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Firefox Extensions and Google Code-in 2018

Filed under
Development
Google
Moz/FF
Web
  • Extensions in Firefox 63

    Firefox 63 is rolling into Beta and it’s absolutely loaded with new features for extensions. There are some important new API, some major enhancements to existing API, and a large collection of miscellaneous improvements and bug fixes. All told, this is the biggest upgrade to the WebExtensions API since the release of Firefox Quantum.

    An upgrade this large would not have been possible in a single release without the hard work of our Mozilla community. Volunteer contributors landed over 25% of all the features and bug fixes for WebExtensions in Firefox 63, a truly remarkable effort. We are humbled and grateful for your support of Firefox and the open web. Thank you.

    Note: due to the large volume of changes in this release, the MDN documentation is still catching up. I’ve tried to link to MDN where possible, and more information will appear in the weeks leading up to the public release of Firefox 63.

  • Mozilla Addons Blog: September’s featured extensions
  • Announcing Google Code-in 2018: nine is just fine!

    We are excited to announce the 9th consecutive year of the Google Code-in (GCI) contest! Students ages 13 through 17 from around the world can learn about open source development by working on real open source projects, with mentorship from active developers. GCI begins on Tuesday, October 23, 2018 and runs for seven weeks, ending Wednesday, December 12, 2018.

    Google Code-in is unique because, not only do the students choose what they want to work on from the 2,500+ tasks created by open source organizations, but they have mentors available to help answer their questions as they work on each of their tasks.

  • A small HTTP debug server in Go

    Lately, I found myself to work on an application that was communicating via SOAP with a server. My goal was to understand how this application worked with the SOAP server to emulate its behavior. Even if I had access to the source code of the application, I thought it would have been easier, faster and more fun to do the work without actually reading the code. It’s important to note that actually, the application is fairly small and self-contained. Otherwise, I would have probably taken a different approach.

    Since I was not very interested in the application itself, but more to the SOAP API, I decided to handle the whole situation as a reverse-engineering effort. One nice thing about this application, like many others, is that it’s possible to set the server URL with a command line configuration.

Software That Connects GNU/Linux to Proprietary Google

Filed under
Google
  • cloudHQ – Sync Google Apps and G Suite to Cloud Accounts for Free

    cloudHQ is a free and secure software desktop client that enables you to back data up from your Google account apps e.g. Gmail and Google Drive to a variety of other Cloud service options including Amazon S3, Office 365, Egnyte, Evernote, Dropbox, and Google Drive.

    cloudHQ comes with a number of tools to improve user productivity on Gmail including the ability to track when emails are opened, snooze emails, send email campaigns, hundreds of free email templates, and much more.

  • Announcing to Google Chat from your Ansible Playbook

    We're currently migrating from our on premise HipChat instance to Google Chat (basically a nicer UI for Hangouts). Since our deployments are orchestrated by ansible playbooks we'd like to write out to changelog chat rooms whenever a deployment starts and finishes (either with a success or a failure message), I had to figure out how to write to those Google Chat rooms/conversations via the simple Webhook API.

Google releases open source reinforcement learning framework for training AI models

Filed under
Google
OSS

Reinforcement learning — an artificial intelligence (AI) technique that uses rewards (or punishments) to drive agents in the direction of specific goals — trained the systems that defeated Alpha Go world champions and mastered Valve’s Dota 2. And it’s a core part of Google subsidiary DeepMind’s deep Q-network (DQN), which can distribute learning across multiple workers in the pursuit of, for example, achieving “superhuman” performance in Atari 2600 games. The trouble is, reinforcement learning frameworks take time to master a goal, tend to be inflexible, and aren’t always stable.

That’s why Google is proposing an alternative: an open source reinforcement framework based on TensorFlow, its machine learning library. It’s available from Github starting today.

Read more

Chrome OS, GNU/Linux, and Microsoft

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Google
  • Google Chrome OS

    Chrome OS is Google's cloud-connected desktop operating system. This web-apps focused OS powers mostly inexpensive chromebooks, offering a low-cost desktop option for those of modest means or basic needs. That affordability, along with tie-ins to Google's online productivity apps, has made the OS popular in the education market. The recent addition of the ability to run Android apps has given the OS new life and millions of new software choices, though the support for those apps is inconsistent. With that major integration still ongoing, Chrome OS feels like something of a work in progress, one that's not suited to high-power computing needs. Still, for the right users, Chrome OS is a strong choice.

  • New Chrome OS v69 beta hits the Pixelbook with Linux support, night light, and more

    Google announced Linux app support on Chrome OS back at I/O, but it's been slow to move it out of the dev channel. Finally, the Pixelbook just got a new build of Chrome v69 update that adds the beta Linux support. That's not all—this was a rather major update.

    Make sure you have plenty of battery before installing this update. In addition to tweaking Chrome OS, the latest update brings changes to the BIOS and touchpad firmware. The installation process will take a few minutes longer than usual as a result. Once you get up and running, you can enable Linux support in the system settings. We have a handy tutorial to get you started installing Linux-y things.

  • How Google's rumored 'Campfire' dual-boot Chromebooks may burn Microsoft

    even years ago, Google began an assault on Windows PCs with its cloud-centric Chromebook PC alternative. Google's leveraging of a more secure, easier to manage, and more affordable "PC" positioned Chromebooks for market success. Despite this success, however, Chromebooks' global market share still pales in comparison to Windows PC's seemingly indomitable presence.

    Google remains committed to an unrelenting multifaceted assault on Windows PCs, in an attempt to position Chromebooks as the "PC" for the modern personal computing age. Android apps on Chrome, aggressive Chromebook ads, a strategic push in schools, Progressive Web App (PWAs), and low Chromebook prices are all tools Google has and will use to make Chromebooks appealing to the masses.

    Campfire, Google's rumored Windows and Chrome dual-boot solution, is just the latest, and possibly most important, tool in Google's arsenal to unseat Windows PCs as the PCs for the masses.

Big List of Most Popular Chromebook Brands Will Not Receive Linux Support Due to 3.14 Kernel

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Google

It turns out that unfortunately a lot of Chromebooks with the Linux 3.14 kernel aren’t going to be getting any Linux app support from Google – including Google’s own Chromebook Pixel series. This is quite a blow to the Chromebook Linux community, as many developers were always working on backporting the essential kernel modules such as vsock, trying their best to make vsock backward compatible – though it turned out that vsock isn’t backwards compatible with Linux kernel 3.14, but the point remains.

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Google confirms many older Chromebooks won't get Linux apps, including the 2015 Chromebook Pixel

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Google

Google announced earlier this year that Linux apps would eventually be supported on Chrome OS. The feature has been available for months in the Canary and Dev channels, and now works on a variety of Chromebooks from multiple manufacturers. A merged pull request on the Chromium Gerrit now confirms that any device running the Linux kernel 3.14 (or older) will never get Linux app support.

For context, Linux apps on Chrome OS run in a protected container, to prevent malicious software from interfering with the main system. This container requires features only found in recent versions of the Linux kernel, like vsock (which was added in Linux 4.8). Chromebooks usually stick with whatever kernel version they are shipped with, and many popular models are running older versions too old for containers.

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Latest About Crostini: GNU/Linux Software on Chromebooks

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Google
  • Google Makes it Easier to Run Linux Apps on Chromebooks

    Have you been patiently waiting for the ability to run Linux apps on your Chromebook since word of Crostini first surfaced?

    If so, your patience is about to be well rewarded.

    Google is preparing to roll out this exciting Chrome OS feature as part of its next OS update, giving more users the opportunity to install and run Linux apps on their Chromebook.

  • This Week In Chrome: #madebygoogle Chromebooks, Linux Apps And We Get A Facelift

    The “Crostini Project” that brought Linux apps to Chromebooks has seemingly accelerated in development as of late. What appeared to be a developer-centric experiment, has quickly spread to a large number of Chrome devices and has already moved into the Beta Channel of Chrome OS.

    You can now install Linux apps on dozens of Chromebook models by the flipping a switch in the Beta channel and executing a few simple lines of code. Even more exciting is the fact that support for Debian files is here meaning you can simply download the application file you want and double-click to install just like you would on any other OS.

    If that’s not enough, you can even install the Gnome Software Center and install apps from the “store.” All of these combined will surely bring Linux apps to the forefront of Chrome OS’s usability and versatility.

Linux Apps Land On Beta Channel For A Lot Of Chromebooks

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Google

A recent update to the Beta Channel of Chrome OS has brought with it a very exciting surprise. The “Crostini Project,” a.k.a. Linux Apps on Chrome OS has been floating around the Developer Channel for some time and can be found on various devices such as the Pixelbook, Kaby Lake Chromeboxes and even Apollo Lake EDU Chromebooks.

Unfortunately, for those wanting to try out the new feature, moving to the sometimes-unstable Developer Channel was a requirement along with enabling the “Crostini” switch that has been hidden behind a flag.

The update to Chrome OS version 69.0.3497.35 in the Beta channel has not only advanced the Crostini Project but set Linux apps on by default meaning no need to enable any experimental flags.

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GNU/Linux on Chromebooks

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Google
  • How to install Linux apps on your Chromebook

    Chromebooks are great because they're simple: there's a lot you can get done with web services without exposing yourself to the troubles and security issues that plague more complex platforms.

    But if you need to do a bit more with your Chromebook, you have a few options. Most Chromebooks these days allow you to install apps from the Google Play Store, which should fill most productivity gaps. If not, you'll soon have one more option: installing Linux apps. To be clear, you've been able to install Linux apps on Chromebooks for years because Chrome OS is Linux. But, it's about to get much easier.

  • Top 5 Features Still Missing From Chrome OS

    Google’s Chrome OS gets a lot of things right, and the platform has evolved considerably over the years. Not only does it offer an always up-to-date version of the Chrome browser, but there are also Android apps, stylus input, and even Linux support on some devices. However, Chrome OS is far from perfect. You have to make compromises if you choose to live with a Chromebook, but you shouldn’t have to make quite this many. Here are the top five things Google should fix.

  • Walmart's selling an all-aluminum Chromebook with a comfy keyboard for just $220

    If you’re not considering a Chromebook when you're shopping for a notebook, you’re doing it wrong. Google's low-cost laptops are typically light, fast, secure, and have almost everything you need for remote work a.k.a. the Internet. Today, you can get in on the action for a great price. Walmart is selling the Acer Chromebook 14 (CB3-431-C6ZB) for $220. That’s about $30 to $40 cheaper than you’d usually pay for this laptop.

Akademy Report and Final GSoC Reports

Filed under
KDE
Google
  • Akademy 2018 Monday BoF Wrapup

    Monday was the first day of Akademy BoFs, group sessions and hacking. There is a wrapup session at the end of the day so that what happened in the different rooms can be shared with everyone including those not present.

  • GSoC’18 - Final Report

    Some of the tasks I had originally planned took a lot more time than expected. My last task was to add stats to games that track and store your overall game statistics. I’ve already began working on this and will get it merged after thoroughly getting it reviewed by my mentors.

    [...]

    I had a wonderful time contributing to GNOME since I started this February. The amazing community and even more amazing mentors helped me learn new things and guided me all along the way which I would like to thank them for. I will surely keep contributing to GNOME.

  • Google Summer of Code 2018 Final Report: Automatic Builds with Clang using Open Build Service

    Debian package builds with Clang were performed from time to time through massive rebuilds of the Debian archive on AWS. The results of these builds are published on clang.debian.net. This summer project aimed to automate Debian archive clang rebuilds by substituting the current clang builds in clang.debian.net with Open Build System (OBS) builds.

    Our final product consists of a repository with salt states to deploy an OBS instance which triggers Clang builds of Debian Unstable packages as soon as they get uploaded by their maintainers.

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More in Tux Machines

Stable kernels 4.18.9, 4.14.71, 4.9.128 and 4.4.157

Openwashing: Zenko (Dual), Kong (Mere API) and Blackboard (Proprietary and Malicious)

Games: Descenders, War Thunder’s “The Valkyries”

Kernel: Virtme, 2018 Linux Audio Miniconference and Linux Foundation Articles

  • Virtme: The kernel developers' best friend
    When working on the Linux Kernel, testing via QEMU is pretty common. Many virtual drivers have been recently merged, useful either to test the kernel core code, or your application. These virtual drivers make QEMU even more attractive.
  • 2018 Linux Audio Miniconference
    As in previous years we’re trying to organize an audio miniconference so we can get together and talk through issues, especially design decisons, face to face. This year’s event will be held on Sunday October 21st in Edinburgh, the day before ELC Europe starts there.
  • How Writing Can Expand Your Skills and Grow Your Career [Ed: Linux Foundation article]
    At the recent Open Source Summit in Vancouver, I participated in a panel discussion called How Writing can Change Your Career for the Better (Even if You don't Identify as a Writer. The panel was moderated by Rikki Endsley, Community Manager and Editor for Opensource.com, and it included VM (Vicky) Brasseur, Open Source Strategy Consultant; Alex Williams, Founder, Editor in Chief, The New Stack; and Dawn Foster, Consultant, The Scale Factory.
  • At the Crossroads of Open Source and Open Standards [Ed: Another Linux Foundation article]
    A new crop of high-value open source software projects stands ready to make a big impact in enterprise production, but structural issues like governance, IPR, and long-term maintenance plague OSS communities at every turn. Meanwhile, facing significant pressures from open source software and the industry groups that support them, standards development organizations are fighting harder than ever to retain members and publish innovative standards. What can these two vastly different philosophies learn from each other, and can they do it in time to ensure they remain relevant for the next 10 years?