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postmarketOS revolutionizes smartphone hacking

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OS
Gadgets

I briefly mentioned postmarketOS in my Pinephone review two years ago, but after getting my Dutch SIM card set up in my Pinephone and having another go at using postmarketOS, I reckon they deserve special attention.

Let’s first consider the kind of ecosystem into which postmarketOS emerged: smartphone hacking in the XDA Forums era. This era was dominated by amateur hackers working independently for personal prestige, with little to no regard for the values of free software or collaboration. It was common to see hacked-together binary images shipped behind adfly links in XDA forum threads in blatant disregard of the GPL, with pages and pages of users asking redundant questions and receiving poor answers to the endless problems caused by this arrangement.

The XDA ecosystem is based on Android, which is a mess in and of itself. It’s an enormous, poorly documented ball of Google code, mixed with vendor drivers and private kernel trees, full of crappy workarounds and locked-down hardware. Most smart phones are essentially badly put-together black boxes and most smart phone hackers are working with their legs cut off. Not to mention that the software ecosystem which runs on the platform is full of scammers and ads and theft of private user information. Android may be Linux in implementation, but it’s about as far from the spirit of free software as you can get.

postmarketOS, on the other hand, is based on Alpine Linux, which happens to be my favorite Linux distribution. Instead of haphazard forum threads collecting inscrutable ports for dozens of devices, they have a single git repository where all of their ports are maintained under version control, complete with issue trackers and merge requests, plus a detailed centralized wiki providing a wealth of open technical info on their supported platforms. And, by virtue of being a proper Linux distribution, they essentially opt-out of the mess of predatory mobile apps and instead promote a culture of trusted applications which respect the user and are built by and for the community instead of by and for a corporation.

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Upcycling Android: Keep using your phone with Free Software

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OS
Android

It is the European Week for Waste Reduction, a week that is dedicated to promoting the reuse of products and materials and to helping save resources and reduce waste in everyday life. The FSFE joins in with the new initiative "Upcycling Android" - an initiative to help saving resources by reusing one of our most valuable devices of our daily life, our phones.

Every year, manufacturers produce 1.5 billion phones worldwide - and unfortunately, probably almost as many are thrown away after what is usually a far too short hardware lifespan. The short lifespan of these phones often stems from so-called "software obsolescence", the situation in which users are faced with the dilemma of either buying new hardware or living with outdated software. The environmental consequences of these short hardware lifespans can be dire. To help users in overcoming this problem, with Upcycling Android we enable people to upcycle Android phones with Free Software. Every time we keep using our current phone instead of buying a new one we help avoid the production of new phones and the growing disposal of e-waste.

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Top 5 Distros for XFCE

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OS

Linux is among the most well-known and easily accessible open-source operating systems. Because of its stability, portability, and customization, Linux has recently earned much attention and is now extensively being utilized. One of them is the desktop environment feature, which is mostly used for Linux-based operating systems, and Xfce is one of them.

Xfce was originally stated as XForms Common Environment, an open-source desktop environment designed explicitly for Linux. It aspires to be quick and light while remaining aesthetically beautiful and simple to use. Because of its small size, it saves both memory and CPU, making it suited for older hosts with limited desktop resources. On the other hand, Xfce is versatile and powerful enough to meet system requirements as a power user. It offers a very reliable, feature-rich, and straightforward experience. This article will cover the top 5 distros for XFCE which we think you consider for your desktop environment experience.

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EasyOS: redshift and XorgWizard

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OS
  • redshift GUI tray app

    EasyOS has a GUI for /usr/bin/sct (set color temperature), 'brightness-control-1.2.2.pet'.

  • XorgWizard fixed for Radeon card

    ...I mentioned that it has fans all over the place -- there is also one on the side-panel, not shown in photo.
    The guy who sold it to me had configured it as a gaming machine, and it had a Radeon Bart XT PowerColor HD6870 card, with 1GB RAM, two DVI-I sockets and one hdmi socket.
    Soon after acquiring the PC, I took the card out and only used the on-board Intel video. Moved house a few times over the years, and that card got lost. Until now, found it in my car, under a seat. So, it is now back in the PC, and it works fine.

Distrowatch Top 5 Distributions Review: Pop!_OS

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OS
Reviews

I personally won’t use Pop!_OS because I detest GNOME, but I have to admit, it’s a really attractive OS, with some good features under the hood, a minimalist approach in the sense of bloat, and being based of Ubuntu you can expect plenty of easy to find support. If all of this sounds good, I strongly recommend you check out this distribution, you may love it!

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Discover Slitaz, a 50MB Lightweight Desktop Operating System

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OS
GNU
Linux

Slitaz GNU/Linux is an Swiss computer operating system that is user-friendly, super lightweight and very fast to install, with a spider logo, for both desktop and server. It can run on a quarter of a GB memory. Its installation image is only fifty megabytes, full desktop included, with LiveCD capability. We overview Slitaz in this article with short highlights on where you can get it, available versions and how its desktops and applications are. Happy discovering!

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Parrot OS vs Kali Linux vs Ubuntu Comparison: Which To Choose?

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OS
Security

Linux has been known for its different distributions that cater to different needs. The most famous among all is the Kali Linux which is a penetration testing oriented for security professionals. From the time it has been released, it has gone through various iterations in the form of updates while others were also being developed throughout the globe.

There are also alternative choices for those who like to look at options. Our detailed comparison between Parrot OS vs Kali Linux vs Ubuntu will help you decide to choose the best Linux for you. We have compared and analysed and taken into consideration various factors.

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today's leftovers

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OS
  • Another spin to Gamification: how we used Gather.town to build a (great!) Cyber Security Game

    Let’s recap October. Cyber Security Awareness Month. For a cyber awareness enthusiast, it is hard to conceal the excitement that comes with a full month of initiatives in all shapes and sizes, built around a genuine and strong effort to help keep companies and their people “safe online”. At NVISO also, the buzz is tangible, and everyone is eager to know what great projects we will be launching for this year’s Cyber Security Awareness Month. We’re lucky enough to have a client who will go the extra mile and allowed us to let our imagination run wild. And that is exactly what we did.

  • Our new way of waiting for the network to be "up" in systemd's world

    Systemd has a long standing philosophical objection to waiting until the network is up; they have an entire web page on the subject. Never the less, we need to do this (like many sysadmins). I've written before about this, and if you're using systemd-networkd either directly or through Ubuntu's netplan, you can in theory use systemd-networkd-wait-online.service. Usually it works, but today we discovered that it didn't on some of our Ubuntu 18.04 servers (the specifics of this issue are beyond the scope of this entry). Since we needed a way to fix the issue, we opted to solve our problem with a hammer.

  • A linear, sequential boot and startup order is easier to deal with

    A linear order is straightforward to see, understand, reason about, and generally to manipulate. It's easy to know what order things will happen in and have happened in, which avoids surprises during boot and helps diagnose problems afterward; you're much less likely to be left trying to sort out what happened when from boot time logs. It's nice to to understand the dependencies of services when that information is reliable, but we have a great deal of evidence that taxonomy is hard for people, and dependencies are a form of taxonomy. When dependencies are inaccurate, they can be worse than knowing that you don't know that information in the first place.

  • Report: Assessing the Viability of an Open-Source CHERI Desktop Software Ecosystem

    In September 2021, we released our final report, Assessing the Viability of an Open-Source CHERI Desktop Software Ecosystem, which describes our three-staff-month effort to deploy CHERI within a substantive slice of an open-source desktop environment based on X11, Qt (and supporting libraries), and KDE. We adapted the software stack to run with memory-safe CHERI C/C++, performed a set of software compartmentalisation white boarding experiments, and concluded with a detailed 5-year retrospective vulnerability analysis to explore how memory safety and compartmentalisation would have affected past critical security vulnerabilities for a subset of that.

  • OpenBSD and Linux comparison: data transfer benchmark

    I had a high suspicion about something but today I made measurements. My feeling is that downloading data from OpenBSD use more "upload data" than on other OS

    I originally thought about this issue when I found that using OpenVPN on OpenBSD was limiting my download speed because I was reaching the upload limit of my DSL line, but it was fine on Linux. From there, I've been thinking since then that OpenBSD was using more out data but I never measured anything before.

  • Fedora Drafts Plans For Retiring ARMv7 Support - Phoronix

    It's crazy to think it has already been ten years since Arm disclosed ARMv8 with 64-bit support. Given the success of ARMv8 (and Armv9 now on the way) and there not being much in the way of useful ARMv7 hardware in recent years and the like, Fedora has drafted plans for retiring its ARMv7 support.

  • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 709

    Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue 709 for the week of November 7 – 13, 2021.

  • Chrome may start restricting requests to private networks

    Chrome (and apparently Microsoft Edge) are likely to add new restrictions on allowing things to talk to private network addresses (in a surprisingly broad sense). The reference for this is Feature: Restrict "private network requests" for subresources from public websites to secure contexts (via), which describes the first steps. The first steps Chrome is making is that such "private network requests" may only be made from a public context that is secure, ie from a HTTPS website instead of a HTTP one.

  • What the Web Still Is

    Make no mistake: I feel a lot of what makes the web great is actively being dismantled, either inadvertently or deliberately. But as I mentioned earlier, cynicism is easy. My wish for next year? That all the qualities mentioned here are still present. My New Year’s resolution? To help ensure it.

  • Your CSS is an interface

    Stylus on the Chrome Web Store has more than half a million users. Stylish has over three million. That’s a lot of people modifying the web to get what they want. We can also do a little bit better than an appeal to popularity. I’d like you to consider the ability for an individual to improve their quality of life. Some web experiences you’re forced to use. Think jobs, medical portals, government services, etc. If the bright red of the web app someone is forced to use for their job 8‒10 hours every day gives them tension headaches, shouldn’t they be able to dial it down to something more soothing? Being able to fix something you’re forced to endure creates an immediate and appreciable improvement on your quality of life. And that’s important.

Android 12 on Raspberry Pi 4 – (Almost) everything works

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OS
Android

Android 12 (AOSP) source code was released last month, and a developer took the opportunity to port Android 12 to the Raspberry Pi 4 single board computer and derivatives.

More specifically, KonstaT created an unofficial build of LineageOS 19.0 for Raspberry Pi 4, Raspberry Pi 400 keyboard PC, and Compute Module 4 working on systems with at least 2GB of RAM.

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Direct: [DEV][ROM][UNOFFICIAL] LineageOS 19.0 (Android 12) for Raspberry Pi 4 B

5 De-Googled Android-based Operating Systems to Free Your Smartphone from Google and other Big Tech

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OS
Android

With the ever growing surveilling presence of advertisement giants like Google and Facebook on your personal and intimate devices like Phones and Tablets, it is time to deal with it.

You might be wondering why should you install a different Android based OS on your phone than what is already included. Let me give you a few reasons...

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More in Tux Machines

Graphics: RenderDoc, Mesa, and Vulkan

  • RenderDoc 1.17 Released For This Leading Open-Source Graphics Debugging Tool - Phoronix

    RenderDoc 1.17 released this week as the newest version of this leading cross-platform, cross-API graphics debugging utility. RendertDoc 1.17 continues to be a gem for developers working with Vulkan and OpenGL along with Direct3D 11/12. RenderDoc as the MIT-licensed frame-capture-based graphics debugger works extremely well for game/engine developers as well as GPU driver developers in working through different issues.

  • DMA-BUF Feedback Support For Wayland Lands In Mesa 22.0's EGL Code - Phoronix

    Landing in Mesa on Black Friday was DMA-BUF Feedback support within the EGL code as another important step forward for Wayland. Introduced earlier this week was Wayland Protocols 1.24 and the primary addition to that collection of protocols is DMA-BUF feedback support. The DMA-BUF "feedback" support is important for Wayland multi-GPU systems where needing to know more information about the GPU device used by the compositor and for being able to efficiently exchange buffers between the secondary and primary GPUs.

  • RADV Vulkan Driver Finally Adds VK_KHR_synchronization2 Support - Phoronix

    The Mesa Radeon Vulkan driver "RADV" has added support for the prominent VK_KHR_synchronization2 extension introduced earlier this year. Added back in February with Vulkan 1.2.170 was VK_KHR_synchronization2 for simplifying the core synchronization APIs of this industry-standard graphics API. VK_KHR_synchronization2 makes Vulkan synchronization handling easier to deal with Those interested in the changes with the "synchronization2" revision can see this Khronos blog post going over the Vulkan synchronization handling in detail along with the changes from this extension.

Kernel: Futex2, Fixes, and Other New Features for Linux 5.16

  • Futex2 Brings Linux Gaming To The Next Level - Invidious

    Futex2 has been a work in progress by Valve and collabora for a very long time and it seems like it's finally going to make it's way into the kernel.

  • Patch out for Alder Lake Linux bug that reminds of the Windows 11 Ryzen CPPC issue - Neowin

    Linux boss Linus Torvalds merged earlier today several important patches for Intel CPU generally related to performance states (P-states) on Linux.

  • Linux 5.16 Merges Fix For One Of The Intel Alder Lake Issues - Phoronix

    Merged this Friday afternoon into the Linux 5.16 development kernel is fixing a performance issue affecting some Intel Alder Lake motherboards. The fix merged a short time ago is the item previously covered within Linux ITMT Patch Fixes Intel "Alder Lake" Hybrid Handling For Some Systems. As explained in that prior article, TurboBoost Max 3.0 / ITMT (Turbo Boost Max Technology) code within the kernel isn't being enabled for some systems, particularly if overclocking or even any memory XMP / optimal settings. The ASUS Z690 board I've been primarily using for the i9-12900K was affected as are numerous other boards. I've also heard reports of some motherboards running purely stock are even having this issue.

  • Intel Preparing USI Stylus Support For Linux - Phoronix

    Intel open-source driver engineers have been working on USI stylus support for the Linux kernel. The Universal Stylus Initiative (USI) aims to offer interoperability of active styluses across touchscreen devices. The Universal Stylus Initiative has a goal of allowing all styluses that comply with USI to work across devices. USI is backed by the likes of Google who wants to see USI working uniformally across Chromebooks, Dell and other hardware vendors, Intel is also involved and leading the upstream Linux support patches, and peripheral vendors like Logitech are also supporting the standard. Other big names like Wacom, Samsung, and many other players from desktop to laptops to mobile.

Open Hardware/Modding With LineageOS and Arduino

  • Ham Radio Gets Brain Transplant | Hackaday

    Old radios didn’t have much in the way of smarts. But as digital synthesis became more common, radios often had as much digital electronics in them as RF circuits. The problem is that digital electronics get better and better every year, so what looked like high-tech one year is quaint the next. [IMSAI Guy] had an Icom IC-245 and decided to replace the digital electronics inside with — among other things — an Arduino.

  • My phone - November 2021

    My current phone is the Google Pixel 3a from 2019. It’s running the LineageOS operating system without the Open GApps stack (GApps is short for “Google Apps”). This means there’s no proprietary software or tracking from Google on the phone by default.

  • PiGlass V2 Embraces The New Raspberry Pi Zero 2 | Hackaday

    Well, that certainly didn’t take long. It’s been just about a month since the Raspberry Pi Zero 2 hit the market, and we’re already seeing folks revisit old projects to reap the benefits of the drop-in upgrade that provides five times the computational power in the same form factor. Take for example the PiGlass v2 that [Matt] has been working on. He originally put the Pi Zero wearable together back in 2018, and while it featured plenty of bells and whistles like a VuFine+ display, 5 MP camera, and bone conduction audio, the rather anemic hardware of the original Zero kept it from reaching its true potential.

October/November in KDE Itinerary

Since the last summary KDE Itinerary has been moving with big steps towards the upcoming 21.12 release, with work on individual transport modes, more convenient ticket access, trip editing, a new health certificate UI, better transfer handling and many more improvements.

New Features
Current ticket access A small but very convenient new addition is the “Current ticket” action, which immediately navigates you to the details page of the most current element on the itinerary. That comes in handy when having to show or scan your ticket and avoids having to find the right entry in the list in a rush. This action is now also accessible from jump list actions in the taskbar on Linux, or app shortcuts on Android. Combined with the easily accessible barcode scanmode mentioned last time it’s now just two clicks or taps to get ready for a ticket check. Read more