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Bauh – Manage Snaps, Flatpaks and AppImages from One Interface

Friday 22nd of November 2019 05:49:55 AM

One of the biggest problems with universal packages like Snap, Flatpak and AppImage is managing them. Most built-in package managers do not support all of these new formats.

Thankfully, I stumbled across an application that supports several universal package formats.

Bauh – a Manager for Your Multi-Package Needs

Originally named fpakman, bauh is designed to handle Flatpak, Snap, AppImage, and AUR packages. Creator vinifmor started the project in June’19 with the intention of “giving a graphical interface to manage Flatpaks for Manjaro users.” Since then, he has expanded the application to add support for Debian-based systems.

Bauh About

When you first open bauh, it will scan your installed applications and check for updates. If there are any that need to be updated, they will be listed front and center. Once all the packages are updated, you will see a list of packages you have installed. You can deselect a package with updates to prevent it from being updated. You can also choose to install a previous version of the application.

With Bauh you can manage various types of packages from one application

You can also search for applications. Bauh has detailed information for both installed and searched packages. If you are not interested in one (or more) of the packaging types, you can deselect them in settings.

Installing bauh on your Linux distribution

Let’s see how to install bauh.

Arch-based distributions

If you have a recent install of Manjaro, you should be all set. Bauh comes installed by default. If you have an older install of Manjaro (like I do) or a different Arch-based distro, you can install it from the AUR by typing this in terminal:

sudo pacman -S bauh Bauh Package Info Debian/Ubuntu based distributions

If you have a Debianor Ubuntubased Linux distribution, you can install bauh with pip. First, make sure to install pip on Ubuntu.

sudo apt install python3-pip

And then use it to install bauh:

pip3 install bauh

However, the creator recommends installing it manually to avoid messing up your system’s libraries.

To install bauh manually, you have to first download the latest release. Once you download it, you can unzip using a graphical tool or the unzip command. Next, open up the folder in your terminal. You will need to use the following steps to complete the install.

First, create a virtualenv in a folder called env:

python3 -m venv env

Now install the application code inside the env:

env/bin/pip install .

And launch the application:

env/bin/bauh Bauh Updating

Once you finish installing bauh, you can fine-tune it by changing the environment setting and arguments.

The road ahead for bauh

Bauh has grown quite a bit in a few short months. It plans to continue to grow. The current road map includes:

  • Support for other packaging technologies
  • Separate modules for each packaging technology
  • Memory and performance improvements
  • Improve the user experience
Bauh Search Final thoughts

When I tried out bauh, I ran into a couple of issues. When I opened it up for the first time, it told me that Snap was not installed and that I would have to install it if I wanted to use Snaps. I know that Snap is installed because I ran snap list in the terminal and it worked. I restarted the system and snaps worked.

The other issue I ran into was that one of my AUR packages failed to update. I was able to update the package without any issue with yay. There might be an issue with my install of Manjaro, I’ve had it going for 3 or 4 years.

Overall, bauh worked. It did what was printed on the tin. I can’t ask for more than that.

Have you ever used bauh? What is your favorite tool to manage different package formats if there is one? 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.

Zorin OS 15 Lite Release: Good Looking Lightweight Linux

Thursday 21st of November 2019 07:30:31 AM

Zorin OS 15 Lite edition has just been released. We’ll show take you to a desktop tour of this new release and highlight its main features for you.

Zorin OS is an increasingly popular Linux distribution. It is based on Ubuntu and thus , unsurprisingly, it also happens to be one of the best Linux distributions for beginners. It’s Windows-like interface is one of the major reasons why it is preferred by many Windows-to-Linux migrants.

Zorin OS comes in two main variants:

Zorin OS 15 Lite: What’s New? Subscribe to our YouTube channel for more Linux videos

Zorin OS 15 Lite edition has finally landed after a long time of Zorin OS 15 Core release. You can get your hands on the free lite editions or the paid ultimate lite edition now.

I tried the Zorin OS 15 Lite Ultimate edition. In this article, I shall cover the details for this release and what you should know before choosing to download Zorin OS 15 Lite for your computer.

Zorin OS 15 Lite is almost similar to the full-fledged Zorin OS 15 release. You can check out Zorin OS 15 features in our original coverage for that.

This release entirely focuses to be light on resources so that any type of old hardware configuration from the past decade can easily run on it.

With this release, they rely on the lightweight XFCE 4.14-based desktop environment to give the best possible experience on a low-spec computer.

In addition to the XFCE desktop environment, there are some under-the-hood changes when compared to its full-fledged version that uses GNOME.

Zorin OS 15 Lite Targets Windows 7 Users

Primarily, Zorin OS 15 Lite targets the Windows 7 users because the official support for Windows 7 ends this January.

So, if you are someone who’s comfortable with Windows 7, you can give this a try, it should be a smooth experience switching to this.

Zorin OS 15 Lite gives you the option to switch the layout to a macOS style / Windows-style appearance from the “Zorin Appearance” settings. This is an Ultimate Edition feature though.

32-bit and 64-bit Support

It was good to see Zorin OS considering the support for 32-bit/64-bit ISOs just because the lite edition is being targeted for users with low-spec hardware.

Flatpak Support Enabled By Default

You can utilize Flathub to install Flatpak packages out of the box using the Software Center. Make sure to check out our guide on using Flatpak if you’re not sure what to do.

In addition to this, you already have the Snap package support. So, it should be easier to install anything through the Software Center.

User Interface Impression

To be honest, the default Xfce interface looks old. There are ways to customize Xfce but Zorin does it out of the box. The customized look gives a good impression. It looks pretty damn neat and works as expected.

Performance

Even though I haven’t tried this on a super old system, I did install it on a vintage hard disk drive which struggles to boot up Ubuntu or similar distributions.

As per my experience, I would definitely rate the performance to be super snappy.

It feels like I have it installed on my SSD. So, that’s obviously a good thing. If you happen to try it on a super old system, you can let me know your experience in the comments section at the bottom of this article.

What’s The Difference Between The ‘Ultimate Lite’ edition & Free ‘Lite’ edition?

Make no mistake, you can download Zorin OS 15 for free.

However, there’s a separate ‘Ultimate’ edition which is basically meant to support the developers and the project. In addition to that, it also bundles a lot of pre-installed software as an “ultimate” package for your computer.

So, if you purchase the Ultimate edition, you get access to both the lite and full version.

In case you do not want to pay for it, you can still opt for the free editions (Core, Lite, Education) depending on your requirements. You can learn more about it on their download page.

How To Download Zorin OS 15 Lite?

You can just head on to its official download webpage and scroll down to find the Zorin OS 15 lite edition.

You will find 32-bit/64-bit ISOs available, download the one you require.

Zorin OS 15 Lite

Installing Zorin OS is similar to installing Ubuntu.

Wrapping Up

While Zorin OS 15 is already a great offering as a Linux distribution to Windows/macOS veterans, the new Lite edition surely turns more eyes to it.

Have you tried the ‘Lite’ edition yet? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

The Cross-Platform Source Explorer Sourcetrail is Now Open Source

Wednesday 20th of November 2019 09:29:47 AM

Sourcetrail is a cross-platform source explorer that lets you visualize the unfamiliar source code by using graph visualization.

In other words, it makes it easy to understand the structure of source code and how it works (technically) by visually representing them using a graph.

This is particularly helpful when you join a project and you have to work on existing code written in the past by several developers.

You can use it with your favorite IDE like Eclipse, IntelliJ IDEA, PyCharm or code editors like Atom, Visual Studio Code, Sublime Text etc. It supports C, C++, Java and Python.

This old video gives you the introduction to Sourcetrail:

Even though it was free for non-commercial use, they charged for a commercial license. However, they recently decided to make the whole thing free and open source.

So, yes, you can find their source code listed on GitHub now.

What Has Changed for Sourcetrail?

The reason they switched as an open-source solution is that they wanted their tool to be accessible to more developers.

Their commercial licensing plan was supposed to help them make money – however, it limited the reach of their project.

In their announcement post, they mentioned their idea of this decision as follows:

We have been going back and forth, discussing and testing potential solutions to many of those issues for a long time now. Many of our thoughts revolved around how to make more money and use it to solve those issues. Looking at other companies in the field, it seemed that to make more money, our only option was making our licenses more and more expensive, which in turn would limit our audience to fewer developers. We always dismissed the idea because we started to make Sourcetrail to benefit as many developers as possible and not to be a premium product for a few people in a handful of companies.

Also, they found it tough to provide cross-platform support while trying to reproduce the issues and apply a fix to them, especially for Linux distros. So, making their project open source was an ideal choice.

To further clarify the situation they also explained why their commercial licensing plan wasn’t working out:

Initially we received a couple of public grants that allowed us to launch Sourcetrail publicly. We decided to go down the traditional road of selling software licenses to sustain further development. Of course that meant to keep the code private if we wanted to protect our business…In retrospect, this decision really narrowed down our user base, making it hard for developers to start using Sourcetrail for multiple reasons

You can find all the details for what they plan for the future in their announcement post.

How to get Sourcetrail on Linux?

You can find and download the latest release of Sourcetrail on its release page on GitHub:

Download Sourcetrail

Extract the downloaded file and you’ll see a Sourcetrail.sh shell script. Run this script with sudo to install Sourcerail.

You should read the documentation for the project setup. They also have some useful tutorial videos on their YouTube channel.

Sourcetrail was free before but now it’s free in the true sense. It’s good to see that the developers have made it open source and now more programmers can use this tool to understand large, shared code base. You may also checkout a slightly similar open source tool Sourcegraph.

Troubleshooting PCIe Bus Error severity Corrected on Ubuntu and Linux Mint

Tuesday 19th of November 2019 07:19:14 AM

Recently I was trying to install Mint on several nodes in my institute. At times, I was not able to install and got lots of ‘PCIe Bus’ errors on the screen. I have also observed similar issue with Ubuntu 18.04.

I got stuck into it for more than a month, after using many solution and observations (solution is the same, but observation and treatment may be different), I found something which was helpful for me and I think could be helpful for other Ubuntu and Linux Mint users.

Observations about PCIe Bus Error severity Corrected

It happened with my HP system and it seems that there is some compatibility issues with the HP hardware. The PCIe Bus Error is basically the Linux kernel reporting the hardware issue.

This error reporting turns into nightmare because of the frequency of error messages generated by the system. I have noticed in various Linux forums that many HP user have encountered this error, probably HP needs to improve Linux support for their hardware.

Do note that this doesn’t necessarily mean that you cannot use Linux on your HP system. You might be able to use Linux like everyone else. It’s just that seeing this message flashing on the screen on every boot is annoying and sometimes, it could lead to bigger troubles.

If the system keeps on reporting, it will increase the log size. If you have limited space for root, it could mean that your system will stuck at the black screen displaying the PCIe error message and your system won’t be able to boot.

Now that you know a few things, let’s see how to tackle this error.

Handling PCIe Bus Error messages if you can boot in to your Linux system

If you see the PCIe Bus Error message on the screen while booting but you are still able to log in, you could do a workaround for this annoyance.

You can do little on the hardware compatibility front. I mean you (most probably) cannot go ahead and start coding drivers for your hardware or fix the existing drivers code. If your system works fine, your main concern should be that too much of error reporting doesn’t eat up the disk space.

In that regard, you can change the Linux kernel parameter and ask it to stop reporting the PCIe errors. To do that, you need to edit the grub configuration.

Basically, you just have to use a text editor for editing the file.

First thing first, make a backup of your grub config file so that you can revert in case if you are not sure of things you changed. Open a terminal and use the following command:

cp /etc/default/grub ~/grub.back

Now open the file with Gedit for editing:

sudo gedit /etc/default/grub

Look for the line that has GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT=”quiet splash”

Add pci=noaer in this line. AER stands for Advanced Error Reporting and ‘noaer’ asks the kernel to not use/log Advanced Error Reporting. The changed line should look like this:

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet splash pci=noaer"

Once you have saved the file, you should update the grub using this command:

sudo update-grub

Restart Ubuntu and you shouldn’t see the ‘PCIe Bus Error severity Corrected messages’ anymore.

If this doesn’t fix the issue for you, you can try to change other kernel parameters.

Further troubleshooting: Disable MSI

Now you are resorting to hit and trial. You may try disabling MSI. Though Linux kernel supports MSI for several years now, a wrong implementation of MSI from some hardware manufacturer may lead to the PCIe errors.

The drill is practically the same as you saw in the previous section. You edit the grub configuration and make the GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT line look like this:

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet splash pci=nomsi"

Update grub and reboot the system:

sudo update-grub Even further troubleshooting: Disable mmconf

I know it’s getting repetitive but if you are still facing the issue, it could be worth to give this a last try. This time, disable the mmconf parameter in Linux kernel.

mmconf means memory mapped config and if you have an old computer, a buggy BIOS may lead to this issue.

The steps remain the same. Just change the line GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT in your grub config to make it look like:

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet splash pci=nommconf" Can’t boot! How to edit grub config now?

In some cases, if you are not even able to boot at all, perhaps your root is out of space. An idea here would be to delete old log files and see if you could boot now and if yes, change the grub config.

On reboot, if you stuck with logs on the screen and do a hard boot (use power button to turn it off and on again). When you power on, choose to go in to recovery mode from the grub screen. It should be under Advanced options.

If your system doesn’t show the grub screen, press and hold shift key at boot. In some systems, pressing the Esc key brings the grub screen.

In the advanced option->recovery mode:

Drop into root shell:

If you use the ls command to find large files, you’ll see that sys.log and kern.log take huge space:

ls -s -S /var/log

You can empty the log files in Linux command line this way:

$ > syslog $ > kern.log

Once that is done, reboot your system. You should be able to log in. You should quickly change the grub parameters as discussed above. Adding pci=noaer should help you in this case.

I know it’s more of a workaround than solution. But this is something that troubled me long and helped me get around the error. Otherwise I had to reinstall the system.

I just wanted to share what worked for me with the community here. I hope it helps you as well.

This article is written by Arun Shrimali. Arun is IT Head at Resonance Institute in India and he tries to implement Open Source Software across his organization.

The article has been edited by Abhishek Prakash.

App Highlight: Flameshot for Taking and Editing Screenshots

Monday 18th of November 2019 10:25:11 AM

If you have been following It’s FOSS regularly, you might have come across my coverage on the best ways to take a screenshot in Linux.

I did recommend using Flameshot as well because it happens to be my personal favorite to take screenshots. In case you didn’t know, Flameshot is an open source screenshot tool available for Linux.

However, in this article, I shall be focusing on ‘Flameshot’ to help you install it, configure it, and highlight the features it has to offer.

Flameshot Features

Flameshot offers almost all the essential features that you would ever require on a screenshot tool in Linux. Here are some of the key features in video format:

Subscribe to our YouTube channel for more Linux videos Upload screenshot to Imgur

A lot of users want to simply upload their screenshots directly to the cloud in order to easily share it with others.

You can do that by syncing your saved files to a cloud storage solution and share them later. But, that’s quite a few steps to follow in order to share your screenshot, right?

So, here, Flameshot lets you upload your image directly to Imgur with a single click. All you have to do is share the URL.

Do note that these uploads will not be associated with your Imgur account (if you have one) and will be only accessible to the ones with the link.

Annotation Options

The whole point of having a 3rd party screenshot utility is the ability to annotate the pictures.

You can choose to add an arrow mark, highlight a text, blur a section, add a text, draw something, add a rectangular/circular shaped border, and add a solid color box.

You can take a closer look at the options with the help of the GIF above (from their official GitHub page):

Customization Options

In addition to all the useful features, it also gives you the ability to customize the UI, filename (when you save a screenshot), and some general options as well.

Installing Flameshot on Linux

Before configuring Flameshot, you need to get it installed on your Linux system.

You might find it in your Software Center/App Center/Package Manager, simply search for “flameshot” and get it installed.

In case you do not find it there, you can head on to its GitHub releases page and download the setup file suitable for your Linux distro. It is available in DEB (for Ubuntu), RPM (for Fedora) and AppImage (for all Linux distributions) format.

Download Flameshot How To Setup Flameshot?

Now that you are aware of the features (and probably have it installed), how do you use it?

Of course, you don’t want to launch a screenshot tool by searching for it in the list of applications installed.

So, the best way to access it would be to press the PRT SC key, right?

But, by default, when you press the Print Screen button, it will launch the default screenshot tool (or directly take a full-screen screenshot).

Fret not, you can easily change it. Here’s how you can set flameshot to launch upon pressing the ‘Prt Sc‘ button:

1. Head to the system settings and navigate your way to the “Device” options.

2. Next, head inside the “Keyboard Shortcuts” option.

3. Now, you need to change the keyboard shortcut for “Saving a screenshot to Pictures” from Prt Sc to anything else (a button you don’t use frequently).

Assign a custom keyboard shortcut to Flameshot

Refer to the image above to understand it better.

4. Once you have done this, scroll down to the bottom and add a new keyboard shortcut by clicking on the “+” button.

5. Here, you will get the option to name the shortcut (it can be anything) and in place of the command, you will have to enter:

flameshot gui

And, hit the Prt Sc button when you set the shortcut. That’s it!

Here’s how it should look after configuration:

Now, you should be able to launch Flameshot by pressing the Prt Sc button.

Few Tips To Note
  • By default, Flameshot saves the pictures in PNG format. So, if you need a JPEG file, you can simply rename the file extension.
  • You can change the color of the text/arrow mark by performing a right-click before adding it. Once you change it, the color remains the same even when you use it the next time. You can change the color again, the same way.
  • If you want the option to choose a custom color (instead of the pre-defined color selection), just hit the SPACE bar after you select a region to take the screenshot.
  • If you cannot access the Flameshot configuration option via the app drawer, simply type in “flameshot config” in the terminal.

Wrapping Up

Even though there are alternatives to Flameshot available, I find it to be the best screenshot tool for my usage.

If you found this tutorial helpful, do share it with other Linux users. If you find Flameshot useful, please do consider making a donation to its developer.

In either case, if you already use a screenshot tool, which one is it? Do you know of something that happens to be better than Flameshot? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Troubleshooting “E: Unable to locate package” Error on Ubuntu [Beginner’s Tutorial]

Friday 15th of November 2019 03:56:30 AM

This beginner tutorial shows how to go about fixing the E: Unable to locate package error on Ubuntu Linux.

One of the many ways of installing software in Ubuntu is to use the apt-get or the apt command. You open a terminal and use the program name to install it like this:

sudo apt install package_name

Sometimes, you may encounter an error while trying to install application in this manner. The error reads:

sudo apt-get install package_name Reading package lists... Done Building dependency tree Reading state information... Done E: Unable to locate package package_name

The error is self explanatory. Your Linux system cannot find the package that you are trying to install. But why is it so? Why can it not find the package? Let’s see some of the actions you can take to fix this issue.

Fixing ‘Unable to locate package error’ on Ubuntu

Let’s see how to troubleshoot this issue one step at a time.

1. Check the package name (no, seriously)

This should be the first thing to check. Did you make a typo in the package name? I mean, if you are trying to install vlc and you typed vcl, it will surely fail. Typos are common so make sure that you have not made any mistakes in typing the name of the package.

2. Update the repository cache

If this is the first time you are using your system after installing, you should run the update command:

sudo apt update

This command won’t update Ubuntu straightaway. I recommend to get through the concept of Ubuntu repositories. Basically, the ‘apt update’ command builds a local cache of available packages.

When you use the install command, apt package manager searches the cache to get the package and version information and then download it from its repositories over the network. If the package is not in this cache, your system won’t be able to install it.

When you have a freshly installed Ubuntu system, the cache is empty. This is why you should run the apt update command right after installing Ubuntu or any other distributions based on Ubuntu (like Linux Mint).

Even if its not a fresh install, your apt cache might be outdated. It’s always a good idea to update it.

3. Check if package is available for your Ubuntu version

Alright! You checked the name of the package and it is correct. You run the update command to rebuild the cache and yet you see the unable to locate package error.

It is possible that the package is really not available. But you are following the instructions mentioned on some website and everyone else seems to be able to install it like that. What could be the issue?

I can see two things here. Either the package available in Universe repository and your system hasn’t enabled it or the package is not available on your Ubuntu version altogether. Don’t get confused. I’ll explain it for you.

First step, check the Ubuntu version you are running. Open a terminal and use the following command:

lsb_release -a

You’ll get the Ubuntu version number and the codename in the output. The codename is what important here:

abhishek@itsfoss:~$ lsb_release -a No LSB modules are available. Distributor ID: Ubuntu Description: Ubuntu 18.04.3 LTS Release: 18.04 Codename: bionic Ubuntu Version Check

As you can see here, I am using Ubuntu 18.04 and its codename is bionic. You may have something else but you get the gist of what you need to note here.

Once you have the version number and the codename, head over to the Ubuntu packages website:

Ubuntu Packages

Scroll down a bit on this page and go to the Search part. You’ll see a keyword field. Enter the package name (which cannot be found by your system) and then set the correct distribution codename. The section should be ‘any’. When you have set these three details, hit the search button.

Ubuntu Package Search

This will show if the package is available for your Ubuntu version and if yes, which repository it belongs to. In my case, I searched for Shutter screenshot tool and this is what it showed me for Ubuntu 18.04 Bionic version:

Package Search Result

In my case, the package name is an exact match. This means the package shutter is available for Ubuntu 18.04 Bionic but in the ‘Universe repository’. If you are wondering what the heck is Universe repository, please refer to the Ubuntu repository article I had mentioned earlier.

If the intended package is available for your Ubuntu version but it a repository like universe or multiverse, you should enable these additional repositories:

sudo add-apt-repository universe multiverse

You must also update the cache so that your system is aware of the new packages available through these repositories:

sudo apt update

Now if you try to install the package, things should be fine.

Nothing works, what now?

If Ubuntu Packages website also shows that the package is not available for your specific version, then you’ll have to find some other ways to install the package.

Take Shutter for example. It’s an excellent screenshot tool for Linux but it hasn’t been updated in years and thus Ubuntu has dropped it from Ubuntu 18.10 and newer versions. How to install it now? Thankfully, some third party developer created a personal repository (PPA) and you can install it using that. [Please read this detailed guide to understand PPA in Ubuntu.] You can search for packages and their PPA on Ubuntu’s Launchpad website.

Do keep in mind that you shouldn’t add random (unofficial) PPAs to your repositories list. I advise sticking with what your distribution provides.

If there are no PPAs, check the official website of the project and see if they provide some alternative ways of installing the application. Some projects provide .DEB files or AppImage files. Some projects have switched to Snap packages.

In other words, check the official website of the project and check if they have changed their installation method.

If nothing works, perhaps the project itself is discontinued and if that’s the case, you should look for its alternative application.

In the end…

If you are new to Ubuntu or Linux, things could be overwhelming. This is why I am covering some basic topics like this so that you get a better understanding of how things work in your system.

I hope this tutorial helps you handling the package error in Ubuntu. If you have questions or suggestions, please feel free to ask in the comment section.

Browse Faster With Brave! The First Stable Release is Here

Thursday 14th of November 2019 11:50:37 AM

Brave browser is an interesting take as a privacy-focused browser. Even though we already have plenty of options to consider for Linux (Chromium/Firefox, etc.), the Brave browser stands out for things like strictly blocking ads and trackers.

It was in the beta phase before the announcement. So, if you already had it installed, you may not find a significant change with this release.

If you are learning about this browser for the first time, I shall mention a few key highlights associated with this release.

Chromium-based Open Source Browser

Yes, Brave is based on Chromium and it’s an open-source browser as well. You can follow its development on GitHub as well.

If you’re not a fan of Chromium-based browsers, you may check out the list of non-Google browsers here.

Ad-blocking Feature & Privacy-friendly Ad Platform

Brave focuses on protecting privacy by blocking advertisements, trackers, and also tries to introduce a way to display privacy-respecting advertisements.

Of course, only if you opt-in, you will be displayed advertisements that do not track you or collect any information.

Rewarding Users & Publishers

Brave integrates a blockchain-based advertising model so that when you opt-in for the privacy-friendly advertisements, you will earn BAT tokens (a.k.a Basic Attention Tokens) which you can then spend to reward the publishers you love to read, like us :)

In that way, you get to get rid of the data collecting advertisements while also being able to support the publishers.

Even though this advertising model isn’t a big success but the CEO of Brave Software (Brendan Eich), shared his concern for this by mentioning:

Either we all accept the $330 billion ad-tech industry treating us as their products, exploiting our data, piling on more data breaches and privacy scandals, and starving publishers of revenue; or we reject the surveillance economy and replace it with something better that works for everyone. That’s the inspiration behind Brave,

Cross-platform

We have an article on how to install brave on Linux – in case you’re curious. And, yes, along with the support for Linux, you can install it on your Windows/macOS machine as well as on your smartphones.

Brave browser

If you’re using Chrome/Chromium, the transition to Brave browser should be easy. If you try Brave, don’t forget to share your experience with it.

Mirantis Acquires Docker Enterprise in a Bid to Keep Docker Alive

Thursday 14th of November 2019 06:53:31 AM

The rumors of Docker not doing too well in the business seems true. Mirantis announced that it has acquired the Docker Enterprise platform business. Even though we don’t know the price of the acquisition, there’s still a lot of details to take a look at.

It is worth noting that Docker (independent of Mirantis) will continue working on tools to improve the workflow for developers while its Enterprise business will be handled by Mirantis.

In case you did not know, Mirantis delivers Kubernetes-as-a-Service to compete with the likes of VMWare with an affordable pricing plan (compared to its competitors).

Following the acquisition, the team & customers with Docker Enterprise will be merged together.

As per the official announcement, Mirantis will gain about 750 customers while assuming their contracts.

What Exactly Did Mirantis Acquire?

The acquisition of Docker’s Enterprise business includes the products, technology, IP, customer and partner relationships, and also the former employees of Docker Enterprise without affecting the customer service.

Further, the Docker technology includes Docker Enterprise Engine, Docker Trusted Registry, Docker Unified Control Plane, Docker CLI.

Keep in mind that the field marketing and the sales team of Docker will remain separate for now, as reported by Tech Crunch.

What Changes Now?

Mirantis CEO, Adrian Ionel, discusses why Docker Enterprise has been acquired and what Mirantis plans to do in future.

Video Source | TFIR

Of course, there should be no immediate changes to Docker’s Enterprise platform. However, Mirantis will potentially upgrade the Docker Enterprise platform by adding its resources.

Here’s what they’ll add as per the details shared by Adrian lonel (CEO, Mantis):

  • Its K8s-as-a-Service technology and expertise 
  • A shared product vision to deliver a consistent developer experience on any infrastructure, powered by K8s
  • A sound financial foundation with a proven track record of long-term success
  • Ongoing commitment to open source development and open standards 
  • The Mirantis as-a-service model for simpler customer experience with greater economic value

It will surely help Mirantis to accelerate their vision of Kubernetes-as-a-Service for developers while providing a wider range of choices in the near future. With this acquisition, Mirantis is now in a better position to compete with VMWare/IBM/Red Hat.

This is also a big boost for Docker because Docker hasn’t been profitable and they needed to raise money to stay afloat.

Wrapping Up

If you are a Docker Enterprise customer (or partner), you could take look at the FAQ published to address the changes after the acquisition.

While its a bummer to know that Docker wasn’t doing well after Kubernetes came into the scene – but the acquisition could be reassuring in a way to keep the brand alive with its Enterprise business.

What do you think about this acquisition? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Microsoft Defender ATP is Coming to Linux! What Does it Mean?

Wednesday 13th of November 2019 06:03:52 AM

Microsoft has announced that it is bringing its enterprise security product Microsoft Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) to Linux in 2020.

Microsoft’s annual developer conference Microsoft Ignite has just been concluded and there are a few important announcements that relate to Linux. You probably already read about Microsoft bringing its Edge web browser to Linux. The next big news is that Microsoft is bringing Microsoft Defender ATP to Linux.

Let’s get into some details what it is and why Microsoft is bothering itself to develop something for Linux.

What is Microsoft Defender ATP?

If you have used Windows in past few years, you must have come across Windows Defender. It is basically an antivirus product by Microsoft that brings some level of security by detecting viruses and malware.

Microsoft improved this functionality for its enterprise users by introducing Windows Defender ATP (Advanced Threat Protection). Defender ATP works on behavioral analysis. It collects usage data and store them on the same system. However, when it notices an inconsistent behavior, it sends the data to Azure service (Microsoft’s cloud service). In here, it will have a collection of behavioral data and the anomalies.

For example, if you got a PDF attachment in the email, you open it and it opened a command prompt, Defender ATP will notice this abnormal behavior. I recommend reading this article to learn more about the difference between Defender and Defender ATP.

Now this is entirely an enterprise product. In a big enterprise with hundreds or thousands of end points (computers), Defender ATP provides a good layer of protection. The IT admins will have a centralized view of the end-points on their Azure instance and the threats can be analyzed and actions can be taken accordingly.

Microsoft Defender ATP for Linux (and Mac)

Normally, enterprises have Windows on their computer but Mac and Linux are also getting popular specially among the developers. In an environment where there is a mix of Mac and Linux machines among Windows, Defender ATP has to extends its services to these operating systems so that it can provide a holistic defense to all the devices on the network.

Keeping that in mind, Microsoft first changed Windows Defender ATP to Microsoft Defender ATP in March 2019, signaling that the product is not limited to just Windows operating system.

Soon after it announced Defender ATP for Mac.

And now to cover all the major operating systems in an enterprise environment, Microsoft is bringing Defender ATP to Linux in 2020.

How Microsoft Defender ATP on Linux impacts you, a Linux user?

Since Defender ATP is an enterprise product, I don’t think you need to be bothered with this. Organizations need to secure their end-points against threats so it makes sense that Microsoft is improving its product to cover Linux as well.

For normal Linux users like you and me, it won’t make any difference. I am not going to use it ‘secure’ my three Linux systems and pay Microsoft for that.

Please feel free to share your opinion on Microsoft bringing Defender ATP to Linux in the comment section.

Getting Started With ZFS Filesystem on Ubuntu 19.10

Monday 11th of November 2019 05:22:59 AM

One of the main features of Ubuntu 19.10 is support for ZFS. Now you can easily install Ubuntu with on ZFS without any extra effort.

Normally, you install Linux with Ext4 filesystem. But if you do a fresh install of Ubuntu 19.10, you’ll see the option to use ZFS on the root. You must not use it on a dual boot system though because it will erase the entire disk.

You can choose ZFS while installing Ubuntu 19.10

Let’s see why ZFS matters and how to take advantage of it on ZFS install of Ubuntu.

How ZFS is different than other filesystems?

ZFS is designed with two major goals in mind: to handle large amounts of storage and prevent data corruption. ZFS can handle up to 256 quadrillion Zettabytes of storage. (Hence the Z in ZFS.) It can also handle files up to 16 exabytes in size.

If you are limited to a single drive laptop, you can still take advantage of the data protection features in ZFS. The copy-on-write feature ensures that data that is in use is not overwritten. Instead, the new information is written to a new block and the filesystem’s metadata is updated to point to the new block. ZFS can easily create snapshots of the filesystem. These snapshots track changes made to the filesystem and share with the filesystem the data that is the same to save space.

ZFS assigned a checksum to each file on the drive. It is constantly checking the state of the file against that checksum. If it detects that the file has become corrupt, it will attempt to automatically repair that file.

I have written a detailed article about what is ZFS and what its features are. Please read it if you are interested in knowing more on this topic.

Note

Keep in mind that the data protection features of ZFS can lead to a reduction in performance.

Using ZFS on Ubuntu [For intermediate to advanced users]

Once you have a clean install of Ubuntu with ZFS on the main disk you can start taking advantage of the features that this filesystem has.

Please note that all setup of ZFS requires the command line. I am not aware of any GUI tools for it.

Creating a ZFS pool

The section only applies if you have a system with more than one drive. If you only have one drive, Ubuntu will automatically create the pool during installation.

Before you create your pool, you need to find out the id of the drives for the pool. You can use the command lsblk to show this information.

To create a basic pool with three drives, use the following command:

sudo zpool create pool-test /dev/sdb /dev/sdc /dev/sdd.

Remember to replace pool-test with the pool name of your choice.

This command will set up “a zero redundancy RAID-0 pool”. This means that if one of the drives becomes damaged or corrupt, you will lose data. If you do use this setup, it is recommended that you do regular backups.

You can alos add another disk to the pool by using this command:

sudo zpool add pool-name /dev/sdx Check the status of your ZFS pool

You can check the status of your new pool using this command:

sudo zpool status pool-test Zpool Status Mirror a ZFS pool

To ensure that your data is safe, you can instead set up mirroring. Mirroring means that each drive contains the same data. With mirroring setup, you could lose two out of three drives and still have all of your information.

To create a mirror, you can use something like this:

sudo zpool create pool-test mirror /dev/sdb /dev/sdc /dev/sdd Create ZFS Snapshots for backup and restore

Snapshots allow you to create a fall-back position in case a file gets deleted or overwritten. For example, let’s create a snapshot, delete some folder in my home directory and restore them.

First, you need to find the dataset you want to snapshot. You can do that with the

zfs list Zfs List

You can see that my home folder is located in rpool/USERDATA/johnblood_uwcjk7.

Let’s create a snapshot named 1910 using this command:

sudo zfs snapshot rpool/USERDATA/johnblood_uwcjk7@1019

The snapshot will be created very quickly. Now, I am going to delete the Downloads and Documents directories.

Now to restore the snapshot, all you have to do is run this command:

sudo zfs rollback rpool/USERDATA/johnblood_uwcjk7@1019.

The length of the rollback depends on how much the information changed. Now, you can check the home folder and the deleted folders (and their content) will be returned to their correct place.

To ZFS or not?

This is just a quick glimpse at what you can do with ZFS on Ubuntu. For more information, check out Ubuntu’s wiki page on ZFS. I also recommend reading this excellent article on ArsTechnica.

This is an experimental feature and if you are not aware of ZFS and you want to have a simple stable system, please go with the standard install on Ext4. If you have a spare machine that you want to experiment with, then only try something like this to learn a thing or two about ZFS. If you are an ‘expert’ and you know what you are doing, you are free to experiment ZFS wherever you like.

Have you ever used ZFS? 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.

Confirmed! Microsoft Edge Will be Available on Linux

Friday 8th of November 2019 06:28:26 AM

Microsoft is overhauling its Edge web browser and it will be based on the open source Chromium browser. Microsoft is also bringing the new Edge browser to desktop Linux however the Linux release might be a bit delayed.

Microsoft’s Internet Explorer once dominated the browser market share, but it lost its dominance in the last decade to Google’s Chrome.

The rise and fall of #opensource web browser Mozilla Firefox. pic.twitter.com/Co5Xj3dKIQ

— Abhishek Prakash (@abhishek_foss) March 22, 2017

Microsoft tried to gain its lost position by creating Edge, a brand new web browser built with EdgeHTML and Chakra engine. It was tightly integrated with Microsoft’s digital assistant Cortana and Windows 10.

However, it still could not bring the crown home and as of today, it stands at the fourth position in desktop browser usage share.

Lately, Microsoft decided to give Edge an overhaul by rebasing it on open source Chromium project. Google’s Chrome browser is also based on Chromium. Chromium is also available as a standalone web browser and some Linux distributions use it at as the default web browser.

The new Microsoft Edge web browser on Linux

After initial reluctance and uncertainties, it seems that Microsoft is finally going to bring the new Edge browser to Linux.

In its annual developer conference Microsoft Ignite, the session on Edge Browser mentions that it is coming to Linux in future.

Microsoft confirms that Edge is coming to Linux in future

The new Edge browser will be available on 15th January 2020 but I think that the Linux release will be delayed.

Is Microsoft Edge coming to Linux really a big deal?

What’s the big deal with Microsoft Edge coming to Linux? Don’t we have plenty of web browsers available for Linux already? I think it has to do with the ‘Microsoft Linux rivalry’ (if there is such a thing). If Microsoft does anything for Linux, specially desktop Linux, it becomes a news.

I also think that Edge on Linux has mutual benefits for Microsoft and for Linux users. Here’s why.

What’s in it for Microsoft?

When Google launched its Chrome browser in 2008, no one had thought that it will dominate the market in just a few years. But why would a search engine put so much of energy behind a ‘free web browser’?

The answer is that Google is a search engine and it wants more people using its search engine and other services so that it can earn revenue from the ad services. With Chrome, Google is the default search engine. On other browsers like Firefox and Safari, Google pays hundreds of millions to be kept as the default web browser. Without Chrome, Google would have to rely entirely on the other browsers.

Microsoft too has a search engine named Bing. The Internet Explorer and Edge use Bing as the default search engine. If Edge is used by more users, it improves the chances of bringing more users to Bing. More Bing users is something Microsoft would love to have.

What’s in it for Linux users?

I see a couple of benefits for desktop Linux users. With Edge, you can use some Microsoft specific products on Linux. For example, Microsoft’s streaming gaming service xCloud maybe available on the Edge browser only.

Another benefit is an improved Netflix experience on Linux. Of course, you can use Chrome or Firefox for watching Netflix on Linux but you might not be getting the full HD or ultra HD streaming.

As far as I know, the Full HD and Ultra HD Netflix streaming is only available on Microsoft Edge. This means you can ‘Netflix and chill’ in HD with Edge on Linux.

What do you think?

What’s your feeling about Microsoft Edge coming to Linux? Will you be using it when it is available for Linux? Do share your views in the comment section below.

Budget-friendly Linux Smartphone PinePhone Will be Available to Pre-order Next Week

Thursday 7th of November 2019 07:40:01 AM

Do you remember when It’s FOSS first broke the story that Pine64 was working on a Linux-based smartphone running KDE Plasma (among other distributions) in 2017? It’s been some time since then but the good news is that PinePhone will be available for pre-order from 15th November.

Let me provide you more details on the PinePhone like its specification, pricing and release date.

PinePhone: Linux-based budget smartphone

The PinePhone developer kit is already being tested by some devs and more such kits will be shipped by 15th November. You can check out some of these images by clicking the photo gallery below:

The developer kit is a combo kit of PINE A64 baseboard + SOPine module + 7″ Touch Screen Display + Camera + Wifi/BT + Playbox enclosure + Lithium-Ion battery case + LTE cat 4 USB dongle.

These combo kits allow developers to jump start PinePhone development. The PINE A64 platform already has mainline Linux OS build thanks to the PINE64 community and the support by KDE neon.

Specifications of PinePhone PinePhone Prototype | Image by Martjin Braam
  • Allwinner A64 Quad Core SoC with Mali 400 MP2 GPU
  • 2GB of LPDDR3 RAM
  • 5.95″ LCD 1440×720, 18:9 aspect ratio (hardened glass)
  • Bootable Micro SD
  • 16GB eMMC
  • HD Digital Video Out
  • USB Type C (Power, Data and Video Out)
  • Quectel EG-25G with worldwide bands
  • WiFi: 802.11 b/g/n, single-band, hotspot capable
  • Bluetooth: 4.0, A2DP
  • GNSS: GPS, GPS-A, GLONASS
  • Vibrator
  • RGB status LED
  • Selfie and Main camera (2/5Mpx respectively)
  • Main Camera: Single OV6540, 5MP, 1/4″, LED Flash
  • Selfie Camera: Single GC2035, 2MP, f/2.8, 1/5″
  • Sensors: accelerator, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer, ambient light
  • 3 External Switches: up down and power
  • HW switches: LTE/GNSS, WiFi, Microphone, Speaker, USB
  • Samsung J7 form-factor 3000mAh battery
  • Case is matte black finished plastic
  • Headphone Jack
Production, Price & Availability Pinephone Brave Heart Pre Order

PinePhone will cost about $150. The early adapter release has been named ‘Brave Heart’ edition and it will go on sale from November 15, 2019. As you can see in the image above, Pine64’s homepage has included a timer for the first pre-order batch of PinePhone.

You should expect the early adopter ‘Brave Heart’ editions to be shipped and delivered by December 2019 or January 2020.

Mass production will begin only after the Chinese New Year, hinting at early Q2 of 2020 or March 2020 (at the earliest).

The phone hasn’t yet been listed on Pine Store – so make sure to check out Pine64 online store to pre-order the ‘Brave Heart’ edition if you want to be one of the early adopters.

What do you think of PinePhone?

Pine64 has already created a budget laptop called Pinebook and a relatively powerful Pinebook Pro laptop. So, there is definitely hope for PinePhone to succeed, at least in the niche of DIY enthusiasts and hardcore Linux fans. The low pricing is definitely a huge plus here compared to the other Linux smartphone Librem5 that costs over $600.

Another good thing about PinePhone is that you can experiment with the operating system by installing Ubuntu Touch, Plasma Mobile or Aurora OS/Sailfish OS.

These Linux-based smartphones don’t have the features to replace Android or iOS, yet. If you are looking for a fully functional smartphone to replace your Android smartphone, PinePhone is certainly not for you. It’s more for people who like to experiment and are not afraid to troubleshoot.

If you are looking to buy PinePhone, mark the date and set a reminder. There will be limited supply and what I have seen so far, Pine devices go out of stock pretty soon.

Are you going to pre-order a PinePhone? Let us know of your views in the comment section.

How To Update a Fedora Linux System [Beginner’s Tutorial]

Saturday 2nd of November 2019 10:55:31 AM

This quick tutorial shows various ways to update a Fedora Linux install.

So, the other day, I installed the newly released Fedora 31. I’ll be honest with you, it was my first time with a non-Ubuntu distribution.

The first thing I did after installing Fedora was to try and install some software. I opened the software center and found that the software center was ‘broken’. I couldn’t install any application from it.

I wasn’t sure what went wrong with my installation. Discussing within the team, Abhishek advised me to update the system first. I did that and poof! everything was back to normal. After updating the Fedora system, the software center worked as it should.

Sometimes we just ignore the updates and keep troubleshooting the issue we face. No matter how big/small the issue is – to avoid them, you should keep your system up-to-date.

In this article, I’ll show you various possible methods to update your Fedora Linux system.

Keep in mind that updating Fedora means installing the security patches, kernel updates and software updates. If you want to update from one version of Fedora to another, it is called version upgrade and you can read about Fedora version upgrade procedure here.

Updating Fedora From The Software Center Software Center

You will most likely be notified that you have some system updates to look at, you should end up launching the software center when you click on that notification.

All you have to do is – hit ‘Update’ and verify the root password to start updating.

In case you did not get a notification for the available updates, you can simply launch the software center and head to the “Updates” tab. Now, you just need to proceed with the updates listed.

Updating Fedora Using The Terminal

If you cannot load up the software center for some reason, you can always utilize the dnf package managing commands to easily update your system.

Simply launch the terminal and type in the following command to start updating (you should be prompted to verify the root password):

sudo dnf upgrade

dnf update vs dnf upgrade

You’ll find that there are two dnf commands available: dnf update and dnf upgrade.
Both command do the same job and that is to install all the updates provided by Fedora.
Then why there is dnf update and dnf upgrade and which one should you use?
Well, dnf update is basically an alias to dnf upgrade. While dnf update may still work, the good practice is to use dnf upgrade because that is the real command.

Updating Fedora From System Settings

If nothing else works (or if you’re already in the System settings for a reason), navigate your way to the “Details” option at the bottom of your settings.

This should show up the details of your OS and hardware along with a “Check for Updates” button as shown in the image above. You just need to click on it and provide the root/admin password to proceed to install the available updates.

Wrapping Up

As explained above, it is quite easy to update your Fedora installation. You’ve got three available methods to choose from – so you have nothing to worry about.

If you notice any issue in following the instructions mentioned above, feel free to let me know in the comments below.

Fedora 31 Released! Check Out The New Features

Wednesday 30th of October 2019 03:14:21 PM

After six months of Fedora 30 release, we have the next major version – Fedora 31 – available to download.

With this release, quite a few things have changed visually including several under-the-hood improvements

Changes and new features in Fedora 31

Here, I will highlight a few key changes so that you can decide whether you should upgrade to Fedora 31 or not. Also, we have a useful guide to help you upgrade your Fedora version – if you’re not sure how to do that.

Latest GNOME 3.34 Release

This is a big deal of Fedora Workstation users, with the latest and greatest GNOME update 3.34, you will find some visual changes and performance improvements.

It is easier to change the background or lock screen wallpaper with GNOME 3.34, the options are user-friendly and useful.

In addition to this, you can also create application folders in the overview to organize your app drawer.

Fedora Folder Icons

Basically, what’s new with GNOME 3.34 directly reflects here. You can check our coverage on GNOME 3.34 features to know more about. There’s also a separate blog post on GNOME.org covering the important changes with GNOME 3.34 for Fedora 31, you might want to check that as well.

Dropping 32-Bit Support

With Fedora 31, you will no longer find 32-bit bootable images. They have completely dropped the support for 32-bit i686 kernel.

Most popular 32-bit packages like Steam and Wine will continue to work, but do not expect great 32-bit support.

Docker Package Removed From Fedora 31

If you are using Docker, it is worth noting that with Fedora 31, they have enabled CGroups V2.

To highlight this, I would quote the official Fedora wiki page (the bug report page) addressing this particular change as follows:

The Docker package has been removed from Fedora 31. It has been replaced by the upstream package moby-engine, which includes the Docker CLI as well as the Docker Engine. However, we recommend instead that you use podman, which is a Cgroups v2-compatible container engine whose CLI is compatible with Docker’s. Fedora 31 uses Cgroups v2 by default.

Updated Packages

Of course, with a major release, several packages will be updated. Some of the notable upgrades are:

  • Glibc 2.30
  • NodeJS 12
  • Python 3 (Python 2 is reaching its end of life)
Updated Fedora Flavors & Improved Hardware Support

For desktop users, Fedora 31 Workstation matters. But, if you utilize other editions of Fedora, the new release will have a significant effect there as well.

For instance, Fedora Astronomy, Fedora IoT and so on.

They have also improved their support for certain SoCs like Rock64, RockPro 64 and several other chips.

Other Improvements

There’s actually a bunch of under-the-hood changes like disabling root password login in SSH.

Overall, it’s a good upgrade with a lot of positive changes for the users/developers. If you want more details, you can take a look at its official changelog.

Getting Fedora 31

Like any other Fedora release, Fedora 31 will also be supported for next thirteen months. This also means that Fedora 29 will reach end of life in a month. So if you are using Fedora 29, you should definitely plan upgrading.

Even if you are using Fedora 30, you should upgrade to the new release sooner or later. Abhishek’s advise is to wait for a couple of weeks for the bug fixes and then upgrade to the new version.

You can upgrade Fedora version from within your current Fedora install. You should be notified of the availability of the new release in the software center.

You can also download the ISO and install it afresh.

Get Fedora 31

Wrapping Up

Fedora 31 will be a new experience for me personally. I might share my experience with Fedora 31 as a follow up to this release post.

If you have already upgraded, what did you like the most about the new Fedora 31 release? Was it a smooth upgrade for you? Let me know your thoughts in the comments down below.

Get Premium Linux eBooks Worth $723 for $15 [Humble Bundle Deal]

Tuesday 29th of October 2019 10:00:46 AM

Humble Bundle is a digital e-store that provides limited-time massive discount deals on games, eBooks and audiobooks. Things that would normally cost you hundreds of dollars are made available in under $20. That’s not it. Part of each sale goes to a charity. In fact, they have raised over $155 million in charities so far.

So you get awesome stuff at unbelievable prices and at the same time you support a charity organization. Humble Bundle deals are ethically satisfying for this reason.

Humble Bundle has offered awesome eBooks bundles on a wide variety of topics in the past. Android app development, Python, Ruby, Cyber Security, Raspberry Pi are a few examples. I usually share relevant Humble Bundle deals in It’s FOSS weekly newsletter and they are loved by many of our subscribers.

Last year, I requested them for a Linux Bundle deal and they happily obliged it by creating a bundle offer of No Starch Press Linux books. It was a huge success for both Humble Bundle and No Starch Press with over 30,000 bundles sold.

Humble Bundle and No Starch Press have partnered again to bring another Linux (and BSD) book bundle. They have added new books to the offering this year.

Linux & BSD eBooks by No Starch Press (DRM-free) Linux & BSD Bookshelf by Humble Bundle

The Linux & BSD Bookshelf bundle consists of eBooks from No Starch Press. No Starch Press is a publishing house specializing in technical literature focused on geek, hacker, and DIY subcultures. They have some really good books like How Linux Works, The Linux Command Line etc.

The Linux and BSD book bundle has books worth $723. All of the eBooks can be downloaded in PDF, ePUB and MOBI format. Once purchased, you can download the books any time in the future from your Humble Bundle account. Books are DRM-free which means you own the book and can transfer it to any device you own. 

Part of your purchase will be donated to either No Starch Press Foundation or Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), an international non-profit fighting for privacy, transparency and net neutrality. You can also choose to donate part of the purchase to It’s FOSS as we are partners with Humble Bundle.

What do you get in the Linux Geek Bundle

The book bundle is divided into four section and it’s up to you to pay what you want.

If you pay $1(or more), you get all these eBooks:

These are the books you get for just $1
  • The Book of Audacity: Record, Edit, Mix, and Master with the Free Audio Editor
  • The Art of Debugging with GDB, DDD, and Eclipse (Recommended for C/C++ software developers)
  • The Artist’s Guide to GIMP: Creative Techniques for Photographers, Artists, and Designers
  • FreeBSD Device Drivers: A Guide for the Intrepid
  • Linux Firewalls: Attack Detection and Response with iptables, psad, and fwsnort
  • Perl One-Liners: 130 Programs That Get Things Done (Recommended for Perl developers/sysadmins)
  • Wicked Cool Shell Scripts: 101 Scripts for Linux, OS X, and UNIX Systems (Highly recommended for advanced Linux users and sysadmins)

If you pay $8 (or more), you will get the following books in addition to the previous ones:

Additional books you’ll get for $8
  • The GNU Make Book
  • The Book of PF: A No-Nonsense Guide to the OpenBSD Firewall
  • The Book of Inkscape: The Definitive Guide to the Free Graphics Editor
  • The Book of GIMP: A Complete Guide to Nearly Everything
  • Blender Master Class: A Hands-On Guide to Modeling, Sculpting, Materials, and Rendering
  • Absolute OpenBSD: Unix for the Practical Paranoid

And if you pay $15 (or more), you’ll get all of the above books and the following additional ones:

For $15, you’ll get these books along with the previous ones
  • Autotools: A Practitioner’s Guide to GNU Autoconf, Automake, and Libtool
  • Your Linux Toolbox
  • The TCP/IP Guide: A Comprehensive, Illustrated Internet Protocols Reference
  • The Linux Command Line: A Complete Introduction
  • Linux Basics for Hackers: Getting Started with Networking, Scripting, and Security in Kali
  • How Linux Works (Must for every Linux user)
  • Absolute FreeBSD: The Complete Guide to FreeBSD

You can also buy the Linux & BSD book bundle as a gift for someone else. 

Get ‘Linux & BSD Humble Book Bundle’ now Don’t miss the deal

It’s not every day that I write about deals unless it’s something really awesome and useful for Linux users like you. This is one of those rare deals that I highly recommend. The deal is a win-win for a number of reasons.

  • DRM-free Linux and programming eBooks in PDF, MOBI and ePub formats
  • Books can be downloaded any time in future
  • You can gift the book bundle to a friend, colleague or family member
  • Indirectly contribute to EFF in fighting for Net Neutrality

You may not need all the books in the bundle but a few books like How Linux Works itself are good enough for buying the entire bundle. Go and buy it. You won’t get such an awesome deal anytime soon.

Note: It’s FOSS is an affiliate partner with Humble Bundle. As mentioned earlier, part of the sale may be shared with us with no additional cost to you. Please read our affiliate policy for more info.

Collapse OS – An OS Created to Run After the World Ends

Saturday 26th of October 2019 04:50:13 AM

When most people think about preparing for a post-apocalyptic world, the first time that comes to mind is food and other living essentials. Recently, a programmer has decided that it would be just as important to create a versatile and survivable operating system after the collapse of society. We will be taking a look at it today, as best we can.

Collapse OS – For when the fecal matter hits the rotating device

The operating system in question is called Collapse OS. According to the website, Collapse OS is a “z80 kernel and a collection of programs, tools and documentation”. It would allow you to:

  • Run on minimal and improvised machines.
  • Interface through improvised means (serial, keyboard, display).
  • Edit text files.
  • Compile assembler source files for a wide range of MCUs and CPUs.
  • Read and write from a wide range of storage devices.
  • Replicate itself.

The creator, Virgil Dupras, started the project because he sees “our global supply chain to collapse before we reach 2030”. He bases this conclusion on the works of Pablo Servigne. He seems to understand that not everyone shares his views. “That being said, I don’t consider it unreasonable to not believe that collapse is likely to happen by 2030, so please, don’t feel attacked by my beliefs.”

The overall goal of the project is to jumpstart a post-collapse civilization’s return to the computer age. The production of electronics depends on a very complex supply chain. Once that supply chain crumbles, man will go back to a less technical age. It would take decades to regain our previous technical position. Dupras hopes to jump several steps by creating an ecosystem that will work with simpler chips that can be scavenged from a wide variety of sources.

What is the z80?

The initial CollapseOS kernel is written for the z80 chip. As a retro computing history buff, I am familiar with Zilog and it’s z80 chip. In the late 1970s, Zilog introduced the z80 to compete with Intel’s 8080 CPU. The z80 was used in a whole bunch of early personal computers, such as the Sinclair ZX Spectrum and the Tandy TRS-80. The majority of these systems used the CP/M operating system, which was the top operating system of the time. (Interestingly, Dupras was originally looking to use an open-source implementation of CP/M, but ultimately decided to start from scratch.)

Both the z80 and CP/M started to decline in popularity after the IBM PC was released in 1981. Zilog did release several other microprocessors (Z8000 and Z80000), but these did not take off. The company switched its focus to microcontrollers. Today, an updated descendant of the z80 can be found in graphic calculators, embedded devices and consumer electronics.

Dupras said on Reddit that he wrote Collapse OS for the z80 because “it’s been in production for so long and because it’s been used in so many machines, scavenger have good chances of getting their hands on it.”

Current status and future of the project

Collapse OS has a pretty decent start. It can self replicate with enough RAM and storage. It is capable of running on an RC2014 homebrew computer or a Sega Master System/MegaDrive (Genesis). It can read SD cards. It has a simple text editor. The kernel is made up of modules that are connected with glue code. This is designed to make the system flexible and adaptable.

There is also a detailed roadmap laying out the direction of the project. Listed goals include:

  • Support for other CPUs, such as 8080 and 6502
  • Support for improvised peripherals, such as LCD screens, E-ink displays, and ACIA devices.
  • Support for more storage options, such as floppys, CDs, SPI RAM/ROMs, and AVR MCUs
  • Get it to work on other z80 machines, such as TI-83+ and TI-84+ graphing calculators and TRS-80s

If you are interested in helping out or just taking a peek at the project, be sure to visit their GitHub page.

Final Thoughts

To put it bluntly, I see Collapse OS as more of a fun hobby project (for those who like building operating systems), than something useful. When a collapse does come, how will Collapse OS get distributed, since I imagine that GitHub will be down? I can’t imagine more than a handful of skill people being able to create a system from scavenged parts. There is a whole new generation of makers out there, but most of them are used to picking up an Arduino or a Raspberry Pi and building their project than starting from scratch.

Contrary to Dupras, my biggest concern is the use of EMPs. These things fry all electrical systems, meaning there would be nothing left to scavenge to build system. If that doesn’t happen, I imagine that we would be able to find enough x86 components made over the past 30 years to keep things going.

That being said, Collapse OS sounds like a fun and challenging project to people who like to program in low-level code for strange applications. If you are such a person, check out Collapse OS.

Hypothetical question: what is your post-apocalyptic operating system of choice? 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.

MX Linux 19 Released With Debian 10.1 ‘Buster’ & Other Improvements

Thursday 24th of October 2019 11:36:27 AM

MX Linux 18 has been one of my top recommendations for the best Linux distributions, specially when considering distros other than Ubuntu.

It is based on Debian 9.6 ‘Stretch’ – which was incredibly a fast and smooth experience.

Now, as a major upgrade to that, MX Linux 19 brings a lot of major improvements and changes. Here, we shall take a look at the key highlights.

New features in MX Linux 19 Subscribe to our YouTube channel for more Linux videos Debian 10 ‘Buster’

This deserves a separate mention as Debian 10 is indeed a major upgrade from Debian 9.6 ‘Stretch’ on which MX Linux 18 was based on.

In case you’re curious about what has changed with Debian 10 Buster, we suggest to check out our article on the new features of Debian 10 Buster.

Xfce Desktop 4.14 MX Linux 19

Xfce 4.14 happens to be the latest offering from Xfce development team. Personally, I’m not a fan of Xfce desktop environment but it screams fast performance when you get to use it on a Linux distro (especially on MX Linux 19).

Interestingly, we also have a quick guide to help you customize Xfce on your system.

Updated Packages & Latest Debian Kernel 4.19

Along with updated packages for GIMP, MESA, Firefox, and so on – it also comes baked in with the latest kernel 4.19 available for Debian Buster.

Updated MX-Apps

If you’ve used MX Linux before, you might be knowing that it comes pre-installed with useful MX-Apps that help you get more things done quickly.

The apps like MX-installer and MX-packageinstaller have significantly improved.

In addition to these two, all other MX-tools have been updated here and there to fix bugs, add new translations (or simply to improve the user experience).

Other Improvements

Considering it a major upgrade, there’s obviously a lot of under-the-hood changes than highlighted (including the latest antiX live system updates).

You can check out more details on their official announcement post. You may also watch this video from the developers explaining all the new stuff in MX Linux 19:

Getting MX Linux 19

Even if you are using MX Linux 18 versions right now, you cannot upgrade to MX Linux 19. You need to go for a clean install like everyone else.

You can download MX Linux 19 from this page:

Download MX Linux 19

Wrapping Up

With MX Linux 18, I had a problem using my WiFi adapter due to a driver issue which I resolved through the forum, it seems that it still hasn’t been fixed with MX Linux 19. So, you might want to take a look at my forum post if you face the same issue after installing MX Linux 19.

If you’ve been using MX Linux 18, this definitely seems to be an impressive upgrade.

Have you tried it yet? What are your thoughts on the new MX Linux 19 release? Let me know what you think in the comments below.

Open Source CMS Ghost 3.0 Released with New features for Publishers

Wednesday 23rd of October 2019 06:29:34 AM

Ghost is a free and open source content management system (CMS). If you are not aware of the term, a CMS is a software that allows you to build a website that is primarily focused on creating content without knowledge of HTML and other web-related technologies.

Ghost is in fact one of the best open source CMS out there. It’s main focus is on creating lightweight, fast loading and good looking blogs.

It has a modern intuitive editor with built-in SEO features. You also have native desktop (Linux including) and mobile apps. If you like terminal, you can also use the CLI tools it provides.

Let’s see what new feature Ghost 3.0 brings.

New Features in Ghost 3.0

I’m usually intrigued by open source CMS solutions – so after reading the official announcement post, I went ahead and gave it a try by installing a new Ghost instance via Digital Ocean cloud server.

I was really impressed with the improvements they’ve made with the features and the UI compared to the previous version.

Here, I shall list out the key changes/additions worth mentioning.

Bookmark Cards

In addition to all the subtle change to the editor, it now lets you add a beautiful bookmark card by just entering the URL.

If you have used WordPress – you may have noticed that you need to have a plugin in order to add a card like that – so it is definitely a useful addition in Ghost 3.0.

Improved WordPress Migration Plugin

I haven’t tested this in particular but they have updated their WordPress migration plugin to let you easily clone the posts (with images) to Ghost CMS.

Basically, with the plugin, you will be able to create an archive (with images) and import it to Ghost CMS.

Responsive Image Galleries & Images

To make the user experience better, they have also updated the image galleries (which is now responsive) to present your picture collection comfortably across all devices.

In addition, the images in post/pages are now responsive as well.

Members & Subscriptions option Ghost Subscription Model

Even though the feature is still in the beta phase, it lets you add members and a subscription model for your blog if you choose to make it a premium publication to sustain your business.

With this feature, you can make sure that your blog can only be accessed by the subscribed members or choose to make it available to the public in addition to the subscription.

Stripe: Payment Integration

It supports Stripe payment gateway by default to help you easily enable the subscription (or any type of payments) with no additional fee charged by Ghost.

New App Integrations

You can now integrate a variety of popular applications/services with your blog on Ghost 3.0. It could come in handy to automate a lot of things.

Default Theme Improvement

The default theme (design) that comes baked in has improved and now offers a dark mode as well.

You can always choose to create a custom theme as well (if not pre-built themes available).

Other Minor Improvements

In addition to all the key highlights, the visual editor to create posts/pages has improved as well (with some drag and drop capabilities).

I’m sure there’s a lot of technical changes as well – which you can check it out in their changelog if you’re interested.

Ghost is gradually getting good traction

It’s not easy to make your mark in a world dominated by WordPress. But Ghost has gradually formed a dedicated community of publishers around it.

Not only that, their managed hosting service Ghost Pro now has customers like NASA, Mozilla and DuckDuckGo.

In last six years, Ghost has made $5 million in revenue from their Ghost Pro customers . Considering that they are a non-profit organization working on open source solution, this is indeed an achievement.

This helps them remain independent by avoiding external funding from venture capitalists. The more customers for managed Ghost CMS hosting, the more funds goes into the development of the free and open source CMS.

Overall, Ghost 3.0 is by far the best upgrade they’ve offered. I’m personally impressed with the features.

If you have websites of your own, what CMS do you use? Have you ever used Ghost? How’s your experience with it? Do share your thoughts in the comment section.

Disney’s Streaming Service is Having Troubles with Linux

Tuesday 22nd of October 2019 11:26:38 AM

Update

Some readers have noticed that Disney has fixed this issue after wide outrage by Linux users. You should be able to watch Disney+ on Linux now.

You might be already using Amazon Prime Video (comes free with Amazon Prime membership) or Netflix on your Linux system. Google Chrome supports these streaming services out of the box. You can also watch Netflix on Firefox in Linux but you have to explicitly enable DRM content.

However we just learned that Disney’s upcoming streaming service, Disney+ does not work in the same way.

A user, Hans de Goede, on LiveJournal revealed this from his experience with Disney+ in the testing period. In fact, the upcoming streaming service Disney+ does not support Linux at all, at least for now.

The trouble with Disney+ and DRM

As Hans explains in his post, he subscribed to the streaming service in the testing period because of the availability of Disney+ in Netherlands.

Hans tested it on Fedora with mainstream browsers like Firefox and Chrome. However, every time, an error was encountered – “Error Code 83“.

So, he reached out to Disney support to solve the issue – but interestingly they weren’t even properly aware of the issue as it took them a week to give him a response.

Here’s how he puts his experience:

So I mailed the Disney helpdesk about this, explaining how Linux works fine with Netflix, AmazonPrime video and even the web-app from my local cable provider. They promised to get back to me in 24 hours, the eventually got back to me in about a week. They wrote: “We are familiar with Error 83. This often happens if you want to play Disney + via the web browser or certain devices. Our IT department working hard to solve this. In the meantime, I want to advise you to watch Disney + via the app on a phone or tablet. If this error code still occurs in a few days, you can check the help center …” this was on September 23th.

They just blatantly advised him to use his phone/tablet to access the streaming service instead. That’s genius!

Disney should reconsider their DRM implementation

What is DRM?

Digital Rights Management (DRM) technologies attempt to control what you can and can’t do with the media and hardware you’ve purchased.

Even though they want to make sure that their content remains protected from pirates (which won’t make a difference either), it creates a problem with the support for multiple platforms.

How on earth do you expect more people to subscribe to your streaming service when you do not even support platforms like Linux? So many media center devices run on Linux. This will be a big setback if Disney continues like this.

To shed some light on the issue, a user on tweakers.net found out that it is a Widevine error. Here, it generally means that your device is incompatible with the security level of DRM implemented.

It turns out that it isn’t just limited to Linux – but a lot of users are encountering the same error on other platforms as well.

In addition to the wave of issues, the Widevine error also points to a fact that Disney+ may not even work on Chromebooks, some Android smartphones, and Linux desktops in general. However, Disney just confirmed that Disney+ will be running on Chromebooks and Android devices.

Go easy, Disney!

A common DRM (low-level security) implementation with Disney+ should make it accessible on every platform including Linux systems.

Disney+ might want to re-think about the DRM implementation if they want to compete with other streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.

Personally, I would prefer to stay with Netflix if Disney does not care about supporting multiple platforms.

It is not actually about supporting “Linux” but conveniently making the streaming service available for more platforms which could justify its subscription fee.

What do you think about this? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Beginner’s Guide to Handle Various Update Related Errors in Ubuntu

Monday 21st of October 2019 11:13:34 AM

Who hasn’t come across an error while doing an update in Ubuntu? Update errors are common and plenty in Ubuntu and other Linux distributions based on Ubuntu. Here are some common Ubuntu update errors and their fixes.

This article is part of Ubuntu beginner series that explains the know-how of Ubuntu so that a new user could understand the things better.

In an earlier article, I discussed how to update Ubuntu. In this tutorial, I’ll discuss some common errors you may encounter while updating Ubuntu. It usually happens because you tried to add software or repositories on your own and that probably caused an issue.

There is no need to panic if you see the errors while updating your system.The errors are common and the fix is easy. You’ll learn how to fix those common update errors.

Before you begin, I highly advise reading these two articles to have a better understanding of the repository concept in Ubuntu.

Understand Ubuntu repositories

Learn what are various repositories in Ubuntu and how they enable you to install software in your system.

Read MoreUnderstanding PPA in Ubuntu

Further improve your concept of repositories and package handling in Ubuntu with this detailed guide on PPA.

Read More Error 0: Failed to download repository information

Many Ubuntu desktop users update their system through the graphical software updater tool. You are notified that updates are available for your system and you can click one button to start downloading and installing the updates.

Well, that’s what usually happens. But sometimes you’ll see an error like this:

Failed to download repository information. Check your internet connection.

That’s a weird error because your internet connection is most likely working just fine and it still says to check the internet connection.

Did you note that I called it ‘error 0’? It’s because it’s not an error in itself. I mean, most probably, it has nothing to do with the internet connection. But there is no useful information other than this misleading error message.

If you see this error message and your internet connection is working fine, it’s time to put on your detective hat and use your grey cells (as Hercule Poirot would say).

You’ll have to use the command line here. You can use Ctrl+Alt+T keyboard shortcut to open the terminal in Ubuntu. In the terminal, use this command:

sudo apt update

Let the command finish. Observe the last three-four lines of its output. That will give you the real reason why sudo apt-get update fails. Here’s an example:

Rest of the tutorial here shows how to handle the errors that you just saw in the last few lines of the update command output.

Error 1: Problem With MergeList

When you run update in terminal, you may see an error “problem with MergeList” like below:

E:Encountered a section with no Package: header, E:Problem with MergeList /var/lib/apt/lists/archive.ubuntu.com_ubuntu_dists_precise_universe_binary-i386_Packages, E:The package lists or status file could not be parsed or opened.’

For some reasons, the file in /var/lib/apt/lists directory got corrupted. You can delete all the files in this directory and run the update again to regenerate everything afresh. Use the following commands one by one:

sudo rm -r /var/lib/apt/lists/* sudo apt-get clean && sudo apt-get update

Your problem should be fixed.

Error 2: Hash Sum mismatch

If you find an error that talks about Hash Sum mismatch, the fix is the same as the one in the previous error.

W:Failed to fetch bzip2:/var/lib/apt/lists/partial/in.archive.ubuntu.com_ubuntu_dists_oneiric_restricted_binary-i386_Packages Hash Sum mismatch, W:Failed to fetch bzip2:/var/lib/apt/lists/partial/in.archive.ubuntu.com_ubuntu_dists_oneiric_multiverse_binary-i386_Packages Hash Sum mismatch, E:Some index files failed to download. They have been ignored, or old ones used instead

The error occurs possibly because of a mismatched metadata cache between the server and your system. You can use the following commands to fix it:

sudo rm -rf /var/lib/apt/lists/* sudo apt update Error 3: Failed to fetch with error 404 not found

If you try adding a PPA repository that is not available for your current Ubuntu version, you’ll see that it throws a 404 not found error.

W: Failed to fetch http://ppa.launchpad.net/venerix/pkg/ubuntu/dists/raring/main/binary-i386/Packages 404 Not Found E: Some index files failed to download. They have been ignored, or old ones used instead.

You added a PPA hoping to install an application but it is not available for your Ubuntu version and you are now stuck with the update error. This is why you should check beforehand if a PPA is available for your Ubuntu version or not. I have discussed how to check the PPA availability in the detailed PPA guide.

Anyway, the fix here is that you remove the troublesome PPA from your list of repositories. Note the PPA name from the error message. Go to Software & Updates tool:

Open Software & Updates

In here, move to Other Software tab and look for that PPA. Uncheck the box to remove the PPA from your system.

Remove PPA Using Software & Updates In Ubuntu

Your software list will be updated when you do that. Now if you run the update again, you shouldn’t see the error.

Error 4: Failed to download package files error

A similar error is failed to download package files error like this:

In this case, a newer version of the software is available but it’s not propagated to all the mirrors. If you are not using a mirror, easily fixed by changing the software sources to Main server. Please read this article for more details on failed to download package error.

Go to Software & Updates and in there changed the download server to Main server:

Error 5: GPG error: The following signatures couldn’t be verified

Adding a PPA may also result in the following GPG error: The following signatures couldn’t be verified when you try to run an update in terminal:

W: GPG error: http://repo.mate-desktop.org saucy InRelease: The following signatures couldn’t be verified because the public key is not available: NO_PUBKEY 68980A0EA10B4DE8

All you need to do is to fetch this public key in the system. Get the key number from the message. In the above message, the key is 68980A0EA10B4DE8.

This key can be used in the following manner:

sudo apt-key adv --keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com --recv-keys 68980A0EA10B4DE8

Once the key has been added, run the update again and it should be fine.

Error 6: BADSIG error

Another signature related Ubuntu update error is BADSIG error which looks something like this:

W: A error occurred during the signature verification. The repository is not updated and the previous index files will be used. GPG error: http://extras.ubuntu.com precise Release: The following signatures were invalid: BADSIG 16126D3A3E5C1192 Ubuntu Extras Archive Automatic Signing Key
W: GPG error: http://ppa.launchpad.net precise Release:
The following signatures were invalid: BADSIG 4C1CBC1B69B0E2F4 Launchpad PPA for Jonathan French W: Failed to fetch http://extras.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/dists/precise/Release

All the repositories are signed with the GPG and for some reason, your system finds them invalid. You’ll need to update the signature keys. The easiest way to do that is by regenerating the apt packages list (with their signature keys) and it should have the correct key.

Use the following commands one by one in the terminal:

cd /var/lib/apt sudo mv lists oldlist sudo mkdir -p lists/partial sudo apt-get clean sudo apt-get update Error 7: Partial upgrade error

Running updates in terminal may throw this partial upgrade error:

Not all updates can be installed
Run a partial upgrade, to install as many updates as possible

Run the following command in terminal to fix this error:

sudo apt-get install -f Error 8: Could not get lock /var/cache/apt/archives/lock

This error happens when another program is using APT. Suppose you are installing some thing in Ubuntu Software Center and at the same time, trying to run apt in terminal.

E: Could not get lock /var/cache/apt/archives/lock – open (11: Resource temporarily unavailable)
E: Unable to lock directory /var/cache/apt/archives/

Check if some other program might be using apt. It could be a command running terminal, Software Center, Software Updater, Software & Updates or any other software that deals with installing and removing applications.

If you can close other such programs, close them. If there is a process in progress, wait for it to finish.

If you cannot find any such programs, use the following command to kill all such running processes:

sudo killall apt apt-get

This is a tricky problem and if the problem still persists, please read this detailed tutorial on fixing the unable to lock the administration directory error in Ubuntu.

Any other update error you encountered?

That compiles the list of frequent Ubuntu update errors you may encounter. I hope this helps you to get rid of these errors.

Have you encountered any other update error in Ubuntu recently that hasn’t been covered here? Do mention it in comments and I’ll try to do a quick tutorial on it.

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