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Programming: ncurses, RLlib, and Languages

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  • Announcing ncurses 6.1

    The ncurses (new curses) library is a free software emulation of curses in System V Release 4.0 (SVr4), and more. It uses terminfo format, supports pads and color and multiple highlights and forms characters and function-key mapping, and has all the other SVr4-curses enhancements over BSD curses. SVr4 curses became the basis of X/Open Curses.

  • Ncurses 6.1 Released With A Variety Of Improvements & Other Changes

    Ncurses 6.1 retains compatibility support for Ncurses 5.0/6.0, but adds in a variety of new features and improvements. There is now extended numeric capabilities, various internal code changes to enhance Ncurses' performance, some new functions introduced, and a variety of corrections to existing features.

  • Introducing RLlib: A composable and scalable reinforcement learning library

    In a previous post, I outlined emerging applications of reinforcement learning (RL) in industry. I began by listing a few challenges facing anyone wanting to apply RL, including the need for large amounts of data, and the difficulty of reproducing research results and deriving the error estimates needed for mission-critical applications. Nevertheless, the success of RL in certain domains has been the subject of much media coverage. This has sparked interest, and companies are beginning to explore some of the use cases and applications I described in my earlier post. Many tasks and professions, including software development, are poised to incorporate some forms of AI-powered automation. In this post, I’ll describe how RISE Lab’s Ray platform continues to mature and evolve just as companies are examining use cases for RL.

  • Employers want JavaScript, but developers want Python

    When it comes to which programming languages are in demand by employers, JavaScript, Java, Python, C++, and C—in that order—came out on top in a recent developer survey. Developers, however, want to learn languages like Python, Go, and Kotlin.

    A survey of developers by technical recruiter HackerRank, conducted in October, found no gap between languages employers want and what developers actually know, with JavaScript barely edging out Java. But as far as which languages developers prefer, Python is the language developers most want to learn—and many already know it, HackerRank found.

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Security: Cracking, Elections and Apache

  • Hack [sic] on 8 adult websites exposes oodles of intimate user data

    A recent [crack] of eight poorly secured adult websites has exposed megabytes of personal data that could be damaging to the people who shared pictures and other highly intimate information on the online message boards. Included in the leaked file are (1) IP addresses that connected to the sites, (2) user passwords protected by a four-decade-old cryptographic scheme, (3) names, and (4) 1.2 million unique email addresses, although it’s not clear how many of the addresses legitimately belonged to actual users.

  • Professors discuss election security, voting systems at panel

    Amid questions of election security and potential system hacking in the upcoming midterm elections, Engineering prof. J. Alex Halderman spoke at the University of Michigan Alumni Center Thursday night about vulnerabilities in U.S. voting systems. Last June, Halderman appeared before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence to testify about such.

    [...]

    “If an attack takes place, we won’t necessarily see the physical evidence," Halderman said. "The physical evidence that it took place is a discrepancy between what’s written on a piece of paper and what a computer total of that paper says. Because elections are so complicated, they’re so noisy, because the [crackers] can hide their traces in various ways, we won’t necessarily see when something like this happen for the first time. We've got to be ready.”

  • Apache Access Vulnerability Could Affect Thousands of Applications
    A recently discovered issue with a common file access method could be a major new attack surface for malware authors. Vulnerabilities in Apache functions have been at the root of significant breaches, including the one suffered by Equifax. Now new research indicates that another such vulnerability may be putting thousands of applications at risk. Lawrence Cashdollar, a vulnerability researcher and member of Akamai's Security Incident Response Team, found an issue with the way that thousands of code projects are using Apache .htaccess, leaving them vulnerable to unauthorized access and a subsequent file upload attack in which auto-executing code is uploaded to an application.

Colibri - A Browser Without Tabs

Almost all browsers are competing with each other in terms of functionality, speed, and performance. Though I did recently settle for Firefox as my default browser, I am still looking for better options. And this quest of mine took me to Colibri - A Browser without Tabs. And I was really interested in finding out what this meant. How could a browser be without tabs? It’s like a car without wheels. So here is a review of Colibri. Read
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Ubuntu 18.10 (Cosmic Cuttlefish) Screenshot Tour and Statistics

  • Ubuntu 18.10 (Cosmic Cuttlefish) Screenshot Tour | What’s New
    Here we are going to take a screenshot tour of the latest release Ubuntu 18.10 (Cosmic Cuttlefish). Let’s go through the recent changes since the earlier long term support release Ubuntu 18.04 (Bionic Beaver). Ubuntu 18.10 (Cosmic Cuttlefish) introduces major user interface changes and more mature interface since Canonical decided ditching Unity desktop environment. Cosmic release ships with Gnome Shell 3.30.1 desktop environment for its main Desktop release and there are more variants of desktop environments you could choose from, check the release notes for further information. The default desktop and login screen “GDM” features the Cuttlefish background with the usual color scheme for Ubuntu desktop releases. It comes with multiple colorful and cheering desktop backgrounds. I will leave a link down below if you are interested to download the default Wallpapers for Ubuntu 18.10 (Cosmic Cuttlefish).
  • Canonical and Ubuntu – user statistics
    Then you arrive at the story of Canonical and Ubuntu and things aren’t quite so clear anymore, lines are blurred. Ubuntu appears everywhere, sometimes accompanied by Canonical, but frequently not. Then sometimes Canonical tries to make an appearance alone and everyone is left asking ‘what is Canonical?’ Well, no more. No more shall wondering what Canonical is be akin to a quiz question of who was the fourth Destiny’s Child. (Answer at the end) We all know Ubuntu, it’s the most popular open source operating system (OS) in the world, loved by developers for a multitude of reasons, it’s where innovation happens, and it’s everywhere. Canonical is described by Wikipedia (let’s face it that’s where your Google search takes you) as a UK-based, “privately held computer software company founded and funded by South African entrepreneur Mark Shuttleworth to market commercial support and related services for Ubuntu and related projects.” Well, that’s pretty accurate, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. You see, Canonical is passionate about Ubuntu. We love it. We all use it and we want everyone else to use the OS because we think it’s the best around and it’ll make your lives a lot easier. Canonical is full of people working on improving and adding to Ubuntu, from the OS to things that rely on the OS at the core but are more related to things such as Kubernetes, yes we really do Kubernetes, or OpenStack, AI/ML, and a whole host of technologies related to the internet of things (IoT).