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Easy Pyro 1.2.8 and Buster 2.1.8 released

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Enough new things have happened to warrant new releases. The so-called EOL (End Of Line) Pyro series is continuing to receive version bumps, and if you read the release notes you will see that the version bump 1.2.7 to 1.2.8 and 2.1.7 to 2.1.8 are both getting the same changes.

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Professional Free Software

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At the 2019 Libre Graphics Meeting, illustrator Livio Fania presented a heart-felt plea for more professionalism in libre graphics.

And that was the moment I began to think a bit. What is it that makes one project professional, and another not? Where, in this case, I’d take “professional” to mean “someone can depend on it so they can earn their daily bread with no more than the problems you always have with any software, because all software sucks, and hardware even more so”.

As Livio said in his presentation, funding makes a difference. If a project can fund its development, its continuity will be better, it will be better able to implement its vision and deliver what it promises, simply because funding equals time. That’s also what I tried to argue in my previous blog post.

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GNU Releases: guile-ncurses, cpio and mailutils

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  • guile-ncurses v3.0 released

    I am pleased to announce the release of guile-ncurses 3.0

    guile-ncurses is a library for the creation of text user interfaces in the GNU Guile dialect of the Scheme programming language. It is a wrapper to the ncurses TUI library. It contains some basic text display and keyboard and mouse input functionality, as well as a menu widget and a form widget. It also has lower level terminfo and termios functionality.

  • GNU cpio Version 2.13

    GNU cpio version 2.13 is available for download. This version fixes the following vulnerabilities: CVE-2015-1197, CVE-2016-2037, CVE-2019-14866.

  • GNU Mailutils Version 3.8

    Version 3.8 of GNU mailutils is available for download.
    This version fixes important security flow. The maidag utility has been withdrawn and three new programs have been included to provide its functionality: local mail delivery agent mda, LMTP daemon lmtpd, and user mail delivery tool putmail.

syslog-ng and Fedora Upgrade Stories

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Red Hat
  • Upgrading syslog-ng PE from version 6 to 7

    Learn the major steps necessary to upgrade your system from syslog-ng Premium Edition version 6 to 7. As you will see, it is no more difficult than any other major software version upgrade, and after the upgrade you can start using all the new and useful features that are available in version 7.

    Version 7 of syslog-ng Premium Edition (PE) brought quite a lot of changes compared version 6. The main reason for this was that syslog-ng PE source code was synchronized with syslog-ng Open Source Edition (OSE), and initially many of the PE specific features were unavailable in version 7. It also meant, that direct upgrade between version 6 and 7 was not possible.

    There are many new features in syslog-ng PE version 7 and most of the old features are available again. Due to this people started to upgrade their old installations and easy upgrade between the two versions became an important topic. Obviously, as with any major software upgrades, there are some limitations, but you do not need start an installation from scratch if you want to migrate from syslog-ng PE version 6 to 7.

    Making upgrades easy needed two major changes in syslog-ng PE 7. One is providing backwards compatibility to the old way of configuring features together with warning messages related to changes. The other is handling the persists file – a file containing internal syslog-ng data, like the position until syslog-ng read a source – from the old syslog-ng version properly. Starting with syslog-ng PE 7.0.17 both are handled properly.

  • The Changes that November Brought

    I realized that Fedora 31 had been released on October 29, so I decided to install it to my laptop three days ago.

    Putting on the Fedora is a touchy operation: generally, installing this distro implies a fresh install keeping my home partition, running DNF commands to install the RPM fusion repo afterwards, and finally configuring my brand new Fedora desktop. Although that sounds pretty standard, the problem lies on the fact that I am dealing with a laptop that has OpenMandriva Lx 4, Mageia 7, PCLinuxOS, Elive 3.0, PicarOS Diego, and Pisi Linux. The changes that Fedora makes to the OpenMandriva-controlled GRUB2 regularly lead to a kernel panic in OpenMandriva and a slow start in Mageia.

Raspberry Pi 4: Chronicling the Desktop Experience – Video Streaming – Week 3

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I spend most of my time streaming video using a web browser. Normally on my main desktop machine I gravitate towards Firefox. Sadly, there?s only a very old version of that web browser (60.9.0) available as a Raspbian package. Instead, the officially supported web browser on Raspbian is Chromium.

How does Chromium function for video streaming? I?ve tested a myriad of streaming services including BBC iPlayer, Twitch, and YouTube. Frankly, watching these services in Chromium doesn?t come remotely close to replicating the experience of my main desktop. In fact, video streaming with Chromium is barely enjoyable. While it?s a big improvement over earlier models of the RPI, there is some tearing on videos, and panning is not smooth enough for my liking. It?s more noticeable when the video is played full screen.

RPI4 should have sufficient grunt to be able stream video fluidly. For example, I?ve being comparing the RPI4 to a Chromebook sporting only a dual-core Celeron N3060 CPU with 2GB RAM running GalliumOS. It?s a very basic Chromebook that in many respects is slower than the RPI4. Compiling musikcube takes 17 minutes 13 seconds on the Chromebook using a single core, and 8 minutes 57 seconds with both cores. The RPI4 completes the test significantly faster (see Week 1 of my blog).

Video streaming with Chromium / GalliumOS / Chromebook is very good. Something that cannot be said for the RPI4.

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Audiocasts/Shows/Video: LINUX Unplugged, This Week in Linux, mintCast and Video of Manjaro 18.1.0 KDE Edition

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  • Dell, elementary, Fedora, oh my! | LINUX Unplugged 326

    Dell expands their linux hardware lineup, why elementary OS's Flatpak support sets the bar, and we chat with Christian Schaller of Red Hat about Fedora 31 and what's around the corner.

    Plus an update on Ubuntu on the Raspberry Pi 4 and a pick that's just for Wes.

  • Episode 86 | This Week in Linux

    On this episode of This Week in Linux, we take a look a few distros that were released with Fedora 31, MX Linux 19, and Tails 4.0. GNOME files a counter-claim against the patent troll that is suing Shotwell and we’ll take a look at the NordVPN hack.

  • mintCast 321 - Celluloid Service

    First up, in our Wanderings, Leo finally gets upgraded to kernel 5.3, Tony Hughes tries out Ubuntu 19.10, Moss fights with Ubuntu Mate 19.10, Joe picks up an HP tablet to fix, and Tony Watts has a new guitar.

    Then, our news Firefox, MX, Tails and Fedora all have new releases, and we cover the Linux Mint Monthly News.

  • Manjaro 18.1.0 KDE Edition – Features KDE Plasma 5.16 and Powered by Linux Kernel 5.2

    Manjaro, the Linux distribution based on Arch has just put out a major new release with Manjaro 18.1.0 with the codename “Juhraya”. This release brings numerous improvements, especially with regard to Office productivity applications and package management.

    Manjaro 18.10 offers Office Suite Freeoffice 2018 by SoftMaker during installation. Also, introduce a new software store named “bauh” (formerly fpakman) the graphical package manager for both Snaps and Flatpak giving you the best of all worlds. So Manjaro now supports Snaps, Flatpaks and the Arch AUR. This means that Manjaro users now have three choices of application installation in the GUI.

Pinebook and PinePhone Preorders

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  • The Second Window of the Pinebook Pro Pre-Order has been Announced

    The Pinebook Pro is not like other computer manufacturers, they are not stacked in a warehouse for regular sale.

    They are produced in batches based on sales. So don’t miss the sale if you really want to buy it.

    The Pinebook Pro costs $199.99 with additional shipping charges.

    The pre-orders are estimated dispatch in December 2019.

    In some bad cases, don’t worry if you missed it or sold it, the next pre-order window will be available in early 2020.

  • PinePhone “Brave Heart Edition” pre-orders open Nov 15th (Cheap Linux smartphone)

    The PinePhone is a $149 smartphone designed to run free and open source operating systems such as PostmarketOS, Ubuntu Touch, KDE Plasma Mobile, LuneOS, or Sailfish OS.

    First unveiled in January, the PinePhone has been under development ever since — and the first pre-production phones were supposed to ship to developers in September.

    After encountering several delays, Pine64 says those developer phones are going to start shipping this week — and on November 15th the company will begin taking pre-orders for the first PinePhone 64 Brave Heart Edition smartphones, which are set to ship in December.

SUSI.AI Smart Speaker release 20191105

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SUSI.AI aims at bringing a privacy aware personal assistant onto all of your devices. It runs on Android phones, desktop computers, and RaspberryPi based smart speakers. With the switch to Debian/buster, a lot of problems creeped in and the main application became extremely unstable, crashing in libportaudio2 with very unclear symptoms. Thanks to hint by Felix Yan we were able to fix libportaudio2 locally, and finally got a working and stable image.

During the last summer, a great team of GSoC students have worked on SUSI.AI in general, and on the smart speaker in particular. At the moment SUSI.AI can be installed onto RaspberryPi as well as any Debian based distribution (in particular Debian/buster and Ubuntu 19.04 upward).

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Endeavour OS 2019.09.15 : Based on Arch Linux and Using Xfce Desktop 4.14

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EndeavourOS is an Arch Linux-based distribution featuring a pre-configured Xfce desktop 4.14 and the Calamares graphical installer. The project’s latest snapshot, 2019.09.15, features many package updates, a more complete Arch-x icon set, and the NVIDIA driver installer is included by default.

“The September release has arrived. As of today, you can download our latest ISO with an updated offline installer. The ISO contains Linux kernel 5.2.14; mesa 19.1.6; systemd 243.0; Firefox 69 (Quantum); Arc-x-icons, a more complete and updated version than the Arc icon set used previously.

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GNU: GCC, GNU Assembler and Spring Internships at the FSF

  • AMD GCN OpenMP/OpenACC Offloading Patches For The GCC 10 Compiler

    Over the past year Code Sourcery / Mentor Graphics has been working extensively on the new AMD Radeon "GCN" back-end for the GCC code compiler. With the code that is found in GCC 9 and up to now in GCC 10 hasn't supported OpenMP/OpenACC parallel programming interfaces but that could soon change with patches under review. The Radeon GPU support in GCC up to now hasn't supported OpenMP or OpenACC for offloading to the graphics processor and thus its practicality has been limited.

  • GNU Assembler Patches Sent Out For Optimizing The Intel Jump Conditional Code Erratum

    Now that Intel lifted its embargo on the "Jump Conditional Code" erratum affecting Skylake through Cascade Lake processors, while Intel's own Clear Linux was first to carry these patches they have now been sent out on the Binutils mailing list for trying to get the JCC optimization patches into the upstream Binutils/GAS code-base. Well known Intel compiler toolchain expert H.J. Lu sent out the five patches on Tuesday for optimizing around the JCC Erratum. The GNU Assembler (GAS) patches aim to mitigate the performance by aligning branches within 32-byte boundaries for various instructions. The behavior is activated via the -mbranches-within-32B-boundaries command line switch.

  • Spring internships at the FSF! Apply by Nov. 29

    Do you believe that free software is crucial to a free society? Do you want to help people learn why free software matters, and how to use it? Do you want to dig deep into software freedom issues like copyleft, Digital Restrictions Management (DRM), or surveillance and encryption? Or, do you want to learn systems administration, design, or other tasks using only free software? The Free Software Foundation (FSF) is looking for interns to spend the summer contributing to work in one of three areas: campaigns, licensing, or technical. These positions are unpaid, but the FSF will provide any appropriate documentation you might need to receive funding and school credit from outside sources. We also provide lunch expense reimbursement and a monthly transportation pass that will give you free access to local subways and buses (MBTA). We place an emphasis on providing hands-on educational opportunities for interns, in which they work closely with staff mentors on projects that match their skills and interest.

Games: Parkitect Taste of Adventure and CodeWeavers Working on Steam Play

  • Theme park building sim Parkitect is getting a Taste of Adventure expansion

    Releasing on November 20, Texel Raptor just announced the first big expansion to their incredibly fun theme park building game Parkitect and I couldn't be more excited. I remember being completely absorbed by the classic Theme Park from Bullfrog in my youth, to which Parkitect firmly filled the hole it left in my adult life. Parkitect doesn't necessarily need an expansion, it already has everything that makes it a great game. However, I will gladly take this expansion so I can happily play even more of it.

  • CodeWeavers Is Hiring Another Graphics Developer To Help With Wine D3D / Steam Play

    CodeWeavers is looking to hire another developer to work on Wine's graphics stack and in particular the WineD3D code while having an emphasis that it's part of Valve's Steam Play (Proton) efforts.

  • CodeWeavers are after a Graphics Developer for Steam Play Proton and Wine

    CodeWeavers, the company that helps to support development of Wine and are currently partnered up with Valve to help with Steam Play/Proton have a new Graphics Developer position open. This is a completely different position to the one we posted about before, which is a more generalised role. Instead, their new Graphics Developer position would have you working on Wine's Direct3D implementation. Quite a complicated role, involving early DirectDraw up until modern Direct3D 12 in addition to Vulkan and OpenGL.

Removals From Linux 5.4

  • VirtualBox SF Driver Ejected From The Linux 5.4 Kernel

    Merged to the mainline Linux kernel last week was a driver providing VirtualBox guest shared folder support with the driver up to now being out-of-tree but important for sharing files between the host and guest VM(s). While the driver was part of Linux 5.4-rc7, Linus Torvalds decided to delete this driver on Tuesday. The VirtualBox Shared Folder (VBOXSF) driver will not be part of the mainline Linux 5.4 kernel. Linus was unhappy that it didn't have the necessary sign-offs plus that it's coming late in the cycle and not appearing to meet quality expectations.

  • The Linux Kernel Disabling HPET For Intel Coffee Lake

    Another Intel change being sent off for Linux 5.4 and to be back-ported to current stable series is disabling of HPET for Coffee Lake systems. Due to bug reports going back at least a half-year and workarounds not panning out, kernel developers have decided to blacklist the High Precision Event Timer (HPET) on Coffee Lake systems. Some Coffee Lake systems have a skewed HPET timer when entering the PC10 power state and that in turn marks the time stamp counter (TSC) as unstable.

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