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Contact Private Internet Access (PIA) Managers to Help Save Linux Journal From Shutdown

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Private Internet Access

TUX MACHINES turned 15 almost exactly two months ago. The site has operational costs, as one can expect, mostly the hardware and bandwidth. We've thankfully had these resources very kindly donated to us last year, basically saving us the massive burden of bills somewhere around $10,000. Running a site with a lot of traffic isn't cheap and it isn't getting cheaper, either. As an overhead or addition to server maintenance (uptime requires habitual work on repairing databases, managing backups, patching of software and agonising system upgrades once in a few years) it takes a lot of time to compose new material and moderate to keep spam out.

A lot of the mainstream media is bashing Linux Journal right now. It makes it seem like its demise is a problem with GNU/Linux itself. These are villainous lies from self-serving foes of Linux, sometimes people who are aligned with Microsoft or salaried by Microsoft (we don't want to link to their provocative clickbait). But anyway, the bottom line is that keeping Linux Journal online may be costly and people should prepare for the possibility of Linux Journal becoming unavailable (offline) some time soon. I try very hard to prevent this (today and yesterday). "There is a real (and ever-growing) danger that a massive trove of GNU/Linux and Free software history will vanish unless urgent action is taken right now," I said. There are ways to avoid this (writers of that site need to unite in a union-like sense). I also secure my own sites from such a fate, having reached almost 13 years in Techrights. This week the site is experiencing all-time traffic records.

I've decided to contact Rick Falkvinge (Dick Greger Augustsson), founder of the Swedish Pirate Party and head of privacy at Private Internet Access, which owns Linux Journal. Bear in mind he used to work for Microsoft. We're still friendly online (we've exchanged some messages over the years) and he probably has sufficient clout at Private Internet Access to sway their decisions. In case they plan to shut down the site, we must act fast. Please contact him; as per his Web site, his E-mail address is x1bpsas66na001@sneakemail.com and any message he receives he can relay to other high-level people at the company. I don't personally know anyone else at that company, so that's the only contact I'm able to provide.

Photos: 15-Year Anniversary Party

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Tux Machines Over the Past 15 Years

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2005

Tux Machines site in 2005

2010

Tux Machines site in 2010

2012

Tux Machines site in 2012

2013

Tux Machines site in 2013

Late 2013

Tux Machines site in late 2013

2014

Tux Machines site in 2014

2015

Tux Machines site in 2015

2019

Tux Machines site in 2019

Happy 15th Anniversary to Tux Machines

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Anniversary of Tux Machines

Summary: Anniversary of Tux Machines is today, a special anniversary too

Today Tux Machines is celebrating its 15th year of existing. When we bought the website it was about 10 years old, so kudos to Susan Linton who devoted time to make and keep the site on pace. We promise to keep the website up to date with lots of insightful OSS/FOSS/Linux/Android-related articles. We hope to continue the job well into the distant future.

Tell Us About Your (or Others') GNU/Linux Blogs

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THE MEDIA online is dying. It's no secret. Not all sorts of media are dying but traditional media struggles to survive. Causes for these have been explained for years if not more than a decade. This won't be the subject of this post.

Tux Machines does not produce a lot of original material. Susan used to publish GNU/Linux reviews (with galleries of screenshots), but other than that we mostly cluster and syndicate news. This has been the case for nearly 15 years (our anniversary is next month).

Each year it feels like mainstream media produces a lot less stories (not just about GNU/Linux but about anything, in general terms). So we're 'mining' more and more RSS feeds, typically of blogs. Do you have a GNU/Linux blog or know one/s you wish to recommend? Let us know in the IRC channel because we always hunt for more news sources, no matter if they're 'mainstream' or not as long as they're credible, reliable, and on topic.

Fifteenth Anniversary of Tux Machines Coming Soon

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NOT many Internet enterprises or even protocols outlast the Web. IRC is under attack, E-mail is being hijacked by large corporations (the business model of spying), and copyright monopolies compel ISPs to disconnect from USENET. Even without the Web there's a similar problem; not many sites last a decade; some last a few years until interest is lost or life-changing events cause stagnation and ultimately shutdown (it's not cheap to keep a domain registered and it can be technically difficult to keep a host going). Some sites or blogs remain active only for days, weeks, months. Not many sites have lasted 2 decades. Some become dormant and shelved. Some suffer the "Google Plus effect" (host decides it's not viable to carry on hosting, mostly for selfish "business reasons").

Tux Machines domainTux Machines remains very active. Every day, almost every hour. Even when we're on holiday (or abroad) we still log in and post the more crucial news. We never wink or lose a heartbeat. Dedication like this becomes almost addictive.

In less than a couple of months the site will turn 15. We're planning to celebrate locally somehow (a little party), knowing that it's a rare event and seeing how the Web becomes just "apps" and "social media" it's hard to guarantee we'll reach 20 (we sure hope so). Over the years we've considered modernising the site (CMS overhaul), but such novelty may entail bloat, speed losses, 'UX' erosion, and a lack of 'traditional' feel, maybe even issues associated with navigation, user familiarity, backward compatibility of URLs (we still use node numbers!) and so on.

Real-time Tux Machines Chat Over IRC (Internet Relay Chat)

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The first IRC server
"The first IRC server, tolsun.oulu.fi, a Sun-3 server on display near the University of Oulu computer centre." Credit/licence: CC BY 2.5, Urpo Lankinen

TUX MACHINES reached all-time record traffic in the past couple of weeks. This (raw) traffic now stands at about 4 million hits/week, with 3,970,777 hits in the past 6 days and 4,289,540 hits last week (predating these 6 days). It's just a shame that interaction with readers became hard; the forums had a severe spam issue, as did comments and submissions (by new registrants, always, more so at a later stage) -- to the point where it became impractical to allow any new registrations (except adding people manually upon request). The open/incognito registrants would overrun the site within minutes (we tried several times over the years and saw the effect immediately).

So we've decided to try IRC and have added "IRC" to the menu at the top with an applet (JavaScript) to make life easier for those who aren't familiar with IRC clients.

Here's how to join us. This is still experimental. Real-time updates with posts (as they are posted) will in due course be shown in the channel and we can all casually chat in real-time, too. We are also still working on our Android app these days.

Testers Wanted: Android App for Tux Machines Site

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APK icon

Diaspora logo Mastodon logo Pleroma logo

Tux Machines is turning 15 this summer and as we noted over the weekend, many people now access the site using mobile devices, for which the site provides a subpar experience due to legacy. RSS feeds are therefore recommended. There's our RSS feed for news, RSS feed for Tux Machines Blogs and another for Techrights, where I write my original articles.

Most readers, however, do not use RSS feeds. Consider the 700 followers of our Twitter account, the 2,365 followers of our Diaspora account, 1,080 followers of our Mastodon account, and 63 followers of our Pleroma account (so about 4,000 in total). Those are dependent on third parties (we do not self-host these platforms). Even if "apps" are used for access to these social media platforms/sites, the links would lead to Tux Machines Web pages, which don't render particularly well on small screens (phones). So we've made this simple "app" for the site, but we're still testing it. If anyone out there can try it on an Android device and report back to us, we'll appreciate it greatly and use the feedback to improve it.

Screenshot Tux Machines app

Mobile Interfaces, Internet, Devices and UX

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A mobile phone

Summary: Visitors who use mobile phones get a subpar experience, but that's an issue that boils down to preservation versus novelty

TUX MACHINES is turning 15 later this year. Longtime readers may very well know that the appearance or the layout of this site barely changed over the years. The key components have been in place since the very start. We still use node IDs as URLs (not ideal, but that works), mobile devices are barely supported (they were barely used on the Net at the time the site started), and due to SPAM we can no longer allow new user registrations (they overwhelm the site with a flood of SPAM submissions, i.e. noise such as pornographic comments, abusive blog posts etc.) within hours. We know because we tried opening up these registrations several times in the past. Any loosening of these restriction means a complete and utter mess.

"Mobile users who struggle with the site contact me routinely and my best suggestion for them is an RSS reader (many exist for mobile devices), which overcomes these issues and bypasses all the 'cruft'."

So-called 'UX' (buzzword for user interfaces/experience) in Tux Machines is far from ideal, especially for those who use a phone. We are aware of it, but the overhaul required to change that would be truly massive because of the number of pages, images, and the underlying framework, which was heavily modified and tailored for the existing user experience. I spent a lot of time making things work as they do. Susan had also invested a great deal of effort.

Mobile users who struggle with the site contact me routinely and my best suggestion for them is an RSS reader (many exist for mobile devices), which overcomes these issues and bypasses all the 'cruft'. Taking all the implications into account (endless work associated with a change), we don't plan a site redesign/overhaul. Maybe in the distant future, but not any time soon. The RSS feed is already used by a lot of people, even desktop/laptop users. We have no ads and no surveillance in this site, so RSS feeds don't impact some "business model" or whatever. In fact, it helps lower the strain on the server.

Come and Join Tux Machines in Pleroma, Part of the Fediverse

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Pleroma logo

Summary: Tux Machines is on Pleroma.site, a lesser-known part of the Fediverse

Tux Machines has been on the Fediverse for quite some time (our Mastodon account), but months ago we also joined Pleroma, which is an exciting new alternative written in Elixir.

Just a few weeks ago somebody published this "Guide for GPlus [Google Plus] refugees to choose a new social network in the Fediverse" because "G+ will close on April 2nd. So to help people that haven’t decided yet where to go in the Fediverse I made some pointers. I divided this guide in a number of sections. Each section describes a certain use of social networks and which networks are most suitable for this specific use. Combine this with your preferred use of a social network and you should be able make a decision."

Pleroma too is part of the Fediverse and Pleroma.site, one large instance of Pleroma, recently completed hardware upgrades. GNU/Linux aficionados can follow us there.

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More in Tux Machines

Android Leftovers

Intel SoC, Mesa Driver, and Quad Core Cortex-A35

  • Linux Begins Preparing For Intel's New "Lightning Mountain" SoC

    Linux kernel development activity has shown light on a new Intel SoC we haven't anything about to date... Lightning Mountain.  We haven't seen Intel Lightning Mountain referenced elsewhere yet but in our original monitoring of the various Linux kernel patch flow, this is a new Atom SoC on the way. 

  • ARB_gl_spirv and ARB_spirv_extension support for i965 landed Mesa master

    And something more visible thanks to that: now the Intel Mesa driver exposes OpenGL 4.6 support, the most recent version of OpenGL. As perhaps you could recall, the i965 Intel driver became 4.6 conformant last year. You have more details about that, and what being conformant means in this Iago blog post. On that blog post Iago mentioned that it was passing with an early version of the ARB_gl_spirv support, that we were improving and interating during this time so it could be included on Mesa master. At the same time, the CTS tests were only testing the specifics of the extensions, and we wanted a more detailed testing, so we also were adding more tests on the piglit test suite, written manually for ARB_gl_spirv or translated from existing GLSL tests.

  • Compulab CL-SOM-iMX8X SoM & SBC Feature NXP i.MX 8QuadXPlus Quad Core Cortex-A35 Processor

    NXP i.MX 8X Cortex-A35 processor designed for automotive infotainment and a variety of industrial applications was officially announced in early 2017...

Red Hat/Fedora: Flock’19 Budapest, Cockpit 201 and Systemd 243 RC2

  • Flock’19 Budapest

    This was the first occurrence of the conference for me to attend. Its an annual Fedora Community gathering, which happens in a new city of Europe every year. This time it was in Budapest, the capital of Hungary, last year it was hosted in Dresden. Dates for the same were: 8th Aug through 11th Aug 2019. Also I got an opportunity to present there on my proposal: “Getting Started with Fedora QA”. Day 1 Started with a Keynote by Mathew Miller (mattdm). In here he spoke about where we as a community are and where we need to go further. It was a knowledgeable discussion for a first timer like me who was always looking out for the Vision and Mission of Fedora community. There are people who are with Fedora since its first release and you get to meet them here at the annual gathering. [...] Groups were formed and people decided for themselves where they wanted to go for the evening hangout on the Day 1. We were 7 people who decided to hangout at the Atmosphere Klub near the V.Kerulet and left at around 9:00 pm by walk. Day 2 started with a keynote by Denise Dumas, Vice President, Operating System Platform, Red Hat. She spoke on “Fedora, Red Hat and IBM”. I woke up late, 20 minutes before the first session as I went to bed late last night and had walked for around 11 kms the day before.

  • Fedora 30 : Set up the Linux Malware Detect.
  • Cockpit 201

    It’s now again possible to stop a service, without disabling it. Reloading is now available only when the service allows it. Furthermore, disabling or masking a service removes any lingering “failed” state, reducing noise.

  • Systemd 243 RC2 Released

    Released nearly one month ago was the systemd 243 release candidate while the official update has yet to materialize. It looks though like it may be on the horizon with a second release candidate being posted today. Red Hat's Zbigniew Jędrzejewski-Szmek has just tagged systemd 243-RC2 as the newest test release for this new version of this de facto Linux init system. Over the past month have been new hardware database (HWDB) additions, various fixes, new network settings, resolvectl zsh shell completion support, bumping timedated to always run at the highest priority, and other changes.

Announcing Qt for MCUs

  • Announcing Qt for MCUs

    Today we announce the launch of Qt for MCUs – a comprehensive toolkit to deliver smartphone-like user experience on displays powered by microcontrollers. What started as a research project is now in the final leg of its journey to being released as a product. Connected devices found in vehicles, wearables, smart home, industrial and healthcare often have requirements that include real-time processing capabilities, low power consumption, instant boot time and low bill of materials. These requirements can be fulfilled by a microcontroller architecture. However, as devices get smarter and offer more features and capabilities, users expect an enhanced and intuitive experience on par with today’s smartphones. Qt for MCUs delivers an immersive and enriching user interface by utilizing a new runtime specifically developed for ARM Cortex-M microcontrollers and leveraging on-chip 2D graphics accelerators such as PxP on NXP’s i.MX RT series, Chrom-Art Accelerator on STM32 series and RGL on Renesas RH850.

  • Qt for MCUs – Qt Announces support for Microcontrollers

    About Qt for MCUs Qt- The well known opensource toolkit for creating graphical interface announced their new release: Qt for MCUs, targeting MCU’s.

  • The Qt Company Is Now Working On Qt For Microcontrollers

    There have been a lot of announcements pertaining to Qt as of late, most of which have been about forthcoming efforts around Qt 6 development. A new announcement out of The Qt Company catching us off-guard is their plans for the tool-kit on micro-controllers. Qt for MCUs is the company's newest commercial endeavour. In particular, they are working on the Qt tool-kit for displays powered by micro-controllers for smartphone-like user experiences. Qt for MCUs has been a research project at the company but is now being worked out as a new commercial offering. Considering how well though Qt works on mobile devices, it's only another step down catering it to low-power micro-controllers.