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Software: Pitivi, Pngquant, Rufus and Proton

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  • Google Summer of Code 2019 with Pitivi Final Report

    For GSoC 2019, I worked on improving the effects user experience in Pitivi.

  • [Pitivi] Millan Castro: GSoC: Final report

    Google Summer of Code 2019 has come to an end. This post is part of my final submission. It summarizes my contribution to Pitivi, providing links to my work.

    My proposal consisted on a interval time system with different applications for Pitivi video editor. Originally, one of the applications would be to be able to set up markers at selected positions in the timeline, to store user metada.


    My work in GES is co-authored with my mentor, Mathieu Duponchelle. It includes the new classes GESMarkerList and GESMarker, and tests for them. It is already merged.

    GESMarkerList allows to have a list of GESMarker in every class that implements GESMetaContainer. Its API includes methods for create, serialize and deserialize a GESMarkerList, and for add, move, get and remove GESMarker. Also include signals to notify this operations.

    The class GESMarker implements GESMetacontainer. It has a position property.

    A set of new tests checks that everything works fine.

  • Pngquant – A Command-line Utility To Compress PNG Images On Linux

    Pngquant is a free, open source and cross-platform command-line lossy PNG compressor. It is based on a portable libimagequant library and is written in C99. It reduces the file size significantly by converting the PNG image to more efficient 8-bit PNG format and preserves full alpha transparency. As you may already know, 8-bit PNG files are often 60-80% smaller than 24/32-bit PNG files. The images compressed using Pngquant are fully-compatible with all web browsers and operating systems. Pngquant can compress one or multiple images at once.

  • Rufus: Creating A Persistent Storage Live USB With Ubuntu Or Debian From Windows

    Rufus 3.7 beta, released yesterday, has finalized the persistent partition support for Debian and Ubuntu, allowing users to create persistent storage live USBs of recent Debian Live ISOs, and Ubuntu Live ISOs created after 1st of August, 2019.

    Rufus is a popular free and open source graphical tool to create bootable USB drives from Windows. It can be used to create not only bootable Windows drives from ISO files or disk images, but also create bootable Linux USB drives from Windows.

    This application is able to create persistent live drives that work in both UEFI (MBR or GPT) and BIOS mode, with casper-rw being used for the persistent storage partition, so it can have a size of more than 4GB.

    Experimental persistent partitions support was first added to this Windows bootable Live USB creation tool with version 3.6, but it didn't seem to work properly, as in my test, any changes made to the Live USB did not persist between reboots. With the latest Rufus 3.7 beta though, the persistent partition feature works (I tested it with the latest daily build of Ubuntu 19.10 Eoan Ermine). But it doesn't support every Linux distribution out there.

    The Rufus 3.7 beta release notes mention that with this release, the persistent partition support is finalized (so it's not longer experimental) for Debian and Ubuntu. BUT as far as Ubuntu is concerned, the persistence feature only works with ISOs of Ubuntu 19.10 Eoan Ermine created later than August 1st, 2019 (e.g. the Ubuntu Eoan Ermine daily ISO from here should work). The reason for this is a bug that caused persistence on casper-rw partitions to break when the mount sequence order was changed, which was only recently fixed.

  • Proton 4.11-3 Pulls In D9VK 0.20, Taps Gamepads Directly, Fsync Fixes

    Valve's Wine-based Proton for powering Steam Play to run Windows games on Linux is seeing more exciting work in their 4.11 branch. 

Top 20 Best Notepad++ Alternatives for Linux in 2019

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Notepad++ is arguably the most popular source code editors among users of the Microsoft Windows systems. It replaced the legacy Notepad editor around 15 years back and since then has been the subject of constant admiration. The software enjoys widespread popularity due to its lightweight footprint, flexible features, and hard to match performance. Thankfully, Linux doesn’t fall short when it comes to code editors and offers some of the most rigorous text editors available right now. There’re quite a lot of worthy Notepad++ alternatives for Linux that you might want to check out.

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Ghostwriter is an open source markdown editor with a polished interface

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Ghostwriter is a distraction-free open source markdown editor that is available for Linux and Windows.

Windows users can install the Ghostwriter program on their device or use a portable version instead that does not need to be installed. Ghostwriter is based on Qt5.

We reviewed similar applications in the past. You can check out Zim, an open source wiki-like text editor, the distraction-free Linux app FocusWriter, the Atom text editor for Linux, or Text Editor Pro for Windows.

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Software: Webmin, Bookworm, Glimpse

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  • Webmin: A web-based Linux management tool

    You're probably thinking, "Oh great, another tool to learn," but Webmin is different. It's a web-based Linux management tool that streamlines your Linux management tasks to a few clicks, dropdowns, and prompted fill-in-the-blank fields, which untangles the web of complexity associated with common applications such as Apache, Perl, and Sendmail. Webmin enables you to manage your Linux system's hardware and software, native and third-party applications, Webmin itself, and even log in with a web-based text terminal for those command-line purists.

  • Bookworm is a new ebook reader for Linux - Goodereader

    Calibre was originally developed to convert ebooks from one format to another and assist in delivering ebooks to your e-reader. The company has introduced more features, such being able to read ebooks right in the app. They not only have a program for Windows and MAC, but also Linux. There have been few alternatives to Calibre on Linux, one of them is a new program called Bookworm.

    Bookworm was developed for Elementary OS, but also available for other Linux distributions such as Ubuntu or OpenSUSE. Options to install from source or flatpack are provided as well. It reads many popular ebook formats such as EPUB, PDF, MOBI, FB2, CBR and CBZ.

  • Glimpse is the G-Rated GIMP Fork We All, Er, Apparently Need…

    Enter the Glimpse Image Editor, a fledgling fork of The GIMP (herein referred to simply as ‘GIMP’) whose name is certifiable G (or U or L or whatever is “suitable for everyone”).

    Is the world really crying out for a fork of GIMP?

    There have been a few usability “projects” built on, for, and around GIMP in the years that I’ve been covered open source and Linux (10 years next month, fact fans).

    The best known “effort” of these is the (surprisingly still active) GIMP Shop.

D9VK 0.20

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  • D9VK 0.20 'Frog Cookie' is out further advancing this great D3D9 to Vulkan layer

    Developer Joshua Ashton has just today released another build of D9VK code-named 'Frog Cookie', further polishing this D3D9 to Vulkan layer that was forked from DXVK.

    Included in this release are multiple performance improvements, new fixed function support, multiple new D3D9 features added in and supported including one needed for Undertale, along with little something for Unreal Engine 3 titles so hopefully they should work better. Plenty of bugs were eaten up for this release too—something about Frogs?

  • D9VK 0.20 Offers Performance Improvements, New Features For Direct3D 9 Over Vulkan

    Joshua Ashton has released D9VK 0.20 "Frog Cookie" as the newest version of this project mapping Direct3D 9 over Vulkan to help improve the Windows gaming on Linux experience.

    As is commonly the case for these different Direct3D over Vulkan translation layers, D9VK 0.20 brings more performance improvements. There are various optimizations, no longer using device local memory for shader constant buffers, and other performance improvements.

Tuhi - an application to support Wacom SmartPad device\s

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Sounds like déjà vu? Right, I posted a post with an almost identical title 18 months ago or so. This is about Tuhi 0.2, new and remodeled and completely different to that. Sort-of.

Tuhi is an application that supports the Wacom SmartPad devices - Bamboo Spark, Bamboo Slate, Bamboo Folio and Intuos Pro. The Bamboo range are digital notepads. They come with a real pen, you draw normally on the pad and use Bluetooth LE and Wacom's Inkspace application later to sync the files to disk. The Intuos Pro is the same but it's designed as a "normal" tablet with the paper mode available as well.

18 months ago, Benjamin Tissoires and I wrote Tuhi as a DBus session daemon. Tuhi would download the drawings from the file and make them available as JSON files over DBus to be converted to SVG or some other format by ... "clients". We wrote a simple commandline tool to debug Tuhi but no GUI, largely in the hope that maybe someone would be interested in doing that. Fast forward to now and that hasn't happened but I had some spare cycles over the last weeks so I present to you: Tuhi 0.2, now with a GTK GUI...

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Linux Candy: ASCIIQuarium – embrace marine life from the terminal

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Who loves eye candy? Don’t be shy — you can raise both hands!!

Linux Candy is a new series of articles covering interesting eye candy software. We’re only going to feature open-source software in this series.

I’m not going to harp on about the tired proverb “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”. But there’s a certain element of truth here. If you spend all day coding neural networks, mastering a new programming language, sit in meetings feeling bored witless, you’ll need some relief at the end of the day. And what better way by making your desktop environment a bit more memorable.

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Bookworm is a light-weight eBook reader for Linux

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While Calibre has a built-in reader, and is the absolute best when it comes to managing and converting eBooks, some people may prefer an alternative when it comes to reading ebooks. Bookworm, a lightweight ebook reader for Linux, offers a minimalist experience.

Developed for Elementary OS, Bookworm is also available for other Linux distributions such as Ubuntu or OpenSUSE. Options to install from source or flatpack are provided as well.

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The 8 Best IP Scanners For Linux in 2019

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If you want to know what IP addresses are actually in use in your network, your only option is pretty much to scan them all. Very often, this is something one would do using the ping command. Ping, which has been around almost as long as IP networking, is probably the best ways to test for connectivity to a given IP address. So, by successively pinging all IP addresses in a network, one can get a pretty good picture of which ones are in use and which ones are available.

However, in all be the smallest of networks with only a handful of IP addresses, this can quickly turn into quite a chore. Fortunately, tools exist that will automatically scan a group of IP addresses and report on their responsiveness. Today, we’re reviewing some of the best IP scanners for Linux that will simplify your life when you have to scan IP addresses.

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MicroK8s Gets Powerful Add-ons

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We are excited to announce new Cilium and Helm add-ons, coming to MicroK8s! These add-ons add even more power to your Kubernetes environment built on MicroK8s. The Cilium CNI plugin brings enhanced networking features, including Kubernetes NetworkPolicy support, to MicroK8s. You’ll also get direct CLI access to Cilium within MicroK8s using the microk8s.cilium wrapper.

If you do not already have a version of cilium installed you can alias microk8s.cilium to cilium using the following command:
snap alias microk8s.cilium cilium

Helm, the package manager for Kubernetes will allow even easier management of your MicroK8s environment.

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CAN-Bus HAT for Raspberry Pi 4 offers RTC and wide-range power

Copperhill’s third-gen, $65 “PiCAN3” HAT features Raspberry Pi 4 support and a SocketCAN-ready CAN-Bus 2.0B port. The HAT has an RTC and is powered by a 3A, 6-20V Switch Mode Power Supply that can also power the Pi. Copperhill Technologies has launched a CAN-Bus HAT for the Raspberry Pi 4 Model B designed for industrial and automotive applications. Like the PiCAN2. which we briefly covered last year as part of our report on Network Sorcery’s UCAN software for CAN-equipped Raspberry Pi boards, the HAT is equipped with a Microchip MCP2515 CAN controller and MCP2551 CAN transceiver. Read more

Android Leftovers

FreeBSD 12 & DragonFlyBSD 5.6 Running Well On The AMD Ryzen 7 3700X + MSI X570 GODLIKE

For those wondering how well FreeBSD and DragonFlyBSD are handling AMD's new Ryzen 3000 series desktop processors, here are some benchmarks on a Ryzen 7 3700X with MSI MEG X570 GODLIKE where both of these popular BSD operating systems were working out-of-the-box. For some fun mid-week benchmarking, here are those results of FreeBSD 12.0 and DragonFlyBSD 5.6.2 up against openSUSE Tumbleweed and Ubuntu 19.04. Back in July I looked at FreeBSD 12 on the Ryzen 9 3900X but at that time at least DragonFlyBSD had troubles booting on that system. When trying out the Ryzen 7 3700X + MSI GODLIKE X570 motherboard on the latest BIOS, everything "just worked" without any compatibility issues for either of these BSDs. Read more

How to break out of a hypervisor: Abuse Qemu-KVM on-Linux pre-5.3 – or VMware with an AMD driver

A pair of newly disclosed security flaws could allow malicious virtual machine guests to break out of their hypervisor's walled gardens and execute malicious code on the host box. Both CVE-2019-14835 and CVE-2019-5049 are not particularly easy to exploit as they require specific types of hardware or events to occur. However, if successful, either could allow a miscreant to run malware on the host from a VM instance. CVE-2019-14835 was discovered and reported by Peter Pi, a member of the Tencent Blade Team. It is found in the Linux kernel versions 2.6.34 up to version 5.3, where it is patched. Read more