can do so by setting up a password for it:

sudo passwd root

Again, this is not recommended and I won’t encourage you to do that on your desktop. If you forgot it, you won’t be able to change the root password in Ubuntu again.

You can lock the root user again by removing the password:

sudo passwd -dl root

In the end…

I hope you have a slightly better understanding of the root concept now. If you still have some confusion and questions about it, please let me know in the comments. I’ll try to answer your questions and might update the article as well.

LMMS: A Free & Open Source Digital Audio Workstation (DAW)

Monday 13th of January 2020 09:22:15 AM

In this week’s Linux application highlight, we take a look at a free and open-source DAW that helps make music with most of the essential features offered.

LMMS: A Free & Open Source Software To Help Make Music

LMMS is a cross-platform open source DAW hosted on GitHub. It is completely free to use and you do not need to purchase any kind of license to use it.

If you’re curious, there’s no specific full-form for “LMMS” acronym but you can consider it along the lines of “Let’s Make Music” or formerly known as “Linux MultiMedia Studio” as stated in one of their official forum post years back.

So, with the help of LMMS, you should be able to work on making music on Linux.

Of course, you should not expect a free DAW to replace a full-fledged professional DAW bundled with proprietary plugins – but for starters, it isn’t a bad one.

If you’re used to other DAWs, it might take a while to get comfortable with the user interface. For instance, I’ve used Studio One and Mixcraft as a beginner – so the UI of LMMS looked different.

But, the good news is – you get a detailed official documentation of LMMS. So, if you have trouble learning how it works, simply refer to the official documentation available on their website.

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Recommended Read:

.ugb-2571f1d .ugb-blog-posts__featured-image{border-radius:0px !important}.ugb-2571f1d .ugb-blog-posts__title a{color:#000000 !important}.ugb-2571f1d .ugb-blog-posts__title a:hover{color:#00b6ba !important}Best Audio Editors For Linux

These awesome free and open source audio editors let you create awesome music in Linux. Check out the list of top Linux audio editors.

Features of LMMS

Just like any other DAW, you will find plugins, samples to use, instruments, and MIDI support. However, it is indeed a long list of features. So, instead of taking a whole day explaining it, let me highlight all the necessary features that LMMS provides.

  • Ability to add notes within the project without needing a separate note-taking app
  • Bundled free plugins to use
  • Note playback via MIDI or typing keyboard
  • MIDI Editor
  • Separate editor for instruments
  • Track Automation support
  • 64-bit VST instrument support (for wine-based VSTs)
  • Built-in synthesizers that include some popular emulators for Yamaha and Roland
  • Feature-rich audio plugins built-in
  • Demo projects to easily get started
  • Several samples included
  • Native multisample support for SoundFont (SF2), Giga (GIG) and Gravis UltraSound (GUS) formats for high-quality instrument patches and banks (only if it’s relevant for your work)
  • LADSPA plugin support
  • You will also find the essential delay/reverb/compressor/limiter and distortion tools built-in
  • Spectrum analyzer

You can find some extensive documentation on using LMMS. If you face any difficulties, LMMS also has its own forum where you can ask for help.

Installing LMMS on Linux

You can also find LMMS listed in the software center of your distribution- however, it might not feature the latest version.

To get the latest LMMS version, you can download the .AppImage file from the official download page. If you want to take a look at the latest or previous releases on GitHub, you can find those in their releases section.

If you want to use the AppImage file, you can refer to our guide on using AppImage file.

You may also try installing the Flatpak package available on Flathub.

Download LMMS My Thoughts On LMMS

Even though this is a feature-rich free and open-source DAW – personally, I found the UX a little dull.

Of course, technically, it offers quite a lot of features and this could be useful for anyone who does not want to break their wallet to produce music. And, after all, it is an open-source solution.

If you want a full-fledged professional DAW using the VST plugins, you might just hold on to Windows/Mac (if you’re used to it) because you still need to utilize Wine on Linux in order to make sure that the 64-bit VSTs work.

Wrapping Up

That being said, I’m not a professional music producer – so feel free to explore LMMS on Linux and make the most out of it without spending a penny.

If you’ve used LMMS (or any similar DAW), let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

How to Install Ubuntu Linux in the Simplest Possible Way

Friday 10th of January 2020 10:30:48 AM

When it comes to the choosing a Linux for beginners, Ubuntu always comes on the top. I am not going to tell you why you should use Ubuntu. I am going to show you how to install Ubuntu.

There are various ways to install Ubuntu (or other Linux):

  1. You can install Ubuntu inside a virtualbox in Windows
  2. You can use Bash on Windows feature to install it inside Windows
  3. You can dual boot Ubuntu with Windows (so that you can choose which OS to use at the time your system boots)
  4. You can replace Windows with Ubuntu by wiping it altogether from your system

The method I am going to show in this tutorial is the fourth one. You wipe out the entire system and let Ubuntu be your only operating system. In my experience, this is the easiest way to install Ubuntu.

.ugb-32406c5 .ugb-accordion__heading{border-radius:0px !important}How is this the simplest way of installing Ubuntu?

You don’t have to worry about creating partitions on your own. It automatically creates an ESP partition for UEFI.

It uses the rest of the disk space in creating a single root partition. The root partition (normally) has a 2 GB of swapfile. You don’t need to create a separate swap partition and if the need be, you can increase the size of the swapfile.

The root partition also has the boot directory for grub related files. It also contains the home directory that is used for storing user related files like documents, pictures, music, videos, downloads etc.

It’s a no-brainer. You let Ubuntu do the work for you instead of wondering about creating ESP, root, Swap and Home partitions.

Ubuntu automatically creates ESP partition

Best suited for you if you just want to use a single Linux distribution and no other operating system. You don’t want to switch distributions very often or if you do, you don’t have a lot of important data on it.

The procedure shown here works for Ubuntu and all other distributions based on it such as Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Lubuntu, Ubuntu Budgie, Linux Mint, Linux Lite etc. The screenshot might look a little bit different but the steps are basically the same.

Install Ubuntu by replacing Windows and other operating systems

What do you need in order to install Ubuntu:

  • A USB of at least 4 GB in size. You can also use a DVD.
  • Internet connection (for downloading Ubuntu and live-USB making tool, not required for installing Ubuntu)
  • Optionally, you may need an external USB disk for making a backup of your important data (if any) present on the current system

If you are going to install the default Ubuntu GNOME, the system requirements are:

  • A system with 2 GHz dual core processor or better
  • 4 GB of RAM or more
  • At least 25 GB of hard disk space


This method removes all the other operating systems along with the data present on the disk.

You may save your personal files, documents, pictures etc on an external USB disk or cloud storage if you want to use it later.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel for more Linux videos Step 1: Download Ubuntu

Before you do anything, you have to download Ubuntu. It is available as a single ISO file of around 2 GB in size. An ISO file is basically an image of disc and you need to extract this ISO on a USB disk or DVD.

You can download Ubuntu ISO from its website.

Download Ubuntu

If you have slow or inconsistent internet, you can find the torrent downloads at the alternate download page (scroll down a bit).

Step 2: Create a live USB

Once you have downloaded Ubuntu’s ISO file, the next step is to create a live USB of Ubuntu.

A live USB basically allows you to boot into Ubuntu from a USB drive. You can test Ubuntu without even installing it on your system. The same live USB also allows you to install Ubuntu.

There are various free tools available for making a live USB of Ubuntu such as Etcher, Rufus, Unetbootin, Universal USB installer.

You can follow this tutorial to learn to make live USB of Ubuntu with Universal USB Installer in Windows.

You may also watch this video to learn how to make a bootable USB of Ubuntu on Windows.

If you are already using some Linux distribution, you can use Etcher.

Step 3: Boot from the live USB

Plug in your live Ubuntu USB disk to the system.

Now, you need to make sure that your system boots from the USB disk instead of the hard disk. You can do that by moving the USB up in the boot order.

Restart your system. When you see a logo of your computer manufacturer (Dell, Acer, Lenovo etc), press F2 or F10 or F12 to access the BIOS settings.

Now, the BIOS screen could look different for your computer.

Change the boot order to boot from USB

The entire idea is that you put USB (or removable media) on the top of the boot order. Save the changes and exit.

Step 4: Install Ubuntu

Now you should boot into the live Ubuntu environment. You’ll the grub screen that gives you the option to either try Ubuntu without installing or install it right away.

You may choose the first option i.e. ‘Try Ubuntu without installing’:

Boot into live Ubuntu

In around 10-20 seconds, you should be able to log in to the live Ubuntu environment. It may take some more time if you are using the slower USB 2.

Click on the Install Ubuntu icon on the desktop.

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

You should go for the normal installation here because it will install some software like music player, video players and a few games.

If you are connected to internet, you’ll get the option to download updates while installing Ubuntu. You may uncheck it because it may increase the installation time if you have a slow internet. You can update Ubuntu later as well without any issues.

Install Ubuntu 4

The most important screen comes at this time. If there are other operating systems installed, you may get the option to install Ubuntu along with them in dual boot.

But since your goal is to only have Ubuntu Linux on your entire system, you should go for Erase disk and install Ubuntu option.

Erase disk and install Ubuntu

When you hit the “Install Now” button, you’ll see a warning that you are about to delete the data. You already know it, don’t you?

Usual warning about formatting the disk

Things are straightforward from here. You’ll be asked to choose a timezone

Select timezone

And then you’ll be asked to create a username, computer’s name (also known as hostname) and set a password.

Set username and password

Once you do that, you just have to wait and watch for like 5-10 minutes. You’ll see a slideshow of Ubuntu features in this time.

Slideshow provides basic information about using Ubuntu during installation

Once the process finishes, you’ll be asked to restart the system.

Restart your system

When you restart the system, you might encounter a shutdown screen that asks you to remove the installation media and press enter.

Remove USB and press enter

Remove the USB disk and press enter. Your system will reboot and this time, you’ll boot into Ubuntu.

That’s it. See, how easy it is to install Ubuntu. You can use this method to replace Windows with Ubuntu.

What next?

Now that you have successfully installed it, I strongly suggest reading this guide on things to do after installing Ubuntu to make your Ubuntu experience smoother.

I also recommend going through this list of Ubuntu tutorials and learn to do various common things with Ubuntu.

I hope you find this tutorial helpful in installing Ubuntu. If you have questions or suggestions, please feel free to ask it in the comment section.

Don’t Use ZFS on Linux: Linus Torvalds

Friday 10th of January 2020 05:54:05 AM

“Don’t use ZFS. It’s that simple. It was always more of a buzzword than anything else, I feel, and the licensing issues just make it a non-starter for me.”

This is what Linus Torvalds said in a mailing list to once again express his disliking for ZFS filesystem specially over its licensing.

To avoid unnecessary confusion, this is more intended for Linux distributions, kernel developers and maintainers rather than individual Linux users.

What’s the licensing issue with ZFS and the Linux kernel?

ZFS was open sourced around 2003. This would have meant that Linux distributions start supporting ZFS. But that didn’t really happen because of the complexity of open source licenses.

ZFS is open source under Common Development and Distribution License (CDDL) 1.0 whereas Linux kernel is licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL) 2.0.

These two open source licenses are not fully compatible with each other. As noted by PCWorld, if ZFS with this license is included in the Linux kernel, this would mean that kernel+ZFS is a derivative work of the (original ZFS-less) Linux kernel.

Torvalds doesn’t trust Oracle

While the whole derivative thing is a matter of debate for legal and licensing experts, Torvalds is skeptical of Oracle. Oracle has a history of suing enterprises for using its code. Remember Oracle vs Android lawsuit over the use of Java?

Other people think it can be ok to merge ZFS code into the kernel and that the module interface makes it ok, and that’s their decision. But considering Oracle’s litigious nature, and the questions over licensing, there’s no way I can feel safe in ever doing so.

And I’m not at all interested in some “ZFS shim layer” thing either that some people seem to think would isolate the two projects. That adds no value to our side, and given Oracle’s interface copyright suits (see Java), I don’t think it’s any real licensing win either.

Torvalds doesn’t want Linux kernel to get into legal troubles with Oracle in future and hence he refuses to include ZFS in the mainline kernel until Oracle provides a signed letter that a kernel with ZFS will be under GPL license.

And honestly, there is no way I can merge any of the ZFS efforts until I get an official letter from Oracle that is signed by their main legal counsel or preferably by Larry Ellison himself that says that yes, it’s ok to do so and treat the end result as GPL’d.

He is not stopping other (distributions) from using ZFS. But they are on their own.

If somebody adds a kernel module like ZFS, they are on their own. I can’t maintain it, and I can not be bound by other peoples kernel changes.

Canonical, Ubuntu’s parent company, has been too keen on ZFS. Their legal department thinks that including ZFS in the kernel doesn’t make it a derivative work. So they took their chances and now they provide an option to use ZFS on root from Ubuntu 19.10.

Torvalds is also not impressed with ZFS in general

While some people drool over ZFS, Linus Torvalds is not that impressed with ZFS. He doesn’t think it’s using ZFS is a good idea specially when it is not actively maintained by Oracle (after they open sourced it)

The benchmarks I’ve seen do not make ZFS look all that great. And as far as I can tell, it has no real maintenance behind it either any more, so from a long-term stability standpoint, why would you ever want to use it in the first place?

I am no legal expert but if there is even a slightest doubt, I would prefer staying away from ZFS. What do you think of the whole ZFS debate?

Huawei’s Linux Distribution openEuler is Available Now!

Wednesday 8th of January 2020 07:59:08 AM

Huawei offers a CentOS based enterprise Linux distribution called EulerOS. Recently, Huawei has released a community edition of EulerOS called openEuler.

The source code of openEuler is released as well. You won’t find it on Microsoft owned GitHub – the source code is available at Gitee, a Chinese alternative of GitHub.

There are two separate repositories, one for the source code and the other as a package source to store software packages that help to build the OS.

The openEuler infrastructure team shared their experience to make the source code available:

We are very excited at this moment. It was hard to imagine that we will manage thousands of repositories. And to ensure that they can be compiled successfully, we would like to thank all those who participated in contributing

openEuler is a Linux distribution based on CentOS

Like EulerOS, openEuler OS is also based on CentOS but is further developed by Huawei Technologies for enterprise applications.

It is tailored for ARM64 architecture servers and Huawei claims to have made changes to boost its performance. You can read more about it at Huawei’s dev blog.

At the moment, as per the official openEuler announcement, there are more than 50 contributors with nearly 600 commits for openEuler.

The contributors made it possible to make the source code available to the community.

It is also worth noting that the repositories also include two new projects (or sub-projects) associated with it, iSulad and A-Tune.

A-Tune is an AI-based OS tuning software and iSulad is a lightweight container runtime daemon that is designed for IoT and Cloud infrastructure, as mentioned on Gitee.

Also, the official announcement post mentioned that these systems are built on the Huawei Cloud through script automation. So, that is definitely something interesting.

Downloading openEuler

As of now, you won’t find the documentation for it in English – so you will have to wait for it or choose to help them with the documentation.

You can download the ISO directly from its official website to test it out:

Download openEuler What do you think of Huawei openEuler?

As per cnTechPost, Huawei had announced that EulerOS would become open source under the new name openEuler.

At this point, it’s not clear if openEuler is replacing EulerOS or both will exist together like CentOS (community edition) and Red Hat (commercial edition).

I haven’t tested it yet so I cannot say if openEuler is suitable for English speaking users or not.

My teammate Abhishek tried to use openEuler but the ISO provided on their website is not suitable for making a bootable USB. This is the error it shows:

The openEuler ISO doesn’t work properly

An incomplete website, broken ISO. It seems Huawei was in too much of a hurry and didn’t prepare things very well.

Are you willing to give this a try? In case you managed to try it out, feel free to let me know your experience with it in the comments below.