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Software

Software Boutique - Linux stuff, 100% discount

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Software

If we judge the Linux GUI package management saga from a purely energy state perspective, we have come a full circle. There was a great GUI tool, it got axed, half a dozen efforts came and went, and we now once again have a program that does what USC did (well almost) five or six years ago. Everything in between was a complete waste of time and effort. But the important thing, from the user perspective, is that we DO have a GUI software manager that actually works. And it's called Software Boutique.

As I've noted in the MATE Beaver review, this is by far the best program of its kind currently on the market, hands down. The list of superlatives is long. But it's elegant, aesthetically pleasing, accurate, fast, robust, simple, and it does a wonderful job of making package management a fun and interesting exercise. And if the little print can be trusted, it should be easy to deploy and use on other distros, too. Of course, this ties into the bigger battle of egos and sandbox development that is Linux. But if we put the Sisyphean politics and bickering aside, then Software Boutique is a superb program, and it should become the standard across the distrospace. Well worth testing, and one of the strong selling points for Ubuntu MATE. Take care, and happy shopping.

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Software: CLI Browsers, Weblate, Shutter, Firefox and GNU

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Software
  • 4 Tools to Browse Internet from Linux Terminal

    In this article, we'll focus on how you can browse the internet from Linux command line using text-based browsers. Text browsers are browsers that only render the text contents of a web page, leaving out all the graphical content including CSS and Javascript. This makes these browsers faster and consume less bandwidth. On the downside, however, the browsing experience is quite dull as no images & videos are displayed unlike conventional web browsers like Firefox and Google Chrome. We'll take a look at 4 text-based browsers on Ubuntu 18.04 terminal.

  • New projects on Hosted Weblate

    Hosted Weblate provides also free hosting for free software projects. The hosting requests queue has grown too long and waited for more than month, so it's time to process it and include new projects. I hope that gives you have good motivation to spend Christmas break by translating free software.

  • Shutter, a nice Perl application, may be removed from Debian

    Debian is moving away from Gnome2::VFS. This obsolete module will be removed from next release of Debian.

  • Additions to Firefox’s health dashboard

    At the beginning of the month I came back from my last few weeks of parental leave (thanks Mozilla!). While I was away Sarah Clements took over some Firefox Quantum release criteria work and I’m pleased to see that she managed to tackle everything well by herself.

    Some of the major changes she made was to separate the Quantum criteria page into 32-bit and 64-bit. This simplifies the graphs and allows release stakeholders to see more clearly how one specific architecture is doing.

  • Firefox Developers Still Hesitant About Using EGL Over GLX On X11 Linux

    While Wayland support depends upon EGL and there has been EGL support within Mesa and the other graphics drivers on Linux for a number of years now, Firefox developers are still hesitant about shipping EGL support by default for Firefox on X11.

    A Phoronix reader pointed out a bug report to us where Firefox developers are still apprehensive over using EGL by default for Firefox on Linux/X11, even though Mesa's EGL support has been relatively solid for years. There's a belief that the EGL performance is worse off than GLX, but at least some upstream Mesa developers don't believe that to be the case plus the fact most modern drivers relying upon GLAMOR with EGL/OpenGL for 2D acceleration.

  • bison-3.0.5 released

    We are happy to announce the release of GNU Bison 3.0.5, a bug fix release.

  • GCC 9 Has Been Landing Many Ada Improvements This Week

    For those still making use of the venerable Ada programming language, the latest development code for GCC 9 of the GNU Compiler Collection has been seeing a number of Ada front-end improvements this week.

    This strongly-typed, object-oriented programming language, that's quite proven compared to Rust and other attention-getting languages these days, has seen a surprising number of fixes and improvements landing this week into mainline GCC 9. The Ada work in GCC 9 besides various fixes have included some performance improvements, addressing some spurious errors, support for C99/C++ standard boolean types, minor documentation updates, Windows updates, and moe.

Software and Games: KStars, Opera, OpenStack, MariaDB and More

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Software
Gaming
  • KStars 2.9.6 is Released!

    I'm glad to announce the release of KStars 2.9.6 for Windows, MacOS, and Linux. This is a minor bugfix release.

  • Opera 54 Browser Enters Beta with News on the Speed Dial, Update & Recovery Menu

    Opera has promoted its upcoming Opera 54 web browser to the beta channel, giving us a glimpse of what to expect from the final version, due for release sometime next month.

    Based on the open-source Chromium 67.0.3396.18 web browser, Opera 54 recently entered beta stages of development with a plethora of new features and improvements, among which we can mention a new Update & Recovery Opera menu page that makes it easier for users to update the web browser and reset it to its default state, including the ability to clear temporary data, such as cookies.

  • OpenStack at a Crossroads

    The OpenStack of a few years ago is dead, however. What has emerged from the hype cycle is a materially different foundation, mission and software stack, with a great deal of change still ahead of it.

  • The OpenStack Foundation grows beyond OpenStack

    The OpenStack Foundation has made a considerable change to its development process and governance structure by introducing two open source projects that are not part of the OpenStack cloud platform.

    This week, the organization launched version 1.0 of Kata Containers - a runtime system with an emphasis on speed and security, enabling users to boot a VM in as little as five seconds - and introduced a brand new project called Zuul, spinning out the software development and integration platform that has been used by the OpenStack community internally since 2012.

  • Oracle nemesis MariaDB tries to lure enterprise folk with TX 3.0

    Open-source database biz MariaDB has upped the ante in its war against Oracle, promising enterprise customers better compatibility with – and easier migration from – Big Red.

    The Finnish firm's latest offering, MariaDB TX 3.0, released for GA today, extends the number of use cases to include temporal processing and advanced data protection for sensitive and personally identifiable information, as well as Oracle compatibility.

    The broad aim is to tap into customers' grumbles over legacy vendor lock-in, while convincing the bigger customers that they can move to an open-source database without compromising performance.

  • The Humble Monthly Bundle just added two great Linux games

    For those that are interested, you can secure a copy of two great Linux games in the current Humble Monthly Bundle.

    Just added today are:

    Get Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!!
    Ken Follett's The Pillars of the Earth

  • SC-Controller 0.4.3 Released, Support Steam Controller & Sony DS4 Over Bluetooth

    For those looking to manage your Steam Controller and other supported Linux gaming peripheral input devices outside of Steam, there is a new release of the independently-developed SC-Controller Linux user-space software.

    While Linux 4.18 is bringing the Steam Controller kernel driver, for those looking for a Steam Controller solution right now to enjoy this excellent gaming controller for now outside of Steam, SC-Controller fills that void.

Wine 3.9 Released

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Software

Software: Electronic Books, Zammad, BTFS and Containers

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Software
  • Best Free Linux e-book Tools – Updated (2018)

    An electronic book (commonly abbreviated e-book) is a text and image-based publication which can be read on a computer or other digital devices such as an e-book reader.

    The rise of multimedia digital downloads in recent years has been truly extraordinary. The impact has been so great in respect of digital music downloads. Digital music accounted for half of the all the revenue generated by the music industry in 2016 and amounted to a total of 7.8 billion U.S. dollars that year. Over the years, many music labels stopped releasing singles on a physical format. We do not foresee that major book publishing companies will abandon paperbacks. However, the expansion of digital downloads equally applies to books. The biggest booksellers have reported that they sell more digital books than paperbacks.

  • Zammad – An Open Source Help Desk and Support Ticket System

    Zammad is a free open source, fully featured web based ticketing system for helpdesk or customer support. It ships in with a multitude of features for handling customer communication through various channels such as social networks (Facebook and Twitter), live chat, e-mails as well as telephone. It has an API for integrating your telephone system into in and outgoing calls.

  • BTFS – A Bittorrent Filesystem Based On FUSE

    The torrents have been around for a long time to share and download data from the Internet. There are plethora of GUI and CLI torrent clients available on the market. Sometimes, you just can not sit and wait for your download to complete. You might want to watch the content immediately. This is where BTFS, the bittorent filesystem, comes in handy. Using BTFS, you can mount the torrent file or magnet link as a directory and then use it as any read-only directory in your file tree. The contents of the files will be downloaded on-demand as they are read by applications. Since BTFS runs on top of FUSE, it does not require intervention into the Linux Kernel.

  • Living in a Docker world

    Once upon a time, I worked at a startup that was looking to “Dockerize” its backend infrastructure. This developed into a running joke where the programmers on the team would ask me if I knew what Docker was, and I would say:

    “Yes, it’s like a boat.”

    This would frustrate the programmers, which was my intention. They would howl about how wrong I was, and they could never quite calm down enough to clarify how Docker wasn’t like a boat.

  • Systemd Introduces "Portable Services" Functionality, Similar To Containers

    The past several months Lennart Poettering has been working on a "portable services" concept and that big ticket new feature has now landed in Systemd. Portable services are akin to containers but different.

    Portable Services is a big addition to systemd at around six thousand new lines of code for this init system and also brings the new portablectl utility.

A free e-learning tool for creating digital content

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Software

It's common to see a software app stand still—no new versions, no updates. Eventually, it gets overtaken by advancing technology and its user base drifts away. Open source software is not immune to this fate, but it is easier to revive than commercial software, where optimistic accountants cling to the hope that it still holds financial value.

eXeLearning (also called eXeLearn, or eXe), an open source XHTML editor that was created with support from Auckland University of Technology, University of Auckland, and Tairawhiti Polytechnic, achieved a measure of popularity among its target audience. The introduction to the version 1 manual described it as "an authoring environment to assist teachers and academics in the design, development, and publishing of web-based learning and teaching materials without the need to become proficient in HTML or complicated web-publishing applications." Despite a few annoying glitches, I liked and recommended that program. However, development stalled around 2010 and eXeLearning fell off my recommended list. eXeLearning is back on my list now.

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Software: Discourse and More

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Software
  • Discourse – A Modern Forum for Community Discussion

    Discourse is a free, open source, modern, feature-rich and remarkable community-oriented forum software. It’s a powerful, reliable, and flexible platform that comes with a wide range of tools for community discussions.

    It is designed for building community discussion platforms, mailing list or chat room for your team, customers, fans, patrons, audience, users, advocates, supporters, or friends and most importantly, it seamlessly integrates with the rest of your established online platforms.

  • 4 Markdown-powered slide generators

    Imagine you've been tapped to give a presentation. As you're preparing your talk, you think, "I should whip up a few slides."

    Maybe you prefer the simplicity of plain text, or maybe you think software like LibreOffice Writer is overkill for what you need to do. Or perhaps you just want to embrace your inner geek.

    It's easy to turn files formatted with Markdown into attractive presentation slides. Here are four tools that can do help you do the job.

  • Faster Audio Decoding/Encoding Coming To Ogg & FLAC

    FLAC and Ogg now have faster audio encoding and decoding capabilities thanks to recent code improvements.

    Robert Kausch of the fre:ac audio converter project wrote in to inform us about recent changes he made to FLAC and Ogg for yielding faster performance. Kausch updated the CRC checks within FLAC and Ogg to a faster algorithm and those patches have now been accepted upstream.

Wine: VKD3D and DXVK

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Graphics/Benchmarks
Software
  • Wine's VKD3D 1.0 Released For Running Direct3D 12 Over Vulkan

    The Wine project has announced the release of VKD3D 1.0, the first official release of this Direct3D 12 over Vulkan layer primarily developed at CodeWeavers. VKD3D is the approach Wine is pursuing for getting Direct3D 12 games from Windows working on Wine under Linux or also under macOS when paired with MoltenVK.

    For the VKD3D 1.0 release there are D3D12 demos now working but features are known to be missing and bugs are expected. Geometry and tessellation shaders are among the big ticket items still left to be implemented in future releases.

  • DXVK 0.52 Brings More improvements For Direct3D 11 Over Vulkan

    While VKD3D 1.0 is out today for Direct3D 12 mapped over Vulkan, the DXVK project for running Direct3D 11 over Vulkan is also out with a new release today.

    Most prominent to the new DXVK 0.52 release is initial support for DXGI 1.2, the updated Microsoft DirectX Graphics Infrastructure that brings various updates for drivers. The initial DXGI 1.2 support in the process fixes at least Bioshock 2 Remastered as well as Frostpunk.

  • Vkd3d 1.0 Released

    This is the first release of vkd3d. A lot of Direct3D 12 features are still missing and bugs are expected. The current version was tested mainly with demo applications. A number of features that are being worked on have been deferred to the next development cycle. This includes in particular geometry and tessellation shaders support, various shader translation improvements, as well as various improvements for core Direct3D 12 methods.

  • vkd3d for Direct3D 12 to Vulkan in Wine has released the first stable version

    Today, the Wine developers officially announced that vkd3d for translating Direct3D 12 to Vulkan in Wine has reached 1.0.

Offline Computing – 10 Apps for the Digital Nomad

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Software

In today’s always-connected, constantly-inturrupted world, it can often be rewarding to go offline. Disconnecting from the Internet doesn’t mean you have to buy a yurt, live on beans, and get no work done though!

While there’s a ton of great apps in the Snap store which rely on a connection to function, there’s also a lot you can do offline. So whether you’re taking a trip that doesn’t offer (reasonably priced) in-flight wifi, or want to live life the digital nomad style, we’ve got some apps for you!

These all work offline, so once installed you can work, study & play without a connection.

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Also: Linux Release Roundup: GNOME Twitch, Shotwell & GIMP

Software: Grafana, Heaptrack, Vim

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Software
  • Grafana – An Open Source Software for Analytics and Monitoring

    Grafana is an open source, feature rich, powerful, elegant and highly-extensible analytics and monitoring software that runs on Linux, Windows and MacOS. It is a de facto software for data analytics, being used at Stack Overflow, eBay, PayPal, Uber and Digital Ocean – just to mention but a few.

    It supports 30+ open source as well as commercial databases/data sources including MySQL, PostgreSQL, Graphite, Elasticsearch, OpenTSDB, Prometheus and InfluxDB. It allows you to dig deeply into large volumes of real-time, operational data; visualize, query, set alerts and get insights from your metrics from differen

  • Heaptrack v1.1.0 release

    Better memory profiling on Linux

    After more than a year of work, I’m pleased to release another version of heaptrack, the Linux memory profiler! The new version 1.1.0 comes with some new features, significant performance improvements and – most importantly – much improved stability and correctness. If you have tried version v1.0 in the past and encountered problems, update to the new v1.1 and try again!

  • Ten Years of Vim

     

    The philosophy behind Vim takes a while to sink in: While other editors focus on writing as the central part of working with text, Vim thinks it's editing.

     

    You see, most of the time I don't spend writing new text; instead, I edit existing text.

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More in Tux Machines

KDE: Qt, Plasma, QML, Usability & Productivity

  • Qt 5.11.1 and Plasma 5.13.1 in ktown ‘testing’ repository
    A couple of days ago I recompiled ‘poppler’ and the packages in ‘ktown’ that depend on it, and uploaded them into the repository as promised in my previous post. I did that because Slackware-current updated its own poppler package and mine needs to be kept in sync to prevent breakage in other parts of your Slackware computer. I hear you wonder, what is the difference between the Slackware poppler package and this ‘ktown’ package? Simple: my ‘poppler’ package contains support for Qt5 (in addition to the QT4 support in the original package) and that is required by other packages in the ‘ktown’ repository.
  • Sixth week of coding phase, GSoC'18
    The Menus API enables the QML Plugin to add an action, separator or menu to the WebView context menu. This API is not similar to the WebExtensions Menus API but is rather Falkonish!
  • This week in Usability & Productivity, part 24
    See all the names of people who worked hard to make the computing world a better place? That could be you next week! Getting involved isn’t all that tough, and there’s lots of support available.

Programming: Python Maths Tools and Java SE

  • Essential Free Python Maths Tools
    Python is a very popular general purpose programming language — with good reason. It’s object oriented, semantically structured, extremely versatile, and well supported. Scientists favour Python because it’s easy to use and learn, offers a good set of built-in features, and is highly extensible. Python’s readability makes it an excellent first programming language. The Python Standard Library (PSL) is the the standard library that’s distributed with Python. The library comes with, among other things, modules that carry out many mathematical operations. The math module is one of the core modules in PSL which performs mathematical operations. The module gives access to the underlying C library functions for floating point math.
  • Oracle's new Java SE subs: Code and support for $25/processor/month
    Oracle’s put a price on Java SE and support: $25 per processor per month, and $2.50 per user per month on the desktop, or less if you buy lots for a long time. Big Red’s called this a Java SE Subscription and pitched it as “a commonly used model, popular with Linux distributions”. The company also reckons the new deal is better than a perpetual licence, because they involve “an up-front cost plus additional annual support and maintenance fees.”

Linux 4.18 RC2 Released From China

  • Linux 4.18-rc2
    Another week, another -rc. I'm still traveling - now in China - but at least I'm doing this rc Sunday _evening_ local time rather than _morning_. And next rc I'll be back home and over rmy jetlag (knock wood) so everything should be back to the traditional schedule. Anyway, it's early in the rc series yet, but things look fairly normal. About a third of the patch is drivers (drm and s390 stand out, but here's networking and block updates too, and misc noise all over). We also had some of the core dma files move from drivers/base/dma-* (and lib/dma-*) to kernel/dma/*. We sometimes do code movement (and other "renaming" things) after the merge window simply because it tends to be less disruptive that way. Another 20% is under "tools" - mainly due to some selftest updates for rseq, but there's some turbostat and perf tooling work too. We also had some noticeable filesystem updates, particularly to cifs. I'm going to point those out, because some of them probably shouldn't have been in rc2. They were "fixes" not in the "regressions" sense, but in the "missing features" sense. So please, people, the "fixes" during the rc series really should be things that are _regressions_. If it used to work, and it no longer does, then fixing that is a good and proper fix. Or if something oopses or has a security implication, then the fix for that is a real fix. But if it's something that has never worked, even if it "fixes" some behavior, then it's new development, and that should come in during the merge window. Just because you think it's a "fix" doesn't mean that it really is one, at least in the "during the rc series" sense. Anyway, with that small rant out of the way, the rest is mostly arch updates (x86, powerpc, arm64, mips), and core networking. Go forth and test. Things look fairly sane, it's not really all that scary. Shortlog appended for people who want to scan through what changed. Linus
  • Linux 4.18-rc2 Released With A Normal Week's Worth Of Changes
    Due to traveling in China, Linus Torvalds has released the Linux 4.18-rc2 kernel a half-day ahead of schedule, but overall things are looking good for Linux 4.18.

A GTK+ 3 update

  • A GTK+ 3 update
    When we started development towards GTK+ 4, we laid out a plan that said GTK+ 3.22 would be the final, stable branch of GTK+ 3. And we’ve stuck to this for a while. I has served us reasonably well — GTK+ 3 stopped changing in drastic ways, which was well-received, and we are finally seeing applications moving from GTK+ 2.
  • GTK+ 3.24 To Deliver Some New Features While Waiting For GTK4
    While the GNOME tool-kit developers have been hard at work on GTK4 roughly the past two years and have kept GTK3 frozen at GTK+ 3.22, a GTK+ 3.24 release is now being worked on to deliver some new features until GTK+ 4.0 is ready to be released. While GTK+ 4.0 is shaping up well and GTK+ 3.22 was planned to be the last GTK3 stable release, the developers have had second thoughts due to GTK+ 4 taking time to mature. Some limited new features are being offered up in the GTK+ 3.24 release to debut this September.