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Software

Software: Selenium, Password Managers, MAAS

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Software
  • Testing web applications with Selenium

    Whenever one is engaged in large-scale changes to a software project, it is nice to have some assurance that regressions are not being introduced in the process. Test suites can be helpful in that regard. But while the testing of low-level components can be relatively straightforward, testing at the user-interface level can be harder. Web applications, which must also interact with web browsers, can be especially challenging in this regard. While working on just this sort of project, your editor finally got around to looking at Selenium WebDriver as a potential source of help for the testing problem.

    The overall goal of the Selenium project is automating the task of dealing with web browsers (from the user side). The WebDriver component, in particular, provides an API allowing a program to control a browser and observe how the browser reacts. There are many potential applications for this kind of functionality; it could be used to automate any of a number of tiresome, web-oriented tasks that resist the use of simpler tools, for example. But perhaps the most obvious use case is regression-testing of web applications.

    The Selenium code is distributed under version 2.0 of the Apache license; it is available on GitHub. The WebDriver component offers API bindings for a number of languages, including Java, JavaScript, C#, Perl, PHP, Python (2 and 3), and Ruby. Your editor, naturally, was interested in the Python bindings. Fedora 28 packages the relatively old 3.7.0 release from December 2017, which is discouraging, but the current 3.14.0 release can be had from PyPI. One must also obtain a "driver" for one or more specific browsers; your editor has been using geckodriver to test with Firefox.

  • Best Free Linux Password Managers

    A password manager is a utility which helps users store and retrieve passwords and other data. Most password managers use a local database to hold the encrypted password data.

    In modern society, people face a bamboozling amount of information to retain. Most people read a considerable amount of information online on a regular basis. Whether you conduct business online, read for your job, or just read for pleasure, the internet is a vast source of information. Retaining that information on a long-term basis can be difficult. However, some nuggets of information need to be recalled quickly. Passwords are one such example.

    As a computer user, you’ll no doubt have numerous passwords to remember. Sites have arbitrary rules for various services. For example, a site may insist on a minimum number of characters, capital letters, numerals, and special characters which make choosing the same password for each site to be impossible. More importantly, there are good security reasons not to duplicate passwords. Password reuse and simple, easy-to-guess passwords are difficult issues. If you’re using the same password on more than one site, you risk having several accounts stolen if any one of them is breached.

  • MAAS 2.4.1 released!

    MAAS 2.4.1 has now been released and it is a bug fix release. Please see more details in discourse.maas.io [1].

Software: FOSS Alternatives

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Software

Software: HTTP Stuff, Blender, Browsh, Chronos Timetracker and DaVinci Resolve 15

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Software
  • HTTP request routing and validation with gorilla/mux

    The Go networking library includes the http.ServeMux structure type, which supports HTTP request multiplexing (routing): A web server routes an HTTP request for a hosted resource, with a URI such as /sales4today, to a code handler; the handler performs the appropriate logic before sending an HTTP response, typically an HTML page.

  • Blender 2.8 Alpha 2 Just Released, but Full Release Pushed to Early 2019

    The free and open-source Blender 3D modeling software, a popular alternative to more expensive suites like Maya LT and 3DS Max, is facing a bit of a delay in their release schedule for Blender 2.80 – however, the developers intend to release it by early next year 2019.

    The devs had hoped to have a feature complete beta ready this August 2018, but that doesn’t look like a possibility either – the team spent most of their time “improving” the currently existing features, and eliminating current bugs within the software. However, a Blender 2.80 Alpha 2 was released just today.

  • Browsh – A Modern Text Browser That Play Videos and Everything

    Browsh is an open source, simple and modern text-based browser that renders in TTY terminal environments. It is made up of a minimal Golang CLI front-end and a browser web-extension (headless Firefox) which actually offers most of the functionality to create a purely text-based version of web pages and web apps.

    This browser renders anything that a modern browser can; HTML5, CSS3, JS, video as well as WebGL. It is importantly a bandwidth-saver, designed to run on a remote server and accessed via SSH/Mosh or the in-browser HTML service so as to notably reduce bandwidth.

  • Chronos Timetracker – An Open-Source Desktop Client for JIRA

    JIRA is an Agile-based management tool that provides developers, designers, and team members with bug tracking, issue tracking, and other project management functions including customizing workflows, collaborating with external teams, and releasing software.

  • DaVinci Resolve 15 Released for RedHat Enterprise and CentOS Systems

    Video editing on Linux platform just got a whole lot easier, as Blackmagic Design just released their long-awaited DaVinci Resolve 15 software update – a free to use professional-grade video editing, visual effects, motion graphics, and audio post-production software suite.

  • Professional Video Editor DaVinci Resolve 15 Stable Released

    DaVinci Resolve 15 stable has been released for Linux, Windows, and macOS. The new release brings native audio support on Linux and a long list of new features and improvements.

    DaVinci Resolve is a professional video and effects editor. The tool, which can be used for editing, color correction, audio post production and visual effects, has two versions: free to use and paid (DaVinci Resolve Studio).

    The free to use version does not support h26x so you'll need to transcode any such clips before using them in DaVinci resolve. DaVinci Resolve 15 Studio costs $299 and it includes multi-user collaboration features along with 3D tools, dozens of Resolve FX and more.

MPV Player: A Minimalist Video Player for Linux

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Software

MPV is an open source, cross platform video player that comes with a minimalist GUI and feature rich command line version.
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Software: Virtlyst 1.2.0, Blender 2.8 Plan, Dropbox Gets Worse and DaVinci Resolve 15 Targets GNU/Linux

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Software
  • Virtlyst 1.2.0 released

    Virtlyst – a Web Interface to manage virtual machines build with Cutelyst/Qt/C++ got a new release.

    This new release includes a bunch of bug fixes, most importantly probably being the ability to warn user before doing important actions to help avoid doing mistakes.

    Most commits came from new contributor René Linder who is also working on a Bootstrap 4 theme and Lukas Steiner created a dockerfile for it. This is especially cool because Virtlyst repository now has 4 authors while Cutelyst which is way older has only 6.

  • Blender 2.8 Planning Update

    At this point we will not have a feature complete Beta release ready in August as we had hoped. Instead, we invested most of our time improving the features that were already there and catching up with the bug tracker. This includes making the viewport and EEVEE work on more graphics cards and platforms.

    The Spring open movie team is also using Blender 2.8 in production, which is helping us ensure the new dependency graph and tools can handle complex production scenes.

  • Blender 2.80 Now Coming In Early 2019 With Many Improvements

    The Blender 3D modeling software is facing a slight set-back in their release schedule for the big Blender 2.80 release, but it's moving along and they intend to have it ready by early next year.

  • Dropbox will only Support the Ext4 File System In Linux in November

    Dropbox has announced that starting on November 7th 2018, only the ext4 file system will be supported in Linux for synchronizing folders in the Dropbox desktop app. Those Linux users who have synch on other file systems such as XFS, ext2, ext3, ZFS, and many others will no longer have working Dropbox synchronization after this date.

    This news came out after Linux dropbox users began seeing notifications stating "Dropbox Will Stop Syncing Ext4 File Systems in November." You can see an example of this alert in Swedish below.

  • Dropbox scares users by shrinking synching options

    Dropbox has quietly announced it will soon stop synching files that reside on drives tended by some filesystems.

    The sync ‘n’ share service’s desktop client has recently produced warnings that the software will stop syncing in November 2018.

    Those warnings were sufficiently ambiguous that Dropbox took to its support forums to explain exactly what’s going on, namely that as of November 7th, 2018, “we’re ending support for Dropbox syncing to drives with certain uncommon file systems.”

  • DaVinci Resolve 15 Video/Effects Editor Released With Linux Support

    DaVinci Resolve 15 has been released by Blackmagic Design as the company's professional-grade video editing, visual effects, motion graphics, and audio post-production software.

GIMP Photo Editor: Fine-Tune Your Images Like Never Before

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GNU
Software

Who doesn’t like to fine-tuning their images and the perfect way for a lot of users is to opt for popular image editing tools. While the count of these offerings is continuing excessively, we are here to talk specifically about GIMP or (the GNU Image Manipulation Program). The free alternative to Adobe Photoshop is no less than its counterparts owing to the set of features it offers to the users.

The professional is there for the users for adding the perfect shades of color, texture, and highlights in the image. It is a tool that you can use for developing your photos from the scratch. Use the tool for professional quality effect and you will have a whole new set of images to flaunt before others.

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Software: libredwg, MPV Player, Colibri, BitTorrent, Vocal, Curl

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Software
  • libredwg-0.6 released [alpha]
  • MPV Player: A Minimalist Video Player for Linux

    VLC is probably the best video player for Linux or any other operating system. I have been using VLC for years and it is still my favorite.

    However, lately, I am more inclined towards minimalist applications with a clean UI. This is how came across MPV. I loved it so much that I added it in the list of best Ubuntu applications.

  • Colibri – A Unique Minimalist Browser Without Tabs

    Today, we’ve got a somewhat non-conventional app for you and depending on how ready you are to jump on a new idea, you might just fall in love with it. This new idea is bundled in the form of Colibri, a browser that was not available for Linux until recently.

    Colibri is a free, proprietary, secure, speed-efficient, and uncluttered browser designed to be unique and compact. Its major selling point is its tabless browsing interface which works with 3 main tabbed sections instead – Links, Lists, and Feeds.

  • The Best Free BitTorrent Clients

    BitTorrent, the company that created the BitTorrent protocol, designed it with the aim of making it easy to distribute large amounts of data effectively. The peer-to-peer (P2P) technology enables each person downloading the data also to serve that data to others (a process called “seeding”). This drastically reduces the load on a single server and has many uses aside from downloading pirated material.

    So really, BitTorrent is merely a protocol—a tool that, in and of itself, is not at all illegal. It’s what you do with it that matters, just like owning a hammer isn’t illegal, but hitting someone over the head with it is. If you’re considering downloading copyrighted content, that’s illegal.

  • Vocal – a modern Vala podcast player

    Vocal is a powerful, fast, and intuitive application that helps users find new podcasts, manage their libraries, and enjoy the best that independent audio and video publishing has to offer.

  • A hundred million cars run curl

    One of my hobbies is to collect information about where curl is used. The following car brands feature devices, infotainment and/or navigation systems that use curl - in one or more of their models.

    These are all brands about which I've found information online (for example curl license information), received photos of or otherwise been handed information by what I consider reliable sources (like involved engineers).

    Do you have curl in a device installed in another car brand?

Proprietary Software on GNU/Linux: Dropbox and VMware Player 14

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GNU
Linux
Software
  • Dropbox makes the cloud rain poop on Linux users

    Cloud storage rules -- especially when coupled with a local backup plan. Quite frankly, it is one of the best computing innovations of all time. How cool is it that you can easily backup important files to an offsite location? Let's be honest -- before the cloud, many computer and smartphone users didn't bother backing up at all. While many still do not, the cloud has definitely improved the situation through convenience and affordability.

  • VMware Player 14 review - Alternate reality

    VMware Workstation Player is a very decent program, especially for new users. It comes with a reasonable set of options, it tries to guess what you're doing and help, and for lightweight use, it makes perfect sense. But if you are an advanced user, you will definitely need and want more, and this is where the full pro version comes into play. Or alternatively, go for other options. Overall, it remains similar to version 4, which I tested several years ago.

    My biggest gripe is not having hardware acceleration, which significantly improves the performance of virtual machines. The network and storage side of things are less critical for everyday use. Multi-VM is also important if you need to create more complicated setups or labs. That said, the program is simple and easy, and has a very gentle curve for people just freshly starting in the virtualization world. Worth testing, but always remember, 'tis but a teaser for the heavyweight just hiding behind the corner. Indeed, for me, the big take from this endeavor is that I need to test the Workstation as well. We shall see.

‘Podcasts’ is a new podcast app for Linux

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Software

A new app makes it easy to follow, fave and listen to your favourite podcasts on the Linux desktop.

It’s called ‘Podcasts’ and — no prizes for guessing — it’s a podcast client for the Linux desktop, designed for the GNOME desktop specifically.

Podcasts lets you subscribe to shows, browse through them, and listen to the latest episodes all from inside the app, with no external MP3 or OGG downloads necessary.

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ClickUp – An Awesome Project Management and Productivity App

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Software

ClickUp is a productivity platform that provides a fundamentally new way to work. More than just task management – ClickUp offers notes, reminders, goals, calendar, scheduling, and even an inbox. Fully customizable, ClickUp works for every type of team, so all teams can use the same app to plan, organize, and collaborate.

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Oracle Yields GraphPipe

  • Oracle open sources Graphpipe to standardize machine learning model deployment
    Oracle, a company not exactly known for having the best relationship with the open source community, is releasing a new open source tool today called Graphpipe, which is designed to simplify and standardize the deployment of machine learning models. The tool consists of a set of libraries and tools for following the standard.
  • Oracle open-sources Graphpipe to make it easier to deploy machine learning models
    Oracle today open-sourced Graphpipe, a tool created to make it easy to serve machine learning models in the cloud made by popular frameworks like TensorFlow, MXNet, Caffe2, and PyTorch. Graphpipe was designed to simplify the deployment of machine learning for use on mobile apps and IoT devices, as well as web services for end users or AI for internal use at companies. “Graphpipe is an attempt to standardize the protocol by which you speak to a remotely deployed machine learning model, and it includes some reference servers that allow you to deploy machine learning models from existing frameworks very easily in an efficient way,” Oracle cloud architect Vish Abrams told VentureBeat in a phone interview. Prior to joining Oracle, Abrams led efforts at NASA to open-source the OpenStack cloud computing platform.
  • Oracle open sources GraphPipe, a new standard for machine learning models
    Machine learning is expected to transform industries. However, its adoption in the enterprise has been slower than some might expect because it's difficult for organizations to deploy and manage machine learning technology on their own. Part of the challenge is that machine learning models are often trained and deployed using bespoke techniques, making it difficult to deploy models across servers or within different departments.
  • Oracle offers GraphPipe spec for machine learning data transmission
    Oracle has developed an open source specification for transmitting tensor data, which the company wants to become a standard for machine learning. Called GraphPipe, the specification provides a protocol for network data transmission. GraphPipe is intended to bring the efficiency of a binary, memory-mapped format while being simple and light on dependencies. There also are clients and servers for deploying and querying machine learning models from any framework.
  • Oracle releases GraphPipe, an open-source tool for deploying AI models
    Major tech firms regularly open-source internal software projects, but it’s not often that Oracle Corp.’s name comes up in this context. Today marked one of those occasions. The database giant this morning released GraphPipe, a tool for easing the deployment of machine learning models. Development on the project was led by Oracle cloud architect Vish Abrams, an open-source veteran who previously worked at NASA as part of the team that created the OpenStack data center operating system.
  • Oracle Open Sources GraphPipe for 'Dead Simple' Machine Learning Deployment

A 'Bridge' for GNU/Linux Games

  • Valve seems to be working on tools to get Windows games running on Linux
    Valve appears to be working on a set of "compatibility tools," called Steam Play, that would allow at least some Windows-based titles to run on Linux-based SteamOS systems. Yesterday, Reddit users noticed that Steam's GUI files (as captured by SteamDB's Steam Tracker) include a hidden section with unused text related to the unannounced Steam Play system. According to that text, "Steam Play will automatically install compatibility tools that allow you to play games from your library that were built for other operating systems."
  • Valve could be working on compatibility tools to make gaming on Linux easier than ever
    Something to look forward to: Gaming on Linux has never been the ideal experience, and the lack of AAA game compatibility is one of the main reasons for this. That's where Valve comes in, apparently - the company seems to be quietly working on a compatibility tool of its own, called "Steam Play." It seems Valve could be taking another shot at bringing Linux to the forefront of PC gaming if recently-discovered Steam GUI files are anything to go by. Curious Reddit users dug into Steam database files obtained by Steam Tracker. Recent updates to the database include numerous hints at something called "Steam Play," which is beginning to sound like a compatibility tool of sorts.
  • Steam may be getting tools that will enable Windows games to run in Linux
    Valve announced the Linux-based SteamOS in 2013, just prior to the reveal of the vaguely console-like Steam Machine PCs. It was a big, bold move that ultimately petered out: Valve ditched the Steam Machines section of its website in April, aalthough you can still hit it directly if you know the URL.
  • Looks like Steam’s getting built-in tools to run Windows games on Linux
    A few lines of code uncovered in Steam suggest that Valve is working on compatibility tools to allow users to play games regardless of operating system. Put another way, Steam’s going to let you run Windows games on Mac and Linux with a set of software built directly into the client. Uncovered strings all come under the “Steam_Settings_Compat” header, and all reference back to Steam Play. That’s currently the moniker Valve used to distinguish games that come as a single purchase playable across Windows, Mac, and Linux, but the strings suggest a new definition on the way.
  • Rumour: Valve May Be Adding Windows Steam Game Compatibility to Linux
    In a very interesting move, sleuths over at GamingOnLinux appear to unearthed evidence that Valve is experimenting with tools that could allow Windows Steam games to be playable on Linux operating systems. Up until this point, a game has to be specifically developed for Linux in order to be compatible with Unix-based operating systems. There are workarounds available right now, but it’s notoriously unreliable and a major hassle to get sorted. However, updates posted to the Steam Database github indicates Valve is at least testing an automatic method for running Windows games on Linux. Picking through the github notes, the tool appears to be called ‘Steam Play’, which the compatibility info says “Steam Play will automatically install compatibility tools that allow you to play games from your library that were built for other operating systems.”

Security: Updates, IPSec, Elections, AWS and Surveillance

  • Security updates for Wednesday
  • Cisco, Huawei, ZyXel, and Huawei patch Cryptographic IPSEC IKE Vulnerability
  • 11-year-old shows it’s child’s play to mess with elections
    At the DefCon Voting Village in Las Vegas last year, participants proved it was child’s play to hack voting machines: As Wired reported, within two minutes, democracy-tech researcher Carsten Schürmann used a novel vulnerability to get remote access to a WinVote machine. This year, it was literally child’s play: the DefCon village this past weekend invited 50 kids between the ages of 8 and 16 to compromise replicas of states’ websites in the so-called “DEFCON Voting Machine Hacking Village.”
  • Election Websites, Back-End Systems Most at Risk of Cyberattack in Midterms
    Both adult and kid hackers demonstrated at DEF CON how the hackable voting machine may be the least of our worries in the 2018 elections. Two 11-year-old budding hackers last week at DEF CON in Las Vegas used SQL injection attack code to break into a replica of the Florida Secretary of State's website within 15 minutes, altering vote count reports on the site. Meanwhile, further down the hall in the adult Voting Machine Hacking Village at Caesars Palace, one unidentified hacker spent four hours trying to break into a replica database that housed the real, publicly available state of Ohio voter registration roll. He got as far as the secured server — penetrating two layers of firewalls with a Khali Linux pen testing tool — but in the end was unable to grab the data from the database, which included names and birthdates of registered voters.
  • How Netflix Secures AWS Cloud Credentials
    Netflix has long been the poster child for being an "all-in-the-cloud" organization. The streaming media service relies on Amazon Web Services (AWS) for infrastructure and computing resources that it uses to operate.
  • Researchers Reveal Security Vulnerabilities in Tracking Apps
    Millions of users around the world regularly install tracker apps on their Android devices to help them keep track of friends and loved ones. Some of those tracker apps, however, contain vulnerabilities that could potentially enable an attacker to track the users of the apps. Researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Secure Information Technology detailed 37 vulnerabilities found in 19 mobile tracking apps in a session at Defcon in Las Vegas on Aug. 11. The researchers responsibly disclosed the flaws to Google and noted that, as of the time of their presentation, 12 of the apps had been removed from the Google Play store, leaving seven still publicly available and vulnerable. "In this project it was very easy to find vulnerabilities," security researcher Siegfried Rasthofer said. "There were no sophisticated exploits."

L1TF/Foreshadow News and Benchmarks

  • Three More Intel Chip Exploits Surface
  • Spectre-like “Foreshadow” Flaw In Intel CPUs Can Leak Your Secrets
  • QEMU 3.0 Brings Spectre V4 Mitigation, OpenGL ES Support In SDL Front-End
    QEMU 3.0 is now officially available. This big version bump isn't due to some compatibility-breaking changes, but rather to simplify their versioning and begin doing major version bumps on an annual basis. As an added bonus, QEMU 3.0 comes at a time of the project marking its 15th year in existence. QEMU 3.0 does amount to being a big feature release with a lot of new functionality as well as many improvements. Changes in QEMU 3.0 include Spectre V4 mitigation for x86 Intel/AMD, improved support for nested KVM guests on Microsoft Hyper-V, block device support for active mirroring, improved support for AHCI and SCSI emulation, OpenGL ES support within the SDL front-end, improved latency for user-mode networking, various ARM improvements, some POWER9 / RISC-V / s390 improvements too, and various other new bits.
  • How the L1 Terminal Fault vulnerability affects Linux systems
    Announced just yesterday in security advisories from Intel, Microsoft and Red Hat, a newly discovered vulnerability affecting Intel processors (and, thus, Linux) called L1TF or “L1 Terminal Fault” is grabbing the attention of Linux users and admins. Exactly what is this vulnerability and who should be worrying about it?
  • An Early Look At The L1 Terminal Fault "L1TF" Performance Impact On Virtual Machines
    Yesterday the latest speculative execution vulnerability was disclosed that was akin to Meltdown and is dubbed the L1 Terminal Fault, or "L1TF" for short. Here are some very early benchmarks of the performance impact of the L1TF mitigation on the Linux virtual machine performance when testing the various levels of mitigation as well as the unpatched system performance prior to this vulnerability coming to light.
  • Phoronix Test Suite 8.2 M2 Released With Offline Improvements, L1TF/Foreshadow Reporting
    The second development snapshot of the upcoming Phoronix Test Suite 8.2-Rakkestad to benchmark to your heart's delight on Linux, macOS, Windows, Solaris, and BSD platforms from embedded/SBC systems to cloud and servers.
  • The Linux Benchmarking Continues On The Threadripper 2950X & 2990WX
    While I haven't posted any new Threadripper 2950X/2990WX benchmarks since the embargo expired on Monday with the Threadripper 2 Linux review and some Windows 10 vs. Linux benchmarks, tests have continued under Linux -- as well as FreeBSD. I should have my initial BSD vs. Linux findings on Threadripper 2 out later today. There were about 24 hours worth of FreeBSD-based 2990WX tests going well albeit DragonFlyBSD currently bites the gun with my Threadripper 2 test platforms. More on that in the upcoming article as the rest of those tests finish. It's also been a madhouse with simultaneously benchmarking the new Level 1 Terminal Fault (L1TF) vulnerability and the performance impact of those Linux mitigations on Intel hardware will start to be published in the next few hours.