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Best Free Linux Application Launchers

Filed under
GNU
Linux

We’ve recently expressed our opinion on the Linux desktop scene with Best Linux Desktop Environments: Strong and Stable, and our follow-up article Linux Desktop Environments: Pantheon, Trinity, LXDE. These desktop environments provide good application launchers. But there’s still a place for a different approach, using a standalone application launcher.

Application launchers play an integral part in making the Linux desktop a more productive environment to work and play. They represent small utilities which offers the desktop user a convenient access point for application software and can make a real boost to users’ efficiency.

An application launcher helps to reduce start up times for applications by indexing shortcuts in the menu. Furthermore, this type of software allows users to search for documents and other files quicker by indexing different file formats. This makes them useful for launching almost anything on a computer including multimedia files, games, and the internet. Application launchers often support plug-ins, adding to their versatility.

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Watchdog: IRS botched Linux migration

Filed under
GNU
Linux

Poor IT governance prevented the IRS from making progress on a long-term effort to migrate 141 legacy applications from proprietary vendor software to open source Linux operating systems, according to an audit by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.

Under a migration plan developed in 2014, two-thirds of targeted applications and databases were supposed to have been successfully migrated by December 2016.

However, only eight of the 141 applications targeted have successfully transitioned to Linux as of February 2018. More than one third have not even started.

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Manjaro 18.0 Released – What’s New in Manjaro Illyria?

Filed under
GNU
Linux

Manjaro is an Arch Linux-based Operating System developed in Austria, Germany, and France with a focus on providing a beautiful user-friendly OS with the full power of Arch Linux to beginner computer users and experts at the same time.

If you are not already familiar with Manjaro Linux then the developers have recently given more reasons for you to by dropping its latest release, Manjaro 18.0, codenamed “Illyria“. This update brings both major and minor updates to the OS and makes its overall experience more pleasant.

It is fulfilling to see how well an OS that began as a hobby project has come this far with several UI scripts, support for NVIDIA’s Optimus technology, etc. right out of the box – features that come together to enhance its user experience.

For an overview of its features, check out the 10 Reasons to Use Manjaro Linux.

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Linux on the Desktop: Are We Nearly There Yet?

Filed under
GNU
Linux

The numbers are pretty stark: Linux might be the backbone of everything from embedded devices to mainframes and super computers. But it has just a 2% share of desktops and laptops.

It seems the only way to get most people to even touch it is to rip away everything you recognise as Linux to rebuild it as Android.

Until recently, I was in the 98%. I honestly wasn’t even conflicted. I used Linux most days both for work and for hobbies – but always in the cloud or on one of those handy little project boards that are everywhere now. For my daily driver, it was Windows all the way.

I guess what’s kept me with Windows so long is really that it’s just been good enough as a default option that I haven’t been prompted to even think about it. Which, to be fair, is a great quality in an operating system.

The last time I tried a dual boot Linux/Windows setup was about 15 years ago. I was using Unix at university, and was quite attracted to the idea of free and open source software, so I decided to give it a go.

This was back when, if you wanted to install Linux, you went to the newsagent and bought a magazine that had a CD-ROM on the front cover. I don’t exactly remember what distro it was – probably something like Slackware or Red Hat.

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FSF Licensing and Compliance Lab: 2018 and the future

Filed under
GNU
OSS
Legal

I am the current licensing and compliance manager for the FSF, though I've had several roles in my time here. The Lab handles all the free software licensing work for the FSF. Copyleft is the best legal tool we have for protecting the rights of users, and the Lab makes sure that tool is at full power by providing fundamental licensing education. From publishing articles and resources on free software licensing, to doing license compliance work for the GNU Project, to handling our certification programs like Respects Your Freedom, if there is a license involved, the Lab is on the case.

When I started working at the FSF part-time in 2008, the GNU General Public License version 3 (GPLv3) was only a year old. Our Respects Your Freedom certification program didn't yet exist. The Free Software Directory wasn't yet a wiki that could be updated by the community at large. Things have changed a lot over the years, as has our ability to help users to understand and share freely licensed works. I'd like to take just a moment as 2018 draws to a close to look back on some of the great work we accomplished.

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Adobe and GNU/Linux

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Software

Programming: GCC, LLVM, Rust, Ruby and Python

Filed under
Development
GNU
  • GCC 9 Guts Out The PowerPC SPE Support

    It should come as no surprise since it was deprecated in this year's GCC 8 release, but the PowerPC SPE code has been removed.

    This isn't to be confused with conventional POWER/PowerPC but rather PowerPC SPE that is for the "Signal Processing Engine" on older FreeScale/IBM cores like the e500. It's not all that important these days and doesn't affect newer versions of the 64-bit Power support.

  • LLVM's OpenMP Runtime Picks Up DragonFlyBSD & OpenBSD Support

    Good news for those using the LLVM Clang compiler on OpenBSD or DragonFlyBSD: the OpenMP run-time should now be supported with the latest development code.

  • Nick Cameron: Rust in 2022

    In case you missed it, we released our second edition of Rust this year! An edition is an opportunity to make backwards incompatible changes, but more than that it's an opportunity to bring attention to how programming in Rust has changed. With the 2018 edition out of the door, now is the time to think about the next edition: how do we want programming in Rust in 2022 to be different to programming in Rust today? Once we've worked that out, lets work backwards to what should be done in 2019.

    Without thinking about the details, lets think about the timescale and cadence it gives us. It was three years from Rust 1.0 to Rust 2018 and I expect it will be three years until the next edition. Although I think the edition process went quite well, I think that if we'd planned in advance then it could have gone better. In particular, it felt like there were a lot of late changes which could have happened earlier so that we could get more experience with them. In order to avoid that I propose that we aim to avoid breaking changes and large new features landing after the end of 2020. That gives 2021 for finishing, polishing, and marketing with a release late that year. Working backwards, 2020 should be an 'impl year' - focussing on designing and implementing the things we know we want in place for the 2021 edition. 2019 should be a year to invest while we don't have any release pressure.

    To me, investing means paying down technical debt, looking at our processes, infrastructure, tooling, governance, and overheads to see where we can be more efficient in the long run, and working on 'quality of life' improvements for users, the kind that don't make headlines but will make using Rust a better experience. It's also the time to investigate some high-risk, high-reward ideas that will need years of iteration to be user-ready; 2019 should be an exciting year!

  • A Java Developer Walks Into A Ruby Conference: Charles Nutter’s Open Source Journey

    As a Java developer, Nutter began looking for an existing way to run Ruby within a Java runtime environment, specifically a Java virtual machine (JVM). This would let Ruby programs run on any hardware or software platform supported by a JVM, and would facilitate writing polyglot applications that used some Java and some Ruby, with developers free to choose whichever language was best for a particular task.

  • Good ciphers in OpenJDK
  • Don’t delete the same file in its own directory
  • Create a home button on the pause scene

Best Lightweight Linux Distros for Older Computers

Filed under
GNU
Linux

Don’t throw away that old Pentium III tower and CRT monitor just yet! While that old laptop in the closet may not be able to run Windows 10 or macOS Mojave, it doesn’t mean it’s destined for the dump.

Many Linux distributions are made specifically for utilizing the ancient, underpowered hardware found in older machines. By installing these lightweight distros, you can breathe new life into an old PC thought to be long past its prime. Here are the best lightweight Linux distros that we’ve picked out from the pile.

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Most Secure Operating Systems, VPN for GNU/Linux, and Latest GNU/Linux FUD

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Security
  • What’s the most secure operating system?

    Linux has a family of different free versions (known as distributions, or distros) to choose from, based on users’ computer skills. If you’re just getting started, check out Mint or Ubuntu. And because Linux is open-source, users can make copies of modified systems and give them away to friends in need.

  • Choose the Right VPN for Linux in 2019
  • Cryptomining campaign pulls new ‘Linux Rabbit’ malware out of its black hat [Ed: No, it's not ‘Linux Rabbit’ but ‘Weak Password Rabbit’; calling it Linux is rather misleading, distracts from the real problem.]
  • Linux malware: is it so hard to get it right? [Ed: Recognising Catalin Cimpaun for what he really is (and has always been): a clickbaiting troll. For CBS to employ him for ZDNet says a lot about the agenda.]

    Once again, so-called security researchers and tech writers have combined to provide misinformation about trojanised SSH scripts which can be run on a Linux server after said server is compromised through a brute-force attack and root status attained. And they call it Linux malware!
    Security firm ESET and ZDNet writer Catalin Cimpanu have both got it wrong in the past — the latter on numerous occasions as he simply does not seem to understand anything about the Linux security model — but both continue to persist in trying to pursue the topic. ESET has gone in the wrong direction on torrent files and clients too.

    Arguably, there is reason to do so: Linux and malware in the same headline do still serve as some kind of clickbait.

    [...]

    Cimpanu was more descriptive, but again made the same fundamental mistake. Malware can be created for any operating system, but the crucial question is how do you get it onto that system?

    [...]

    Cimpanu's former employer, Bleeping Computer, was also prone to screw-ups of this nature. Here is the editor of Bleeping Computer, Lawrence Abrams, expounding on ransomware targeting Linux servers.

    But then Bleeping Computer is a relatively small operation. One would have thought that ZDNet, which has tons of resources, would have a little more editorial quality control.

Community Member Monday: Iwan Tahari on LibreOffice migrations in Indonesia

Filed under
GNU
LibO
Linux

Many companies around the world use free and open source software (FOSS) to reduce costs, improve reliability, and free themselves from vendor lock-in. Today we talk to Iwan Tahari from FANS, an Indonesian shoe manufacturer, which has migrated to GNU/Linux and LibreOffice...

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More in Tux Machines

PDFArranger: Merge, Split, Rotate, Crop Or Rearrange PDF Documents (PDF-Shuffler Fork)

PDFArranger is an application for merging or splitting PDF files, as well as rotating, cropping and rearranging PDF document pages, using a simple graphical user interface. The tool, which is a graphical front-end for PyPDF2, is a fork of PDF-Shuffler that aims to "make the project a bit more active". It runs on Linux, but there's also experimental Windows support. Read more

Qt 3D Studio 2.2 Released

We are happy to announce that Qt 3D Studio 2.2 has been released. Qt 3D Studio is a design tool for creating 3D user interfaces and adding 3D content into Qt based applications. With Qt 3D Studio you can easily define the 3D content look & feel, animations and user interface states. Please refer to earlier blog posts and documentation for more details on Qt 3D Studio. Read more Also: Qt 3D Studio 2.2 Released With New Material System, Stereoscopic Rendering Preview

AMD Linux News

  • AMD Squeezes In Some Final AMDGPU Changes To DRM-Next For Linux 4.21
    Complementing all of the AMDGPU feature work already staged for the upcoming Linux 4.21 kernel, another (small) batch of material was sent out on Wednesday. This latest AMDGPU material for Linux 4.21 includes PowerPlay updates for newer Polaris parts, a cursor plane update fast path, enabling GPU reset by default for Sea Islands (GCN 1.1) graphics cards, and various fixes.
  • AMD Adding STIBP "Always-On Preferred Mode" To Linux
    Initially during the Linux 4.20 kernel merge window with the STIBP addition for cross-hyperthread Spectre V2 mitigation it was turned on by default for all processes. But that turned out to have a sizable performance hit so the behavior was changed to only turn it on for processes under SECCOMP or when requested via the PRCTL interface. However, AMD is landing a patch that for select CPUs will have an always-on mode as evidently that's preferred for some AMD processors.
  • Radeon Software for Linux 18.50 Released - Just One Listed Change
    The Radeon Software for Linux 18.50 driver release (a.k.a. "AMDGPU-PRO" 18.50) is now officially available We were expecting the 18.50 driver update following Thursday's Radeon Software Adrenalin 2019 Edition driver for Windows having debuted. The 18.50 driver release has since been made available via the AMD web-site.
  • Radeon ROCm 1.9.1 vs. NVIDIA OpenCL Linux Plus RTX 2080 TensorFlow Benchmarks
    Following the GeForce RTX 2080 Linux gaming benchmarks last week with now having that non-Ti variant, I carried out some fresh GPU compute benchmarks of the higher-end NVIDIA GeForce and AMD Radeon graphics cards. Here's a look at the OpenCL performance between the competing vendors plus some fresh CUDA benchmarks as well as NVIDIA GPU Cloud TensorFlow Docker benchmarks.
  • Radeon Software Adrenalin 2019 Rolls Out While Linux Users Should Have AMDGPU-PRO 18.50
    AMD today released their Radeon Software Adrenalin 2019 Edition geared for Windows gamers while Linux users should have AMDGPU-PRO 18.50 available shortly for those wanting to use this hybrid Vulkan/OpenGL driver component that does also feature the AMDGPU-Open components too in their stable but dated composition. The 2019 Adrenalin Edition for Windows brings performance improvements for select Windows titles, new advisors to help configure games and settings, improved fan control, WattMan improvements, game streaming improvements, and more.

Security Leftovers

  • Thoughts on bootstrapping GHC
    I am returning from the reproducible builds summit 2018 in Paris. The latest hottest thing within the reproducible-builds project seems to be bootstrapping: How can we build a whole operating system from just and only source code, using very little, or even no, binary seeds or auto-generated files. This is actually concern that is somewhat orthogonal to reproducibility: Bootstrappable builds help me in trusting programs that I built, while reproducible builds help me in trusting programs that others built. And while they make good progress bootstrapping a full system from just a C compiler written in Scheme, and a Scheme interpreter written in C, that can build each other (Janneke’s mes project), and there are plans to build that on top of stage0, which starts with a 280 bytes of binary, the situation looks pretty bad when it comes to Haskell.
  • No, You Don’t Need Antivirus on a Chromebook
  • Security updates for Friday
  • Inception Attackers Target Europe with Year-old Office Vulnerability
  • Brute Force Attacks Conducted by Cyber Actors
  • IBM protects your cloud container data running under Kubernetes with encryption
    Protecting your stored data on the cloud is a concern, but it's easy enough with encryption. Thanks to SSL, it's simple to protect data in motion on the network. But protecting your data when it's being used on the cloud is not so simple. Enter IBM, which, in partnership with Fortanix, is now providing data-in-use protection for your container workloads running on the IBM Cloud Kubernetes Service with IBM Cloud Data Shield. Jason McGee, IBM Cloud Platform VP and CTO, explained the process at KubeCon in Seattle: Data Shield uses Intel Software Guard Extensions (SGX) technology to run code and data in CPU-hardened Trusted Execution Environment (TEE) or enclave. This is a trusted area of memory, where critical aspects of the application functionality are protected by encryption. This helps keep both your code and data private and shielded from would-be hackers.
  • GNOME Security Internship - The Beginning
  • GNOME Security Internship - Update 1
  • Kubernetes Security Authentication Moving Forward With SIG-Auth
    The basic units of organization within the Kubernetes community are the Special Interest Groups that help define and implement new features and capabilities. For security, one of the primary SIGs within Kubernetes is SIG-Auth. Kubernetes is a widely used container orchestration platform that is supported on all the major public cloud providers and is also deployed on-premises. In a session at the KubeCon + CloudNativeCon NA 2018 here, the leaders of SIG-Auth outlined how the group works and what the current and future priorities are for the Kubernetes project.