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PCLinuxOS/Mageia: Mageia 6 End of Life and PCLinuxOS Screenshots, Interview

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  • Mageia 6 End of Life – Time to Upgrade

    As you know, Mageia 7 was released this summer, followed shortly after by Mageia 7.1. It is time to say goodbye to Mageia 6 – updates have stopped, including security updates.
    As usual, before the upgrade, do a backup of your data and documents.

  • [PCLinuxOS] Screenshot Showcase
  • PCLinuxOS Family Member Spotlight: Revoluz

    Why and when did you start using Linux?
    2006 Open-Suse, 6 Months later PCLinuxOS my only distro.

    What specific equipment do currently use with PCLinuxOS?
    Office, Graphics, Multimedia - Jack-Audio, HTML Website build and not so often anymore, 3D CAM

    Do you feel that your use of Linux influences the reactions you receive from your computer peers or family? If so, how?
    Trying to make people curious by talking about it.

    What would you like to see happen within PCLinuxOS that would make it a better place. What are your feelings?
    That Mini Live CD correspond to the Sinn Mini, only for the wide hardware compatibility and peripherals such as printers and scanners.

OpenMandriva Lx 4.1 Alpha available for testing

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The first OpenMandriva Lx 4.1 release cycle milestone is available for download and testing.

Testing is a critical step during development as all bug fixing will take place during this lapse of time. Therefore we exhort all OpenMandriva users to test our system and report any issue you may find at our forum or at our bug tracking system.

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Also: OpenMandriva Lx 4.1 Alpha Released With Toolchain Upgrade, Clang-ed Kernel Option

OpenMandriva Can Now Clang Its Linux Kernel Build For This LLVM Focused Distribution

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OpenMandriva is one of the few Linux distributions (and arguably the only prominent one) that uses LLVM Clang as its default compiler toolchain over GCC for building its packages and the preferred C/C++ compiler exposed to its users. One of the last hold outs for this Clang'ed Linux distribution has been the kernel build but that is now no longer a blocker.

With the new LLVM Clang 9.0 release, it's now possible to use LLVM Clang to compile the mainline Linux kernel for x86_64 and Arm without needing any out-of-tree patches. In my testing of Clang 9 + Linux 5.3 it's worked out well with a few exceptions like the AMDGPU driver having issues, but those few remaining headaches are being worked out so Clang'ing the Linux kernel works well for users and helps ensure code/compiler portability of the kernel.

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An Easy Fix for a Stupid Mistake

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I waited a long time for Mageia 7 and for OpenMandriva Lx 4. When both distros arrived, I was very happy.

But new distros bring changes, and sometimes it is not easy to adapt. Mageia 7 has been rock-solid: it is doing a great job in my laptop and both in my daughter's desktop and in mine. There is one thing, though. I have been avoiding a strange mesa update that wants to remove Steam.

OpenMandriva is also fantastic, but this new release provided options like rock, release, and rolling. When I first installed the distro, I chose rock because I was shying away from the rolling flavor. Eventually, I had to move to rolling because that was the only way in which I could manage to install Steam in both my laptop and desktop machines.

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Mageia 7.1, Mageia 7 with Ryzen 3000 hardware support

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The timing for Mageia 7, just prior to the recent release of the new AMD Ryzen 3000 series of CPU’s, didn’t play nicely. Namely, there was an issue with the system starting up on these new CPU’s that prevented any type of installation, except for a net install. So, the only solution was to release a new set of installation media, which are available to download here.

It’s very important to note that if you have a working system, there is nothing that you need to address. This release is primarily to fix installation on systems with the above CPU’s.

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Also: Mageia 7.1 Released With Systemd Fix For AMD Ryzen 3000 Systems

Mageia 7 Pushes Linux Desktop Boundaries

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Reviews

Linux dispels the notion that one universal computing platform must define the features and functionality for all users. That is why so many distributions exist.

The Mageia distro is a prime example of how freedom and choice are the hallmarks of open source operating systems. Mageia 7 pushes the limits of personal choice and usability definitions.

What gives Mageia Linux its edge is its independence. Mageia 7 is not based on a predefined Linux family of distributions.

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Review: Mageia 7

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Reviews

Mageia is a user friendly, desktop-oriented Linux distribution. The project originally grew out of the Mandriva family of distributions and is independently developed. The project's latest release is Mageia 7 which, according to the project's release notes, offers 18 months of support. Mageia 7 drops support for the ARMv5 architecture while adding support for 64-bit ARM (Aarch64) and improving support for ARMv7. While ARM packages are being built, ARM installation media is not yet featured on the project's download page. The new release includes the DNF command line package manager and features the ability to play MP3 files - MP3 support was not included by default in previous releases due to patent restrictions.

The release notes mention that GNOME users can enjoy their desktop running on a Wayland session by default with X.Org available as an alternative. KDE Plasma users will have the opposite experience with their desktop running on X.Org and a Wayland session available through a package in the distribution's repositories. The documentation also mentions that when running a GNOME on Wayland session some graphical administrator tools will not work when run through su or sudo. The user can run these tools with their regular user privileges and the system will prompt for an admin password when necessary.

Mageia is available for the 32-bit (x86) and 64-bit (x86_64) architectures. We can either download an install DVD with multiple desktop packages bundled or we can download live media with the Plasma, GNOME, or Xfce desktops. There are smaller net-install disc images available too. I decided to try the KDE Plasma live disc which is a 2.8GB download.

Booting from the live media brings up a menu which gives us the option of immediately loading the project's system installer or launching a live desktop environment. Choosing the live desktop brings up a series of graphical screens asking us to select our language from a list, confirm the distribution's license agreement, and we are offered a chance to read the release notes. We are then asked to select our time zone from a list and confirm our keyboard's layout.

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Mageia Magical (lucky?) release number 7 has arrived

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Everyone at Mageia is very happy to announce the release of Mageia 7. We all hope that the release works as well for you as it has during our testing and development.

There are lots of new features, exciting updates, and new versions of your favorite programs, as well as support for very recent hardware. The release is available to download directly, or as a torrent from here.

There are classical installer images for both 32-bit and 64-bit architectures, as well as live DVD’s for 64-bit Plasma, GNOME, Xfce, and 32-bit Xfce.

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Also: Mageia 7 Sets Sail With Linux 5.1, KDE Plasma 5.15.4 Desktop

Review: OpenMandriva Lx 4.0

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Reviews

OpenMandriva is a desktop-oriented distribution that originally grew from the Mandriva family of Linux distributions. Like other community projects which rose from the ashes of Mandriva, OpenMandriva places a focus on providing a polished desktop experience that is easy to install. Unlike most other community distributions in the Mandriva family, OpenMandriva uses the Calamares installer, its own custom settings panel for managing the operating system, and builds packages using the Clang compiler instead of the GNU Compiler Collection.

OpenMandriva 4.0 introduces some other changes too, including using Fedora's DNF command line package manager and switching from using Python 2 to Python 3 by default. Python 2 is still available in the distribution's repositories for people who need to use the older version of the language.

The project's latest release is available in two builds and both of them feature the KDE Plasma desktop and run on 64-bit (x86_64) machines. One build (called "znver1") is for modern CPUs while the other is a generic 64-bit build. I was unable to find any precise information on what the minimal requirements were for running "znver1" and so used the generic build for my trial. There are mentions of ARM support in the project's release notes, but at the time of writing there is just one tarball for an ARM build on the distribution's mirrors.

Curiously, on release day, the release notes also mentioned a LXQt build of OpenMandriva and a minimal desktop build. Neither of these were available on release day and it seems the release notes are out of date (or premature). The release announcement also offers a link to torrent downloads, but there were no torrents available on the server, even a week after OpenMandriva 4.0 was launched. (The following week torrent files were made available.) All of this is to say the documentation did not match what was actually available when version 4.0 became available.

The generic 64-bit build of OpenMandriva was a 2.4GB download. Booting from the project's ISO seemed to get stuck for a minute after passing the boot menu, but eventually a splash screen appeared, followed by a welcome window. The welcome screen offers us information on package versions and displays links to on-line resources. The welcome window also offers to help us change settings, which we can probably skip until after the distribution has been installed.

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OpenMandriva Is Also Making Plans To Move Away From 32-Bit Support

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In addition to Ubuntu planning to drop 32-bit packages with their 19.10 release, the OpenMandriva development team is another high profile Linux distribution drafting plans to eliminate their 32-bit support.

OpenMandriva's plans to drop 32-bit are much more conservative than Canonical with planning for these changes by the October release of Ubuntu 19.10. In the case of OpenMandriva, they will gradually reduce their exposure to 32-bit in hopes of weening users to 64-bit where possible.

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Also: OpenMandriva Lx 4.0 released, here are the new features

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Openwashing Leftovers

Data Transfer Project: Moving From One Spy to Another the 'Open' Way

  • It's Now Easy to Shift Facebook Pics to Google (in Europe Anyway)

    A beta of the photo-transfer tool is rolling out today in Ireland with a wider release expected during the early months of 2020. The tool will move photos and their related metadata—including the folders they are in, file names, and any other information attached to the image. Transferring to Google comes first, with other services to follow at a later date. But Facebook isn't doing this out of the goodness of its own heart. Data portability, as its known, is a key part of GDPR. And that means being able to easily shift your Facebook photos to another service. They're your photos, after all, so why not? "We're increasingly hearing calls from policymakers and regulators, particularly those focused on competition, that large platforms should be doing more to enable innovation," Satterfield says. "Including by allowing people to move their data to different providers."

  • Facebook’s new tool lets you transfer pictures to Google Photos

    Facebook is releasing a new tool today that will allow its users to transfer photos directly to Google Photos. The tool is being released initially in Ireland, and will be available worldwide in the first half of 2020. “For almost a decade, we’ve enabled people to download their information from Facebook,” explains Steve Satterfield, director of privacy and public policy at Facebook. “The photo transfer tool we’re starting to roll out today is based on code developed through our participation in the open-source Data Transfer Project.”

  • Facebook launches a new tool that will make it easier for users to transfer photos and videos OFF the social network and onto other services like Google Photos

    Do you have thousands of photos uploaded to Facebook that you'd like to move onto another app or website? Now the social media company will let you do just that. The new image transfer tool will let users copy all their photos and videos from Facebook to Google Photos, and eventually other social networking sites. It was built as part of the open-source Data Transfer Project - a technology partnership between major social networking and digital companies designed to make information hosted on one social media service available on other services. The new Facebook tool will only be available in Ireland initially, but will be rolled out worldwide in 2020.

FOSS in Healthcare: EEG Visualisation Tool and More

  • Researchers Develop Open Source EEG Visualization Tool
  • Open source EEG visualization tool

    Researchers at UT have developed a free open source computer program that can be used to create visual and quantitative representations of brain electrical activity in laboratory animals in hopes of developing countermeasures for opioid use disorder. The program is described in a paper published in JoVE. Lead author Christopher O'Brien is a UT graduate who manages the research laboratory of Helen Baghdoyan and Ralph Lydic, both co-authors on the paper and professors in UT's Department of Psychology and the Graduate School of Medicine's Department of Anesthesiology. In the paper, the researchers describe the steps they took to create a multitapered spectrogram for electroencephalogram (EEG) analyses with an accessible and user-friendly code. They validated the program through analyses of EEG spectrograms of mice that had received different opioid treatments.

  • Researchers develop open source EEG visualization tool

    "There is a misconception that opioids promote sleep, but in quantitative studies of states of sleep and wakefulness using electroencephalographic recordings of brain waves, opiates are shown to disrupt sleep," Lydic said. "Additionally, drug addiction studies show that abnormal sleep is associated with increased likelihood of addiction relapse."

  • Open-source gaining momentum in the healthcare industry

    Following the ongoing global digital revolution, the continuously evolving role of information technology (IT) in the healthcare sector is only set to gain more weight going forward. While new-age technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), and big data have already started making headway within healthcare, IT continues to play a vital part from an administrative point of view, enriching the quality and efficiency of healthcare. Healthcare IT practitioners can choose from options such as open-source tools, licensed vendor tools, hybrid software environment or in-house tools to fulfill their operational requirements. Of these options, open-source technology is often the most affordable and accessible solution. Built upon the concept of collaboration, open-source software deploys publicly accessible code, allowing constant engagement with a vast developer community. This results in a well-designed, reliable and constantly evolving software product that can prove to be vital for healthcare IT infrastructural needs.

  • Researcher to Make Workhorse Microscopes More Powerful

    Kevin Eliceiri, professor of medical physics and biomedical engineering at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, plans to improve the architecture and infrastructure of μManager, an open-source software package for control of automated microscopes. Open-source software is crucial to modern scientific research for advancing biology and medicine while also providing reproducibility and transparency. Yet, even the most widely used research software often lacks dedicated funding.

Security: Open Source Security Podcast and Bugs Identified