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Software: XikiHub, qTox, Dash to Panel, Slack Alternatives

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  • XikiHub: The Social Command Line

    Brief: A new Linux project named XikiHub has been spotted on Kickstarter. It aims to add a social community feature right into the Linux command line.

  • qTox – An Open Source P2P Instant Messaging and VoIP App

    As you probably already know, GNU/Linux has no shortage of VoIP apps. We’ve written on Wire and Discord. And we even compiled a list of The 10 Best Instant Messaging Apps for Linux.

    Today, we’ve got a new app to add to our list of instant messaging apps and it goes by the name of qTox.

    qTox is a free and open source p2p instant messaging, audio and video calls app and is (apparently) the most feature-rich Tox client. As a powerful Tox client, it follows Tox’s design guidelines while maintaining a uniform UI/UX across all the major platforms.

  • Dash to Panel Adds Support for Dynamic Transparency

    The popular Dash to Panel GNOME extension has been updated to support GNOME 3.26.

    The upcoming release will also include support for dynamic transparency, a bit of desktop eye candy that was introduced by GNOME developers in the recent GNOME 3.26 release.

    Dynamic Transparency in Ubuntu 17.10 works on both the top bar (the panel across the top of the screen) and the Ubuntu Dock. When an app window touches either element, or is maximised, the transparency of the dock and panel is reduced to help improve legibility.

  • The Slack Threat

    During a long era, electronic mail was the main communication tool for enterprises. Slack, which offer public or private group discussion boards and instant messaging between two people, challenge its position, especially in the IT industry.

    Not only Slack has features known and used since IRC launch in the late ’80s, but Slack also offers file sending and sharing, code quoting, and it indexing for ulterior searches everything that goes through the application. Slack is also modular with numerous plug-in to easily add new features.

    [...]

    Slack is a Web service which uses mainly Amazon Web services and most specially Cloudfront, as stated by the available information on Slack infrastructure.

    Even without a complete study of said infrastructure, it’s easy to state that all the data regarding many innovative global companies around the world (and some of them including for all their internal communication since their creation) are located in the United States, or at least in the hands of a US company, which must follow US laws, a country with a well-known history of large scale industrial espionage, as the whistleblower Edward Snowden demonstrated it in 2013 and where company data access has no restriction under the Patriot Act, as in the Microsoft case (2014) where data stored in Ireland by the Redmond software editor have been given to US authorities.

    [...]

    Officially, Slack stated that “No financial or payment information was accessed or compromised in this attack.” Which is, and by far, the least interesting of all data stored within Slack! With company internal communication indexed—sometimes from the very beginning of said company—and searchable, Slack may be a potential target for cybercriminal not looking for its users’ financial credentials but more their internal data already in a usable format. One can imagine Slack must give information on a massive data leak, which can’t be ignored. But what would happen if only one Slack user is the victim of said leak?

    [...]

    Because Slack service subscription in the long term put the company continuously at risk. Maybe it’s not the employees’ place to worry about it, they just have to do their job the more efficiently possible. On the other side, the company management, usually non-technical, may not be aware of what risks will threaten their company with this technical choice. The technical management may pretend to be omniscient, nobody is fooled.

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Software: MenuLibre, Speech Recognition, "Just TODO It", Slack

  • MenuLibre 2.1.4 Released
    The wait is over. MenuLibre 2.1.4 is now available for public testing and translations! With well over 100 commits, numerous bug fixes, and a lot of polish, the best menu editing solution for Linux is ready for primetime.
  • Speech Recognition For Linux Gets A Little Closer
    t has become commonplace to yell out commands to a little box and have it answer you. However, voice input for the desktop has never really gone mainstream. This is particularly slow for Linux users whose options are shockingly limited, although decent speech support is baked into recent versions of Windows and OS X Yosemite and beyond. There are four well-known open speech recognition engines: CMU Sphinx, Julius, Kaldi, and the recent release of Mozilla’s DeepSpeech (part of their Common Voice initiative). The trick for Linux users is successfully setting them up and using them in applications. [Michael Sheldon] aims to fix that — at least for DeepSpeech. He’s created an IBus plugin that lets DeepSpeech work with nearly any X application. He’s also provided PPAs that should make it easy to install for Ubuntu or related distributions.
  • Announcing "Just TODO It"
    Recently, I wished to use a trivially-simple TODO-list application whilst working on a project. I had a look through what was available to me in the "GNOME Software" application and was surprised to find nothing suitable. In particular I just wanted to capture a list of actions that I could tick off; I didn't want anything more sophisticated than that (and indeed, more sophistication would mean a learning curve I couldn't afford at the time). I then remembered that I'd written one myself, twelve years ago. So I found the old code, dusted it off, made some small adjustments so it would work on modern systems and published it.
  • Linux users can now get Slack as a snap package
    Canonical has announced the general availability of the collaboration platform Slack, as a snap package. The move will allow Linux users to get setup with the platform and begin collaborating on their work more easily. Any Linux distribution with snap support can head over to the snapcraft website, download the package, and begin using it.

Security: Back Doors, Bugs in Chips, Botnets, and Windows in Hospitals