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Software: RedPen, Jitsi Meet, Opera, LibreOffice

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  • Tools to improve English text

    The Grumpy Editor reviewed proselint in 2016 and compared it to "one of the world's worst elementary-school teachers criticizing you in front of the entire class about irrelevant details". I wanted to check whether the teacher had matured, but, alas, the project has been inactive since 2018. There are several contenders for the nagging teacher position, though. One is alex whose aim is to point out insensitive and inconsiderate writing. While alex is useful in some cases (changing "chairman" to "chair" or "chairperson" is a good improvement that doesn't introduce unnatural language, for example), I found the tool too noisy. It complained about "simple math" and "invalid characters" in a technical manual (although "basic math" might indeed be an improvement). Computers are good at pattern matching but language is all about context. The documentation observes that "alex isn't very smart" and I tend to agree. (Interestingly, alex doesn't find that phrase offensive.)

    Another tool is write good which flags "weasel" words (like "very") and passive voice. LWN previously looked at writegood-mode in the context of Emacs. Personally, I didn't find the feedback from write-good particularly useful, but opinions differ when it comes to passive voice.

    RedPen looks like a credible alternative to proselint. It specifically mentions technical documentation and has support for several common markup formats, including Markdown, Textile, AsciiDoc, reStructuredText, and LaTeX. Installation seemed tricky at first. I couldn't find a Debian or RPM package, no Flatpak, and the Snap image is from 2016 (while the latest release is from earlier this year).

    As I was waiting for the download of the 150MB file, I found an online instance into which text can be copied. The online version is particularly useful since it makes it easy to disable checks. One does not need to learn about the configuration file but can simply click some check boxes. Obviously, the online instance is not a solution if the text is private or has too many embarrassing mistakes to copy it to a random web site. I also found PyRedPen, which is a set of Python scripts that allow sending a file to this online instance of RedPen for analysis.

  • Bryan Quigley: Don't Download Zoom!

    First, I strongly recommend switching to Jitsi Meet:

    It's free
    It doesn't require you to sign up at all
    It's open source
    It's on the cutting edge of privacy and security features

  • Opera Web Browser 69 Released with Twitter Integration

    Opera web browser released the new stable version 69 today. The new release features built-in Twitter support.

    Click the three-dot icon at the bottom of the sidebar, then you can tick Twitter in the Messengers section.

  • Annual Report 2019: Updates from the Design community

    Based on LibreOffice’s Human Interface Guidelines (HIG), which provide the core framework, several significant changes were made to LibreOffice’s user interface during 2019. The most important were the improvements and the additions to icon styles, and the release of the NotebookBar in additional flavours.

Mozilla Politics, Mozilla WebThings Gateway and Voice Projects

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  • Immigrants Remain Core to the U.S.’ Strength

    By its very design the internet has accelerated the sharing of ideas and information across borders, languages, cultures and time zones. Despite the awesome reach and power of what the web has enabled, there is still no substitute for the chemistry that happens when human beings of different backgrounds and experiences come together to live and work in the same community.

    Immigration brings a wealth of diverse viewpoints, drives innovation and creative thinking, and is central to building the internet into a global public resource that is open and accessible to all.

    This is why the current U.S. administration’s recent actions are so troubling. On June 22, 2020 President Donald Trump issued an Executive Order suspending entry of immigrants under the premise that they present a risk to the United States’ labor market recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. This decision will likely have far-reaching and unintended consequences for industries like Mozilla’s and throughout the country.

  • We’re proud to join #StopHateForProfit

    Mozilla stands with the family of companies and civil society groups calling on Facebook to take strong action to limit hateful and divisive content on their platforms. Mozilla and Firefox have not advertised on Facebook and Instagram since March of 2018, when it became clear the company wasn’t acting to improve the lack of user privacy that emerged in the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

  • Celebrate Pride with these colorful browser themes for Firefox

    As June comes to a close, we wanted to share some of our favorite LGBTQ browser themes, so you can celebrate Pride well into the summer and beyond.

  • Mozilla WebThings Gateway Kit by OKdo

    We’re excited about this week’s news from OKdo, highlighting a new kit built around Mozilla’s WebThings Gateway. OKdo is a UK-based global technology company focused on IoT offerings for hobbyists, educators, and entrepreneurs. Their idea is to make it easy to get a private and secure “web of things” environment up and running in either home or classroom. OKdo chose to build this kit around the Mozilla WebThings Gateway, and we’ve been delighted to work with them on it.

    The WebThings Gateway is an open source software distribution focused on privacy, security, and interoperability. It provides a web-based user interface to monitor and control smart home devices, along with a rules engine to automate them. In addition, a data logging subsystem monitors device changes over time. Thanks to extensive contributions from our open source community, you’ll find an add-on system to extend the gateway with support for a wide range of existing smart home products.

    With the WebThings Gateway, users always have complete control. You can directly monitor and control your home and devices over the web. In fact, you’ll never have to share data with a cloud service or vendor.

  • Firefox UX: Designing for voice

    In the future people will use their voice to access the internet as often as they use a screen. We’re already in the early stages of this trend: As of 2016 Google reported 20% of searches on mobile devices used voice, last year smart speakers sales topped 146 million units — a 70% jump from 2018, and I’m willing to bet your mom or dad have adopted voice to make a phone call or dictate a text message.

    I’ve been exploring voice interactions as the design lead for Mozilla’s Emerging Technologies team for the past two years. In that time we’ve developed Pocket Listen (a Text-to-Speech platform, capable of converting any published web article into audio) and Firefox Voice (an experiment accessing the internet with voice in the browser). This blog post is an introduction to designing for voice, based on the lessons our team learned researching and developing these projects. Luckily, if you’re a designer transitioning to working with voice, and you already have a solid design process in place, you’ll find many of your skills transfer seamlessly. But, some things are very different, so let’s dive in.

Stellarium 0.20.2 Released as 20 Year Anniversary Celebration

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Free open-source astronomy software Stellarium 0.20.2 was released a few days ago as the 20 year anniversary celebration.

Stellarium 0.20.2 contains many changes in AstroCalc tool and core of Stellarium, changes in scripting engline and Script Console, Oculars and Satellites plugins, updated DSO catalog, see release note for details.

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10 Best Linux Apps You Must Have For Everyday Use, MBBox and PhotoTeleport

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  • 10 Best Linux Apps You Must Have For Everyday Use [2020 Edition]

    An application is a software program that gives you an interface to interact with your system or perform any specific tasks in just a click of a button. Whenever we start using any operating system, we first always look for the best applications that can fulfill our demands.

    Though with the advent of the Internet we can do almost everything using web applications running in a single web browser app, some of you also want desktop apps to have a better comfort with one less browser tab. Hence, in this article, I’ll present a list of best Linux apps that you must have installed on your Linux operating system.

    Whether you want the best Ubuntu apps or apps for Chromebooks, the list fully contains free and open source applications that you can easily install on any Linux distro.

    You can use these free and open-source software (FOSS) every day for your personal productivity, entertainment, or professional work. You can also modify them to add new features by contributing to its open repository.

  • MBBox – Module Building in a Box

    Originally there was a Python script written by our former colleague Patrick Uiterwijk which did the deployment of the MBBox. The initiative was submitted by the CentOS Stream team because they were the main users of the original MBBox script.

  • Version 0.13: New recursive folder upload [Ed: "PhotoTeleport is free software, distributed under the GPLv3 license," says the site]

    One of the very first things that PhotoTeleport users try to do when learning to use the program is dragging a folder onto it, with the expectation that PhotoTeleport would be smart enough to scan its contents and open all the images located in there. Unfortunately, this feature was never implemented – well, until now, at least!

  • Versioned releases of Kiwi TCMS

    We are happy to announce that versioned releases of Kiwi TCMS container images are now available to customers with an active enterprise subscription.

    For a long time our release policy has been to push only latest version of our upstream kiwitcms/kiwi containers. This upstream channel doesn't carry version tags and receives versioned releases only when there are backwards incompatible database migrations! This proved challenging to administrators who don't upgrade immediately to the latest version as soon as it comes out.

Microsoft Director Enters Board of Mozilla

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  • Navrina Singh Joins the Mozilla Foundation Board of Directors

    She is the former Director of Product Development for Artificial Intelligence at Microsoft.

  • Why I’m Joining the Mozilla Board

    Firefox was my window into Mozilla 15 years ago, and it’s through this window I saw the power of an open and collaborative community driving lasting change. My admiration and excitement for Mozilla was further bolstered in 2018, when Mozilla made key additions to it’s Manifesto to be more explicit around it’s mission to guard the open nature of the internet. For me this addendum signalled an actionable commitment to promote equal access to the internet for ALL, irrespective of the demographic characteristic. Growing up in a resource constrained India in the nineties with limited access to global opportunities, this precise mission truly resonated with me.

    Technology should always be in service of humanity – an ethos that has guided my life as a technologist, as a citizen and as a first time co-founder of Over the years, I have seen the deepened connection between my values and Mozilla’s commitment. I had come to Mozilla as a user for the secure, fast and open product, but I stayed because of this alignment of missions. And today, I’m very honored to join Mozilla’s Board.

GStreamer 1.17.1 unstable development release

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The GStreamer team is pleased to announce the first development release in the unstable 1.17 release series.

The unstable 1.17 release series adds new features on top of the current stable 1.16 series and is part of the API and ABI-stable 1.x release series of the GStreamer multimedia framework.

The unstable 1.17 release series is for testing and development purposes in the lead-up to the stable 1.16 series which is scheduled for release in a few weeks time. Any newly-added API can still change until that point, although it is rare for that to happen.

Full release notes will be provided in the near future, highlighting all the new features, bugfixes, performance optimizations and other important changes.

The autotools build has been dropped entirely for this release, so it's finally all Meson from here on.

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Jitsi Meet: A Free & Open Source Video Conferencing Solution That is Also Free to Use Without Any Set Up

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Looking for an open source alternative to Zoom? Try Jitsi Meet. It is open source solution and you can use it for free on their server or host on your own server.
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Software: dav1d 0.7.1, GNOME, Strawberry and Tuir

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  • dav1d 0.7.1 AV1 Decoder Boosts 32-bit Arm Performance By ~28%

    For those trying to carry out AV1 video decoding on a 32-bit Arm environment, the new dav1d 0.7.1 decoder should be a heck of a lot faster.

    Dav1d 0.7 released last month with various performance optimizations particularly on the Intel/AMD x86_64 CPU front. With high-end hardware on dav1d 0.7, it's even possible to decode 1080p content at 1080+ FPS.

  • Mahmoud Khalil: Back On Track

    During the Community Bonding Period, I met with Alberto(my mentor) on Hangouts. We got to know each other more, and he gave me a task so that I get more familiar with the libgit2 and it’s wrapper that we use in Vala and in gitg libgit2-glib. During the implementation of the task, I got more comfortable with the workflow of gtk development, and I read more about the Meson Build System and how to build Gtk Application with it.

    The task was to create a tool to compare two commits with each other using libgit2-glib and show the result to the user in TextView Widget. The user would have to enter the SHAs of the two commits, then we would use those two SHAs to compute the difference between the two commits and show the result to the user. Here is the link for the project.

    I had to read more about the libgit2 library to understand more how it works. There are some useful examples on the website here, I also read more about the different data structures used to handle storing the “Commits”, and the “Diff” in each repository.

    I had some difficulties during the implementation, since I didn’t really know how delegate methods work, so I had to read more about them to understand what and why they’re used.

  • Strawberry – A Fork of Clementine Music Player & Organizer

    Strawberry is an open-source fork of Clementine music player aimed at music collectors and audiophiles.

    Strawberry is written in C++ with Qt 5 toolkit. The development started in 2018 while Clementine was not in active development (now development of Clementine revives).

  • Tuir: Why Open The Reddit Website, Just Use Your Terminal

Software: broot, Jitsi (Meet) and TenFourFox

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  • broot is a command-line file manager for Windows, Linux and macOS

    While Explorer is sufficient for most users, some of us prefer an alternative file manager. If you prefer command-line tools over GUI-based programs, we've got just the thing for you: broot.

  • Jitsi Meet and ejabberd

    Since the more or less global lockdown caused bei Covid-19 there was a lot talk about video conferencing solutions that can be used for e.g. those people that try to coordinate with coworkers while in home office. One of the solutions is Jitsi Meet, which is packaged in Debian. But there are also Debian packages provided by Jitsi itself.

    Jitsi relies on an XMPP server. You can see the network overview in the docs. While Jitsi itself uses Prosody as XMPP and their docs only covers that one. But it's basically irrelevant which XMPP you want to use. Only thing is that you can't follow the official Jitsi documentation when you are not using Prosody but instead e.g. ejabberd. As always, it's sometimes difficult to find the correct/best non-official documentation or how-to, so I try to describe what helped me in configuring Jitsi Meet with ejabberd as XMPP server and my own coturn STUN/TURN server...

    This is not a step-by-step description, but anyway... here we go with some links:

  • TenFourFox FPR24b1 available

    TenFourFox Feature Parity Release 24 beta 1 is now available (downloads, hashes, release notes). This includes Raphaël's mitigation for Twitch frame crashes and Ken's Intel build system fixes, plus minor updates to JavaScript, DOM and layout, and fixes for sundry issues with MP3 playback (make that G4 Mac mini an Internet radio today) along with the usual security updates. Assuming all goes well, TenFourFox FPR24 will go final on or about June 29 parallel with Firefox 78.

Wine 5.11 Released With Updated Mono, Initial Work On NetIO Kernel Driver

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Wine 5.11 is out today as the newest bi-weekly development snapshot for this open-source project that allows Windows games and applications to run on Linux and other platforms.

Wine 5.11 kicks off work on developing a NetIO kernel driver although still is an early work-in-progress. Wine 5.11 also has initial support for the Print Ticket API.

Wine 5.11 also updates its Mono engine against the v5.1 codebase, drops obsolete 32-bit PowerPC architecture support, continued work on a separate Unix library for NTDLL, and around 57 known bug fixes. The many bug fixes range from failures for the League of Legends game to DirectX 11 problems and various other game issues as well as fixes for some desktop applications.

Read more

Direct: Wine Announcement

Also: Wine 5.11 is out with more NTDLL work, NetIO kernel driver started

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More in Tux Machines

Software: RedNotebook, Stretchly, Vesta Control Panel and GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program)

  • RedNotebook 2.20

    RedNotebook is a modern desktop journal. It lets you format, tag and search your entries. You can also add pictures, links and customizable templates, spell check your notes, and export to plain text, HTML, Latex or PDF. RedNotebook is Free Software under the GPL. [...] RedNotebook 2.20 changelog: Fix drag and drop (#492, @dgcampea). Fix external previews (Eric Chazan). Document how to change the theme on Windows (#487, Ankur A. Sharma). Allow symlinking to ./run script (#509).

  • Stretchly – reminder to take breaks

    Many people who regularly use computers suffer from eye strain and fatigue. Looking at a monitor for a long time can strain your eyes or can make any other problems you are having with your eyes seem more apparent. There are lots of simple steps you can take to reduce eye strain and fatigue. These include adjusting the brightness, contrast settings, and text size displayed, as well as minimizing glare, and ensuring your room has proper lighting. Taking regular breaks is also very important. This is where Stretchly is designed to help. Stretchly is a cross-platform open source app that reminds you to take breaks when working with your computer.

  • Vesta Control Panel – Simple Yet Powerful Control Panel For Linux

    cPanel web hosting is easier to set up and manage. Users who are not familiar with Linux servers can easily maintain servers using cPanel, a GUI control panel for web servers. Buying shared hosting or managed web hosting can provide users a control panel. But both types of hostings have their own advantages and disadvantages. Read this article to know things to remember before buying web hosting. In this Linux cPanel series, I am discussing the best open source alternatives of cPanel. Most of the open-source alternatives of cPanel are free. Today in this article, I am going to talk about Vesta Control Panel, a free and open-source control panel for Linux servers. Vesta CP can be deployed on Red hat/CentOS (version 5,6,7), Debian (version 7, 8, 9), and Ubuntu (version 12.04 – 18.10).

  • The Best Photoshop Alternatives That Are Totally Free

    GIMP (Gnu Image Manipulation Program) is usually the default go-to alternative for anyone looking for Photoshop-level capabilities in a freeware desktop program. It’s not quite as feature-rich as Adobe’s powerhouse, but it comes with an impressive stack of tools nevertheless — and while it can be bewildering for first-timers, it shouldn’t take you too long to learn the ropes.

Audiocasts/Shows: Kubernetes, Open Source Security Podcast and "Reflecting On My Linux Journey"

  • Physics, politics and Pull Requests: the Kubernetes 1.18 release interview

    The start of the COVID-19 pandemic couldn't delay the release of Kubernetes 1.18, but unfortunately a small bug could — thankfully only by a day. This was the last cat that needed to be herded by 1.18 release lead Jorge Alarcón before the release on March 25. One of the best parts about co-hosting the weekly Kubernetes Podcast from Google is the conversations we have with the people who help bring Kubernetes releases together. Jorge was our guest on episode 96 back in March, and just like last week we are delighted to bring you the transcript of this interview. If you'd rather enjoy the "audiobook version", including another interview when 1.19 is released later this month, subscribe to the show wherever you get your podcasts. In the last few weeks, we've talked to long-time Kubernetes contributors and SIG leads David Oppenheimer, David Ashpole and Wojciech Tyczynski. All are worth taking the dog for a longer walk to listen to!

  • Open Source Security Podcast/Josh Bressers: Episode 208 – Passwords are pollution

    Josh and Kurt talk about some of the necessary evils of security. There are challenges we face like passwords and resource management. Sometimes the problem is old ideas, sometimes it’s we don’t have metrics. Can you measure not getting hacked?

  • Reflecting On My Linux Journey And Where It May Lead

    I ramble a bit about my Linux journey. Well, not just my Linux journey since my story begins before Linux existed. And even in the parts of the story that involve my Linux years, the story is really more about my journey with "free and open source software".

Mozilla: Rust 1.45.2 and Code Quality/Security

  • Announcing Rust 1.45.2

    The Rust team is announcing a new version of Rust, 1.45.2. Rust is a programming language that is empowering everyone to build reliable and efficient software.

  • Reference Sheet for Principals in Mozilla Code
  • Understanding Web Security Checks in Firefox (Part 1)

    This is the first part of a blog post series that will allow you to understand how Firefox implements Web Security fundamentals, like the Same-Origin Policy. This first post of the series covers the architectural design, terminology, and introduces core interfaces that our implementation of the Same-Origin Policy relies on: nsIPrincipal and nsILoadinfo.

KDE and GNOME: QML, MyPaint Brush Engine, Daniel van Vugt and Pitivi Summer of Code

  • QML Online - Can be everywhere!

    A new feature of QML Online is already available, allows it to run in any site/blog with minimal js/html code! Hopefully, our experience with QML examples, tutorials and documentation should change in the near future.

  • MyPaint Brush Engine [Final Phase]

    Coming to my project, it is almost complete apart from some finalisation related stuff that still is remaining. Perhaps, some review changes that my mentors shall give me once my current patch has been reviewed are also remaining. [...] I don't know why, but I always seem to have this feeling at the back of my head that something will come up that will be tough to handle and ruin my project. Though this has been happening even before GSoC started. That scares me a bit :( Anyways.

  • Ubuntu's Prolific GNOME Developer Is Looking To Tackle Deep Color Support

    GNOME could soon be playing nicely with deep color displays that aim to offer more realistic color reproduction thanks to the greater bit depth for each color component.  Canonical's Daniel van Vugt who has led many of the Ubuntu GNOME performance optimization initiatives and countless bug fixes for GNOME since Ubuntu switched back to using it as the default desktop is now looking at plumbing deep color support. Daniel recently has been working on better graphics clock frequency scaling as part of optimizations to improve the GNOME 4K experience particularly when using Intel graphics. The latest area he started dabbling with is deep color support. 

  • Vivek R: Pitivi: Object Tracking

    I’ve been selected as a student developer at Pitivi for Google Summer of Code 2020. My project is to create an object tracking and blurring feature. In this post, I introduce a feature in development which allows the user to track an object inside a video clip.