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Programming: py3status, Debian LTS Work, RcppArmadillo and Programmers

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Development
  • py3status v3.14

    I’m happy to announce this release as it contains some very interesting developments in the project.

  • Holger Levsen: 20181110-lts-201810

    Today while writing this I also noticed that https://lists.debian.org/debian-lts-announce/2018/10/threads.html currently misses DLAs 1532 until DLA 1541, which I have just reported to the #debian-lists IRC channel and as #913426. Update: as that bug was closed quickly, I guess instead we need to focus on #859123 and #859122, so that DLAs are accessable to everyone in future.

  • RcppArmadillo 0.9.200.4.0

    A new RcppArmadillo release, now at 0.9.200.4.0, based on the new Armadillo release 9.200.4 from earlier this week, is now on CRAN, and should get to Debian very soon.

    Armadillo is a powerful and expressive C++ template library for linear algebra aiming towards a good balance between speed and ease of use with a syntax deliberately close to a Matlab. RcppArmadillo integrates this library with the R environment and language–and is widely used by (currently) 532 (or 31 more since just the last release!) other packages on CRAN.

  • Just a techie? – Techies, Devs, Boffins and Geeks

    What’s the solution? We could start by giving up on the dream of developers all being equal in ability, who can then be traded as commodities. Developers have different strengths - some are fantastic systems thinkers, some are drawn towards architecture, and others possess a laser focus on delivery. Some are better at communicating, whilst some just want to think deeply about the problem and to ponder every edge case.

    If developers are recognised as individuals and emboldened with trust and freedom, then they will play to their strengths to give an overall multiplying effect. We can embrace individualism rather than chasing it away, by celebrating and raising up the role of the software developer.

    I want my boffins and techies to be seen as surgeons. They know what they’re doing and you’re in safe hands. We’ve got junior doctors in there also to learn, but the junior doesn’t become the senior overnight. When we’ve got top surgeons the results will speak for themselves, and the good news is that the top surgeons aren’t required in such large quantities. This can make everyone happy.

GCC 9 Lands Initial Support For The OpenRISC Architecture

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Development
GNU
Hardware

It's been a long journey for the OpenRISC CPU instruction set architecture not to be confused with RISC-V, but with the GCC 9.1 compiler release due out in early 2019 will finally be initial mainline support for this ISA.

There had been GCC OpenRISC patches for a while, but the original developers were not okay with assigning their copyrights to the Free Software Foundation as is required to contribute to the GCC project (and most other FSF projects for that matter). Since earlier this year a clean-room rewrite of the GCC OpenRISC port has been taking place and the GCC steering committee approved of this CPU architecture seeing a port in GCC.

Read more

Librem 5 Development Update

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Development
GNU
Linux
  • Librem 5 Development Kits: we are getting there!

    A few weeks ago we published an update about the forthcoming of our Librem 5 development kits when we ran into some issues which caused delays. Today we’re bringing you another update on the hardware fabrication process, as well as some pictures and a video. At the same time as the last update got posted, I was on my way to California, where we are fabricating our development kit and base boards (we are bringing everything to life there, and shipping from that same facility).

    [...]

    The MIPI DSI display interface is of extremely important, and we can not order the final batch of PCBs before we know that the display (and touch controller) work perfectly. By doing the verification we also indeed discovered some problems, minor things that did not behave as expected and which we are now able to fix. Some other issues are simply mechanical issues that are hard to evaluate just from all the datasheets. And then other things happen, like parts not conforming to standards (like the M.2 WiFi/BT card, of which we got samples just a few days after doing the prototype order). For example, the M.2 card has some pretty thick components on the bottom layer and thus can not lay flush on the PCB (which had been an assumption we had when we designed the board), so we need to change the connector for the final boards.

  • Purism Still Working On Librem 5 Developer Kits, Delayed To December

    The Librem 5 GNU/Linux smartphone was originally slated to launch in January 2019 and its developer kits were supposed to ship this past summer. Now it's looking like the Librem 5 Developer Kits will hopefully arrive in December.

    This summer the developer boards were delayed to at least August and in the months since have relayed various delays. Last month they said the kits would ship "very shortly following shipping delays while now that is turning into December.

Programming: Rust 1.30.1, Solid, Schools and GSoC

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Development
  • Announcing Rust 1.30.1

    The Rust team is happy to announce a new version of Rust, 1.30.1. Rust is a systems programming language focused on safety, speed, and concurrency.

  • What is developer efficiency and velocity?

    As I previously mentioned I am currently in the information gathering phase for improvements to desktop Firefox developer efficiency and velocity. While many view developer efficiency and velocity as the same thing–and indeed they are often correlated–it is useful to discuss how they are different.

    I like to think of developer velocity as the rate at which a unit of work is completed. Developer efficiency is the amount of effort required to complete a unit of work.

    If one were to think of the total development output as revenue, improvements to velocity would improve the top-line and improvements to efficiency would improve the bottom-line.

  • Solid: a new way to handle data on the web

    The development of the web was a huge "sea change" in the history of the internet. The web is what brought the masses to this huge worldwide network—for good or ill. It is unlikely that Tim Berners-Lee foresaw all of that when he came up with HTTP and HTML as part of his work at CERN, but he has been in a prime spot to watch the web unfold since 1989. His latest project, Solid, is meant to allow users to claim authority over the personal data that they provide to various internet giants.

    Berners-Lee announced Solid in a post on Medium in late September. In it, he noted that despite "all the good we've achieved, the web has evolved into an engine of inequity and division; swayed by powerful forces who use it for their own agendas". Part of what he is decrying is enabled by the position of power held by companies that essentially use the data they gather in ways that run directly counter to the interests of those they gather it from. "Solid is how we evolve the web in order to restore balance — by giving every one of us complete control over data, personal or not, in a revolutionary way."

    Users' data will be stored in a Solid "pod" (sometimes "personal online data store" or POD) that can reside anywhere on the internet. Since Solid deliberately sets out to build on the existing web, it should not be a surprise that URLs, along with Uniform Resource Identifiers (URIs), are used to identify pods and specific objects within them. Pods also provide one place for businesses, including Inrupt, which was co-founded by Berners-Lee, to provide services for Solid. As he noted in his post, people are willing to pay companies like Dropbox for storage; hosting Solid pods would be a similar opportunity for Inrupt and others.

  • Should a programming course be mandatory for high school students?

    But further, understanding at least the basics of programming is important to being able to fully reap the benefits of open source. Having the code available to review, edit, and share under an open license is important, but can you really make use of the full power of an open license if you're locked in by your own inability to make the changes you wish to make?

  • A Summer Of Code Question

    This is a lightly edited response to a question we got on IRC about how to best apply to participate in Google’s “Summer Of Code” program. this isn’t company policy, but I’ve been the one turning the crank on our GSOC application process for the last while, so maybe it counts as helpful guidance.

    We’re going to apply as an organization to participate in GSOC 2019, but that process hasn’t started yet. This year it kicked off in the first week of January, and I expect about the same in 2019.

    You’re welcome to apply to multiple positions, but I strongly recommend that each application be a focused effort; if you send the same generic application to all of them it’s likely they’ll all be disregarded. I recognize that this seems unfair, but we get a tidal wave of redundant applications for any position we open, so we have to filter them aggressively.

    Successful GSOC applicants generally come in two varieties – people who put forward a strong application to work on projects that we’ve proposed, and people that have put together their own GSOC proposal in collaboration with one or more of our engineers.

Culture is holding back operator adoption of open source

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Development
OSS

At a panel session featuring STC and Vodafone at Light Reading’s Software Defined Operations and the Autonomous Network event, the operational culture was suggested a significant roadblock, as well as the threat of ROI due to shortened lifecycles and disappearing support.

Starting with the culture side, this is a simple one to explain. The current workforce has not been configured to work with an open source mentality. This is a different way of working, a notable shift away from the status quo of proprietary technologies. Sometimes the process of incorporating open source is an arduous task, where it can be difficult to see the benefits.

Read more

Also: Open Source Report Highlights Tension Between Devs & Employers

GNU: GCC Adding Hardware Support, libredwg 0.6.2 Released

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Development
GNU
  • OpenRISC Port Revised For GCC, Still Trying To Be Mainlined Soon

    The GCC steering committee decided earlier this year they will accept the OpenRISC port for this processor ISA while the patches for it are still being prepped.

    This RISC-based open-source processor ISA has struggled to get the GCC compiler support in place after their original toolchain support was rejected: the original developers were not okay with assigning their code's copyright to the Free Software Foundation as is required for contributions to the GNU Compiler Collection. So an OpenRISC developer has been doing a clean-room rewrite of the OpenRISC GCC code since earlier this year in order to be able to mainline the code.

  • GCC Picks Up Support For Newer Loongson Processors

    Ahead of the GCC 9 feature freeze later this month, support for several newer Loongson processors have been picked up by this leading open-source compiler.

    As of today in GCC Git/SVN, the Loongson 2K1000, 3A1000, 3A2000, and 3A3000 processors are supported by the GCC compiler. In the process, the Loongson MMI, EXT, and EXT2 instructions are added as well. These processors were previously floating on the mailing list.

  • ARM Posts Compiler Patches For Their New "Ares" High Performance Core

    It's been a few years since "Ares" first appeared on the ARM road-map and it looks like this high performance core might be close to finally shipping.

    Ares first came up on the ARM road-map around 2015 when it was presented as a high-end core for servers/enterprise or even large tablets and would be manufactured on a 10nm process and have a power consumption of 1~1.2 Watts per core and based on ARM Cortex-A72. There has been some indications since that this Ares core might have shifted to a 7nm process but public information overall has been light.

  • libredwg-0.6.2 released

    Important bugfixes:
    * Fixed several out_dxf segfaults (#39)
    * Enhanced the section size limit from 2032 to 2040.
    There were several DWG files with a section size of 2035
    in the wild. (PR #41, Denis Pryt)
    * Fixed EED realloc on decoding when end - dat->byte == 1
    (PR #41, Denis Pryt)

Gitbase: Exploring Git repos with SQL

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Development

Git has become the de-facto standard for code versioning, but its popularity didn't remove the complexity of performing deep analyses of the history and contents of source code repositories.

SQL, on the other hand, is a battle-tested language to query large codebases as its adoption by projects like Spark and BigQuery shows.

So it is just logical that at source{d} we chose these two technologies to create gitbase: the code-as-data solution for large-scale analysis of git repositories with SQL.

Gitbase is a fully open source project that stands on the shoulders of a series of giants which made its development possible, this article aims to point out the main ones.

Read more

Programming News

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Development
  • Open Source Survey Shows Python Love, Security Pain Points

    ActiveState published results of a survey conducted to examine challenges faced by developers who work with open source runtimes, revealing love for Python and security pain points.

  • Study Finds Lukewarm Corporate Engagement With Open Source

    Companies expect developers to use open source tools at work, but few make substantial contributions in return

    Developers say that nearly three-quarters of their employers expect them to use open source software to do their jobs, but that those same companies’ contribution to the open source world is relatively low, with only 25 percent contributing more than $1,000 (£768) a year to open source projects.

    Only a small number of employers, 18 percent, contribute to open source foundations, and only 34 percent allow developers to use company time to make open source contributions, according to a new study.

    The study follows IBM’s announcement last week that it plans to buy Linux maker Red Hat for $34 billion (£26m) in order to revitalise its growth in the cloud market, an indication of the importance of open source in the booming cloud industry.

    The report by cloud technology provider DigitalOcean, based on responses from more than 4,300 developers around the world, is the company’s fifth quarterly study on developer trends, with this edition focusing entirely on open source.

  • On learning Go and a comparison with Rust

    I spoke at the AKL Rust Meetup last month (slides) about my side project doing data mining in Rust. There were a number of engineers from Movio there who use Go, and I've been keen for a while to learn Go and compare it with Rust and Python for my data mining side projects, so that inspired me to knuckle down and learn Go.

    Go is super simple. I was able to learn the important points in a couple of evenings by reading GoByExample, and I very quickly had an implementation of the FPGrowth algorithm in Go up and running. For reference, I also have implementations of FPGrowth in Rust, Python, Java and C++.

  • anytime 0.3.2

    A new minor release of the anytime package arrived on CRAN this morning. This is the thirteenth release, and the first since July as the package has gotten feature-complete.

    anytime is a very focused package aiming to do just one thing really well: to convert anything in integer, numeric, character, factor, ordered, … format to either POSIXct or Date objects – and to do so without requiring a format string. See the anytime page, or the GitHub README.md for a few examples.

Torvalds is already more empathetic in Linux code reviews

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Development
Linux

He ended the email saying he would be taking some time off to get assistance on understanding people’s emotions and how to respond appropriately.

Torvalds promised the email wasn’t him wanting to walk away from Linux development and that he 'very much' wants to continue working on it as he has for almost three decades.

Last week, Torvalds showed off his more empathetic approach in an issue with the HID pull request and its introduction of the BigBen game controller driver that was introduced. In particular, that it was enabled by default.

Read more

Programming: OpenJDK, Hack Computer and Best flake8 Extensions for your Python Project

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Development
  • Migrating from Oracle JDK to OpenJDK on Red Hat Enterprise Linux: What you need to know

    Oracle announced it will stop releasing public updates of Oracle JDK in January 2019 and will require a commercial license for its use. An alternative is to use OpenJDK and effort is underway to make them fully interchangeable. A number of companies who are currently using Oracle JDK in production are making the decision to switch to OpenJDK or have already done so.

    Andrew Haley (Red Hat’s Java Platform Lead Engineer) recently wrote a great article on the direction of OpenJDK.

    In this article, I’ll discuss: the technical and support implications of the migration, what developers and operations teams need to know, and solutions to potential challenges.

  • Kids Can Learn Coding With This $299 ‘Hack’ Laptop In A Fun Way

    The makers of Endless OS are back with a new low-cost laptop dubbed The Hack Computer — for teaching kids how to code.

    Endless Computers didn’t design this Hack computer themselves entirely. Instead, they used a low-cost ASUS laptop and added their Linux-based full-stack software environment that is easy to use for kids.

  • The Best flake8 Extensions for your Python Project
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More in Tux Machines

Ubuntu 18.04 Will Get 10-Year Support (Instead of the Usual 5 Years)

The long-term support (LTS) releases of Ubuntu used to get support for five years. This is changing now. Ubuntu 18.04 will now be supported for ten years. Other LTS releases might also get an extended support. Read more

Manjaro Linux 18.0 – Review and Features

Manjaro has finally released a stable version of Manjaro 18.0 also codenamed “Illyria“. Manjaro always provided a lot of lot of emphasis on a user-friendly experience and Illyria is lived upto that to a great extent. The open source operating system is designed in such a way that it work completely out of the box straight away as it comes with a lot of pre-installed software. So once complete the installation of Manjaro 18.0, you don’t need to go installing other software that is needed for your day to day tasks. And Manjaro 18.0 has come out with fixes for a lot of issues and some improvements as well. Manjaro Linux 18.0 is certainly one of the easy-to-use and simple Arch Linux desktop version. Read more

today's leftovers

  • QOwnNotes 18.11.3
    QOwnNotes is a open source (GPL) plain-text file notepad with markdown support and todo list manager for GNU/Linux, Mac OS X and Windows, that (optionally) works together with the notes application of ownCloud (or Nextcloud). So you are able to write down your thoughts with QOwnNotes and edit or search for them later from your mobile device (like with CloudNotes) or the ownCloud web-service. The notes are stored as plain text files and you can sync them with your ownCloud sync client. Of course other software, like Dropbox, Syncthing, Seafile or BitTorrent Sync can be used too.
  •  
  • Getting Started with Scilab
  • Huawei’s New Stance On Bootloader Lockdown Is An Unpopular One, Here’s How You Can Bypass It
    Let’s start with the basics. What do you mean by a bootloader? In simple words, Bootloader is a piece of code that runs before any operating system is running. Bootloader is used to boot other operating systems and usually each operating system has a set of bootloaders specific to it. Alternatively, the bootloader can start up recovery mode. When a phone is in recovery, it can execute large pieces of code that totally rewrite the Android operating system. The bootloader is important because it loads up both of these pieces of software. Without a working bootloader, your phone is a useless brick. A locked or unlocked bootloader is what gives you access to “root.” “Root” is another big word in the Android community. If you “root” a device, it means you have “superuser” access or “administrator” access to the operating system that runs on your phone. With an unlocked bootloader, you can install boot images that aren’t signed by the device maker. That includes custom images needed to boot an AOSP-based ROM, boot images patched to support Magisk root, and more. Now as handy and efficient as this might seem, it’s not a popular option publicised or encouraged by smartphone manufacturers. While companies like OnePlus and Google make it seamless by just having to enable “OEM unlocking” in Developer Options, and then entering a few fastboot (fastboot is a protocol for sending commands from a PC to the bootloader of your device) commands while your phone is in the bootloader menu; companies like Huawei or Honor (Huawei sub-brand) have stopped providing forms for allowing users to unlock their bootloader. That means there’s no longer an official way to get the bootloader unlock code for your Huawei or Honor smartphone or tablet. Nobody has yet figured out how these bootloader unlock codes are generated, so it’s impossible to generate one yourself.
  • Google’s Wear OS Version H Announced; Brings Battery Saver Mode
    Google quietly announced its Wear OS Version H (it’s basically version 2.2 of Wear OS) for smart wearables this morning. The new update will be rolled out as a system update and majorly, brings battery llife-related improvements to Wear OS watches.
  •  
  • The Huge Security Problem With C/C++ And Why You Shouldn’t Use It
    Alex Gaynor gives an example of a program that has a list of 10 numbers. Theoretically, in an event where someone asks for the 11th element, the program is expected to show an error of some sort, or at least that’s what a “memory safe” programming language (like Python or Java) would do. However, in case of a memory unsafe language like C/C++, the program looks for the 11th element wherever it is supposed to be (if it existed) and accesses its content. This is called a “buffer-overflow” vulnerability that is exploited by bugs like HeartBleed to access up to 60 KB data past the end of a list — that often includes passwords and other sensitive data.
  • The Power of Web Components
    As a group, the standards are known as Web Components. In the year 2018 it’s easy to think of Web Components as old news. Indeed, early versions of the standards have been around in one form or another in Chrome since 2014, and polyfills have been clumsily filling the gaps in other browsers. After some quality time in the standards committees, the Web Components standards were refined from their early form, now called version 0, to a more mature version 1 that is seeing implementation across all the major browsers. Firefox 63 added support for two of the tent pole standards, Custom Elements and Shadow DOM, so I figured it’s time to take a closer look at how you can play HTML inventor! Given that Web Components have been around for a while, there are lots of other resources available. This article is meant as a primer, introducing a range of new capabilities and resources. If you’d like to go deeper (and you definitely should), you’d do well to read more about Web Components on MDN Web Docs and the Google Developers site. Defining your own working HTML elements requires new powers the browser didn’t previously give developers. I’ll be calling out these previously-impossible bits in each section, as well as what other newer web technologies they draw upon.

OSS Leftovers

  • OpenStack regroups
    Only a few years ago, OpenStack was the hottest open-source project around, with a bustling startup ecosystem to boot. The project, which gives enterprises the tools to run the equivalent of AWS in their own private data centers, ran into trouble as it tried to tackle too many individual projects at the same time and enterprises took longer than expected to adopt it. That meant many a startup floundered or was acquired before it was able to gain traction while the nonprofit foundation that manages the project started to scale back its big tent approach and refocused on its core services.
  • SD Times news digest: Docker and MuleSoft’s partnership, ActiveState’s open-source language automation category, and Instana’s automatic Python instrumentation
    Docker and MuleSoft have announced a new partnership to modernize applications and accelerate digital transformation. As part of the partnership, the companies will work together to deliver new capabilities for legacy apps with APIs, legacy apps without APIs and new apps created in Docker. In addition, MuleSoft’s Anypoint platform will be combined with Docker Enterprise.
  • ActiveState Creates Open Source Language Automation Category
  • New open source cloud discovery tool arrives from Twistlock
    Cloud Discovery connects to cloud providers' native platform APIs to discover services such as container registries, managed Kubernetes platforms, and serverless services, and requires only read permissions. Other key features include:
  • Google Open-Sources "Amber" Multi-API Shader Test Framework
    The newest open-source graphics project out of Google is called Amber and it's a multi-API shader testing framework focused on capturing and communicating of shader bugs. Google's Amber tries to make it easier to capture/communicate shader bugs with a scripting-based workflow. The captured shaders can be in binary form, SPIR-V assembly, or a higher-level shading language. Amber is currently focused on supporting the Vulkan and Dawn graphics APIs.
  • Microsoft allies with Facebook on AI software [Ed: Evil likes/attracts evil. Now they can do their crimes together while blaming "AI". Longtime Microsoft propagandist Jordan Novet has decided to add the Microsoft lie (PR campaign) "Microsoft loves Linux" (in photo form) to an article that has nothing to do with Linux.]
  • Microsoft alliance with Facebook signals shift in AI approach