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Detailed tests of search engines: Google, Startpage, Bing, DuckDuckGo, metaGer, Ecosia, Swisscows, Searx, Qwant, Yandex, and Mojeek

Filed under
Google
Reviews
Web

Since my last in-depth comparison review of alternative search engines in 2014, a lot has changed, and a lot has stayed the same. Google is appearing as a loan-verb in more and more languages due to its continued dominance in the search engine market. But at the same time, Google is being increasingly demonized by privacy focused users. An even more more interesting development is the trend of complaints that Google’s algorithm is producing results that are less relevant and more indicative of artificial stupidity than artificial intelligence. I belong in this latter camp, as I am more of a pragmatist than a privacy pundit. I simply want the best search results with minimal effort and no nonsense. Back in my 2014 article, I was hopeful that DuckDuckGo was quickly becoming a viable and attractive alternative to Google. While DuckDuckGo continues to be the darling of privacy conscious users and is enjoying more popularity than ever, I am concerned that its core search infrastructure and algorithms have largely stagnated. Since my last article, many other alternatives have cropped up, bringing some very interesting features and concepts, but it still remains to be seen if they offer acceptable results in the fundamentally important area of relevant search results. This comparison sets out to analyze and compare the current batch of alternatives in 2020.

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Browsers and Privacy

Filed under
OSS
Web
  • Browsers, web sites, and user tracking

    Browser tracking across different sites is certainly a major privacy concern and one that is more acute when the boundaries between sites and browsers blur—or disappear altogether. That seems to be the underlying tension in a "discussion" of an only tangentially related proposal being made by Google to the W3C Technical Architecture Group (TAG). The proposal would change the handling of the User-Agent headers sent by browsers, but the discussion turned to the unrelated X-Client-Data header that Chrome sends to Google-owned sites. The connection is that in both cases some feel that the web-search giant is misusing its position to the detriment of its users and its competitors in the web ecosystem.

  • Data detox: Four things you can do today to protect your computer

    From the abacus to the iPad, computers have been a part of the human experience for longer than we think. So much so that we forget the vast amounts of personal data we share with our devices on a daily basis. On any given day we could be tackling sensitive work emails, planning our next vacation, or just booking some good ole doctor’s appointments. No big deal right? Well, in the wrong hands it can become a huge deal.

    Thankfully, it’s pretty easy to tighten your device security. Read on for four easy things you can do today to protect your personal info along with your devices.

Brave Browser on Chromebook, Firefox 73 on POWER and Privacy/VPN Leftovers

Filed under
Web
  • Can I install the Brave Browser on my Chromebook?

    If you’re using a Chromebook, chances are high that you’re perfectly comfortable using the Chrome browser as your default portal to the internet. However, as the Chrome OS ecosystem continues to expand, more and more users are moving to the platform and some of them may want other options. Because of the nature of Chrome OS, you’re out of luck if you want to install a secondary browser directly onto the main operating system. Thankfully, there are curious people out there that like to ask me questions that lead me to figure out new and inventive ways to do cool stuff on Chrome OS.

    [...]

    Built to block ads and trackers, Brave boasts that their browser can attain speeds twice that of Chrome. Where Brave differs from many other ad-blocking platforms is that it was designed to create an alternative traditional to advertising platforms by offering publishers and users a way to be part of a privacy-respecting revenue sharing program. When you browse the site of a verified Brave Publisher, they benefit by receiving BAT (Basic Attention Tokens). Users are also rewarded with BAT when they allow a limited number of ads to display on sites they browse. I’ll save you the long, drawn-out argument about the pros and cons of this type of advertising model. If you want to learn more about Brave and the Basic Attention Token at the foundation of its revenue, you can do so here.

  • The Talospace Project: Firefox 73 on POWER

    ...seems to just work. New in this release is better dev tools and additional CSS features. This release includes the fix for certain extensions that regressed in Fx71, and so far seems to be working fine on this Talos II. The debug and optimized mozconfigs I'm using are, as before, unchanged from Firefox 67.

  • Security Still the Top Concern as Privacy Regs Loom

    Enforcement of CCPA doesn’t begin until July, which gives some time for American companies who do business with Californians to come into compliance. But other states are expected to follow in California’s footsteps and craft data privacy regulations that are similar to CCPA (which itself is similar to GDPR).

    HelpSystems is also tracking how those new data privacy requirements translate into new requirements for IBM i tools and technology. “We’ve also seen a lot of request for data encryption at rest, and data encryption for data that’s in flight,” Huntington says.

    Ian Jarman, the former IBM i product offering manager who now heads up IBM Lab Services, is keeping an eye on the evolving compliance landscape, in particular the “dramatic rise” in the number of the regulations.

    “The thing that is beginning to change is consumer privacy,” Jarman says. “The GPDR, the [data protection] regulations in Europe, these are being replicated, or similar types of regulations are coming in Latin America, in California, and I think you will continue to see that rise.”

  • OpenVPN vs WireGuard: The Best VPN Protocol

    Before I begin, I want to give a brief overview of the development history and business model of both the VPN protocols. As most of us know, OpenVPN is among the oldest VPN protocols which was first released in 2001. It’s an open-source VPN protocol and run by the OpenVPN project. Having said that, OpenVPN is not free to use either for personal or commercial users so keep that in mind. Nevertheless, you can use the OpenVPN Community Edition for free, but with very limited features.

Daniel Stenberg: curl is 8000 days old

Filed under
Software
Web

Another pointless number that happens to be round and look nice so I feel a need to highlight it.

When curl was born WiFi didn’t exist yet. Smartphones and tablets weren’t invented. Other things that didn’t exist include YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Firefox, Chrome, Spotify, Google search, Wikipedia, Windows 98 or emojis.

curl was born in a different time, but also in the beginning of the explosion of the web and Internet Protocols. Just before the big growth wave.

In 1996 when I started working on the precursor to curl, there were around 250,000 web sites (sources vary slightly)..

In 1998 when curl shipped, the number of sites were already around 2,400,000. Ten times larger amount in just those two years.

In early 2020, the amount of web sites are around 1,700,000,000 to 2,000,000,000 (depending on who provides the stats). The number of web sites has thus grown at least 70,000% over curl’s 8000 days of life and perhaps as much as 8000 times the amount as when I first working with HTTP clients.

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Vivaldi 2.11 Adds New Picture-in-Picture Controls, Improves Accessibility and Themes

Filed under
Software
Web

Vivaldi 2.11 is the first release of the popular web browser for power users in the new decade. It’s not a massive update, but it does bring some cool enhancements to make your browsing sessions more enjoyable.

For starters, there’s now a lot easier to watch videos from your favorite websites in a floating, resizable, and movable window. All you have to do to enable the browser’s Pop-out video (Picture-in-Picture) feature is click on a small video box icon on the center of the video.

Furthermore, the Pop-out video feature will now display forward and back buttons to let users skip tracks or navigate to a previous video.

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Lessons learned maintaining EdgeDeflector for Windows 10

Filed under
Microsoft
Web

Three years ago, I released EdgeDeflector; a tiny open-source utility program for Windows 10. It reinforces the default web browser setting in situations when Microsoft ignores its own setting and pushes you to use its Edge browser instead. It’s a tiny software project that I’ve not had to write any new code for in years. However, supporting it has proven a frustrating experience.

The origin story of EdgeDeflector is a tiny act of rebellion against tech behemoths abusing their market positions. Microsoft uses Windows 10 features like Search, Cortana, and others to force users to open links in its Microsoft Edge web browser. The operating system has a default web browser setting, but Microsoft circumvents this setting in certain parts of its operating system. It doesn’t respect the choices of its consumers to not use its software. EdgeDeflector gave back this control.

EdgeDeflector was positively received by users and has been downloaded over 300 000 times. 265 000 through the project page on GitHub and 35 000 times from mirrors. It popped up in all the Windows news/fan blogs within a few months of its launch. It still occasionally receives coverage from tech blogs with nothing more original to cover.

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Also: I opened up Edge to test something and it added BING as a search provider in Firefox. The only thing in there before was DuckDuckGo.

Servers and CMS Leftovers (HPCC, Weblate and AgoraCart)

Filed under
Server
OSS
Web
  • Stanford Student Program Gives Supercomputers a Second Life

    Despite their incredible capabilities, today’s supercomputers typically only have three years of operating life before they need an upgrade. With the march of Moore’s Law, faster, more efficient systems are always waiting to replace them.
    A novel program at Stanford is finding a second life for used HPC clusters, providing much-needed computational resources for research while giving undergraduate students a chance to learn valuable career skills. To learn more, we caught up with Dellarontay Readus from the Stanford High Performance Computing Center (HPCC).

  • 30 projects migrated their translation to Weblate, what about yours?

    The localization community gave it’s approval: Weblate fits our expectations. Many projects have already migrated. It’s time for yours to migrate, because the next Fedora release will mark the end of the old translation platform.

  • AgoraCart "Route 66" Version Released

    I have avoided any spotlight in the Perl community after negative experiences early on but at the urging of Gabor Szabo over at PerlMaven.com, I realized that I should not care if I am not the normal Perl community member/developer. As a result, announcements on Perl type groups was skipped until now. So here's to new beginnings.

    I love the flexibility of Perl and hated the feeling that I was giving up on it as other languages rose in popularity and Perl seemed to surrender from the web on its own accord. I restarted development of the new version of AgoraCart during my masters degree coursework, and kept grinding on the development and testing for another 2+ years. This release marks a huge milestone, for AgoraCart and for me personally. I basically gave up on AgoraCart for a few years (motivation to work on it came and went like the changes in the wind after a family tragedy).

Google's Chrome and Mozilla Firefox: HTTPS, Firefox 73, TenFourFox FPR19, Firefox for Android, Extensions in Firefox 73 and Firefox 73 New Contributors

Filed under
Google
Moz/FF
Web
  • Google Chrome to start blocking downloads served via HTTP

    Google has announced a timetable for phasing out insecure file downloads in the Chrome browser, starting with desktop version 81 due out next month.

    Known in jargon as ‘mixed content downloads’, these are files such as software executables, documents and media files offered from secure HTTPS websites over insecure HTTP connections.

    This is a worry because a user seeing the HTTPS padlock on a site visited using Chrome might assume that any downloads it offers are also secure (HTTP sites offering downloads are already marked ‘not secure’).

  • Mozilla Firefox 73 Is Now Available for Download, Here’s What’s New

    The Mozilla Firefox 73 open-source web browser is now available to download for all supported platforms, including GNU/Linux, Windows, and macOS.

    Scheduled to be released by Mozilla on February 11th, the Firefox 73 release can now be downloaded from the official servers for all supported platforms and architectures. Linux users can get the binaries for 64-bit and 32-bit systems, as well as a Snap package and the source tarball.

    This is the final version that will also be released by Mozilla tomorrow. If you can’t wait until then, or until Firefox 73 will land in the stable software repositories of your favorite GNU/Linux distribution, you can get a head start by downloading the official binaries.

  • TenFourFox FPR19 available

    Due to a busy work schedule and $REALLIFE, TenFourFox Feature Parity Release 19 final is just now available for testing (downloads, hashes, release notes). This version is the same as the beta except for a couple URL bar tweaks I meant to land and the outstanding security updates. If all goes well, it will go live tomorrow Pacific time in the evening.

  • The 7 best things about the new Firefox for Android

    The biggest ever update to Firefox for Android is on its way. Later this spring, everyone using the Firefox browser on their Android phones and tablets will get the update. Your favorite features — like your history, bookmarks, saved logins, and tab sharing — will stay the same.

  • Extensions in Firefox 73

    As promised, the update on changes in Firefox 73 is short: There is a new sidebarAction.toggle API that will allow you to open and close the sidebar. It requires being called from a user action, such as a context menu or click handler. The sidebar toggle was brought to you by Mélanie Chauvel. Thanks for your contribution, Mélanie!

    On the backend, we fixed a bug that caused tabs.onCreated and tabs.onUpdated events to be fired out-of-order.

  • Firefox 73 new contributors

    With the release of Firefox 73, we are pleased to welcome the 19 developers who contributed their first code change to Firefox in this release, 18 of whom were brand new volunteers!

Updates From FOSDEM: Daniel 'Curl' Stenberg on HTTP/3 and GNU Poke Adding Hyperlink Support

Filed under
GNU
OSS
Web
  • Daniel Stenberg: HTTP/3 for everyone

    I brought a huge collection of stickers this year and I kept going back to the wolfSSL stand to refill the stash and it kept being emptied almost as fast. Hundreds of curl stickers were given away! The photo on the right shows my “sticker bag” as it looked before I left Sweden.

    Lesson for next year: bring a larger amount of stickers! If you missed out on curl stickers, get in touch and I’ll do my best to satisfy your needs.

  • Hyperlink Support in GNU Poke

    For many years now, terminal emulators have been detecting http:// URLs in the output of any program and giving the user a chance to click on them and immediately navigate to the corresponding web page. In 2017, Egmont Kob made a proposal for supporting general hyperlinks in terminal emulators. Gnome Terminal, iTerm and a few other terminal emulators have already implemented this proposal in their latest releases. With Egmont's proposal, an application can emit any valid URI and have the terminal emulator take the user to that resource.

The Ultimate Guide to Tor Browser (with Important Tips) 2020

Filed under
Software
Moz/FF
Security
Web

If you’re curious about Tor browser, then you already know how important your privacy and anonymity online can be. And yes, Tor browser is a great tool that can help keep you safe. But there’s a lot of confusion about its pros and cons, and especially, about how it relates to VPNs.
This guide will answer those questions and more. We’re going to explain how this powerful tool works and what to consider when deciding if it’s right for you.

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Also: The fractured future of browser privacy

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More in Tux Machines

Screencasts and Audiocasts: MX Linux 19.2 Run Through, This Week in Linux and More

  • MX Linux 19.2 Run Through

    In this video, we are looking at MX Linux 19.2. Enjoy!

  • This Week in Linux 105: 8GB RAM Raspberry Pi, Ardour 6.0, Audacity, Kali Linux, DirectX on Linux?

    On this episode of This Week in Linux, the Raspberry Pi Foundation announces a new 8GB RAM version of the Raspberry Pi and there’s a new release of Kali Linux. We’ve also got some big updates for two audio editors in Ardour 6.0 and Audacity 2.4.1. We’ve got a new version of the Enlightenment window manager with 0.24 and a new tool for making Bootable USBs called Ventoy. We’ve got an update on the GNOME “Patent Troll” Case, it’s been resolved. EA is releasing Source Code for 2 Command & Conquer Games. Microsoft is back in the news with 2 new items this week . . . one shows they may be really changing announcing DirectX for Linux . . . yea not really, of course there is a catch, it’s Microsoft. Also Microsoft figured that pretending they are doing something good for Linux wasn’t enough so they created a name collision with the Maui Project. All that and much more on Your Weekly Source for Linux GNews!

  • LHS Episode #349: Docker Deep Dive

    Hello and welcome to Episode 349 of Linux in the Ham Shack. In this episode, we take an in-depth look at the Docker containerization platform. We discuss all aspects of the project from how to install it to how to use it to where to get support when something goes awry. You can use docker to easily install and deploy applications, microservices, application stacks, scalable and resilient webapps and much more. We hope you enjoy our hopefully no-too-rambling look at the ease and power of Docker.

  • Extending The Life Of Python 2 Projects With Tauthon

    The divide between Python 2 and 3 lasted a long time, and in recent years all of the new features were added to version 3. To help bridge the gap and extend the viability of version 2 Naftali Harris created Tauthon, a fork of Python 2 that backports features from Python 3. In this episode he explains his motivation for creating it, the process of maintaining it and backporting features, and the ways that it is being used by developers who are unable to make the leap. This was an interesting look at how things might have been if the elusive Python 2.8 had been created as a more gentle transition.

today's howtos

Tails 4.7 is out

This release fixes many security vulnerabilities. You should upgrade as soon as possible. Read more

Android Leftovers