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Saturday, 15 Dec 18 - Tux Machines is a community-driven public service/news site which has been around for over a decade and primarily focuses on GNU/LinuxSubscribe now Syndicate content

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Quick Roundup

Type Title Author Repliessort icon Last Post
Story Oh no, Keith Knudsen Passes On srlinuxx 10/04/2005 - 11:55pm
Story M$ Antitrust Settlement May Not Foster Competition srlinuxx 10/04/2005 - 11:57pm
Blog entry 2-10-05 Texstar 11/04/2005 - 3:13am
Story Firefox to Blame for Increased Attacks on M$ srlinuxx 11/04/2005 - 3:14am
Story Arthur Miller Dies at 89 srlinuxx 11/04/2005 - 3:14am
Story Desktop Summit Proves Linux Interest on the Rise srlinuxx 11/04/2005 - 3:14am
Story KDE 3.4beta2 revisited srlinuxx 11/04/2005 - 6:27am
Story Script Kiddie Gets Probation srlinuxx 11/04/2005 - 3:15am
Story Suicide Pact in Yahoo Chat Rooms srlinuxx 11/04/2005 - 3:16am
Story LokiTorrent Ordered to Pay Million Bucks srlinuxx 11/04/2005 - 3:16am

Devices/Embedded: Omega2 Pro, Power of Zephyr RTOS, ELC Europe

Filed under
Linux
Hardware
  • Open source Omega2 module gives way to a “Pro” SBC

    Onion’s “Omega2 Pro” update to its WiFi-enabled Omega2 board boosts RAM to 512MB and flash to 8GB and adds real-world USB and micro-USB ports. The Pro model runs OpenWrt on a 580MHz MIPS SoC.

    Boston-based Onion launched its IoT-oriented Omega computer-on-module on Kickstarter in early 2015 and returned the next year with an Omega2 model that switched the 400MHz Atheros AR9331 with a similarly MIPS-based, OpenWrt-driven 580MHz MediaTek MT7688 SoC that supported additional I/O. The open source module was also available in an Omega2 Plus model that added a microSD slot and doubled RAM and flash to 128MB and 32MB, respectively.

  • The Power of Zephyr RTOS

    The Zephyr Project is a scalable real-time operating system (RTOS) supporting multiple hardware architectures; it’s optimized for resource-constrained devices and built specifically with security in mind. To learn more, we talked with Thea Aldrich, Zephyr Project Evangelist and Developer Advocate, about the goals and growth of the project.

    The first question that comes to mind is what’s the need for Zephyr when the Linux kernel already exists? Aldrich explained that Zephyr is great in those cases where Linux is too big. “It’s a really small footprint, real-time operating system built with security and safety in mind for highly constrained environments,” she said.

  • A crash course in embedded Linux software deployment

    At ELC Europe, Mender.io’s Mirza Krak surveyed popular techniques for deploying embedded Linux software, including cross-dev strategies, IDEs, Yocto-OE package management, config utilities, network boot, and updating software.

    While many Embedded Linux Conference talks cover emerging technologies, some of the most useful are those that survey the embedded development tools and techniques that are already available. These summaries are not only useful for newcomers but can be a helpful reality check and a source for best practices for more experienced developers.

PDFArranger: Merge, Split, Rotate, Crop Or Rearrange PDF Documents (PDF-Shuffler Fork)

Filed under
Software

PDFArranger is an application for merging or splitting PDF files, as well as rotating, cropping and rearranging PDF document pages, using a simple graphical user interface.

The tool, which is a graphical front-end for PyPDF2, is a fork of PDF-Shuffler that aims to "make the project a bit more active". It runs on Linux, but there's also experimental Windows support.

Read more

Qt 3D Studio 2.2 Released

Filed under
Development

We are happy to announce that Qt 3D Studio 2.2 has been released. Qt 3D Studio is a design tool for creating 3D user interfaces and adding 3D content into Qt based applications. With Qt 3D Studio you can easily define the 3D content look & feel, animations and user interface states. Please refer to earlier blog posts and documentation for more details on Qt 3D Studio.

Read more

Also: Qt 3D Studio 2.2 Released With New Material System, Stereoscopic Rendering Preview

AMD Linux News

Filed under
Graphics/Benchmarks
Linux
  • AMD Squeezes In Some Final AMDGPU Changes To DRM-Next For Linux 4.21

    Complementing all of the AMDGPU feature work already staged for the upcoming Linux 4.21 kernel, another (small) batch of material was sent out on Wednesday.

    This latest AMDGPU material for Linux 4.21 includes PowerPlay updates for newer Polaris parts, a cursor plane update fast path, enabling GPU reset by default for Sea Islands (GCN 1.1) graphics cards, and various fixes.

  • AMD Adding STIBP "Always-On Preferred Mode" To Linux

    Initially during the Linux 4.20 kernel merge window with the STIBP addition for cross-hyperthread Spectre V2 mitigation it was turned on by default for all processes. But that turned out to have a sizable performance hit so the behavior was changed to only turn it on for processes under SECCOMP or when requested via the PRCTL interface. However, AMD is landing a patch that for select CPUs will have an always-on mode as evidently that's preferred for some AMD processors.

  • Radeon Software for Linux 18.50 Released - Just One Listed Change

    The Radeon Software for Linux 18.50 driver release (a.k.a. "AMDGPU-PRO" 18.50) is now officially available

    We were expecting the 18.50 driver update following Thursday's Radeon Software Adrenalin 2019 Edition driver for Windows having debuted. The 18.50 driver release has since been made available via the AMD web-site.

  • Radeon ROCm 1.9.1 vs. NVIDIA OpenCL Linux Plus RTX 2080 TensorFlow Benchmarks

    Following the GeForce RTX 2080 Linux gaming benchmarks last week with now having that non-Ti variant, I carried out some fresh GPU compute benchmarks of the higher-end NVIDIA GeForce and AMD Radeon graphics cards. Here's a look at the OpenCL performance between the competing vendors plus some fresh CUDA benchmarks as well as NVIDIA GPU Cloud TensorFlow Docker benchmarks.

  • Radeon Software Adrenalin 2019 Rolls Out While Linux Users Should Have AMDGPU-PRO 18.50

    AMD today released their Radeon Software Adrenalin 2019 Edition geared for Windows gamers while Linux users should have AMDGPU-PRO 18.50 available shortly for those wanting to use this hybrid Vulkan/OpenGL driver component that does also feature the AMDGPU-Open components too in their stable but dated composition.

    The 2019 Adrenalin Edition for Windows brings performance improvements for select Windows titles, new advisors to help configure games and settings, improved fan control, WattMan improvements, game streaming improvements, and more.

Security Leftovers

Filed under
Security
  • Thoughts on bootstrapping GHC

    I am returning from the reproducible builds summit 2018 in Paris. The latest hottest thing within the reproducible-builds project seems to be bootstrapping: How can we build a whole operating system from just and only source code, using very little, or even no, binary seeds or auto-generated files. This is actually concern that is somewhat orthogonal to reproducibility: Bootstrappable builds help me in trusting programs that I built, while reproducible builds help me in trusting programs that others built.

    And while they make good progress bootstrapping a full system from just a C compiler written in Scheme, and a Scheme interpreter written in C, that can build each other (Janneke’s mes project), and there are plans to build that on top of stage0, which starts with a 280 bytes of binary, the situation looks pretty bad when it comes to Haskell.

  • No, You Don’t Need Antivirus on a Chromebook
  • Security updates for Friday
  • Inception Attackers Target Europe with Year-old Office Vulnerability
  • Brute Force Attacks Conducted by Cyber Actors
  • IBM protects your cloud container data running under Kubernetes with encryption

    Protecting your stored data on the cloud is a concern, but it's easy enough with encryption. Thanks to SSL, it's simple to protect data in motion on the network. But protecting your data when it's being used on the cloud is not so simple. Enter IBM, which, in partnership with Fortanix, is now providing data-in-use protection for your container workloads running on the IBM Cloud Kubernetes Service with IBM Cloud Data Shield.

    Jason McGee, IBM Cloud Platform VP and CTO, explained the process at KubeCon in Seattle: Data Shield uses Intel Software Guard Extensions (SGX) technology to run code and data in CPU-hardened Trusted Execution Environment (TEE) or enclave. This is a trusted area of memory, where critical aspects of the application functionality are protected by encryption. This helps keep both your code and data private and shielded from would-be hackers.

  • GNOME Security Internship - The Beginning
  • GNOME Security Internship - Update 1
  • Kubernetes Security Authentication Moving Forward With SIG-Auth

    The basic units of organization within the Kubernetes community are the Special Interest Groups that help define and implement new features and capabilities. For security, one of the primary SIGs within Kubernetes is SIG-Auth.

    Kubernetes is a widely used container orchestration platform that is supported on all the major public cloud providers and is also deployed on-premises. In a session at the KubeCon + CloudNativeCon NA 2018 here, the leaders of SIG-Auth outlined how the group works and what the current and future priorities are for the Kubernetes project.

Slimbook & Kubuntu - Combat Report 3

Filed under
KDE
Reviews
Ubuntu

And we're done. I am not sure what kind of message you're getting - or you think you're supposed to be getting from my articles. Overall, I am quite pleased with my Slimbook & Kubuntu experience. But if I had to choose, I wouldn't abandon my Windows. I simply cannot. The games, the office stuff, even simple image manipulation and text editing. All these are currently not the killer features of any which Linux desktop.

That said, Kubuntu purrs nicely. Runs fast and true, and there are no crashes or errors. The desktop is extremely flexible and extensible, it's pleasing to use, and I'm having fun discovering things, even if they sometimes turn out to be bugs or annoyances. In general, it's the application side that needs to be refined, and then, the system can just become a background for you to be productive and enjoy yourselves. Until the next report.

Read more

Games: Metropolisim, Monster Prom, Kingdom Two Crowns and Lots More

Filed under
Gaming
  • Metropolisim aims to be the deepest city-building simulation experience ever, will have Linux support

    Metropolisim from developer Halfway Decent Games is releasing next year, with a pretty bold aim to be the deepest city-building simulation experience ever.

  • Monster Prom, the dating sim that won me over is now available on GOG

    Visual novels and dating sims aren't something I'm usually into, however Monster Prom is actually funny and worth playing and it's now available on GOG.

    I know we have a number of GOG fans here, so hopefully this will be interesting for you. As always, we try to treat all stores equally with release info.

  • Kingdom Two Crowns will be coming to Linux after all with the Quality of Life update

    Kingdom Two Crowns, the third in the Kingdom series released recently for Windows and Mac. It looked like we weren't getting it, but it's now confirmed to be coming.

    In their new roadmap post on Reddit and Steam, under the "QoL #01 Update" (Quality of Life Update) they noted that they will add "Add SteamOS (Linux) Support". This update is due out sometime early next year.

    This is really nice news, it's good to know they didn't give up on supporting Linux after all.

  • Steam Link for the Raspberry Pi is now officially available

    After a rather short beta period, the Steam Link application for the Raspberry Pi is now officially out.

  • Valve in it for the 'long haul' with Artifact, first update out and a progression system due soon

    Artifact, the big new card game from Valve isn't doing so well but Valve won't be giving up any time soon. The first major update is out, with a progression system due soon.

    At release, it had around sixty thousand people playing and that very quickly dropped down hard. Harder than I expected, a lot worse than Valve probably thought it would too.

  • Bearded Giant Games open their own store with a 'Linux First Initiative'

    Bearded Giant Games, developer of Ebony Spire Heresy have announced their new online store along with a 'Linux First Initiative'.

    I know what you're thinking already "not another store", but fear not. For now, it's mainly going to be a place for them to sell their games directly. Speaking about it in a blog post, they mentioned how they hate having to check over multiple forums, channels, emails and so on to stay up to date and they wish "to spend more time giving love to my projects instead of updating 4 different distribution channels, translating pages, writing different press releases and making separate builds"—can't argue against that.

  • The Forgotten Sanctum, the final DLC for Pillars of Eternity II is out along with a patch

    Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire expansions come to a close with the release of The Forgotten Sanctum along with a major update now out.

  • Pre-order Meeple Station for instant beta access, what the developers say is like Rimworld in space

    Meeple Station, the space station building sim that the developers say is like Rimworld in space can now be pre-ordered with instant beta access. While we don't like the idea of pre-orders, getting access to the beta right away is a decent way to do it.

    Sadly, their Kickstarter campaign actually failed which I didn't notice. Making sure that wasn't the end of it, the developer Vox Games decided to go the Early Access route. They weren't left out in the cold of space though, as they also recently announced that Indie DB will be publishing their game. Under the label of Modularity, this will be the first title published by Indie DB.

  • Heroes of Newerth drops support for Linux and Mac

    Heroes of Newerth, the MOBA originally from S2 Games which is now handled by Frostburn Studios has dropped Linux and Mac support.

    [...]

    I'll be honest here, I couldn't care less about it personally. The last time i tried it, it was the single most toxic experience I've ever had in an online game. I've played a lot of online games and even so it was still at a level I had not seen before. I tried to go back to it a few times, never with a happy ending. Still, sad for any remaining Linux (and Mac) fans of the game.

    Looking over some statistics, it's not popular with viewers either. Around 180 on Twitch compared with nearly 100K for League of Legends and over 50K for Dota 2.

  • Unity 2018.3 With HDR Render Pipeline Preview, Updated PhysX & More

    Unity Tech is ending out the year with their Unity 2018.3 game engine update that brings a number of new features and improvements to its many supported platforms.

Wine 4.0 Release Candidate 2

Filed under
Software
  • Wine Announcement

    The Wine development release 4.0-rc2 is now available.

    What's new in this release (see below for details):
    - Bug fixes only, we are in code freeze.

  • Just when you think you can stop drinking, Wine 4.0 has another release candidate available

    Just before the weekend hits you in the face like a bad hangover when you realise it's Monday already, there's another bottle of Wine ready for you.

    Of course, we're not talking about the tasty liquid! Put down the glass, it's the other kind of Wine. The one used to run your fancy Windows programs and games on Linux. Doing their usual thing, developer Alexandre Julliard announced that the Wine 4.0 Release Candidate 2 is officially out the door today.

    While this release is nothing spectacular it is an important one, the more bugs they're able to tick off the list the better the 4.0 release will be for more people to use it.

A Look At The Clear Linux Performance Over The Course Of 2018

Filed under
Graphics/Benchmarks

With the end of the year quickly approaching, it's time for our annual look at how the Linux performance has evolved over the past year from graphics drivers to distributions. This year was a particularly volatile year for Linux performance due to Spectre and Meltdown mitigations, some of which have at least partially recovered thanks to continued optimizations landing in subsequent kernel releases. But on the plus side, new releases of Python, PHP, GCC 8, and other new software releases have helped out the performance. For kicking off our year-end benchmark comparisons, first up is a look at how Intel's performance-optimized Clear Linux distribution evolved this year.

For getting a look at the performance, on four different systems (two Xeon boxes, a Core i5, and Core i7 systems), the performance was compared from Clear Linux at the end of 2017 to the current rolling-release state as of this week.

Read more

4 Unique Terminal Emulators for Linux

Filed under
Linux

Let’s face it, if you’re a Linux administrator, you’re going to work with the command line. To do that, you’ll be using a terminal emulator. Most likely, your distribution of choice came pre-installed with a default terminal emulator that gets the job done. But this is Linux, so you have a wealth of choices to pick from, and that ideology holds true for terminal emulators as well. In fact, if you open up your distribution’s GUI package manager (or search from the command line), you’ll find a trove of possible options. Of those, many are pretty straightforward tools; however, some are truly unique.

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Best of 2018: Fedora as your Linux desktop

Filed under
Linux
Red Hat

Gaming on your Linux desktop, trying alternative desktop environments, and tweaking little details such as your boot screen. Yes, it’s been a whole year again! What a great time to look back at the most popular articles on the Fedora Magazine written by our awesome contributors.

Let’s dive into the first article of the “best of 2018” series — this time focused on Fedora Workstation and how you like to use it on your Linux desktop.

Read more

Mesa 19.0 and Mesa 18.2.7 Updates

Filed under
Graphics/Benchmarks

Krita 4.1.7 Released

Filed under
KDE
Software

Today we’re releasing Krita 4.1.7, another bug fix release in the Krita 4.1 series.

The most important fix is a weird one: it might help your wifi connection. The problem is that we started building a widget that would show you the news feed from krita.org. The widget isn’t active, and doesn’t make any kind of network connection… But Qt’s network manager class still checks your wifi settings all the time. See these bugs: https://bugreports.qt.io/browse/QTBUG-46015 and https://bugreports.qt.io/browse/QTBUG-40332.

Apart from that, we’ve worked around a bug in Qt 5.12 that would cause an instant crash when using a tablet. Our own builds do not use that version of Qt, so the Windows builds, macOS build and the Linux appimage are fine, but users of rolling Linux releases like Arch would suffer from this issue.

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The Linux terminal is no one-trick pony

Filed under
Linux

Welcome to another day of the Linux command-line toys advent calendar. If this is your first visit to the series, you might be asking yourself what a command-line toy even is. We’re figuring that out as we go, but generally, it could be a game, or any simple diversion that helps you have fun at the terminal.

Some of you will have seen various selections from our calendar before, but we hope there’s at least one new thing for everyone.

Read more

today's leftovers

Filed under
Misc
  • Get notifications for your patches

    We are trialing out a new feature that can send you a notification when the patches you send to the LKML are applied to linux-next or to the mainline git trees.

  • A simple blank makes the difference

    OFX is the Open Financial eXchange protocol used by various financial institutions in a few countries. KMyMoney provides an OFX client implementation using the open source LibOFX library allowing users to import transactions directly from the bank’s server without using the detour through a web-browser and a downloaded file into the ledger of the application.

  • Fractal December'18 Hackfest (part 1)

    The Tuesday 11th started the second Fractal Hackfest. I've organized this hackfest in Seville, the city where I studied computer science and here I've a lot of friends in the University so is a good place to do it here.

    The weather was important too for the hackfest selection, in December Seville is a good choice because the weather is not too cold, we're having sunny days.

    The first day was a good day, thinking about some relevant issues and planning what we want to do. We talked about the work needed for the interface split, about the E2EE support, new features and the need for a new release.

    We're having some problems with the internet connection, because the University has a restricted network policy and we ask for the guess internet connection the Monday, but we're still waiting.

  • Unexpected fallout from /usr merge in Debian

    Back in 2011, Harald Hoyer and Kay Sievers came up with a proposal for Fedora to merge much of the operating system into /usr; former top-level directories, /bin, /lib, and /sbin, would then become symbolic links pointing into the corresponding subdirectories of /usr. Left out of the merge would be things like configuration files in /etc, data in /var, and user home directories. This change was aimed at features like atomic upgrades and easy snapshots. The switch to a merged /usr was successful for Fedora 17; many other distributions (Arch, OpenSUSE, Mageia, just to name a few) have followed suit. More recently, Debian has been working toward a merged /usr, but it ran into some surprising problems that are unique to the distribution.

    Debian and its derivatives are definitely late to the /usr merge party. Systems running Debian testing that were initially installed before June 2018 still have /bin, /sbin, and /lib as normal directories, not as symbolic links. The same applies to Ubuntu 18.10. But both Debian and Ubuntu want to make the switch to a merged /usr. Debian tried, but it hit something completely unexpected.

    The Debian /usr merge history started in 2016, when Marco d'Itri got the usrmerge package into Debian unstable. This package contains a Perl script that converts an existing system into the state with a merged /usr. Also, a change was made to the debootstrap program (which installs a Debian system into a chroot), so that it could create the needed symbolic links by itself before installing any packages. The end result is the same in both cases.

    [...]

    The Debian package sed also has /bin/sed, not /usr/bin/sed. In the bug report, the problem is treated like a one-off issue, to be solved by a rebuild. However, on the debian-devel mailing list, Ian Jackson quickly pointed out that the problem is, in fact, due to /usr merge on the build daemons. He suggested that the change should be reverted. Dirk Eddelbuettel seconded that suggestion, and noted that he expects "much more breakage to follow". Indeed, similar problems were triggered in sympow, pari, and monitoring-plugins. Other bugs of this nature can be found by searching the Debian bug tracking system for a special tag (but this search also finds other kinds of issues).

    [...]

    The discussion is still in progress, though; no consensus has been reached. A bug was filed against debootstrap by Jackson to revert the change to merge by default for the next release of Debian. Due to the disagreement of the debootstrap maintainer to the proposed change, Jackson reassigned the bug to the Debian Technical Committee, which is the ultimate authority for resolving otherwise unresolvable technical disputes within Debian. There is also a request from the Debian backports FTP master that the default should be the same in Debian stable backports and in Debian testing. Emilio Pozuelo Monfort, a member of the release team, also spoke in favor of reverting to non-merged /usr in new installations.

    It is impossible to predict now how the Technical Committee will rule. In the worst case for /usr-merge proponents, proper introduction of a merged /usr into Debian may be delayed by a few more years. But, if it votes for keeping the status quo, new end-user systems in the next stable release of Debian will have merged /usr, old but upgraded ones won't, and the build daemons will reliably build packages suitable for both cases, just like what's planned for Ubuntu 19.04. No flag day is needed in this scenario, so it would follow the best Debian traditions of not forcing transitions onto users.

  • Compiz: Ubuntu Desktop's little known best friend

    The best part is that it takes no time at all to get up and running! I’ll show you how to transform Ubuntu into a desktop that is functionally similar to Mac.
     

  • How to use TOAD The Open Source Android Deodexer

    Deodexing Android can be a time-consuming process which involves pulling /system files from your Android device, deodexing them using PC tools, and installing them back on your phone. Not to mention that whenever Google releases a new Android version, the process for deodexing ROMs alters – which means tools for deodexing need to play catchup. Many deodexing tools have become defunct due to lack of update from the developers.

    A new tool called TOAD (The Open Source Android Deodexer) has been released, which aims to not only be incredibly easy, its open-source nature allows the development community to keep it updated with the latest deodexing methods. TOAD utilizes batch files for processing odexed files, so new batch files can easily be added or modified by the development community.

  • Linux group plans show and tell

    The Linux Users’ Group of Davis presents Open Source Computing “Show and Tell” event, an informal open night to talk about and demonstrate programs, computer projects or tricks and tips.

    Feel free to bring something to show or tell for 10 minutes, from a Raspberry Pi project to tools or utilities that you find handy. Everyone is welcome to join in the fun, whether you’re a hobbyist, coder, enthusiast or sysadmin.

  • Windows 10 tip: Run Ubuntu Linux in an enhanced Hyper-V session [Ed: When Microsoft's Ad Bot (Ad Bought?) covers Ubuntu it's about putting it as a slave of Vista 10, complete with back doors]
  • ​MS-Linux? Lindows? Could Microsoft release a desktop Linux? [Ed: It’s like CBS wants to just hire pro-Microsoft slants; propaganda and clickbait.]
  • How Facebook Made a Universal Open Source Language for the Web

    THE CODE THAT runs the web is a melting pot of programming languages and technologies. JavaScript, the most popular language on the web, is the standard for writing code that runs in your browser. But the server side is much more diverse. Java (no relationship to JavaScript) remains popular, as do PHP, Python, and Ruby. Mobile app developers, meanwhile, have their own preferred languages, like Kotlin for writing Android apps or Apple's Swift for iOS.

  • C Programming Tutorial Part 2 - Preprocessors

    In the first part of our ongoing C programming tutorial series, we briefly touched on the preprocessing stage. In this tutorial, we will discuss it in a little more detail so that you have a basic idea about it before learning other C programming aspects.

  • Microsoft patches 'dangerous' zero-day already being exploited by [cracking] groups

    This vulnerability in kernel image ntoskrnl.exe was reported to Microsoft on 29 October by security vendor Kasperky Lab. Listed as CVE-2018-8611 and classified as 'important', it is a local privilege escalation bug. Kaspersky Lab researchers say it has already been exploited by [cracking] groups FruityArmor and SandCat.

  • Security updates for Thursday
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More in Tux Machines

OSS Leftovers

  • #RecruitmentFocus: Open source skills in high demand
    The unemployment rate in South Africa rose to 27.5% in the third quarter of 2018, while the demand for skills remains high - leaving an industry conundrum that is yet to be solved. According to SUSE, partnerships that focus on upskilling graduates and providing real-work skills, as well as placement opportunities - could be exactly what the industry in looking for.
  • Stable: not moving vs. not breaking
    There are two terms that brings a heavy controversy in the Open Source world: support and stable. Both of them have their roots in the “old days” of Open Source, where its commercial impact was low and very few companies made business with it. You probably have read a lot about maintenance vs support. This controversy is older. I first heard of it in the context of Linux based distributions. Commercial distribution had to put effort in differentiating among the two because in Open SOurce they were used indistictly but not in business. But this post is about the adjectivet stable…
  • Cameron Kaiser: A thank you to Ginn Chen, whom Larry Ellison screwed
    Periodically I refresh my machines by dusting them off and plugging them in and running them for a while to keep the disks spinnin' and the caps chargin'. Today was the day to refurbish my Sun Ultra-3, the only laptop Sun ever "made" (they actually rebadged the SPARCle and later the crotchburner 1.2GHz Tadpole Viper, which is the one I have). Since its last refresh the IDPROM had died, as they do when they run out of battery, resetting the MAC address to zeroes and erasing the license for the 802.11b which I never used anyway. But, after fixing the clock to prevent GNOME from puking on the abnormal date, it booted and I figured I'd update Firefox since it still had 38.4 on it. Ginn Chen, first at Sun and later at Oracle, regularly issued builds of Firefox which ran very nicely on SPARC Solaris 10. Near as I can determine, Oracle has never offered a build of any Firefox post-Rust even to the paying customers they're bleeding dry, but I figured I should be able to find the last ESR of 52 and install that. (Amusingly this relic can run a Firefox in some respects more current than TenFourFox, which is an evolved and patched Firefox 45.)
  • Protecting the world’s oceans with open data science
    For environmental scientists, researching a single ecosystem or organism can be a daunting task. The amount of data and literature to comb through (or create) is often overwhelming. So how, then, can environmental scientists approach studying the health of the world’s oceans? What ocean health means is a big question in itself—oceans span millions of square miles, are home to countless species, and border hundreds of countries and territories, each of which has its own unique marine policies and practices. But no matter how daunting this task may seem, it’s a necessary and vital one. So in 2012, the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) and Conservation International publicly launched the Ocean Health Index (OHI), an ambitious initiative to measure the benefits that oceans provide to people, including clean water, coastal protections, and biodiversity. The idea was to create an annual assessment to document major oceanic changes and trends, and in turn, use those findings to craft better marine policy around the world.

Openwashing Leftovers

The Last Independent Mobile OS

The year was 2010 and the future of mobile computing was looking bright. The iPhone was barely three years old, Google’s Android had yet to swallow the smartphone market whole, and half a dozen alternative mobile operating systems—many of which were devoutly open source—were preparing for launch. Eight years on, you probably haven’t even heard of most of these alternative mobile operating systems, much less use them. Today, Android and iOS dominate the global smartphone market and account for 99.9 percent of mobile operating systems. Even Microsoft and Blackberry, longtime players in the mobile space with massive revenue streams, have all but left the space. Then there’s Jolla, the small Finnish tech company behind Sailfish OS, which it bills as the “last independent alternative mobile operating system.” Jolla has had to walk itself back from the edge of destruction several times over the course of its seven year existence, and each time it has emerged battered, but more determined than ever to carve out a spot in the world for a truly independent, open source mobile operating system. After years of failed product launches, lackluster user growth, and supply chain fiascoes, it’s only been in the last few months that things finally seem to be turning to Jolla’s favor. Over the past two years the company has rode the wave of anti-Google sentiment outside the US and inked deals with large foreign companies that want to turn Sailfish into a household name. Despite the recent success, Jolla is far from being a major player in the mobile market. And yet it also still exists, which is more than can be said of every other would-be alternative mobile OS company. Read more

How I Quit Apple, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, and Amazon

It was just before closing time at a Verizon store in Bushwick, New York last May when I burst through the door, sweaty and exasperated. I had just sprinted—okay I walked, but briskly—from another Verizon outlet a few blocks away in the hopes I’d make it before they closed shop for the night. I was looking for a SIM card that would fit a refurbished 2012 Samsung Galaxy S3 that I had recently purchased on eBay, but the previous three Verizon stores I visited didn’t have any chips that would fit such an old model. When I explained my predicament to the salesperson, he laughed in my face. “You want to switch from you current phone to an... S3?” he asked incredulously. I explained my situation. I was about to embark on a month without intentionally using any services or products produced by the so-called “Big Five” tech companies: Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft. At that point I had found adequate, open source replacements for most of the services offered by these companies, but ditching the Android OS, which is developed by Google, was proving difficult. Most of the tech I use on a day-to-day basis is pretty utilitarian. At the time I was using a cheap ASUS laptop at work and a homebrew PC at my apartment. My phone was a Verizon-specific version of the Samsung Galaxy J3, a 2016 model that cost a little over $100 new. They weren't fancy, but they’ve reliably met most of my needs for years. For the past week and a half I had spent most of my evenings trying to port an independent mobile OS called Sailfish onto my phone without any luck. As it turned out, Verizon had locked the bootloader on my phone model, which is so obscure that no one in the vibrant Android hacking community had dedicated much time to figuring out a workaround. If I wanted to use Sailfish, I was going to have to get a different phone. Read more