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Software

ZeMarmot Is Working On Searchable Layer Groups, Stored Layer Selection And Other Cool Features For GIMP

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ZeMarmot is a 2D animation film project that uses free software to create animated films and other artwork made free available under the Art Libre and Creative Commons licenses. It is easy to see what software you are using daily is missing. Jehan from ZeMarmot has written code for several cool new features that make his GIMP experience better.

ZeMarmot is an animated 2D movie made freely available under the Creative Commons by-SA/Art Libre licenses. They use free software to create their movie.

Jehan, a ZeMarmot member from France, has also been a major GIMP contributor since 2012. He is working on some interesting new features for the GNU Image Manipulation Program such as searchable layer groups, pattern-matching selection and stored layer selection.

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Small Image Tools that Pack a Real Punch

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The spotlight usually focuses on the heavyweight Linux graphics tools such as GIMP, Shotwell, digiKam, Inkscape, and Krita. However, there are many other open source graphics tools that merit attention.

Linux offers a vast collection of open source small utilities that perform functions ranging from the obvious to the bizarre. It is the quality and selection of these tools that help Linux stand out as a productive environment. A good utility cooperates with other applications, integrating seamlessly.

Although command-line tools are very useful for updating, configuring, and repairing a system, their benefits are not only confined to system administration. The majority of the applications featured in this article are command-line tools. They are very light on system resources, fast and efficient, don’t rely on a windowing system, and are great for integrating with other applications and scripting.

The term lightweight is a label attached to computer software which is relatively simpler or faster than its counterparts. Feature bloat is endemic in software especially commercial software. Often, the easiest way to persuade users to upgrade to the latest version is to add new spangly features. This happens with open source software (to a lesser degree), and open source graphics software is not immune to feature bloat. Well, there is no feature bloat here!

To provide an insight into the quality of software that is available, we have compiled a list of small image tools that are incredibly useful.

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Desktop Software: Thunar 4.16.4, Kate Themes, and XDG

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  • Thunar 4.16.4 Is Released

    The latest version of the Thunar file manager for the Xfce desktop environment has six bug-fixes and updated translations for four languages.

  • Cross Platform Light & Dark Themes and Icons

    On the most Unices that use X11/Wayland and therefore are capable of running the full Plasma Desktop the state of light & dark themes and the accompanied icon themes is really good for KDE Frameworks based application.

    Just take a look at these two screenshots of a light and dark mode Kate running on GNU Linux/X11 & Plasma Desktop.

  • Task-based menus for a file

    Just throwing this out for wider talk perhaps. I have been silently watching a list called xdg@lists.freedesktop.org. Now the list talks about freedesktop standards which basically is trying to have some sort of standards that all desktop environments can follow. One of the discussions on the specific list shared above is and was about ‘New MimeType fields in .desktop’ . It is a fascinating thread with many people giving loads of interesting view points. If you are into desktops even casually, you would enjoy the discussions thoroughly.

    [...]

    There are also lot of banking stuff that we cannot do on free software, especially in India as lot of powerful proprietary interests are there which make sure that no public API’s are available, or even if there is, it would be something half-done or after back and forth, they say, this is just for show, as had shared last year. I would probably add another section later to talk about it. From what little I know, in Europe the law mandates that there are public API’s not only for banking but wherever public money (read taxpayer money) is involved. Again, not all countries, but some more than others. At least, that is what I had seen over the years.

Xfdashboard 0.9.0 Is Released

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Xfdashboard is a little-known gem that provides a application management interface that is somewhat similar to the GNOME shell dashboard and the macOS Mission Control interface. It presents an overview of all the windows on a given virtual desktop with a separate xfdashboard instance on each screen on multi-monitor setups. GNU/Linux distributions do not tend to integrate Xfdashboard with the Xfce desktop environment they ship on their Xfce spins so most Xfce users are blissfully unaware of its existence.

Xfdashboard can easily be "integrated" with Xfce, and other desktop environments and window-managers, by adding a panel shortcut and/or a keyboard shortcut that starts xfdashboard. It works fine with window-managers like Fluxbox and Openbox and desktop environments like LXQt and, obviously, Xfce.

There are some minor issues with xfdashboard that are somewhat annoying when it is compared to a similar solution on a proprietary operating system made by an American fruit company. For example, the type-to-search function is case-sensitive. Typing g will not show the GNU Image Manipulation Program because that programs name starts with GNU in capital letters, you have to type G to find it. There is also an issue with minimized windows, their content is not shown. There is a "workaround" available in xfdashboard-settings, it can be configured to restore and re-minimize minimized windows to grab their content. This is kind of slow if you have lots of windows open.

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Also: AviDemux 2.7.8 (64-bit)

Macchina – Another Command Tool to Display Basic System Info in Linux

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Macchina is another command line tool to fetch basic system information in Linux, similar to Neofetch, but focus on performance and minimalism.

The software is written in Rust, and it displays basic system information, including hostname, manufacturer, kernel version, uptime, desktop environment, processor, memory / battery status, and more. Macchina is pretty fast, it runs 8.53 ± 0.72 times faster than neofetch!

Macchina is a new project in active development. By adding --theme or -t flag, you can specify one of the supported themes. They are so far: default, alt, and long.

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Best Free Android Apps: Termux – terminal emulator and Linux environment

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There’s a strict eligibility criteria for inclusion in this series. See the Eligibility Criteria section below.

Termux offers both a capable terminal emulator and an extremely useful Linux environment (single user) on your Android device. The app provides full-blown versions of Bash, Coreutils and much more.

A minimal base system is installed, but the real power comes from the tons of packages available with the APT package manager.

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ytfzf - Search (With Thumbnails) And Play YouTube Videos From A Terminal

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ytfzf - search and play youtube with thumbnails from the command line
ytfzf is a script to search, download and play YouTube videos by making use of mpv and youtube-dl under the hood. It works on Linux and macOS. The command line script had its first stable (1.0.0) release today.

The tool initially started as a single line script, but has since evolved, recently gaining the ability to show YouTube thumbnails in the terminal, along with other enhancements.

For each YouTube search query, a list of results in shown in the right-hand side pane. On the left-hand side you can see the selected video title, the channel that posted the video, the number of views, video duration, upload date, and the video thumbnail (which is optional).

Use the Up and Down arrow keys to navigate through the search results, and press the Enter key to play the video (or download it, it ytfzf was started with the -d command line parameter). The videos are played using mpv by default, but you can change this with another video player, as long as it has the ability to launch YouTube links.

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QBittorrent Support For BitTorrent 2.0 Is Looking Good

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BitTorrent 2.0, defined in BEP52 all the way back in January 2008, is a big upgrade to the existing BitTorrent protocol. It uses SHA-256 instead of the now very insecure SHA-1 hash algorithm, it has a much more efficient directory structure in the .torrent files and the pieces of files within a torrent are represented by merkle hash trees.

One potentially fun advantage of the new .torrent file format is that individual files within a .torrent get their own hash. That could be used to participate in two or more public swarms if two or more torrents happen to contain the same file(s). There is no code for such a cross-leaching feature as of today, but is in theory quite possible.

BitTorrent clients have been very slow to implement the new BitTorrent 2.0 protocol. libtorrent-rasterbar 2.0, released in October 2020, was the first widely used BitTorrent library to full support it and all its features.

The popular qBittorrent client, available for macOS newer than High Sierra, Windows 7+ and Linux, is built on the libtorrent-rasterbar library. The latest stable v4.3.3 release from January 2021 uses libtorrent-rasterbar 1.2.

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Software: Sweet Home 3D 6.5, Video Editors, and Tor Browser 10.0.13 (GNU/Linux Only)

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  • Sweet Home 3D 6.5

    Sweet Home 3D 6.5 was released on March 2, 2021 to fix many bugs and bring a few improvements described in version history.

    [...]

    The main change is the Java runtime now bundled with Sweet Home 3D installer under Windows 64 bit and Mac OS X ≥ 10.9. Under Windows, Sweet Home 3D 6.5 is bundled with Azul OpenJDK 11.0.10 when installed with a 64 bit architecture, bringing a better user interface under HiDPI screens. Under Mac OS X ≥ 10.9, Sweet Home 3D is bundled with Azul OpenJDK 15.0.2 which supports notarization and the Apple new M1 processor for applications launched from an .app bundle.
    The Windows 32 bit version of Sweet Home 3D is still bundled with Oracle Java 8u202, mainly to keep the support of old Windows versions like Windows XP. Under Mac OS X ≤ 10.9, you'll have to use SweetHome3D-6.5-macosx-10.4-10.9.dmg installer which runs with Apple Java 6 and Java 3D 1.5.2 (notice that Mac OS X 10.9 is the only Mac OS X version able to run Sweet Home 3D coming from either installers). Under Linux, the Java runtime bundled with installers were not updated yet.

    Finally, the JOGL library running with Java 3D 1.6.1 was upgraded to version 2.4 RC 20210111 to ensure the compatibility of Sweet Home 3D and Furniture Library Editor with Java 9 and above under Mac OS X.

  • Sweet Home 3D 6.5 Released, How to Install in Ubuntu 20.04

    Free interior design software SweetHome3D 6.5 was released a few day ago. Here’s how to install it in Ubuntu 20.04, Ubuntu 20.10, Linux Mint 19.x, and 20.x.

  • 20 Free Video Editing Apps for Beginners [Ed: Several of the programs in this article are also free as in freedom]

    6. Shotcut

    Shotcut is an open source, cross platform video editing software. The tool supports a wide range of video formats. So it’s perfect for those who need to create content for multiple platforms. The video editor offers native timeline editing. So you don’t need to import specialized content to use it. You can also easily capture content from cameras, webcams, online, or audio files.
    Shotcut is available for Mac, Windows, and Linux systems. Since it’s an open source tool, there are no fees. And it’s possible to create customized solutions. But there may be a bit of a learning curve for those who want to use the tool for specific purposes. There are plenty of tutorials available on the website to help you learn the features and abilities.

    7. OpenShot

    OpenShot is an open source video editor that’s 100 percent free. You simply download the video editing software to your computer. Then you can quickly upload content and edit it in a variety of ways. Features include trimming, background editing, titles, unlimited tracks and layers, slow motion, and animation options. It’s also known for its easy to use features and intuitive interface, making it an ideal video editing software for beginners.
    OpenShot is available for Mac, Windows, and Linux. It is distributed under a GNU General Public License. So you can modify and distribute it as well.

  • New Release: Tor Browser 10.0.13 (Linux Only)

    Tor Browser 10.0.13 for Linux is now available from the Tor Browser download page and also from our distribution directory.

    This version fixes instability on some Linux distributions.

croc Is A Tool For Resumable, Encrypted File And Folder Transfers Between Computers (Command Line)

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croc is a free and open source command line tool for secure file transfers between computers. It uses relay-assisted peer-to-peer transactions and end-to-end encryption via password-authenticated key exchange. The program is written in Go and is available for Microsoft Windows, macOS, Linux and *BSD.

The idea behind croc is being able to transfer files and folders between cross-platform computers securely, fast and easy. With support for resumable, peer-to-peer transfers. As a bonus feature, croc is also able to securely transfer a short text or URL directly.

The data transfer is done using a relay, either using raw TCP sockets or websockets. When the sender and the receiver are on the same LAN, croc uses a local relay, otherwise a public relay is used. Thanks to this, croc can send files between computers in the same LAN, or over the Internet, without having port-forwarding enabled.

The data going through the relay is encrypted using a PAKE-generated session key. For this, croc uses code phrases, a combination of three random words. By default, a code phrase can only be used once between two parties, so an attacker would have a chance of less than 1 in 4 billion to guess the code phrase correctly to steal the data.

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Review: Artix Linux in 2021

Artix Linux is a fork (or continuation as an autonomous project) of the Arch-OpenRC and Manjaro-OpenRC projects. Artix Linux offers a lightweight, rolling-release operating system featuring alternative init software options, including OpenRC, runit, and s6. The distribution is available in many editions, including Base, Cinnamon, LXDE, LXQt, MATE, KDE Plasma and Xfce. With all of the desktop options, combined with the available init choices, there are 21 editions, not including community spins from which to choose. All editions appear to be built for 64-bit (x86_64) machines. Picking randomly, I selected Artix's Plasma edition featuring the runit init software. The download for this edition is is 1.3GB. Browsing the other editions it looks like most flavours are about 1.1GB to 1.3GB in size, though the minimal Base edition is a compact 618MB. The project's live media boots to the KDE Plasma desktop. On the desktop we find multiple documentation and README icons. There is also an icon for launching the system installer. The default layout places a panel at bottom of the screen where we can find the application menu and system tray. The default wallpaper is a soft blue while the theme for windows and menus is dark with high contrast fonts. [...] Artix Linux is one of those distributions I really enjoy using and yet struggle to review in a meaningful way because it doesn't really go out of its way to introduce new or exciting features and everything works smoothly. The distribution is wonderfully easy to install, offers top-notch performance, and is unusually light on resources. Artix is somewhat minimal, but still ships enough software to be immediately useful right out of the gate. We can browse the web, install packages, view files, and play videos. Meanwhile the application menu isn't cluttered with a lot of extras. The developers clearly expect us to install the functionality we need, while doing a really good job of providing enough for the desktop environment to feel base-line useful right from the start. Artix does a nice job of balancing performance and functionality while also juggling ease of use against not getting in the way. There is a little documentation, but no initial welcome screen or configuration wizards that might distract the user. The one piece I felt was missing was a graphical package manager which would have made it easier to build the extra functionality I wanted on top of the base distribution. However, that one piece aside, I felt as though Artix was really well designed and put together, at lease for someone like me. It's not a distribution geared toward beginners, it's not a "first distro". It is a bit minimal and requires command line knowledge. However, for someone with a little experience with Linux, for someone who doesn't mind the occasional trip to the command line or installing new applications as needed, then Artix provides an excellent experience. It's fast, light, looks (in my opinion) great with the default theme, and elegantly walks the line between minimalism and having enough applications ready to go out of the box to be immediately useful. I'm unusually impressed with how smooth and trouble-free my experience was with this distribution and the fact it offers such a range of desktop and init diversity is all the more appealing. Read more

Alpine Linux Review: Ultimate Distro for Power Users

Alpine Linux is gathering a lot of attention because of its super-small size and focus on security. However, Alpine is different from some of the other lightweight distros we covered on FOSSLinux. It isn’t your typical desktop distribution as it is terminal-based like Arch and is marketed as a “general purpose distro.” It is currently widely adopted as a Docker container thanks to its ultra-small footprint. However, it can be used for all sorts of Linux deployments that benefit from small, resource-efficient Linux distros. Now, that statement might feel too generic. But don’t worry, as we have put together an in-depth and comprehensive review of Alpine Linux, giving you a detailed look at what it has under the hood and how to use it. As such, by the end, you should have a clear understanding of whether you should consider Alpine Linux as your next Linux distro. So without further ado, let’s dive in. Read more

Programming Leftovers

  • How to manipulate strings in bash

    Without explicit support for variable types, all bash variables are by default treated as character strings. Therefore more often than not, you need to manipulate string variables in various fashions while working on your bash script. Unless you are well-versed in this department, you may end up constantly coming back to Google and searching for tips and examples to handle your specific use case. In the spirit of saving your time and thus boosting your productivity in shell scripting, I compile in this tutorial a comprehensive list of useful string manipulation tips for bash scripting. Where possible I will try to use bash's built-in mechanisms (e.g., parameter expansion) to manipulate strings instead of invoking external tools such as awk, sed or grep. If you find any missing tips, feel free to suggest it in the comment. I will be happy to incorporate it in the article.

  • Python Generators

    Python generators are very powerful for handling operations which require large amount of memory.

  • We got lucky

    If you’re having enough production incidents to be able to evaluate your preparation, you’re probably either unlucky or unprepared ;) If you have infrequent incidents you may be well prepared but it’s hard to tell. Chaos engineering experiments are a great way to test your preparation, and practice incident response in a less stressful context. It may seem like a huge leap from your current level of preparation to running automated chaos monkeys in production, but you don’t need to go straight there. Why not start with practice drills? You could have a game host who comes up with a failure scenario. You can work up to chaos in production.

  • React Testing Library – Tutorial with JavaScript Code Examples

    This post will help you to learn what React Testing Library is, and how you can use it to test your React application. This tutorial will assume you already know some basic JavaScript and understand the basics of how React works. React Testing Library is a testing utility tool that's built to test the actual DOM tree rendered by React on the browser. The goal of the library is to help you write tests that resembles how a user would use your application, so that you'll have more confidence that your application work as intended when a real user do use it.

  • Why I Moved From Ops to DevOps (and why you might want to)