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The Background Story of AppImage [Interview]

Friday 14th of February 2020 05:38:14 AM

As a Linux user, you might have come across AppImages. This is a portable packaging format that allows you to run an application on any Linux distribution.

Using AppImage is really simple. You just need to give it execute permission and double click to run it, like the .exe files in Windows. This solves a major problem in Linux as different kind of distributions have different kind of packaging formats. You cannot install .deb files (of Debian/Ubuntu) on Fedora and vice versa.

We talked to Simon, the developer of AppImage, about how and why he created this project. Read some of the interesting background story and insights Simon shares about AppImage.

Interacting with Simon Peter, the creator of AppImage

It’s FOSS: Few people know about the person behind AppImage. How about sharing a little background information about yourself?

Simon: Hi, I’m Simon Peter, based near Frankfurt in Germany. My background is in Economics and Business Administration, but I’ve always been a tinkerer and hacker in my free time, and been working in tech ever since I graduated.

AppImage, though, is strictly a hobby which I enjoy working on in my spare time. I do a lot of my AppImage work while I’m on a train going from here to there. Somehow I seem to be on the move all the time. Professionally, I work in the product management of a large telecommunications company.

It’s FOSS: Why did you create AppImage?

Simon: The first computer I could get my hands on was a Macintosh in the late 80s. For me, this is the benchmark when it comes to simplicity and usability. When I started to experiment with Linux on the desktop, I always wished it was as elegant and simple to operate and gave me as much flexibility as the early Macs.

When I tried Linux for the first time in the late 90s, I had to go through a cumbersome process formatting and partitioning hard disks, installing stuff – it took a lot of time and was really cumbersome. A couple of years later, I tried out a Linux Live CD-ROM. It was a complete game changer. You popped in the CD, booted the computer, and everything just worked, right out of the box. No installation, no configuration. The system was always in factory-new state whenever you rebooted the machine. Exactly how I liked it.

There was only one downside: You could not install additional applications on a read-only CD. Packages always insisted on writing in /usr, where the Live CD was not writeable. Thus, I asked myself: Why can’t I just put applications wherever I want, like on a USB drive or a network share, as I am used from the Mac? How cool would it be if every application was just one single file that I could put wherever I want? And thus the idea for AppImage was born (back then under the name of “klik”).

Turns out that over time Live systems have become more capable, but I still like the simplicity and freedom that comes with the “one app = one file” idea. For example, I want to be in control of where stuff resides on my hard disks. I want to decide what to update or not to update and when. For most tasks I need a stable, rarely-changing operating system with the latest applications. To this day all I ever run are Live systems, because the operating system “just works” out of the box without any installation or configuration on my side, and every time I reboot the machine I have a “factory new”, known-good state.

It’s FOSS: What challenges did you face in the past and what challenges are you facing right now?

Simon: People told me that the idea was nuts, and I had no clue how “things are done on Linux”. Just about when I was beginning to give in, I came across a video of Linus Torvalds of all people who I noticed was complaining about many of the same things that I always had felt were too complicated when it came to distributing applications for Linux. While I was watching his rant, I also noticed, hey, AppImage actually solves many of those issues. Some time later, Linus came across AppImage, and he apparently liked the idea. That made me think, maybe it’s not that stupid an idea as people had made me believe all the time up to that point.

Today, people tend to mention AppImage as “one of the new package formats” together with Snap and Flatpak. I think that’s comparing apples to oranges. Not only is AppImage not “new” (it’s been around since well over a decade by now), but also it has very different objectives and design principles than the other systems. AppImage is all about single-file application bundles that can be “managed” by nothing else than a web browser and a file manager. It’s meant for “mere morals”, end users, not system administrators. It needs no package manager, it needs no root rights, it needs nothing to be installed on the system. It gives complete freedom to application developers and users.

It’s FOSS: AppImage is a “universal packaging system” and there you compete with Snap (backed by Ubuntu) and Flatpak (backed by Fedora). How do you plan to ‘fight’ against these big corporates?

Simon: See? That’s what I mean. AppImage plays in an entirely different playing field.

AppImage wants to be what exe files or PortableApps are for Windows and what apps inside dmg files are on the Mac – but better.

Besides, Snap (backed by Canonical) does not work out-of-the-box on Fedora, and Flatpak (backed by Red Hat) does not work out-of-the-box on Ubuntu. AppImages can run on either system, and many more, without the need to install anything.

It’s FOSS: How do you see the adoption of AppImage? Are you happy with its growth?

Simon: As of early 2020, there are now around 1,000 official AppImages made by the respective application authors that are passing my compatibility tests and can run on the oldest still-supported Ubuntu LTS release, and hundreds more are being worked on as we speak. “Household name” applications like Inkscape, Kdenlive, KDevelop, LibreOffice, PrusaSlicer, Scribus, Slic3r, Ultimaker Cura (too many to name them all) are being distributed in AppImage format. This makes me very happy and I am always excited when I read about a new version being released on Twitter, and then am able to download and run the AppImage instantly, without having to wait for my Linux distribution to carry that new version, and without having to throw away the old (known-good) version just because I want to try out the new (bleeding edge) one.

The adoption of AppImage is especially strong for nightly and continuous builds. This is because the “one app = one file” concept of AppImage lends itself especially well to try-out software, where you keep multiple versions around for testing purposes, and never have to install anything into the running system. Worst thing that can happen with AppImage is that an application does not launch. In that case, file a bug, delete the file, done. Worst thing that can happen with distribution packages: complete system breakage…

It’s FOSS: One major issue with AppImage is that not all the developers provide an easy way of updating the AppImage versions. Any suggestions for handling it?

Simon: AppImage has this concept of “binary delta updates”. Think of it as “diff for applications”. A new version of an application comes out, you download only the parts that have changed, and apply them to the old version. As a result, you get both the old and the new version and can keep them in parallel until you have determined that you don’t need the old version any longer, and throw it away.

In general, I don’t want to enforce anything with AppImage. Application authors are at liberty to control the whole experience. Up to now, application authors have to do some setup work to make AppImages with this update capability. That being said, I am convinced that if we make it easy enough for developers to get working binary delta updates “for free”, then many will offer them. To this end, I am currently working on a new set of tools written in Go that will set up updates almost automatically, and I hope this will significantly increase the percentage of AppImages that come with this capability.

It’s FOSS: Nitrux is one of the rare distributions that relies heavily on AppImage. Or there any other such distributions? What can be done make AppImage more popular?

Simon: Linux distributions traditionally have thought of themselves as more than just the base operating system itself – they also wanted to control application distribution. Now, as Apple and Microsoft are trying to get more control over application distribution on their desktop platforms, the trend is slowly reversing in Linux land where people are slowly beginning to understand that distributions could be much more polished if they focused on the base operating system and left the packaging of applications to the application authors.

To make AppImage more popular, I think users and application authors should continue to spread the word that upstream-provided AppImages are in many cases working better than distribution packages. With AppImage, you get a software stack where the application author had a chance to cherry-pick which versions of libraries work together, test and tune both functionality and performance. Who is surprised that the result tends to work better than a “random” combination of whatever versions happened to be in a Linux distribution at a certain, random point in time when a distribution release was put together?

Desktop environments could greatly increase usability, not only for AppImages, but also for any other kind of “side-loaded” applications that are not being installed. Just see how a desktop environments handles double-clicking on an executable file that is missing the executable bit. Some are doing a great job in this regard, like Deepin Linux. Stuff tends to “just work” there as it should.

Finally, I am currently working on a new set of tools written in Go which I hope will greatly simplify, and make yet more enjoyable, the production and consumption of AppImages. My goal here is to make things less complex for users, remove the need for configuration, make things “just work”, like on the early Macintoshes. Are there any Go developers out here interested to join the effort?

It’s FOSS: I can see there is a website that lists available AppImage applications. Do you have plans to integrate it with other software managers on Linux or create a software manager for AppImage?

Simon: appimage.github.io lists AppImages that have passed my compatibility tests on the oldest still-supported Ubuntu LTS release. Projects creating app stores or software managers are free to use this data. Myself, I am not much interested in those things as I always download AppImages right from the respective project’s download pages. My typical AppImage discovery goes like this:

  1. Read on Twitter that PrusaSlicer has this cool new feature
  2. Go to the PrusaSlicer GitHub project and read the release notes there
  3. While there, download the AppImage and have it running a few seconds later

So for me personally, I have no need for app centers and app stores, but if people like them, they are free to put AppImages in there. I just never felt the need…

It’s FOSS: What plans do you have for AppImage in future (new features that you plan to add)?

Simon: Simplify things even more, remove configuration options, make things “just work”. Reduce the number of GitHub projects needed to get the core AppImage experience for producing and consuming AppImages, including aspects like binary delta updates, sandboxing, etc. Improve usability.

It’s FOSS: Does AppImage project makes money? What kind of support (if any) do you seek from the end users?

Simon: No, AppImage makes no money whatsoever.

I’ll just request the readers to spread the word. Tell your favorite application’s authors that you’d like to see an AppImage, and why.

Team It’s FOSS congratulates Simon for his hard work. Please feel free to convey any message and queries to him in the comment section.

KDE Plasma 5.18 LTS Released With New Features

Wednesday 12th of February 2020 10:30:15 AM

KDE plasma desktop is undoubtedly one of the most impressive Linux desktop environments available out there right now.

Now, with the latest release, the KDE Plasma desktop just got more awesome!

KDE Plasma 5.18 marks itself as an LTS (Long Term Support) release i.e it will be maintained by the KDE contributors for the next 2 years while the regular versions are maintained for just 4 months.

KDE Plasma 5.18 on KDE Neon

So, if you want more stability on your KDE-powered Linux system, it would be a good idea to upgrade to KDE’s Plasma 5.18 LTS release.

KDE Plasma 5.18 LTS Features

Here are the main new features added in this release:

Emoji Selector Emoji Selector in KDE

Normally, you would Google an emoji to copy it to your clipboard or simply use the good-old emoticons to express yourself.

Now, with the latest update, you get an emoji selector in Plasma Desktop. You can simply find it by searching for it in the application launcher or by just pressing (Windows key/Meta/Super Key) + . (period/dot).

The shortcut should come in handy when you need to use an emoji while sending an email or any other sort of messages.

Global Edit Mode Global Edit Mode

You probably would have used the old desktop toolbox on the top-right corner of the screen in the Plasma desktop, but the new release gets rid of that and instead – provides you with a global edit mode when you right-click on the desktop and click on “Customize Layout“.

Night Color Control Night Color Control

Now, you can easily toggle the night color mode right from the system tray. In addition to that, you can even choose to set a keyboard shortcut for both night color and the do not disturb mode.

Privacy Improvements For User Feedback Improved Privacy

It is worth noting that KDE Plasma lets you control the user feedback information that you share with them.

You can either choose to disable sharing any information at all or control the level of information you share (basic, intermediate, and detailed).

Global Themes Themes

You can either choose from the default global themes available or download community-crafted themes to set up on your system.

UI Improvements

There are several subtle improvements and changes. For instance, the look and feel of the notifications have improved.

You can also notice a couple of differences in the software center (Discover) to help you easily install apps.

Not just limited to that, but you also get the ability to mute the volume of a window from the taskbar (just like you normally do on your browser’s tab). Similarly, there are a couple of changes here and there to improve the KDE Plasma experience.

Other Changes

In addition to the visual changes and customization ability, the performance of KDE Plasma has improved when coupled with a graphics hardware.

To know more about the changes, you can refer the official announcement post for KDE Plasma 5.18 LTS.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel for more Linux videos How To Get KDE Plasma 5.18 LTS?

If you are using a rolling release distribution like Arch Linux, you might have got it with the system updates. If you haven’t performed an update yet, simply check for updates from the system settings.

If you are using Kubuntu, you can add the Kubuntu backports PPA to update the Plasma desktop with the following commands:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:kubuntu-ppa/backports sudo apt update && sudo apt full-upgrade

If you do not have KDE as your desktop environment, you can refer our article on how to install KDE on Ubuntu to get started.

Wrapping Up

KDE Plasma 5.18 may not involve a whole lot of changes – but being an LTS release, the key new features seem helpful and should come in handy to improve the Plasma desktop experience for everyone.

What do you think about the latest Plasma desktop release? Feel free to let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

OpenShot Video Editor Gets a Major Update With Version 2.5 Release

Tuesday 11th of February 2020 10:10:28 AM

OpenShot is one of the best open-source video editors out there. With all the features that it offered – it was already a good video editor on Linux.

Now, with a major update to it (v.2.5.0), OpenShot has added a lot of new improvements and features. And, trust me, it’s not just any regular release – it is a huge release packed with features that you probably wanted for a very long time.

In this article, I will briefly mention the key changes involved in the latest release.

OpenShot 2.5.0 Key Features

Here are some of the major new features and improvements in OpenShot 2.5:

Hardware Acceleration Support

The hardware acceleration support is still an experimental addition – however, it is a useful feature to have.

Instead of relying on your CPU to do all the hard work, you can utilize your GPU to encode/decode video data when working with MP4/H.264 video files.

This will affect (or improve) the performance of OpenShot in a meaningful way.

Support Importing/Exporting Files From Final Cut Pro & Premiere

Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere are the two popular video editors for professional content creators. OpenShot 2.5 now allows you to work on projects created on these platforms. It can import (or export) the files from Final Cut Pro & Premiere in EDL & XML formats.

Thumbnail Generation Improved

This isn’t a big feature – but a necessary improvement to most of the video editors. You don’t want broken images in the thumbnails (your timeline/library). So, with this update, OpenShot now generates the thumbnails using a local HTTP server, can check multiple folder locations, and regenerate missing ones.

Blender 2.8+ Support

The new OpenShot release also supports the latest Blender (.blend) format – so it should come in handy if you’re using Blender as well.

Easily Recover Previous Saves & Improved Auto-backup

It was always a horror to lose your timeline work after you accidentally deleted it – which was then auto-saved to overwrite your saved project.

Now, the auto-backup feature has improved with an added ability to easily recover your previous saved version of the project.

Even though you can recover your previous saves now – you will find a limited number of the saved versions, so you have to still remain careful.

Other Improvements

In addition to all the key highlights mentioned above, you will also notice a performance improvement when using the keyframe system.

Several other issues like SVG compatibility, exporting & modifying keyframe data, and resizable preview window have been fixed in this major update. For privacy-concerned users, OpenShot no longer sends usage data unless you opt-in to share it with them.

For more information, you can take a look at OpenShot’s official blog post to get the release notes.

Installing OpenShot 2.5 on Linux

You can simply download the .AppImage file from its official download page to install the latest OpenShot version. If you’re new to AppImage, you should also check out how to use AppImage on Linux to easily launch OpenShot.

Download Latest OpenShot Release

Some distributions like Arch Linux may also provide the latest OpenShot release with regular system updates.

PPA available for Ubuntu-based distributions

On Ubuntu-based distributions, if you don’t want to use AppImage, you can use the official PPA from OpenShot:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:openshot.developers/ppa sudo apt update sudo apt install openshot-qt

You may want to know how to remove PPA if you want to uninstall it later.

Wrapping Up

With all the latest changes/improvements considered, do you see OpenShot as your primary video editor on Linux? If not, what more do you expect to see in OpenShot? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.

elementary OS is Building an App Center Where You Can Buy Open Source Apps for Your Linux Distribution

Tuesday 11th of February 2020 07:10:33 AM

Brief: elementary OS is building an app center ecosystem where you can buy open source applications for your Linux distribution.

Crowdfunding to build an open source AppCenter for everyone

elementary OS recently announced that it is crowdfunding a campaign to build an app center from where you can buy open source applications. The applications in the app center will be in Flatpak format.

Though it’s an initiative taken by elementary OS, this new app center will be available for other distributions as well.

The campaign aims to fund a week of in-person development sprint in Denver, Colorado (USA) featuring developers from elementary OS, Endless, Flathub and GNOME.

The crowdfunding campaign has already crossed its goal of raising $10,000. You can still fund it as additional funds will be used for the development of elementary OS.

Crowdfunding Campaign What features this AppCenter brings

The focus is on providing ‘secure’ applications and hence Flatpak apps are used to provide confined applications. In this format, apps will be restricted from accessing system or personal files and will be isolated from other apps on a technical level by default.

Apps will have access to operating system and personal files only if you explicitly provide your consent for it.

Apart from security, Flatpak also bundles all the dependencies. This way, app developers can utilize the cutting edge technologies even if it is not available on the current Linux distribution.

AppCenter will also have the wallet feature to save your card details. This enables you to quickly pay for apps without entering the card details each time.

This new open source ‘app center’ will be available for other Linux distributions as well.

Inspired by the success of elementary OS’s own ‘Pay What You Want’ app center model

A couple of years ago, elementary OS launched its own app center. The ‘pay what you want’ approach for the app center was quite a hit. The developers can put a minimum amount for their open source apps and the users can choose to pay an amount equal to or more than the minimum amount.

This helped several indie developers get paid for their open source applications. The app store now has around 160 native applications and elementary OS says that thousands of dollars have been paid to the developers through the app center.

Inspired by the success of this app center experiment in elementary OS, they now want to bring this app center approach to other distributions as well.

If the applications are open source, how can you charge money for it?

Some people still get confused with the idea of FOSS (free and open source). Here, the source code of the software is open and anyone is free to modify it and redistribute it.

It doesn’t mean that open source software has to be free of cost. Some developers rely on donations while some charge a fee for support.

Getting paid for the open source apps may encourage developers to create applications for Linux.

Let’s see if it could work

Personally, I am not a huge fan of Flatpak or Snap packaging formats. They do have their benefits but they take relatively more time to start and they are huge in size. If you install several such Snaps or Flatpaks, your disk space may start running out of free space.

There is also a need to be vigilant about the fake and scam developers in this new app ecosystem. Imagine if some scammers starts creating Flatpak package of obscure open source applications and put it on the app center? I hope the developers put some sort of mechanism to weed out such apps.

I do hope that this new AppCenter replicates the success it has seen in elementary OS. We definitely need a better ecosystem for open source apps for desktop Linux.

What are your views on it? Is it the right approach? What suggestions do you have for the improvement of the AppCenter?

How to Change the Default Terminal in Ubuntu

Tuesday 11th of February 2020 03:17:27 AM

Terminal is a crucial part of any Linux system. It allows you to access your Linux systems through a shell. There are several terminal applications (technically called terminal emulators) on Linux.

Most of the desktop environments have their own implementation of the terminal. It may look different and may have different keyboard shortcuts.

For example, Guake Terminal is extremely useful for power users and provides several features you might not get in your distribution’s terminal by default.

You can install other terminals on your system and use it as default that opens up with the usual keyboard shortcut of Ctrl+Alt+T.

Now the question comes, how do you change the default terminal in Ubuntu. It doesn’t follow the standard way of changing default applications in Ubuntu then how to do it?

Change the default terminal in Ubuntu

On Debian-based distributions, there is a handy command line utility called update-alternatives that allows you to handle the default applications.

You can use it to change the default command line text editor, terminal and more. To do that, run the following command:

sudo update-alternatives --config x-terminal-emulator

It will show all the terminal emulators present on your system that can be used as default. The current default terminal is marked with the asterisk.

abhishek@nuc:~$ sudo update-alternatives --config x-terminal-emulator There are 2 choices for the alternative x-terminal-emulator (providing /usr/bin/x-terminal-emulator). Selection Path Priority Status ------------------------------------------------------------ 0 /usr/bin/gnome-terminal.wrapper 40 auto mode 1 /usr/bin/gnome-terminal.wrapper 40 manual mode * 2 /usr/bin/st 15 manual mode Press <enter> to keep the current choice[*], or type selection number:

All you have to do is to enter the selection number. In my case, I want to use the GNOME terminal instead of the one from Regolith desktop.

Press <enter> to keep the current choice[*], or type selection number: 1 update-alternatives: using /usr/bin/gnome-terminal.wrapper to provide /usr/bin/x-terminal-emulator (x-terminal-emulator) in manual mode .ugb-375f0ae .ugb-accordion__heading{border-radius:0px !important}Auto mode vs manual mode

You might have noticed the auto mode and manual mode in the output of update-alternatives command.

If you choose auto mode, your system may automatically decide on the default application as the packages are installed or removed. The decision is influenced by the priority number (as seen in the output of the command in the previous section).

Suppose you have 5 terminal emulators installed on your system and you delete the default one. Now, your system will check which of the emulators are in auto mode. If there are more than one, it will choose the one with the highest priority as the default emulator.

I hope you find this quick little tip useful. Your questions and suggestions are always welcome.

Dino is a Modern Looking Open Source XMPP Client

Monday 10th of February 2020 11:57:18 AM

Brief: Dino is a relatively new open-source XMPP client that tries to offer a good user experience while encouraging privacy-focused users to utilize XMPP for messaging.

Dino: An Open Source XMPP Client

XMPP (Extensible Messaging Presence Protocol) is a decentralized model of network to facilitate instant messaging and collaboration. Decentralize means there is no central server that has access to your data. The communication is directly between the end-points.

Some of us might call it an “old school” tech probably because the XMPP clients usually have a very bad user experience or simply just because it takes time to get used to (or set it up).

That’s when Dino comes to the rescue as a modern XMPP client to provide a clean and snappy user experience without compromising your privacy.

The User Experience

Dino does try to improve the user experience as an XMPP client but it is worth noting that the look and feel of it will depend on your Linux distribution to some extent. Your icon theme or the gnome theme might make it look better or worse for your personal experience.

Technically, the user interface is quite simple and easy to use. So, I suggest you take a look at some of the best icon themes and GNOME themes for Ubuntu to tweak the look of Dino.

Features of Dino Dino Screenshot

You can expect to use Dino as an alternative to Slack, Signal or Wire for your business or personal usage.

It offers all of the essential features you would need in a messaging application, let us take a look at a list of things that you can expect from it:

  • Decentralized Communication
  • Public XMPP Servers supported if you cannot setup your own server
  • Similar to UI to other popular messengers – so it’s easy to use
  • Image & File sharing
  • Multiple accounts supported
  • Advanced message search
  • OpenPGP & OMEMO encryption supported
  • Lightweight native desktop application
Installing Dino on Linux

You may or may not find it listed in your software center. Dino does provide ready to use binaries for Debian (deb) and Fedora (rpm) based distributions.

For Ubuntu:

Dino is available in the universe repository on Ubuntu and you can install it using this command:

sudo apt install dino-im

Similarly, you can find packages for other Linux distributions on their GitHub distribution packages page.

If you want the latest and greatest, you can also find both .deb and .rpm files for Dino to install on your Linux distribution (nightly builds) from OpenSUSE’s software webpage.

In either case, head to their GitHub page or click on the link below to visit the official site.

Download Dino

Wrapping Up

It works quite well without any issues (at the time of writing this and quick testing it). I’ll try exploring more about it and hopefully cover more XMPP-centric articles to encourage users to use XMPP clients and servers for communication.

What do you think about Dino? Would you recommend another open-source XMPP client that’s potentially better than Dino? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Install All Essential Media Codecs in Ubuntu With This Single Command [Beginner’s Tip]

Sunday 9th of February 2020 10:39:23 AM

If you have just installed Ubuntu or some other Ubuntu flavors like Kubuntu, Lubuntu etc, you’ll notice that your system doesn’t play some audio or video file.

For video files, you can install VLC on Ubuntu. VLC one of the best video players for Linux and can play almost any video file format. But you’ll still have troubles with audio media files and flash player.

The good thing is that Ubuntu provides a single package to install all the essential media codecs: ubuntu-restricted-extras.

What is Ubuntu Restricted Extras?

The ubuntu-restricted-extras is a software package that consists various essential software like flash plugin, unrar, gstreamer, mp4, codecs for Chromium browser in Ubuntu etc.

Since these software are not open source and some of them involve software patents, Ubuntu doesn’t install them by default. You’ll have to use multiverse repository, the software repository specifically created by Ubuntu to provide non-open source software to its users.

Please read this article to learn more about various Ubuntu repositories.

How to install Ubuntu Restricted Extras?

I find it surprising that the software center doesn’t list Ubuntu Restricted Extras. In any case, you can install the package using command line and it’s very simple.

Open a terminal by searching for it in the menu or using the terminal keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Alt+T.

Since ubuntu-restrcited-extras package is available in the multiverse repository, you should verify that the multiverse repository is enabled on your system:

sudo add-apt-repository multiverse

And then you can install it in Ubuntu default edition using this command:

sudo apt install ubuntu-restricted-extras

When you enter the command, you’ll be asked to enter your password. When you type the password, nothing is displayed on the screen. That’s normal. Type your password and press enter.

It will show a huge list of packages to be installed. Press enter to confirm your selection when it asks.

You’ll also encounter an EULA (End User License Agreement) screen like this:

Press Tab key to select OK and press Enter key

It could be overwhelming to navigate this screen but don’t worry. Just press tab and it will highlight the options. When the correct options are highlighted, press enter to confirm your selection.

Press Tab key to highlight Yes and press Enter key

Once the process finishes, you should be able to play MP3 and other media formats thanks to newly installed media codecs.

.ugb-aa625b8 .ugb-accordion__heading{border-radius:0px !important}Installing restricted extra package on Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Xubuntu

Do keep in mind that Kubuntu, Lubuntu and Xubuntu has this package available with their own respective names. They should have just used the same name but they don’t unfortunately.

On Kubuntu, use this command:

sudo apt install kubuntu-restricted-extras

On Lubuntu, use:

sudo apt install lubuntu-restricted-extras

On Xubuntu, you should use:

sudo apt install xubuntu-restricted-extras

I always recommend getting ubuntu-restricted-extras as one of the essential things to do after installing Ubuntu. It’s good to have a single command to install multiple codecs in Ubuntu.

I hope you like this quick tip in the Ubuntu beginner series. I’ll share more such tips in the future.

Best Open Source eCommerce Platforms to Build Online Shopping Websites

Thursday 6th of February 2020 01:31:33 PM

In an earlier article, I listed some of the best open-source CMS options available out there. These CMS software, as the name suggests, are more suitable for content focused websites.

But what if you want to build your own online shopping website? Thankfully, we have some good open source eCommerce solutions that you can deploy on your own Linux server.

These eCommerce software are tailored for the sole purpose of giving you a shopping website. So they have essential features like inventory management, product listings, cart, checkout, wishlisting and option to integrate a payment solution.

Please note that this is not an in-depth review article. So, I insist that you should try the platforms mentioned in this list to know more about them.

Best Open Source eCommerce Platforms

There are many open source eCommerce software available. I have filtered the ones which are actively maintained so that your shopping website doesn’t suffer because of obsolete or unmaintained software stack.

It is also worth noting that the list here is in no particular order of ranking.

1. nopCommerce

nopCommerce is a free and open-source eCommerce platform based on ASP.NET Core. If you were looking for a PHP-based solution – you can skip to the next option on the list.

The user interface of its admin panel is clean and easy to use. If you’ve used OpenCart – you might feel the similarity (but I’m not complaining). By default, it has got all the essential features while offering a responsive design for mobile users as well.

You get access to an official marketplace where you can get supported themes and extensions. You can opt for premium support or manage it yourself for free.

To get started, you can download the package with its source code from its official download page if you want to customize it and deploy it. In either case, you can also download the complete package to get it installed on a web server quickly. You can check out their GitHub page and the official website to learn more.

nopCommerce 2. OpenCart

OpenCart is a quite popular PHP-based eCommerce platform. Personally, I’ve worked on it for a project and the experience was good enough – if not excellent.

You may find it that it isn’t super actively maintained – but it’s still there and being utilized by a lot of web developers. You get support for a lot of extensions while having most of the essential features baked right into it.

For some, it may not be the best “modern” eCommerce platform but if you want a good open-source PHP-based alternative, it is worth a try. In most of the web hosting platforms with one-click app installation support, OpenCart should be available to setup. To learn more about it, you can head to its official website and check out the GitHub page.

OpenCart 3. PrestaShop

PrestaShop is yet another open-source eCommerce platform that you can utilize.

An actively maintained open-source solution with an official marketplace for themes and extensions. Unlike OpenCart, you may not find it available as a one-click app on hosting services – but you can download it from its official website and it is quite easy to set it up. You can also refer to their installation guide if you need help.

It features a lot of options while being easy to use at the same time. I find a lot of users trying out PrestaShop – you should take a look as well!

You can also take a look at their GitHub page to learn more.

PrestaShop 4. WooCommerce

If you want to utilize WordPress for your eCommerce website, WooCommerce will help you out.

Technically, you’re using WordPress as the platform and WooCommerce as a plugin/extension to enable the features needed for an eCommerce website. Potentially, a lot of people (web devs) know how to use WordPress – so it will be easier to learn/create using WooCommerce, I think.

You shouldn’t have a problem using WordPress, being one of the best open source website builder out there. It’s easy to use, reliable and supports a ton of extensions and integrations for your online store.

The best part about using WooCommerce is its flexibility. You get tons of choices for the design and extensions of your online store. It’s worth checking out! You can also head to its GitHub page.

WooCommerce 5. Zen Cart

This may not be a modern eCommerce platform but one of the best open-source solutions. If you’re a fan of old school templates (HTML-based primarily) and do not need a whole lot of extensions but just the basics, you can try it out.

Personally, I wouldn’t recommend this for a new project – but just because it is still an active platform, feel free to experiment on it if you like it.

You can find the project on SourceForge as well.

Zen Cart 6. Magento Image Credits: Magestore

An Adobe-owned open-source eCommerce platform that is potentially better than WordPress (depending on your preferences obviously).

Magento is completely tailored for e-commerce applications – so you will find a lot of essential features easy to use while offering advanced customizations as well.

However, when utilizing the open-source edition, you might miss some of the features available in their hosted offering. You can refer to their comparison guide for details. Of course, you can self-host it but if you want a managed hosting support, that’s available as well.

You can also take a look at their GitHub page to learn more.

Magento 7. Drupal Drupal

Drupal is another open-source CMS platform that is suitable for creating an eCommerce website.

I’ve never used it – so I’m not really sure of its flexibility but looking at its list of modules (Extensions) and themes available on its official site, it looks like you can do almost everything you need for an eCommerce platform easily.

You should be able to install it easily on any web server just like you install WordPress – so give it a try and see how it goes. You can even download the latest releases and check out the project on their download page.

Drupal 8. Odoo eCommerce

In case you didn’t know, Odoo offers a suite of open source business apps. They also offer open source accounting software and CRM solutions that we’ve covered in a separate list.

For the eCommerce portal, you can utilize its online drag and drop builder to customize your site as per your requirements. You also have options to promote the website. In addition to the easy theme installation and customization options, you get to utilize HTML/CSS to manually customize the look and feel to some extent.

You may also check out its GitHub page to explore more about it.

Odoo eCommerce

Wrapping Up

I’m sure there are a few more open-source eCommerce platforms out there – however, I haven’t come across anything that’s better than what I’ve listed above (yet).

If you think that I missed one of your favorites that deserves a mention, let me know in the comments. Also, feel free to share your experience and thoughts about the open-source eCommcerce platforms available in the comments section below.

What is WireGuard? Why Linux Users Going Crazy Over it?

Wednesday 5th of February 2020 12:45:08 PM

From normal Linux users to Linux creator Linus Torvalds, everyone is in awe of WireGuard. What is WireGuard and what makes it so special?

What is WireGuard?

WireGuard is an easy to configure, fast, and secure open source VPN that utilizes state-of-the-art cryptography. It’s aim is to provide a faster, simpler and leaner general purpose VPN that can be easily deployed on low-end devices like Raspberry Pi to high-end servers.

Most of the other solutions like IPsec and OpenVPN were developed decades ago. Security researcher and kernel developer Jason Donenfeld realized that they were slow and difficult to configure and manage properly.

This made him create a new open source VPN protocol and solution which is faster, secure easier to deploy and manage.

WireGuard was originally developed for Linux but it is now available for Windows, macOS, BSD, iOS and Android. It is still under heavy development.

Why is WireGuard so popular?

Apart from being a cross-platform, one of the biggest plus point for WireGuard is the ease of deployment. Configuring and deploying WireGuard is as easy as configuring and using SSH.

Look at WireGuard set up guide. You install WireGuard, generate public and private keys (like SSH), set up firewall rules and start the service. Now compare it to the OpenVPN set up guide. There are way too many things to do here.

Another good thing about WireGuard is that it has a lean codebase with just 4000 lines of code. Compare it to 100,000 lines of code of OpenVPN (another popular open source VPN). It is clearly easier to debug WireGuard.

Don’t go by its simplicity. WireGuard supports all the state-of-the-art cryptography like like the Noise protocol frameworkCurve25519ChaCha20Poly1305BLAKE2SipHash24HKDF, and secure trusted constructions.

Since WireGuard runs in the kernel space, it provides secure networking at a high speed.

These are some of the reasons why WireGuard has become increasingly popular. Linux creator Linus Torvalds loves WireGuard so much that he is merging it in the Linux Kernel 5.6:

Can I just once again state my love for it and hope it gets merged soon? Maybe the code isn’t perfect, but I’ve skimmed it, and compared to the horrors that are OpenVPN and IPSec, it’s a work of art.

Linus Torvalds If WireGuard is already available, then what’s the fuss about including it in Linux kernel?

This could be confusing to new Linux users. You know that you can install and configure a WireGuard VPN server on Linux but then you also read the news that Linux Kernel 5.6 is going to include WireGuard. Let me explain it to you.

At present, you can install WireGuard on Linux as a kernel module. Regular applications like VLC, GIMP etc are installed on top of the Linux kernel (in user space), not inside it.

When you install WireGuard as a kernel module, you are basically modifying the Linux kernel on your own and add some code to it. Starting kernel 5.6, you won’t need manually add the kernel module. It will be included in the kernel by default.

The inclusion of WireGuard in Kernel 5.6 will most likely extend the adoption of WireGuard and thus change the current VPN scene.

Conclusion

WireGuard is gaining popularity for the good reasons. Some of the popular privacy focused VPNs like Mullvad VPN are already using WireGuard and the adoption is likely to grow in the near future.

I hope you have a slightly better understanding of WireGuard. Your feedback is welcome, as always.

NVIDIA’s Cloud Gaming Service GeForce NOW Shamelessly Ignores Linux

Wednesday 5th of February 2020 07:36:16 AM

NVIDIA’s GeForce NOW cloud gaming service is something promising for gamers who probably don’t have the hardware but want to experience the latest and greatest games with the best possible experience using GeForce NOW (stream the game online and play it on any device you want).

The service was limited to a few users (in the form of the waitlist) to access. However, recently, they announced that GeForce NOW is open to all. But, it really isn’t.

Interestingly, it’s not available for all the regions across the globe. And, worse- GeForce NOW does not support Linux.

GeForce NOW is Not ‘Open For All’

The whole point of making a subscription-based cloud service to play games is to eliminate platform dependence.

Just like you would normally visit a website using a web browser – you should be able to stream a game on every platform. That’s the concept, right?

Well, that’s definitely not rocket science – but NVIDIA still missed supporting Linux (and iOS)?

Is it because no one uses Linux?

I would strongly disagree with this – even if it’s the reason for some to not support Linux. If that was the case, I wouldn’t be writing for It’s FOSS while using Linux as my primary desktop OS.

Not just that – why do you think a Twitter user mentioned the lack of support for Linux if it wasn’t a thing?

Yes, maybe the userbase isn’t large enough but while considering this as a cloud-based service – it doesn’t make sense to not support Linux.

Technically, if no one games on Linux, Valve wouldn’t have noticed Linux as a platform to improve Steam Play to help more users play Windows-only games on Linux.

I don’t want to claim anything that’s not true – but the desktop Linux scene is evolving faster than ever for gaming (even if the stats are low when compared to Windows and Mac).

Cloud gaming isn’t supposed to work like this

As I mentioned above, it isn’t tough to find Linux gamers using Steam Play. It’s just that you’ll find the overall “market share” of gamers on Linux to be less than its counterparts.

Even though that’s a fact – cloud gaming isn’t supposed to depend on a specific platform. And, considering that the GeForce NOW is essentially a browser-based streaming service to play games, it shouldn’t be tough for a big shot like NVIDIA to support Linux.

Come on, team green – you want us to believe that supporting Linux is technically tough? Or, you just want to say that it’s not worth supporting the Linux platform?

Wrapping Up

No matter how excited I was for the GeForce NOW service to launch – it was very disappointing to see that it does not support Linux at all.

If cloud gaming services like GeForce NOW start supporting Linux in the near future – you probably won’t need a reason to use Windows (*coughs*).

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

PaperWM, the Tiling Window Manager for GNOME

Tuesday 4th of February 2020 01:57:11 PM

Lately, tiling window managers have been gaining popularity even among the regular desktop Linux users. Unfortunately, it can be difficult and time-consuming for a user to install and set up a tiling window manager.

This is why projects like Regolith and PaperWM has come up to provide tiling window experience with minimal efforts.

We have already discussed Regolith desktop in details. In this article, we’ll check out PaperWM.

What is PaperWM?

According to its GitHub repo, PaperWM is “an experimental Gnome Shell extension providing scrollable tiling of windows and per monitor workspaces. It’s inspired by paper notebooks and tiling window managers.”

PaperWM puts all of your windows in a row. You can quickly switch between windows very quickly. It’s a little bit like having a long spool of paper in front of you that you can move back and forth.

This extension supports GNOME Shell 3.28 to 3.34. It also supports both X11 and Wayland. It is written in JavaScript.

PaperWM Desktop How to Install PaperWM?

To install the PaperWM extension, you will need to clone the Github repo. Use this command:

git clone 'https://github.com/paperwm/PaperWM.git' "${XDG_DATA_HOME:-$HOME/.local/share}/gnome-shell/extensions/paperwm@hedning:matrix.org"

Now all you have to do is run:

./install.sh

The installer will set up and enable PaperWM.

If you are an Ubuntu user, there are a couple of things that you will need to consider. There are currently three different versions of the Gnome desktop available with Ubuntu:

  • ubuntu-desktop
  • ubuntu-gnome-desktop
  • vanilla-gnome-desktop

Ubuntu ships ubuntu-desktop by default and includes the desktop-icons package, which causes issues with PaperWM. The PaperWM devs recommend that you turn off the desktop-icons extension using GNOME Tweaks tool. However, while this step does work in 19.10, they say that users have reported that it is not working 19.04.

According to the PaperWM devs, using ubuntu-gnome-desktop produces the best out of the box results. vanilla-gnome-desktop has some keybindings that raise havoc with PaperWM.

.ugb-624c877 .ugb-624c877-wrapper.ugb-container__wrapper{border-radius:0px !important;padding-top:0 !important;padding-bottom:0 !important;background-color:#f1f1f1 !important}.ugb-624c877 .ugb-624c877-wrapper > .ugb-container__side{padding-top:35px !important;padding-bottom:35px !important}.ugb-624c877 .ugb-624c877-wrapper.ugb-container__wrapper:before{background-color:#f1f1f1 !important}.ugb-624c877 .ugb-624c877-content-wrapper > h1,.ugb-624c877 .ugb-624c877-content-wrapper > h2,.ugb-624c877 .ugb-624c877-content-wrapper > h3,.ugb-624c877 .ugb-624c877-content-wrapper > h4,.ugb-624c877 .ugb-624c877-content-wrapper > h5,.ugb-624c877 .ugb-624c877-content-wrapper > h6{color:#222222}.ugb-624c877 .ugb-624c877-content-wrapper > p,.ugb-624c877 .ugb-624c877-content-wrapper > ol li,.ugb-624c877 .ugb-624c877-content-wrapper > ul li{color:#222222}

Recommended Read:

.ugb-0693a46 .ugb-blog-posts__featured-image{border-radius:0px !important}.ugb-0693a46 .ugb-blog-posts__title a{color:#000000 !important}.ugb-0693a46 .ugb-blog-posts__title a:hover{color:#00b6ba !important}Get a Preconfigured Tiling Window Manager on Ubuntu With Regolith

Using tiling window manager in Linux can be tricky with all those configuration. Regolith gives you an out of box i3wm experience within Ubuntu.

How to Use PaperWM?

Like most tiling window managers, PaperWM uses the keyboard to control and manage the windows. PaperWM also supports mouse and touchpad controls. For example, if you have Wayland installed, you can use a three-fingered swipe to navigate.

PaperWM in action

Here is a list of a few of the keybinding that preset in PaperWM:

  • Super + , or Super + . to activate the next or previous window
  • Super + Left or Super + Rightto activate the window to the left or right
  • Super + Up or Super + Downto activate the window above or below
  • Super + , or Super + . to activate the next or previous window
  • Super + Tab or Alt + Tab to cycle through the most recently used windows
  • Super + C to center the active window horizontally
  • Super + R to resize the window (cycles through useful widths)
  • Super + Shift + R to resize the window (cycles through useful heights)
  • Super + Shift + F to toggle fullscreen
  • Super + Return or Super + N to create a new window from the active application
  • Super + Backspace to close the active window

The Super key is the Windows key on your keyboard. You can find the full list of keybindings on the PaperWM GitHub page.

Final Thoughts on PaperWM

As I have stated previously, I don’t use tiling managers. However, this one has me thinking. I like the fact that you don’t have to do a lot of configuring to get it working. Another big plus is that it is built on GNOME, which means that getting a tiling manager working on Ubuntu is fairly straight forward.

The only downside that I can see is that a system running a dedicated tiling window manager, like Sway, would use fewer system resources and be faster overall.

What are your thoughts on the PaperWM GNOME extension? 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.

Ubuntu 19.04 Has Reached End of Life! Existing Users Must Upgrade to Ubuntu 19.10

Monday 3rd of February 2020 02:24:04 PM

Brief: Ubuntu 19.04 has reached the end of life on 23rd January 2020. This means that systems running Ubuntu 19.04 won’t receive security and maintenance updates anymore and thus leaving them vulnerable.

Ubuntu 19.04 was released on 18th April, 2019. Since it was not a long term support (LTS) release, it was supported only for nine months.

Completing its release cycle, Ubuntu 19.04 reached end of life on 23rd January, 2020.

Ubuntu 19.04 brought a few visual and performance improvements and paved the way for a sleek and aesthetically pleasant Ubuntu look.

Like any other regular Ubuntu release, it had a life span of nine months. And that has ended now.

End of life for Ubuntu 19.04? What does it mean?

End of life is means a certain date after which an operating system release won’t get updates.

You might already know that Ubuntu (or any other operating system for that matter) provides security and maintenance upgrades in order to keep your systems safe from cyber attacks.

Once a release reaches the end of life, the operating system stops receiving these important updates.

If you continue using a system after the end of life of your operating system release, your system will be vulnerable to cyber attacks and malware.

That’s not it. In Ubuntu, the applications that you downloaded using APT from Software Center won’t be updated as well. In fact, you won’t be able to install new software using apt-get command anymore (gradually, if not immediately).

All Ubuntu 19.04 users must upgrade to Ubuntu 19.10

Starting 23rd January 2020, Ubuntu 19.04 will stop receiving updates. You must upgrade to Ubuntu 19.10 which will be supported till July 2020. This is also applicable to other official Ubuntu flavors such as Lubuntu, Xubuntu, Kubuntu etc.

You can check the Ubuntu version either from the settings->Details or by using the command:

lsb_release -a How to upgrade to Ubuntu 19.10? Subscribe to our YouTube channel for more Linux videos

Thankfully, Ubuntu provides easy ways to upgrade the existing system to a newer version.

In fact, Ubuntu also prompts you that a new Ubuntu version is available and that you should upgrade to it.

Existing Ubuntu 19.04 should see a message to upgrade to Ubuntu 19.10

If you have a good internet connection, you can use the same Software Updater tool that you use to update Ubuntu. In the above image, you just need to click the Upgrade button and follow the instructions. I have written a detailed guide about upgrading to Ubuntu 18.04 using this method.

If you don’t have a good internet connection, there is a workaround for you. Make a backup of your home directory or your important data on an external disk.

Then, make a live USB of Ubuntu 19.10. Download Ubuntu 19.10 ISO and use the Startup Disk Creator tool already installed on your Ubuntu system to create a live USB out of this ISO.

Boot from this live USB and go on ‘installing’ Ubuntu 19.10. In the installation procedure, you should see an option to remove Ubuntu 19.04 and replace it with Ubuntu 19.10. Choose this option and proceed as if you are installing Ubuntu afresh.

Are you still using Ubuntu 19.04, 18.10, 17.10 or some other unsupported version?

You should note that at present only Ubuntu 16.04, 18.04 and 19.10 (or higher) versions are supported. If you are running an Ubuntu version other than these, you must upgrade to a newer version.

SimpleLogin: Open Source Solution to Protect Your Email Inbox From Spammers

Monday 3rd of February 2020 04:55:07 AM

Brief: SimpleLogin is an open-source service to help you protect your email address by giving you a permanent alias email address.

Normally, you have to use your real email address to sign up for services that you want to use personally or for your business.

In the process, you’re sharing your email address – right? And, that potentially exposes your email address to spammers (depending on where you shared the information).

What if you can protect your real email address by providing an alias for it instead? No – I’m not talking about disposable email addresses like 10minutemail which could be useful for temporary sign-ups – even though they’ve been blocked by certain services.

I’m talking about something similar to “Hide My Emai for Sign in with Apple ID” but a free and open-source solution i.e SimpleLogin.

SimpleLogin: An open source service to protect your email inbox

It is worth noting that you still have to use your existing email client (or email service) to receive and send emails – but with this service, you get to hide your real email ID.

SimpleLogin is an open-source project (you can find it on GitHub) available for free (with premium upgrade options) that aims to keep your email private.

Unlike temporary email services, it generates a permanent random alias for your email address that you can use to sign up for services without revealing your real email.

The alias works as a point of contact to forward the emails intended to your real email ID.

You’ll receive the emails sent to the alias email address in your real email inbox and if you believe that the alias is receiving too many spams, you block the alias. This way, you completely stop getting spam emails sent to the particular aliased email address.

Not just limited to receiving emails but you can also send emails through the alias email address. Interesting, right? And, using this coupled with secure email services should be a good combination to protect your privacy.

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Recommended Read:

.ugb-d70c751 .ugb-blog-posts__featured-image{border-radius:0px !important}.ugb-d70c751 .ugb-blog-posts__title a{color:#000000 !important}.ugb-d70c751 .ugb-blog-posts__title a:hover{color:#00b6ba !important}Best VPN Services for Privacy Minded Linux Users

Here are our recommendations for best VPN services for Linux users to secure their privacy and enhance their online security. Check it out.

Features of SimpleLogin

Before taking a look at how it works, let me highlight what it offers overall to the Internet users and web developers as well:

  • Protects your real email address by generating an alias address
  • Mailbox (multiple real email IDs to manage – premium feature)
  • Send/Recieve emails through your alias
  • Block the alias if emails get too spammy
  • Custom domain supported with premium plans
  • You can choose to self-host it
  • If you’re a web developer, you can follow the documentation to integrate a “Sign in with SimpleLogin” button to your login page.

You can either utilize the web browser or use the extension for Firefox, Chrome, and Safari.

SimpleLogin How SimpleLogin Works?

To start with, you’ll have to sign up for the service with your primary email ID that you want to keep private.

You can also add multiple real email IDs – only if you upgrade to the premium plan.

Once done – you have to use your alias email to sign up for any other services you want.

The number of aliases generated is limited in the free plan – however, you can upgrade to the premium plan if you want to generate different alias email addresses for every site.

You don’t necessarily need to use the web portal, you can use the browser extension to generate aliases and use them when needed as shown in the image below:

Even if you want to send an email without revealing your real email ID, just generate an alias email by typing in the receiver’s email ID and paste the alias in your email client to send it.

Interestingly, they’ve recently switched from AWS to UpCloud (that also powers up It’s FOSS site). for the service.

Brief conversation with SimpleLogin’s founder

I was quite impressed to see an open-source service like this – so I reached out to Son Nguyen Kim (SimpleLogin’s founder). Here are a few things I asked along with the responses I got:

How can you assure users that they can rely on your service for their personal/business use?

Son Nguyen Kim: SimpleLogin follows all the best practices in terms of email deliverability to reduce the emails ending up in the Spam folder. To mention a few:

  • SPF, DKIM and strict DMARC
  • TLS everywhere
  • “Clean” IP: we made sure that our IP addresses are not blacklisted anywhere
  • Constant monitoring to avoid abuses.
  • Participate in email providers postmaster programs

How sustainable is your business currently? 

Son Nguyen Kim: Though in Beta, we already have paying customers. They use SimpleLogin both personally (to protect privacy) and for their business (create emails with their domains).

What features have you planned for the future?

Son Nguyen Kim: An iOS app is already in progress, the Android app will follow just after.

  • PGP to encrypt emails
  • Able to strip images from emails. Email tracking is usually done using a 1-pixel image so tracking will also be removed with this feature enabled.
  • U2F support (Yubikey)
  • Better integration with existing email infrastructure for people who want to self-host SimpleLogin

You can also find a public roadmap to their plans on Trello.

Wrapping Up

Personally, I would really love to see this succeed as a privacy-friendly alternative to social network sign-up options implemented on various web services.

In addition to that, as it stands now as a service to generate alias email – that should suffice a lot of users who do not want to share their real email address. My initial impressions on SimpleLogin’s beta phase is quite positive. I’d recommend you to give it a try!

They also have a Patreon page – if you wish to donate instead of opting for a paying customer to help the development of SimpleLogin.

Have you tried something like this before? How exciting do you think SimpleLogin is? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

More in Tux Machines

Switching from MacBook to Chromebook: Is Chrome OS good enough?

Chrome OS often gets maligned as a platform that you can't do "real work" on, and in some cases, that's true. But sometimes, you don't need a computer that does absolutely everything, and that's why I decided to give switching to Chrome OS on my laptop a try. While I've retained my iMac as a proper workstation, my aging MacBook Air was due for an upgrade, and the opportunity to switch platforms presented itself. Could a simpler, cheaper Chromebook replace my MacBook for working on the go? While I found that the answer was decidedly "no" in some situations—and that simply adapting to Chrome OS and its limitations was a huge adjustment—I do think Chrome now has a place in my workflow, albeit one that is rather hit or miss. Chrome is also definitely still a problematic platform, and those limitations tend to define it in a lot of ways, which I'll explore more in this post. For some added context, here are the devices I'm throwing into the mix: I use a 27-inch iMac with 40GB of RAM and a 9th-gen 3.7GHz 6-core Intel Core i5 at home while my MacBook is running on 4GB of RAM and an aging 4th-gen dual-core Core i5. My new laptop/convertible is a 14-inch HP Chromebook x360 with 8GB of RAM and an 8th-gen dual-core Intel Core i3 (Taylor reviewed a similarly equipped variant here at Android Police). Read more

Programming Leftovers

  • Dirk Eddelbuettel: #3 T^4: Customizing The Shell

    The third video (following the announcement, the shell colors) one as well as last week’s shell prompt one, is up in the stil new T^4 series of video lightning talks with tips, tricks, tools, and toys. Today we cover customizing the shell some more.

  • Why slowing new feature development can be the best way to maintain an open source project

    John Byrd is credited with a great statement: "Good programmers write good code. Great programmers write no code. Zen programmers delete code." It's perhaps an overstatement, but the idea behind it is spot on: As a code base accumulates cruft over time, great engineers will invest the time necessary to strip the code of technical debt. As DJ Walker-Morgan once put it, "Deleted lines [of code] are the final burn down of the ground where tech debt built." [...] We've seen this same principle applied in other projects. Apache Cassandra is a good, recent example. In talking with Cassandra insiders, there was a point when stability took precedence in the Cassandra community, with Apple, Netflix, and other big users of Cassandra joining forces on this goal as users got stuck on version 3.11. As cool as it sounds to issue yet another release, Cassandra users were tiring of revalidating their databases every two months when a new release hit. The Cassandra 4.0 effort has been a broad-based, community effort to get the Cassandra house in order.

  • The End is Near for Zend Server Basic PHP

    Zend Server Basic, the free PHP runtime used by thousands of IBM i shops, will cease being offered starting in July 2021. That’s the word from Perforce, the company that now owns Zend and its lineup of PHP tools and technologies. The replacement, of course, is the new community edition of PHP that became available via RPM in late 2019. Starting in 2006, Zend Technology began to develop a special version of its PHP runtime for IBM i, which was then called i5/OS. This offering, dubbed Zend Core for i5/OS, provided a familiar way for users of the iSeries server (as it was known back then) to partake of the digital bounty that was (and is) the PHP language and the estimated 10,000 software applications that ran on it at the time. While nobody knows for sure how many IBM i (System i, iSeries, AS/400, etc.) shops adopted Zend Core for i5/OS and its follow-ons and continued to use it to power their PHP applications on the box over the years, the number is almost certainly currently measured in the thousands. Back in 2006, IT Jungle reported that, according to Zend, there had been thousands of downloads of the beta of Zend Core for i5/OS just four months after it was released in March 2006.

  • PestPHP Released as Open-Source

    Console legend Nuno Maduro has open-sourced Pest, an elegant PHP testing framework that focuses on simplicity.

  • Seungha Yang: Unfortunately GStreamer 1.17

    Unfortunately GStreamer 1.17 is a development version and any binary/installer is not officially released. But you can build it using Cerbero which is a project for packaging GStreamer framework, or simpler way is that you might be able to try gst-build, that’s a meta-project to build GStreamer mostly used for development purpose.

  • How the End of Life for Open Source Python 2 Affects Enterprises
  • Test and Code: 114: The Python Software Foundation (PSF) Board Elections - Ewa Jodlowska / Christopher Neugebauer

    "The mission of the Python Software Foundation is to promote, protect, and advance the Python programming language, and to support and facilitate the growth of a diverse and international community of Python programmers." That's a lot of responsibility, and to that end, the PSF Board Directors help out quite a bit. If you want to be a part of the board, you can. There's an election coming up right around the corner and you gotta get your nomination in by May 31. You can also join the PSF if you want to vote for who gets to be part of the board.

  • Consistent Hashing

    Consistent hashing is a hashing technique that performs really well when operated in a dynamic environment where the distributed system scales up and scales down frequently. The core concept of Consistent Hashing was introduced in the paper Consistent Hashing and RandomTrees: Distributed Caching Protocols for Relieving Hot Spots on the World Wide Web but it gained popularity after the famous paper introducing DynamoDB - Dynamo: Amazon’s Highly Available Key-value Store. Since then the consistent hashing gained traction and found a ton of use cases in designing and scaling distributed systems efficiently. The two famous examples that exhaustively use this technique are Bit Torrent, for their peer-to-peer networks and Akamai, for their web caches. In this article we dive deep into the need of Consistent Hashing, the internals of it, and more importantly along the way implement it using arrays and Binary Search.

  • Hazelcast CTO: 25 years of Java, welcome to the data-driven 3rd act

    It’s easy to forget how important Java – celebrating its 25th birthday – has been. Before Java, computing was a place of siloed and proprietary clients and servers. Java was more than just a programming language – it was essentially a platform for building a wide range of applications. Java delivered a consistent and efficient programming experience for developers combined with write-once-run-anywhere portability. Today, we see that in containerisation and cloud. Java is poised to begin its third act – supporting cloud-native, data-intensive applications in analytics and Artificial Intelligence and IoT on 5G. That’s because Java’s foundations have continued to develop along with those first principles of developer productivity – simpler to build, more efficient code – with platform scale and performance. Not, that Java’s data destiny was manifest – Java’s had wobbles.

CMS-Centric FOSS Funding

  • London-based New Vector nabs €4.1 million for ‘Matrix’, its decentralised comms ecosystem

    Today New Vector, who is behind new collaboration solutions used by European governments and organisations alike, has announced raising approximately €4.1 million from Automattic Inc. This new investor brings both the financial backing and experience of being the parent company of web publishing and e-commerce platforms WordPress.com, WooCommerce, Jetpack, and enterprise WordPress VIP. New Vector, founded in 2017, is on a mission to enable governments, businesses and individuals to run their own secure communication infrastructure, while interconnecting via the global Matrix network. So far the startup has developed Riot, the flagship Matrix-based messaging app, and Modular, the leading Matrix-based hosting platform. New Vector, formed by the team who created Matrix, also provides significant development to the Matrix open source project (an open network for secure, decentralised communication which lets organisations and individuals run their own collaboration apps).

  • Automattic pumps $4.6M into New Vector to help grow Matrix, an open, decentralized comms ecosystem
  • Headless CMS company Strapi raises another $10 million
  • Open-Source 'Headless' CMS Company Strapi Raises $10 Million

    Strapi — the open-source “headless” content management system (CMS) — announced it raised $10 million in Series A funding led by Index Ventures. Including this round of funding, the company has raised a total of $14 million. Previously, Strapi raised $4 million in seed funding in October 2019 with Accel and Stride.VC. And the company also hired former Docker head of community Victor Coisne as VP of marketing and the company also announced plans to open its first U.S. office in San Francisco.

TeleIRC 2.0.0 Released

  • TeleIRC v2.0.0 is officially here!

    After almost eight months of work, the TeleIRC Team is happy to announce General Availability of TeleIRC v2.0.0 today. Thanks to the hard work of our volunteer community, we are celebrating an on-time release of a major undertaking to make a more sustainable future for TeleIRC.

  • What’s new in TeleIRC v2.0.0

    TeleIRC v2.0.0 is the latest major release of our open source Telegram <=> IRC bridge. Download the latest release and read the release announcement for the full story. There are several new and noteworthy changes in TeleIRC v2.0.0. This post walks you through the major changes and differences for TeleIRC v2.0.0. Read on for the highlight reel of this release.