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Software

Rhythmbox is Finally Adopting Client Side Decorations

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Software

Rhythmbox music player is finally sorting its oversized toolbar out!

The next major release of the well-known Linux audio app is set to adopt a GTK header bar by default.

The aim? A refined, more compact toolbar with buttons that are consistent, sharp, take up less room, and better adhere to modern Linux app development trends (like the GNOME HIG).

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Best Free Linux Screen Capture Tools (Updated 2019)

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GNU
Linux
Software

The phrase “A picture is worth a thousand words” refers to the idea that a solitary still image can provide as much information as a large amount of descriptive text. Essentially, pictures convey information more effectively and efficiently than words can.

A screenshot is an image captured by a computer to record the output of a visual device. Screen capture software enable screenshots to be taken on a computer. This type of software has a wide range of uses. As an image can illustrate the operation of computer software so well, screenshots play a crucial role in software development and documentation. Alternatively, if you have a technical problem with your computer, a screenshot allows a technical support department to understand the problems you are facing. Writing computer-related articles, documentation and tutorials is nigh on impossible without a good tool for creating screenshots.

Linux has a good selection of versatile open source screenshot programs, both graphical and console based. Our longstanding favorite was Shutter. Although the software is still under development, the software has only received bug fixes in recent years.

The two most popular desktop environments, GNOME and KDE, each offer a competent screenshot utility. However, the functionality offered by their screenshot utilities is relatively basic. Furthermore, some Linux users prefer to use an alternative desktop environment.

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Software: Kodi, GNOME Internet Radio Locator, Snaps and Mozilla Firefox

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Software
  • Kodi v18 Leia RC5

    As mentioned in the RC4 release article, a final release was close on the horizon. To that end we hereby present you the last Release Candate (RC5) before we call it a wrap on v18.0. It will not be absolutely perfect but we have to go forward at some point. Don't worry as we will of course continue working on fixing any issue that might surface in the regeular v18 point releases afterwards. 

  • Kodi 18 Leia Nearly Released, But For Now An RC5

    Kodi 18 Leia RC5 is available this weekend as what should be the last release candidate before this major release is out of this widely-used, cross-platform HTPC software. 

    Kodi 18 RC5 was issued today rather than the final release in order to serve up some last minute fixes and encourage a final round of testing. Kodi 18 RC5 has multiple crash fixes, takes care of some Android issues, various other platform-specific bug fixes, and other issues resolved.

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  • GNOME Internet Radio Locator version 1.6.0

    GNOME Internet Radio Locator 1.6.0 is now freely available for GNOME 3.

    The 1.6.0 release is a stable release with Internet radio stations from Norway, Sweden, Denmark, England, Scotland, France and Belgium, as well as U.S.A., Canada, Mexico and Guatemala, mapped for GNOME Maps and city text search interface with auto-completion for 76 world cities that are featured in this release.

  • GNOME Internet Radio Locator 1.6.0 Released

    GNOME Internet Radio Locator 1.6.0 is now freely available for GNOME systems. The 1.6.0 release is a stable release with Internet radio stations from Norway, Sweden, Denmark, England, Scotland, France and Belgium, as well as U.S.A., Canada, Mexico and Guatemala, mapped for GNOME Maps and city text search interface with auto-completion for 76 world cities that are featured in this release.

  • Fresh Snaps from December 2018
  • Mozilla Disabling Adobe Flash By Default In Firefox

    Back in 2017, Adobe announced that it would stop updating and distributing flash support by the end of 2020. Now, many popular browsers are gradually incorporating the change.

    One of them is Mozilla Firefox, which will be disabling support for the Adobe Flash plugin by default, starting in Firefox 69. In a bug listing, Jim Mathies, Senior engineer at Mozilla Security, mentions that the company will disable Flash by default in Nightly 69.

Get started with Joplin, a note-taking app

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Software

There seems to be a mad rush at the beginning of every year to find ways to be more productive. New Year's resolutions, the itch to start the year off right, and of course, an "out with the old, in with the new" attitude all contribute to this. And the usual round of recommendations is heavily biased towards closed source and proprietary software. It doesn't have to be that way.

Here's the first of my picks for 19 new (or new-to-you) open source tools to help you be more productive in 2019.

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DXVK 0.95 Released

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Software
  • DXVK 0.95 Released With Big Performance Win For Assassin's Creed Odyssey

    The DXVK project for mapping Direct3D 10/11 atop Vulkan for Wine/Proton (Steam Play) users continues inching closer to its eventual 1.0 milestone.

    DXVK 0.95 is the latest release out today for Linux gamers relying upon the project for a faster Windows Direct3D game running experience. DXVK 0.95 does bring minor reduction to the CPU overhead, but the biggest benefactor to this release is Assassin's Creed Odyssey.

  • DXVK 0.95 is out with various D3D10 stability fixes, CPU overhead reduction and more game fixes

    DXVK, the excellent project that Valve has been funding has a fresh brew out to continue the exciting progress made.

    For those just joining us or newer followers: DXVK is a "Vulkan-based translation layer for Direct3D 10/11 which allows running 3D applications on Linux using Wine". It's what helps make Valve's Steam Play run your games that do not have Linux support.

Nanonote 1.0.1

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GNU
Linux
Software

The first release of Nanonote, my minimalist note-taking app, was a bit rushed: I broke indentation shortly before tagging version 1.0.0... meh.

So here is version 1.0.1. It fixes the indentation and adds the ability to indent or unindent whole lines with Tab and Shift+Tab, in addition to the existing Ctrl+I and Ctrl+U shortcuts.

In addition to these changes, the build system can now generate Debian and RPM packages, making the application easier to install.

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Wine 4.0's Sixth RC

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Software
  • Wine Announcement

    The Wine development release 4.0-rc6 is now available.

  • Time to uncork and unwind as the sixth release candidate for Wine 4.0 is out

    As expected, another bug-fix release is out as progress towards the final release of Wine 4.0 approaches.

    Since they're in a code-freeze, there's no major new features to be found. Instead, you can expect to find around 18 bug fixes in total. Some of which may have been fixed in older releases.

    Noteworthy for Linux gamers using Wine for their favourite Windows-only titles there's a fix for a lighting problem in Crysis, mouse movement in Final Fantasy XI Online should be better now, a crash bug was fixed for Binary Domain, a crash with F1 2011 was also fixed and there's a few more too.

  • Wine 4.0-RC6 Fixes Bugs With Crysis, Final Fantasy & Other Windows Games

    While last week's Wine 4.0-RC5 release was quite a small release due to the holidays, Wine 4.0-RC6 is now available and it's back on track with more bug-fixing.

    Wine 4.0-RC6 has 18 known bug fixes over the past week affecting Crysis, F1 2017, Doom 3, Vietcon, Cossacks 2, Final Fantasy XI, FIFA 11, and other Windows games.

Software: Fractal, Kaku and Mozilla

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Software
  • Fractal Hackfest in Seville

    Last month I was in Seville for the second Fractal Hackfest. It was a bit of a different experience for me than the other hackfests I have been too, as I’m a core member to the project now, and I also knew most of the other people already.

    My main focus for this hackfest was to push forward the work on the Fractal backend. The backend should handle persistent storage and the preparation of data needed in the UI. Right now many things which should conceptually be in the backend are in the frontend, and can therefore cause UI freezes. Over the past months I have been working hard on refactoring the code so we can just drop in the backend without making many changes to the UI code. So the core of the refactors I did was to make sure that data flows in one direction and we don’t keep different copies of the data around.

  • Kaku – web technologies-based music player

    My CD collection has taken over my spare room. With very little space to store more, I’m gradually spending more time using streaming services.

    Linux is blessed with a mouthwatering array of excellent open source music players. But I’m always on the look out for fresh and innovative music players.

    Kaku bills itself as the next generation music client. Is that self-proclaimed hype?

    The software is written in JavaScript.

  • 01 - They fixed it

    This is a new chapter. I'll try to move forward in a semi-regular basis. The work done by the awesome core engineers of Mozilla is essential. Some of the things they fix or explain have direct impact on the web compatibility work. A couple of years ago at Mozilla Hands. I gave a lightning talk called "They fixed it". I quickly put forward to the audience all the (webcompat) cool bugs which had been fixed by Core engineers.

Software: Latest From KDE and Proprietary Lightworks

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Software
  • Ring in the new

    It’s the second week of 2019 already, which means I’m curious what Nate is going to do with his series This week in usability .. reset the numbering from week 1? That series is a great read, to keep up with all the little things that change in KDE source each week — aside from the release notes.

    For the big ticket items of KDE on FreeBSD, you should read this blog instead.

  • Okular: PDF Signature + Certificate support has landed

    Signature handling is a big step for us, but it's also very complex, so i expect it to have bugs and things that can be improved so testers more than welcome.

    Compiling is a bit "hard" since it requires poppler 0.73 that was released a few days ago.

  • Lightworks Video Editor Shares Its Plans for 2019

    The Lightworks video editor is one of a number of professional-leaning media tools now available for Linux, and over the next year it’s going to get even better.

    That’s according to EditShare, the company behind the free (but not open-source) app. They’ve shared details on their plans for 2019, including a tease of a brand new version.

    First up, Lightworks 14.6. This is expected to enter public beta in the next few weeks. It will be final major release in the 14.x cycle.

VLC Media Player Passes 3 Billion Downloads Mark, AirPlay Support Coming Soon

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Software
Movies

The open-source VLC Media Player app from VideoLAN reached a major milestone today as it just passed the 3 billion downloads mark on the project's official website.
VLC is probably the most popular cross-platform media playback application available to date, used by millions of computer users worldwide on all major platforms, including GNU/Linux, Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Chrome OS, and even Windows Phone OS.

It became one of the most popular media player apps mostly because of its ability to play any type of video without needing a codec pack. Most of the widely used video and audio codecs are incorporated into the application for a hassle-free video playback experience.

But you probably already knew that and already using VLC as your main video player app on your personal computer, tablet, or mobile phones. What you probably didn't know, is that VLC reached has been downloaded more than 3 billion times on the official website.

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Also: SparkleShare: Dropbox-Like Sync Client Powered By Git

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More in Tux Machines

Games: Surviving Mars and OpenMW

Kernel and Security: BPF, Mesa, Embedded World, Kernel Address Sanitizer and More

  • Concurrency management in BPF
    In the beginning, programs run on the in-kernel BPF virtual machine had no persistent internal state and no data that was shared with any other part of the system. The arrival of eBPF and, in particular, its maps functionality, has changed that situation, though, since a map can be shared between two or more BPF programs as well as with processes running in user space. That sharing naturally leads to concurrency problems, so the BPF developers have found themselves needing to add primitives to manage concurrency (the "exchange and add" or XADD instruction, for example). The next step is the addition of a spinlock mechanism to protect data structures, which has also led to some wider discussions on what the BPF memory model should look like. A BPF map can be thought of as a sort of array or hash-table data structure. The actual data stored in a map can be of an arbitrary type, including structures. If a complex structure is read from a map while it is being modified, the result may be internally inconsistent, with surprising (and probably unwelcome) results. In an attempt to prevent such problems, Alexei Starovoitov introduced BPF spinlocks in mid-January; after a number of quick review cycles, version 7 of the patch set was applied on February 1. If all goes well, this feature will be included in the 5.1 kernel.
  • Intel Ready To Add Their Experimental "Iris" Gallium3D Driver To Mesa
    For just over the past year Intel open-source driver developers have been developing a new Gallium3D-based OpenGL driver for Linux systems as the eventual replacement to their long-standing "i965 classic" Mesa driver. The Intel developers are now confident enough in the state of this new driver dubbed Iris that they are looking to merge the driver into mainline Mesa proper.  The Iris Gallium3D driver has now matured enough that Kenneth Graunke, the Intel OTC developer who originally started Iris in late 2017, is looking to merge the driver into the mainline code-base of Mesa. The driver isn't yet complete but it's already in good enough shape that he's looking for it to be merged albeit marked experimental.
  • Hallo Nürnberg!
    Collabora is headed to Nuremberg, Germany next week to take part in the 2019 edition of Embedded World, "the leading international fair for embedded systems". Following a successful first attendance in 2018, we are very much looking forward to our second visit! If you are planning on attending, please come say hello in Hall 4, booth 4-280! This year, we will be showcasing a state-of-the-art infrastructure for end-to-end, embedded software production. From the birth of a software platform, to reproducible continuous builds, to automated testing on hardware, get a firsthand look at our platform building expertise and see how we use continuous integration to increase productivity and quality control in embedded Linux.
  • KASAN Spots Another Kernel Vulnerability From Early Linux 2.6 Through 4.20
    The Kernel Address Sanitizer (KASAN) that detects dynamic memory errors within the Linux kernel code has just picked up another win with uncovering a use-after-free vulnerability that's been around since the early Linux 2.6 kernels. KASAN (along with the other sanitizers) have already proven quite valuable in spotting various coding mistakes hopefully before they are exploited in the real-world. The Kernel Address Sanitizer picked up another feather in its hat with being responsible for the CVE-2019-8912 discovery.
  • io_uring, SCM_RIGHTS, and reference-count cycles
    The io_uring mechanism that was described here in January has been through a number of revisions since then; those changes have generally been fixing implementation issues rather than changing the user-space API. In particular, this patch set seems to have received more than the usual amount of security-related review, which can only be a good thing. Security concerns became a bit of an obstacle for io_uring, though, when virtual filesystem (VFS) maintainer Al Viro threatened to veto the merging of the whole thing. It turns out that there were some reference-counting issues that required his unique experience to straighten out. The VFS layer is a complicated beast; it must manage the complexities of the filesystem namespace in a way that provides the highest possible performance while maintaining security and correctness. Achieving that requires making use of almost all of the locking and concurrency-management mechanisms that the kernel offers, plus a couple more implemented internally. It is fair to say that the number of kernel developers who thoroughly understand how it works is extremely small; indeed, sometimes it seems like Viro is the only one with the full picture. In keeping with time-honored kernel tradition, little of this complexity is documented, so when Viro gets a moment to write down how some of it works, it's worth paying attention. In a long "brain dump", Viro described how file reference counts are managed, how reference-count cycles can come about, and what the kernel does to break them. For those with the time to beat their brains against it for a while, Viro's explanation (along with a few corrections) is well worth reading. For the rest of us, a lighter version follows.

Blacklisting insecure filesystems in openSUSE

The Linux kernel supports a wide variety of filesystem types, many of which have not seen significant use — or maintenance — in many years. Developers in the openSUSE project have concluded that many of these filesystem types are, at this point, more useful to attackers than to openSUSE users and are proposing to blacklist many of them by default. Such changes can be controversial, but it's probably still fair to say that few people expected the massive discussion that resulted, covering everything from the number of OS/2 users to how openSUSE fits into the distribution marketplace. On January 30, Martin Wilck started the discussion with a proposal to add a blacklist preventing the automatic loading of a set of kernel modules implementing (mostly) old filesystems. These include filesystems like JFS, Minix, cramfs, AFFS, and F2FS. For most of these, the logic is that the filesystems are essentially unused and the modules implementing them have seen little maintenance in recent decades. But those modules can still be automatically loaded if a user inserts a removable drive containing one of those filesystem types. There are a number of fuzz-testing efforts underway in the kernel community, but it seems relatively unlikely that any of them are targeting, say, FreeVxFS filesystem images. So it is not unreasonable to suspect that there just might be exploitable bugs in those modules. Preventing modules for ancient, unmaintained filesystems from automatically loading may thus protect some users against flash-drive attacks. If there were to be a fight over a proposal like this, one would ordinarily expect it to be concerned with the specific list of unwelcome modules. But there was relatively little of that. One possible exception is F2FS, the presence of which raised some eyebrows since it is under active development, having received 44 changes in the 5.0 development cycle, for example. Interestingly, it turns out that openSUSE stopped shipping F2FS in September. While the filesystem is being actively developed, it seems that, with rare exceptions, nobody is actively backporting fixes, and the filesystem also lacks a mechanism to prevent an old F2FS implementation from being confused by a filesystem created by a newer version. Rather than deal with these issues, openSUSE decided to just drop the filesystem altogether. As it happens, the blacklist proposal looks likely to allow F2FS to return to the distribution since it can be blacklisted by default. Read more

gitgeist: a git-based social network proof of concept

Are you tired of not owning the data or the platform you use for social postings? I know I am. It's hard to say when I "first" used a social network. I've been on email for about 30 years and one of the early ad-hoc forms of social networks were chain emails. Over the years I was asked to join all sorts of "social" things such as IRC, ICQ, Skype, MSN Messenger, etc. and eventually things like Orkut, MySpace, Facebook, etc. I'll readily admit that I'm not the type of person that happily jumps onto every new social bandwagon that appears on the Internet. I often prefer preserving the quietness of my own thoughts. That, though, hasn't stopped me from finding some meaningfulness participating in Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and more recently Google+. Twitter was in fact the first social network that I truly embraced. And it would've remained my primary social network had they not killed their own community by culling the swell of independently-developed Twitter clients that existed. That and their increased control of their API effectively made me look for something else. Right around that time Google+ was being introduced and many in the open source community started participating in that, in some ways to find a fresh place where techies can aggregate away from the noise and sometimes over-the-top nature of Facebook. Eventually I took to that too and started using G+ as my primary social network. That is, until Google recently decided to pull the plug on G+. While Google+ might not have represented a success for Google, it had become a good place for sharing information among the technically-inclined. As such, I found it quite useful for learning and hearing about new things in my field. Soon-to-be-former users of G+ have gone in all sorts of directions. Some have adopted a "c'mon guys, get over it, Facebook is the spot" attitude, others have adopted things like Mastodon, others have fallen back to their existing IDs on Twitter, and yet others, like me, are still looking. Read more