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Microsoft

Linux survival guide: These 21 applications let you move easily between Linux and Windows

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GNU
Linux
Microsoft

In this article, we're spotlighting 20 applications that are functionally identical (or at least pretty similar) between Windows and Linux.

While there aren't absolute brand-for-brand equivalents for about 30 percent of the applications, there are workable substitute solutions.

In the following slides, I'll show you the applications that are either exact matches across platforms, or which work as solid substitute solutions when jumping between platforms and still needing to get the job done.

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Microsoft Against Libraries and Literature

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Microsoft
  • Linkedin to libraries: drop dead

    For years, libraries across America have paid to subscribe to lynda.com for online learning content; four years ago, lynda.com became a division of Linkedin, and this year, the company has informed libraries that they're migrating all lynda.com users to Linkedin Learning, which would be fine, except Linkedin only allows you to access Linkedin Learning if you create and connect a Linkedin profile to the system.

    If libraries accept this change, it will mean that any patron who uses this publicly funded service will also have to have a publicly searchable Linkedin profile. Linkedin's explanation of why this is OK is purest tech-bro PR bullshit, condescending and dismissive.

  • ALA urges LinkedIn Learning to reconsider changes to terms of service that impair library users’ privacy rights

    Under LinkedIn Learning’s new terms of service, a library cardholder will need to create a LinkedIn profile in order to access LinkedIn Learning. In addition to providing their library card number and PIN, users will have to disclose their full name and email address to create a new LinkedIn profile or connect to their existing profile. New users will have their LinkedIn profile set to public by default, allowing their full name to be searched on Google and LinkedIn.

    ALA has long affirmed that the protection of library users’ privacy and confidentiality rights are necessary for intellectual freedom and are fundamental to the ethical practice of librarianship. ALA’s Library Bill of Rights and its interpretations maintain that all library users have the right to access library resources without disclosing their personally identifiable information (PII) to third parties, and to be free from unreasonable intrusion into, or surveillance of, their lawful library use.

    “The requirement for users of LinkedIn Learning to disclose personally identifiable information is completely contrary to ALA policies addressing library users’ privacy, and it may violate some states’ library confidentiality laws,” said ALA President Wanda Kay Brown. “It also violates the librarian’s ethical obligation to keep a person’s use of library resources confidential. We are deeply concerned about these changes to the terms of service and urge LinkedIn and its owner, Microsoft, to reconsider their position on this.”

Here's why Windows 10 users are switching to other platforms

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Linux
Microsoft

People have been dealing with Windows 10 issues since the OS was first introduced in 2015. There are many die-heart Windows fans who prefer to deal with these issues rather than looking for other platforms.

Well, Linux has been around for years but many people are still reluctant to adopt Linux.

Recently, YouTuber Chris Titus Tech published a video to discuss the matter. The video discusses why Windows 10 keeps getting worse with each passing day.

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Proprietary Spyware From Microsoft and Dropbox Targets GNU/Linux

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Microsoft
Software
  • Microsoft Teams client for Linux 0.4 Released with Stability Fixes

    Teams for Linux is an unofficial Microsoft Teams client for Linux using Electron. It uses the Web App and wraps it as a standalone application using Electron.

  • Dropbox Brings Back Support For ZFS, XFS, BTFS And eCryptFS On Linux [Ed: The NSA wants to slurp in all your files, irrespective of what file system you use]

    Dropbox stopped supporting folder syncing to drives with filesystems which it deemed "uncommon", which on Linux meant anything but Ext4, upsetting quite a few users. The reason cited for this was that "a supported file system is required as Dropbox relies on extended attributes (X-attrs) to identify files in the Dropbox folder and keep them in sync", which doesn't really make sense since there are many filesystems that support xattr (extended attributes) on Linux.

SAMBA versus SMB: Adversarial Interoperability is Judo for Network Effects

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Microsoft

Before there was Big Tech, there was "adversarial interoperability": when someone decides to compete with a dominant company by creating a product or service that "interoperates" (works with) its offerings.

In tech, "network effects" can be a powerful force to maintain market dominance: if everyone is using Facebook, then your Facebook replacement doesn't just have to be better than Facebook, it has to be so much better than Facebook that it's worth using, even though all the people you want to talk to are still on Facebook. That's a tall order.

Adversarial interoperability is judo for network effects, using incumbents' dominance against them. To see how that works, let's look at a historical example of adversarial interoperability role in helping to unseat a monopolist's dominance.

The first skirmishes of the PC wars were fought with incompatible file formats and even data-storage formats: Apple users couldn't open files made by Microsoft users, and vice-versa. Even when file formats were (more or less) harmonized, there was still the problems of storage media: the SCSI drive you plugged into your Mac needed a special add-on and flaky driver software to work on your Windows machine; the ZIP cartridge you formatted for your PC wouldn't play nice with Macs.

But as office networking spread, the battle moved to a new front: networking compatibility. AppleTalk, Apple's proprietary protocol for connecting up Macs and networked devices like printers, pretty much Just Worked, providing you were using a Mac. If you were using a Windows PC, you had to install special, buggy, unreliable software.

And for Apple users hoping to fit in at Windows shops, the problems were even worse: Windows machines used the SMB protocol for file-sharing and printers, and Microsoft's support for MacOS was patchy at best, nonexistent at worst, and costly besides. Businesses sorted themselves into Mac-only and PC-only silos, and if a Mac shop needed a PC (for the accounting software, say), it was often cheaper and easier just to get the accountant their own printer and backup tape-drive, rather than try to get that PC to talk to the network. Likewise, all PC-shops with a single graphic designer on a Mac—that person would often live offline, disconnected from the office network, tethered to their own printer, with their own stack of Mac-formatted ZIP cartridges or CD-ROMs.

[...]

Someone attempting to replicate the SAMBA creation feat in 2019 would likely come up against an access control that needed to be bypassed in order to peer inside the protocol's encrypted outer layer in order to create a feature-compatible tool to use in competing products.

Another thing that's changed (for the worse) since 1993 is the proliferation of software patents. Software patenting went into high gear around 1994 and consistently gained speed until 2014, when Alice v. CLS Bank put the brakes on (today, Alice is under threat). After decades of low-quality patents issuing from the US Patent and Trademark Office, there are so many trivial, obvious and overlapping software patents in play that anyone trying to make a SAMBA-like product would run a real risk of being threatened with expensive litigation for patent infringement.

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How the Open Source Operating System Has Silently Won Over the World

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GNU
Linux
Microsoft

The current and future potential for Linux based systems is limitless. The system’s flexibility allows for the hardware that uses it to be endlessly updated. Functionality can, therefore, be maintained even as the technology around the devices change. This flexibility also means that the function of the hardware can be modified to suit an ever-changing workplace.

For example, because the INSYS icom OS has been specifically designed for use in routers, this has allowed it to be optimised to be lightweight and hardened to increase its security.

Multipurpose OS have large libraries of applications for a diverse range of purposes. Great for designing new uses, but these libraries can also be exploited by actors with malicious intent. Stripping down these libraries to just what is necessary through a hardening process can drastically improve security by reducing the attackable surfaces.

Overall, Windows may have won the desktop OS battle with only a minority of them using Linux OS. However, desktops are only a minute part of the computing world. Servers, mobile systems and embedded technology that make up the majority are predominately running Linux. Linux has gained this position by being more adaptable, lightweight and portable than its competitors.

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Operating Systems: Debian, Clear Linux, OpenSUSE and Vista 10

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GNU
Linux
Microsoft
Debian
SUSE
  • John Goerzen: Tips for Upgrading to, And Securing, Debian Buster

    Wow.  Once again, a Debian release impresses me — a guy that’s been using Debian for more than 20 years.  For the first time I can ever recall, buster not only supported suspend-to-disk out of the box on my laptop, but it did so on an encrypted volume atop LVM.  Very impressive!

    For those upgrading from previous releases, I have a few tips to enhance the experience with buster.

  • Clear Linux Could Soon Be Faster Within Containers On AVX2 Systems

    While Clear Linux as part of its standard bare metal installations has long defaulted to having an AVX2-optimized GNU C Library installed by default, it turns out that it wasn't part of the default os-core bundle as used by containers. That though is changing and should yield even better out-of-the-box performance when running Clear Linux within containers.

    Intel's William Douglas sent out the proposal for adding the AVX2 version of the Glibc libraries into the os-core bundle in order to get picked up by containers and other bare/lightweight Clear configurations.

  • OpenSUSE Enables LTO By Default For Tumbleweed - Smaller & Faster Binaries

    The past few months openSUSE developers have been working on enabling LTO by default for its packages while now finally with the newest release of the rolling-release openSUSE Tumbleweed this goal has been accomplished. 

    As of today, the latest openSUSE Tumbleweed release is using Link-Time Optimizations (LTO) by default. For end-users this should mean faster -- and smaller -- binaries thanks to the additional optimizations performed at link-time. Link-time optimizations allow for different optimizations to be performed at link-time for the different bits comprising a single module/binary for the entire program. Sadly not many Linux distributions are yet LTO'ing their entire package set besides the aggressive ones like Clear Linux. 

  • Investigating why my 7-year old Windows 10 laptop became unbearably slow

    The laptop had also begun to run into blue screens of death (BSoD) whenever I used the built-in camera and when I opened Spotify or Netflix in a web browser. The slowdown and crashes were actually related, but I didn’t realize this at first. The camera-induced BSoD error message blamed the camera vendor’s driver without any further details. This sounds believable enough for a 7-year old laptop so I didn’t think any more of it.

Windows vs Ubuntu

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GNU
Linux
Microsoft
Ubuntu

Kubuntu is my favorite derivative of all the Ubuntu-based operating systems. I can not point out any features as favorite because I like all of them. Everything mentioned above is part of my daily workflow.

Now when you know all of this it is worth trying them out. I was skeptical at first but later when I built my flow and learned how to utilize these features I can do everything faster, with fewer keystrokes and the most important thing is that I have a nicely organized desktop that helps me to minimize brain fatigue while doing my job.

Kubuntu is a great distro to switch to if you’re coming from Windows. They have a quite similar UI, and Kubuntu has all the features Windows has, plus more.

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Best Linux Distro for Windows 7 Refugees: Manjaro KDE

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GNU
Linux
Microsoft

Manjaro is based off of Arch Linux, but I like to describe it to people as the “Ubuntu of Arch” for its user-friendly design choices and its particular attention to helping new Linux users to learn what they are doing. Another great perk of the Arch foundation underneath Manjaro is the use of the Arch Linux Wiki.

The Arch wiki is easily one of the largest resources of help, information, and know-how for all Linux users— regardless of distribution, many of the articles found can be applied.

Back in the spring of 2017 I wrote a series of articles discussing various Desktop Environments for Linux systems, such as Cinnamon and KDE just to name a couple, and overall for Windows users who have decided to take the plunge, I’m recommending KDE.

Regardless of distribution, KDE is filled with eye candy, is highly-customizable, one of the most powerful file-browsers available (Dolphin), and is deeply documented with a long-standing history (KDE was created in 1996).

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Confirmed: Microsoft Windows Zero-Day Exploit Used In Government Espionage Operation

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Microsoft
Security

It has been revealed that a threat actor once best known for cyber bank robbery in Russia has made a move to espionage. The highly targeted attacks against government institutions in Eastern Europe, which took place during June 2019, employed the use of a Microsoft Windows zero-day exploit. In and of itself this isn't unusual as there have been plenty of Windows zero-days discovered. However, this is the first time that researchers had seen the Buhtrap group using a zero-day attack, although the group has been involved in the cyber-spying business for some years now across Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

Anton Cherepanov, a senior malware researcher at security vendor ESET, explained how the zero-day exploit abused a local privilege escalation vulnerability in Microsoft Windows in order to run arbitrary code and install applications, and view or change data on the compromised systems. As soon as the researchers had properly analyzed the exploit, it was reported to the Microsoft Security Response Center, and a fix was included in the July 9 "Patch Tuesday" update.

The vulnerability itself only impacted older versions of Windows, specifically variations of Windows and Windows Server 2008. This is because, as Cherepanov explained, "since Windows 8 a user process is not allowed to map the NULL page. Microsoft back-ported this mitigation to Windows 7 for x64-based systems." The advice, predictably, is to upgrade to a newer version of the operating system if possible. Especially as critical security updates will disappear soon when extended support for Windows 7 Service Pack 1 ends in January 2020. Gavin Millard, vice-president of intelligence at Tenable, warns users not to be complacent seeing as the vulnerability is "now being actively exploited in the wild," advising that "patches should be deployed as soon as possible."

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Kubernetes: KubeInvaders, CSI Ephemeral Inline Volumes and Reviewing 2019 in Docs

  • KubeInvaders - Gamified Chaos Engineering Tool for Kubernetes

    Some months ago, I released my latest project called KubeInvaders. The first time I shared it with the community was during an Openshift Commons Briefing session. Kubenvaders is a Gamified Chaos Engineering tool for Kubernetes and Openshift and helps test how resilient your Kubernetes cluster is, in a fun way.

  • CSI Ephemeral Inline Volumes

    Typically, volumes provided by an external storage driver in Kubernetes are persistent, with a lifecycle that is completely independent of pods or (as a special case) loosely coupled to the first pod which uses a volume (late binding mode). The mechanism for requesting and defining such volumes in Kubernetes are Persistent Volume Claim (PVC) and Persistent Volume (PV) objects. Originally, volumes that are backed by a Container Storage Interface (CSI) driver could only be used via this PVC/PV mechanism. But there are also use cases for data volumes whose content and lifecycle is tied to a pod. For example, a driver might populate a volume with dynamically created secrets that are specific to the application running in the pod. Such volumes need to be created together with a pod and can be deleted as part of pod termination (ephemeral). They get defined as part of the pod spec (inline). Since Kubernetes 1.15, CSI drivers can also be used for such ephemeral inline volumes. The CSIInlineVolume feature gate had to be set to enable it in 1.15 because support was still in alpha state. In 1.16, the feature reached beta state, which typically means that it is enabled in clusters by default. CSI drivers have to be adapted to support this because although two existing CSI gRPC calls are used (NodePublishVolume and NodeUnpublishVolume), the way how they are used is different and not covered by the CSI spec: for ephemeral volumes, only NodePublishVolume is invoked by kubelet when asking the CSI driver for a volume. All other calls (like CreateVolume, NodeStageVolume, etc.) are skipped. The volume parameters are provided in the pod spec and from there copied into the NodePublishVolumeRequest.volume_context field. There are currently no standardized parameters; even common ones like size must be provided in a format that is defined by the CSI driver. Likewise, only NodeUnpublishVolume gets called after the pod has terminated and the volume needs to be removed.

  • Reviewing 2019 in Docs

    Hi, folks! I’m one of the co-chairs for the Kubernetes documentation special interest group (SIG Docs). This blog post is a review of SIG Docs in 2019. Our contributors did amazing work last year, and I want to highlight their successes. Although I review 2019 in this post, my goal is to point forward to 2020. I observe some trends in SIG Docs–some good, others troubling. I want to raise visibility before those challenges increase in severity.

Programming/Development: Perl, Python/Django and Bash

  • Springtime in Switzerland

    During the same week I’ll also be giving a half-day seminar on Raku, which has been generously sponsored by EPFL and so will cost nothing to attend. It’s suitable for anyone who would like a quick but comprehensive overview of this remarkable new programming language. Besides making the Raku seminar entirely free, SIB/UNIL/EPFL have done an amazing job keeping the prices of the other classes extremely competitive...especially if you can claim a plausible association to any academic institution, either as a student or staff member. If you’re looking for some training that’s economical, practical, and just plain fun, in a location that’s central, civilised, and simply breathtaking, then this week in Switzerland might fit just the bill.

  • PyCoder’s Weekly: Issue #404 (Jan. 21, 2020)
  • Basic Data Types in Python

    In this step-by-step course, you’ll dig into the basic data types that are built into Python.

  • Python 3.7.5 : Django security issues - part 002.
  • Python 3.7.5 : Use Django Formsets.

    Django Formsets manage the complexity of multiple copies of a form in a view.  This simplifies the task of creating a formset for a form that handles multiple instances of a model.

  • Hunting gremlins

    In the UTF-8 files I audit, the only invisible characters I expect to see... er... not see... are whitespace (hexadecimal 20), horizontal tab (09) and newline (linefeed; 0a). All others I call "gremlins". They include carriage return (0d), no-break space (c2 a0), soft hyphen (c2 ad) and another 62 control characters. Gremlins are a nuisance. One gremlin causes a shell to hang. Less evil gremlins lurk inside apparently OK strings and cause the strings to be processed weirdly. In the file "demo1", two of the strings contain no-break spaces (in different places), two contain soft hyphens (in different places) and three have no gremlins. 

  • A more expressive Bash prompt

    Bash provides some interesting built-in specifiers for the prompt strings PS1. 

Mozilla: Developer Roadshow (Asia Tour), CRLite, Async Interview

  • The Mozilla Developer Roadshow: Asia Tour Retrospective and 2020 Plans

    November 2019 was a busy month for the Mozilla Developer Roadshow, with stops in five Asian cities —Tokyo, Seoul, Taipei, Singapore, and Bangkok. Today, we’re releasing a playlist of the talks presented in Asia. We are extremely pleased to include subtitles for all these talks in languages spoken in the countries on this tour: Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Thai, as well as English. One talk, Hui Jing Chen’s “Making CSS from Good to Great: The Power of Subgrid”, was delivered in Singlish (a Singaporean creole) at the event in Singapore! In addition, because our audiences included non-native English speakers, presenters took care to include local language vocabulary in their talks, wherever applicable, and to speak slowly and clearly. We hope to continue to provide multilingual support for our video content in the future, to increase access for all developers worldwide.

  • CRLite: Speeding Up Secure Browsing

    CRLite pushes bulk certificate revocation information to Firefox users, reducing the need to actively query such information one by one. Additionally this new technology eliminates the privacy leak that individual queries can bring, and does so for the whole Web, not just special parts of it. The first two posts in this series about the newly-added CRLite technology provide background: Introducing CRLite: All of the Web PKI’s revocations, compressed and The End-to-End Design of CRLite. Since mid-December, our pre-release Firefox Nightly users have been evaluating our CRLite system while performing normal web browsing. Gathering information through Firefox Telemetry has allowed us to verify the effectiveness of CRLite.

  • Niko Matsakis: Async Interview #5: Steven Fackler

    Hello! For the latest async interview, I spoke with Steven Fackler (sfackler). sfackler has been involved in Rust for a long time and is a member of the Rust libs team. He is also the author of a lot of crates, most notably tokio-postgres. I particularly wanted to talk to sfackler about the AsyncRead and AsyncWrite traits. These traits are on everybody’s list of “important things to stabilize”, particularly if we want to create more interop between different executors and runtimes. On the other hand, in [tokio-rs/tokio#1744], the tokio project is considering adopting its own variant traits that diverge significantly from those in the futures crate, precisely because they have concerns over the design of the traits as is. This seems like an important area to dig into!

Graphics: Wayland 1.18 Alpha, Linux on Embedded Ryzen with Radeon, and Keith Packard's X Talk

  • wayland 1.17.91
    This is the alpha release for Wayland 1.18. Here's a highlight of the
    biggest changes:
    
    - Add support for the Meson build system (autotools is still supported
      but will be removed in a future release)
    - Add API to tag proxy objects to allow applications and toolkits to
      share the same Wayland connection
    - Track wayland-server timers in user-space to prevent creating too
      many FDs
    - Add wl_global_remove, a new function to mitigate race conditions with
      globals
    
    Thanks to all contributors!
    
    Full commit history below.
    
    Antonio Borneo (1):
          log: remove "%m" from format strings by using strerror(errno)
    
    Daniel Stone (2):
          build/doc: Ensure destination dir exists despite VPATH
          display-test: Remove unused variables
    
    Drew DeVault (3):
          Document unusual wl_registry.bind new_id behavior
          Add .editorconfig
          Improve description of wl_surface
    
    Emmanuel Gil Peyrot (2):
          cursor: Use memfd_create() when available
          wayland-shm: Don’t set SIGBUS handlers on unshrinkable fd
    
    Emmanuele Bassi (2):
          Support running tests from different build directories
          Add Meson build
    
    Harish Krupo (2):
          docs: Abort configure if docbook-xsl package is missing
          wayland.xml: document invalid_finish error in wl_data_offer.finish
    
    Jiayuan Ren (1):
          adding O_RDWR flag in the open()
    
    Jonas Ådahl (1):
          proxy: Add API to tag proxy objects
    
    Joshua Watt (2):
          scanner: Add configure check for strndup
          Move wl_priv_signal to wayland-server-private.h
    
    Leonid Bobrov (1):
          configure: detect libdl and librt
    
    Liu Wenlong (1):
          server: Fix fake "Address already in use" error
    
    Manuel Stoeckl (13):
          scanner: error when element names will not compile
          tests: Verify that wayland_scanner can catch bad identifiers
          protocol: clarify wl_display.delete_id description
          connection: do not abort when dup(fd) fails
          client: Ignore new requests if display has a fatal error
          client: Don't abort when sending a request fails
          tests: Test that send overflow doesn't abort
          tests: Fix race condition in send overflow test
          tests: Ensure that overflow test always overflows
          event-loop-test: Verify proper timer cancellation
          event-loop-test: Confirm distant timers do not fire
          event-loop: Track timer event sources in userspace
          event-loop-test: Add test to verify timer ordering
    
    Marty E. Plummer (1):
          scanner: prepend protocol name to types symbol
    
    Michael Forney (3):
          Use wl_container_of internally
          Avoid pointer arithmetic on `void *`
          protocol: fix typo in wl_data_offer.set_actions description
    
    Mosè Giordano (1):
          Add $(RT_LIBS) to fixed-benchmark LD dependencies
    
    Pekka Paalanen (2):
          configure.ac: reopen master for regular development
          scanner: include config.h from command line
    
    Scott Anderson (1):
          wayland.xml: Make releases for multiple 'wl_surface.attach' undefined
    
    Simon Ser (22):
          Add releasing.txt
          releasing: adapt for Wayland
          releasing: fixup section numbers
          protocol: allow to send a zero output refresh rate
          client: check event opcode in queue_event
          Update .editorconfig for Python
          Add an automated script to update wl_shm.format
          protocol: add a comment about the wl_shm.format script
          protocol: sync wl_shm.format with libdrm 2.4.99
          server: check global interface on bind
          tests: test that binding to a global with an interface mismatch fails
          protocol: invalid_method is sent on malformed request
          server: add wl_global_set_user_data
          server: add wl_global_remove
          tests: add a test for wl_global_remove
          build: check wayland-scanner version
          Revert "build: check wayland-scanner version"
          meson: use strict wayland-scanner mode
          autotools: use strict wayland-scanner mode
          build: check wayland-scanner version
          protocol: add missing enums for wl_data_device_manager.dnd_action
          build: bump to version 1.17.91 for the alpha release
    
    asynts (1):
          doc: Expand the abbreviation "hw" to "hardware".
    
    orbea (1):
          Add a missing -pthread to fix compile with slibtool.
    
    git tag: 1.17.91
    
  • Wayland 1.18 Alpha Released With Meson Support, Connection Sharing

    Wayland 1.18 is adding Meson build system support so that Autotools can be dropped in a future release, API support for allowing applications and toolkits to share the same Wayland connection, better handling over file descriptors, and wl_global_remove as a new function for mitigating race conditions with globals. There are also various test improvements, improved documentation, and various other fixes and minor improvements.

  • Linux on Embedded Ryzen with Radeon

    American Micro Devices (AMD) has released the Ryzen processors which works very well with Linux. The embedded processor also contains a Graphical Processing Unit (GPU) which is an AMD Ryzen Vega. The board I am using is the IBase 918f-1605 to install Linux. Linux can be installed from a stock ISO, but the system does not perform as well unless using a special Linux kernel from AMD. It also helps to have the proper GPU driver for performance. Stability is much better with the AMD kernel they provide on their website.

  • Keith Packard Talks About The Early Politics Of X Window System + Code Licensing

    At last week's Linux.Conf.Au conference was an interesting presentation by longtime X developer Keith Packard on the early days of the pre-X.Org X Window System, the collapse of Unix, and how his views formed on copyleft licenses for building thriving communities. Keith's LCA 2020 presentation is focused on the X happenings largely during the 80's and very early 90's. Keith's involvement goes back to the 80's during which he was employed at MIT as part of the X Consortium.

  • Keith Packard: lca2020

    I just got back from linux.conf.au 2020 on Saturday and am still adjusting to being home again. I had the opportunity to give three presentations during the conference and wanted to provide links to the slides and videos.