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Software

Software and HowTos: Organizer, Handbrake, Logical & in Bash and Python

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Software
HowTos

All-in-One Messaging Application Franz 5 Sees First Stable Release

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Software

After 24 beta releases, Franz, an all-in-one messaging application, has reached version 5.0.0 stable.

Besides being the first Franz 5 stable release, the latest 5.0.0 version brings automatic spellcheck language detection, an option to quit Franz from the Windows taskbar, updated Electron to version 4.0.4 (from 4.0.2), and small bugfixes and improvements.

Franz is a free Electron application for Windows, Linux and Mac that combines almost 70 chat and messaging services into a single window that can run in the background, with multi-account support, notifications and a system tray, spell checking, and other useful features.

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Software: CLI File Viewers, 5 Excellent Free Mind Mapping Software and Sophos Snakeoil for Linux

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Software
  • 3 tools for viewing files at the command line

    I always say you don't need to use the command line to use Linux effectively—I know many Linux users who never crack open a terminal window and are quite happy. However, even though I don't consider myself a techie, I spend about 20% of my computing time at the command line, manipulating files, processing text, and using utilities.

    One thing I often do in a terminal window is viewing files, whether text or word processor files. Sometimes it's just easier to use a command line utility than to fire up a text editor or a word processor.

    Here are three of the utilities I use to view files at the command line.

  • 5 Excellent Free Mind Mapping Software

    Structured thinking is a process of setting a framework to an unstructured problem. Having a structure not only helps to understand a particular problem, it also helps to identify areas which need more understanding. Structured thinking allows us to map ideas in structured fashion, thereby enabling the identification of areas which require the most thought.

    Mind mapping is a fairly free flowing concept. This means you need software that is versatile, and can adapt to your requirements. Your idea of a neat and tidy mind map might be another person’s idea of bamboozling. A map can concentrate very complex content in a small space such as a piece of paper. It helps to use both sides of your brain: the logical side and also the creative side. It’s a technique to help organize the way you think and stimulate your creativity: It can help you by developing, sorting and helping to memorize your ideas.

    Mind mapping software therefore offers an excellent way of capturing your thoughts in a structured way, brainstorming new ideas. Move away from simple lists, and use this software to link ideas in different ways. By thinking creatively, not linearly, we can seize on our big ideas.

  • How to install Sophos Antivirus for Linux [Ed: Installing proprietary software on GNU/Linux would likely cause security issues and/or add back doors, not improve real security]

    Seeing the Ubuntu popularity between both Desktops and serves, here we are using Ubuntu to show how to install Sophos Antivirus for Linux.

Software: Weather, Typing Tutors and Simple and Fast Alternative to Find Command

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Software
  • 7 Best Weather Apps for Ubuntu & Linux Mint

    Weather awareness is important to a lot of people, especially those who are always commuting, event planners, etc. And while we have covered several weather applications for Linux in the past but we never compiled a list that puts the best together.

    Today, we bring you a list of the best weather applications you can install on your Ubuntu and Linux Mint set up.

  • 5 Best Free Linux Typing Tutors

    Being able to touch type is the ability of typing without looking at the keyboard. When touch-typing, the individual uses all fingers instead of just a few fingers. Consequently, typing speed increases dramatically.

    It’s not only transcriptionists and secretaries that benefit from being able to type without looking at the keyboard. By concentrating on their thoughts and creative processes rather than the keyboard, all users will focus more on the content of the text, thereby increasing its quality. Moreover, touch-typing is less tiring, and less demanding on the brain. It also reduces the risk of Repetitive strain injury and Carpal tunnel syndrome.

    Typing tutor software teaches fast and accurate typing through a system of informative lessons and progress tracking. We think it is important that learning should be fun, so we have included some typing games in this feature.

  • fd – A Simple and Fast Alternative to Find Command

    Most of the Linux users are well familiar with the find command and the many cases it can be used. Today we are going to review an alternative to find command, called fd.

    fd, is a simple, fast and user-friendly tool meant to simply perform faster compared to find. It is not meant to completely replace find, but rather give you an easy to use alternative that performs slightly faster.

Wine Developers Release Hangover Alpha To Run Windows x86_64 Programs On 64-Bit ARM

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Wine developers André Hentschel and Stefan Dösinger have been working on "Hangover" as a means of running Windows x86/x86_64 applications on 64-bit ARM (AArch64) Linux and Android or even Windows for ARM. They are out today with the project's first alpha release.

Hangover 0.4 is the first (alpha) release from this project for running x86/x86_64 Windows programs now on 64-bit ARM Linux distributions. Besides GNU/Linux platforms, Hangover can also run on Android as well. This also lays the groundwork for supporting Windows games on AArch64 using Direct3D/WineD3D though due to upstream Wine limitations that doesn't yet work on Android due to WineD3D not working off OpenGL ES at this time.

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Software: 14 Excellent Free Plotting Tools and Texinfo 6.6

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Software
  • 14 Excellent Free Plotting Tools

    A plotting tool is computer software which helps to analyze and visualize data, often of a scientific nature. Using this type of software, users can generate plots of functions, data and data fits. Software of this nature typically includes additional functionality, such as data analysis functions including curve fitting.

    A good plotting tool is very important for generating professional looking graphics for inclusion in academic papers. However, plotting tools are not just useful for academics, engineers, and scientists. Many users will need to plot graphs for other purposes such as presentations.

    Fortunately, Linux is well endowed with plotting software. There are some heavyweight commercial Linux applications which include plotting functionality. These include MATLAB, Maple, and Mathematica. Without access to their source code, you have limited understanding of how the software functions, and how to change it. The license costs are also very expensive. And we are fervent advocates of open source software. The purpose of this article is to help promote open source plotting tools that are available.

    To provide an insight into the quality of software that is available, we have compiled a list of 14 excellent plotting tools. Many of the applications are very mature. For example, gnuplot has been in development since the mid-1980s.

    The choice of plotting software may depend on which programming language you prefer. For example, if your leaning towards Python, matplotlib is an ideal candidate as it’s written in, and designed specifically for Python. Whereas, if you’re keen on the R programming language, you’ll probably prefer ggplot2, which is one of the most popular R packages. With good reason, it offers a powerful model of graphics that removes a lot of the difficulty in making complex multi-players graphics. R does come with “base graphics” which are the traditional plotting functions distributed with R. But gpplot2 takes graphics to the next level.

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  • [GNU] Texinfo 6.6 released

    We have released version 6.6 of Texinfo, the GNU documentation format.

Geary 0.13.0

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Software
GNOME
  • Geary 0.13.0 released!

    Geary 0.13.0 has been released.

  • GNOME's Geary 0.13 Is A Big Step Forward For This Linux Mail Client

    Geary 0.13 is out today as a big step-up for this GNOME e-mail client for the Linux desktop.

    The Geary 0.13 release features a new UI for creating/managing email accounts, there is finally integration with GNOME Online Accounts, improvements for displaying conversations, better UI/UX work around composing new messages, various bug fixes, security fixes, and other enhancements.

  • Geary 0.13.0 released

    This is a major new release, featuring a number of new features —
    including a new user interface for creating and managing email
    accounts, integration with GNOME Online Accounts (which also provides
    OAuth login support for some services), improvements in displaying
    conversations, composing new messages, interacting with other email
    apps, reporting problems as they occur, and number of important bug
    fixes, server compatibility fixes, and security fixes.

    This latest version is now available for installation from Flathub. See
    the Geary web site for installation details and other installation
    options: https://wiki.gnome.org/Apps/Geary

    Note to maintainers: This version now uses meson for a build system and
    has a number of updated dependencies. Please see meson.build for
    details.

FinalCrypt – An Open Source File Encryption Application

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Software

FnalCrypt is a free and open source encryption tool that allows you to encrypt files with a key. It is available for Linux, Windows and macOS.
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Tales of colours: GIMP and Latte Dock (KDE)

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GNU
KDE
Software
  • Colorization in GIMP

    As part of the Image team at GREYC lab (CRNS, ENSICAEN, University of Caen), I implemented the “fill by line art” algorithm in GIMP, also known as “Smart Colorization“. You may know this algorithm in G’Mic (developed by the same team), so when they proposed me to work with them, I wanted to implement this algorithm in GIMP core. Thus it became my first assignment.

  • Latte and a Colors tale...

    A few months ago while I was scratching Latte Dock limits an idea came and haunted my thoughts. How Latte could give the colors freedom for panels and windows that an Android phone already provides? Questions like this arose and solutions appeared suddenly in many different places, but an important and concrete dream prevail in the end.

4 Excellent Command-line FTP clients

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Software

The desktop environment with its bundle of programs sharing a common graphical user interface (GUI) remains a firm favorite with users. Not surprising really given that a good desktop environment makes computing fun and simple. The graphical desktop environment has become so ingrained in almost everyone’s computer activities that it might seem the command line will wither away. Yet, there is still an important role to play for the powerful command-line interface (CLI).

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Also: FinalCrypt – An Open Source File Encryption Application

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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