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These Weeks in Firefox, Mozilla on Privacy, FSFE Blogs on Tor, Purism’s CEO Todd Weaver Testifies at California Congressional Privacy Commission

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Web
  • These Weeks in Firefox: Issue 53
  • Mozilla Future Releases Blog: Enhanced Tracking Protection Testing: Protecting users’ privacy by default

    Over the past couple of months since we announced that we would broaden our approach to anti-tracking we’ve been experimenting and testing Enhanced Tracking Protection, a feature that blocks cookies and storage access from third-party trackers. Recently, we published a set of policies that define which tracking practices will be blocked in Firefox, and a new set of redesigned controls for the Content Blocking section where users can choose their desired level of privacy protection. As the next step in our path to enable Enhanced Tracking Protection by default, this week we launched a study to observe how enabling this functionality for a group of Firefox users in our Release Channel would impact the online experience.

  • I am up to no good.

    am a user of “the darknet”. I use Tor to secure my communications from curious eyes. At the latest since Edward Snowden’s leaks we know, that this might be a good idea. There are many other valid, legal use-cases for using Tor. Circumventing censorship is one of them.

    But German state secretary Günter Krings (49, CDU) believes something else. Certainly he “understand[s], that the darknet may have a use in autocratic systems, but in my opinion there is no legitimate use for it in a free, open democracy. Whoever uses the darknet is usually up to no good.”

    [...]

    Instead of trying to ban our democratic people from using tor, we should celebrate the fact that we are a democracy that can afford having citizens who can avoid surveillance and that have access to uncensored information.

  • Purism’s CEO Todd Weaver Testifies at California Congressional Privacy Commission

    My name is Todd Weaver, and I think you’ll find I’m an unusual witness here today, while I may be sitting side-by-side with impressive privacy protection groups, I am here as the CEO of a rapidly growing technology company based in California.

    I am here calling for much stronger consumer privacy protections – starting with giving consumers the power to opt IN rather than opt OUT of sharing their personal data.

    I am here to tell you it’s time for California’s extraordinary tech industry to stop harvesting and “sharing” our most personal private data without our meaningful consent and knowledge.

    I am not here to tell you AB 375 (or stronger) protections are tough to implement, history is filled with wrongdoers complaining that doing right will put them out of business only to comply and thrive later. Incidentally, this same tech industry complained about Europe’s GDPR that certainly did not put them out of business.

    I am here to tell you the new law (or stronger) is easy to technically comply with – if we companies simply begin to honor our customer’s privacy rights and design our services to be privacy-protecting rather than privacy-exploiting.

gitgeist: a git-based social network proof of concept

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Development
Web

Are you tired of not owning the data or the platform you use for social postings? I know I am.

It's hard to say when I "first" used a social network. I've been on email for about 30 years and one of the early ad-hoc forms of social networks were chain emails. Over the years I was asked to join all sorts of "social" things such as IRC, ICQ, Skype, MSN Messenger, etc. and eventually things like Orkut, MySpace, Facebook, etc. I'll readily admit that I'm not the type of person that happily jumps onto every new social bandwagon that appears on the Internet. I often prefer preserving the quietness of my own thoughts. That, though, hasn't stopped me from finding some meaningfulness participating in Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and more recently Google+. Twitter was in fact the first social network that I truly embraced. And it would've remained my primary social network had they not killed their own community by culling the swell of independently-developed Twitter clients that existed. That and their increased control of their API effectively made me look for something else. Right around that time Google+ was being introduced and many in the open source community started participating in that, in some ways to find a fresh place where techies can aggregate away from the noise and sometimes over-the-top nature of Facebook. Eventually I took to that too and started using G+ as my primary social network. That is, until Google recently decided to pull the plug on G+.

While Google+ might not have represented a success for Google, it had become a good place for sharing information among the technically-inclined. As such, I found it quite useful for learning and hearing about new things in my field. Soon-to-be-former users of G+ have gone in all sorts of directions. Some have adopted a "c'mon guys, get over it, Facebook is the spot" attitude, others have adopted things like Mastodon, others have fallen back to their existing IDs on Twitter, and yet others, like me, are still looking.

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WWW and OSS Leftovers

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OSS
Web
  • WWW = Woeful, er, winternet wendering? CERN browser rebuilt after 30 years barely recognizes modern web

    In preparation for next month's 30th anniversary of the proposal that gave us the world wide web, boffins at the behest of CERN have recreated the world's first web browser, and made it accessible as a modern web page.

    Created by Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the ur-browser, first called WorldWideWeb, and later Nexus, was built from Objective-C in 1990 on a NeXT workstation to display its maker's HyperText Markup Language.

    The browser's resurrection – click here to try it out – follows five days of hacking by an international team of nine developers, reunited after a previous effort to revive the original Line Mode Browser in 2013.

  • Web Design Survey Findings and Next Steps

    Now we need your help again! The main takeaway from the first survey was that developers and designers of every experience level want to better understand CSS issues like unexpected scrollbars and sizing. We’ve started researching and prototyping potential tool ideas for investigating specific types of CSS bugs, but we need your feedback to guide our work.

    Please take a moment with our quick single-page CSS Layout Debugging survey and help us rank the most time-consuming bugs. Your feedback will be immensely helpful in clarifying our plans in 2019 and beyond.

  • How donations helped LibreOffice and TDF in 2018

    Donations to The Document Foundation, the non-profity entity behind LibreOffice, help us to grow our community, share knowledge about the software (and its development), maintain our infrastructure, organise events and much more. The image below shows what was made possible in 2018, thanks to your generous donations – click for a larger version!

  • NomadBSD 1.2-RC2 released!

    The second release candidate of NomadBSD 1.2 is now available! We would like to thank all the RC1 testers who sent us feedback and bug reports. If you notice any problems, please let us know.

  • Mi 9 kernel source code available on launch day

    Xiaomi literally declared war against Samsung by setting the launch date of Mi 9 on the same day with Galaxy S10. The Chinese launch event by Xiaomi completed just now – Mi 9, Mi 9 Transparent Edition and Mi 9 SE are now official.

  • Bell Labs, Skunk Works, and the Crowd Sourcing of Innovation

    I’ve noticed that we hear a lot less from corporate research labs than we used to. They still exist, though. Sure, Bell Labs is owned by Nokia and there is still some hot research at IBM even though they quit publication of the fabled IBM Technical Disclosure Bulletin in 1998. But today innovation is more likely to come from a small company attracting venture capital than from an established company investing in research. Why is that? And should it be that way?

Software Code’s “Wayback Machine” Gets a Boost

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OSS
Web

Call it the Wayback Machine of code: a searchable open archive of software source code across iterations; from buggy beta versions, to sophisticated contemporary release.

Software Heritage is a non-profit initiative developed and hosted by the French Institute for Research in Computer Science and Automation.

Officially created in 2015, the project has been growing over the years. It now spans 5.6 billion source files from more than 88 million projects.

Software Heritage is itself built on open-source code. It gathers source files by trawling through repositories that developers uses to create and share code, such as Github, Gitlab, GoogleCode, Debian, GNU and the Python Package Index, with users able to trace detailed revision history of all the codebase versions that it stores.

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Free/Open Source Software on IoT and the Net/WWW

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Web
  • Security Vulnerabilities Pose a Challenge to IoT/IIoT Mass Adoption

    Statista, a leading market and consumer data research firm, estimates that by 2020, the utilities, transportation and logistics, and discrete manufacturing industries are each projected to spend $40 billion on Internet of Things (IoT) platforms, systems and services. The next largest spending category will be business-to-consumer vendors, at $25 billion, while the health-care, energy and retail industries are each projected to spend north of $10 billion. These numbers add up to a significant investment in the IoT. In fact, the Boston Consulting Group predicts that the IoT market will reach $267 billion by 2020.

  • Decentralised IoT Network Gets Tencent Investment

    Wienke Giezeman is a man on a mission: since 2015, he’s been busy creating a decentralized LoRaWAN based internet of things (IoT) network which has no single owner and no single point of control. His goal is to make it easy for people to focus on the business value created by IoT, and not have to worry about the technology.

    Giezeman stood on the stage at his The Things Conference here earlier this month to announce some major breakthroughs that could just tip the balance for mass deployment of LoRaWAN devices and gateways. This includes a very low cost $69 indoor gateway, a generic software defined IoT node device incorporating multiple sensors, a security chip in conjunction with Microchip Technology, and a partnership with Tencent to accelerate LoRaWAN network expansion among the Chinese developer community.

  • Open IoT Network Adds Devices, Expands in China

    Giezeman stood on the stage at his The Things Conference here earlier this month to announce some major breakthroughs that could just tip the balance for mass deployment of LoRaWAN devices and gateways. This includes a very low cost $69 indoor gateway, a generic software defined IoT node device incorporating multiple sensors, a security chip in conjunction with Microchip Technology, and a partnership with Tencent to accelerate LoRaWAN network expansion among the Chinese developer community.

  • How Tim Berners-Lee's Inrupt project plans to fix the web

    Tim Berners-Lee wants to change the face of the internet he created. In September 2018, the father of the world wide web announced the launch of startup Inrupt, co-founded with cybersecurity entrepreneur John Bruce, which has as its mission “to restore rightful ownership of data back to every web user.”

    Since 2015, Berners-Lee has been working on a new web infrastructure called Solid, which rethinks how web apps store and share personal data. Inrupt aims to drive the development of the Solid platform and transform it from an innovative idea to a viable platform for businesses and consumers. “My group in the CSAIL [Computer Sciences and Artifical Intelligence Laboratory] Lab at MIT had been working on Solid for some years,” Berners-Lee says. “The initial goal of Inrupt is to add the energy and resources of a startup to the open-source efforts to make the Solid movement happen.”

    Over the past three decades, the web has evolved into something very different to Berners-Lee's original vision of openness, co-operation and creativity. Most of the data we put online is now siloed on the servers of companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter, and used to sell us as an audience for targeted advertising. We can download and delete our online histories, but we still can't easily move our data between services. “Innovation and value creation are choked by powerful forces whose focus is primarily on what generates profit or serves political agendas,”says John Bruce, who takes the role of CEO at Inrupt (Berners-Lee is CTO).

Here Is Why I Finally Switched To Firefox

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Web

The web browser market is an active war zone. You never know what can happen next. I am a guy who has always used Chrome. I’d never even bother using anything else. The first thing that I’d ever do on a new system is install Google Chrome. I would say I actively avoided even having to use anything else. I do install Firefox and opera but they are always used for separating my personal and work environment.

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Session Sync - A nice session manager for Firefox Quantum

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Moz/FF
Web

Back in the good ole days, Firefox had a wealth of excellent, powerful extensions. Among them, Tab Mix Plus with a superb built-in session manager. Come Firefox Quantum (57 onwards) and WebExtensions, a lot of goodies have gone away, forever. We are left with diminished functionality.

One of the things that I've been hunting after the most is a flexible session manager akin to the old stuff, with the ability to manage multiple sessions in a smart, simple, elegant way. I think I've finally found an addon that does the trick. It's called Session Sync, and I'm happy enough to actually write a whole article about this.

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16 Best Linux IRC Clients (Updated 2019)

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GNU
Linux
Software
Web

Internet Relay Chat (IRC) is a form of real-time Internet text messaging (chat) or synchronous conferencing. IRC was born during summer 1988 when Jarkko Oikarinen wrote the first IRC client and server when he was working in the Department of Information Processing Science at the University of Oulu, Finland. This system enables millions of people around the world to communicate in real time. While IRC has lost some popularity, IRCv3 looks interesting with some advanced client features such as instant notifications, improved security and more.

IRC is mainly designed for group communication in discussion forums, called channels, but it also allows one-to-one communication via private message as well as chat and data transfers via Direct Client-to-Client.

IRC is used for many different purposes such as obtaining technical support from developers and users, for conducting meetings and even for rolegaming.

Users typically connect to an IRC network using an IRC client. The client takes the raw IRC traffic and turns it into an easy-to-use interface.

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curl 7.64.0 – like there’s no tomorrow

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OSS
Web

I know, has there been eight weeks since the previous release already? But yes it has – I double-checked! And then as the laws of nature dictates, there has been yet another fresh curl version released out into the wild.

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Web Browsers: Chrome and Firefox

Filed under
Google
Moz/FF
Web
  • Firefox 65 takes a long time to close & high CPU usage

    Well, well, I've encountered a new, interesting and - ultimately - annoying problem. On one of my Windows machines, I upgraded Firefox to version 65. Then I noticed that the close sequence for the browser takes a very long time. Previously, this would be a very short thing - 1-2 seconds max. Now, it was taking a whole minute and eating one core worth of CPU. So I decided to dig into this issue more deeply and figure out whether this is something in my own setup or a fresh issue in Firefox.

    As always, the Internet wasn't very helpful. I had the usual slew of recommendations - update drivers, refresh this, refresh that. The worst kind of suggestions that completely ignore the problem or the reasons why it manifested. After all, if you don't understand the issue, making changes only masks the whole thing in the long run. To that end, I set about doing this the right way. Follow me.

  • Google Chrome 72 for Android Improves Privacy with Updated Incognito Mode

    Google released today the Chrome 72 mobile web browser for Android devices ahead of the desktop platforms (Linux, Mac, and Windows), an update that improves privacy and security.
    If you're a fan of the Google Chrome web browser and you use it on your Android smartphone or tablet, you should know that it's been updated to version 72.0.3626.76, a new stable release adding stability and performance improvements, as the company noted in the brief release announcement.

    To tackle various security and privacy issues that users have reported since previous updates, Google decided to update the built-in Incognito Mode of the Chrome web browser by making the media player controls and notifications incognito as well, which means that they're now invisible to the naked eye.

  • Chrome is right to remove the webRequest extension API

    …but the proposed declarativeNetRequest API isn’t a good replacement. So where does that leave us?

    Headline writers have had their fun over the last week playing on people’s mistrust of Google’s motivations and their governance of the Chromium web browser project. Despite the headlines: Google is not about to kill ad-blocking extensions in Chrome.

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More in Tux Machines

qoob – excellent foobar-like music player for Linux

Are you debilitated by the countless music players that use web technologies with a massive RAM footprint? Maybe you want a lean yet slick audio player with a good range of features? You might be interested in qoob. It’s a music player written in the versatile and hugely popular Python programming language. The software uses Qt 5, a cross-platform application framework and widget toolkit for creating classic and embedded graphical user interfaces. qoob is similar to foobar2000, a freeware audio player respected for its highly modular design, breadth of features, and extensive user flexibility in configuration. Unlike foobar, qoob is available for Linux and it’s released under an open source license. Read more

Programming: GStreamer, Rust, Python and More

  • GStreamer 1.15.1 unstable development release
    The GStreamer team is pleased to announce the first development release in the unstable 1.15 release series. The unstable 1.15 release series adds new features on top of the current stable 1.16 series and is part of the API and ABI-stable 1.x release series of the GStreamer multimedia framework. The unstable 1.15 release series is for testing and development purposes in the lead-up to the stable 1.16 series which is scheduled for release in a few weeks time. Any newly-added API can still change until that point, although it is rare for that to happen. Full release notes will be provided in the near future, highlighting all the new features, bugfixes, performance optimizations and other important changes.
  • GStreamer: GStreamer Rust bindings 0.13.0 release
    A new version of the GStreamer Rust bindings, 0.13.0, was released. This new release is the first to include direct support for implementing GStreamer elements and other types in Rust. Previously this was provided via a different crate. In addition to this, the new release features many API improvements, cleanups, newly added bindings and bugfixes.
  • Niko Matsakis: Rust lang team working groups
    Now that the Rust 2018 edition has shipped, the language design team has been thinking a lot about what to do in 2019 and over the next few years. I think we’ve got a lot of exciting stuff on the horizon, and I wanted to write about it.
  • RVowpalWabbit 0.0.13: Keeping CRAN happy
    Another small RVowpalWabbit package update brings us version 0.0.13. And just like Rblpapi yesterday, we have a new RVowpalWabbit update to cope with staged installs which will be a new feature of R 3.6.0. No other changes were made No new code or features were added.
  • Test automation framework thoughts and examples with Python, pytest and Jenkins
    In this article I'll share some personal thoughts about Test Automation Frameworks; you can take inspiration from them if you are going to evaluate different test automation platforms or assess your current test automation solution (or solutions). Despite it is a generic article about test automation, you'll find many examples explaining how to address some common needs using the Python based test framework named pytest and the Jenkins automation server: use the information contained here just as a comparison and feel free to comment sharing alternative methods or ideas coming from different worlds. It contains references to some well (or less) known pytest plugins or testing libraries too.
  • Basics of Object-Oriented Programming
    In programming, an object is simply a 'thing'. I know, I know...how can you define something as a 'thing'. Well, let's think about it - What do 'things' have? Attributes, right? Let's take a Song for example. A song has attributes! It has a Title, an Artist, a Genre, etc. How about a Dog - A dog has four legs, a color, a name, an owner, and a breed. Though there are millions Dogs with countless names, owners, etc, the one thing that ties them all together are the very fact that every single one can be described as a Dog. Although this may seem like a not-very informative explanation, these types of examples are what ultimately made me understand Object-oriented programing. The set of activities that an object can perform is an Object's behavior. A dog can bark, wag it's tail, sit, and even shake if it's owner trains them. In the same way, a programmer can create an object and teach it tricks in order to achieve certain goals. In Ruby(my first programming language), EVERYTHING is an object. This means that every piece of code you encounter can perform certain tricks at your command, some are built into Ruby while others can be created at your disposal. Let's look at a common element in programming, a simple string. As you can see, after the string is defined, I'm able to call different 'methods' or functions on the string I created. Ruby has several built in methods on common objects(ie strings, integers, arrays, and hashes.
  • Hello pytest-play!
    pytest-play is a rec&play (rec not yet available) pytest plugin that let you execute a set of actions and assertions using commands serialized in JSON format. It tries to make test automation more affordable for non programmers or non Python programmers for browser, functional, API, integration or system testing thanks to its pluggable architecture and third party plugins that let you interact with the most common databases and systems.
  • Nikola v8.0.2 is out!
    Nikola is a static site and blog generator, written in Python. It can use Mako and Jinja2 templates, and input in many popular markup formats, such as reStructuredText and Markdown — and can even turn Jupyter Notebooks into blog posts! It also supports image galleries, and is multilingual. Nikola is flexible, and page builds are extremely fast, courtesy of doit (which is rebuilding only what has been changed).
  • Mu!
    In the past several days, I innaugurated a private Fediverse instance, "Mu", running Pleroma for now. Although Mastodon is the dominant implementation, Pleroma is far easier to install, and uses less memory on small, private instances. By doing this, I'm bucking the trend of people hating to run their own infrastructure. Well, I do run my own e-mail service, so, what the heck, might as well join the Fediverse. So far, it was pretty fun, but Pleroma has problem spots. For example, Pleroma has a concept of "local accounts" and "remote accounts": local ones are normal, into which users log in at the instance, and remote ones mirror accounts on other instances. This way, if users Alice@Mu and Bob@Mu follow user zaitcev@SLC, Mu creates a "remote" account UnIqUeStRiNg@Mu, which tracks zaitcev@SLC, so Alice and Bob subscribe to it locally. This permits to send zaitcev's updates over the network only once. Makes sense, right? Well... I have a "stuck" remote account now at Mu, let's call it Xprime@Mu and posit that it follows X@SPC. Updates posted by X@SPC are reflected in Xprime@Mu, but if Alice@Mu tries to follow X@SPC, she does not see updates that Xprime@Mu receives (the updates are not reflected in Alice's friends/main timeline) [1]. I asked at #pleroma about it, but all they could suggest was to try and resubscribe. I think I need to unsubscribe and purge Xprime@Mu somehow. Then, when Alice resubscribes, Pleroma will re-create a remote, say Xbis@Mu, and things hopefully ought to work. Well, maybe. I need to examine the source to be sure.
  • Django ORM optimization story on selecting the least possible
    This an optimization story that should not surprise anyone using the Django ORM. But I thought I'd share because I have numbers now! The origin of this came from a real requirement. For a given parent model, I'd like to extract the value of the name column of all its child models, and the turn all these name strings into 1 MD5 checksum string.
  • Reasons Mitogen sucks
    I have a particular dislike for nonspecific negativity, where nothing can be done to address its source because the reasons underlying it are never explicitly described. In the context of Mitogen, there has been a consistent stream of this sort originating from an important camp in public spaces, and despite efforts to bring specifics out into the open, still it continues to persist. For that reason I'd like to try a new strategy: justify the negativity and give it a face by providing all the fuel it needs to burn. Therefore in this post, in the interests of encouraging honesty, I will critique my own work.
  • The North Star of PyCascades, core Python developer Mariatta Wijaya, receives the 2018 Q3 Community Service Award
    At Montreal PyCon 2015, Guido Van Rossum delivered the closing keynote during which Guido issued a public ask, “I want at least two female Python core developers in the next year ... and I will try to train them myself if that's what it takes. So come talk to me." Consequently, Mariatta did just that, she reached out to Guido after PyCon 2016 to learn more about starting in Python core development. Mariatta recalls, “I hadn’t contributed to open source [yet] and I wanted to know how to start”. Guido recommended some ways for Mariatta to start including reviewing the dev guide, looking at open issues and joining and introducing herself on the Python dev mailing list .
  • Episode #118: Better Python executable management with pipx

NVIDIA: GTX 1660 and Linux

  • NVIDIA have released the 418.43 driver, includes support for the just released GeForce GTX 1660
    Two bits of NVIDIA news for you today, not only have they released a new stable driver, they've also put out their latest GPU with the GTX 1660. First up, the new stable driver 418.43 is out which you can find here. It follows on from the 418.30 beta driver, released last month. The big new feature of the driver is initial support for G-SYNC Compatible monitors! So those of you with a FreeSync monitor should be able to use it (if you weren't already using the beta driver). This new driver also adds in support for the just released GeForce GTX 1660 Ti, the GeForce RTX 2070 with Max-Q Design and the GeForce RTX 2080 with Max-Q Design. There's also NVIDIA optical flow support, NVIDIA Video Codec SDK 9.0, support for stereo presentation in Vulkan and more.
  • NVIDIA 418.43 Stable Linux Driver Released, Includes GTX 1660 Ti Support
    As expected given today's GeForce GTX 1660 Ti launch, NVIDIA has released a new Linux graphics driver supporting the 1660 Ti as well as the RTX 2070 with Max-Q Design and RTX 2080 with Max-Q Design, among other changes. This is actually the first stable release in the NVIDIA 418 series for Linux users and succeeds last month's NVIDIA 418.30 Linux driver beta. Most of the changes in today's NVIDIA 418.43 driver release were previously found in the 418.30 version, just now made official with this stable driver debut plus adding in the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti graphics card support.
  • NVIDIA 390.116 Legacy & 410.104 Long-Lived Linux Drivers Released
    In addition to NVIDIA christening the 418 driver series as stable today with the GeForce GTX 1660 Ti release, they also issued updates for their 390 legacy driver series as well as the 410 long-lived driver release series. The NVIDIA 390.116 driver is out for those still using NVIDIA Fermi graphics cards on Linux. This update is the first in a while and has a number of fixes to the Linux driver, on the FreeBSD side there is now 12.0 support, support for the Linux 5.0 kernel, X.Org Server 1.20 fixes, and other random fixes collected in the past few months. For those using this NVIDIA legacy driver can find out more information via this DevTalk thread.
  • GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Launch Today - Supported By The NVIDIA Linux Driver, No Nouveau Yet
    After weeks of leaks, the GeForce GTX 1660 Ti is expected to be formally announced in just a few hours. This is a ~$300 Turing graphics card but without any ray-tracing support as so far has been common to all Turing graphics cards. The GTX 1600 series family is expected to expand as well in the weeks ahead.

Betty – A Friendly Interface For Your Linux Command Line

All Linux experts might already know this statement “Command line mode is more powerful than GUI” but newbies are scared about CLI. Don’t think that working on Linux CLI is difficult as everything is opensource nowadays and you can get it in online whatever you want. If you have any doubt just google it and you will get many suggestion, select the suitable one and move forward. If you are looking for some virtual assistant tool instead of google. Yes, there is a tool is available for this and the tool name is Betty which helps you to get the information right from your terminal. Do you want to try? if so, go through the entire article for details. Read more