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Desktop: Graphics, Notepadqq, Chromium, Dell’s XPS 13 Developer Edition

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GNU
Linux
  • NVIDIA 396.51 Linux Graphics Driver Released

    While the NVIDIA 396 Linux driver series should soon be succeeded by a new driver branch, for now the NVIDIA 396.51 Linux driver was outed today as the latest and greatest driver release.

  • 100+ Benchmarks Of Various High-End Intel / AMD Desktop CPUs On Linux 4.18

    With development wrapping up soon on the Linux 4.18 kernel (although it looks like the official release will likely be delayed one week), I've been carrying out some fresh benchmarks of this near-final kernel in the latest Linux Git state on various Intel and AMD desktop CPUs -- mostly the higher-end desktop systems. Here are those 100+ benchmark results across six different systems.

    Using Ubuntu 18.04 LTS x86_64 with a Git kernel build from earlier this week, for your viewing pleasure today are benchmarks from six different Intel/AMD platforms ranging from the Intel Core i7 5960X Haswell-E up through the newer Core i7 8700K, Core i9 7960X, and Core i9 7980XE CPUs on the blue side. On the AMD side is the Ryzen 7 2700X and Threadripper 1950X.

  • Notepadqq An Alternative To Notepad++ For Linux

    Notepadqq is a programmer's text editor program for Linux. It is an alternative to Notepad++, a very popular Windows text editor among programmer's community. Notepadqq is available as a snap app on Ubuntu platform currently, and so is Notepad++. So what makes them different? The answer is one of them is actually a Windows binary that runs on top of WINE (Notepad++) and the other is a native Linux program implemented using Qt technology (Notepadqq).

  • [Slackware] Chromium 68 with updated Widevine plugin

    chromium_iconLast week, Chromium 68 was introduced to the “Stable Channel” with lots of bugs fixed, many of those being security fixes (42 in total). And a few days ago an update was released, so I decided to build Chromium 68 for Slackware.

    NOTE: starting with Chromium 68, the browser will show a “Not secure” warning on all HTTP pages. Google announced this in a blog post published on February 8th on Google’s Chromium and Online Security blogs.

    [...]

    Also note (to the purists among you): even though support for Widevine CDM plugin has been built into my chromium package, that package is still built from Open Source software only. As long as you do not install the chromium-widevine-plugin package, your system will not be tainted by closed-source code.

  • Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition comes with Ubuntu pre-installed

    Dell’s XPS 13 Developer Edition laptop is now available in the US on their website with Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) pre-installed, with European availability expected in early August. The launch signals the first availability of Ubuntu’s latest LTS on a major OEM’s hardware since its release in April. Canonical and Dell have worked together to certify Ubuntu 18.04 LTS on the XPS 13.

LibreELEC 9.0 Alpha Kodi 18 Leia-focused Linux distro for Raspberry Pi and PC is here

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GNU
Linux
Movies

Kodi is great software for consuming media, but the best way to experience it is with a Linux distribution that focuses on it. If you aren't familiar, LibreELEC is one such distro -- it allows the user to focus exclusively on Kodi without any distractions. Best of all, it doesn't just run on traditional PC hardware, but the Raspberry Pi too. Yes, by leveraging an inexpensive Pi device, you can create a powerful media box for your television.

Today, the first Alpha of LibreELEC 9.0 becomes available for download. This follows the recent release of Kodi 18 Leia preview, and yes, LibreELEC 9.0 is based on Leia.

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Also: LibreELEC (Leia) v8.90.003 ALPHA

Ctrl-Q issue or “are Firefox developers using Linux at all?”

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GNU
Linux
Moz/FF

When I started using Linux on my desktop there was only Mozilla based browsers which were usable. They had different names: Galeon, Firebird, Phoenix, Mozilla Suite and finally Firefox.

It worked better or worse but did. There were moments when on 2GB ram machine browser was using 6 gigabytes (which resulted in killing it). Then were moments when it started to be slower and slower so I moved to Google Chrome instead.

But still — Firefox had all those extensions which could do insane amount of things with how browser looks, how it works etc. But then Quantum came and changed that. Good bye all nice addons. Hope we meet in other life.

But what it has with question from post title? Simple, little, annoying thing: “Ctrl-Q” shortcut. Lovely one which everyone is using to close application they work with. Not that it does not work — it does. Perfectly. And this is a problem…

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Respects Your Freedom certification program continues to grow

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GNU

We recently had some exciting news for our Respects Your Freedom (RYF) certification program. Our program helps users to find hardware that they can trust to come with freedom inside. When a retailer receives certification on a device, it means users know they will receive hardware that meets with our strict standards on free software and documentation.

First up, on May 15th, we certified the Zerocat Chipflasher "board-edition-1", which can be purchased from the Zerocat Label. This device is a really exciting addition to the program. The Zerocat Chipflasher enables users to flash their own devices using only free software, replacing proprietary firmware with free software. One of the big steps currently for a retailer in creating an RYF-certified laptop is flashing laptops to replace proprietary boot firmware with Libreboot. With the Zerocat Chipflasher, for the first time ever, retailers (or any user) can flash their laptops with a device that can likewise be trusted to respect the rights of users. It means many more users will be able to free their own devices using only free software, and could even help spur the creation of more RYF-certified devices in the future. Currently they are selling a limited edition version, signed by the founder of the Zerocat Label, which will help to fund future availability of the device. Only five remain at this point, but once they are sold, there will be enough funding for future runs of the device.

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Distrochooser Helps Linux Beginners To Choose A Suitable Linux Distribution

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GNU
Linux

You might wondering how to choose a suitable Linux distribution for you. Of course, you might already have consulted some Linux experts to help you to select a Linux distribution for your needs. And some of you might have googled and gone through various resources, Linux forums, websites and blogs in the pursuit of finding perfect distro. Well, you need not to do that anymore. Meet Distrochooser, a website that helps you to easily find out a Linux distribution.

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The Current Happenings Within LXQt As Of Summer 2018

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GNU
Linux

Hong Jen Yee, the developer of the PCMan File Manager that has long served as the default file manager on the LXDE desktop environment, presented at this week's Debian DebConf 18 event about the LXDE/LXQt desktop efforts.

By now most of you know that the current focus when it comes to the lightweight Linux desktop is around LXQt as a collaboration between the LXDE and Razor-qt efforts. LXQt continues targeting the Qt5 tool-kit while using the same lightweight design principles of LXDE. LXQt also makes use of some KDE Frameworks / libraries, still leverages Glib/GVFS/GIO, can work with any window manager, and does support QtXdg.

Besides code sharing with KDE, LXQt does also re-use the "good parts" from GTK+ programs like GNOME File Roller, the Openbox configuration tool, and PulseAudio mixer.

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OpenWrt 18.06.0

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GNU
Linux
  • Reunited with LEDE, OpenWrt releases stable 18.06 version

    The OpenWrt project released version 18.06 of its router-oriented Linux distro, representing the first stable release since the reunification with the forked LEDE project. OpenWrt 18.06 moves to Linux 4.9.111 for some targets and adds Spectre and Meltdown fixes.

    The OpenWrt project released a stable version 18.06 of the venerable OpenWrt Linux distribution for networking and low-end hardware. Users of OpenWrt 15.05 or LEDE 17.01 can upgrade without requiring an entirely new install.

  • OpenWrt 18.06.0 final
  • OpenWrt 18.06.0 final

    The OpenWrt community is proud to announce the first release of the
    OpenWrt 18.06 stable version series. It incorporates over 4000 commits
    since branching the previous LEDE 17.01 release and has been under
    development for well over a year.

    With this release, the re-merged OpenWrt project attempts to define a
    baseline for future development based on the technological modernization
    and refined release processes done by the former LEDE project.

How tai chi and a Linux laptop can create a tiny, powerful orchestra

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GNU
Linux

Dr Ivica Ico Bukvic of Virginia Tech is transcending art and science with the world’s first Linux-based laptop orchestra.

Electronic music has improved substantially in the past few decades, but the work being undertaken by Dr Ivica Ico Bukvic of Virginia Tech is taking things to a whole new level.

In 2005, Bukvic received his doctorate in music composition with cognates in computer music programming and music theory from the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati.

Prior to joining Virginia Tech, he taught at the Oberlin Conservatory and University of Cincinnati.

Now, he is the founder and director of the Digital Interactive Sound and Intermedia Studio (DISIS) at Virginia Tech.

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How to Choose a Linux Distro (Without Trying them All)

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GNU
Linux

With so many Linux distros it might be hard, or at least time consuming, to choose the distro that suits you most. While it’s best to test drive a distro for a week or so to see how it matches your needs, this is unrealistic, even if you had all the time in the world. Here are some common factors to consider when narrowing your selection of distros to try.

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Xubuntu Development Update August 2018

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GNU
Linux
Ubuntu

This is the final point release for Xubuntu 16.04 “Xenial Xerus”. As Xubuntu has a 3-year support cycle, this release will be supported until April 2019. There have not been any major changes from the Xubuntu team for this point release, but there have been a number of other improvements and security updates for other components.

16.04.5 is expected to be released tomorrow, August 2, 2018. If you have a few moments, feel free to do some testing and make sure everything is working as well as we think it is!

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Also: Snapcraft Build Environments

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GNOME: NVMe Firmware and GSConnect

  • Richard Hughes: NVMe Firmware: I Need Your Data
    In a recent Google Plus post I asked what kind of hardware was most interesting to be focusing on next. UEFI updating is now working well with a large number of vendors, and the LVFS “onboarding” process is well established now. On that topic we’ll hopefully have some more announcements soon. Anyway, back to the topic in hand: The overwhelming result from the poll was that people wanted NVMe hardware supported, so that you can trivially update the firmware of your SSD. Firmware updates for SSDs are important, as most either address data consistency issues or provide nice performance fixes.
  • Gnome Shell Android Integration Extension GSConnect V12 Released
    GSConnect v12 was released yesterday with changes like more resilient sshfs connections (which should make browsing your Android device from the desktop more reliable), fixed extension icon alignment, along with other improvements. GSConnect is a Gnome Shell extension that integrates your Android device(s) with the desktop. The tool makes use of the KDE Connect protocol but without using any KDE dependencies, keeping your desktop clean of unwanted packages.
  • Linux Release Roundup: Communitheme, Cantata & VS Code
    GSconnect is a magical GNOME extension that lets your Android phone integrate with your Linux desktop. So good, in fact, that Ubuntu devs want to ship it as part of the upcoming Ubuntu 18.10 release (though last I heard it probably just end up in the repos instead). Anyway, a new version of GSconnect popped out this week. GSconnect v12 adds a nifty new features or two, as well as a few fixes here, and a few UI tweaks there.

Red Hat Leftovers

  • Red Hat Advances Container Storage
    Red Hat has moved to make storage a standard element of a container platform with the release of version 3.1 of Red Hat OpenShift Container Storage (OCS), previously known as Red Hat Container Native Storage. Irshad Raihan, senior manager for product marketing for Red Hat Storage, says Red Hat decided to rebrand its container storage offering to better reflect its tight integration with the Red Hat OpenShift platform. In addition, the term “container native” continues to lose relevance given all the different flavors of container storage that now exist, adds Raihan. The latest version of the container storage software from Red Hat adds arbiter volume support to enable high availability with efficient storage utilization and better performance, enhanced storage monitoring and configuration via the Red Hat implementation of the Prometheus container monitoring framework, and block-backed persistent volumes (PVs) that can be applied to both general application workloads and Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform (OCP) infrastructure workloads. Support for PVs is especially critical because to in the case of Red Hat OCS organizations can deploy more than 1,000 PVs per cluster, which helps to reduce cluster sprawl within the IT environment, says Raihan.
  • Is Red Hat Inc’s (NYSE:RHT) ROE Of 20.72% Sustainable?
  • FPgM report: 2018-33

OSS Leftovers

  • Infineon enables open source TSS ESAPI layer
    This is the first open source TPM middleware that complies with the Software Stack (TSS) Enhanced System API (ESAPI) specification of the Trusted Computing Group . “The ease of integration on Linux and other embedded platforms that comes with the release of the TPM 2.0 ESAPI stack speeds up the adoption of TPM 2.0 in embedded systems such as network equipment and industrial systems,” says Gordon Muehl, Global CTO Security at Huawei.
  • Open source RDBMS uses spurred by lower costs, cloud options
    As the volumes of data generated by organizations get larger and larger, data professionals face a dilemma: Must database bills get bigger in the process? And, increasingly, IT shops with an eye on costs are looking to open source RDBMS platforms as a potential alternative to proprietary relational database technologies.
  • Progress open sources ABL code in Spark Toolkit
    New England headquartered application development company Progress is flexing its programmer credentials this month. The Massachusetts-HQ’d firm has now come forward with its Progress Spark Toolkit… but what is it? The Progress Spark Toolkit is a set of open source ABL code combined with some recommended best-practices.
  • Mixing software development roles produces great results
    Most open source communities don’t have a lot of formal roles. There are certainly people who help with sysadmin tasks, testing, writing documentation, and translating or developing code. But people in open source communities typically move among different roles, often fulfilling several at once. In contrast, team members at most traditional companies have defined roles, working on documentation, support, QA, and in other areas. Why do open source communities take a shared-role approach, and more importantly, how does this way of collaborating affect products and customers? Nextcloud has adopted this community-style practice of mixing roles, and we see large benefits for our customers and our users.
  • FOSS Project Spotlight: SIT (Serverless Information Tracker)
    In the past decade or so, we've learned to equate the ability to collaborate with the need to be online. The advent of SaaS clearly marked the departure from a decentralized collaboration model to a heavily centralized one. While on the surface this is a very convenient delivery model, it simply doesn't fit a number of scenarios well. As somebody once said, "you can't FTP to Mars", but we don't need to go as far. There are plenty of use cases here on Earth that are less than perfectly suited for this "online world". Lower power chips and sensors, vessel/offshore collaboration, disaster recovery, remote areas, sporadically reshaping groups—all these make use of central online services a challenge. Another challenge with centralization is somewhat less thought of—building software that can handle a lot of concurrent users and that stores and processes a lot of information and never goes down is challenging and expensive, and we, as consumers, pay dearly for that effort. And not least important, software in the cloud removes our ability to adapt it perfectly for use cases beyond its owner's vision, scope and profitability considerations. Convenience isn't free, and this goes way beyond the price tag.
  • ProtonMail's open source encryption library, OpenPGPjs, passes independent audit
    ProtonMail, the secure email provider, has just had its credentials re-affirmed after its encryption library, OpenPGPjs, passed an independent security audit. The audit was carried out by the respected security firm, Cure53, after the developer community commissioned a review following the release of OpenPGPjs 3.0 back in March.
  • Uber Announces Open Source Fusion.js Framework
    Uber Announces Fusion.js, an open source "Plugin-based Universal Web Framework." In the announcement, Uber senior software engineer Leo Horie explains that Uber builds hundreds of web-based applications, and with web technologies changing quickly and best practices continually evolving, it is a challenge to have hundreds of web engineers leverage modern language features while staying current with the dynamic nature of the web platform. Fusion.js is Uber's solution to this problem.
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  • ASAN And LSAN Work In rr
    AddressSanitizer has worked in rr for a while. I just found that LeakSanitizer wasn't working and landed a fix for that. This means you can record an ASAN build and if there's an ASAN error, or LSAN finds a leak, you can replay it in rr knowing the exact addresses of the data that leaked — along with the usual rr goodness of reverse execution, watchpoints, etc. Well, hopefully. Report an issue if you find more problems.
  • Oracle Open-Sources GraphPipe to Support ML Development
    Oracle on Wednesday announced that it has open-sourced GraphPipe to enhance machine learning applications. The project's goal is to improve deployment results for machine learning models, noted Project Leader Vish Abrams. That process includes creating an open standard. The company has a questionable relationship with open source developers, so its decision to open-source GraphPipe might not receive a flood of interest. Oracle hopes developers will rally behind the project to simplify and standardize the deployment of machine learning models. GraphPipe consists of a set of libraries and tools for following a deployment standard.
  • OERu makes a college education affordable
    Open, higher education courses are a boon to adults who don’t have the time, money, or confidence to enroll in traditional college courses but want to further their education for work or personal satisfaction. OERu is a great option for these learners. It allows people to take courses assembled by accredited colleges and universities for free, using open textbooks, and pay for assessment only when (and if) they want to apply for formal academic credit. I spoke with Dave Lane, open source technologist at the Open Education Resource Foundation, which is OERu’s parent organization, to learn more about the program. The OER Foundation is a nonprofit organization hosted by Otago Polytechnic in Dunedin, New Zealand. It partners with organizations around the globe to provide leadership, networking, and support to help advance open education principles.
  • Tomu Is A Tiny, Open Source Computer That Easily Fits In Your USB Port
    There are a number of USB stick computers available in the market at varying prices. One of them that really stands out is Tomu — a teeny weeny ARM processor that can entirely fit inside your computer’s USB port. Tomu is based on Silicon Labs Happy Gecko EFM32HG309 Arm Cortex-M0+ microcontroller that runs at 25 MHz. It sports 8 kb of RAM and 60 kb of flash onboard. In spite of the small size, it supports two LEDs and two capacitance touch buttons.
  • RcppArmadillo 0.9.100.5.0
    A new RcppArmadillo release 0.9.100.5.0, based on the new Armadillo release 9.100.5 from earlier today, is now on CRAN and in Debian. It once again follows our (and Conrad's) bi-monthly release schedule. Conrad started with a new 9.100.* series a few days ago. I ran reverse-depends checks and found an issue which he promptly addressed; CRAN found another which he also very promptly addressed. It remains a true pleasure to work with such experienced professionals as Conrad (with whom I finally had a beer around the recent useR! in his home town) and of course the CRAN team whose superb package repository truly is the bedrock of the R community.
  • PHP version 7.1.21 and 7.2.9
    RPM of PHP version 7.2.9 are available in remi repository for Fedora 28 and in remi-php72 repository for Fedora 25-27 and Enterprise Linux ≥ 6 (RHEL, CentOS). RPM of PHP version 7.1.21 are available in remi repository for Fedora 26-27 and in remi-php71 repository for Fedora 25 and Enterprise Linux (RHEL, CentOS).

GNU/Linux on Laptops and Desktops

  • Endless OS and Asus, Update on L1TF Exploit, Free Red Hat DevConf.US in Boston, Linux 4.19 Kernel Update
    Some of us may recall a time when ASUS used to ship a stripped down version of Xandros Linux with their line of Eee PC netbooks. Last week, the same company announced that Endless OS will be supporting non-OS offerings of their product. However it comes with a big disclaimer stating that ASUS will not officially support the operating system's compatibility issues.
  • The Chromebook Grows Up
    What started out as a project to provide a cheap, functional, secure and fast laptop experience has become so much more. Chromebooks in general have suffered from a lack of street-cred acceptance. Yes, they did a great job of doing the everyday basics—web browsing and...well, that was about it. Today, with the integration of Android apps, all new and recently built Chrome OS devices do much more offline—nearly as much as a conventional laptop or desktop, be it video editing, photo editing or a way to switch to a Linux desktop for developers or those who just like to do that sort of thing.
  • Windows 10 Linux Distribution Overload? We have just the thing [Ed: Microsoft is still striving to control and master GNU/Linux through malware, Vista 10]
  • What Dropbox dropping Linux support says
    You've probably already heard by now that Dropbox is nixing support for all Linux file systems but unencrypted ext4. When this was announced, much of the open source crowd was up in arms—and rightfully so. Dropbox has supported Linux for a long time, so this move came as a massive surprise.
  • Winds Beautifully Combines Feed Reader and Podcast Player in One Single App
    Billboard top 50 playlist is great for commuting. But I’m a nerd so I mostly prefer podcasts. Day after day, listening to podcasts on my phone has turned into a habit for the better and now, I crave my favorite podcasts even when I’m home, sitting in front of my computer. Thus began, my hunt for the perfect podcast app for Linux. Desktop Linux doesn’t have a huge selection of dedicated podcast applications. Of course, you can use Rhythmbox music player or VLC Media player to download podcasts (is there anything VLC can’t do?). There are even some great command line tools to download podcasts if you want to go down that road.
  • VirtualBox 5.2.18 Maintenance Update fixed VM process termination on RDP client disconnect
    Virtualbox developers released a maintenance update for virtualization solution on the 14th of August, 2018. The latest update raised the version of VirtualBox to 5.2.18. The improvements and additions have been welcomed by several users as it makes the virtualization product even more convenient to use.