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Software: Remote Working, Cockpit, YouTube Tools and Sparky Upgrade

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Software
  • FSFE Supporters write about Free Software for remote working

    Due to the ongoing Covid-19 virus outbreak many employees - voluntarily or mandatory - are working remotely now. Many organisations who have not been used to remote working so far now face a number of difficulties adapting to the situation. To avoid potential lock-ins, some FSFE supporters collectively wrote about the good reasons to use Free Software for remote working and collected a detailed list of practical solutions in our wiki.

    Because of the ongoing Covid-19 virus outbreak many organisations who never previously directed any strategic thought towards the available solutions for remote working in their business now opt for a quick solution and choose to follow the - in the beginning often free of charge - offerings from big tech companies and their proprietary solutions. However, such proprietary solutions lock-in these organisations in the future.

    Choosing a Free Software solution instead means to opt for a solution that has a future, where your organization no longer depends on a particular vendor or file format or whichever other means those vendors choose to lock you in. Free Software puts you in control.

  • Cockpit 216

    Cockpit is the modern Linux admin interface. We release regularly. Here are the release notes from version 216.

  • Excellent Console-Based YouTube Tools

    YouTube is a video-sharing website, created in February 2005, and purchased by Google in November 2006. The web service lets billions of people find, watch, and share originally-created videos. This service lets you watch a wide variety of user-generated and corporate media video. It also offers a forum for people to communicate with others around the world, and acts as a distribution platform. Mainstream media corporations such as CBS, Vevo, Hulu and the BBC publish some of their catalog via YouTube, as part of the YouTube partnership program.

    Although some parents might disagree, YouTube is one of the shining lights of the internet. According to a survey of 1,500 American teenagers commissioned by Variety, the top five most influential celebrities are YouTube stars, with mainstream celebs eclipsed. Moreover, there are many thousands of “YouTube celebs” who have spun a full-time career of creating videos. This new wave of young ‘YouTubers’ threaten mainstream entertainment with their direct video blogs and interaction with their millions of mostly teenage devotees.

  • Sparky Upgrade text tool

    There is a tool available for Sparkers, which lets you make full system upgrade in a text mode via just one command: Sparky Upgrade.

Elisa Music Player by KDE is Refreshing, But Not There Just Yet

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KDE
Software
Reviews

If you’re someone who still listens to locally stored music, in this day and age of several streaming music services, you deserve a good music player app. I use Google Play Music because it also lets me upload my local music files. Yet, I can never really fully switch over because I just don’t like the silly-looking interface. Google Play Music just has the worst interface of all music streaming services. Thus, I still prefer using a nice, beautiful local music player app more often when I can. As such, I’m always on the lookout. Elisa Music Player was just released by the KDE team and is kind of available for every Windows, openSUSE, and Arch Linux user.

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Software: Chafa, Butterfly Builder, Fondo Wallpaper App, kmon and Fre:ac

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Software
  • Chafa 1.4.0: Now with sixels

    April 1st seems like as good a time as any for a new Chafa release — though note that Chafa is no joke. At least not anymore, what with the extremely enterprise-ready sixel pipeline and all.

    [...]

    The most complete existing implementation is probably Hayaki Saito’s libsixel, but I chose to write one from scratch for Chafa, since sixel output is remarkably intensive computationally, and I wanted to employ a combination of advanced techniques (parallelism, quantization using a PCA approach, SIMD scaling) and corner-cutting that wouldn’t have been appropriate in that library. This gets me fast animation playback and makes it easier to phase out the ImageMagick dependency in the long term.

    There are at least two widely available virtual terminals that support sixels: One is XTerm (when compiled with --enable-sixel), and the other is mlterm. Unfortunately, I don’t think either is widely used compared to distribution defaults like GNOME Terminal and Konsole, so here’s hoping for more mainstream support for this feature.

  • Butterfly Builder, a tool to compile PHP

    Butterfly Builder is a tool written in BASH that allows to compile PHP from the source code, Butterfly Builder (before pbt) is the evolution of the php-build.sh script allowing greater flexibility and customization in the PHP compilation / installation process.

  • PAM testing using pam_wrapper and dbusmock

    On the road to libfprint and fprintd 2.0, we've been fixing some long-standing bugs, including one that required porting our PAM module from dbus-glib to sd-bus, systemd's D-Bus library implementation.

    As you can imagine, I have confidence in my ability to write bug-free code at the first attempt, but the foresight to know that this code will be buggy if it's not tested (and to know there's probably a bug in the tests if they run successfully the first time around). So we will have to test that PAM module, thoroughly, before and after the port.

  • Get Unsplash Wallpapers on Linux with Fondo Wallpaper App

    Some people change wallpapers on their desktops, phones or other devices more frequently than they change clothes. Finding new wallpapers on the internet is not that difficult. However, you do start to see the same images over and over the more you look. And then it starts to get a little difficult. That’s when many people flock over to Unsplash. Unsplash is a royalty-free photography site, not remotely aimed at providing wallpapers. However, it is a very popular source of wallpapers for many users. Fondo wallpaper app is a new app for Linux that makes it much easier to find and apply wallpapers from Unsplash.

  • Easily Load, Unload And Blacklist Kernel Modules With kmon (TUI)

    kmon is a new command line kernel manager and activity monitor. It can be used to load, unload and blacklist kernel modules, as well as show module information. The tool also shows kernel activities (hardware logs, etc.) in real time.

    This command line tool is written in Rust, and it uses a text-based user interface (TUI) thanks to the tui-rs and termion libraries.

  • Fre:ac Audio Converter 1.1 Released with Dark Mode Support

    Fre:ac audio converter 1.1 was released a few days ago. Here’s how to install it in Ubuntu 18.04 and higher.

ProtonMail launches Bridge for Linux

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Software

We are excited to announce that starting today, you can use Bridge to connect your ProtonMail account with your desktop email app on the Linux operating system.
ProtonMail Bridge is a desktop app available to all paying subscribers that integrates ProtonMail’s strong privacy and security features, such as zero-access encryption and end-to-end encryption, with your email client.
Bridge implements IMAP/SMTP protocols and is compatible with any email client which follows this standard. The Linux version we are launching today includes special optimizations for Thunderbird.
Since releasing Bridge for Linux in beta, we have collected valuable feedback from our community and improved the speed and performance. Linux users now have access to all the convenience provided by an email client, including full-text search, offline editing, and the ability to export and back up emails from your ProtonMail account.

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Also: 3 Zoom Alternatives to Maintain Your Privacy

Proprietary Stuff and Openwashing

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Software
  • WinRAR 5.90 Final Released For Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android

    WinRAR 5.90 Final has been released with numerous performance improvements and bug fixes for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android.

    For those not familiar with WinRar, it is an archiving software from RARLAB that supports the ARJ, BZIP2, CAB, GZ, ISO, JAR, LHA, RAR, TAR, UUE, XZ, Z, ZIP, ZIPX, 7z, 001 (split) archive formats.

    WinRAR is distributed as trialware, which means that anyone can use it as a full-featured product before purchasing it.

  • GitLab is open sourcing 18 features for the DevOps lifecycle

    The DevOps tool GitLab offers paid and free versions, and now 18 additional features will be moved to the open source editions Core/Free. The developer community can contribute to the according issues and speed up the process—so now is the time to take a look and see which of the features you find most important.

  • HPE, Intel and Linux Foundation team up for open source software for 5G core

    HPE announced on Tuesday it's working with Intel and the Linux Foundation on a new open source software project to help automate the roll out of 5G across multiple sites.

    The new partnership, which will be under the Linux Foundation umbrella, is called the Open Distributed Infrastructure Management Framework. The partnership represents HPE's move into the 5G core network space as it branches out from its enterprise roots. Other partners for the open source project include AMI, Apstra, IBM's Red Hat, Tech Mahindra and World Wide Technology.

    HPE will also introduce an enterprise offering, the HPE Open Distributed Infrastructure Management Resource Aggregator.

  • What Value Does Alluxio Brings To The Presto Foundation?

    Steven Mih: The Presto Foundation is a project hosted under the Linux Foundation. It was created last year by companies like Facebook, Twitter, Alibaba and Uber. Alluxio is an open source project that is commonly used with Presto, the open source distributed SQL query engine, as well as other projects like Spark and TensorFlow. We support all these different frameworks. And since this was a foundation that was open to all, we decided to join it as one of the companies involved in that foundation.

  • Automating our Vanilla releases with GitHub actions

    Vanilla framework version 2.7.1 published at the end of February was the first fully automated release. Since then we have released two more and plan to release regular updates at least after every two-week iteration.

    The automated release process is not only smoother and takes less time, but also much less prone to human error.

    But there are still areas for possible improvements.

    With every major release, we are sending a newsletter describing the latest changes and additions to the Vanilla framework. This is still a very manual process that involves editing an email campaign template on MailChimp. Because the content of the email is loosely based on the release notes (that are already automated with Release Drafter), we could think of pre-populating the newsletter content with release notes.

    Instead of triggering the release manually using GitHub UI, we could automatically release (and publish) whenever the Vanilla version is updated in the package.json file. We already have similar workflows in place for our python packages.

Nutty – A network monitoring app for Linux

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Software

After the internet revolution, it’s important to be connected with the cyber world to get things done. Skipping the complicated intricacies of how the internet works, on a personal level, we connect to the internet through various ways, like WLAN (Wireless Local Area Network) or Wi-Fi to put it simply, or some kind of a wired connection to a router, or in some cases, cellular networks.

Whatever the medium be, we almost always require a way to monitor and manage the network connection(s). We are going to suggest a program for the purpose named Nutty.

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OCRFeeder - Where images go to text

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Software

Recently, finding really cool, new, unique Linux software has become a difficult task. A chore. And by recently, I actually meant these past four or five years, even since the slow decline of enthusiasm and innovation in the desktop space started. After all, there's a limit to how much good stuff can exist in a finite volume of intellect, but let's not forget the wrong shift of focus to mobile and the shattering of the year-of-the-Linux dream.

This makes my test of a four-year-old piece of software named OCRFeeder valid, I think. For two reasons. If it's good, it's good. Second, I've always been interested in the progress of optical character recognition, and whether our tools (read AI) can do a reasonable job here. I wrote about this in detail a while back, and then reviewed YAGF in 2015. Now, let's have a look at OCRFeeder and what it can do. After me, brave Linux warriors.

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Kushal Das: Introducing ManualBox project

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Software

One of the major security features of the QubesOS is the file vaults, where access to specific files can only happen via user input in the GUI applet. Same goes to the split-ssh, where the user has to allow access to the ssh key (actually on a different VM).

I was hoping to have similar access control to important dotfiles with passwords, ssh private keys, and other similar files on my regular desktop system. I am introducing ManualBox which can provide similarly access control on normal Linux Desktops or even on Mac.

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Software: MystiQ, GnuCash, OpenTelemetry, Zeek and Jitsi

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Software
  • MystiQ Is An Easy To Use FFmpeg GUI (Multimedia Converter) For Linux And Windows

    MystiQ is a fairly new Qt5/C++ FFmpeg-based audio and video converter for Linux and Microsoft Windows. A macOS version will also be available in the future.

    I want to note that while the application is referred to as "MystiQ Video Converter" on its website, it actually supports both audio and video files.

    This FFmpeg GUI comes with an easy-to-use user interface intended to get things done without distracting the user. It supports all the popular audio and video formats supported by FFmpeg, and comes with many presets.

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  • GnuCash 3.9

    GnuCash is a personal and small business finance application, freely licensed under the GNU GPL and available for GNU/Linux, BSD, Solaris, Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows. It’s designed to be easy to use, yet powerful and flexible. GnuCash allows you to track your income and expenses, reconcile bank accounts, monitor stock portfolios and manage your small business finances. It is based on professional accounting principles to ensure balanced books and accurate reports.

    GnuCash can keep track of your personal finances in as much detail as you prefer. If you are just starting out, use GnuCash to keep track of your checkbook. You may then decide to track cash as well as credit card purchases to better determine where your money is being spent. When you start investing, you can use GnuCash to help monitor your portfolio. Buying a vehicle or a home? GnuCash will help you plan the investment and track loan payments. If your financial records span the globe, GnuCash provides all the multiple-currency support you need.

  • OpenTelemetry is now beta!

    OpenTelemetry and OpenCensus have been a critical part of our goal of making platforms like Kubernetes more observable and more manageable. This has been a multi-year journey for us, from creating OpenCensus and growing it into a core part of major web services’ observability stack, to our announcement of OpenTelemetry last year and the rapid growth of the OpenTelemetry community.

  • Google's OpenTelemetry Reaches Beta For Open-Source Telemetry Purposes

    OpenTelemetry aims to make it easy to provide robust and portable telemetry for cloud-native software. OpenTelemetry supports various programming languages and makes it easy to capture and distribute traces and metrics from arbitrary applications. OpenTelemetry in turn supports sending this telemetry data to different back-ends like Cloud Trace, Jaeger, Prometheus, and others. OpenTelemetry SDKs are offered for the likes of Go, Python, Java, JavaScript, Erlang, .NET, and others.

  • Zeek and Jitsi: 2 open source projects we need now

    Everyone has heard of open source projects like Linux, Kubernetes, and MySQL. Far fewer have heard of ROS (Robot Operating System), Apache Flink, or InfluxDB, though these open source projects, too, are getting noticed. However, virtually no one has heard of open source Zeek or Jitsi, despite their having been around for eons. It’s high time Zeek and Jitsi got their due, as they are serving a particularly big need today given world events.

    Zeek, for example, is a network analysis tool that helps organizations hunt down bad actors that have made it past perimeter defenses (and, let’s face it, they will). In our work-from-home world, Jitsi provides video conferencing. Open source may not be for everyone but these open source projects just might be perfect for your organization.

Telegram Desktop App Update Adds Chat Folders, New Sidebar

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Software

A new version of the Telegram desktop app for Windows, macOS and Linux is now available — and it hides some very useful new features.

Desktop Telegram 2.0 echoes some of the changes on offer in the recent Telegram 6.0 update for mobile systems. This includes the ability to organise chats into Chat Folders should you find you have more than is manageable!

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