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virt-manager 3.0.0 released!

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Software

Yesterday I released virt-manager 3.0.0. Despite the major version number bump, things shouldn't look too different from the previous release. For me the major version number bump reflects certain feature removals (like dropping virt-convert), and the large amount of internal code changes that were done, though there's a few long awaited features sprinkled in like virt-install --cloud-init support which I plan to write more about later.

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Also: virt-install --cloud-init support

Best Free and Open Source Mail Notification Tools

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Software

Email is arguably one of the most popular and useful functions of a Linux system. Fortunately, there is a wide selection of free email software available on the Linux platform which is stable, feature laden, and ideal for personal and business environments.

A mail notification tool lets you know when new emails are received. A prominent feature of these tools is the non-obtrusive passive notification about important emails which will let you concentrate on your work and avoid unnecessary interruptions.

When all you want to do is be notified when you have a new e-mail message the last thing you want is software chugging along in the background using up valuable system memory. Fortunately, the programs are lightweight in nature.

Here’s our recommendations. All of the programs are free and open source goodness.

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Wine 5.18 Released

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Software

  • Wine Announcement
    The Wine development release 5.18 is now available.
    
    What's new in this release (see below for details):
      - Vulkan shader compilation using the new vkd3d-shader library.
      - USER32 library converted to PE.
      - Console no longer requires the curses library.
      - Support for display modes with various orientations.
      - A number of syntax fixes in the WIDL compiler.
      - Non-recursive makefiles.
      - Various bug fixes.
    
    The source is available from the following locations:
    
      https://dl.winehq.org/wine/source/5.x/wine-5.18.tar.xz
      http://mirrors.ibiblio.org/wine/source/5.x/wine-5.18.tar.xz
    
    Binary packages for various distributions will be available from:
    
      https://www.winehq.org/download
    
    You will find documentation on https://www.winehq.org/documentation
    
    You can also get the current source directly from the git
    repository. Check https://www.winehq.org/git for details.
    
    Wine is available thanks to the work of many people. See the file
    AUTHORS in the distribution for the complete list.
    
    
  • Wine 5.18 is out making use of the new vkd3d-shader library

    The team hacking away on the Wine compatibility layer have put out another development build with Wine 5.18 now being made available. Wine 5.18 comes not long after the Wine team also released vkd3d 1.2, their Direct3D 12 to Vulkan translation layer and it seems part of the work was on integrations here.

  • Wine 5.18 Released With VKD3D 1.2's vkd3d-shader Usage

    Wine 5.18 is out as the newest bi-weekly feature development release.

    Wine 5.18 isn't the most exciting feature release in recent times but is notable in that Vulkan shader compilation is now done using the vkd3d-shader library. That library was introduced as part of this week's VKD3D 1.2 release for mapping Direct3D 12 over Vulkan. VKD3D 1.2 is much more capable than the prior v1.1 release from nearly two years ago.

    Wine 5.18 also converts the USER32 library to being of the portable executable (PE) format, the console no longer requires the curses library, support for display modes with various orientations, syntax fixes in the WIDL compiler, non-recursive makefiles now for the build system handling, and various bug fixes.

New in calibre 5.0

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Software

Welcome back, calibre users. It has been a year since calibre 4.0. The two headline features are Highlighting support in the calibre E-book viewer and that calibre has now moved to Python 3.

There has been a lot of work on the calibre E-book viewer. It now supports Highlighting. The highlights can be colors, underlines, strikethrough, etc. and have added notes. All highlights can be both stored in EPUB files for easy sharing and centrally in the calibre library for easy browsing. Additionally, the E-book viewer now supports both vertical and right-to-left text.

calibre has moved to using Python 3. This is because Python 2 was end-of-lifed this year. This should be completely transparent to calibre users, the only caveat being that some third party calibre plugins have not yet been ported to Python 3 and therefore will not work in calibre 5. For status on the various plugin ports, see here. This effort involved porting half-a-million lines of Python code and tens-of-thousands of lines of extension code to Python 3. This would not have been possible without the help of Eli Schwartz and Flaviu Tamas.

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Also: 5 Best free software for disk imaging or cloning hard drives

Musiko – cross-platform music player

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Software

I spend most of the past few months listening to music. My favorite pastime is to see an eclectic range of bands, solo artists, and orchestras live. It’s such a life-changing and exhilarating experience. It’s one thing to be sitting at home listening to a CD or watching music videos on TV or on YouTube, but being in the audience, packed out in a stadium or music hall, takes it to another level. But it’s an expensive pastime, and still on hold given the current coronavirus pandemic. These days, I’m listening to music from my CD collection which I’ve encoded to FLAC, a lossless audio format.

Linux is endowed with a plethora of open source music players. And I’ve reviewed the vast majority. But I seem to keep finding interesting music players. Musiko is the latest I’ve stumbled across.

Musiko is a free to use, open source and cross platform music player. It supports a good range of audio formats including both lossy and lossless formats. Musiko uses JavaScript, Electron, VueJS, the music-metadata module and a few others.

[...]

Musiko definitely doesn’t get our recommendation. It’s really slow at loading in a fairly small music folder, it’s poorly designed, and offers only a fairly limited set of features.

If it was the only music player available for Linux, it would be bearable to use. But there’s so many vastly better open source music players available. Our recommended GUI music player is Tauon Music Box. And if you prefer console based software, musikcube gets our seal of approval.

But it’s really huge memory footprint consigns Musiko to the bin. With a subset of my music folder loaded, the program uses 1.8GB of RAM (as reported by ps_mem). That’s truly ridiculous. Just look how this memory footprint compares with Byte and other music players.

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Top Email Encryption Tools

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Software
Security

Email continues to be one of the most popular and useful functions of a Linux system. Being able to keep in touch with your friends, family, and colleagues is essential for any platform. As the scope of email threats keeps increasing, systems for email security and encryption have become more complex and more of a necessity. Protecting email from unauthorized access and inspection is important particularly because the protocols that govern email do not include encryption. Email was not designed with any privacy or security in mind. The consequence of the lack of security is that email can be compromised on the sender’s device, on a network, on a server, and on the recipient’s device.

Sending encrypted messages is one method of ensuring electronic privacy. By encrypting messages, this will help to keep your precious information safe by making messages look like garbled text to uninvited onlookers. Encrypting email may sound a little daunting, but it’s actually simple with the right software.

OpenPGP is the most widely used email encryption standard. Whether you are using an email client or a web-based email solution, you can encrypt your email with OpenPGP.

There are very few email applications that have PGP encryption enabled by default. Fortunately, there are some good open source encryption applications available for Linux that are simple to use.

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WhatIP – Graphical Tool to Tell Public / Local IP Address, Ports, Local Devices

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Software

Want to check your IP address, listening ports, or local network devices but hate Linux commands? Well, What IP is a simple graphical tool to do the job.

What IP is a free open-source tool written in Python 3 with GTK+ 3 framework.

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20+ Distraction-free Text Editors for Linux, Windows, macOS and The Cloud

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Software

While writing, it's essential to have a distraction-free environment. That will help the writer formulate his ideas into words.

Most of the text processor software and document editor programs are full of tools, customization options which make them distracting the writer, and they already take large portion of the screen.

Distraction-free editors are required by writers, screenwriters, novelists, researchers and journalists.

Distraction-free modes have several criteria that starts from minimal user-interface, full-screen mode, few tools in the user-interface and focus mode.

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Proprietary Software: Todoist, FreeOffice, and Even Worse

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Software
  • Todoist Takes on Trello with New Kanban Board Feature

    Todoist now has a Kanban board feature similar to that made popular by Trello.

    Kanban boards are an effective project management tool designed to make it easier to organise tasks within projects and get an overview of overall project status. While Kanban boards aren’t super fancy they are, for some, super useful.

    “A more visual way to organize your projects. Drag tasks between sections, visualize your progress, and simplify your teamwork,” Todoist say of the feature.

  • SoftMaker FreeOffice: A cross-platform Office suite that’s fully compatible to MS Office

    Most Linux users are well-acquainted with LibreOffice – many distributions have it pre-installed. Fewer know its powerful alternative: FreeOffice is a full-fledged office solution with full support for Microsoft Office file formats. It consists of a word processor, a spreadsheet and a presentation program. True to its name, FreeOffice is fully free and available for Linux in 32-bit and 64-bit versions.

    FreeOffice is far from a LibreOffice clone. The software is being developed by a German software company with a history going all the way back to 1987. Due to its background, FreeOffice has far more in common with Microsoft Office than with LibreOffice.

  • Cutting corners on cybersecurity can leave costly holes [iophk: Windows TCO]

    Such attacks can paralyse an organisation as it weighs up concerns over prolonged business interruption, reputational damage and data protection responsibilities against the financial impact and the ethical implications of capitulating to the demands. The decision to pay or not to pay is very much the question – especially when university budgets are so tight.

    The advice of the NCSC, as well as Jisc, is very clear: do not pay! A range of reasons are cited, but the prime one is the inability of institutions to be sure that the [attacker] will undo the damage and not exploit the data breach at a later date. Those who pay up justify doing so on the grounds of business criticality and expediency. They also rely on the “honour among thieves” paradigm that [attackers] will stick to their word so that victims of future attacks will also feel confident in paying up.

  • As critics call for deplatforming, defunding, and prosecution over Leila Khaled discussion, San Francisco State University president gets it right

    Yesterday, Zoom refused to allow the university to use its service for the discussion — a cancellation praised by FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr, who said there was no “need to hear both sides.” It is not yet clear whether the organizers of the event will switch to another channel of communication.

Collabora Online Development Edition 6.4 Office Suite Gets a Fresh Look, Many Improvements

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Software

Coming three months after version 4.2, CODE (Collabora Online Development Edition) 6.4 is a major release that adds many great features, including a new, modern look with the NotebookBar, which not only saves sp`ace, but it also makes the interface easier to use and intuitive, especially for those familiar with the MS Office suite.

The NotebookBar is set as default in this release and looks great with all core components, including Writer, Calc, and Impress. However, if users want to switch back to the classic interface, which won’t go away anytime soon, they can do that very easily by selecting ‘classic’ for the user_interface key in the loolwsd.xml file.

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