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7 Best Free Compositing Window Managers

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GNU
Linux

A window manager is software that manages the windows that applications bring up. For example, when you start an application, there will be a window manager running in the background, responsible for the placement and appearance of windows.

It is important not to confuse a window manager with a desktop environment. A desktop environment typically consists of icons, windows, toolbars, folders, wallpapers, and desktop widgets. They provide a collection of libraries and applications made to operate cohesively together. A desktop environment contains its own window manager.

There are a few different types of window managers. This article focuses on compositing window managers.

A compositing window manager, or compositor, is a window manager that provides applications with a separate and independent buffer for each window. The window manager then processes and combines, or composites, output from these separate buffers onto a common desktop. It also controls how they display and interact with each other, and with the rest of the desktop environment.

Compositing window managers may perform additional processing on buffered windows, applying 2D and 3D animated effects such as transparency, fading, scaling, duplicating, bending and contorting, shuffling, and redirecting applications. The addition of a virtual third dimension allows for features such as realistic shadows beneath windows, the appearance of distance and depth, live thumbnail versions of windows, and complex animations.

Here’s our recommendations. All of the software is free and open source goodness.

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Top 10 Cheap Linux Laptops [2020 Edition]

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GNU
Linux
Hardware

One of the most beautiful things about Linux is that it can deliver fluid performance even on low-tier hardware. You don’t need 16GB of RAM or a quad-core processor just to browse the web. In fact, Ubuntu – one of the most popular Linux Distro can run perfectly well with a simple 2GHz dual-core system racking no more than 4GB of RAM and just needs a minimum of 25GB storage space.

This opens up a whole new world for budget computing. By using Linux, you can get way more performance out on a low-spec system giving you a better bang-for-buck performance. With this in mind, we have put together a list of going over the best cheap laptops for Linux.

Top 10 Budget Linux Laptops

To keep the list diverse and useful for everybody, we have included laptops that fall between the $200 to $1000 price bracket. This makes sure there is something for everybody.

Also, only some of the systems discussed here come with Linux pre-installed. Since most manufacturers prefer to ship with Windows, you might need to install Linux manually or set up a dual-boot configuration. We will tell you which laptops come with Linux out of the box and which don’t.

So with that being said, here is our list of the ten best cheap Linux laptops.

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Audiocasts/Shows: FLOSS Weekly, Linux Headlines and Destination Linux

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GNU
Linux
  • FLOSS Weekly 589: LifeScope - Using Open Source to Organize and Play VR

    The open-source software that allows you to organize your life with VR! Doc Searls and Jonathan Bennet talk with Liam Broza, the CEO and Co-founder of LifeScope. The discuss the LifeScope platform, which is built to organizes your existing data and allows you to manage it better. It is a consultancy that helps you find and remove unwanted data. They also create virtual spaces for events, businesses, and brands that allow people to meet in the time of social distancing. They talk about the future of VR, and what is that going to look like for business and consumers and why it is essential to keep the future of VR open source.

  • 2020-07-29 | Linux Headlines

    The first standard-conformant implementations for OpenXR are finally shipping, LineageOS 17.1 has an unsupported build for the Raspberry Pi, Nextcloud gains a Forms feature, nano version 5 brings new features to the venerable text editor, Facebook releases PyTorch version 1.6, and Microsoft backs the Blender Foundation.

  • Destination Linux 184: Let's Squash Some Bugs (plus Manjaro ARM Interview)

    Coming up on this week’s episode of Destination Linux, we have an interview with Dan Johansen of Manjaro ARM to talk all things ARM. The big topic of the week is about Bug Reports and how they can get better for both Users and Developers so Let’s Squash Some Bugs. In the News, we talk about the new AMD Ryzen Linux Laptops are finally hitting the market. Thanks to Tuxedo & Slimbook we’ve got 2 new Linux Laptops with the Tuxedo Pulse 15 & the KDE Slimbook. In Linux Gaming section we talk about SuperTuxKart which an awesome Open Source game for Linux! We’ve also got some great Community Feedback to talk about. In addition to our Software Spotlight we are going to start explaining the Linux Filesystem in the Tip of the Week for a Filesystem Breakdown Series. All of this and so much more on Episode 184 of the #1 video-centric Linux podcast, Destination Linux!

GNU nano 5.0 Open-Source Text Editor Released, This is What’s New

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GNU
OSS

GNU nano is probably one of the most popular text editors for the command line. It’s probably included in almost all GNU/Linux distribution is it usually comes in handy whenever there’s some configuration files you need to edit.

Dubbed “Among the fields of barley,” GNU nano 5.0 introduces a new --indicator parameter that displays some sort of scrollbar to show you where the viewport is located in the buffer and how much it covers, along with the --bookstyle parameter that makes nano consider any line that begins with a whitespace the start of a paragraph.

It’s now possible to tag any line with an anchor using the shortcut. You can then jump to the nearest anchor using and . GNU nano 5.0 also lest you access the Execute Command prompt directly from the main menu with ^T, as well as to toggle the help lines in all menus (except for the linter and help viewer) with M-X and list the possibilities at a filename prompt with .

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Presenting the expanded Free Software Foundation Bulletin, online!

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GNU

Right now, in a rapidly changing and uncertain world, free software has a special role to play. This issue of the biannual Free Software Foundation Bulletin addresses some of the challenges that life during the COVID-19 pandemic poses to software freedom, but it also highlights some of the unique contributions that activists are making to safeguard your rights today. Whether through manufacturing desperately-needed medical supplies, advocating for and supplying free and secure videoconferencing for remote learning, or creating flexible and portable libre medical information systems, activists have put in extraordinary effort to ensure that our user freedom is protected along with our safety.

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GNU Projects in the new:

  • Digital Dollar Project In Light Of Recent Congressional Hearings

    There has to be a notion of a controlling owner, and the eventual recording of the transfer in a ledger against double spend. This is the case even in bitcoin. Inevitably, the owner and a ledger creep back into the equation. There are designs like the David Chaum’s DigiCash and GNU Taler which do have technical solutions for anonymous peer to peer transfers. Digicash declared bankruptcy, GNU Taler is brand new. Pure peer to peer and customer to merchant could operate in a disconnected setting, but for small amounts.

Audiocasts/Shows: Red Hat, TWIL, Linux in the Ham Shack and Command Line Heroes: Where Coders Code

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GNU
Linux

  • The Business of Free Software: Red Hat

    In this opener to series two of the Tech Means Business podcast, we were delighted to speak to Stefanie Chiras, the Vice President and General Manager, RHEL Business Unit at Red Hat.

    With a skew of qualifications that would make a recruitment professional weep (Harvard, Princeton, UCSB), Stefanie was a career IBM-er until two years ago, when she shifted up a gear into Red Hat, post-acquisition of the latter by the former. Now at the helm of the pivotal Red Hat Enterprise Linux Business Unit, she’s in the business of making the case for all things FOSS at organizations across the world.

    We talk about getting the message right, open-source monetization, and how it’s not about the details of the code, but the outcomes for the business that matter. As the world transitions to open, cloud-y, platform-agnostic solutions and services, we hear how RHEL makes its particular case among the Ubuntus, SUSEs, Salesforces and SAPs of this world.

    Stefanie & Joe mull over upstreaming code, communities of developers, high-performance & supercomputing, microservices and monolithic applications: all in all, a substantial series two opener, with more food for thought than an open buffet at a rocket science convention!

  • This Week in Linux 110: AMD Ryzen Linux Laptops, Thunderbird 78, Cooler Master Raspberry Pi Case

    On this episode of This Week in Linux, we’ve got some really cool hardware news, we’ve finally got some Linux laptops equipped with an AMD Ryzen 4000H series processor. These laptops are thanks to Tuxedo Computers and KDE Slimbook. Cooler Master has launched a kickstarter campaign to make a pretty slick Case for the Raspberry Pi 4. We’ve also got a LOT of App News this week with the latest release of the most popular open source email client, Thunderbird 78 from Mozilla. KDE has released version 7.0.0 of digiKam. If you’ve been wanting an open source way to control your RGB lights on your devices then OpenRGB may be the tool for you. And finally, PeerTube has announced the 2.3.0 release that comes with the much anticipated Global Search feature! All that and much more on Your Weekly Source for Linux GNews!

  • LHS Episode #359: Backup Solutions Deep Dive

    Welcome to Episode 359 of Linux in the Ham Shack. In this episode, the hosts take a deep dive into the world of real-time backups, archiving, replication, data storage, cloud services and more. Everyone should have a reasonable backup and disaster recovery solution and this episode hopes to provide several options for accomplishing that goal with open source software and hardware in mind. Thanks for listening and we hope you have a great week and good backups.

  • [S5:E2] Command Line Heroes: Where Coders Code

Linux Impressions

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GNU
Linux

I won’t try to do any benchmarking here. More interesting to me is the perceived performance.

Here I can say that the biggest difference is as, already mentioned, Docker.

Apart from that file search in my editor and also starting applications are both definitely faster on Linux. KRunner in KDE also feels faster than searching in Gnome or Spotlight on a Mac.

I mostly cannot tell a difference between Manjaro+KDE and Ubuntu+Gnome, but looking at the system status you can see that Manjaro+KDE consumes less ressources and has less systemd services running. For me it was definitely a surprise to find out that in 2020 KDE is more lightweight than Gnome. That used to be very different.

Booting the system I have to say that Dell BIOS seems to be the fastest and Lenovo Thinkpad the slowest. Or Lenovo prefers likes to show their giant red logo for a bit longer.

The actual Linux distros are both pretty fast. I find that KDE gives you a smoother booting experience and Manjaro doesn’t have a loading screen while Ubuntu shows a loading screen for 1-2 seconds.

One point for the MacBooks is that their sleep mode (closing the laptop lid) lasts longer. I think the Mac switches to hibernate automatically. While hibernate works on the Linux laptops, it seems to be not faster than rebooting from scratch.

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The falsehoods of anti-AGPL propaganda

Filed under
GNU
Legal

Google is well-known for forbidding the use of software using the GNU Affero General Public License, commonly known as “AGPL”. Google is also well-known for being the subject of cargo-culting by fad startups. Unfortunately, this means that they are susceptible to what is ultimately anti-AGPL propaganda from Google, with little to no basis in fact.

[...]

The Google page about the AGPL details inaccurate (but common1) misconceptions about the obligations of the AGPL that don’t follow from the text. Google states that if, for example, Google Maps used PostGIS as its data store, and PostGIS used the AGPL, Google would be required to release the Google Maps code. This is not true. They would be required to release their PostGIS patches in this situation. AGPL does not extend the GPL in that it makes the Internet count as a form of linking which creates a derivative work, as Google implies, but rather that it makes anyone who uses the software via the Internet entitled to its source code. It does not update the “what counts as a ‘derivative work’” algorithm, so to speak — it updates the “what counts as ‘distributing’ the software” algorithm.

The reason they spread these misconceptions is straightforward: they want to discourage people from using the AGPL, because they cannot productize such software effectively. Google wants to be able to incorporate FOSS software into their products and sell it to users without the obligation to release their derivative works. Google is an Internet company, and they offer Internet services. The original GPL doesn’t threaten their scheme because their software is accessed over the Internet, not distributed to end-users directly.

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Devices: ATMegaZero, Arduino, Raspberry Pi, RISC-V

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GNU
Linux
Hardware

  • Is That a Raspberry Pi Zero? Nope. ATMegaZero is an Arduino Compatible Board

    ATMegaZero is an Arduino Leonardo compatible board based on Microchip ATmega32U4 8-bit AVR microcontroller that mostly follows Raspberry Pi Zero form factor with the 40-pin GPIO header, MicroSD card slot, and one micro USB port in the same location.

    The MIPI CSI camera connector makes place for an OLED display connector, and the HDMI port is obviously gone, but you also get an 8-pin header to easily install an ESP8266 based ESP-01 module to add WiFi connectivity.

  • This Raspberry Pi–powered setup improves home brewing
  • Codasip releases first Linux-capable RISC-V core

    Codasip, a supplier of customisable RISC-V embedded processor IP, has released the Bk7, the most advanced core in the Codasip family of RISC-V processor IP, and built specifically for customisation and domain-specific optimisation.

    The Bk7 is intended for any sophisticated modern application, from security to real-time AI processing, especially where embedded Linux is required.

    The Codasip Bk7 is a 64-bit processor core with a single in-order 7-stage pipeline, fully compliant with the RV64IMAFDC instruction set architecture (ISA). As with all Codasip Bk cores, the open RISC-V standard makes it possible to configure and extend the core to precisely fit the customer’s domain-specific needs.

Video/Audio: Guix, Linux Headlines and Python Podcast

Filed under
Development
GNU
Linux

  • Guix Is An Advanced GNU Operating System For Freedom Lovers

    Guix is an advanced distribution of the GNU operating system developed by the GNU Project. It is available as a GNU/Linux-libre distro or you can use Guix with GNU's HURD kernel. Guix supports transactional upgrades, roll-backs, and unprivileged package management. Guix is a 100% free distro and is approved by the Free Software Foundation.

  • 2020-07-27 | Linux Headlines

    The Manjaro community is in turmoil over the controversial resignation of the project’s treasurer, Firefox 79 brings improved user-facing security features, and WordPress 5.5 bundles a long-awaited sitemap generator.

  • Podcast.__init__: Learning To Program By Building Tiny Python Projects

    One of the best methods for learning programming is to just build a project and see how things work first-hand. With that in mind, Ken Youens-Clark wrote a whole book of Tiny Python Projects that you can use to get started on your journey. In this episode he shares his inspiration for the book, his thoughts on the benefits of teaching testing principles and the use of linting and formatting tools, as well as the benefits of trying variations on a working program to see how it behaves. This was a great conversation about useful strategies for supporting new programmers in their efforts to learn a valuable skill.

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More in Tux Machines

Android Leftovers

Security-Oriented Kodachi Linux 7.2 Released with One of the Best Secure Messengers

Based on the latest Xubuntu 18.04 LTS point release, Kodachi Linux 7.2 codename “Defeat” comes with the newest Ubuntu kernel that’s patched against recent security vulnerabilities and full sync with the upstream Bionic Beaver repositories to provide users with an up-to-date installation media. On top of that, the new release introduces new security features, such as Session Messenger, a popular private messenger that the Kodachi Linux team doubts as one of the best secure messengers and the Steghide UI utility for hiding encrypted text messages in images, text or audio files. Read more

Linux and Linux Foundation: 5.9 Kernel and LF Edge

  • Intel SERIALIZE, Dropping Of SGI UV Supercomputer, i386 Clang'ing Hit Linux 5.9

    A number of x86-related changes were sent out today for the first full day of the Linux 5.9 merge window. 

  •         
  • Btrfs Seeing Some Nice Performance Improvements For Linux 5.9

    With more eyes on Btrfs given the file-system is set to become the default for Fedora 33 desktop spins, there are some interesting performance optimizations coming to Btrfs with the in-development Linux 5.9 kernel.  On the performance front for Btrfs in Linux 5.9 there are optimized helpers for little-endian architectures to avoid little/big endian conversions around the on-disk format, tree-log/fsync optimizations yielding around a 12% lower maximum latency for the Dbench benchmark, faster mount times for large file-systems in the terabyte range, and parallel fsync optimizations. 

  • As IoT Continues to Evolve, LF Edge Explores the Edge Continuum in a New White Paper

    Earlier this month, LF Edge, an umbrella organization under The Linux Foundation, published a white paper updating the industry on their continued ecosystem collaboration. LF Edge brings together projects within the Foundation, that “aims to establish an open, interoperable framework for edge computing independent of hardware, silicon, cloud, or operating system.”

Open Hardware With Arduino: Counter and MKR ZERO

  • Keep track of your laps in the pool with this Arduino counter

    PeterQuinn925 swims for exercise, and to train for the occasional triathlon, but when doing so he often zones out and forgets how many laps he has swam. To solve this problem without spending a lot of money on a commercial solution, he created his own counter using an Arduino Nano and an ultrasonic sensor. The sensor detects when a swimmer approaches, and the system calculates distance based on this, assuming that a lap is roughly 50 yards or meters. This info is announced audibly via a speaker/amplifier using an Arduino speech library and is shown on a 7-segment display.

  • Recreating Rosie the Robot with a MKR ZERO

    While 2020 may seem like a very futuristic year, we still don’t have robotic maids like the Jetsons’ Rosie the Robot. For his latest element14 Presents project, DJ Harrigan decided to create such a bot as a sort of animatronic character, using an ESP8266 board for interface and overall control, and a MKR ZERO to play stored audio effects. The device features a moveable head, arms and eyes, and even has a very clever single-servo gear setup to open and close its mouth.