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Software: Multimedia at Igalia, Gammy and PDF Mix Tool

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  • Víctor Jáquez: Review of the Igalia Multimedia team Activities (2019/H2)

    This blog post is a review of the various activities the Igalia Multimedia team was involved along the second half of 2019.

    Here are the previous 2018/H2 and 2019/H1 reports.


    Succinctly, GstWPE is a GStreamer plugin which allows to render web-pages as a video stream where it frames are GL textures.

    Phil, its main author, wrote a blog post explaning at detail what is GstWPE and its possible use-cases. He wrote a demo too, which grabs and previews a live stream from a webcam session and blends it with an overlay from wpesrc, which displays HTML content. This composited live stream can be broadcasted through YouTube or Twitch.

  • Gammy is an adaptive brightness application for Windows and Linux

    But what about overly bright applications during the day? They can still be a nuisance, and changing to night mode isn't exactly a good solution. Gammy is an open source software that can help you in such scenarios. This portable application supports adaptive brightness that makes bright on-screen content easy on the eyes.

    Run it and you'll see it starts on the system tray. The second you run it, you'll notice that your brightness has automatically been dimmed (if your display's brightness was set to a high level). Double click the tray icon and an interface pops-up. This is an always on top window, so you can use different programs and observe how the brightness changes.

    The interface has a bunch of sliders which you use to set the minimum and maximum brightness levels, so the program doesn't dim the screen or increase brightness too much. The offset percentage is the setting that Gammy uses to calculate the brightness, if it's higher the brightness will be as well.

    The Temperature setting is used to define the color temperature levels, similar to that in F.lux and other screen dimming applications. The maximum temperature is 6500K and goes down to 2000K. Enable the "auto" option to let Gammy automatically adjust the brightness at a time that you select. To set the time click on the three-dot button next to the option, and you'll be able to set the Start and End time.

  • Perform Common PDF Editing Operations With PDF Mix Tool 0.5, Now With Single File Mode

    PDF Mix Tool, an application that allows performing some common PDF editing operations on Linux, was updated recently with "single file" mode which allows editing single PDF page layout, extracting or deleting pages, and more.

    Until the latest 0.5 version, PDF Mix Tool allowed merging two or more PDF files, specifying a page set for each of them, rotate pages, and composite multiple PDF pages into a single page.

youtube-viewer – lightweight application that searches and streams videos from YouTube

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A common complaint about YouTube is that to watch the material you need to use a web browser. Fortunately, some funky developers have created applications that allow you to bypass the web-only barrier of YouTube.

youtube-viewer is a lightweight application for searching and streaming videos from YouTube. youtube-viewer is free and open source software.

The project hosts a command-line interface to YouTube which is creatively called youtube-viewer. And if you prefer a graphical interface, there’s also a GTK+ interface. Again, the developer has called on all of his creative juices, imaginatively naming the application gtk-youtube-viewer.

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Software: Gnirehtet, BlueZ, KeePass

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  • Gnirehtet reverse tethering app lets your Android phone use your PC’s internet connection

    Most recent Android smartphones have a built-in tethering feature that allows you to share your phone’s internet connection with a laptop, tablet, or other devices (although not all wireless carriers let you use this feature, and many charge extra for it).

    But what if you want to share your PC’s internet connection with your phone? That’s where reverse tethering comes in.

    While there are a number of ways to do this, gnirehtet is one of the more versatile options I’ve seen… albeit one that’s kind of hard to pronounce.

  • BlueZ 5.54 Linux Bluetooth Stack Released With Just-Works Repairing Policy, EATT Support

    Marcel Holtmann of Intel's open-source Linux team released BlueZ 5.54 this morning as the latest version of this widely-used user-space Linux Bluetooth stack.

    BlueZ 5.54 adds new policy support for Just-Works repairing. The Bluetooth Just-Works pairing is for when hitting a button on the smartphone/computer and Bluetooth device to initiate pairing without entering of keys. The policy support is around Just-Works repairing for after the fact when there is an incoming JW pairing by the paired device. This policy support offers via the configuration file for BlueZ of never / confirm / always. Never is the default mode for BlueZ 5.54's Just-Work repairing ability.

  • KeePass vs LastPass: Will Open Source Win in 2020?

    Since the beginning of time — in our case, the beginning of the internet — people have been arguing about open source versus commercial software. Commercial products come with the benefit of usually being more accessible, while open-source software can feel like you need a degree in computer science. We’re going to compare two such products in this KeePass vs LastPass matchup.

    These two tools sit among the best password managers around, able to keep your passwords secure across multiple devices. However, they cater to far different audiences, with LastPass focusing on usability and KeePass on functionality.

    We’re going to compare the two across a series of rounds, covering their security, pricing, ease of use, support and more. That said, we recommend that you read our LastPass review and KeePass review to get a better understanding of how these tools perform against the larger password manager market.

Openwashing and Proprietary Entrapment

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  • Netflix Open Sources Crisis Management Orchestration Tool

    Netflix announced the release of Dispatch, their crisis management orchestration framework. Dispatch integrates with existing tools such as Jira, PagerDuty, and Slack to streamline the crisis management process. Dispatch includes integration endpoints for adding in support for additional tooling.

  • Network Automation: Commercial or Open Source? [Ed: Loaded and misleading question because proprietary and commercial aren't the same thing; they insinuate that Free software cannot be used commercially or treated as a form of commerce]
  • Open Source-ish! What Defines Open Source and Why it Really Matters in Investments and Acquisitions [Ed: How lawyers see things]
  • Open Source-ish! What Defines Open Source and Why it Really Matters in Investments and Acquisitions

    The number of different open source licenses is growing and the variation in their terms and complexity is increasing. A number of licenses that appear to be, or are commonly referred to as “open source” do not actually meet the Open Source Initiative (OSI) definition of “open source.” Thus, they do not appear on the OSI list of approved open source licenses. We like to say that these licenses are open source-ish! The lack of standard definition of “open source” can lead to potential legal issues and business problems, particularly in connection with investments or acquisitions in companies that use software covered by such licenses. This is relevant to both companies that use open source software (OSS) and potential investors in or acquirors of those companies.


    To the greatest extent permitted by, but not in contravention of, applicable law, Affirmer hereby overtly, fully, permanently, irrevocably and unconditionally waives, abandons, and surrenders all of Affirmer’s Copyright and Related Rights and associated claims and causes of action, whether now known or unknown (including existing as well as future claims and causes of action), in the Work (Sleepy in all territories worldwide, (ii) for the maximum duration provided by applicable law or treaty (including future time extensions), (iii) in any current or future medium and for any number of copies, and (iv) for any purpose whatsoever, including without limitation commercial, advertising or promotional purposes (the “Waiver”). Affirmer makes the Waiver for the benefit of each member of the public at large and to the detriment of Affirmer’s heirs and successors, fully intending that such Waiver shall not be subject to revocation, rescission, cancellation, termination, or any other legal or equitable action to disrupt the quiet enjoyment of the Work by the public as contemplated by Affirmer’s express Statement of Purpose.

    This license permits users to copy the licensed software, modify it, and share it with others for free.

    If you were investing in or buying a company that developed software covered by this license, and you asked for all software covered by an open source license, wouldn’t you want that software to be identified? Depending on how the diligence request defines “open source” (e.g., if “open source” was defined using only the OSI definition), software covered by this license may not be identified.

  • DuckDuckGo's Tracker Radar database to be an open-source tool for blocking web trackers [Ed: DuckDuckGo is proprietary software and this is openwashing]
  • Open source Arabic Bible fuels new translation work

    Arabic is the fifth-most spoken language in the world, and it’s the official language in most Middle Eastern countries. The “umbrella” Arabic language breaks down further into dialects that vary by country and sometimes community, which complicates Bible translation work.


  • Supercharged Performance for Open Source Databases
  • Open Source JavaFX 14 Arrives with Bug Fixes and a Few Enhancements
  • Skaffolder releases an open-source tool to the developer community

    The specs-driven code generation tool features an intuitive interface and easy-to-use templates that help to save up to 40% of development time. Also, coupled with an open-source component, Skaffolder allows developers to create web or mobile applications from the command-line. Along with the command-line tool, the innovative web application tool offers a VSCode extension that enables developers to use the command-line tool’s features from the VSCode interface. Hence, developers can interact with Skaffolder without leaving their integrated development environment. Also, providing them with a visual interface locally to define APIs and databases.

  • GitHub's new notifications: a case of regressive design

    Anyway, we’re probably stuck with this. Now that they’ve announced the imminent removal of the old UI, we can probably assume that this feature is on the non-stop release train. Negative feedback almost never leads to cancelling the roll-out of a change, because the team’s pride is on the line.

    I haven’t spoken to anyone who likes the new UI. Do you?

  • SD Times Open-Source Project of the Week: OpenSilver

    A open-source reimplementation of Silverlight has been released. OpenSilver is a modern, plugin-free, open-source version of Microsoft’s Silverlight solution that runs on current browsers via WebAssembly.

  • OpenSilver resurrects Silverlight with WebAssembly
  • OpenSilver: Open-source Silverlight via WebAssembly
  • OpenSilver: Silverlight makes an open source comeback

Remote presence tools for social distancing

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As a technologist, I've been wondering how I can help people with the rapidly spreading coronavirus pandemic. With the world entering the "exponential stage" (e.g. Canada, the USA and basically all of Europe), everyone should take precautions and limit practice Social Distancing (and not dumbfuckery). But this doesn't mean we should dig ourselves in a hole in our basement: we can still talk to each other on the internet, and there are great, and free, tools available to do this. As part of my work as a sysadmin, I've had to answer questions about this a few times and I figured it was useful to share this more publicly.

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Also: New WhatsApp Alternative “Session” Works Without Your Phone Number

Whatever – Lightweight Evernote App for Linux

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Whatever is a lightweight and unofficial Evernote client for Linux. There are several Evernote alternatives for Linux, but Whatever seems to provide every single feature that comes with Evernote. You can still perform tasks with the web version of Evernote; however, having a desktop client would be awesome.

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Software: Elephant, Containers, Persepolis Download Manager, nomacs

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  • Elephant is an open source, cross platform note taking application

    Jotting down notes is a great way to remember things to do, and can help increase your productivity. We have reviewed a handful of note taking applications here like Notes, QOwnNotes, Tomboy-ng to name a few.

  • Essential things to know about container networking

    Containers have emerged over the past several years to provide an efficient method of storing and delivering applications reliably across different computing environments. By containerizing an application platform and its dependencies, differences in OS distributions and underlying infrastructures are abstracted away.

    Networking has emerged as a critical element within the container ecosystem, providing connectivity between containers running on the same host as well as on different hosts, says Michael Letourneau, an IT architect at Liberty Mutual Insurance. "Putting an application into a container automatically drives the need for network connectivity for that container," says Letourneau, whose primary focus is on building and operating Liberty Mutual's container platform.

  • Persepolis Download Manager is an open source and cross platform download manager

    Today we'll be taking a look at another one called Persepolis Download Manager, which is available for Windows, Linux and macOS. The program uses Aria2c (open source command-line download tool) and serves as a GUI for it.

  • nomacs 3.14

    nomacs is a free image viewer, which supports multiple platforms. You can use it for viewing all common image formats including RAW and psd images. nomacs features semi-transparent widgets that display additional information such as thumbnails, metadata or histogram.

Proprietary Software Stories

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  • Technical trouble spoils Joe Biden's first 'virtual town hall'

    The start time of Friday's "virtual town hall" was pushed back by two hours -- and then it still started 15 minutes late. As those on Zoom waited to watch, the video alternated between confused-looking Democratic Sens. Tammy Duckworth and Dick Durbin of Illinois, as well as Vivek Murthy, the former surgeon general and a member of a committee advising Biden on how to handle campaigning amid a pandemic.

    The event started with brief remarks from Durbin, who wasn't visible to those watching on Zoom.

    Then Biden came on and he was visible, but no one could hear him: His audio was so choppy that it could not be understood. At one point, he stopped and restarted, but the audio problem hadn't been solved.

  • Los Angeles Utility Accused of Cybersecurity Coverup

    The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has been accused of deliberately keeping widespread gaps in its cybersecurity a secret from regulators in a large-scale coverup involving the city's mayor.

    The allegations were made by Ardent Cyber Solutions LLC, a company hired by the Department of Water and Power (DWP) in April 2019 to perform cybersecurity work.

    In a 10-page claim filed against the city earlier this year, Ardent states that it uncovered an "extremely high number of unpatched vulnerabilities" in the company's "corporate IT network."

  • Apple Closes Most of Its Stores for 2 Weeks

    Apple said it would close most of its retail stores outside mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, becoming one of the first companies to take such a drastic measure to fight the coronavirus outbreak.

    The move signaled that retailers might be the next part of society to shut their doors.

  • [Attackers] had access to European electricity organization’s email server for weeks: report

    The European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E) said a data breach had been confined to its office network, and that no critical power systems were affected. It didn’t mention how or why the intrusion began.

    But a public analysis of a cybersecurity incident, which multiple people familiar with the matter said matches the details of the ENTSO-E breach, indicates that the attackers were communicating with the victim organization’s email server for more than a month.

  • A Mobile Voting App That's Already in Use Is Filled With Critical Flaws

    Voatz, a mobile voting app that's already been used in several elections in the United States, has more than a dozen critical security flaws, according to a newly released audit. The audit also shows Voatz publicly refuted an MIT report that found flaws in its app even after it received confirmation that it was accurate.

    The audit, which was prepared by cybersecurity firm Trail of Bits for Voatz and Tusk Philanthropies, which has partnered with Voatz on some of its pilot voting projects, found 48 technical vulnerabilities, 16 of which were "high-severity issues."

Proprietary Software: Microsoft Might Lose Big Contract, Cybercriminals Expoit Coronavirus/COVID-19

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  • Pentagon Reconsiders Microsoft Contract After Amazon Protest

    U.S. government lawyers said in a court filing this week that the Defense Department "wishes to reconsider its award decision" and take another look at how it evaluated technical aspects of the companies' proposals to run the $10 billion computing project.

    The filing doesn't address Amazon's broader argument that the bidding was improperly influenced by President Donald Trump's dislike of Amazon and its CEO, Jeff Bezos. Bezos owns The Washington Post, a news outlet with which Trump has often clashed.

  • [Attackers] are making malware-infected coronavirus maps to harvest personal information

    A journalist with expertise on cybercrime reported on Thursday that [attackers] are trying to take advantage of the public's concern about the COVID-19 pandemic to infect users' computers with malware.

  • Live Coronavirus Map Used to Spread Malware

    Cybercriminals constantly latch on to news items that captivate the public’s attention, but usually they do so by sensationalizing the topic or spreading misinformation about it. Recently, however, cybercrooks have started disseminating real-time, accurate information about global infection rates tied to the Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic in a bid to infect computers with malicious software.

Best Download Managers for Linux

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Download managers provide a convenient way to download files without relying on web browsers’ built-in download mechanisms. Usually people look for batch download support, pausing and resuming ability and multi-connection download support while choosing a download manager. Multiple connections to the same file can speed up downloads specially when a file server throttles downloads. Do note that some file servers block pause and resume functionality and have mechanisms to prevent multi-connection downloads. This article will cover command line and graphical download manager apps for Linux.

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