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today's leftovers

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  • Sparky & coronavirus

    …what we expected, but we were not thinking that it would be so bad.

    Our dear friends, the coronavirus changed everything now, and we lost our main source of income, which we used to pay our monthly rent, food and medicine – we both suffer from chronic diseases. In addition, all products and services getting more expensive everywhere, in Poland too.

    From your current donations and money from advertising, we will cover only some bills of electricity, gas, water, internet, domains, taxes, small computer equipment (memory, USB sticks, mice, batteries, etc …) and fuel. But there is 400 Euros too short to cover rent, meals and medicines.

  • Experimental feature: progressive releases

    “No plan survives contact with the enemy.” This is a quote famously attributed to the Prussian field marshal Helmuth von Moltke. It is also quite applicable to software development: “No code survives contact with the user.”

    In mission-critical environments, staggered deployments of software are a crucial part of controlled updates, designed to ensure maximum stability of production applications and services. This allows developers to monitor and observe the adoption of new versions of their tools, as well as enable operational teams to meet compliance and security targets. Until recently, the timing of automatic snap updates was mostly governed by the client side refresh schedule. Now, there is a new experimental feature that gives snap developers the ability to fine-tune rollouts of new revisions – progressive releases.

  • Getting started with GPG (GnuPG)
  • What Is WireGuard VPN?

    If you use a VPN, there’s a good chance it runs using OpenVPN or IPsec, which have been the dominant standards for quite a while. WireGuard, however, is giving them a run for their money, and it’s easy to see why. It’s cleanly-coded, connects in a snap, uses heavily-tested modern cryptography, and works with just about everything. WireGuard was even included in the Linux kernel 5.6. Linux creator Linus Torvalds said, “Compared to the horrors that are OpenVPN and IPSec, it’s a work of art.”

  • Struggling to write good documentation? Two open source developers weigh in

    To be fair, Willison may not have always been as focused on documentation. But when his company, Lanyrd, was acquired by Eventbrite, he said it made him rethink his code. In his six years at Eventbrite, the company's engineering team grew from 100 to 600, spread across three continents. "We had to learn from the open source community. How do you maintain all of this different software with engineers in different places? And the answer was unit tests, documentation, being really disciplined, and code reviews."

    Today Willison maintains 73 open source projects, many of them mostly alone. Yet he still focuses on the same developer hygiene learned at Eventbrite: "I'm taking the lessons I learned from a 600-engineer organization and applying them to a one-engineer organization." The result? "My productivity has gone through the roof." Things that seem like they'd slow him down (like writing good documentation) actually speed up development: "When I come back to the project in two months, everything works, and I know where everything is."

    But what if you're not a developer who wants to slow down to write the docs? Or, perhaps even more tellingly, what if you're a developer who isn't capable of writing great docs?

  • Mozilla VR Blog: Firefox Reality 10

    Our team has been hard at work on the latest version of Firefox Reality. In our last two versions, we had a heightened focus on performance and stability. With this release, fans of our browser on standalone VR headsets can enjoy the best of both worlds—a main course of in-demand features, with sides of performance and UI improvements. Firefox Reality 10 is a feature-packed release with something for every VR enthusiast.

    But perhaps the most exciting news of this release is we’re releasing in conjunction with our new partner, Pico Interactive! We’re teaming up to bring the latest and greatest in VR browsing to Pico’s headsets, including the Neo 2 – an all-in-one (AIO) device with 6 degrees of freedom (DoF) head and controller tracking. Firefox Reality will be released and shipped with all Pico headsets. Learn more about what this partnership means here. And check out Firefox Reality in the Pico store.

  • Mozilla Open Innovation Team: Redesigning Mozilla’s Contribute Page: A UX Overview

    The previous Contribute page on Mozilla.org received around 100,000 views a month and had a 70% bounce rate.

    For page engagements just over 1% of those viewers clicked on the “Get Involved” button, taking them to the Mozilla Activate page.

    We wanted to change that.

    We began this redesign project with a discovery phase. As a result of the strict environment the page would live in, all of our assumption testing had to be carried out through upfront discovery research as opposed to evaluative A/B testing post design.

    We started to collate previous findings and analysis, drawing conclusions from past efforts like the Contribute Survey Analysis carried out in 2019.

  • New Iceberg Plugin Brings a Distraction-Free Writing Experience to WordPress

    Ever on the hunt for a more beautiful, simplified writing experience inside WordPress, I jumped at the chance to beta test the new Iceberg plugin. Rich Tabor and Jeffrey Caradang, the same team behind CoBlocks, have created a new markdown editor built on top of Gutenberg that provides the best writing experience for WordPress since core’s retired Distraction Free Writing mode.

    [...]

    Gutenberg designers and engineers have been working for the past two years to bring the writing experience in the editor to a functional place that meets the needs of those who use WordPress primarily for writing. So far the block editor’s Fullscreen mode is incapable of producing the kind of zen writing experience that most writers crave when turning to third-party writing apps.

    Iceberg is GPL-licensed and is even available on GitHub for download and collaboration. I asked Tabor what he planned to do if someone proposed that some version of Iceberg be added to core.

    “Honestly, I think it would be great if WordPress adopted the same high level of support for writers as Iceberg does,” he said. “Sure it may not be completely ideal economically, but Iceberg is built on an editor built by thousands of hands. If Iceberg is deemed a clever enough solution to be a part of core, then that’s ok. Although I’m positive there’s room to continue experimenting within the realm of empowering writers.”

More in Tux Machines

Switching from MacBook to Chromebook: Is Chrome OS good enough?

Chrome OS often gets maligned as a platform that you can't do "real work" on, and in some cases, that's true. But sometimes, you don't need a computer that does absolutely everything, and that's why I decided to give switching to Chrome OS on my laptop a try. While I've retained my iMac as a proper workstation, my aging MacBook Air was due for an upgrade, and the opportunity to switch platforms presented itself. Could a simpler, cheaper Chromebook replace my MacBook for working on the go? While I found that the answer was decidedly "no" in some situations—and that simply adapting to Chrome OS and its limitations was a huge adjustment—I do think Chrome now has a place in my workflow, albeit one that is rather hit or miss. Chrome is also definitely still a problematic platform, and those limitations tend to define it in a lot of ways, which I'll explore more in this post. For some added context, here are the devices I'm throwing into the mix: I use a 27-inch iMac with 40GB of RAM and a 9th-gen 3.7GHz 6-core Intel Core i5 at home while my MacBook is running on 4GB of RAM and an aging 4th-gen dual-core Core i5. My new laptop/convertible is a 14-inch HP Chromebook x360 with 8GB of RAM and an 8th-gen dual-core Intel Core i3 (Taylor reviewed a similarly equipped variant here at Android Police). Read more

Programming Leftovers

  • Dirk Eddelbuettel: #3 T^4: Customizing The Shell

    The third video (following the announcement, the shell colors) one as well as last week’s shell prompt one, is up in the stil new T^4 series of video lightning talks with tips, tricks, tools, and toys. Today we cover customizing the shell some more.

  • Why slowing new feature development can be the best way to maintain an open source project

    John Byrd is credited with a great statement: "Good programmers write good code. Great programmers write no code. Zen programmers delete code." It's perhaps an overstatement, but the idea behind it is spot on: As a code base accumulates cruft over time, great engineers will invest the time necessary to strip the code of technical debt. As DJ Walker-Morgan once put it, "Deleted lines [of code] are the final burn down of the ground where tech debt built." [...] We've seen this same principle applied in other projects. Apache Cassandra is a good, recent example. In talking with Cassandra insiders, there was a point when stability took precedence in the Cassandra community, with Apple, Netflix, and other big users of Cassandra joining forces on this goal as users got stuck on version 3.11. As cool as it sounds to issue yet another release, Cassandra users were tiring of revalidating their databases every two months when a new release hit. The Cassandra 4.0 effort has been a broad-based, community effort to get the Cassandra house in order.

  • The End is Near for Zend Server Basic PHP

    Zend Server Basic, the free PHP runtime used by thousands of IBM i shops, will cease being offered starting in July 2021. That’s the word from Perforce, the company that now owns Zend and its lineup of PHP tools and technologies. The replacement, of course, is the new community edition of PHP that became available via RPM in late 2019. Starting in 2006, Zend Technology began to develop a special version of its PHP runtime for IBM i, which was then called i5/OS. This offering, dubbed Zend Core for i5/OS, provided a familiar way for users of the iSeries server (as it was known back then) to partake of the digital bounty that was (and is) the PHP language and the estimated 10,000 software applications that ran on it at the time. While nobody knows for sure how many IBM i (System i, iSeries, AS/400, etc.) shops adopted Zend Core for i5/OS and its follow-ons and continued to use it to power their PHP applications on the box over the years, the number is almost certainly currently measured in the thousands. Back in 2006, IT Jungle reported that, according to Zend, there had been thousands of downloads of the beta of Zend Core for i5/OS just four months after it was released in March 2006.

  • PestPHP Released as Open-Source

    Console legend Nuno Maduro has open-sourced Pest, an elegant PHP testing framework that focuses on simplicity.

  • Seungha Yang: Unfortunately GStreamer 1.17

    Unfortunately GStreamer 1.17 is a development version and any binary/installer is not officially released. But you can build it using Cerbero which is a project for packaging GStreamer framework, or simpler way is that you might be able to try gst-build, that’s a meta-project to build GStreamer mostly used for development purpose.

  • How the End of Life for Open Source Python 2 Affects Enterprises
  • Test and Code: 114: The Python Software Foundation (PSF) Board Elections - Ewa Jodlowska / Christopher Neugebauer

    "The mission of the Python Software Foundation is to promote, protect, and advance the Python programming language, and to support and facilitate the growth of a diverse and international community of Python programmers." That's a lot of responsibility, and to that end, the PSF Board Directors help out quite a bit. If you want to be a part of the board, you can. There's an election coming up right around the corner and you gotta get your nomination in by May 31. You can also join the PSF if you want to vote for who gets to be part of the board.

  • Consistent Hashing

    Consistent hashing is a hashing technique that performs really well when operated in a dynamic environment where the distributed system scales up and scales down frequently. The core concept of Consistent Hashing was introduced in the paper Consistent Hashing and RandomTrees: Distributed Caching Protocols for Relieving Hot Spots on the World Wide Web but it gained popularity after the famous paper introducing DynamoDB - Dynamo: Amazon’s Highly Available Key-value Store. Since then the consistent hashing gained traction and found a ton of use cases in designing and scaling distributed systems efficiently. The two famous examples that exhaustively use this technique are Bit Torrent, for their peer-to-peer networks and Akamai, for their web caches. In this article we dive deep into the need of Consistent Hashing, the internals of it, and more importantly along the way implement it using arrays and Binary Search.

  • Hazelcast CTO: 25 years of Java, welcome to the data-driven 3rd act

    It’s easy to forget how important Java – celebrating its 25th birthday – has been. Before Java, computing was a place of siloed and proprietary clients and servers. Java was more than just a programming language – it was essentially a platform for building a wide range of applications. Java delivered a consistent and efficient programming experience for developers combined with write-once-run-anywhere portability. Today, we see that in containerisation and cloud. Java is poised to begin its third act – supporting cloud-native, data-intensive applications in analytics and Artificial Intelligence and IoT on 5G. That’s because Java’s foundations have continued to develop along with those first principles of developer productivity – simpler to build, more efficient code – with platform scale and performance. Not, that Java’s data destiny was manifest – Java’s had wobbles.

CMS-Centric FOSS Funding

  • London-based New Vector nabs €4.1 million for ‘Matrix’, its decentralised comms ecosystem

    Today New Vector, who is behind new collaboration solutions used by European governments and organisations alike, has announced raising approximately €4.1 million from Automattic Inc. This new investor brings both the financial backing and experience of being the parent company of web publishing and e-commerce platforms WordPress.com, WooCommerce, Jetpack, and enterprise WordPress VIP. New Vector, founded in 2017, is on a mission to enable governments, businesses and individuals to run their own secure communication infrastructure, while interconnecting via the global Matrix network. So far the startup has developed Riot, the flagship Matrix-based messaging app, and Modular, the leading Matrix-based hosting platform. New Vector, formed by the team who created Matrix, also provides significant development to the Matrix open source project (an open network for secure, decentralised communication which lets organisations and individuals run their own collaboration apps).

  • Automattic pumps $4.6M into New Vector to help grow Matrix, an open, decentralized comms ecosystem
  • Headless CMS company Strapi raises another $10 million
  • Open-Source 'Headless' CMS Company Strapi Raises $10 Million

    Strapi — the open-source “headless” content management system (CMS) — announced it raised $10 million in Series A funding led by Index Ventures. Including this round of funding, the company has raised a total of $14 million. Previously, Strapi raised $4 million in seed funding in October 2019 with Accel and Stride.VC. And the company also hired former Docker head of community Victor Coisne as VP of marketing and the company also announced plans to open its first U.S. office in San Francisco.

TeleIRC 2.0.0 Released

  • TeleIRC v2.0.0 is officially here!

    After almost eight months of work, the TeleIRC Team is happy to announce General Availability of TeleIRC v2.0.0 today. Thanks to the hard work of our volunteer community, we are celebrating an on-time release of a major undertaking to make a more sustainable future for TeleIRC.

  • What’s new in TeleIRC v2.0.0

    TeleIRC v2.0.0 is the latest major release of our open source Telegram <=> IRC bridge. Download the latest release and read the release announcement for the full story. There are several new and noteworthy changes in TeleIRC v2.0.0. This post walks you through the major changes and differences for TeleIRC v2.0.0. Read on for the highlight reel of this release.