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Software: Selenium, Best Free Linux Software for DJs, and a Look at Stretchly (Electron)

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  • Automate a web browser with Selenium

    Selenium is a great tool for browser automation. With Selenium IDE you can record sequences of commands (like click, drag and type), validate the result and finally store this automated test for later. This is great for active development in the browser. But when you want to integrate these tests with your CI/CD flow it’s time to move on to Selenium WebDriver.

    WebDriver exposes an API with bindings for many programming languages, which lets you integrate browser tests with your other tests. This post shows you how to run WebDriver in a container and use it together with a Python program.

  • Best Free Linux Software for DJs

    A disc jockey, commonly abbreviated as DJ, is an individual who plays existing recorded music for a live audience. It takes creative juices, passion, but most importantly hard work to become a good DJ.

    DJs use equipment that plays at least two sources of recorded music simultaneously and mixes them together, creating an original composition. The earliest DJs in pop music, in 1970s discos, used record turntables, vinyl records and audio consoles. For many years, this analogue environment was the only relevant one. DJs carted large collections of vinyl records to and from gigs.

  • stretchly Reminds You To Take Breaks From Your Computer (Open Source, Cross-Platform)

    stretchly is an open source, cross-platform break time reminder. The Electron application sits in your tray, reminding you to take breaks from working on the computer.

    The application is designed to be easy to use, but also flexible. You can start using it as soon as you install it, without having to dig into its settings. After 10 minutes, it notifies you to take a 20 second break. It does this every 10 minutes, with a larger 5-minute break every 30 minutes.

    The break duration and interval can be customized, along with various other aspects, like only enabling microbreaks or breaks, enabling or disabling strict mode (breaks can't be finished early), and more advanced options.

sysget – A Front-end for Every Package Manager in Linux

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Linux comes in many flavors and many of us like to test all kind of distributions until we find the perfect match for our needs. The problem is that based on which major distribution your OS is build, the package manager might be different and turned out to be one that you are not particular familiar with.

There is a utility called sysget that can become a front-end for every package manager. Basically sysget serves as bridge and allows you to use same syntax for every package manager.

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Why You Should Use and Support Mozilla Firefox

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Here’s why Mozilla Firefox should be your choice in the effort to protect your privacy and in keeping the internet healthy and an open place.
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Software: DIY With Tcl, Cryptomator, and FFmpeg 4.1

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  • NBD graphical viewer – RAID 5 edition

    If you saw my posting from two days ago you’ll know I’m working on visualizing what happens on block devices when you perform various operations. Last time we covered basics like partitioning a disk, creating a filesystem, creating files, and fstrim.

    This time I’ve tied together 5 of the nbdcanvas widgets into a bigger Tcl application that can show what’s happening on a RAID 5 disk set. As with the last posting there’s a video followed by commentary on what happens at each step.

  • Cryptomator Cloud Storage Encryption Tool 1.4.0 Released With FUSE / Dokany Support

    Cryptomator, a free and open source, cross-platform client-side encryption tool for cloud files, was updated to version 1.4.0 (stable). With this release, Cryptomator can use FUSE on Linux and Mac, and Dokany on Windows, to provide the virtual, unencrypted drive, which should vastly improve the integration into the system.

    Using FUSE as the volume type in Cryptomator (which is now preferred over WebDAV) should also fix many WebDAV-related issues, including being able to keep the original modification date and other dates of files, issues related to large files, disappearing drives and duplicate folders in /Volumes issues on macOS High Sierra, and open safes should now show up in Dolphin (KDE) file manager, among others.

  • FFmpeg 4.1 Brings AV1 Parser & Support For AV1 In MP4

    The crew responsible for the FFmpeg audio/video library today released version 4.1 of this open-source project.

    FFmpeg 4.1 adds an AV1 parser as well as support for AV1 within MP4. But sadly not making this release is support for AV1 decoding through the libdav1d decoder, which is being held off until the next release.

CPod: An Open Source, Cross-platform Podcast App

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CPod is an open source podcast application for Linux, Windows and MacOS. A clean UI and essential features make it a good choice for listening to podcasts.
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Ubuntu & Deja Dup - Get up, backup

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Deja Dup is a deceptively clever tool. It looks too simple - blame Gnome for that - but it has an extensive set of options and features. In my testing, it was reliable. But then, Deja Dup can also be improved. Better and more fine-grained control of backup data (file control), better scheduling (exact times and/or conditions for when the backup ought to run), and slightly more clarity around backup retention. I am also not sure regarding encryption, and whether backup passwords actually mean exactly that. Lastly, the support for additional cloud services would be a nice thing, because there's no reason for any particular one or two to be featured and for the rest to be excluded. Duplicity does support numerous cloud platforms, there's no reason for Deja Dup to behave differently.

All that said, most Linux distributions do not promote backups well enough, and/or do not necessarily include simple and practical tools that even less skilled users can try with confidence. Ubuntu backups are not a new thing, of course, but I finally got around to testing the functionality, and I'm glad I did. This seems like a nice compromise between nothing and other, somewhat more difficult rsync frontends. Simple use, password protection and multi-location support are the main selling points. If you don't have your own robust backup mechanism in place, this is a good choice to start. Definitely worth checking out. Take care.

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Software: Catfish, Kiwi TCMS 6.2 and Firefox 65

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  • Essential System Tools: catfish – versatile file searching software

    This is the seventh in our series of articles highlighting essential system tools. These are small utilities, useful for system administrators as well as regular users of Linux based systems. The series examines both graphical and text based open source utilities.

  • Kiwi TCMS 6.2

    We're happy to announce Kiwi TCMS version 6.2! This is a small release that removes squashed migrations from previous releases and includes a few improvements. You can explore everything at or find our info booth at OpenFest in Sofia during the weekend and do a live demo with the team!

  • WebP Image Support Appears Ready For Firefox 65

    The WebP image format developed by Google and derived from VP8 technology has proven to hold a lot of potential for lossy and lossless compression compared to PNGs or animated GIFs. Chrome has long supported WebP along with other browsers like Opera and now with Edge supporting the format, Firefox has been the last major holdout after Mozilla abandoned earlier plans to support this BSD-licensed image format.


    But a few hours ago a bug was already re-opened about Firefox Nightly crashing when viewing WebP images. Hopefully any of those lingering bugs will get fixed up soon enough so Firefox 65 will indeed have WebP enabled by default. Firefox 65.0 is expected to be released by the end of January.

Zchunk update

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  • Zchunk update

    Eight months ago, I started working on zchunk, and it’s now almost ready for its 1.0 release. Once zchunk 1.0 is released, we will offer a stability guarantee. Only additions to the API will be allowed, and the ABI will always be backwards-compatible. All files created by older versions of zchunk will be able to be opened by new versions of zchunk, and files created by newer versions of zchunk will be able to be opened by the old versions.

    There is one important caveat to the last item: the zchunk format supports mandatory feature flags. It is possible that an older version of zchunk doesn’t support a certain feature flag, and, if so, that version of zchunk will be unable to open files that contain the new flag.

    As of version 0.9.12, zchunk also supports optional feature flags that provide extra information about the zchunk file. If a newer version of zchunk sets an optional flag, and the file is read by an older version that doesn’t recognize that particular flag, it will ignore the optional flag data and continue reading the file. This feature was requested at Flock this year, and I’m glad it will be available when zchunk 1.0 is released.

  • Zchunk File Format For Compressed Yet Efficient Deltas Nears 1.0 Release

    It was just earlier this year that Zchunk was announced for producing delta-friendly files with good compression ratios while now the 1.0 stable release is in sight.

    Zchunk is the file format initially developed by Jon Dieter that makes use of Zsync and Casync formats while utilizing Zstd for data compression.

    Zchunk 1.0 will mark a stability guarantee for the file format while new API additions and feature flags can still be introduced.

2 Useful Tools to Find and Delete Duplicate Files in Linux

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Organizing your home directory or even system can be particularly hard if you have the habit of downloading all kinds of stuff from the internet.

Often you may find you have downloaded the same mp3, pdf, epub (and all kind of other file extensions) and copied it to different directories. This may cause your directories to become cluttered with all kinds of useless duplicated stuff.

In this tutorial you are going to learn how to find and delete duplicate files in Linux using rdfind and fdupes command-line tools.

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Software: A Look at Klavaro and New Bison Release

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  • Klavaro – A Flexible Typing Tutor for Both Kids and Adults

    Klavaro is a libre, user-friendly, and customizable typing tutor for improving your typing speed, flexibility, and accuracy. It features an intuitive interface with varied lessons with difficulty ranges and support for multiple languages and keyboard layouts.

    You can keep track of your progress with charts, modify keyboard layouts or create new ones, and import texts to use for practical lessons.

  • bison-3.2 released [stable]

    We are very happy to announce the release of Bison 3.2! Massive improvements were brought to the deterministic C++ skeleton, When variants are enabled and the compiler supports C++11 or better, move-only types can now be used for semantic values. C++98 support is not deprecated. Please see the NEWS below for more details. Many thanks to Frank Heckenbach for paving the way for this release with his implementation of a skeleton in C++17.

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More in Tux Machines

Ubuntu Mir's EGMDE Desktop Getting Experimental XWayland

Ubuntu's little known EGMDE example Mir desktop that is mostly a proving grounds for Mir development is now receiving support for XWayland for being able to run X11 applications within this example environment. Lead Mir developer Alan Griffiths posted about initial XWayland support for EGMDE but that it is "highly experimental, and can crash the desktop." This support is available via the "edge" EGMDE Snap. Read more

Devices: Coreboot, Toradex and Digi, Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+

  • Another Micro-ATX Haswell Era Motherboard Working With Coreboot But Needs Tiny Blob
    There are many Sandy Bridge era motherboards that have been freed by Coreboot while if you are looking for more options on something (slightly) newer, a micro-ATX Haswell-era motherboard from ASRock now works under this open-source BIOS implementation. The ASRock H81M-HDS is the latest motherboard port now mainline in Coreboot. The ASRock H81M-HDS supports Haswell Core and Xeon CPUs, supports two DDR3/DDR3L DIMMs, one PCI Express x16 slot, onboard display outputs, four SATA ports, and multiple USB3/USB2 ports. This motherboard can be found refurbished still from some Internet shops for about $70 USD.
  • Toradex and Digi launch i.MX8X-based Colibri and ConnectCore COMs
    Toradex and Digi have released Linux-friendly i.MX8X-based modules via early access programs. The Colibri iMX8X and Digi ConnectCore 8X each provide WiFi-ac and Bluetooth 4.2. NXP’s i.MX8X SoC has made quite a splash this week. Eight months after Phytec announced an i.MX8X-based phyCORE-i.MX 8X module, Variscite unveiled a VAR-SOM-MX8X module and then Congatec followed up with the Qseven form-factor Conga-QMX8X and SMARC 2.0 Conga-SMX8X. Now Toradex and Digi are beginning shipments of i.MX8X based modules for early access customers.
  • New Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+ launched for only $25

Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome: Net Neutrality Stance, Mozilla, a VR Work, Firefox Monitor and 5 Best Chrome Extensions For Productivity

  • Mozilla Fights On For Net Neutrality
    Mozilla took the next step today in the fight to defend the web and consumers from the FCC’s attack on an open internet. Together with other petitioners, Mozilla filed our reply brief in our case challenging the FCC’s elimination of critical net neutrality protections that require internet providers to treat all online traffic equally. The fight for net neutrality, while not a new one, is an important one. We filed this case because we believe that the internet works best when people control for themselves what they see and do online. The FCC’s removal of net neutrality rules is not only bad for consumers, it is also unlawful. The protections in place were the product of years of deliberation and careful fact-finding that proved the need to protect consumers, who often have little or no choice of internet provider. The FCC is simply not permitted to arbitrarily change its mind about those protections based on little or no evidence. It is also not permitted to ignore its duty to promote competition and protect the public interest. And yet, the FCC’s dismantling of the net neutrality rules unlawfully removes long standing rules that have ensured the internet provides a voice for everyone. Meanwhile, the FCC’s defenses of its actions and the supporting arguments of large cable and telco company ISPs, who have come to the FCC’s aid, are misguided at best. They mischaracterize the internet’s technical structure as well as the FCC’s mandate to advance internet access, and they ignore clear evidence that there is little competition among ISPs. They repeatedly contradict themselves and have even introduced new justifications not outlined in the FCC’s original decision to repeal net neutrality protections.
  • Virtual meeting rooms don’t have to be boring. We challenge you to design better ones!
    Mozilla’s mission is to make the Internet a global public resource, open and accessible to all, including innovators, content creators, and builders on the web. VR is changing the very future of web interaction, so advancing it is crucial to Mozilla’s mission. That was the initial idea behind Hubs by Mozilla, a VR interaction platform launched in April 2018 that lets you meet and talk to your friends, colleagues, partners, and customers in a shared 360-environment using just a browser, on any device from head-mounted displays like HTC Vive to 2D devices like laptops and mobile phones. Since then, the Mozilla VR team has kept integrating new and exciting features to the Hubs experience: the ability bring videos, images, documents, and even 3D models into Hubs by simply pasting a link. In early October, two more useful features were added: drawing and photo uploads.
  • New Raspbian Update, Qt Creator 4.8 Beta2 Released, Firefox Monitor Now Available in More Than 26 Languages, Chrome OS Linux Soon Will Have Access to Downloads Folder and Canonical Extends Ubuntu 18.04 Long-Term Support
    Firefox Monitor, the free services that tells you whether your email has been part of a security breach, is now available in more than 26 languages: "Albanian, Traditional and Simplified Chinese, Czech, Dutch, English (Canadian), French, Frisian, German, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Malay, Portuguese (Brazil), Portuguese (Portugal), Russian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish (Argentina, Mexico, and Spain), Swedish, Turkish, Ukranian and Welsh." Along with this, Mozilla also announced that it has added "a notification to our Firefox Quantum browser that alerts desktop users when they visit a site that has had a recently reported data breach". See the Mozilla blog for details.
  • 5 Best Chrome Extensions For Productivity That You Should Use In 2019
    Google is the most popular browser around and supports a vast number of extensions as well. Since there are a lot of Chrome addons available in the Chrome Web Store, picking the best Google Chrome extension can be quite a task. Also, it is quite easy to get distracted on the web and lose track of time. Thankfully, several good extensions for productivity are available that can help you focus on your tasks, save time by prioritizing them and skillfully manage your to-do list. So here is a list of excellent Google Chrome extensions for productivity for the year 2019 that will assist you in your work in.

Graphics: Open-Source AMD Linux Driver Stack, Mesa 18.3.0 RC, ROCm 1.9.2 and Firefox on Wayland

  • The Open-Source AMD Linux Driver Stack Hitting Problems With The Radeon RX 590
    While the Radeon RX 590 that launched this week is just yet another Polaris refresh, it turns out the open-source AMD Linux graphics driver stack isn't yet playing well with retail RX 590 graphics cards. This is quite a surprise considering the PCI ID was picked up months ago and the mature Polaris Linux driver support for quite a while now, but could be like the rough Raven Ridge Linux experience where the production cards with the shipping vBIOS isn't what the developers encountered during their pre-production driver enablement. [...] Long story short, it looks like at least one initialization issue is blocking the Radeon RX 590 Linux support. Hopefully the workaround ends up being trivial enough that it can be quickly back-ported to existing stable Linux kernel series. Once the Radeon RX 590 is running well on Linux, I'll be through with a ton of benchmarks that I have already been working on this week with other graphics cards using the newest Linux driver stacks. This situation is sadly reminiscent of the Raven Ridge launch earlier this year where the open-source driver team was working on support for months in advance, but the production hardware/BIOS ended up varying a lot from their hardware bring-up that is was very shaky support at launch. The Raven Ridge support improved a lot on Linux since launch, but even to this day some hardware still seems to be problematic both of hardware in my labs as well as reports by users. Hopefully it won't take nearly as long for the RX 590 support to be in shape.
  • mesa 18.3.0-rc3
    The third release candidate for Mesa 18.3.0 is now available.
  • Mesa 18.3-RC3 Released With RADV Fixes, Drops Zen L3 Thread Pinning
    Mesa release manager Emil Velikov has announced the latest weekly release candidate of the upcoming Mesa 18.3. Mesa 18.3 has a number of Meson build system updates, several RADV driver corrections, a few NIR updates, fixes video API support for Raven 2 APUs, and back-ports the change to drop the AMD Zen L3 thread pinning functionality.
  • Radeon ROCm 1.9.2 Released - Brings SDMA/RDMA Support For Vega 20, HIP/HCC Improvements
    While we know ROCm 2.0 is coming out before year's end and that will have many improvements like complete OpenCL 2.0 support, ROCm 1.9.2 is out today as the latest stable release for this Radeon Open Compute stack. ROCm 1.9.2 brings some notable changes for just being a point release ahead of the big ROCm 2.0 milestone. Vega 20 remains one of the big areas for AMD's driver/software developers for what will begin shipping next year as the Radeon Instinct MI50 / MI60 accelerators.
  • Mozilla Now Ships Firefox Nightly Builds With Wayland Enabled
    After what feels like an eternity in waiting years for Mozilla to ship their Firefox web-browser with native Wayland support enabled, their latest Firefox Nightly builds have achieved this milestone. There have been Wayland patches for Firefox going back years but the Wayland support hasn't been enabled in the official Firefox binaries up until now. Starting yesterday, the Firefox Nightly packages have Wayland support built-in and when launching Firefox if GDK_BACKEND=wayland is set, should now work with native Wayland rather than XWayland.