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December 2021

Use basegfx to convert angle unit – EasyHack

Filed under
LibO

First, what is basegfx, how it is used for converting angle units, and why we should care?

If you look at the list of LibreOffice modules in docs.libreoffice.org, you will see that basegfx is one of the LibreOffice modules. It contains the “algorithms and data types for graphics“, and it provides useful functions for LibreOffice graphics code. We care because using these functions helps us write cleaner code using well tested methods.

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Also: Happy New Year 2022!

4 metrics to measure sustainable open source investments.

Filed under
OSS

How do we understand value when we talk about sustainability? What does investing in open source mean? The meaning is different for many people because of an implicit understanding of what open source means.

This post is a reflection on the past year in my work with the UNICEF Venture Fund. We integrated new open source tools to capture metrics and data about open source repositories connected to UNICEF portfolio companies and created a shortlist of key metrics that map to business sustainability metrics. Now, we are better positioned to look back on past, current, and upcoming portfolio companies and mentor support programs.

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Open Hardware/Modding Leftovers

Filed under
Hardware
  • The No-MCU Fan Controller | Hackaday

    The default for any control project here in 2019 was to reach for a microcontroller. Such are their low cost and ubiquity that they can be used to replicate what might once have needed some extra circuitry, with the minimum of parts. But here we are at the end of 2021, and of course microcontrollers are hard to come by in a semiconductor shortage. [Hesam Moshiri] has a project that takes us back to a simpler time, a temperature controlled fan the way they used to be made, without a microcontroller in sight.

  • Customisable Micro-Coded Controller Helps With In-Circuit Debugging | Hackaday

    Over on Hackaday.io, [Zoltan Pekic] has been busy building a stack of tools for assisting with verifying and debugging retro computing applications. He presents his take on using Intel hex files for customised in-circuit testing, which is based upon simple microcoded sequencers, which are generated automatically from a high level description.

    The idea is that it is very useful to be able to use an FPGA development board to emulate the memory bus component of the CPU, allowing direct memory access for design validation purposes. This approach will also allow the production of a test rig to perform board level verification. The microcode compiler (MCC) generates all the VHDL, and support files needed to target a Xilinx FPGA based dev board, but is generic enough to enable targeting other platforms with a little adaptation.

  • 3D Printering: Adding A Web Interface Where There Was None Before | Hackaday

    [Renzo Mischianti] got himself a Chinese 3D printer, specifically a FlyingBear Ghost 5. (Cracking name, huh?) He was more than a little irritated with the fact that whilst the controller, an MKS Robin Nano, did have a integrated Wi-FI module, it provided no web-based interface for monitoring and control purposes. This seemed a bit short-sighted in this day and age, to say the least. Not being at all happy with that situation, [Renzo] proceeded to write dedicated Wi-Fi firmware using websockets, but not without fully documenting his journey in a detailed series of the blog posts.

    [...]

    We’ve been covering 3D printer hacking since the dinosaurs were roaming. This is the oldest, and still one of the strangest, posts that we could find in a quick search. Anyone care to find something older?

A Tidy Cyberdeck That You Could Take Anywhere

Filed under
Hardware

The cyberdeck trend has evolved to a relatively straightforward formula: take a desktop computer and strip it to its barest essentials of screen , PCB, and input device, before clothing it in a suitably post-apocalyptic or industrial exterior. Sometimes these can result in a stylish prop straight from a movie set, and happily for [Patrick De Angelis] his Raspberry Pi based cyberdeck (Italian, Google Translate link) fits this description, taking the well-worn path of putting a Raspberry Pi and screen into a ruggedised flight case. Its very unremarkability is the key to its success, using a carefully-selected wired keyboard and trackpad combo neatly dodges the usual slightly messy arrangements of microcontroller boards.

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today's leftovers

Filed under
Misc
  • Intel To Ring In 2022 With New, Faster AV1 Encoder Release - Phoronix

    Intel in cooperation with the Alliance for Open Media continues developing SVT-AV1 as the flagship CPU-based AV1 video encoder. With the next SVT-AV1 update there are performance optimizations as well as several new preset levels allowing for even greater performance. Here are some early benchmarks of that updated SVT-AV1.

  • Open Source Trends for 2022 and Beyond

    “There's nothing magical about open-source methodology and security,” Vaughan-Nichols notes. “Linus's law is that given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow. But, if not enough developers are looking, security vulnerabilities will still go unnoticed.” And, according to what he is calling Schneier's law, "Security is a process, not a product,” and “constant vigilance is needed to secure all software.”

  • LibreOffice Working On A New Cairo Graphics Back-End - Phoronix

    Merged yesterday into the LibreOffice code-base was introducing yet another graphics drawing back-end for this open-source office suite.

    SvpGraphicsBackend is this new VCL (Visual Class Library) back-end for LibreOffice. SvpGraphicsBackend is being used as a new back-end around Cairo. There is already SvpSalGraphics for LibreOffice that uses Cairo for drawing while SvpGraphicsBackend is being worked into the new implementation alongside the various other VCL graphics/drawing back-ends for the cross-platform office suite.

    Tomaž Vajngerl of Collabora has been working on this new Cairo back-end that was merged on Thursday. So far there have been a few more follow-up commits beginning to move more functionality into SvpGraphicsBackend.

  • Will Anyone Actually Show Up at CES on Wednesday?

    A given at the first of each year is CES. Formally called the Consumer Electronic Show, the event practically takes over Las Vegas for a few days every January, and every company that even dabbles in electronics is on hand to show off their latest offerings.

    How big is it? In 2019, more than 182,000 people attended and more than 4,400 vendors exhibited their wares. How important is being there to vendors? In 2020, Apple made its first appearance at the event in 27 years, if that tells you anything.

    In 2021, when there was no in-person event due to COVID, organizers pulled out all the stops to create an engaging virtual event, featuring a live digital performance by Billie Eilish as a lead-in to a discussion session on digital performances in whic Ryan Seacrest spoke with Billie Eilish and Dua Lipa.

  • CES Rolls the Dice and Gambles on Becoming a Superspreader Event
  • openSUSE Tumbleweed – Review of the week 2021/52 – Dominique a.k.a. DimStar (Dim*)

    Dear Tumbleweed users and hackers,

    The last week of the year, and the last day of the year, are coming to an end. Tumbleweed had a small dip, as the last two snapshots that moved to openQA had to be stopped from being published. Nevertheless, we still managed to publish 6 snapshots before heading out to the new-year celebrations (1223…1228).

Programming Leftovers

Filed under
Development
  • The Kate Text Editor in 2021 - Kate

    From Kate’s development perspective this year looks fantastic. If you track a bit the development via our merge requests overview page or even better participate yourself in our projects, you might have already noticed it ;=)

  • Simple test if audio muted

    I am working out how to do things in /usr/sbin/mscw (Multiple Sound Card Wizard). A huge issue for me has been moving from alsa to pulseaudio. Here is a link to earlier work:

    https://bkhome.org/news/202111/how-pulseaudio-is-implemented-in-easyos.html

    I am still very uncertain about aspects of the interaction between alsa and pa. The single most important feature is /etc/alsa/conf.d/99-pulseaudio-default.conf, that essentially directs alsa output to the pa server.

    In mscw, I want a quick check of output volume and muted/unmuted status for a particular card. It can be done using 'pactl' or 'pacmd', pa utilities, however, I wanted to do it at the "alsa level", with an alsa utility...

  • New front-page on cross-compiling

    I am gradually working toward putting information from blog posts onto the easyos.org front page.

  • Mold 1.0.1 Released As Newest Version Of This High-Speed Linker - Phoronix

    It was just this month that Mold 1.0 premiered as a very promising, high performance linker alternative to GNU's Gold and LLVM's LLD linkers. GCC 12 added support for Mold this week and now for ending out the year Mold 1.0.1 has been released.

    Mold 1.0.1 is just a maintenance release but given the young age of the project there are a number of fixes as well as new features squeezed in. Mold 1.0.1 now optionally includes its own xxHash library for building but can still use a system-wide xxHash library if desired, support for the "--color-diagnostics" option, the "--threads=" option is now supported as an alias of its existing "--thread-count=" option, and support for a number of other options.

Kernel: Intel, Lenovo, and AMD

Filed under
Linux
  • Intel Alder Lake's Thread Director Support Coming to Linux | Tom's Hardware

    Intel has published a new patch series for its Linux drivers that promise to improve the performance of its hybrid Alder Lake processors by optimizing usage of (P)erformance and (E)fficiency cores.

    When Intel released its 12th Generation Core 'Alder Lake' processors earlier this year, it quickly turned out that the new CPUs perform better under Windows rather than under Linux. Unlike Windows 11, Linux does not have proper support for Intel's Thread Director technology based on the Enhanced Hardware Feedback Interface (HFI), which enables the OS to utilize high-performance Golden Cove and energy-efficient Gracemont cores properly.

    At present, the Linux kernel decides when to use P or E cores using the ITMT/Turbo Boost Max 3.0 driver that relies on the information exposed by the firmware, reports Phoronix. Essentially, this means that under Linux, the OS in many cases prefers the fastest cores (i.e., Golden Coves at high clocks) and underutilizes energy-efficient cores.

  • ThinkPad ACPI Driver Picking Up New Features With Linux 5.17 - Phoronix

    For those running Linux on Lenovo ThinkPad laptops, the upcoming Linux 5.17 cycle is set to bring a few improvements to the "thinkpad_acpi" driver.

    Thanks to developers Ognjen Galic and Thomas Weißschuh, the ThinkPad ACPI driver is adding support for inhibit charge behavior if wanting to temporarily disable charging support for ThinkPads allowing this behavior through the system's embedded controller (EC).

    Similarly, there is also now force discharge support if wanting to force the battery to change and again contingent upon EC support from the ThinkPad.

  • Mesa's Radeon Vulkan Driver Lands Experimental Mesh Shaders - Phoronix

    Thanks to Valve engineer Timur Kristóf and other open-source developers involved, Mesa's Radeon Vulkan driver "RADV" is ending 2021 on a high note: mesh shaders was just merged!

    As noted back in October, RADV has been working on mesh shaders at least in experimental form and making use of NVIDIA's NV_mesh_shader extension.

    Mesh shaders provide a compute-like shader stage to replace the conventional vertex/geometry pipeline. This work though is expected to remain "experimental" until there is a proper Vulkan cross-vendor extension around mesh shaders as NV_mesh_shader is known to perform poorly on AMD hardware for which the extension was not designed.

    Mesh shaders support requires Radeon RX 6000 "RDNA2" GPUs and newer for support. This experimental mesh shaders support will be part of Mesa 22.0 that will debut as stable by March. This may prove beneficial for VKD3D-Proton in mapping Direct3D 12 mesh shaders atop Vulkan but, again, the performance isn't expected to be optimal.

Security Leftovers

Filed under
Security
  • Security updates for Friday [LWN.net]

    Security updates have been issued by Debian (agg, aria2, fort-validator, and lxml), Fedora (libgda, pgbouncer, and xorg-x11-server-Xwayland), Mageia (calibre, e2guardian, eclipse, libtpms/swtpm, nodejs, python-lxml, and toxcore), openSUSE (c-toxcore, gegl, getdata, kernel-firmware, log4j, postrsd, and privoxy), and SUSE (gegl).

  • Reproducible Builds (diffoscope): diffoscope 198 released

    The diffoscope maintainers are pleased to announce the release of diffoscope version 198. This version includes the following changes:

    [ Chris Lamb ]
    * Support showing "Ordering differences only" within .dsc field values.
      (Closes: #1002002, reproducible-builds/diffoscope#297)
    * Support OCaml versions 4.11, 4.12 and 4.13. (Closes: #1002678)
    * Add support for XMLb files. (Closes: reproducible-builds/diffoscope#295)
    * Also add, for example, /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu to our internal PATH.
    
    [ Mattia Rizzolo ]
    * Also recognize "GnuCash file" files as XML.
    

  • This Week In Security: The Log4j That Won’t Go Away, WebOS, And More | Hackaday

    In the past two weeks, Log4j has continued to drive security news, with more vulnerable platforms being found, and additional CVEs coming out. First up is work done by TrendMicro, looking at electric vehicles and chargers. They found a log4j attack in one of the published charger frameworks, and also managed to observe evidence of vulnerability in the Tesla In-Vehicle Infotainment system. It isn’t a stretch to imagine a piece of malware that could run on both a charger, and an EV. And since those systems talk to each other, they could spread the virus through cars moving from charger to charger.

    Log4j is now up to 2.17.1, as there is yet another RCE to fix, CVE-2021-44832. This one is only scored a 6.6 on the CVSS scale, as opposed to the original, which weighed in at a 10. 44832 requires the attacker to first exert control over the Log4j configuration, making exploitation much more difficult. This string of follow-on vulnerabilities demonstrates a well-known pattern, where a high profile vulnerability attracts the attention of researchers, who find other problems in the same code.

    There are now reports of Log4j being used in Conti ransomware campaigns. Additionally, a Marai-based worm has been observed. This self-propagating attack seems to be targeting Tomcat servers, among others.

Anklang takes over

Filed under
Software

The Anklang project is a digital audio synthesis application for live creation and composition of music or other audio material. It merges several new developments and (Beast) rewriting efforts by Stefan Westerfeld and me.

Starting a new project from scratch was the easier and quicker approach, with all the changes involved in moving to a modern file format, recreating the UI in a new language plus new technologies, using a new IPC layer and reinventing the synthesis engine in modern C++.

This brought much quicker results, compared to continued work on the aging Beast code base and a conversion tool is being worked on to carry over what is possible from old files. The tool is set to be integrated when the Anklang features set is ripe.

This pre-release show cases some of the new technologies, although the code still has alpha quality, others are still in the queue to be integrated soon and unpolished areas are also to be addressed. Currently, it may be an interesting piece for the adventurous to play around with, so feedback or contributions will be very welcome.

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More in Tux Machines

7 Best Rufus Alternatives To Create Bootable USB In 2022

One of the first steps of trying out an operating system is installing the image of the same on a USB drive. Rufus is one of the most widely used tools to create bootable USBs, but you might not like it due to its UI or slow on your computer. Hence, in this article, let’s look at some of the best Rufus alternatives to create bootable USBs. Read more

Android Leftovers

today's leftovers

  • Here's what's new and changed in Kodi 20 'Nexus' Alpha 1

    Yesterday, we revealed that the next big version of Kodi had hit an important milestone. Nightly builds of Kodi 20 'Nexus' have been available for months, but now there’s a much more stable release for users to download. Although it’s only a pre-release build, and therefore will likely have some bugs to watch out for, Kodi 20 'Nexus' Alpha 1's arrival will excite a lot of people. Team Kodi is very proud of this release, and highlights the following changes and new features.

  • MiTubo 1.0: playlist support, new “website” | Mardy

    Expanding a bit on the points above, the first thing worth saying is that the choice of releasing this version as “1.0” does not mean that it's more stable than the previous ones; it just means that I'm rather satisfied with the feature set, and that I believe that the program is ready for more widespread use. This is also the reason why I decided to prepare a web page for it: mardy.it/mitubo. I didn't go for a completely separate website, unlike what I previously did for Mappero Geotagger, PhotoTeleport and Imaginario (which reminds me that I haven't been working on the latter for a long time! I should try to correct this soon!), both because this way it's simpler to publish news about it (I'll continue doing that here, instead of cross-posting in two sites), and because having it in the same domain might be mutually beneficial for the SEO ranking of the blog and of MiTubo.

  • Adriaan de Groot: Blue Systems Farewell

    Calamares serves the needs of several dozen Linux distributions, large and small. I’ve been running the Calamares project for five years now, sponsored by Blue Systems who have supported the Calamares project since its beginning and through two maintainers now. After these five years, I have decided to hand in my badge and move on to different things. This means that I’m no longer paid to spend three days a week on Calamares and my involvement is going to be dialed back to incidental-volunteer-contributor. This means that maybe I’ll finally ignore Linux distro’s and sit down to make it work for FreeBSD.

  • Elevate from a normie to an elite internet user - Invidious
  • Strengthening digital infrastructure: A policy agenda for free and open source software

    While there is little debate that digital forces are playing an increasingly crucial role in the economy, there is limited understanding of the importance of the digital infrastructure that underlies this role. Much of the discussion around digital infrastructure has focused on broadband availability (which is certainly important), but the role of free and open source software (FOSS or OSS) has gone underappreciated. FOSS—software whose source code is public, is often created by decentralized volunteers, and can be freely used and modified by anyone—has come to play a vital role in the modern economy. It is baked into technology we use every day (cars, phones, websites, etc.), as well as into various aspects of critical infrastructure including our finance and energy systems.

  • Improve legibility and reduce layout shifts with x-height adjustments

    There’s more to setting the text size on your webpages than just the CSS font-size property. It only controls the size of majuscule (“uppercase”, e.g. “A”) letters, numbers, and punctuation. The size of minuscule (“lowercase”, e.g. “a”) letters is left up to the font. [...] Unfortunately, font-size-adjust is only supported in Firefox. It has been supported by this browser for over a decade already. It was implemented in Chrome for almost half a decade, but it has been left to rot behind the Experimental Web Platform features flag. It’s not implemented in Safari.

Linux and "Open" Devices