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December 2019

What is GNU/Linux?

Filed under
GNU
Linux

Most consumers can, with a little effort, name two desktop and laptop operating systems: Microsoft Windows and Apple's macOS. Few have ever considered any of the open-source alternatives found under the umbrella of GNU/Linux, though some may have done so without even knowing it—Google's Chrome OS uses the Linux kernel. To be honest, aside from the Chromebook platform, GNU/Linux systems are typically not best for people who rely on big-name software or don't like dabbling with a customizable, hands-on interface. However, if you're looking for a change of pace, don't want to pay for your software, and don't mind rolling up your sleeves, switching to GNU/Linux may not only be worthwhile, but make you a convert for life. This guide for nontechnical users will show you how.

Before diving headfirst into the wonky world of GNU/Linux systems, it's important to understand how they came about and some of the terms you may encounter while researching and using them. I'll start with a brief history of the big three: UNIX, Linux, and GNU.

UNIX is a proprietary, command-line-based operating system originally developed by Dennis Ritchie and Ken Thompson (among others) at AT&T's Bell Labs in the late 1960s and early 1970s. UNIX is coded almost entirely in the C programming language (also invented by Ritchie) and was originally intended to be used as a portable and convenient OS for programmers and researchers. As a result of a long and complicated legal history involving AT&T, Bell Labs, and the federal government, UNIX and UNIX-like operating systems grew in popularity, as did Thompson's influential philosophy of a modular, minimalist approach to software design.

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Making Slackware 14.1 Works with GLIM Multiboot USB

Filed under
GNU
Linux
HowTos

This tutorial explains the configuration files for Slackware 14.1 DVD 64-bit to work in LiveUSB multiboot mode with GLIM. This way you can have one flash drive containing multiple GNU/Linux OS installers including Slackware64 among them. This is my first time to ship Slackware USB ever and I am happy finally I could make it with GLIM. This is the result of my shipment to Sulawesi, Indonesia at December 2019. Happy hacking!

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Stable kernels 5.4.7, 4.19.92, and 4.14.161

  • Linux 5.4.7

    I'm announcing the release of the 5.4.7 kernel.

    All users of the 5.4 kernel series must upgrade.

    The updated 5.4.y git tree can be found at:
    git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-stable.git linux-5.4.y
    and can be browsed at the normal kernel.org git web browser:
    https://git.kernel.org/?p=linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-s...

  • Linux 4.19.92
  • Linux 4.14.161

Programming: KDE at Congress, Java, C and Python

Filed under
Development
  • 36C3 Impressions

    I was given the opportunity to present our work on KDE Itinerary on the WikipakaWG stage (part of the joint presence of Wikimedia and the Open Knowledge Foundation). A big thanks for that again!

    The slides are here. At this point there is no released video recording yet, until that’s available you should still find the relive stream.

    Besides showing overall what we are doing and have built so far, and why this matters, we managed to have a few sneak preview screenshots of the latest developments that haven’t been shown anywhere before yet. Another such preview could be spotted in a presentation of another project at the event. So stay tuned for announcements in January Smile

    Following that I got a large amount of input and positive feedback, people seem to like the idea of a privacy first digital travel assistant. This also lead to a number of interesting contacts for possible collaborations in 2020, let’s see what comes out of this.

    KDE at Congress

    There were only very few KDE people at 36C3, and only very few talks covering KDE projects. I did spot a very well attended talk about Linux-based mobile platforms covering Plasma Mobile by someone I didn’t know yet, so there definitely seems to be interest in KDE’s work there.

    I mainly focused on mobility or open transport data topics for KDE Itinerary, that left little time to cover other things highly relevant for KDE like free mobile platforms, environmental impact of software, Free Software in public administration, or let alone the enormous field of privacy related topics.

    I’d therefore suggest KDE to attend with a larger team next time, not necessarily with a stationary presence, but with more people to present our work and to connect with others with overlapping interests.

  • Java retrospective #3 – most important thing for the community in 2019

    As 2019 draws to a close, we got in touch with some prominent members of the Java community to gather their thoughts on the events of the last year. In this five part series, we will look at what they had to say. In this third part, we asked what the most important thing for the Java community was in 2019.

  • Ringing In 2020 By Clang'ing The Linux 5.5 Kernel - Benchmarks Of GCC vs. Clang Built Kernels

    The main issue encountered when Clang'ing Linux 5.3 was the AMDGPU driver running into build problems. Fortunately, that was since resolved and with Linux 5.5 tests I recently did when building the kernel with Clang 9.0, the AMDGPU driver has worked out fine. With that resolved and no new Clang kernel compatibility problems introduced, it was a pleasant experience building Linux 5.5 with Clang simply by adjusting the CC environment variable.

  • Area of sinc and jinc function lobes

    The lobes are the regions between crossings of the x-axis. For the sinc function, the lobe in the middle runs from -π to π, and for n > 0 the nth lobe runs from nπ to (n+1)π. The zeros of Bessel functions are not uniformly spaced like the zeros of the sine function, but they come up in application frequently and so it’s easy to find software to compute their locations.

  • Sorting Data With Python

    All programmers will have to write code to sort items or data at some point. Sorting can be critical to the user experience in your application, whether it’s ordering a user’s most recent activity by timestamp, or putting a list of email recipients in alphabetical order by last name. Python sorting functionality offers robust features to do basic sorting or customize ordering at a granular level.

    In this course, you’ll learn how to sort various types of data in different data structures, customize the order, and work with two different methods of sorting in Python.

Security Leftovers

Filed under
Security
  • Security updates for Tuesday

    Security updates have been issued by Debian (intel-microcode and libbsd), openSUSE (chromium, LibreOffice, and spectre-meltdown-checker), and SUSE (mozilla-nspr, mozilla-nss and python-azure-agent).

  • How AI and Cybersecurity Will Intersect in 2020

    So much of the discussion about cybersecurity's relationship with artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) revolves around how AI and ML can improve security product functionality. However, that is actually only one dimension of a much broader collision between cybersecurity and AI.

  • Best of TechBeacon 2019: Security is in the hot seat with privacy laws

    New laws such as the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and the European Union's General Data Privacy Regulation (GDPR) have put substantial pressure on organizations to bolster their security practices this year. Adding to the urgency were the near-constant reports of data breaches, an ever-evolving threat landscape, and a growing volume of attacks.

Applications: Scrapyard, NAS Software, GnuCash and Clementine

Filed under
Software
  • Scrapyard is an advanced bookmarks manager for Firefox

    Scrapyard is an open source extension for the Firefox web browser designed to improve bookmarking in Firefox in multiple ways. Firefox users may use it to bookmark pages but also content on pages, and store the data locally.

    Firefox's default bookmarks functionality is quite basic. Users may bookmark webpages or sites, add tags to bookmarks, use folders to sort bookmarks, and use Firefox's synchronization feature to sync bookmarks across devices.

    Firefox users who require more functionality need to rely on add-ons for that. Bookmarks Organizer is a handy extension to find dead or redirecting bookmarks.

  • 4 Best Open Source NAS Software for DIY server in 2020

    Before listing Linux or FreeBSD distros for creating network Attached storage OS, I would like to say there is no “best operating system” either for NAS or computer. The choice of an operating system depends heavily on what you are going to do with the NAS server. In this guide, we focus on software that understands a NAS server primarily as a system for the provision of data in your office or home. With the operating systems we mention in this article, you can copy data back and forth, perform backups, along with some advanced tasks (such as establishing a VPN connection or installing a mail server) including plugins to extend OS capabilities.

    Here we are about to list some best NAS solutions to help you if you are planning to data management using open-source software in 2020.

  • GnuCash 3.8

    GnuCash is a personal and small business finance application, freely licensed under the GNU GPL and available for GNU/Linux, BSD, Solaris, Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows. It’s designed to be easy to use, yet powerful and flexible. GnuCash allows you to track your income and expenses, reconcile bank accounts, monitor stock portfolios and manage your small business finances. It is based on professional accounting principles to ensure balanced books and accurate reports.

    GnuCash can keep track of your personal finances in as much detail as you prefer. If you are just starting out, use GnuCash to keep track of your checkbook. You may then decide to track cash as well as credit card purchases to better determine where your money is being spent. When you start investing, you can use GnuCash to help monitor your portfolio. Buying a vehicle or a home? GnuCash will help you plan the investment and track loan payments. If your financial records span the globe, GnuCash provides all the multiple-currency support you need.

  • Clementine Music Player 1.3.9 Released for Testing (How to Install)

    Clementine, an open-source audio player inspired by Amarok 1.4, released version 1.3.9 (then 1.3.92) a few days ago. Here’s how to install it in Ubuntu.

    Though the last version 1.3.1 was released more than 3 years ago, Clementine player is still in active development, and version 1.3.9 (as well as 1.3.92) was released in recent days as the test release. However, there’s no announcement, no change-log so far. They seem to be the development releases for the next major release.

My Linux Experience in 2019

Filed under
GNU
Linux

In summary, I can say that my experience with Linux during 2019 has been extremely satisfactory. I mean, my computers have been working great and the distros have been more stable than ever.

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More in Tux Machines

Security Leftovers

  • Linux Fixes Spectre V1 SWAPGS Mitigation After Being Partially Borked Since Last Year - Phoronix

    This week's set of "x86/urgent" changes for the Linux 5.16-rc4 kernel due out later today has some Spectre V1 fixes after kernel commits last year ended up partially messing things up around its SWAPGS handling. These fixes in turn will also likely be back-ported to relevant stable kernel series. Thanks to an Alibaba engineer, Lai Jiangshan, are some important fixes around the Spectre V1 SWAPGS mitigation that are landing today in the mainline kernel.

  • Reproducible Builds: Reproducible Builds in November 2021

    As a quick recap, whilst anyone may inspect the source code of free software for malicious flaws, almost all software is distributed to end users as pre-compiled binaries. The motivation behind the reproducible builds effort is therefore to ensure no flaws have been introduced during this compilation process by promising identical results are always generated from a given source, thus allowing multiple third-parties to come to a consensus on whether a build was compromised. If you are interested in contributing to our project, please visit our Contribute page on our website.

  • Reproducible Builds (diffoscope): diffoscope 195 released

    The diffoscope maintainers are pleased to announce the release of diffoscope version 195. This version includes the following changes:

    [ Chris Lamb ]
    * Don't use the runtime platform's native endianness when unpacking .pyc
      files to fix test failures on big-endian machines.
    

Linux 5.16-rc4

Fairly small rc4 this week. Three areas stand out in the diff: some
kvm fixes (and tests), network driver fixes, and the tegra SoC sound
fixes.

The rest is fairly spread out: drm fixes, some filesystem stuff,
various arch updates, and some smattering of random driver fixes.

Nothing looks all that scary, although I certainly hope the kvm side
will calm down.

                  Linus
Read more Also: Linux 5.16-rc4 Released - "Nothing Looks All That Scary"

EFF Argument in Patent Troll Case to Be Livestreamed on Monday

At 10 am Monday, FOSS folks and others interested in software patent litigation will have a chance to have a firsthand look at how our courts address patent cases. The case involves a “notorious patent troll,” according to Electronic Frontiers Foundation, that is trying to hide information from Apple, which it’s suing. “At a federal appeals court hearing that will be livestreamed, attorney Alexandra H. Moss, Executive Director at Public Interest Patent Law Institute, who is assisting EFF in the case, will argue that a judge’s order to unseal all documents and preserve public access in the case of Uniloc USA, Inc. v. Apple Inc. should be upheld,” EFF said in a statement on Thursday. “Uniloc is entitled to resolve its patent dispute in publicly-funded courts, Moss will argue, but it’s not entitled to do so secretly.” EFF said that this is the second time the plaintiff, Uniloc, has appealed an order to be more transparent in this case. Read more

Gnuastro 0.16 released

Dear all,

I am happy to announce the 16th official release of GNU Astronomy
Utilities (Gnuastro version 0.16).

Gnuastro is an official GNU package, consisting of various
command-line programs and library functions for the manipulation and
analysis of (astronomical) data. All the programs share the same basic
command-line user interface (modeled on GNU Coreutils). For the full
list of Gnuastro's library, programs, and a comprehensive general
tutorial (recommended place to start using Gnuastro), please see the
links below respectively:

https://www.gnu.org/s/gnuastro/manual/html_node/Gnuastro-library.html
https://www.gnu.org/s/gnuastro/manual/html_node/Gnuastro-programs-list.html
https://www.gnu.org/s/gnuastro/manual/html_node/General-program-usage-tutorial.html

For a complete review of the new/changed features in this release,
please see [1] below (also available in the 'NEWS' file within the
source code tarball).

Here is the compressed source and the GPG detached signature for this
release. To uncompress Lzip tarballs, see [2]. To check the validity
of the tarballs using the GPG detached signature (*.sig) see [3]:

  https://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/gnuastro/gnuastro-0.16.tar.lz    (3.7MB)
  https://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/gnuastro/gnuastro-0.16.tar.gz    (5.9MB)
  https://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/gnuastro/gnuastro-0.16.tar.gz.sig (833B)
  https://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/gnuastro/gnuastro-0.16.tar.lz.sig (833B)

Here are the SHA1 and SHA256 checksums (other ways to check if the
tarball you download is what we distributed). Just note that the
SHA256 checksum is base64 encoded, instead of the hexadecimal encoding
that most checksum tools default to.

fe1f84bf1be270f1a62091e9a5f89bb94b182154  gnuastro-0.16.tar.lz
B4hftfYuyc7x3I6aEJ2SQlkp6x7zOOrPz/bK2koGuR8  gnuastro-0.16.tar.lz
1ae00673648fe8db5630f1de9d70b49fadb42d7d  gnuastro-0.16.tar.gz
kMEdJbsFrRNxDLX4EXntgXNgikJv3/2LIEWGLV/e4i0  gnuastro-0.16.tar.gz

For this release, Pedram Ashofteh Ardakani, Natáli D. Anzanello,
Sepideh Eskandarlou, Raúl Infante-Sainz, Vladimir Markelov and Zahra
Sharbaf directly contributed to the source of Gnuastro, I am very
grateful to all of them. I should also thank Alejandro Serrano
Borlaff, Fernando Buitrago, Mark Calabretta, Zohreh Ghaffari, Giulia
Golini, Leslie Hunt, Raúl Infante-Sainz, Matthias Kluge, Juan Miro,
Juan Molina Tobar, Markus Schaney, Zahra Sharbaf, Vincenzo Testa,
Ignacio Trujillo and Aaron Watkins for their very good suggestions or
bug reports that have been implemented in Gnuastro 0.16.

If any of Gnuastro's programs or libraries are useful in your work,
please cite _and_ acknowledge them. For citation and acknowledgment
guidelines, run the relevant programs with a `--cite' option (it can
be different for different programs, so run it for all the programs
you use). Citations _and_ acknowledgments are vital for the continued
work on Gnuastro, so please don't forget to support us by doing so.

This tarball was bootstrapped (created) with the tools below. Note
that you don't need these to build Gnuastro from the tarball, these
are the tools that were used to make the tarball itself. They are only
mentioned here to be able to reproduce/recreate this tarball later.
  Texinfo 6.8
  Autoconf 2.71
  Automake 1.16.4
  Help2man 1.48.5
  ImageMagick 7.1.0-9
  Gnulib v0.1-4944-g7fc3219bc
  Autoconf archives v2021.02.19-29-g0fbee2a

The dependencies to build Gnuastro from this tarball on your system
are described here:
  https://www.gnu.org/s/gnuastro/manual/html_node/Dependencies.html

Best wishes,
Mohammad
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