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Picking a Penguin

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PCLOS

For no good reason other than curiosity (and a bloated XP install that gets slower by the hour) the inner geek in me has been looking for a competent Linux distribution to try. I’ve experimented with a few in the past but none have ever gotten me to stick with it for even 10% of my daily computing time. Either the distro was difficult to install, had a non-intuitive GUI, didn’t have applications that support most of my regular tasks (’net, office tasks, photos to name a few), or just plain sucked. Since I first started experimenting most of the distros have improved greatly, and in the last month or so I’ve gotten several different varieties to keep my interest.

First was Freespire, a community version of the pay product Linspire. The claim to fame on this version is an unabashed love-affair with proprietary products (closed source code like Adobe Flash, Windows Media, etc.) tied directly into the OS, which allows for a more Windows-like experience from the get go and reduces the need to configure every little piece of hardware. This embrace of non OSS applications & drivers is generally frowned upon by the dedicated Linux community, who insist that true GNU Linux products should be open source and should never contain locked away code. I could go on an editorial rant here and point out that the ease of use for Linux noobs is directly proportional to the adoption rate of their beloved product, but that point usually flies over many a head. Anyway, the Freespire install was as painless as advertised. Less than ten minutes after starting the install I had a clean desktop staring at me.

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Mozilla Leftovers

  • Making WebAssembly even faster: Firefox’s new streaming and tiering compiler
    People call WebAssembly a game changer because it makes it possible to run code on the web faster. Some of these speedups are already present, and some are yet to come. One of these speedups is streaming compilation, where the browser compiles the code while the code is still being downloaded. Up until now, this was just a potential future speedup. But with the release of Firefox 58 next week, it becomes a reality. Firefox 58 also includes a new 2-tiered compiler. The new baseline compiler compiles code 10–15 times faster than the optimizing compiler.
  • Firefox Telemetry Use Counters: Over-estimating usage, now fixed
    Firefox Telemetry records the usage of certain web features via a mechanism called Use Counters. Essentially, for every document that Firefox loads, we record a “false” if the document didn’t use a counted feature, and a “true” if the document did use that counted feature.
  • Firefox 58 new contributors
  • Giving and receiving help at Mozilla
    This is going to sound corny, but helping people really is one of my favorite things at Mozilla, even with projects I have mostly moved on from. As someone who primarily works on internal tools, I love hearing about bugs in the software I maintain or questions on how to use it best. Given this, you might think that getting in touch with me via irc or slack is the fastest and best way to get your issue addressed. We certainly have a culture of using these instant-messaging applications at Mozilla for everything and anything. Unfortunately, I have found that being “always on” to respond to everything hasn’t been positive for either my productivity or mental health. My personal situation aside, getting pinged on irc while I’m out of the office often results in stuff getting lost — the person who asked me the question is often gone by the time I return and am able to answer.
  • Friend of Add-ons: Trishul Goe
    Our newest Friend of Add-ons is Trishul Goel! Trishul first became involved with Mozilla five years when he was introduced to the Firefox OS smartphone. As a JavaScript developer with an interest in Mozilla’s mission, he looked for opportunities to get involved and began contributing to SUMO, L10n, and the Firefox OS Marketplace, where he contributed code and developed and reviewed apps. After Firefox OS was discontinued as a commercial product, Trishul became interested in contributing to Mozilla’s add-ons projects. After landing his first code contributions to addons.mozilla.org (AMO), he set about learning how to develop extensions for Firefox using WebExtensions APIs. Soon, he began sharing his knowledge by leading and mentoring workshops for extension developers as part of Mozilla’s “Build Your Own Extension” Activate campaign.

24-Way NVIDIA/AMD GPU Benchmarks With X-Plane 11

With the next update to X-Plane 11 introducing VR support, I have renewed interest in this realistic, cross-platform flight simulator. It's been a few years since we last delivered any benchmarks with X-Plane, but for your viewing please today is an assortment of 24 graphics cards both old and new, low-end to high-end from NVIDIA and AMD in looking at how this flight simulator is running on Ubuntu Linux. Read more

Librem 5 Privacy-Focused Linux Phone Crowdfunding Campaign Ends with $2 Million

Librem 5 was successfully crowdfunded about two weeks ago when it surpassed its goal of $1.5 million, but the campaign continued to run, and now it appears to have gathered half million dollars more, ending with $2 million, which we believe is more than enough to build world's first truly free mobile device. Powered by PureOS, Purism's own GNU/Linux distribution based on the popular Debian GNU/Linux operating system, but focused on offering users a privacy-focused and more secure desktop solution, Librem 5 will be using KDE's Plasma Mobile and GNOME's GNOME Shell user interfaces, along with powerful open source software. Read more

Linux Kernel: Linux 4.14.14, Linux 4.9.77, Linux 4.4.112 and Linux 3.18.92

also: Linux Kernels 4.14.14, 4.9.77, 4.4.112, and 3.18.92 Released with Security Fixes