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GNU

On blood-lines, forks and survivors

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OS
GNU
Linux
BSD

GNU/Linux, which is not a direct descendant of the original bits of either AT&T or BSD, and thus not heir to the title of UNIX in the eyes of some purists, ironically brought UNIX to the masses in ways that the more pure-breeds could not. Capitalizing on the confusion created by the AT&T / BSD battles, Linux set its sights on world domination (albeit unwittingly), and the rest as they say is mostly history.

Today, GNU/Linux leads the pack among the Open Source UNIX variants that are active today (such as FreeBSD, NetBSD and OpenBSD). The commercial variants, still alive in data centers, continue to be pushed by big-name vendors, despite being caught in a death spiral and struggling to stay afloat in the face of the penguin tsunami. The once inimitable SunOS/Solaris fizzled away without even a proper goodbye, but continue to live on in Illumos and OpenIndiana, a shell of its former self.

And so it comes down to a handful. On the one hand, GNU/Linux, the irreverent and bastard poster-child that continues to evolve at break-neck speed, and the Right Honourable BSDs that continue to keep the original philosophy alive in its purest form and fighting valiantly into the next decade and into the twilight of most of its developer and user base.

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The 5 Best Window Managers for Linux

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GNU
Linux

No matter how many displays you use with your computer, you'll never be able to fit all the app windows on your desktop. Unless, of course, you have the right tool.

A window manager is a perfect tool that caters to this requirement very well and allows you to leverage the screen estate of your computer/external display to its full potential.

But what exactly is it, what can it do, and what are some of the best window managers you can use on Linux? Here's a guide with answers to all such questions.

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Distros Which Adopted Wayland in 2021

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GNU
Linux

This article lists out several major GNU/Linux operating systems which adopted Wayland technology in favor of the older Xorg by default. Through this article we also introduce two new software called Sway and Wayfire that work with Wayland. This includes Ubuntu and Debian, several more, and some important information about Wayland at the end of article.

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Locked In Your Home

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OS
GNU
Linux

What brand is your home? Do you live in a Google, Apple, or Amazon house? Because in a modern “smart home” you may choose only one, and that choice locks you into dependence on only that vendor and its approved partners for any future appliances and home gadgets. Your “AI” voice assistant may talk to you, but it won’t talk to its competitors.

[...]

With the current trajectory, the smart home will become much like your phone–under a single vendor’s control, not yours. They will get to choose which appliances integrate, which services they use for your voice queries, and what happens to your personal data. If they do something you don’t like, it will be even harder (and more expensive) to switch to a competitor than it already is with a phone or laptop.

Fortunately it’s not too late to change the current situation. If there is any hope for a smart home where you hold the keys, it must start with open standards for how devices communicate. Only then is there a space where truly open alternatives to Big Tech smart home gadgets can exist for the average consumer outside of do-it-yourself electronics projects.

There is an effort underway with the industry organization Matter to create such standards but like with other industry standards membership and compliance is voluntary. Consumers should pressure existing smart home companies to comply with open standards and vote with their wallet. For our part, we will continue our work to build alternatives that don’t lock you in, based on our Social Purpose commitment to protect people’s privacy, security and freedom.

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Also: PhishLabs spying on my WordPress blog?

Audiocasts/Shows: Q4OS, LHS, an Hackaday Podcast

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GNU
Linux
  • A First Look At Q4OS 4.6 With The Plasma Desktop - Invidious

    In this video, I'm going to take a look at the recently released Q4OS 4.6, codenamed "Gemini." Q4OS is a fast and friendly, desktop oriented operating system based on Debian 11 Testing. Q4OS now uses the Plasma desktop as its default.

  • LHS Episode #432: The Weekender LXXIX

    It's time once again for The Weekender. This is our bi-weekly departure into the world of amateur radio contests, open source conventions, special events, listener challenges, hedonism and just plain fun. Thanks for listening and, if you happen to get a chance, feel free to call us or e-mail and send us some feedback. Tell us how we're doing. We'd love to hear from you.

  • Hackaday Podcast 138: Breakin’ Bluetooth, Doritos Rockets, Wireless Robots, And Autonomous Trolling | Hackaday

    Hackaday editors Elliot Williams and Mike Szczys peruse the great hardware hacks of the past week. There’s a robot walker platform that wirelessly offloads motor control planning to a computer. We take a look at automating your fishing boat with a trolling motor upgrade, building the Hoover dam in your back yard, and playing Holst’s Planets on an army of Arduini. Make sure you stick around until the end as we stroll through distant memories of Gopher, and peek inside the parking garages of the sea.

Free Software Foundation (FSF) Tackling Proprietary JavaScript

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GNU
  • FSF announces JShelter browser add-on to combat threats from nonfree JavaScript

    The Free Software Foundation (FSF) today announced the JShelter project, an anti-malware Web browser extension to mitigate potential threats from JavaScript, including fingerprinting, tracking, and data collection. The project is supported by NLnet Foundation's Next Generation Internet (NGI) Zero Privacy & Trust Enhancing Technologies fund. Collaborators include Libor Polčák and Bednář Martin (Brno University of Technology), Giorgio Maone (NoScript), and Ana Isabel Carvalho and Ricardo Lafuente (Manufactura Independente). The JShelter browser add-on is in development and the first release is available.

    Most modern Web sites contain a growing number of programs that the user's Web browser downloads and runs automatically as pages are loaded. While these JavaScript programs can provide functionality to a site in conjunction with native browser features, they are also a significant liability both from security and privacy perspectives. Moreover, the software is typically licensed under unethical terms by the FSF's standards, disempowering users and hampering learning and security. With a thirty-six year history of defending software ethics, The FSF recognizes the importance and urgency of both aspects of the problem and its role in solving this significant challenge. In response, the FSF has been working on an ambitious new initiative, the JShelter browser extension. This browser add-on will limit the potential for JavaScript programs to do harmful actions by restricting default behavior and adding a layer of control. JShelter is a significant next step in the FSF's "Free JavaScript Campaign," providing a new tool that can be used in conjunction with another related extension, GNU LibreJS, which allows the user to identify and run only freely licensed scripts.

  • Keeping your freedom intact when registering or renewing as a DMCA agent

    DMCA agent registration only lasts three years before it must be renewed. Use these add-ons to register and renew without the use of nonfree JavaScript.
    Users shouldn't be forced to use nonfree software when interacting with their own government. Every user has the right to control their own computing, and the government shouldn't be forcing you to download and install proprietary software just to take advantage of its services. But when it comes to registering and renewing the status as an agent under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) in the United States, that's exactly what the government expects you to do.

    The U.S. Copyright Office requires a registered agent to renew their status every three years to help ensure that the agent directory stays up to date. However, the renewal can only be done online, and you are required to use nonfree software. We find this unacceptable. Fortunately, three years ago we devised a way to complete an agent’s registration circumventing the use of nonfree Javascript. Today, we confirm the process still works and it can be applied to renewal as well. We encourage everyone to learn more about these tools to access your government services in software freedom.

The 4 Invaluable Benefits of Switching to Linux

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GNU
Linux

Linux is an operating system used in everything from phones to cars and complex supercomputers, yet you can also use it to power your personal computer. The desktop may not be the space where you’re most likely to encounter Linux, but it’s more than worth your consideration.

Far from being merely another tool for the job, there are several big benefits that come from taking the time to try out, learn, and maybe even stick with using the Linux desktop. Here are four advantages of switching to Linux:

1. A Free Course in Digital Ethics

The free and open-source community views software differently from what you encounter on commercial operating systems. On Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS, most apps come exclusively as binaries whose code you don’t have access to. This binary, though sometimes available for free, is generally a product that you pay for.

The Linux world doesn’t focus on the binary but on the code itself. This code is a language, and the only way to know what it’s doing is to read it. If you (or other Linux users) can’t read the code, you have no way to know what it’s actually doing. You can only have the developer’s word.

Free software is based on the four freedoms. Here they are, as defined by the Free Software Foundation...

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How To Pick a Linux Distribution

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GNU
Linux

I have suffered from distrohopping. Now that I have settled for the last two years, here are some tips to save your time.

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New Video/Audio: Proton, End of Ubuntu Podcast, Archcraft, and Proxmox

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GNU
Linux

GNU Anastasis v0.2.0 released

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GNU

GNU Anastasis is a Free Software protocol and implementation that allows users to securely deposit core secrets with an open set of escrow providers and to recover these secrets if their original copies are lost.

Currently, GNU Anastasis is released as Alpha-quality software. It is not yet production ready! You cannot rely on it to keep your secrets recoverable today! In particular, we need to still review the various country-specific questions used to create unique user identifiers at the beginning of the backup and recovery process. Community feedback on those inputs would be particularly welcome!

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More in Tux Machines

Raspberry Pi 4 2GB jumps to $45 as 1GB model returns from the dead at $35

Citing chip shortages, Raspberry Pi announced its first price increase, bumping the RPi 4 with 2GB RAM up to $45. Meanwhile, the discontinued RPi 4 1GB has come back to life at $35. In the spirit of Halloween, Raspberry Pi Trading has reanimated the 1GB RAM version of the Raspberry Pi 4 Model B, which it killed off when it dropped the price of the 2GB model from $45 to $35 in Feb. 2020. The company also increased the 2GB price to $45. With the 1GB version returning at its old $35 price, we have essentially turned back the clock to early 2020. (In which case, maybe we could get a second chance on stopping the pandemic.) In the Raspberry Pi blog post announcing the changes, CEO Eben Upton cited industry-wide supply chain issues for its first price increase in Pi history. The chip shortages, combined with heightened demand, have caused severe shortages of the RPi Zero and the RPi4 2GB. Read more

The love/hate relationship the cloud has with Linux

The cloud is run by Linux and open-source. There is no debating that claim at this point. It's fact. And not only does Linux power all of those cloud services we deploy and use, but the hold it has over that particular tech sector is also only going to get stronger as we march into the future. I predict that, over the next five years, the cloud and Linux will become synonymous to the point everyone (from CEOs to end-users) will finally get just how important and powerful the platform is. So it's safe to say, there would be no cloud without Linux. There would also be no cloud-native development, Kubernetes, Docker, virtual machines or containers in general. With that in mind, it should stand to reason that the relationship between Linux and the cloud would be all love. Read more

You Can Now Install the UnityX Desktop in Arch Linux, Here's How

UnityX is the successor of the Unity7 desktop environment created by Canonical for its popular Ubuntu Linux distribution back in 2011 with the Ubuntu 11.04 release. But Canonical pulled the plug on Unity7 after seven years of development, yet the community wasn’t ready for this major change. In May 2020, developer Rudra Saraswat created an unofficial Ubuntu flavor called Ubuntu Unity, which features the good old Unity7 desktop environment. Now, the Ubuntu Unity creator wants to take Unity7 to the next level and created UnityX, a modern, yet simple desktop environment. Read more

PSA: gnome-settings-daemon's MediaKeys API is going away

In 2007, Jan Arne Petersen added a D-Bus API to what was still pretty much an import into gnome-control-center of the "acme" utility I wrote to have all the keys on my iBook working. It switched the code away from remapping keyboard keys to "XF86Audio*", to expecting players to contact the D-Bus daemon and ask to be forwarded key events. In 2013, we added support for controlling media players using MPRIS, as another interface. Fast-forward to 2021, and MPRIS support is ubiquitous, whether in free software, proprietary applications or even browsers. So we'll be parting with the "org.gnome.SettingsDaemon.MediaKeys" D-Bus API. If your application still wants to work with older versions of GNOME, it is recommended to at least quiet the MediaKeys API's unavailability. Read more