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20 years of FAI and a new release

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Besides that, a lot of other things happened in the FAI project. Apart from the first report, we got more than 300 detailed reports containing positive feedback. We had several FAI developers meetings and I did more than 40 talks about FAI all over the world. We had a discussion about an alleged GPL violation of FAI in the past, I did several attempts to get a logo for FAI, but we still do not have one. We moved from subversion to git, which was very demanding for me. The service for customized installation and cloud images was used more than 5000 times. The Debian Cloud team now uses FAI to build the official Debian cloud images.

I'm very happy with the outcome of this project and I like to thank all people who contributed to FAI in the past 20 years!

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Software: Cockpit, Curl, gtherm, Kaidan, libredwg

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  • Cockpit 210 and Cockpit-podman 12

    Cockpit is the modern Linux admin interface. We release regularly. Here are the release notes from version 210.

  • curl 7.68.0 with etags and BearSSL

    We ship a new TLS backend: BearSSL. The 14th.

    We ship two new command line options for ETags.

    We provide a new API call to wakeup “sleeping” libcurl poll calls.

    We changed the default handling in libcurl with OpenSSL for verifying certificates. We now allow “partial chains” by default, meaning that you can use an intermediate cert to verify the server cert, not necessarily the whole chain to the root, like you did before. This brings the OpenSSL backend to work more similar to the other TLS backends, and we offer a new option for applications to switch back on the old behavior (CURLSSLOPT_NO_PARTIALCHAIN).

    The progress callback has a new feature: if you return CURL_PROGRESSFUNC_CONTINUE from the callback, it will continue and call the internal progress meter.

    The new command line option --parallel-immediate is added, and if used will make curl do parallel transfers like before 7.68.0. Starting with 7.68.0, curl will default to defer new connections and rather try to multiplex new transfer over an existing connection if more than one transfer is specified to be done from the same host name.

  • Introducing gtherm

    Continuous temperature monitoring from the kernel's /sys/class/thermal/ in an application can be cumbersome. gtherm aims to make that simpler by providing a daemon (gthd) that exports thermal zones and cooling cells over DBus and providing a small library libgtherm (and GObject introspection bindings). gthcli is a simple command line client that displays the currently found values...

  • Kaidan for the Masses: Our Upcoming 9-seconds-registration

    What’s XMPP’s biggest problem? - Accessibility!

    Sure, it is accessible for the people who are really interested in XMPP or want to be more secure, but the normal user doesn’t want to study XMPP before they know what to do.

    That’s why we work on an easy-to-use registration, which makes all decisions for a new user, but still ensures the highest possible security and decentralization. This means that even the password is randomly generated (it is changeable later on). In the end it only takes a few clicks to get to your new account, which is hosted by an automatically chosen public server which supports all of Kaidan’s features.

    The user may choose to use the suggested server, username and password or to use own values. So, now switching from your old messenger to Kaidan (or other XMPP-based clients) is much easier. Therefore, you can invite your friends to XMPP and instantly start chatting with them.

  • libredwg-0.10 released
    Some minor API changes and bugfixes, mostly stabilization. 
    API breaking changes: 
      * added a new int *isnewp argument to all dynapi utf8text getters, 
        if the returned string is freshly malloced or not. 
      * removed the UNKNOWN supertype, there are only UNKNOWN_OBJ and UNKNOWN_ENT 
        left, with common_entity_data. 
      * renamed BLOCK_HEADER.preview_data to preview, preview_data_size to preview_size 
      * renamed SHAPE.shape_no to style_id 
      * renamed CLASS.wasazombie to is_zombie 
    Major bugfixes: 
      * Improved building the perl5 binding, proper dependencies. 
        Set proper -I and -L paths, create LibreDWG.c not swig_perl.c 
      * Harmonized INDXFB with INDXF, removed extra src/in_dxfb.c (#134). 
        Slimmed the .so size by 260Kb. Still untested though. 
      * Fixed encoding of added r2000 AUXHEADER address (broken since 0.9) 
      * Fixed EED encoding from dwgrewrite (a dxf2dwg regression from 0.9) (#180) 
    Minor bugfixes: 
      * Many fuzzing and static analyzer fixes for dwg2dxf, dxf2dwg, dwgrewrite, 
        including a stack-overflow on outdxf cquote. (#172-174, #178, #179). 
        dwgrewrite and indxf are pretty robust now, but still highly experimental, 
        as many dxf2dwg import and DWG validity tests are missing. 
        indxf still has many asserts on many structural DXF errors. 
      * Protect indxf from many NULL ptr, overflows and truncation. 
      * Fixed most indxf and encode leaks. (#151) 
      * More section decoders protections from invalid (fuzzed) values. 
      * Stabilized the ASAN leak tests for make check. 
      * Fix MULTILEADER.ctx.lline handles <r2010 
      * Fix indxf color.alpha; at DXF 440 
      * Fixed most important make scan-build warnings, the rest are mostly bogus. 
    Other newsworthy changes: 
      * Added LIBREDWG_VERSION et al to include/dwg.h 
      * Added support for AcDb3dSolid history_id (r2007+) 
      * Improved the indxf speed in new_object. Do a proper linear search, and 
        break on first found type. 
      * Rename the ./dxf helper to ./dwg, and added a ./dxf test helper. 
      * dxf2dwg got a new experimental --force-free option to check for leaks and 
        UAF or double-free's. 
      * Allow -o /dev/null sinks for dxf2dwg and dwg2dxf, for faster fuzzing. 
      * Harmonized *.spec formatting and adjusted 
      * Harmonized out_dxfb with out_dxf, e.g. the new mspace improvements (#173). 
    Here are the compressed sources:   (10.9MB)   (4.5MB) 
    Here are the GPG detached signatures[*]: 
    Use a mirror for higher download bandwidth: 
    Here are more binaries: 
    Here are the SHA256 checksums: 
    e890b4d3ab8071c78c4eb36e6f7ecd30e7f54630b0e2f051b3fe51395395d5f7  libredwg-0.10.tar.gz 
    8c37c4ef985e4135e3d2020c502c887b6115cdbbab2148b2e730875d5659cd66  libredwg-0.10.tar.xz 
    [*] Use a .sig file to verify that the corresponding file (without the 
    .sig suffix) is intact.  First, be sure to download both the .sig file 
    and the corresponding tarball.  Then, run a command like this: 
      gpg --verify libredwg-0.10.tar.gz.sig 
    If that command fails because you don't have the required public key, 
    then run this command to import it: 
      gpg --keyserver --recv-keys B4F63339E65D6414 
    and rerun the 'gpg --verify' command. 

Server Monitoring Tools For Linux In 2020

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Welcome to the brand new year of the decade and of course, we are here with the list of server monitoring tools that might be helpful for you in 2020. In fact, this list can be of help for many years to come.

This post is for you if you are looking for a list of server monitoring tools.

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Bugs, Proprietary Stuff, and DRM

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  • A lazy fix 20 years ago means the Y2K bug is taking down computers now

    Parking meters, cash registers and a professional wrestling video game have fallen foul of a computer glitch related to the Y2K bug.

    The Y2020 bug, which has taken many payment and computer systems offline, is a long-lingering side effect of attempts to fix the Y2K, or millennium bug.

    Both stem from the way computers store dates. Many older systems express years using two numbers – 98, for instance, for 1998 – in an effort to save memory. The Y2K bug was a fear that computers would treat 00 as 1900, rather than 2000.

    Programmers wanting to avoid the Y2K bug had two broad options: entirely rewrite their code, or adopt a quick fix called “windowing”, which would treat all dates from 00 to 20, as from the 2000s, rather than the 1900s. An estimated 80 per cent of computers fixed in 1999 used the quicker, cheaper option.

    “Windowing, even during Y2K, was the worst of all possible solutions because it kicked the problem down the road,” says Dylan Mulvin at the London School of Economics.

  • Getting Better, Finally: Intuit's Shady Actions For Free File Program Lead To Change In IRS Deal

    Going through the history of our posts on Intuit and TurboTax will give you an incredibly frustrating recent history of Intuit's bullshit actions regarding its free tax filing program for low-income households. This all stems from a deal the IRS cut with several major tax preparation companies, which amounted essentially to the IRS promising not to offer its own free file program so long as these companies, Intuit being the largest, provided free tax filing programs to the public themselves. The outcome of this naive deal cut by the IRS was to have companies like Intuit do everything possible to hide its free file sites from the public internet by delisting it from searches, then lying to customers to avoid refunding money when they complained that they could have filed for free, and finally Intuit similarly fooling veterans into paying for services that would otherwise be free all while wrapping itself in the American flag.

  • Apple Is Bullying a Security Company with a Dangerous DMCA Lawsuit

    Apple has unleashed their legal juggernaut on an innovative iOS security company, and if they win their lawsuit, the damage will reverberate beyond the security community and into the world of repair and maintenance.

    Corellium’s software creates virtual iPhones in a web browser, so that app developers and security researchers can tinker without needing a physical device. It’s nerdy stuff that most people will never need, but it’s genuinely useful. So useful, in fact, that Apple tried to buy the company. When the founders refused, Apple decided to sue them into oblivion.

  • Formlabs Form 3 Teardown

    It’s been my privilege to do teardowns on both the Formlabs Form 1 and Form 2. With the recent release of the Form 3, I was asked by Formlabs if I wanted to do another teardown, and of course I jumped on the opportunity. I always learn an immense amount while taking apart their machines, and it’s also been very satisfying to watch their engineering team grow and mature over the years.


    Well, that’s it for the Form 3 teardown – from the exterior shell down to the lone galvanometer. I’ve had the privilege of court-side seats to observe the growth of Formlabs. There’s a saying along the lines of “the last 20% takes 80% of the effort”. Based on what I’ve seen of the Form series, that should be amended to “the last 20% takes 80% of the effort – and then you get to start on the product you meant to make in the first place”. It dovetails nicely into the observation that products don’t hit their stride until the third version (remember Windows 3.x?). From three grad students fresh out of the MIT Media Lab to a billion-dollar company, Formlabs and the Form series of printers have come a long way. I’d count myself as one of the bigger skeptics of 3D printing as a mass-production technology, but I hadn’t considered an approach like the LPU. I feel like the LPU embodies an audacious vision of the future of 3D printing that was not obvious to me as an observer about nine years ago. I’m excited to see where this all goes from here!

Software: GNU Seq, HomeBank 5.3 and Staticsite 1.4

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  • Generating numeric sequences with the Linux seq command [Ed: seq is a GNU program, not “Linux command”]

    One of the easiest ways to generate a list of numbers in Linux is to use the seq (sequence) command. In its simplest form, seq will take a single number and then list all the numbers from 1 to that number.

  • HomeBank 5.3

    HomeBank is a free software (as in "free speech" and also as in "free beer") that will assist you to manage your personal accounting. It is designed to easy to use and be able to analyse your personal finance and budget in detail using powerful filtering tools and beautiful charts. If you are looking for a completely free and easy application to manage your personal accounting, budget, finance then HomeBank should be the software of choice.

  • Staticsite for blogging

    I just released staticsite version 1.4, dedicated to creating a blog.

    After reorganising the documentation, I decided to write a simple tutorial showing how to get a new blog started.

List Of Best Useful Linux Applications For 2020

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We definitely need various applications to makes our things better while using Linux operating systems. These days there are thousands of best and useful Linux applications available on the internet.

In this blog, we decided to write about the list of best useful Linux applications for 2020. These are also one of the most used Linux applications in day to day life. We believe this list will be helpful to all Linux users no matter what their expertise is.

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Flathub 2019 roundup

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One could say that the Flathub team is working silently behind the scenes most of the time and it wouldn't be far from the truth. Unless changes are substantial, they are rarely announced elsewhere than under a pull request or issue on GitHub. Let's change it a bit and try to summarize what was going on with Flathub over the last year.

Beta branch and test builds

2019 started off strong. In February, several improvements to general workflow but also how things under the hood work landed. Maintainers gained the ability to sign-in to buildbot to manage the builds and start new ones without having to push new commits. A delay has been introduced between finishing the build and publishing it to the stable repository to the possibility to test new build locally and also publish it faster or scrap it altogether. The initial delay was 24 hours but as it was too confusing, it was shortened to 3 hours.

Perhaps most importantly, the changes made it possible to publish test builds of pull requests and completely new applications. Additionally, Flathub gained support for publishing applications to separate beta remote.

Alex wrote more about the changes on his blog.

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Also: Shell aliases for Flatpak applications

Bandwhich – A Network Bandwidth Utilization Tool for Linux

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Bandwhich, formerly known as “what”, is a terminal utility written in Rust programming language, which is used for monitoring current network bandwidth utilization by the process, connection, and remote IP/hostname. It sniffs a specified network interface and tracks IP packet size, cross-referencing it with the /proc filesystem on Linux and lsof on macOS.

Recommended Read: 16 Useful Bandwidth Monitoring Tools to Analyze Network Usage in Linux

Bandwhich is responsive to the terminal window size, shows lesser information if there isn’t much room for it. Also, it will strive to resolve IP addresses to their hostname in the background using reverse DNS.

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conrad – conferences and meetups on your terminal

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A conference, in the sense of a meeting, is a gathering of individuals who meet at an agreed place and time to discuss or engage in some common interest. There’s tons of conferences each year which will interest Linux users. No matter the size of your budget, there’s a Linux or open source conference you should attend.

Do you have problems tracking conferences? Which conferences do you plan to attend in 2020? Do you need a tool to help you track conferences you want to attend, and serve reminders to you? conrad might be the tool for you.

conrad is a free and open source command-line tool designed to help you track conferences and meetups. The tool is written in Python. Its first release was only a few months ago, so bear in mind the software is in an early stage of development. We’re looking at version 0.3.2.

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Software: Gawk, Nomacs, KeePassXC and More

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  • Create fancy text for your social media posts with this Gawk script

    Like almost everyone on the planet, I have a few social media accounts. I mostly stick to Facebook to stay up to date with friends and family and Twitter to follow a few other people.

    Have you ever wanted to make a post that includes italics or some other fancy formatting? You can easily change the text to italics or bold when you're writing an email, but most social media platforms don't provide many formatting options.

    And sometimes, I just want to put a little emphasis into what I'm writing. If I've had a really good day and I want to share that with my friends, I might want to put that text in italics. For other posts, I might want to use different formatting that will help my text stand out. Sure, you can use emoji, but sometimes a little text formatting can add that extra pizzazz to your posts.

  • Nomacs, Cool Image Viewer Application for Ubuntu Linux!

    Are you bored with the default ubuntu image viewer?. In the Linux distribution there are many applications for viewing images. Each linux distro has an image viewer application that is different from other distributions. One example is Xubuntu which uses the default, Ristretto Image Viewer application.

  • KeePassXC Password Manager 2.5.2 Released (Ubuntu PPA)

    KeePassXC, KeePass cross-platform community edition, released version 2.5.2 a few days ago. Here’s how to install it in Ubuntu 18.04, Ubuntu 16.04, Ubuntu 19.10 via PPA.

    KeePassXC 2.5.2 features significant stability and usability improvements.

  • Containers, networks, security, and more Ansible news

    Crikey, you lot have been busy writing in December. We've got more data munging from Greg Sutcliffe; we've got writing modules for orchestrating security; we've got networks, containers and thoughts from a sysadmin. No YouTubes this month—we thought you'd have enough reading here with the articles. Enjoy!

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