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July 2018

Programming: GitLab, C++17, GCC

Filed under
Development
  • Introducing freedesktop.org GitLab

    This is quite a long post. The executive summary is that freedesktop.org now hosts an instance of GitLab, which is generally available and now our preferred platform for hosting going forward. We think it offers a vastly better service, and we needed to do it in order to offer the projects we host the modern workflows they have been asking for.

    In parallel, we’re working on making our governance, including policies, processes and decision making, much more transparent.

  • GitLab Is A Vast Improvement To FreeDesktop.org's Infrastructure

    Taking place the past few months has been migrating the FreeDesktop.org infrastructure to GitLab and the developers/administrators involved are quite happy with this big improvement to better their code hosting, issue tracking, etc.

    The FreeDesktop.org GitLab deployment is happening on Google Compute Engine to also replace aging FreeDesktop.org hardware in the process. Among the FreeDesktop.org projects moving over to GitLab has been Mesa, X.Org, and other sub-projects. This also follows a larger trend among other free software projects centering on GitLab for their infrastructure needs with the previous most notable project having been GNOME.

  • C++17 Filesystem Support Lands In LLVM's Libc++ Library

    This week support for the official C++17 "filesystem" feature landed within LLVM's libc++ standard library.

    C++17 adds file-system abstractions based upon the Boost library's filesystem support. This functionality makes it easier for C++ programs to perform file/directory operations across platforms in a standard manner. The file-system technical specification continues to be available here for all of the details.

  • Updated ARM Patches Posted For Mitigating Spectre V1 With GCC Compiler

    ARM's Richard Earnshaw has posted a revised version for their months-in-development patch-set for mitigating against unsafe data speculation by the GCC code compiler. This new Spectre V1 mitigation for ARM 64-bit would be exposed via a new -mtrack-speculation compiler switch.

    This second version of the Spectre V1 mitigation work led by ARM for the GCC compiler is now available. This new version incorporates the feedback garnered months ago when these initial patches were published and uses a new approach for tracking data speculation to see whether the CPU's control flow speculation matches the data flow calculations.

Graphics: Vulkan and Mesa

Filed under
Graphics/Benchmarks
  • Apple Accepts Updated MoltenVK-Using App/Game For Vulkan API On iOS

    Earlier this month we reported on a game studio finding their MoltenVK-using game rejected from Apple's App Store. Fortunately, that situation is now firmly resolved and Apple has allowed this Vulkan-over-Metal game into their iOS marketplace.

    While this game making use of Vulkan on iOS via the MoltenVK translation layer to map to Apple's Metal API was initially in the App Store earlier in the year, on their latest update they had it rejected by Apple. The company asserted that MoltenVK was making use of non-public APIs.

  • All Gallium3D Drivers Getting ASTC Compression Support, RadeonSI Hits OpenGL ES 3.2

    The latest notable patch series by prolific Mesa contributor Marek Olšák of AMD is on allowing ASTC texture compression support for all Gallium3D drivers.

    This means of universal ASTC texture compression for all Gallium3D hardware drivers not implementing the capability within the GPU hardware is for decompressing the textures on the CPU to a supported uncompressed format prior to uploading it to the GPU.

KDE: Dolphin and openQA, Slackware Updates and Usability/Productivity Roundup

Filed under
KDE
  • Dolphin and openQA and other assorted bits

    Part of this post is about openQA, openSUSE’s automated tool which tests a number of different scenarios, from installation to the behavior of the different desktop environments, plus testing the freshest code from KDE git. Recently, thanks to KDE team member Fabian Vogt, there has been important progress when testing KDE software.

  • KDE 5_18.07 for Slackware, includes Plasma 5.13.3 and Qt 5.11.1

    Last week, Slackware-current updated its poppler package . The ‘ktown’ repository for Plasma5 contains a custom built ‘poppler’ package, one that includes Qt5 support. That means that the ‘ktown’ version needs to be kept in sync with the Slackware version to prevent breakage in your Slackware installation. Therefore I recompiled my ‘poppler’ and at the same time, I used the opportunity to grab all the latest sources from the KDE download server and built a whole new and fresh Plasma5 experience for Slackware.

    Important to know is that I have bridged the ‘latest’ repository to the ‘testing’ repository. Meaning: I have said goodbye to the LTS (Long Term Support) versions of Qt5 (5.9.6) and Plasma (5.12) and will focus again on the bleeding edge of KDE’s development.
    I did this after talking to Patrick to see what his ideas are about Plasma5 and whether he would adopt LTS releases of the software, or perhaps stick with the latest and greatest. Based on discussions in the LinuxQuestions.org forum it was clear that the latest Qt (5.11) combined with the latest Plasma Desktop (5.13) gets rid of bugs that have been annoying Slackware users who have been installing my ‘ktown’ packages. So that settled it, and the difference between ‘latest’ and ‘testing’ is gone again. In future I will probably use the ‘testing’ repository to test Wayland usability in Slackware, like I did in the past. For that reason, it’s best if you point your package manager (slackpkg+ comes to mind) to the ‘latest‘ URL instead of using the ‘testing‘ URL.

  • This week in Usability & Productivity, part 29

    Another week, another set of Usability and Productivity improvements! This week we fixed a lot of bugs in preparation for the KDE Applications 18.08 release as well as for Plasma itself.

Linux 4.18 Lands Random Patch To Fix Slow Boot Times For Some Systemd-Based Boxes

Filed under
Linux

Last week I wrote about a change for the Linux kernel would better protect entropy sent in from user-space as a change driven as a result of some Linux distributions (such as Fedora) using a CPU jitter random number generator to resolve the lack of entropy at boot time and that on systemd-enabled Linux systems sometimes leading to slow boot times. That change has now ended up being queued into Linux 4.18 rather than having to wait for 4.19.

Read more

10 GNU/Linux Video Editing Apps in AppImage

Filed under
Software
Movies

Free/libre video editors like Kdenlive, plus tools like Natron compositor and Jubler subtitle editor are now available in AppImage format. This including OpenShot, Shotcut, VidCutter, Avidemux. You can make executable and simply double-click to run these programs in any GNU/Linux distro. These applications in AppImage format are simple like EXE (Windows) and DMG (macOS) to download, store, and run. Plus, AppImage format is "portable" in sense you don't need to install it. Download them below and run your favorite even in LiveCD session.

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Helios4 Arm-Based Open Source NAS SBC For Linux/FreeBSD

Filed under
Hardware

NAS is an acronym for Network-attached storage. A NAS server or computer can store and retrieve files from a centralized location on your LAN or Intranet. NAS device typically uses Ethernet-based connections and do not have display output. NAS do not need keyboard or mouse to operate. You can manage your NAS using an ssh-based tool or browser-based configuration tool.

NAS allows users to share data using standard protocols such as NFS, CIFS, SSH, iSCSI, FTP, SSH and more. You can turn NAS into a personal cloud. NAS supports MS-Windows, macOS, Linux and Unix clients. Advanced NAS features may include full-disk encryption and virtualization support.

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Also: Weekend Reading: Raspberry Pi Projects

UniverCity, an isometric university management game arrives in Early Access next month, developed on Linux

Filed under
Development
Gaming

Yep. I use ArchLinux to develop the game on and test SteamOS and Windows via a VM.

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EasySSH is your next favorite GUI SSH client

Filed under
Software
Security

For some tasks, I'm a Linux purist and refuse to budge from the command line. But other tasks could be made a bit more efficient with a GUI tool. One such task is having to log into a data center full of Linux servers. Instead of issuing the command USER@IP (where USER is a user name and IP is the server IP) over and over, wouldn't it be nice to have a simple, one-trick-pony GUI tool that would allow you to store those logins ? Fortunately, there are a few such tools available. The one I use the most is EasySSH. This particular take on the SSH GUI tool doesn't offer much in the way of bells and whistles, but it does a great job of keeping all my SSH logins saved, so a login is but a click away.

I know what you're thinking.

Security!

Yes. There is one major caveat to this tool. Anyone who has access to the tool can gain access to your servers. Why? Because usernames/passwords are required to be saved. So if you want to use this tool (which I do), do so only on a machine you trust and that can't (in any way) fall into the wrong hands. Even with that glaring security issue, EasySSH is an application you should consider for your busy Linux remote admin work. Let me show you how to install and use it. I'll be demonstrating on Elementary OS (as EasySSH was developed specifically for Elementary OS), but you can install the tool on any platform that supports Flatpak.

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Also: SPAKE2 In Golang: Elliptic Curves Primer

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Linux Candy: Steam Locomotive – fun command for your terminal

Who loves eye candy? Don’t be shy — you can raise both hands!! Linux Candy is a series of articles covering interesting eye candy software. We only feature open-source software in this series. Steam Locomotive is a tiny C program, written in 295 lines of code. It’s just a harmless bit of fun. Read more

3 lightweight text editors for Linux

Anyone can use plain text to work more effectively. The one tool that you need in order to do that is a decent text editor. Unless you're a coder, a system administrator, or a DevOps person, that editor doesn't need to be brimming with functions and features. A lightweight text editor is more than enough for most people. When it comes to picking one, choices abound. You can use the editor that's baked into your Linux distribution, or you can consider one of these lightweight text editors... Read more

Rambox is an All-in-one Messenger for Linux

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. Read more

Project Trident 20.02

Project Trident made a lot of progress very quickly between the time the Alpha snapshot of its new Void base was launched and when the stable release came out. The issues with the desktop not loading were fixed, I got sound working under Trident where it did not under Void, and the ZFS implementation was smooth. I think Lumina, as a desktop, has progressed nicely in the past year or so since I last used it. The distribution's performance is strong and its resource footprint relatively small. For someone who is interested in either ZFS on Linux or rolling release distributions, Trident is a promising option. However, there are several rough edges. The installer is not particularly friendly yet and forces the user to dedicate an entire disk to Trident. While the ZFS implementation is good, it appears to lack boot environments which would be an excellent feature to incorporate, especially with Void's rolling upgrade approach. I also think Trident's goal of being a friendly layer on top of Void would be helped a lot by adding a graphical package manager as XBPS's syntax is a little unusual at times. At this point Trident's Void-based distribution is in its early stages. It is a good first attempt, though there are still a few pieces that can be improved and polished. I'm hopeful that, in six months or a year, Trident will have progressed to a point where I feel comfortable recommending and using it in the long-term. For now I think it is an interesting distribution to try, as it showcases several unusual technologies, but I'm not sure it is ready to be used as a day-to-day operating system, unless the user is comfortable working a lot with the command line and working around a few issues. Read more