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IEEE Standards Association Launches an Open Source Collaboration Platform

Tuesday 31st of March 2020 05:59:29 AM

Brief: IEEE Standards Association has announced a GitLab-based open source collaboration platform. Read how is it different and what advantages it has.

IEEE is the world’s largest technical professional organization dedicated to advancing technology. The IEEE Standards Association (IEEE SA) is an organization within IEEE that develops global standards in a broad range of industries.

The IEEE Standards Association (SA) has come up with an open-source collaboration platform i.e IEEE SA Open.

It is technically a self-hosted GitLab instance combined with Mattermost (a slack alternative) and GitLab Pages. To describe it further, the official blog post mentioned:

The platform enables independent software developers, startups, industry, academic institutions, and others to create, test, manage, and deploy innovative projects in a collaborative, safe, and responsible environment.

How is it different or useful?

The main key attraction for this platform would be IEEE’s members’ network, technical expertise, and resources.

IEEE President, Robert Fish, also mentions in brief (during an interview with Radio Kan) how it’s different and why IEEE wanted to go with it:

Today, much of the world’s infrastructure is run by software, and that software needs to comply with standards in communications networking, electrical grids, agriculture, and the like.

It makes sense – if we want to improve standardizing technologies, it highly depends on the software. So, this definitely sounds like something to standardize innovative open-source projects to gear them up for potential capital opportunities as well.

IEEE also clarified that:

As software becomes increasingly prevalent in the world today, ethical alignment, reliability, transparency, and democratic governance become must-haves. IEEE is uniquely positioned to endow open-source projects with these attributes.

While this sounds good, what exactly the open-source platform by the IEEE offer? Let’s take a look at that:

IEEE SA Open: Quick overview

To start with, it is open to all and completely free to use. You just need to create an IEEE account and then sign in to the open-source platform to get started.

Along with the benefits associated with IEEE’s extensive network of Members, you can also expect guidance support from their open-source community managers or community members.

Ieee Gitlab

The platform presents use cases for both standard and non-standard projects, so you can give it a try.

For its choice to go with GitLab combined with Mattermost and Pages, you get a couple of useful features, they are:

  • Project planning and management features
  • Source code management
  • Testing, code quality, and continuous integration features
  • Docker container registry and Kubernetes integration
  • Application release and delivery features
  • Integrated Mattermost chat forum w/slash commands; (Android and iPhone apps are fully supported)
  • Capable of bridging the gap between Standards development and open source communities to allow for the advancement of nimble and creative technical solutions at a faster pace
  • A safe open space with an enforced code of conduct
Wrapping Up

It’s obviously a good thing to have more platforms to potentially amplify the exposure of open-source projects – hence, IEEE’s initiative sounds promising to start with.

What do you think about it? Let me know your thoughts!

Rambox is an All-in-one Messenger for Linux

Monday 30th of March 2020 06:51:54 AM

Brief: Rambox is an all-in-one messenger that lets you combine multiple services like Discord, Slack, Facebook Messenger and hundreds of more such services in one place.

Rambox: Add multiple messaging Services in a single app

Rambox is one of the best ways to manage multiple services for communication through a single app installed. You can use multiple messaging services like Facebook Messenger, Gmail chats, AOL, Discord, Google Duo, Viber and a lot more from the same interface.

This way, you don’t need to install individual apps or keep them opened in browser all the time. You can use a master password to lock the Rambox application. You can also use do not disturb feature.

Rambox offers an open source community edition which is free to use. The paid pro version gives you access to 600+ apps while the community addition has 99+ apps. Pro version has additional features like themes, hibernation, ad-block, spell check and premium support.

Don’t worry. The open source community edition itself is quite useful and you may not even need those pro features.

Features of Rambox

While you should find most of the essential features in the open-source edition, you might notice some of them limited to the pro version.

Here, I’ve mentioned all the essential features available:

  • You get about 100 apps/services to choose from in the open-source edition
  • Ability to protect the app with a single Master password lock
  • Ability to lock each session that you load up
  • Do Not Disturb mode
  • Ability to sync apps and configuration across multiple devices.
  • You can create and add custom apps
  • Support for keyboard shortcuts
  • Ability to enable/disable apps without needing to delete them
  • JS & CSS injection support to tweak the styling of apps
  • Ad-block (pro version)
  • Hibernation support (pro version)
  • Theme support (pro version)
  • Mobile view (pro version)
  • Spell check (pro version)
  • Work hours – to schedule a time for incoming notifications (pro version)
  • Proxies support (pro version)

In addition to what I’ve listed here, you might find some more features in the Rambox Pro edition. To know more about it, you can refer to the official list of features.

It is also worth noting that you cannot have more than 3 active simultaneous device connections.

Installing Rambox on Linux

You can easily get started using Rambox using the .AppImage file available on the official download page. If you’re curious, you can refer our guide on how to use the AppImage file on Linux.

In either case, you can also get it from the Snap store. Also, feel free to check their GitHub releases section for .deb / .rpm or other packages.

Download Rambox Community Edition Wrapping Up

It can be a little overwhelming to have a lot of apps installed using Rambox. So, I’d suggest you monitor the RAM usage when adding more apps and using them for work.

There is also a similar app called Franz which is also part open source and part premium like Rambox.

Even though solutions like Rambox or Franz are quite useful, they aren’t always resource-friendly, specially if you start using tens of services at the same time. So, keep an eye on your system resources (if you notice a performance impact).

Otherwise, it’s an impressive app that does the work that you’d expect. Have you tried it out? Feel free to let me know your thoughts!

The Keyring Concept in Ubuntu: What is It and How to Use it?

Saturday 28th of March 2020 07:22:14 AM

If you use automatic login in Ubuntu or other Linux distributions, you might have come across a pop-up message of this sort:

Enter password to unlock your login keyring
The login keyring did not get unlocked when you logged into your computer.

Enter Password To Unlock Your Login Keyring Ubuntu

It keeps on popping up several times before disappearing if you keep on clicking cancel. You may wonder why do you keep seeing this keyring message all the time?

Let me tell you something. It’s not an error. It’s a security feature.

Surprised? Let me explain the keyring concept in Linux.

What is keyring in Linux and why is it used?

Why do you use a keyring (also called keychain) in the real life? You use it to keep one or more keys grouped together so that they are easy to find and carry.

It’s the same concept in Linux. The keyring feature allows your system to group various passwords together and keep it one place.

Most desktop environments like GNOME, KDE, Xfce etc use an implementation of gnome-keyring to provide this keyring feature in Linux.

This keyring keeps your ssh keys, GPG keys and keys from applications that use this feature, like Chromium browser. By default, the keyring is locked with a master password which is often the login password of the account.

Every user on your system has its own keyring with (usually) the same password as that of the user account itself. When you login to your system with your password, your keyring is unlocked automatically with your account’s password.

The problem comes when you switch to auto-login in Ubuntu. This means that you login to the system without entering the password. In such case, your keyring is not unlocked automatically.

Keyring is a security feature

Remember I told you that the keyring was a security feature? Now imagine that on your Linux desktop, you are using auto-login. Anyone with access to your desktop can enter the system without password but you have no issues with that perhaps because you use it to browse internet only.

But if you use a browser like Chromium or Google Chrome in Ubuntu, and use it to save your login-password for various websites, you have an issue on your hand. Anyone can use the browser and login to the websites for which you have saved password in your browser. That’s risky, isn’t it?

This is why when you try to use Chrome, it will ask you to unlock the keyring repeatedly. This ensures that only the person who knows the keyring’s password (i.e. the account password) can use the saved password in browser for logging in to their respective websites.

If you keep on cancelling the prompt for keyring unlock, it will eventually go away and let you use the browser. However, the saved password won’t be unlocked and you’ll see ‘sync paused’ in Chromium/Chrome browsers.

Sync paused in Google Chrome If this keyring always exited, why you never saw it?

That’s a valid question if you have never seen this keyring thing in your Linux system.

If you never used automatic login (or changed your account’s password), you might not even have realized that this feature exists.

This is because when you login to your system with your password, your keyring is unlocked automatically with your account’s password.

Ubuntu (and other distributions) asks for password for common admin tasks like modifying users, installing new software etc irrespective of whether you auto login or not. But for regular tasks like using a browser, it doesn’t ask for password because keyring is already unlocked.

When you switch to automatic login, you don’t enter the password for login anymore. This means that the keyring is not unlocked and hence when you try to use a browser which uses the keyring feature, it will ask to unlock the keyring.

You can easily manage the keyring and passwords

Where is this keyring located? At the core, it’s a daemon (a program that runs automatically in the background).

Don’t worry. You don’t have to ‘fight the daemon’ in the terminal. Most desktop environments come with a graphical application that interacts with this daemon. On KDE, there is KDE Wallet, on GNOME and others, it’s called Password and Keys (originally known as Seahorse).

Password And Keys App in Ubuntu

You can use this GUI application to see what application use the keyring to manage/lock passwords.

As you can see, my system has the login keyring which is automatically created. There is also a keyrings for storing GPG and SSH keys. The Certificates is for keeping the certificates (like HTTPS certificates) issued by a certificate authority.

Password and Keys application in Ubuntu

You can also use this application to manually store passwords for website. For example, I created a new password-protected keyring called ‘Test’ and stored a password in this keyring manually.

This is slightly better than keeping a list of passwords in a text file. At least in this case your passwords can be viewed only when you unlock the keyring with password.

Saving New Password Seahorse

One potential problem here is that if you format your system, the manually saved passwords are definitely lost. Normally, you make backup of personal files, not of all the user specific data such as keyring files.

There is way to handle that. The keyring data is usually stored in ~/.local/share/keyrings directory. You can see all the keyrings here but you cannot see its content directly. If you remove the password of the keyring (I’ll show the steps in later section of this article), you can read the content of the keyring like a regular text file. You can copy this unlocked keyring file entirely and import it in the Password and Keys application on some other Linux computer (running this application).

So, let me summarize what you have learned so far:

  • Most Linux has this ‘keyring feature’ installed and activated by default
  • Each user on a system has its own keyring
  • The keyring is normally locked with the account’s password
  • Keyring is unlocked automatically when you login with your password
  • For auto-login, the keyring is not unlocked and hence you are asked to unlock it when you try to use an application that uses keyring
  • Not all browsers or application use the keyring feature
  • There is a GUI application installed to interact with keyring
  • You can use the keyring to manually store passwords in encrypted format
  • You can change the keyring password on your own
  • You can export (by unlocking the keyring first) and import it on some other computer to get your manually saved passwords
Change keyring password

Suppose you changed your account password. Now when you login, your system tries to unlock the keyring automatically using the new login password. But the keyring still uses the old login password.

In such a case, you can change the keyring password to the new login password so that the keyring gets unlocked automatically as soon as you login to your system.

Open the Password and Keys application from the menu:

Look for Password and Keys app in the menu

Now, right click on the Login keyring and click on Change Password:

Change Keyring Password What if you don’t remember the old login password?

You probably know that it is easy to reset forgotten password in Ubuntu. The problem comes with the keyring in such cases. You changed the account password but you don’t remember the old account password that is still used by the keyring.

Now you cannot change it because you don’t know the old password. What to do now?

In such a case, you’ll have to remove the entire keyring itself. You can do that from the Passwords and Keys application:

Delete Keyring Ubuntu

It will ask for your confirmation:

Delete Keyring

Alternatively, you may also manually delete the keyring files in ~/.local/share/keyrings directory.

When the old keyring is removed and you try to use Chrome/Chromium, it will ask you to create new keyring.

New Keyring Password

You can use the new login password so that the keyring gets unlocked automatically.

Disable keyring password

In cases where you want to use automatic login but don’t want to unlockk keyring manually, you may choose to disable the keyring with a workaround. Keep in mind that you are disabling a security feature so think twice before doing so.

The process is similar to changing keyring password. Open Password and Keys application and go on to change the keyring password.

The trick is that when it asks to change the password, don’t enter a new password and hit Continue instead. This will remove any password from the keyring.

Disable Keyring password by not setting any password at all

This way, the keyring will have no password and it remains unlocked all the time.

How to install Microsoft TrueType Fonts on Ubuntu-based Distributions

Friday 27th of March 2020 06:17:38 AM

If you open some Microsoft documents in LibreOffice on Linux, you’ll notice that the fonts look a bit different. You’ll also notice that you cannot find common fonts like Times New Roman, Arial etc.

Don’t worry. I’ll show you how to install these fonts in Ubuntu and other Ubuntu-based Linux distributions. But before that, let me tell you why these fonts are not available by default.

Why Microsoft fonts are not installed by default in Linux?

Times New Roman, Arial and other such fonts are owned by Microsoft and they are not open source. Many Linux distributions don’t provide proprietary software by default to avoid licensing issue.

This is why Ubuntu and other Linux distributions use an open source fonts “Liberation fonts” to substitute Microsoft fonts by default. The Liberation Fonts were created by Red Hat to substitute Arial, Arial Narrow, Times New Roman and Courier New as their width is the same. When you open a document written in Times New Roman, the equivalent Liberation Font will be used to keep the document uninterrupted.

However Liberation fonts are not identical to Microsoft’s fonts and in some cases you may need to use Arial or Times New Roman. A very common scenario is that Microsoft’s fonts are the only option is in schools, universities and other public and private organizations. They require you to submit the documents in one of those fonts.

Good thing is that you can install the Microsoft fonts on Ubuntu and other distributions easily. This way, you will be able to increase compatibility of LibreOffice and have the freedom to choose an open source office software.

Installing Microsoft fonts on Ubuntu-based Linux distributions

You can install new fonts in Ubuntu by downloading them on your own. But since Microsoft fonts are very popular (and is provided free of cost), Ubuntu provides an easy way of installing it.

Be aware that despite Microsoft has released its core fonts for free of charge, the usage of the fonts is restricted in other operating systems. You’ll have to read and accept EULA (End User License Agreement) before installing Microsoft fonts in Ubuntu.

These fonts are available in the multiverse repositories so make sure to enable it first:

sudo add-apt-repository multiverse

After that, you can update your Ubuntu repository cache and install the Microsoft fonts like this:

sudo apt update && sudo apt install ttf-mscorefonts-installer

Press tab to select OK and the press enter when the Microsoft’s End user agreement appears.

Press tab to highlight the selection

Click Yes to accept the Microsoft’s agreement:

Use tab key to make a selection and then press enter

When the installation is done, you should update the font cache using the command below:

sudo fc-cache -f -v

If you open the LibreOffice now, you’ll see the Microsoft TrueType fonts.

In case that you accidentally reject the license agreement, you can reinstall the installer with this command:

sudo apt install –reinstall ttf-mscorefonts-installer

Microsoft TrueType fonts are also available via the Ubuntu Restricted Extras package that contains other proprietary media codecs to play files like MP3 etc.

Don’t underestimate proprietary fonts

You may think what’s the big deal with fonts? After all, it’s just a font, not a crucial piece of software, right?
But did you know that for years, Netflix paid millions of dollars for the proprietary font it used? At the end, they created their own custom fonts and that saved them a considerable amount of money.

I hope you find this quick tutorial useful. More productivity tutorials are down the line, leave your comments below and subscribe to our social media for more!

Dimitrios Savvopoulos

Dimitrios is an MSc Mechanical Engineer but a Linux enthusiast in heart. He is well settled in Solus OS but curiosity drives him to constantly test other distros. Challenge is part of his personality and his hobby is to compete from 5k to the marathon distance.

Turn Your Regular TV into a Smart TV With KDE Plasma Bigscreen

Thursday 26th of March 2020 03:12:34 PM

Brief: KDE’s upcoming Plasma Bigscreen project lets you use open source technologies to turn your regular TV into a smart one.

Smart TVs are the new normal these days. Mostly based on Android, these smart TVs let you play YouTube, Netflix, Spotify and other streaming services. You can even use voice commands to control your smart TV.

One major problem with these so-called smart TVs are that they probably are spying on you. Your data is being collected with or without your knowledge.

This is the problem KDE’s Plasma Bigscreen project is aiming to solve.

Plasma Bigscreen: Make your TV smart with open source technologies

You probably already know about the KDE project. It started as a Linux desktop environment project more than 20 years ago. The KDE project grew bigger and this is why they created Plasma desktop environment to make it clear that KDE is no more just “K Desktop Environment”.

The Plasma project itself is quite versatile. You can of course use it on your desktop Linux computer. Plasma also has a mobile version that you can run on Linux-based smartphones like Librem5 and PinePhone.

The Plasma Bigscreen is a new project from KDE that aims to provide interface and features similar to what Smart TVs provide.

All you need is a single board computer like Raspberry Pi and a TV with HDMI port. Install Plasma Bigscreen on your device and connect it to your TV.

Plasma Bigscreen features: More than just a media server YouTube In Plasma Bigscreen

Though it may look like one at the first glance, but Plasma Bigscreen is not like Kodi and other media servers for Linux. It’s more than that.

Control with your regular remote

You don’t need a new specialized remote control. Thanks to CEC, you can use your regular TV remote control.

Voice control with open source Mycroft AI

Plasma Bigscreen takes advantage of the open source Mycroft AI project. With Mycroft built in to Bigscreen, you can use voice command to play content, check weather and control other aspects of your smart TV. You can further train this AI by teaching it new skills.

Traditional desktop applications

Plasma Bigscreen delivers not only media-rich applications, but also traditional desktop applications redesigned to fit the Bigscreen experience.

Free and open source software

The most important feature is that it is an open source project and it uses other open source technologies to give you the complete control over your data and your smart TV.

Since it is open source, I believe once it is released, there will be a few vendors providing it as a plug and play device.

How to get Plasma Bigscreen?

Plasma Bigscreen is still in beta phase and there is no definite timeline for the stable release.

However, the beta version is also working good on devices like Raspberry Pi 4. Here’s a video by one of the developers working on this project.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel for more Linux videos

If you have a Raspberry Pi 4, you can download Plasma Bigscreen beta version from its official download page and follow the steps here to install it.

Personally, I am really excited about it. I am going to take out some time and try it on my Raspberry Pi 4. What about you? Do you think the project has potential? Will you give it a try?

SUSE is Offering Free Enterprise Linux Support For Medical Device Manufacturers

Thursday 26th of March 2020 11:59:38 AM

Brief: SUSE is offering free support for its Linux Enterprise Server and container and cloud technologies to any organization building medical devices to fight the Coronavirus.

SUSE is one of the biggest open-source software companies. The SUSE Linux operating system for enterprise users is their primary offering. In addition to that, they also provide container technologies.

Amidst the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) situation, there’s a lot of things happening across the globe that keeps us worried. In times like this, SUSE’s latest commitment to fight COVID-19 is positive news!

SUSE to help combat Coronavirus with free IT infrastructure support

SUSE’s CEO Melissa Di Donato shared the details of their initiative to support the fight against coronavirus.

In a nutshell, SUSE will be offering free enterprise Linux support to organizations or manufacturers working with medical devices to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

The press release mentions the details for what they plan to achieve with their initiative:

“We are determined to help others as much as we can, doing what we do best. We have cutting-edge open source technology and know-how that can help others in the fight to save lives, and we will share it immediately and without charge. Our customers, partners and communities know of and share our commitment to making a difference – and that extends to our neighbors and fellow human beings around the world.”

The SUSE Embedded Linux is a good choice for medical devices with a minimal footprint. And, free enterprise-grade support to facilitate the use of SUSE Enterprise Linux for medical devices is the need of the hour.

Not just limited to the operating system and its maintenance, there’s more to what SUSE is offering:

Container technologies from SUSE include SUSE CaaS Platform, which allows companies to use Kubernetes to more easily deploy and manage container-based applications and services, and SUSE Cloud Application Platform, which brings an advanced cloud native developer experience to Kubernetes so companies can get applications to the cloud and devices to market faster. These technologies bring security and reliability to any device they run on or manage.

In other words, they will also be making their container technologies available that include the SUSE CaaS Platform, which companies can utilize to deploy and manage container-based apps.

Overall, this will make it easier for companies to enhance security and reliability for their applications on a variety of devices that they potentially manage.

As ZDNet noted, there are already SUSE customer in the pharmaceutical and research space using SUSE Linux Enterprise on their supercomputers (which includes some national laboratories as well) to find solutions to tackle COVID-19.

Wrapping Up

While you can share this amazing news with your friends and family to spread the word about such impressive initiatives being taken by the open-source community in general.

If this is something that is related to your field, you can reach out at to get more details on the offer.

It’s really good of SUSE to come up with such an offer. Everyone of us should do whatever we can do in our own capacity to fight this Coronavirus pandemic. SUSE is a good example here. Thank you, SUSE.

Oracle Announces Java 14! How to Install it on Ubuntu Linux

Wednesday 25th of March 2020 10:55:12 AM

Recently, Oracle announced the general availability of Java 14 (or the Oracle JDK 14). If you are someone who wants to have the latest and greatest to experiment and develop stuff – you can try installing Java 14 on your Linux system.

Oracle JDK 14 (or simply Java 14) release includes a couple of new features if you’re interested to preview them. I’ve linked them below:

In addition to the preview features, it packs in several improvements and additions. Quoting the press release, they mentioned the additional improvements as well:

Additionally, the latest Java release adds Java language support for switch expressions, exposes new APIs for continuous monitoring of JDK Flight Recorder data, extends the availability of the low-latency Z Garbage Collector to macOS and Windows, and adds, in incubator modules, the packaging of self-contained Java applications and a new Foreign memory access API for safe, efficient access to memory outside of the Java heap.

Of course, if you want to dive into the exact details, you should check the official announcement.

In this tutorial, I’ll show you the easy way to get Java 14 installed on your Ubuntu system. Read on.

Note: If you opt for Oracle Java 11 or above, you should learn about the new Oracle Technology Network License Agreement to know how it affects personal users, developers, and commercial organizations. Usually, these are free to use for development and testing – but not for production.

How To Install Java 14 on Ubuntu Linux?

For reference, I’ve successfully tried it on Pop!_OS 19.10 where I had the OpenJDK 11 installed as the default.

Here, we are going to use the Java 14 installer (originally based on WebUpd8 Java Package) by Linux Uprising.

Simply enter the commands below in the terminal to get it installed:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:linuxuprising/java sudo apt update sudo apt install oracle-java14-installer

This should do the job. And, when it’s done, if you want to make it the default, you can type in the following command to do it:

sudo apt install oracle-java14-set-default

It is worth noting that this is only for Ubuntu-based distributions. If you want to install it on Debian and other Linux distributions, you can follow Linux Uprising’s detailed guide on installing Java 14 as well.

Wrapping Up

Of course, while this is about the bleeding edge features – if you do not want to break things, you might want to hold on to Java 11. If you want to experiment while knowing the risks, go ahead and give it a try!

Feel free to let me know your thoughts on Java 14 in the comments below.

Nextcloud: The Swiss Army Knife of Remote Working Tools

Tuesday 24th of March 2020 08:47:55 AM

Remote working culture has been booming for past few years in coding, graphics and other IT related fields. But the recent Coronavirus pandemic has made it mandatory for the companies to work from home if it’s possible for them.

While there are tons of tools to help you and your organization in working from home, let me share one open source software that has the features of several such tools combined into one.

Nextcloud Hub: A Suite of Essential Tools for Remote Collaboration

Nextcloud is an open source software that can be used to store files, photos and videos for personal usage like Dropbox. But it’s more than just a private cloud service.

You can add more than one users in Nextcloud and turn it into a collaboration platform for editing files in real time, chat with users, manage calendars, assign and manage tasks and more.

This video gives a good overview of its main features:

Subscribe to our YouTube channel for more Linux videos Main Features of Nextcloud

Let me highlight the main features of Nextcloud:

Sync files and share Nextcloud Files

You can create workspaces based on user groups and share files in those folders. Users can create private files and folders and share them with selected users internally or externally (if they are allowed to). You can lock files in read only mode as well.

It also has a very powerful search feature that lets you search files from their name or tags. You can comment on files to provide feedback.

Text files can be edited in real time thanks to its builtin markdown editor. You can use OnlyOffice or Collabora to allow editing of docs, spreadsheet and presentations in real time.

It also has version control for the files so that you can revert changes easily.

Text Chat, Audio Chat, Video Chat and Web Meetings Nextcloud Video Call

With NextCloud Talk, you can interact with other users by text messaging, audio calls, video calls and group calls for web meetings. You can also take meeting minutes during the video calls and share your screen for presentations. There is also a mobile app to stay connected all the time.

You can also create Slack like channels (known as circles) to communicate between members concerned with a specific topic.

Calendar, Contacts & Mail Calendar Nextcloud

You can manage all of your organization’s contact, divide them into groups based on departments.

With the calendar, you can see when someone is free or what meetings are taking place, like you do on Outlook.

You can also use the Mail feature and import the emails from other providers to use them inside Nextcloud interface.

Kanban project management with Deck

Like Trello and Jira, you can create boards for various projects. You can create cards for each tasks, assign them to users and they can move it between the list based on the status of the task. It’s really up to you how you create boards to manage your projects in Kanban style.

Plenty of add-ons to get more out of Nextcloud Password Manager

Nextcloud also has several add-ons (called apps). Some are developed by Nextcloud teams while some are from third-party developers. You may use them to extend the capability of Nextcloud.

For example, you can add a Feedly style feed reader and read news from various sources. Similarly, the Paswords addon lets you use Netxcloud as a password manager. You can even share common passwords with other Nextcloud users.

You can explore all the apps on its website. You’ll also notice the ratings of apps that will help you decide if you should use an app or not.

Many more features

Let me summarize all the features here:

  • Open source software that lets you own your data on your own servers
  • Seamlessly edit office documents together with others
  • Communicate with other members of your organization and do audio and video calls and held web meetings
  • Calendar lets you book meetings, brings busy view for meetings and resource booking and more
  • Manage users locally or authenticate through LDAP / Active Directory, Kerberos and Shibboleth / SAML 2.0 and more
  • Secure data with powerful file access control, multi-layer encryption, machine-learning based authentication protection and advanced ransomware recovery capabilities
  • Access existing storage silos like FTP, Windows Network Drives, SharePoint, Object Storage and Samba shares seamlessly through Nextcloud.
  • Automation: Automatically turn documents in PDFs, send messages to chat rooms and more!
  • Built in ONLYOFFICE makes collaborative editing of Microsoft Office documents accessible to everyone
  • Users can install desktop and mobile apps or simply use it in web browser
How to get Nextcloud

NextCloud is free and open source software. You can download it and install it on your own server.

You can use cloud server providers like Linode or DigitalOcean that allow you to deploy a brand new Linux server within minutes. And then you can use Docker to install NextCloud. At It’s FOSS, we use Linode for our NextCloud instance.

If you don’t want to do that, you can signup with one of the Nextcloud partners that provide you with configured Nextcloud instance. Some providers also provide a few GB of free data to try it.

Nextcloud also has an enterprise plan where Nextcloud team itself handles everything for the users and provide premium support. You can check their pricing here.

If you decide to use Nextcloud, you should refer to its documentation or community forum to explore all its features.


At It’s FOSS, our entire team works remote. We have no centralized office anywhere and all of us work from our home. Initially we relied on non-open source tools like Slack, Google Drive etc but lately we are migrating to their open source alternatives.

Nextcloud is one of the first software we tried internally. It has features of Dropbox, Google Docs, Slack, Trello, Google Hangout all combined in one software.

NextCloud works for most part but we found it struggling with the video calls. I think that has to do with the fact that we have it installed on a server with 1 GB of RAM that also runs some other web services like Ghost CMS. We plan to move it to a server with better specs. We’ll see if that should address these issues.

Since the entire world is struggling with the Coronavirus pandemic, using a solution like Nextcloud could be helpful for you and your organization in working from home.

How are you coping during the Coronavirus lockdown? Like Linus Torvalds’ advice on remote working, do you also have some suggestion to share with the rest of us? Please feel free to use the comment section.

Audacious 4.0 Released With Qt 5: Here’s How to Install it on Ubuntu

Monday 23rd of March 2020 09:03:45 AM

Audacious is an open-source audio player available for multiple platforms that include Linux. Almost after 2 years of its last major release, Audacious 4.0 has arrived with some big changes.

The latest release Audacious 4.0 comes with Qt 5 UI by default. You can still go for the old GTK2 UI from the source – however, the new features will be added to the Qt UI only.

Let’s take a look at what has changed and how to install the latest Audacious on your Linux system.

Audacious 4.0 Key Changes & Features Audacious 4 Release

Of course, the major change would be the use of Qt 5 UI as the default. In addition to that, there are a lot of improvements and feature additions mentioned in their official announcement post, here they are:

  • Clicking on playlist column headers sorts the playlist
  • Dragging playlist column headers changes the column order
  • Application-wide settings for volume and time step sizes
  • New option to hide playlist tabs
  • Sorting playlist by path now sorts folders after files
  • Implemented additional MPRIS calls for compatibility with KDE 5.16+
  • New OpenMPT-based tracker module plugin
  • New VU Meter visualization plugin
  • Added option to use a SOCKS network proxy
  • The Song Change plugin now works on Windows
  • New “Next Album” and “Previous Album” commands
  • The tag editor in Qt UI can now edit multiple files at once
  • Implemented equalizer presets window for Qt UI
  • Lyrics plugin gained the ability to save and load lyrics locally
  • Blur Scope and Spectrum Analyzer visualizations ported to Qt
  • MIDI plugin SoundFont selection ported to Qt
  • JACK output plugin gained some new options
  • Added option to endlessly loop PSF files

If you didn’t know about it previously, you can easily get it installed and use the equalizer coupled with LADSP effects to tweak your music experience.

Audacious Winamp Classic Interface How to Install Audacious 4.0 on Ubuntu

It is worth noting that the unofficial PPA is made available by UbuntuHandbook. You can simply follow the instructions below to install it on Ubuntu 16.04, 18.04, 19.10, and 20.04.

1. First, you have to add the PPA to your system by typing in the following command in the terminal:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntuhandbook1/apps

3. Next, you need to update/refresh the package information from the repositories/sources you have and proceed to install the app. Here’s how to do that:

sudo apt update sudo apt install audacious audacious-plugins

That’s it. You don’t have to do anything else. In either case, if you want to remove the PPA and the software, just type in the following commands in order:

sudo add-apt-repository --remove ppa:ubuntuhandbook1/apps sudo apt remove --autoremove audacious audacious-plugins

You can also check out their GitHub page for more information on the source and potentially install it on other Linux distros as well, if that’s what you’re looking for.

Audacious Source Code Wrapping Up

The new features and the Qt 5 UI switch should be a good thing to improve the user experience and the functionality of the audio player. If you’re a fan of the classic Winamp interface, it works just fine as well – but missing a few features as mentioned in their announcement post.

You can try it out and let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

Shortwave: A Modern Open Source Internet Radio Player for Linux

Monday 23rd of March 2020 05:35:06 AM

Brief: Shortwave is a modern looking open source Internet Radio player for Linux desktop. We take a quick look at it after its recent stable release.

Shortwave: An Open Source Radio Player Featuring Internet Radio Stations

Shortwave is an interesting open-source radio player that offers a good-looking user interface along with a great experience listening to the Internet stations. It utilizes a community-powered database for the Internet stations it lists.

Shortwave is actually a successor of the popular radio app for Linux, Gradio. Its developer Felix joined GNOME and discontinued Gradio to create Shortwave from scratch in Rust programming language. If you were using Gradio as your preferred Internet radio station player, you can import the library as well.

Recently, Shortwave released its first stable version and seems to push new updates after that as well.

Features of Shortwave

It is a quite simple and useful Internet radio station player for Linux. However, to filter out what it offers, here’s a list of its features:

  • Utilizes Community-powered Radio Station Listing
  • Supports importing from Gradio
  • Features numerous Internet radio stations from across the globe
  • Supports streaming/casting the radio stations to supported devices (Chromecast support)
  • Identifies the song playing on the radio station
  • Offers a dark-mode toggle option (even though it didn’t work while I wrote this, should be an easy fix in the future updates)
Installing Shortwave on Linux

The source code can be accessed on GNOME’s GitLab page. It is already available in AUR for Arch users.

For other distributions, you can grab the Flatpak package. If you haven’t setup Flatpak on your system, simply follow our Flatpak guide to get started.

Once you have made sure to install Flatpak support on your system, you have to type in the command below to install shortwave on Linux via terminal:

flatpak install flathub de.haeckerfelix.Shortwave

You can also choose to install beta/nightly builds by following the instructions mentioned in their official GitLab page.

Download Shortwave Wrapping Up

The user interface and the user experience was quite good. Even though I faced minor glitches while selecting (or clicking) on the channels listed, everything else worked like a charm.

Just for reference, I tried it on Pop!_OS 19.10 and it worked well. You can also easily try the Flatpak package on other Linux distributions.

Feel free to let me know your thoughts on Shockwave and where you tried it on.

Meet DebianDog – Puppy sized Debian Linux

Saturday 21st of March 2020 02:28:18 PM

Recently I stumbled upon an intriguing Linux project. This project aims to create small live CDs for Debian and Debian-based systems, similar to the Puppy Linux project. Let’s take a look at DebianDog.

What is DebianDog?

As it says on the tin, DebianDog “is a small Debian Live CD shaped to look like Puppy and act like Puppy. Debian structure and Debian behaviour are untouched and Debian documentation is 100% valid for DebianDog. You have access to all Debian repositories using apt-get or synaptic.”

DebianDog Jessie

For those of you who are not familiar with Puppy Linux, the project is “a collection of multiple Linux distributions, built on the same shared principles”. Those principles are to be fast, small (300 MB or less), and easy to use. There are versions of Puppy Linux built to support Ubuntu, Slackware, and Raspbian packages.

The major difference between DebianDog and Puppy Linux is that Puppy Linux has its own package manager [the Puppy Package Manager]. As stated above, DebianDog using the Debian package manager and packages. Even the DebianDog website tries to make that clear: “It is not Puppy Linux and it has nothing to do with Puppy based on Debian.”

Why should anyone use DebianDog?

The main reason to install DebianDog (or any of its derivatives) would be to restore an older system to operability. Every entry on DebianDog has a 32-bit option. They also have lighter desktop environments/window managers, such as Openbox or the Trinity Desktop environment. Most of those also have an alternative to systemd. They also come with lighter applications installed, such as PCManFM.

What versions of DebianDog are available?

Though DebianDog was the first in the series, the project is called ‘Dog Linux’ and provides various ‘Dog variants’ on popular distributions based on Debian and Ubuntu.

DebianDog Jessie

The first (and original) version of DebianDog is DebianDog Jessie. There are two 32-bit versions of it. One uses Joe’s Window Manager (JWM) as default and the other uses XFCE. Both systemd and sysvinit are available. There is also a 64-bit version. DebianDog Jessie is based on Debian 8.0 (codename Jessie). Support for Debian 8.0 ends on June 30th, 2020, so install with caution.

TrinityDog StretchDog

StretchDog is based on Debian 9.0 (codename Stretch). It is available in 32 and 64-bit. Openbox is the default window manager, but we can also switch to JWM. Support for Debian 9.0 ends on June 30th, 2022.


BusterDog is interesting. It is based on Debian 10 (codename Buster). It does not use systemd, instead, it uses elogind just like AntiX. Support for Debian 10.0 ends on June 2024.


MintPup is based on Linux Mint 17.1. This LiveCD is 32-bit only. You can also access all of the “Ubuntu/Mint repositories using apt-get or synaptic”. Considering that Mint 17 has reached end of life, this version must be avoided.


There are both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of this spin based on the Ubuntu 16.04 LTS. Both versions come with Openbox as default with JWM as an option. Support for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS ends in April of 2021, so install with caution.


There are two versions of the TrintyDog spin. One is based on Debian 8 and the other is based on Debian 9. Both are 32-bit and both use the Trinity Desktop Environment, thus the name.

BionicDog BionicDog

As you should be able to guess by the name. BionicDog is based on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS. The main version of this spin has both 32 and 64-bit with Openbox as the default window manager. There is also a version that uses the Cinnamon desktop and is only 64-bit.

Final Thoughts

I like any Linux project that wants to make older systems usable. However, most of the operating systems available through DebianDog are no longer supported or nearing the end of their life span. This makes it less than useful for the long run.

I wouldn’t really advise to use it on your main computer. Try it in live USB or on a spare system. Also, you can create your own LiveCD spin if you want to take advantage of a newer base system.

Somehow I keep on stumbling across obscure Linux distributions like FatDog64, 4M Linux and Vipper Linux. Even though I may not always recommend them to use, it’s still good to know about the existence of such projects.

What are your thoughts on the DebianDog? What is your favorite Puppy-syle OS? 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.

Linux Mint’s Debian Variant LMDE 4 Released With New Features and Improvements

Saturday 21st of March 2020 07:02:03 AM

Brief: Linux Mint’s Debian variant LMDE 4 has been released with Debian 10 Buster as the base. Check out what’s new feature this new release brings.

Most people know that Linux Mint is based on Ubuntu but not many people know that Linux Mint also has Debian-based variant. It is called LMDE which stands for Linux Mint Debian Edition.

Linux Mint team has just announced the release of LMDE version 4 codenamed Debbie. It is based on Debian 10 Buster release.

As with Debian, LMDE also focuses on stability . Which also means that you might not get the latest versions of many software and libraries. That’s a trade off between stability and freshness.

New features in LMDE 4 “Debbie” LMDE 4 Debbie Cinnamon

Here are some of the main new features in LMDE 4:

  • Revamped installer
  • Support for secure boot
  • Support for NVMe
  • Support for Btrfs subvolumes
  • Automated partitioning with support for LVM and full-disk encryption
  • Home directory encryption option
  • Support for automated installation of NVIDIA drivers
  • Automatic installation of microcode packages
  • Automatic resolution bump for the live session to a minimum of 1024×768 in Virtualbox.
  • Linux Mint 19.3 improvements like HDT, Boot-repair, System reports, language settings, HiDPI and artwork improvements, new boot menus, Celluloid, Gnote, Drawing, Cinnamon 4.4, XApp status icons…etc
  • APT recommends enabled by default
  • Removed deb-multimedia repository and packages
  • Debian 10 Buster package base with backports repository

You can refer to the release notes for more information specially about handling known issues.

Downloading or Upgrading to LMDE 4

If you want to use LMDE 4, you can download and install it from the Linux Mint official website. It is available for both 32-bit and 64-bit computers.

Download LMDE 4

You can use it on a system with 1 GB RAM, 15 GB of disk space, however, 2 GB RAM and 20 GB disk space is recommended.

Check which Linux Mint version you are using!

Before you go on and start following steps blindly, I highly recommend that you check the Linux Mint version you are using.

The simplest way is to use this command in terminal:

If you are already using LMDE 3, you can upgrade to LMDE 4. Linux Mint team has made a good procedural document on upgrading LMDE 3 to LMDE 4. I could not make it better so I suggest you try the steps mention on this official guide.

Upgrade LMDE 3 to LMDE 4

The LMDE version is for those who want Debian as the base instead of Ubuntu. As a regular Mint user, you don’t have to run after this new release. If you have a spare system where you test various Linux distributions, by all means give it a try.

Personally, I have never used LMDE myself. There are too many distributions out there and life is too short to try them all.

What about you? Have you ever used the Linux Mint Debian Edition? If yes, do share your experience with it in the comment section.

Linus Torvalds’ Advice on Working From Home during Coronavirus Lockdown

Friday 20th of March 2020 03:10:28 PM

While many of us are self-isolating indoors amidst the coronavirus outbreak. ZDNet had a special feature discussion with Linus Torvalds on his opinions or thoughts on working from home during the Coronavirus lockdown.

If you didn’t know already (how could you not?), Linus Torvalds is the creator of Linux and Git as well. And, he did all that while working from home. Here’s a video from 2016 where Torvalds shows his home office:

So, in this article, I’m going to share some of my key takeaways along with his responses from Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols‘ interaction with Linus Torvalds for ZDNet.

Discard the fear of missing human interaction

Torvalds mentioned that when he first started working from home years ago, he was worried about missing human interaction that included going to the office, interacting with people, or simply going out for lunch.

Interestingly, he did not seem to miss any of that anymore- he preferred his time at home without human interaction.

Of course, isolating yourself from human interacting isn’t the best thing – but it looks like that is a good thing for now.

Take advantage of working from home

Just like we at It’s FOSS operate completely remote, you can do a lot of stuff without actually being at an office.

Not to forget – you can pet your cat as much as you want and I have 6 of them, I know it’s difficult (*giggles*).

And, as Linus Torvalds mentioned, the real advantage of remote work is “flexibility”. You do not necessarily need to sit in front of your desk working from 9-5 or more. Technically, you are free to take breaks in between and do whatever you wish at home.

In other words, Linus suggests avoiding re-creating an office at your home – which is worse than going to an office.

Efficient communication is the key

You can choose to have several meetings (video conferences or audio calls) in a day – but is it really necessary?

For some, it might be a big deal – but you should try to minimize the time spent on a meeting by clearing things up in brief.

Or, as Linus recommends, it’s best to have email lists to keep things on point and that’s how Linux kernel runs.

James Bottomley, Distinguished Engineer at IBM Research, and a senior Linux kernel developer, also adds a suggestion that you should re-read your text to make sure that you’re sending precise information that no one will potentially skim through.

Personally, I prefer texts over voice for the very same reason. It saves you time, fact.

But, keep in mind, that you need to convey only the necessary information in a proper manner without overloading the information that you send via texts/email.

Track your time

Flexibility doesn’t necessarily mean that you can work less and lurk on social media platforms, unless that’s your job.

So, you need to make sure that you are making the most out of your time. To do that, you can use several tools to track your time on what you use and the duration of it on your computer.

You can even write it down on a sticky note to make sure you reach your goal of spending the allocated time for work efficiently. You can opt to utilize RescueTime or ActivityWatch to track the time you spend on your computer or smartphone.

Play with your cat (pets)

Not to discriminate against other pets, but that’s what Linus Torvalds mentioned.

Just because you are at your home – you have a lot to do while you schedule your work or try to efficiently utilize the time.

Linus insists that whenever you’re bored, you can head out to get essentials if necessary or simply play with the cat (or your pet).

Wrapping Up

While Linus Torvalds also mentioned that no one will be judging you when you’re at home, his suggestions seem to be on point and could be very useful for people who struggle with working from home.

Not just for the coronavirus outbreak – but if you are planning to work from home permanently, you should keep these things in mind.

What do you think about Linus Torvalds thoughts here? Do you agree with him?

Purism Librem Mini: A Privacy-First Linux-Based Mini PC

Thursday 19th of March 2020 06:38:02 AM

Brief: Purism launched a mini PC, “Librem Mini” tailored to provide privacy and security while offering a small form-factor. Here, we talk about the details.

Purism is usually known for services or products that focus on enhancing the digital privacy and security of the user.

Purism flaunts itself as “Social Purpose Company” aiming to do good for society and they have several services and products to offer in this regard.

While you might be aware of its Librem series of Linux laptops, Librem One (encrypted services), PureOS Linux, and the Librem 5 Linux smartphone. Now, they have come up with a small-factor mini PC targeted at the users who want to take control of their privacy and security.

Librem Mini: Purism’s Mini PC Librem Mini PC

Purism‘s Librem Mini is intended to be a small, light, and powerful mini computer.

Of course, there are a bunch of Linux-based mini PCs out there – but Librem Mini specifically focuses on the privacy and security of its users. It comes included with PureOS, Pureboot, and Librem Key support.

The base configuration will be available for $699. Which is expensive than most other mini PCs. But unlike most others, Librem Mini is not a re-branding of Intel NUC. So, what does it offers then?

Specifications of Librem Mini

Here’s the spec sheet:

  • Intel Core i7-8565U (Whiskey Lake), Active (fan) Cooling
    4 Cores, 8 Threads, up to 4.6GHz
  • Intel UHD Graphics 620
  • RAM: Upto 64 GB DDR4 2400 MHz (2 SO-DIMM Slots)
  • 1 SATA III 6GB/s SSD/HDD (7mm)
  • 1 M.2 SSD (SATA III/NVMe x4)
  • 1 HDMI 2.0 4K @ 60Hz
  • 1 DisplayPort 1.2 4K @ 60Hz
  • 4 x USB 3.0
  • 2 x USB 2.0
  • 1 x Type-C 3.1
  • 3.5mm audio jack (Mic-in & headphone out combo)
  • 1 RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet LAN
  • WiFi 802.11n (2.4/5.0 GHz) via Atheros ATH9k module (optional)
  • Bluetooth 4.0 included in WiFi module (optional)
  • Weight: 1 kg (2.2 lbs)
  • Dimensions: 12.8cm (5.0 inches) x 12.8cm (5.0 inches) x 3.8cm (1.5 inches)

I don’t know why they decided for going with Intel’s 8th gen processor considering that 10th gen processor is already in the market. Perhaps because Whiskey Lake is also the latest refresh on the 8th gen processor.

But, yes, just because they have disabled and neutralized Intel’s Management Engine on it – it could be still a viable option to go with.

In addition to that, you should also keep in mind that this mini PC features the ability to detect hardware and software tampering while providing full disk encryption.

And, of course, Linux powers it up.

Pricing and Availability Librem Mini from the back

The base configuration with 8 Gigs of RAM and a 256 GB SSD will cost you $699. And, if you want the most powerful configuration available, it will cost you about $3000 easily.

They have a pre-order goal of $50,000 and they plan to start shipping the units a month after reaching the pre-order goal.

So, if you’re going to pre-order now, you should not expect the shipping to start anytime soon. Hence, I recommend you to keep an eye on the pre-order goal on their Librem Mini product page.

Librem Mini

Wrapping Up

If you’re looking for a mini PC (not specifically tailored for privacy and security), you can have a look at our list of best Linux based mini PCs to get more ideas.

Librem Mini is definitely going to sound expensive for an average consumer. It is still a decent choice for privacy enthusiasts.

What do you think about it? Let me know your thoughts!

OBS Studio 25.0 is Here With Vulkan-based Games Capture Feature and More

Thursday 19th of March 2020 04:18:01 AM

Brief: Open source screen recording and streaming software OBS Studio 25.0 has just been released and it brings the ability to capture Vulkan-based games with game capture among other new features.

If you are into recording your desktop or streaming it, you might have heard of OBS (Open Broadcaster Software) Studio. It’s one of the best screen recorder tools on Linux and other operating systems.

But OBS is more than just a simple screen recorder. It also provides all the stuff you need for streaming your recordings.

New features in OBS Studio 25.0 OBS 25.0

OBS Studio has released it’s latest version 25.0 with plenty of new features to make your recording and streaming experience better. Let’s take a look at some of the main new features:

  • Capture Vulkan-based games with game capture
  • New capture method to window capture which allows capturing browsers, browser-based windows, and UWP programs
  • Advanced scene collection importing allows you to import from other common streaming programs
  • Media source hotkeys to allow control of playback
  • Ability to drag and drop URLs to create browser sources
  • Support for the SRT protocol
  • Ability to lock volume values of audio sources in the mixer
  • Support for certain devices that can automatically rotate their camera output such as the Logitech StreamCam
  • System tray icon to show when the recording is paused
  • Help icons when an property has a tooltip associated with it

Apart from there, there are plenty of bug features and minor changes that you may follow in the release notes.

Install OBS Studio 25.0 on Linux

OBS Studio is a cross-platform software and is also available for Windows and macOS in addition to Linux. You can download it from its official website.

Download OBS Studio 25.0

For Linux, you can grab the source code and build it your self. I know that’s not very convenient for everyone. The good news is that you can install the latest OBS version using Snap or Flatpak packages.

On Ubuntu or any other Linux distribution with Snap support, you can use the following command:

sudo snap install obs-studio

If your distribution supports Fltapak packages, you can get it from Flathub website:

OBS Studio on Flathub

For Ubuntu users, there is also the official PPA for easily installing it. In a terminal, you can enter the following command one by one:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:obsproject/obs-studio sudo apt update sudo apt install obs-studio

You can learn about deleting PPA here.

Personally, I haven’t used OBS much though I have heard great stuff about it. I don’t live stream but I do record my desktop to create tutorial and information Linux videos on It’s FOSS YouTube channel (you should subscribe to it if you haven’t already). For that, I use Kazam which I find simpler to use.

Do you use OBS Studio? Which features you like the most? Do share your views.

Fedora 32 Release Date, New Features and Everything Else

Wednesday 18th of March 2020 01:10:53 PM

Fedora 32 should be releasing at the end of April, around the same time as the Ubuntu 20.04 LTS release.

Since we are covering the Ubuntu 20.04 release in detail, we thought of doing the same for our Fedora fans here.

In this article, I am going to highlight the new features coming to Fedora 32. I’ll update this article as the development progresses further.

New features in Fedora 32 EarlyOOM Enabled

With this release, EarlyOOM comes enabled by default. To give you a background, EarlyOOM lets users to easily recover their systems from a low-memory situation with heavy swap usage.

It is worth noting that it is applicable to the Fedora 32 Beta Workstation edition.

GNOME 3.36 Added

The new Fedora 32 Workstation also comes included with the new GNOME 3.36.

Not just limited to Fedora 32 Beta Workstation – but it has also been added to the daily build of Ubuntu 20.04 LTS.

Of course, the improvements in GNOME 3.36 translates to Fedora’s latest release as well – providing a faster and better experience, overall.

So, you’ll get the new lock screen, the do not disturb feature and everything else that comes with GNOME 3.36.

Package Updates

Fedora 32 release also updates a lot of important packages that include Ruby, Perl, and Python. It also features the latest version 10 of the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC).

Other Changes

In addition to the key highlights, there’s a lot of things that have changed, improved, or fixed. You can take a detailed look at its changelog to know more about what has changed.

Download Fedora 32 (development version)

Fedora 32 is still under development. The beta version has been released and you may test it on a spare system or in virtual machine. I would not advise you to use it on your main system before the final release. There’s an official list of know bugs for the current release, you can refer to that as well.

In the official announcement, they mentioned the availability of both Fedora 32 beta workstation and the server along with other popular variants.

To get the Workstation and the Server edition, you have to visit the official download page for Fedora Workstation and Fedora Server (depending on what you want).

Fedora Download Beta

Once, you do that, just look for a release tagged as “Beta!” as shown in the image above and start downloading it. For other variants, click on the links below to head to their respective download pages:

Have you noticed any other new feature in Fedora 32? What features you would like to see here? Feel free to leave a comment below.

How to Update Manjaro and Other Arch-based Linux Distributions

Tuesday 17th of March 2020 11:54:50 AM

How to update Manjaro Linux or Arch Linux? This sounds like a simple topic, isn’t it? While this is certainly useful for beginners, reading these ‘simple topics’ often lead to some hidden gems that you might not be aware of.

For example, in this article I’ll discuss both GUI and terminal way of updating your Arch-based distribution. The interesting part is the subtle difference between pacman -Syu and pacman -Syyu (with an extra y) commands.

I am a Manjaro user and I love it. I have written this tutorial using Manjaro but the command part is applicable for other Arch-based distributions as well. I’ll also show the GUI application for Manjaro.

  • Updating Manjaro and other Arch-based distributions using command line
  • Updating Manjaro Linux using GUI

Let’s see how to keep your software and system up-to-date

Update Arch or Manjaro Linux using command line

You can access the terminal by typing Ctrl+Alt+T or by clicking on the menu button on the left hand side corner and find it by typing terminal. Personally I find that updating any distro through terminal is faster and robust.

Simplest way to update Arch Linux distributions is to use:

sudo pacman -Syu

It compares the local package database against the distribution’s software repository. If there are nay new package versions available, you will be prompted to type yes to update the outstanding packages.

sudo pacman -Syu

There is another way to update your system.

sudo pacman -Syyu

You can notice the extra y in this command. The extra y forces the package manager to download package database regardless of whether there is any change in the versions or not.

This is helpful when you have a corrupted package database and you want to force a synchronization.

I don’t recommend using sudo pacman -Syyu all the time because it will unnecessarily take a long time in synchronizing the database. It will also consume more network bandwidth.

sudo pacman -Syyu

As you can see in the image above, even if my system is up-to-date, the database is still being updated.

.ugb-0785feb-wrapper.ugb-container__wrapper{border-radius:0px !important;padding-top:0 !important;padding-bottom:0 !important;background-color:#f1f1f1 !important}.ugb-0785feb-wrapper > .ugb-container__side{padding-top:35px !important;padding-bottom:35px !important}.ugb-0785feb-wrapper.ugb-container__wrapper:before{background-color:#f1f1f1 !important}.ugb-0785feb-content-wrapper > h1,.ugb-0785feb-content-wrapper > h2,.ugb-0785feb-content-wrapper > h3,.ugb-0785feb-content-wrapper > h4,.ugb-0785feb-content-wrapper > h5,.ugb-0785feb-content-wrapper > h6{color:#222222}.ugb-0785feb-content-wrapper > p,.ugb-0785feb-content-wrapper > ol li,.ugb-0785feb-content-wrapper > ul li{color:#222222}

Recommended Read:

.ugb-5d94615 .ugb-blog-posts__featured-image{border-radius:0px !important}.ugb-5d94615 .ugb-blog-posts__title a{color:#000000 !important}.ugb-5d94615 .ugb-blog-posts__title a:hover{color:#00b6ba !important}How to Install and Remove Software in Manjaro Linux

This complete beginner’s guide shows you multiple ways to install and remove software in Manjaro Linux.

Update Manjaro the Graphical Interface (GUI)

I find Manjaro an excellent distribution. If you find it difficult to install Arch Linux, you can try Manjaro Linux. It is based on Arch Linux but a lot more beginner-friendly.

Manjaro provides plenty of graphical tools so you won’t have to use the terminal for most tasks, if you don’t want to.

The process for updating Manjaro through Xfce GUI is quite straight forward. You can either click on the Menu icon on the left handside corner and type software update or you can navigate to the software update option as shown below.

Look for Software Update in menu

My system is already up-to-date and no further action is needed. If there were any updates, you would see it here.

Manjaro System Update

You might be be prompted to restart your system after installing updates in some cases.

I hope you like this quick little tip. Keep on reading It’s FOSS as I add more Arch/Manjaro tutorials.

Dimitrios Savvopoulos

Dimitrios is an MSc Mechanical Engineer but a Linux enthusiast in heart. He is well settled in Solus OS but curiosity drives him to constantly test other distros. Challenge is part of his personality and his hobby is to compete from 5k to the marathon distance.

With npm Acquisition, Microsoft is Set to Own the Largest Software Registry in the World

Tuesday 17th of March 2020 06:31:40 AM

Microsoft has been betting big on open source for past few years. Apart from open sourcing a few things here and there, Microsoft is contributing a lot to Linux kernel (for its Azure cloud platform).

To further strengthen its position in the open source world, Microsoft acquired the popular open source code hosting platform GitHub for $7.5 billion.

Now Microsoft owned GitHub has acquired npm ( short for Node Package Manager). npm is the world’s largest software registry with more than 1.3 million packages that have 75 billion downloads a month.

If you are not familiar, npm is a package manager for JavaScript programming language, primarily the hugely popular open source Node.js.

Though npm has scope of private repository for enterprises, most of the 1.3 million packages are open source and/or used in various open source projects.

Both node.js and npm are used by big software and IT companies like IBM, Yahoo and big corporations like Netflix and PayPal.

In case you are wondering, the acquisition amount has not been disclosed by either party.

Microsoft’s proposed plan for npm

GitHub CEO Nat Friedman assured that Microsoft intends to keep the npm registry available as open-source and free to developers.

Once the acquisition is complete, Microsoft is going to invest in the registry infrastructure and platform. It plans to improve the core experience of npm by adding new features like Workspaces, as well as bringing improvements to publishing and multi-factor authentication.

Microsoft also intends to integrate GitHub and npm so that developers could trace a change from a GitHub pull request to the npm package version that fixed it.

Part of a larger plan

First, Microsoft bought GitHub, the platform that had the largest open source repositories and now npm, the largest software registry. Clearly, Microsoft is tightening its grip around open source projects. This could allow Microsoft to dictate the policies around these open source projects in future.

When Microsoft acquired GitHub, several open source developers moved to alternate platforms like GitLab but GitHub remained the first choice for the developers. Microsoft did introduce some innovative features like security advisories, package registry, sponsorship etc. Microsoft is expanding GitHub by forming communities around it specially in developing countries. Recently, GitHub announced its Indian subsidiary to specially attract young developers to its platform.

So now Microsoft owns the professional social network LinkedIn, developer oriented GitHub and npm. This indicates that Microsoft will continue its shopping spree and will acquire more open source related projects that have substantial developer population.

What could be next then? WordPress because it is the most popular open source CMS and runs 33% of the websites on the internet?

While we wait and watch for Microsoft’s next move, why not share your views on this development? Comment section is all yours.

Create Stunning Pixel Art With Free and Open Source Editor Pixelorama

Monday 16th of March 2020 06:53:30 AM

Brief: Pixelorama is a cross-platform, free and open source 2D sprite editor. It provides all the necessary tools to create pixel art in a neat user interface.

Pixelorama: open source sprite editor

Pixelorama is a tool created by young game developers at Orama Interactive. They have developed a few 2D games and a couple of them use pixel art.

While Orama is primarily into game development, the developers are also creating utility tools that help them (and others) create those games.

The free and open source sprite editor, Pixelorama is such a utility tool. It’s built on top of Godot Engine and is perfect for creating pixel art.

Pixelorama screenshot

You see the pixel art in the screenshot above? It’s been created using Pixelorama. This video shows a timelapse video of creating the above image.

Features of Pixelorama

Here are the main features Pixelorama provides:

  • Multiple tools like penicl, erase, fill bucket color picker etc
  • Multiple layer system that allows you to add, remove, move up and down, clone and merge as many layers as you like
  • Support for spritesheets
  • Import images and edit them inside Pixelorama
  • Animation timeline with Onion Skinning
  • Custom brushes
  • Save and open your projects in Pixelorama’s custom file format, .pxo
  • Horizontal & vertical mirrored drawing
  • Tile Mode for pattern creation
  • Split screen mode and mini canvas preview
  • Zoom with mouse scroll wheel
  • Unlimited undo and redo
  • Scale, crop, flip, rotate, color invert and desaturate your images
  • Keyboard shortcuts
  • Available in several languages
  • Supports Linux, Windows and macOS
Installing Pixelorama on Linux

Pixelorama is available as a Snap application and if you are using Ubuntu, you can find it in the software center itself.

Pixelorama is available in Ubuntu Software Center

Alternatively, if you have Snap support enabled on your Linux distribution, you can install it using this command:

sudo snap install pixelorama

If you don’t want to use Snap, no worries. You can download the latest release of Pixelorama from their GitHub repository, extract the zip file and you’ll see an executable file. Give this file execute permission and double click on it to run the application.

Download Pixelorama


Pixelorama Welcome Screen

In the Pixeloaram features, it says that you can import images and edit them. I guess that’s only true for certain kind of files because when I tried to import PNG or JPEG files, the application crashed.

However, I could easily doodle like a 3 year old and make random pixel art. I am not that into arts but I think this is a useful tool for digital artists on Linux.

I liked the idea that despite being game developers, they are creating tools that could help other game developers and artists. That’s the spirit of open source.

If you like the project and will be using it, consider supporting them by a donation. It’s FOSS has made a humble donation of $25 to thank their effort.

Donate to Pixelorama (personal Paypal account of the lead developer)

Do you like Pixelorama? Do you use some other open source sprite editor? Feel free to share your views in the comment section.

OpenStreetMap: A Community-Driven Google Maps Alternative

Saturday 14th of March 2020 02:53:41 PM

Brief: OpenStreetMap is a community-driven map – which is a potential alternative to Google Maps. Learn more about this open source project.

OpenStreetMap (OSM) is a free editable map of the world. Anyone can contribute, edit, and make changes to the OpenStreetMap to improve it.

You need to sign up for an account first – in order to be able to edit or add information to the OpenStreetMap. To view the map, you wouldn’t need an account.

Even though it’s a free-to-use map under an open data license, you cannot use the map API to build another service on top of it for commercial purpose.

So, you can download the map data to use it and host it yourself while mentioning the credits to OSM. You can learn more about its API usage policy and copyright information on its official website to learn more.

In this article, we shall take a brief look at how it works and what kind of projects use OpenStreetMaps as the source of their map data.

OpenStreetMap: Overview

OpenStreetMap is a good alternative to Google Maps. You might not get the same level of information as Google Maps- but for basic navigation and traveling, OpenStreetMap is sufficient.

Just like any other map, you will be able to switch between multiple layers in the map, get to know your location, and easily search for places.

You may not find all the latest information for the businesses, shops, and restaurants nearby. But, for basic navigation, it’s more than enough.

OpenStreetMap can be usually accessed through a web browser on both desktop and mobile by visiting the OpenStreetMap site. It does not have an official Android/iOS app yet.

However, there are a variety of applications available that utilize OpenStreetMap at its core. So, if you want to utilize OpenStreetMap on a smartphone, you can take a look at some of the popular open-source Google Maps alternatives:

MAPS.ME and OsmAnd are two open-source applications for Android and iOS that utilize OpenStreetMap data to provide a rich user experience with a bunch of useful information and features added to it.

You can also opt for other proprietary options if you wish, like Magic Earth.

In either case, you can take a look at the extensive list of applications on their official wiki page for Android and iOS.

Using OpenStreetMap On Linux

The easiest way to use OpenStreetMap on Linux is to use it in a web browser. If you use GNOME desktop environment, you can install GNOME Maps which is built on top of OpenStreetMap.

There are also several software (that are mostly obsolete) that utilize OpenStreetMap on Linux for specific purposes. You can check out the list of available packages in their official wiki list.

Wrapping Up

OpenStreetMap may not be the best source for navigation for end users but its open source model allows it to be used freely. This means that many services can be built using OpenStreetMap. For example, ÖPNVKarte uses OpenStreetMap to display worldwide public transport facilities on a uniform map so that you don’t have to browse individual operator’s websites.

What do you think about OpenStreetMap? Can you use it as a Google Maps alternative? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.