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Happy birthday, GNOME: 8 reasons to love this Linux desktop

21 hours 20 min ago

GNOME has been my favorite desktop environment for quite some time. While I always make it a point to check out other environments from time to time, there are some aspects of the GNOME desktop that are hard to live without. While there are many great desktop environments out there, GNOME feels like home to me. Here are some of the features I enjoy most about GNOME.


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How software users are like kittens

21 hours 21 min ago

It's summer,1 it's hot, nobody wants to work. What we all want to do is look at pictures of cute kittens and go "ahhh." So I'm going to exploit you all with an article about kittens and (vaguely about) security. It's light-hearted, it's fluffy, and it has a picture of two of our cats at the top of it. What's not to like?


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How Agile helps non-technical teams get things done

21 hours 22 min ago

What are the best ways for governments to improve effectiveness and efficiency? At San Jose City Hall, we’re getting traction with an unconventional approach: agile for non-technical teams. Public servants who do everything from emergency management to parks programs are finding that Agile methods help them with that most basic of challenges: Getting things done amid frequent interruptions and evolving priorities.


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How to navigate your GNOME Linux desktop with only a keyboard

21 hours 23 min ago

Almost ever since I first started using Linux, I've been on a mission to find the perfect window manager.

My first experience with Linux was in the late 90s, and I first tried installing it on my own in the early 2000s. Like many converts, my previous experience was largely with Windows, and so my early mission was to find an experience that closely replicated Windows, or at least let me interact with it in a familiar way.


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Automating backups on a Raspberry Pi NAS

Tuesday 14th of August 2018 07:03:00 AM

In the first part of this three-part series using a Raspberry Pi for network-attached storage (NAS), we covered the fundamentals of the NAS setup, attached two 1TB hard drives (one for data and one for backups), and mounted the data drive on a remote device via the network filesystem (NFS). In part two, we will look at automating backups. Automated backups allow you to continually secure your data and recover from a hardware defect or accidental file removal.


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HTTP request routing and validation with gorilla/mux

Tuesday 14th of August 2018 07:02:00 AM

The Go networking library includes the http.ServeMux structure type, which supports HTTP request multiplexing (routing): A web server routes an HTTP request for a hosted resource, with a URI such as /sales4today, to a code handler; the handler performs the appropriate logic before sending an HTTP response, typically an HTML page. Here’s a sketch of the architecture:


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5 open source strategy and simulation games for Linux

Tuesday 14th of August 2018 07:01:00 AM

Gaming has traditionally been one of Linux's weak points. That has changed somewhat in recent years thanks to Steam, GOG, and other efforts to bring commercial games to multiple operating systems, but those games are often not open source. Sure, the games can be played on an open source operating system, but that is not good enough for an open source purist.


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Could your team be managing itself?

Tuesday 14th of August 2018 07:00:00 AM

I was engaged recently in a passionate conversation ignited by a simple comment: "A team has to be managed." The comment made me think I wasn't on the same page as my interlocutor.


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Python programming with EduBlocks, i3 window manager for Linux, must-read newsletters, CI/CD, agile, IoT, and more

Monday 13th of August 2018 03:40:00 PM

This week we announced that we're giving away a LulzBot Taz 6 3D printer. Enter by Sunday, August 26 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time (ET) for a chance to win.

Read on to see what Opensource.com readers were most excited about on the site last week.


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A sysadmin's handy cheat sheet for SELinux

Monday 13th of August 2018 07:03:00 AM

SELinux may seem complex at first, but with the right cheat sheet it can become a powerful ally for sysadmins. This guide is designed to help you to improve your skills managing and using Security-Enhanced Linux.

Also check out my more in-depth article, A sysadmin's guide to SELinux: 42 answers to the big questions.

Download the free SELinux cheat sheet.
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Tips for using the top command in Linux

Monday 13th of August 2018 07:02:00 AM

Trying to find out what's running on your machine—and which process is using up all your memory and making things slllooowwww—is a task served well by the utility top.

top is an extremely useful program that acts similar to Windows Task Manager or MacOS's Activity Monitor. Running top on your *nix machine will show you a live, running view of the process running on your system.


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Beautiful maps in minutes: Meet Kepler.gl

Monday 13th of August 2018 07:01:00 AM

Shan He may hold Silicon Valley's most meta job.

"When I started out, I was building maps. Then I moved on to build tools to build maps, and now I'm doing tools to do tools that build maps."


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We're giving away a LulzBot Taz 6 3D printer

Monday 13th of August 2018 07:00:00 AM

It's that time of year again. As students and teachers head back to school, we're celebrating by giving away a LulzBot Taz 6 3D printer!

The Taz 6 is a top-of-the-line 3D printer that retails for US $2,500 and boasts an impressive 280x280x250mm (nearly the size of a basketball) heated print area.

So what are you waiting for? Enter by Sunday, August 26 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time (ET) for a chance to win!


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Who does agile really benefit?

Friday 10th of August 2018 07:02:00 AM

Everyone wants to improve their experience at work.

Whether that takes the form of increasing efficiency, reducing confusion and anxiety about what needs to be done, feeling like your ideas and feedback are heard and respected, or simply knowing that the projects you work on are making an impact, there are seemingly endless ideas about how the nature of work can be improved for employees and employers alike.

Within the world of software, agile practices have been among the most talked about ways of improving processes. But are they all that they're cracked up to be?


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Building a better thermostat with Home Assistant

Friday 10th of August 2018 07:01:00 AM

A couple of years ago, I returned home from a 15-day trip in the middle of a heat wave, and my apartment was way too hot—at least 45ºC (113ºF) inside. Needless to say, it wasn't the most comfortable way to come home, especially since it took several hours for my in-wall air conditioning (AC) units to cool the apartment.


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Strawberry: Quality sound, open source music player

Friday 10th of August 2018 07:00:00 AM

I recently received an email from Jonas Kvinge who forked the Clementine open source music player. Jonas writes:


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Perform robust unit tests with PyHamcrest

Thursday 9th of August 2018 07:03:00 AM

At the base of the testing pyramid are unit tests. Unit tests test one unit of code at a time—usually one function or method.

Often, a single unit test is designed to test one particular flow through a function, or a specific branch choice. This enables easy mapping of a unit test that fails and the bug that made it fail.

Ideally, unit tests use few or no external resources, isolating them and making them faster.


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Getting started with Postfix, an open source mail transfer agent

Thursday 9th of August 2018 07:02:00 AM

Postfix is a great program that routes and delivers email to accounts that are external to the system. It is currently used by approximately 33% of internet mail servers. In this article, I'll explain how you can use Postfix to send mail using Gmail with two-factor authentication enabled.


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How do tools affect culture?

Thursday 9th of August 2018 07:01:00 AM

Most of the DevOps community talks about how tools don’t matter much. The culture has to change first, the argument goes, which might modify how the tools are used.

I agree and disagree with that concept. I believe the relationship between tools and culture is more symbiotic and bidirectional than unidirectional. I have discovered this through real-world transformations across several companies now. I admit it’s hard to determine whether the tools changed the culture or whether the culture changed how the tools were used.


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5 golden rules for working openly with difficult people

Thursday 9th of August 2018 07:00:00 AM

An organization is a melting pot of personalities.


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More in Tux Machines

L1TF/Foreshadow News and Benchmarks

  • Three More Intel Chip Exploits Surface
  • Spectre-like “Foreshadow” Flaw In Intel CPUs Can Leak Your Secrets
  • QEMU 3.0 Brings Spectre V4 Mitigation, OpenGL ES Support In SDL Front-End
    QEMU 3.0 is now officially available. This big version bump isn't due to some compatibility-breaking changes, but rather to simplify their versioning and begin doing major version bumps on an annual basis. As an added bonus, QEMU 3.0 comes at a time of the project marking its 15th year in existence. QEMU 3.0 does amount to being a big feature release with a lot of new functionality as well as many improvements. Changes in QEMU 3.0 include Spectre V4 mitigation for x86 Intel/AMD, improved support for nested KVM guests on Microsoft Hyper-V, block device support for active mirroring, improved support for AHCI and SCSI emulation, OpenGL ES support within the SDL front-end, improved latency for user-mode networking, various ARM improvements, some POWER9 / RISC-V / s390 improvements too, and various other new bits.
  • How the L1 Terminal Fault vulnerability affects Linux systems
    Announced just yesterday in security advisories from Intel, Microsoft and Red Hat, a newly discovered vulnerability affecting Intel processors (and, thus, Linux) called L1TF or “L1 Terminal Fault” is grabbing the attention of Linux users and admins. Exactly what is this vulnerability and who should be worrying about it?
  • An Early Look At The L1 Terminal Fault "L1TF" Performance Impact On Virtual Machines
    Yesterday the latest speculative execution vulnerability was disclosed that was akin to Meltdown and is dubbed the L1 Terminal Fault, or "L1TF" for short. Here are some very early benchmarks of the performance impact of the L1TF mitigation on the Linux virtual machine performance when testing the various levels of mitigation as well as the unpatched system performance prior to this vulnerability coming to light.
  • Phoronix Test Suite 8.2 M2 Released With Offline Improvements, L1TF/Foreshadow Reporting
    The second development snapshot of the upcoming Phoronix Test Suite 8.2-Rakkestad to benchmark to your heart's delight on Linux, macOS, Windows, Solaris, and BSD platforms from embedded/SBC systems to cloud and servers.
  • The Linux Benchmarking Continues On The Threadripper 2950X & 2990WX
    While I haven't posted any new Threadripper 2950X/2990WX benchmarks since the embargo expired on Monday with the Threadripper 2 Linux review and some Windows 10 vs. Linux benchmarks, tests have continued under Linux -- as well as FreeBSD. I should have my initial BSD vs. Linux findings on Threadripper 2 out later today. There were about 24 hours worth of FreeBSD-based 2990WX tests going well albeit DragonFlyBSD currently bites the gun with my Threadripper 2 test platforms. More on that in the upcoming article as the rest of those tests finish. It's also been a madhouse with simultaneously benchmarking the new Level 1 Terminal Fault (L1TF) vulnerability and the performance impact of those Linux mitigations on Intel hardware will start to be published in the next few hours.

Mozilla: WebTorrent, Bitslicing, Firefox Security Add-on and Time Dilation

  • These Weeks in Firefox: Issue 42
  • Dweb: Building a Resilient Web with WebTorrent
    WebTorrent is the first torrent client that works in the browser. It’s written completely in JavaScript – the language of the web – and uses WebRTC for true peer-to-peer transport. No browser plugin, extension, or installation is required. Using open web standards, WebTorrent connects website users together to form a distributed, decentralized browser-to-browser network for efficient file transfer. The more people use a WebTorrent-powered website, the faster and more resilient it becomes.
  • Bitslicing, An Introduction
    Bitslicing (in software) is an implementation strategy enabling fast, constant-time implementations of cryptographic algorithms immune to cache and timing-related side channel attacks. This post intends to give a brief overview of the general technique, not requiring much of a cryptographic background. It will demonstrate bitslicing a small S-box, talk about multiplexers, LUTs, Boolean functions, and minimal forms.
  • Firefox Security Add-on on 222k Devices Found Sending Browsing Data to Remote German Server
    There is a popular browser add-on which is installed by 222,746 Firefox users according to Mozilla’s own statistics of add-on downloads. According to a German security blogger, Mike Kuketz, and the author of uBlock Origin, Raymond Hill, this particular add-on has been spying on users’ activity by tapping into their browser histories and keeping track of the web pages that they visit. This add-on is the Web Security extension for the Mozilla Firefox browser. Web Security is designed to protect users from online phishing and malware attacks that could potentially steal personal information. This comes across as ironic as the extension is found to be unethically keeping tabs (pun intended) on your own information, evading your privacy without your consent. The reason that this news is hitting the stands so massively is that the add-on was publicized by Mozilla itself in a blog post just last week. The add-on boasts fantastic reviews and that’s why it is used so widely by so many people too.
  • Time Dilation
    I riffed on this a bit over at twitter some time ago; this has been sitting in the drafts folder for too long, and it’s incomplete, but I might as well get it out the door. Feel free to suggest additions or corrections if you’re so inclined. You may have seen this list of latency numbers every programmer should know, and I trust we’ve all seen Grace Hopper’s classic description of a nanosecond at the top of this page, but I thought it might be a bit more accessible to talk about CPU-scale events in human-scale transactional terms. So: if a single CPU cycle on a modern computer was stretched out as long as one of our absurdly tedious human seconds, how long do other computing transactions take?

Programming: Go, Agile, and Literature

  • File Indexing In Golang
    I have been working on a pet project to write a File Indexer, which is a utility that helps me to search a directory for a given word or phrase. The motivation behind to build this utility was so that we could search the chat log files for dgplug. We have a lot of online classes and guest session and at time we just remember the name or a phrase used in the class, backtracking the files using these are not possible as of now. I thought I will give stab at this problem and since I am trying to learn golang I implemented my solution in it. I implemented this solution over a span of two weeks where I spent time to upskill on certain aspects and also to come up with a clean solution.
  • How Agile helps non-technical teams get things done
    What are the best ways for governments to improve effectiveness and efficiency? At San Jose City Hall, we’re getting traction with an unconventional approach: agile for non-technical teams. Public servants who do everything from emergency management to parks programs are finding that Agile methods help them with that most basic of challenges: Getting things done amid frequent interruptions and evolving priorities. Last September, I proclaimed, "Scrum is the best thing that’s happened to our government team." Our innovation team of five had discovered that planning and delivering work in small increments enables us to stay focused, aligned, and continuously improving. We didn’t yet know if our experience would be replicable by other teams in our organization. We offered Agile training for 10 colleagues to see what would happen. Nine months later, 12 teams and more than 100 staff members throughout our organization are using Agile methods to organize their work. Notably, the spread of Agile among city teams has been largely organic, not driven by top-down mandates.
  • Top Linux developers' recommended programming books
    Without question, Linux was created by brilliant programmers who employed good computer science knowledge. Let the Linux programmers whose names you know share the books that got them started and the technology references they recommend for today's developers. How many of them have you read? [...] Linux was developed in the 1990s, as were other fundamental open source applications. As a result, the tools and languages the developers used reflected the times, which meant a lot of C programming language. While C is no longer as popular, for many established developers it was their first serious language, which is reflected in their choice of influential books. “You shouldn't start programming with the languages I started with or the way I did,” says Torvalds. He started with BASIC, moved on to machine code (“not even assembly language, actual ‘just numbers’ machine code,” he explains), then assembly language and C. “None of those languages are what anybody should begin with anymore,” Torvalds says. “Some of them make no sense at all today (BASIC and machine code). And while C is still a major language, I don't think you should begin with it.” It's not that he dislikes C. After all, Linux is written in GNU C. "I still think C is a great language with a pretty simple syntax and is very good for many things,” he says. But the effort to get started with it is much too high for it to be a good beginner language by today's standards. “I suspect you'd just get frustrated. Going from your first ‘Hello World’ program to something you might actually use is just too big of a step."

Railway computer runs Linux on Kaby Lake

Lanner’s rugged, Linux-friendly “R6S” railway computer runs on an Intel 7th Gen Core i7-7600U chip and offers 10x M12 PoE ports, 3x mini-PCIe slots, and EN 50155 and EN 45545 certification. The R6S uses the same dual-core, Kaby Lake Core i7-7600U CPU as Lanner’s recent V6S vehicle surveillance NVR computer and similarly offers 10x GbE ports with Power-over-Ethernet (PoE). Yet, the R6S is more specifically targeted at trains. It offers compliance with ISO 7637-2, EN 50155, and EN 45545 certifications, and has passed EN 61373/MIL-STD-810G shock and vibration resistance certifications. It also supports a wider set of applications, including “rolling stock control and monitoring, infotainment, video surveillance and fleet management.” Read more