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Updated: 16 min 11 sec ago

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.

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