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Updated: 1 hour 43 min ago

openSUSE 13.2 first release candidate is out for testing

Thursday 9th of October 2014 02:23:07 PM

It’s that time of the year when Linux users get to upgrade their systems – for free of cost, of course. All major distributions are slated for upgrade in the coming weeks including openSUSE (check out our dedicated openSUSE sub-magazine), Ubuntu and Fedora.

The openSUSE community has just announced the release of the first ‘release candidate’ of openSUSE 13.2. This release is intended for testing, though when I used to be a user of openSUSE stable I used to run betas on my main systems (crazy me! Not really. I just installed Ubuntu 14.10 on my main system and I continue to see crash report – something never happened on betas of openSUSE – no offence to Ubuntu devels, there are more work-in-progress pieces in Ubuntu).

I won’t recommend using openSUSE RC1 on production systems, but if you are an enthusiast and want to help out developers you should be using it on a system so you can provide the developers with bug reports.

According to Kostas Koudaras of openSUSE, “This previous Beta release was a blast with almost 10.000 downloads. The community responded to the call and we had lot of eyes looking for bugs in openSUSE 13.2 Beta1. Many of them have been already squashed and openSUSE 13.2 Release Candidate 1 is here to prove it.”

There is something for everyone in openSUSE. Gnome users will get to finally test version 3.14 which was released recently and is a great improvement. Plasma users will get 4.14.x, though I am eagaerly awaiting the ‘stable’ release of Plasma 5.

Despite being an openSUSE user, I won’t be upgrading to 13.2 (will talk about it later) but I am excite about it for new users.

openSUSE Rolling release running Gnome 3.14 and KDE 4.14.x

If you want to know what’s new in Gnome 3.14, we already have a review for your on TheMukt.

One thing that I noticed in openSUSE with Gnome extensions was that Gnome Tweak Tool offered to ‘update’ extensions so they continue to work with the latest Gnome Shell, something that was a pain earlier.

openSUSE remains the best operating system to offer a great Plasma and Gnome experience (sans some really annoying issues such as printer configuration). If you are a Plasma or Gnome user this is the distro you should try; though Kubuntu is also a very good OS when it comes to Plasma experience.

You can download openSUSE RC1 from this link.

And do let me know what you think about it.

The post openSUSE 13.2 first release candidate is out for testing appeared first on The Mukt.

Chromebooks just became more lucrative for small and medium businesses

Thursday 9th of October 2014 02:07:57 AM

Dell recently announced Chrome OS devices for businesses. Adobe is bringing its suite of image editing software to Chrome OS devices, starting off with Photoshop for its education customers. These are the early signs of Chrome OS becoming a serious, and probably dominant player for businesses.

Chromebooks are certainly perfect devices for small and medium businesses who don’t need to invest too much in IT infrastructure to successfully run their businesses. They don’t need to deal with overly complicated technologies with limited shelf life, or uncertain future (Microsoft can’t even decide the UI of its operating system), and expensive upgrades.

Google is now making it even simpler for businesses to deploy Chromebooks. The company has announced a set of features for business users to identity, manageability, virtualization, performance and pricing.

Same identity across the organization

Chromebook users can now use ‘Single sign-on’ (Google says it was a popular request) which allows employees to log-in to their accounts using the same credentials or identity that they use across the organization; no more separate ID for using Chrome OS devices.

According to Saswat Panigrahi, Product Manager, Chrome for Work, “This feature uses the universal SAML standard and works with most of the major identity providers including CA SiteMinder, Microsoft AD FS, Okta, Ping Identity, SecureAuth, and SimpleSAMLphp.”

Google is also adding multiple-login (which users of dev channel can already enjoy) which allows workers to securely switch between accounts without having to log out of Chromebook.

Improving wireless connectivity

Google is also enabling organizations to easily provision Chromebooks with client certificates to access 802.1X EAP-TLS wireless networks and mutual TLS protected web resources. IT admins can pre-configure their secure networks, push certificate management extensions and pre-select certificates to be used with certain websites and networks.

Google is already working with players like Aruba Networks, Cloudpath Networks and Aerohive Networks to integrate the feature.

Making it easier to get new employees online

Gone are the days with the IT admin would need hours to set-up the account for a new employee. The extremely simple yet powerful Admin Console allows IT admins to set-up devies quickly. They can settings, including bookmarks, to signed-in workers.

Opening a window withing Chromebook

Google has partnered with Citrix and VMWare to ensure Chromebook can easily access Windows apps. Chromebook users can use Citrix-powered Desktops-as-a-Service give secure access to the specialized apps and data needed to run the business.

“Recently, Citrix released a new Citrix Receiver optimized for Chromebooks, which provides more direct integration with Chromebooks and enables new features including seamless integration with Google Cloud Print; cut-and-paste between local and virtualized applications; better audio and video playback; improved license and application usage monitoring; and protection from end-to-end SSL connections,” writes Saswat.

Chromebooks are inexpensive, not cheap

Google is not going to make any compromises in the graphics department. The company has partnered with Nvidia and VMware to speed the delivery of graphics-heavy virtualized applications to Chromebooks which allows users to run 3-D modeling and simulation applications which often demand heavy hardware.

Extremely affordable

What is the cost of running a Windows machine, per user? Go figure it out keeping in mind the cost of all the components you may need – OS licence, office suite, anti-viruses, custom applications and what not.

Google is empowering businesses by making it affordable to use IT without any ‘maintenance’ overload. Google is offering annual subscription option of $50 per device per year, which means it’s less than $4.5 per month.

If you are buying new Chromebooks then the price of the device includes first year’s $50 premium features, management and support fee. Acer’s C720 is one of the most appreciated yet cheapest Chrombook, available for mere $249.

Google is also offering licence portability which means if you lose your Chromebook (first of all you will never lose any data as it’s always there in the cloud), you can apply your existing license to a new device.

All of this is making Chromebooks extremely affordable and efficient devices for businesses, especially small and medium businesses which don’t want to deal with too much IT in-house.

The post Chromebooks just became more lucrative for small and medium businesses appeared first on The Mukt.

Another German city moved from Windows to Suse Linux

Wednesday 8th of October 2014 01:40:40 PM

German cities are now setting examples for the rest of the world to move away from vendor-locked products to vendor neutral, open source based products. After the Munich success story another German town has moved to Linux.

Gummersbach, a city of over 50,000 people has successfully completed its migration from unsupported Windows XP to Suse Linux. They are using MATE desktop environment which uses the age-tested WIMP based interface.

The migration started way back in 2007 when the city had a very clear vision of replacing the aging and soon to become unsupported proprietary technologies with Open Source ones.

Gijs Hillenius of JoinUp, who broke this story says, “The Linux desktops can access a number of business application that depend on a proprietary operating system, by using a combination of proprietary desktop virtualisation solutions. Gummersback retains 25 PCs running a proprietary operating system, a requirement for applications used by the Civil Service desk, and for computer aided design software in use by the town.”

Why Linux and LibreOffice?

There are many reasons why local and state governments should move away from proprietary technologies to open sources ones. One of the biggest reasons is cost. Unlike proprietary Windows or MS Office there is no need to pay heavy licensing fee over and over wasting taxpayer’s money. Fair competition and growth or local business is yet another important reason. Proprietary technologies, which are locked to single US company Microsoft, pretty much eliminate any possibility of local entrepreneurship and innovation; a local player can only be a ‘dealer’ or a middleman. Contrary to that, Open Source technologies are vendor neutral so competent individuals can build companies based on the source code and create a booming industry around those products.

Backdoors in proprietary solutions

In addition to that no-access to source code create a lot of moral and legal issues. We have learned from Snowden leaks that there are backdoors in proprietary technologies which gives US authorities direct access to user-data. There are reports of it being used for corporate espionage. Will governments be comfortable with the idea that someone else may have direct access to all the date on their people?

Another strong reason behind using vendor neutral technologies like Linux and LibreOffice is the fact that the organization is no more dependent on the vendor; they can build the in-house capabilities to deal with problem if they want complete control over their IT infrastructure.

Incompatible with competitors

Last but the most important point being locks an incompatibilities. Companies like Microsoft deliberately create incompatibilities issues which makes it even harder for the data to be accessed via competing products. The blame goes to the competing products that they are not compatible, the fact remains that incompatibilities are part of a vendor lock strategy to keep users locked in and discourage migration.

The quicker agencies move out of vendor locked products to open source, open standard based products the better it is.

Munich and Gummersach have shown, despite massive PR campaign by Microsoft that vendor neutral Open Source is the only way to create a sustainable IT infrastructure.

The post Another German city moved from Windows to Suse Linux appeared first on The Mukt.

KDE’s Plasma used in Hobbit movies [Video]

Tuesday 7th of October 2014 08:10:18 PM

KDE Software continues to be the best of the breed Open Source projects which stays ahead of its time – thus the science fictional name ‘Plasma’ for its desktop environment. KDE’s Plasma desktop remains the most popular, community driven projects.

As we reported earlier that KDE Software is being used beyond enthusiasts, it’s used by Hollywood to create blockbusters, logic defying, films like Gravity. Now we have spotted KDE’s Plasma desktop in the post production of Peter Jackson’s Hobbit films.

Weta Digital published a small film on YouTube giving us a peek inside “the world of the animation team as they work out how to solve one of the most complicated shots in Peter Jackson’s film, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.”

You can clearly see KDE’s Plasma desktop hard at work there.

KDE Software is being used so much in film production these days that Eike Hein, who works in software and computer graphics fields, and was an avid collector of clippings showing KDE Software in use in interesting setting stopped doing so. He said, “…I haven’t been collecting as diligently anymore, though, for perhaps the best possible reason: It’s happening so frequently now that individual examples have lost much of their novelty.”

KDE is one of the most friendly (all Open Source communities are friendly and helpful) Open Source communities, if you have not tried KDE Plasma yet, this clip will certainly made you to give it a try.

[Courtesy: Ivan Čukić]

The post KDE’s Plasma used in Hobbit movies [Video] appeared first on The Mukt.

Chromebooks come closer to Android, get MTP support

Tuesday 7th of October 2014 06:27:52 PM

You own an Android device, but can’t connect it to your Chrome OS device? Not anymore.

Google has pushed an update for the stable channel of its Chrome OS, bringing MTP support to all Chrome OS devices, excluding Chromeboxes. MTP support means you can now plug your Android devices to your Chromebooks and transfer files between devices. The update also adds a set of features that enhances touch screen accessibility.

How to update your Chromebook?

Unlike traditional operating systems like Mac OS X or Windows, Google’s Chromebooks don’t need traditional upgrades. If there is an upgrade available for your device you will notice an arrow at the bottom right of the screen. All you need to do to upgrade your devices is reboot it.

What do you think about MTP support for Chromebook. What other feature would you like to see in Chrome OS?

The post Chromebooks come closer to Android, get MTP support appeared first on The Mukt.

KDE Frameworks 5.3.0 released with many fixes

Tuesday 7th of October 2014 03:14:46 PM

The KDE community announced the release of KDE Frameworks 5.3.0 today. The release brings a number of fixes and enhancements atop KDE 5 released exactly 3 months back.

KDE Frameworks is a combination of 60 additional libraries to Qt which extend the functionality of the base Qt libraries. It has a regular release schedule and undergoes the best practices to provide an efficient and reliable framework to Qt developers.

The 5.3.0 release includes fixes and enhancements to 21 components and modules of KDE Frameworks including KArchive, KConfig, KCoreAddon, KIO, KNotifications, KTextEditor, KWindowSystem. It requires Qt 5.2. However, if you want to experient with it you can compile it against Qt 5.4 as well, thanks to the fixes in Frameworkintegration.

KDE Frameworks binary packages are available for multiple distributions. To install KDE Frameowrks 5.3.0 on Kubuntu 14.04:

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:neon/kf5 sudo apt update sudo apt install project-neon5-session project-neon5-utils project-neon5-konsole

This release is of particular interest to Kubuntu 14.10 developers. Currently in Beta, it is the next release scheduled for the Ubuntu KDE derivative. To install on Kubuntu 14.10:

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:kubuntu-ppa/next sudo apt update sudo apt install kubuntu-plasma5-desktop sudo apt full-upgrade

Instructions for installing packages for other distributions can be found here.

KDE is one of the most popular desktop environments on Linux with stunning look and feel. It comes with highly integrated suites of applications and libraries to deliver a uniform look and feel to users.

The post KDE Frameworks 5.3.0 released with many fixes appeared first on The Mukt.

SUSE, MariaDB partner for IBM power servers

Monday 6th of October 2014 05:21:21 PM

SUSE, the company behind SUSE Enterprise Linux and openSUSE, has partnered with MariaDB Corporation to optimize MariaDB Enterprise for SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12 on IBM POWER8-based servers. MariaDB Enterpise was ‘founded’ recently when SkySQL, the MariaDB company, changed its name to bridge the gap between the product and company.

The partnership was unveiled at IBM Enterprise2014, supporting the $1 billion investment to be spent over the next five years to develop Linux and open source technologies on IBM Power Systems.

“This collective work with MariaDB speaks to the opportunity that open source brings to IBM Power Systems,” said Nils Brauckmann, president and general manager of SUSE. “Working with MariaDB in our strong ecosystem of partners offers our customers new and innovative ways to make the most from their existing IT investments, while accessing the latest and most powerful computing applications and technologies.”

According to SUSE press release, “This is the first of several partnerships to be announced by SUSE with the upcoming release of SUSE Linux Enterprise 12—the latest version of the most interoperable platform for mission-critical computing across physical, virtual and cloud environments.”

The post SUSE, MariaDB partner for IBM power servers appeared first on The Mukt.

Linux kernel 3.17 is released with some nifty new features

Monday 6th of October 2014 02:28:48 AM

Linux 3.17 has finally been released after getting a surprise seventh release candidate release last week.

The release is a good one for any avid Steam users who want to connect controllers to their desktops as Microsoft Xbox One controllers are now supported albeit without vibration. Also improvements have been made to SIXAXIS controllers, present on PlayStation controllers.

Other updates that are included with the release include support for the Radeon R9 290 GPU family in the open-source AMD Linux driver. In addition, the open-source NVIDIA driver has received several improvements.

Intel Cherry Trail hardware is supported in this release, the hardware is likely to ship sometime in 2015. More ARM hardware is also supported and boards with existing support got further improvements.

Some of the highlights of the new kernel include:

  • Toshiba HDD Active Protection Sensor support
  • Microsoft Xbox One controllers sans Vibration
  • Support for the Radeon R9 290 GPU family
  • Intel Cherry Trail hardware is supported
  • More ARM hardware supported
  • Improved support for Wacom Tablets

The release was announced by Linus Torvalds on the kernel mailing list:

So the past week was fairly calm, and so I have no qualms about
releasing 3.17 on the normal schedule (as opposed to the optimistic
“maybe I can release it one week early” schedule that was not to be).

However, I now have travel coming up – something I hoped to avoid when
I was hoping for releasing early. Which means that while 3.17 is out,
I’m not going to be merging stuff very actively next week, and the
week after that is LinuxCon EU…

What that means is that depending on how you want to see it, the 3.18
merge window will either be three weeks, or alternatively just have a
rather slow start. I don’t mind getting pull requests starting now
(in fact, I have a couple already pending in my inbox), but I likely
won’t start processing them for a week.

Anyway, back to 3.17. Nothing major happened during the last week, as
you can see from the appended shortlog. Mostly drivers (i915, nouveau,
ethernet, scsi, sound) and some networking fixes. With some misc
noise all over.

Go out and test,


Users running distros like Arch, Fedora, Korora and Manjaro which get updated frequently can expect to get Linux 3.17 fairly soon.

The post Linux kernel 3.17 is released with some nifty new features appeared first on The Mukt.

Samsung didn’t pay Microsoft $1 billion for Android, or did they?

Saturday 4th of October 2014 04:05:56 AM

I always doubted the claims that Microsoft is making billions of dollars from Android patents, the reason was we never saw any concrete numbers. Now we have documents which show some numbers. Thanks to the ongoing legal battle between Samsung and Microsoft we now know that the Korean technology giant paid $1 billion under the patent agreement.

Microsoft sued Samsung because the Korean giant claimed that the agreement was breached due to Nokia acquisition and thus refused to pay $6.9 million it owned under the agreement.

“Samsung has suggested that Microsoft has breached the business collaboration agreement,” David Howard, Microsoft’s deputy general counsel, said today in a blog post. “We disagree, and that’s why we asked the court to rule that Microsoft is not in breach.”

Everything looked OK so far. Cross licencing is a normal practice in the industry. There is not a single established company who hasn’t signed any patent licencing deal with other player.

Dragging Android in the muddy waters?

However, some news outfits are projecting it as if Samsung paid Microsoft $1 billion solely for Android patents. Some headlines go like these – “Lawsuit reveals Samsung paid Microsoft $1 billion a year for Android patents” or “Samsung paid Microsoft $1 billion in Android patent-licensing royalties in 2013″. These claims start and end with the headlines, you won’t find a single mention of ‘Samsung paying Microsoft $1 billion for Android patents’ in any of those stories.

Organizations like BloomBerg and ReCode are refraining from such misleading headlines. The court filing is available publicly which you can read on Scribd. Microsoft says in the document that Samsung paid Microsoft $1 billion in second financial year of their patent deal. From what I understand that is *the* total amount Samsung paid Microsoft under the deal. What we don’t know is what all is covered in these patents. The court document doesn’t specifically says that ‘Samsung paid Microsoft $1 billion for Android patents.’

I didn’t find a single sentence making such a claim. Please correct me if I am wrong, I would appreciate that.

PR stunt?

It seems to be nothing more than a PR stunt. Every-time someone creates such a headline, Microsoft scores a PR point. Microsoft drops the keywords Android, Chrome and Linux every-time it signs a deal with a company even if the deal is about using ancient technologies such as FAT 32 in devices running Linux.

We never heard of any other deal between the two companies (Samsung and Microsoft) so it can be logically concluded that the deal also covers the use of Microsoft technologies in non-Android or non-Chrome devices such as point-and-shoot cameras, DSLRs, music players, photo-frames, BD/DVD players, TV sets and dozen of other things that Samsung sells.

Those crisp $1 billion bills are not just for the Android powered devices, right? Samsung does a lot of thing, in 2013 the company raked in over $54.95 billion in revenues. Only half of that revenue came from the IT and mobile division.

Microsoft also pays Samsung for using their patents

It’s not a one way traffic. Microsoft also pays Samsung annual royalty for using Samsung’s patented technologies and this amount it credited against the amount Samsung pays to Microsoft.

Unlike Samsung, Microsoft is struggling in both PC and mobile segments so the revenues Samsung generates from Microsoft is far less than what Microsoft gets from Samsung as the Korean company has become an electronics giant.

If Microsoft devices were flying off the shelf the way Samsung devices do, the tables would have turned and Samsung would be minting billions of dollars from Microsoft and you would read headlines like ‘Android makers making billions of dollars from Windows phones!’

Unfortunately, looking at the steady decline of Microsoft market, it’s unlikely that Samsung would ever make any money from Microsoft though patents.

The post Samsung didn’t pay Microsoft $1 billion for Android, or did they? appeared first on The Mukt.

Steam Music available to one and all! Comes with Free Music too!

Friday 3rd of October 2014 06:30:36 PM

Back in February, Valve announced the Steam Player Beta. Steam Player Beta was a new experimental feature by Valve, available to select Steam users that allowed players to listen to music stored on their computer or in the Steam Music Library. In the latest update released by Valve, they brought this exciting feature finally out of Beta. Now all users have access to the Steam Music.

With the Steam Music, you can point Steam to your music collection on your computer to allow you to listen to your music while you play your games. The new service allows you to queue up music, play albums and even create playlists. Might not be a complete music service yet, but a start nonetheless.

Steam Music will also show soundtracks of the games that you own. In order to celebrate the launch of Steam Music, Valve is offering a lot of game music DLC for free. Additionally, Valve is offering Half-Life, Half-Life 2, Half-Life 2: Episode One, Half-Life 2: Episode Two, Portal and Portal 2 at 75% off. In addition, the sound tracks along with the Dota 2 documentary are available for free till October 1st.

Steam is slowly, but surely, moving to the complete home entertainment sphere and beyond just a platform for buying and playing games. Maybe they’ll have a video player and VoD services integrated too next. I mean given how SteamOS is poised to be an entertainment center, it only seems natural that the Big Picture Mode, which is so integral to SteamOS, have that feature. What do you think about the future of Steam? Let us know in the comments below.

Source: Steam News

The post Steam Music available to one and all! Comes with Free Music too! appeared first on The Mukt.

Hamburg Greens spearhead switch to open source

Friday 3rd of October 2014 06:30:23 PM

Hamburg’s local Green party has expressed that it wants to see the city follow the lead of Munich by adopting free and open source software. Citing innovation and increased security, the Greens want to make sure that the city has an ‘exit strategy’ from using proprietary software.

A conference to be held on October 21st has been organised in cooperation with the Open Source Business Alliance to discuss the benefits of open source software for businesses, society and public administration. The event will coincide with a state run event, the Nationale IT-Gipfel, an IT summit. The Green say that an alternative was needed to the state event as FOSS is not part of Germany’s national political agenda.

The Greens say that the German government is hesitating to switch from monopolistic proprietary software to free and open source alternatives. The conference they have organised for October 21st will be used to start the development of a plan to switch from proprietary software.

Organisers of the conference also stated that ‘digital sovereignty’ will be discussed. This no doubt relates to bringing servers into Germany so that data collection by spy agencies will be more difficult to conduct, Germany has possibly had the biggest negative reaction to the revelations and has become a hub for those concerned with privacy such as Tor developer Jacob Appelbaum who like Germany’s strong data protection laws.

Munich’s switch to open source was brought into question a few weeks ago after the authority their called for an investigation into the benefits open source was offering the City. This caused some alarmist articles to be published online but an official from Munich played the investigation down saying that it’s remote that they would go back to using proprietary alternatives.

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BOSSMOOL is an Object Oriented Linux kernel from India

Friday 3rd of October 2014 05:11:08 PM

The primary reason behind using a procedural language like C for writing the Linux kernel was efficiency. However, this resulted in higher degree of dependencies (or coupling) among different parts of the Linux kernel and makes it difficult to maintain. A touch of object-oriented design may make things easier.

The word BOSSMOOL has been coined from BOSS and MOOL. CDAC (Centre for Development of Advanced Computing), Chennai in India has its own derivative of Linux – BOSS (Bharat Operating System Solution), an OS derived from Debian and adapted for the Indian environment. The OS supports almost all Indian languages and hosts a lot of features. DOS (Distributed and Object Systems) Lab at IIT Madras have developed their own derivative of the Linux kernel, namely MOOL, which stands for Minimalistic Object Oriented Linux. The two teams are collaborating to develop a new distribution – BOSSMOOL.

The MOOL kernel intends to introduce features which are familiar in the object oriented paradigm. As the first step, the number of global variables are being reduced. Common global variables used by multiple modules are passed as function arguments.  MOOL also features a device driver framework to write drivers in C++ and insert them as loadable kernel modules. Support for C++ drivers is a new offering to the Linux community. Performance measurements are taken regularly and the modified kernel performs at par with the original.

In addition, the BOSSMOOL kernel supports localisation at Console level. The students can also develop Message filters which can intercept system calls. Message Filters are built using object-oriented wrappers which provide better maintainability and extensibility, without modifying the existing kernel code. They are implemented as kernel modules. When a user makes any system call, the call passes through the Message Filter which can intercept the messages for the kernel. These filters can be used for real-time monitoring, enforcing security policies, handling of device driver failures etc.

BOSSMOOL is a significant progress in open source software development and contribution from India, one of the major software hubs. You can download the source code of BOSSMOOL or contribute here.

The post BOSSMOOL is an Object Oriented Linux kernel from India appeared first on The Mukt.

GoPro increases retail presence at Best Buy

Friday 3rd of October 2014 03:01:43 PM

It will now be easier for you to experience an hands-on with GoPro tools at Best Buy before making a purchase decision. The maker of the amazing camera is expanding their retail presence at Best Buy to get ready for the holiday season.

The star of this expansion will be the newly announced Hero 4 which will be available in the stores beginning October 5, 2014.

“This expansion will provide GoPro with a significant increase in shelf space from one of our biggest retail partners in North America,” said GoPro Senior Vice President of Intergalactic Sales, Jonathan Harris.

The new display rollout to 500 stores begins this week and triples GoPro’s in-store retail presence at Best Buy

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Samsung fires another shot at Microsoft in Android patent battle

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