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August 2014

today's leftovers

Filed under
Software
Gaming
HowTos

Ubuntu 14.10's Lack Of X.Org Server 1.16 Gets Blamed On AMD

Filed under
Graphics/Benchmarks

Yesterday I wrote about Ubuntu 14.10 not yet having X.Org Server 1.16 even though the first beta was issued this week and there's been a testing package repository for more than one month. This lack of X.Org Server 1.16 thus far is apparently due to AMD with not yet having a supportive Catalyst driver.

In the comments to yesterday's story, Timo Aaltonen of Canonical and part of their X/graphics team responded. "no fglrx, can't force people to switch to radeon and likely regress, on newer hw at least."

So Canonical is keeping away from using the latest X.Org code since the Catalyst (fglrx) driver doesn't yet support it and they don't want to regress users by forcing them to use the improving but still less than perfect open-source driver. Canonical's effectively bowing down to a binary blob.

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The state of Android updates: Who’s fast, who’s slow, and why

Filed under
Android
Linux

Android 4.4, KitKat was released on October 31, 2013, or at least, that's what you can say about one device: the Nexus 5. For the rest of the ecosystem, the date you got KitKat—if you got KitKat—varied wildly depending on your device, OEM, and carrier.

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Akademy 2014: Navigating the tracks

Filed under
KDE

I meant to write a post about the upcoming Akademy for a while now. Since I submitted quite a few sessions (obviously requiring preparation) and I had to prepare for the KDE Frameworks BoF, I never quite found the time... until now! I'm all done! Actually I just have to pack my bags and hit the road at that point. It's probably the first Akademy where I'm ready four days before the first flight of my journey.

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Low-Spec Hardware? Try these Desktop Environments

Filed under
GNU
Linux

Popular Linux distributions for beginners typically default to one of two desktop environments, KDE or GNOME. Both of these environments provide users with an intuitive and attractive desktop, as well as offering all the applications users love, ranging from multimedia software, games, administration programs, network tools, educational applications, utilities, artwork, web development tools and more. However, these two desktops focus more on providing users with a modern computing environment with all the bells and whistles, rather than minimising the amount of system resources they use.

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OpenELEC 4.2 Beta 5 Is Now Out with New Linux Kernel and NVIDIA Drivers

Filed under
OS
OSS

The OpenELEC devs have released yet another Beta version of their embedded operating systems and they are getting really close to get a new stable version out the door. Some of the major components have been updated as well and the Raspberry Pi users should be really thrilled about this latest upgrade, as it includes some interesting changes for them as well.

"This release includes some bugfixes, security fixes and improvements since OpenELEC-4.1.4. Besides the usual bugfixes and package updates we updated XBMC to XBMC Gotham 13.2 final, FFmpeg to ffmpeg-2.3.3, Mesa to Mesa-10.3-rc1and systemd to systemd-216. We fixed crashes while playing FLAC files with ID3v2 tags, optimized some software packages and updated the RaspberryPi firmware to include the last fixes and features," said the devs in the official announcement.

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MSI Motherboard BIOS Updating Remains A Pain For Linux Users

Filed under
Hardware

In recent years with more motherboard vendors enabling the updating of the BIOS/UEFI from within the setup utility itself and support loading the BIOS file off a USB thumb drive or other storage, it's generally easier for Linux users and all around a smoother process than the days of having to make a MS-DOS start-up floppy disk or similar. For most of these BIOS updates, Windows is generally not required as you can just head on over to the vendor's web-site, download a zipped up copy of the BIOS, transfer it to a USB drive, and reboot into the UEFI setup utility and flash away.

Some vendors will package their BIOS file inside an EXE that has to be executed that will then extract the file right away, but fortunately there's many programs capable of straightaway extracting the files from the EXE or the worst case scenario is generally just running the EXE under Wine. As a Linux user, with MSI motherboards their BIOS packaging takes it to an additional level of annoying and for some Linux users could be show-stopping.

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Linux Kernel 3.12.27 LTS Now Available for Download

Filed under
Linux

This branch of the Linux kernel is LTS (long term support) and it doesn't usually gathers too many changes, but this latest update is a little bit different and it's quite consistent.

“I'm announcing the release of the 3.12.27 kernel. All users of the 3.12 kernel series must upgrade.”

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Chromebook Pixel revisited: 18 months with Google's luxury laptop

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Google

When you stop and think about it, it's kind of astonishing how far Chromebooks have come.

It was only last February, after all, that Google's Chromebook Pixel came crashing into our lives and made us realize how good of an experience Chrome OS could provide.

At the time, the Pixel was light-years ahead of any other Chromebook in almost every possible way: From build quality to display and performance, the system was just in a league of its own. And its price reflected that status: The Pixel sold for a cool $1300, or $1450 if you wanted a higher-storage model with built-in LTE support.

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Why I Hate Non-Free Software

Filed under
OSS

I know why authours of software include such restrictions, to make sure they get paid per whatever. On the other hand, we should not have to enslave ourselves and our families in order to use a smooth, convenient application on our PCs. That’s like selling our children or self-flagellation before having any fun at all to nullify evil. It’s just evil to accept such restrictions. The licence began with “PLEASE READ THIS LICENCE AGREEMENT CAREFULLY BEFORE USING THIS SOFTWARE. IF YOU USE THIS SOFTWARE THEN YOU AGREE TO BE BOUND BY THE TERMS OF THIS LICENCE AGREEMENT.” Sweet, eh? I did not agree and purged the .deb from my system. I am not a slave. I do not agree to be bound in slavery to the authours of software. To add insult to injury, the authours presume to enslave us while we perform them the free service of testing their beta-software.

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More in Tux Machines

Programming Leftovers

  • Python Script Invalidates Hundreds Of Papers

    This news item is interesting not just because it is a lesson to us all, but because of the way it is being reported as "Bug In Python Script ..." with the suggestion that Python is the cause of the problem. The truth is, in fact, much more interesting. The script is about 1000 lines of Python and hence it isn't a small program. It has been in use since 2014 and was created by Patrick Willoughby, Matthew Jansma, and Thomas Hoye to take raw data and calculate NMR shifts. In the journal Nature Protocols the subject is referred to as the "Willoughby-Hoye" scripts.

  • Future-Proof Code

    Y2K was the nerdy disaster that wasn’t. The fear was that the moment 1/1/00 rolled around, some computers would think it was Jan. 1, 1900. What could go wrong? Maybe highly computerized hydroelectric dams would open their floodgates! Or maybe all date math trying to subtract from 00 would end up negative, and suddenly your mortgage would have been paid off dozens of decades ago! The world freaked out. Software engineers stayed up late. In the end, Y2K had some terrible real-life consequences, but it also didn’t turn out to be a complete catastrophe that required stockpiling ammunition and MREs. After airplanes didn’t fall out of the sky, everyone breathed a sigh of relief. The problem, as the public learned so well in the run-up to the New Year, was that for decades, software engineers had left out the century to save on space when storing dates. It was as though they had assumed their software would always run in a year that began with 19. For many who were still just getting used to dial-up internet, Y2K was their first exposure to the potential fragility of software.

  • Current qutebrowser roadmap and next crowdfunding

    Now I'm employed around 16h/week at the same place, mainly helping out with the operating systems course (in other words: I spend my time staring at LaTeX/C/Assembler/Python and teaching students). Like already mentioned in the earlier mail, this means I now have a lot more time than before for working on open-source projects. I'm in the process of founding my own one-man company and already have some work lined up - but as soon as everything is set up, I plan to spend much more time on qutebrowser. Certainly a lot more than what I've been able to during my studies in the past years. However, that means I don't have a lot of recurring income (enough to pay for rent, food and other bills - but not much more than that). This is why I plan to start another qutebrowser fundraising very soon. There will be shirts and stickers available again, as well as some other swag. This time, I'll focus on recurring donations, but I also plan to offer a way to contribute via one-time donations instead.

  • Introduction to PyTorch for Classification

    PyTorch and TensorFlow libraries are two of the most commonly used Python libraries for deep learning. PyTorch is developed by Facebook, while TensorFlow is a Google project. In this article, you will see how the PyTorch library can be used to solve classification problems. Classification problems belong to the category of machine learning problems where given a set of features, the task is to predict a discrete value. Predicting whether a tumour is cancerous or not, or whether a student is likely to pass or fail in the exam, are some of the common examples of classification problems. In this article, given certain characteristics of a bank customer, we will predict whether or not the customer is likely to leave the bank after 6 months. The phenomena where a customer leaves an organization is also called customer churn. Therefore, our task is to predict customer churn based on various customer characteristics.

  • Arduino With Python: How to Get Started

    Microcontrollers have been around for a long time, and they’re used in everything from complex machinery to common household appliances. However, working with them has traditionally been reserved for those with formal technical training, such as technicians and electrical engineers. The emergence of Arduino has made electronic application design much more accessible to all developers. In this tutorial, you’ll discover how to use Arduino with Python to develop your own electronic projects.

  • Eclipse Vert.x 3.8.1 update for Red Hat Runtimes

    The latest update to Red Hat Runtimes has arrived and now supports Eclipse Vert.x 3.8.1. Red Hat Runtimes provides application developers with a variety of application runtimes and enables them to run on the Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform.

  • Robotic process automation (RPA): How it works

    “Do more with less” might be a timeworn excuse for a business mantra, but robotic process automation (RPA) is a tool that could actually help teams do just that in the right circumstances. That’s the big selling point of RPA. The phrase itself might sound complicated or scary, but the possible benefits of RPA are pretty simple: Use software to automatically handle repetitive (and often boring) computer-based tasks that previously hogged a person’s time. Moreover, the processes that make good fits for RPA usually take up human hours with work that requires minimal (or no) skill or creativity. It’s ultimately about efficiency.

Events: CopyleftConf, Oggcamp and FOSDEM

  • CopyleftConf 2020

    A week before Software Freedom Conservancy had announced the CopyleftConf 2020. The conference is going to take place on 3 February 2020, Monday, in Brussels, Belgium. The first edition of CopyleftConf took place in February 2019. One can have a look at the videos here The organizers do plan it after Fosdem.

  • The fight to get home from Oggcamp 2019

    I’d heard that parking in Manchester was not only a nightmare and that you would have to sell your children into slavery to pay the parking fee for a few hours so with that in mind I decided to use the train. Now to get to Manchester by car from my house takes around an hour and a half so long as you stick within the speed limit. My train was set to eat two and a half hours from my lifes timeline, but I felt it was a small price to pay given I was only going to do one day of a two-day event. My journey to Oggcamp started at 6.55 am the train took me to Birmingham New Street, where I was due to change for the onward train to Manchester, on the way up to Birmingham, we stopped at Wolverhampton train station. My connection was on-time, and I made myself as comfortable as possible in my reserved seat. To my horror, a rather large gentleman poured himself into the seat next to me and mine if truth be told. We set off heading back the way we came and just for the fun of it and to wind me up a little our first stop was, yes, you guessed it, Wolverhampton train station. I could see the next two hours were going to be a bundle of joy as I tried to look at my phone while feeling that I was confined in an invisible straight jacket if only that were the extent of my problems. Mr Creosote decided that after consuming his breakfast which he had brought on board, it was now time to have a little sleep. “What’s wrong with that?” I hear you ask. Mr Creosote promptly started to snore like farmer Giles’s prized Gloucestershire Old Spot pig. Two hours later, frazzled we arrived in Manchester Mr Creosote had been kind enough to wake up in Macclesfield just enough time for my bladder to fill to bursting along with my fit to burst brain after all that snoring. Oh, and I forgot to mention the lad opposite who while sat underneath a sign saying “Please be considerate to those around you” played videos of South Park amongst other things at full volume on his phone. Never heard of headphones arsehole?

  • FOSDEM 2020 IoT Devroom Call for Proposals

    FOSDEM (Free & Open-source Software Developers’ European Meeting) takes place every year in Brussels, Belgium on the first weekend of February.

Graphics: Vulkan and Mesa

  • RLSL Allows Running A Subset Of Rust On Vulkan/SPIR-V Enabled GPUs

    There was a recent Khronos meet-up in Munich where Maik Klein of Embark Studios talked about their work on bringing a sub-set of the Rust programming language to Vulkan (SPIR-V) enabled GPUs. RLSL is the project being worked on by the Swedish game studio for opening up Rustlang use for GPUs to benefit from the language's same design advantages, provide a unified front-end, and being able to leverage the existing Rust ecosystem with the likes of Cargo/crates.

  • Raspberry Pi 4's V3D Driver Lands OpenGL ES 3.1 Bits In Mesa 19.3-devel

    The Broadcom "V3D" Gallium3D driver that is most notably used by the new Raspberry Pi 4 boards now is effectively at OpenGL ES 3.1 support within the newest Mesa 19.3 code. We've known that Igalia has been ironing out OpenGL ES 3.1 for V3D after taking over the work from Eric Anholt who left Broadcom earlier this year to go work for Google. Merged this past week was the OpenGL compute shader bits as the main blocker that prevented the V3D open-source Gallium3D driver from exposing GLES 3.1. Following that was a memory violation fix and then explicitly exposing OpenGL ES Shading Language 3.1. That merge request does note that a few more fixes are still needed before V3D will officially pass all of the OpenGL ES 3.1 conformance tests, but at least Mesa 19.3's code is good enough along to enable the support.

today's howtos