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Best Linux applications (2018)

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Software

Over the years, I have compiled several articles detailing the best-of software for Linux and Windows, starting as early as 2008, and then making the last bundle in 2012. Six years is a very long time in the software sphere, so I thought about making another compilation.

My criteria for the inclusion and nomination are relatively simple: Applications need to be robust and stable, they need to accessible, the installation process should be relatively straightforward, and ideally, these will be cross-platform tools that run on other operating systems, too. There's a certain degree of personal taste, too, but I believe my choices are pragmatic, useful and fun. With the necessary expectation for a certain amount of hype, let us proceed. And do note, in some cases, you will see older and/or official screenshots, but that's mostly for aesthetic purposes.

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Also: Testing out Sumatra: a tool for managing iterations of simulations/analyses

Bigger than Linux: The rise of cloud native

Filed under
Linux
Server

The Cloud Native Computing Foundation’s first KubeCon + CloudNativeCon of the year took place in the Bella Center, Copenhagen. A giant greenhouse of a building with snaking industrial pipework and connecting concrete bridges; it's a vast container made of glass letting in light. A suitable setting for an industry that’s evolved rapidly from the release of Docker’s superstar container technology back in 2013.

Attendance has rocketed to 4,300, according to Dan Kohn, executive director of the CNCF, which almost triples attendance from a year ago in Berlin, but that’s not surprising as cloud native computing industry is meeting the business world’s demand for more scalable, agile applications and services that can be run across multiple geographical locations in distributed environments.

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Linux-Friendly Arduino Simplifies IoT Development

Filed under
Linux
Hardware

Arduino’s support for Linux IoT devices and single-board computers (SBCs) announced at the Embedded Linux Conference+Open IoT Summit NA in March cemented Arduino’s focus on cloud-connected IoT development, extending its reach into edge computing. This move was likely driven by multiple factors — increased complexity of IoT solutions and, secondarily, by more interest in Arduino boards running Linux.

In a “blending” of development communities for the masses — Arduino, Raspberry Pi, and BeagleBone — Arduino’s support for Linux-based boards lowers the barrier of development for IoT devices by combining Arduino’s sensor and actuator nodes with higher processor-powered boards like Raspberry Pi and BeagleBone. Top this with a user-friendly web wizard to connect the Linux boards via the cloud and it simplifies the entire process.

The expanded support for more architectures by the cloud-connected Arduino Create web platform is an inevitable and natural evolution of Arduino’s mission that was born out of a thought to simplify complex technologies with easy-to-use and open-source software, enabling anybody to innovate by making complex technologies simple to use.

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System76 vs. The LVFS Firmware Updating Service

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Ubuntu

This week the latest open-source drama was a differing of opinions between Richard Hughes of Red Hat who maintains Fwupd and LVFS for Linux firmware updating from the desktop and that of Linux PC vendor System76.

Richard Hughes volleyed a blog post that recommend not buying System76 hardware for those wanting firmware updates via LVFS (the Linux Vendor Firmware Service). He wrote that post based upon System76 not currently using UEFI UpdateCapsule for BIOS updates, System76 developing a Rust tool to flash the embedded controller, and them rolling out their own firmware update handler that officially targets Ubuntu and Pop!_OS. Richard then encouraged Linux users to buy Dell XPS laptops instead.

Richard's post in full can be read here.

On Friday, System76 responded to those accusations. According to System76, Richard expressed via email that the approach System76 is using for firmware updating likely wouldn't work with LVFS and also their distributing of a proprietary firmware flashing tool likely wouldn't be approved by Red Hat legal and they also found flashing the embedded controler from user-space to be sub-optimal.

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Get Privacy Tools on Ubuntu 18.04

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Security

If you are already aware about 2013 global privacy case, I believe you care about your internet privacy by now. If you just switched to Ubuntu, here's a list of user-friendly programs (free software only) and search engine to protect your privacy. You will find my recommendation of a web search engine, a specific web browser, add-ons, email client enhancements, and password storage. This list accompanies the previous list of 20 useful programs for 18.04.

[...]

Free software is not gratis software but software that the user is free. Free software is about the user's right, either individually or collectively, to control over the software. If you run your activities with nonfree software (also called proprietary), you don't control the whole things software does within your computer, which only means there is somebody else controlling you and the computers. To protect your privacy, you should make sure you run only free software and relies only on privacy-respecting internet services.

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Linux-based networking SBC features five GbE ports and optional SFP

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Hardware

Gateworks has launched a rugged, headless “Newport GW6400” SBC that runs Linux on a dual- or quad-core Cavium OcteonTX with 3x mini-PCIe, 2x USB 3.0, 5x GbE ports (2x with PoE) and optional SFP.

Last November, Gateworks announced a new product family of rugged Newport SBCs that run OpenWrt or Ubuntu on Cavium’s dual or quad-core ARMv8.1 Octeon TX networking SoCs. The debut model was a 105 x 100mm GW6300 SBC. Now, Gateworks has followed up with the promised high-end, 140 x 100mm Newport GW6400 model, which has 5x Gigabit Ethernet ports instead of 3x on the GW6300. Later this year we’ll see a GW6100 with a single gigabit port and a GW6200 with 2x GbE.

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AMD Graphics and Linux

Filed under
Graphics/Benchmarks
Linux
  • Radeon EQAA Anti-Aliasing Support Merged To Mesa 18.2

    In addition to the potentially performance-doubling AMD Kaveri fix landing yesterday in Mesa 18.2 Git, also hitting this next version of Mesa is Enhanced Quality Anti-Aliasing (EQAA) support for Radeon GCN graphics processors.

    RadeonSI Gallium3D has wired up its Enhanced Quality Anti-Aliasing support. EQAA aims to deliver better quality over multi-sample anti-aliasing (MSAA) by providing more coverage samples per pixel. EQAA should have only slightly higher performance requirements than MSAA but with significant visual quality benefits.

  • AMD Kaveri Gets A Big Performance Boost With Mesa 18.2 & AMDGPU DRM

    When using the latest Git/development code of Mesa 18.2 on Kaveri APUs you may find up to a 2x increase in performance if you are using the AMDGPU DRM driver rather than the default Radeon DRM driver.

    It turns out the number of render back-ends reported by the kernel driver was wrong for Kaveri: there's two, not one. Both render back-ends for Kaveri should now be enabled when using Mesa 18.2 Git since yesterday, but you need to be using the AMDGPU kernel driver as otherwise with the Radeon DRM kernel driver one of the back-ends will still be disabled.

  • Radeon ROCm 1.8 Compute Stack Released

    Following the slew of recent AMD/Radeon Linux driver updates, the ROCm 1.8.0 release was issued today for the Radeon Open Compute stack.

    ROCm 1.8 can be obtained via the GitHub instructions. Binary packages are provided for Ubuntu 16.04 and CentOS/RHEL 7.4.

'Proper' GNU/Linux Software on Chrome OS

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Google
  • A closer look at Chrome OS using LXD to run Linux GUI apps (Project Crostini)

    Project Crostini is the Chrome OS project to add support to run Linux GUI apps on Chrome OS.

    The components that facilitate Project Crostini can be found at https://github.com/lstoll/cros-crostini That page has instructions for those that wanted to enable the running of Linux GUI apps on Chrome OS, when Project Crostini was still under development. Lincoln Stoll dissected the source of Chrome OS and created a helpful list of the involved repositories.

    The basic component is The Chrome OS Virtual Machine Monitor (crossvm), which runs untrusted operating systems through Linux’s KVM interface. The Linux distribution would run in a VM. The test repositories make reference to the X server, XWayland and Wayland. There is a repository called sommelier, which is a nested Wayland compositor with X11 forwarding support. It needs more searching to figure out where the source code ended into the Chrome OS repository and what is actually being used.

    Update #1: Here are the vm_tools in Chrome OS. They include garcon, a service that gets added in the container and communicates with another service outside of the container (vm_concierge).

    What is important, is that LXD runs in this VM and is configured to launch a machine container with a Linux distribution. We are going in depth into this.

  • Linux On Chromebooks Now Official

    Among other news from Google I/O 2018, Google is making it possible to code on Chromebooks. Whether it’s building an app or writing a quick script, Chromebooks will be available for coding projects.

  • Android apps on Chromebooks can finally access SD card storage

    It’s been nearly two years since Google started rolling out a feature that lets you run Android apps on Chromebooks. And while Android support has come a long way, there’s one thing Android apps couldn’t do on Chromebooks… until now: access an SD card.

    But starting with the latest Chrome OS beta, it looks like Android apps on Chromebooks can access the SD card… although it seems like the feature is still very much a work in progress.

Is It Linux or GNU/Linux?

Filed under
GNU
Linux

After putting this question to the experts, the conclusion is that no matter what you call it, it's still Linux at its core.

Should the Linux operating system be called "Linux" or "GNU/Linux"? These days, asking that question might get as many blank stares returned as asking, "Is it live or is it Memorex?"

Some may remember that the Linux naming convention was a controversy that raged from the late 1990s until about the end of the first decade of the 21st century. Back then, if you called it "Linux", the GNU/Linux crowd was sure to start a flame war with accusations that the GNU Project wasn't being given due credit for its contribution to the OS. And if you called it "GNU/Linux", accusations were made about political correctness, although operating systems are pretty much apolitical by nature as far as I can tell.

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Librem 5 Privacy-Focused Linux Phone Will Feature a GNOME Mobile UI Shell

Filed under
Linux
GNOME

Director of Creative at Purism, François Téchené, talks is a recent report about the first real design attempts of the user interface of Librem 5, which will be using a UI shell based on the GNOME desktop environment. The first version of this GNOME-based mobile UI shell for Librem 5 is called internally as “phosh” and will focus on efficiency and robustness, and Purism even wants to push it upstream as the "GNOME mobile shell."

"Our goal with the Librem 5 is to improve the visual identity of the Librem line while staying close to the minimalist and humble look that characterize the existing Librem line," said François Téchené, Director of Creative at Purism. "The main challenge of case design is the need to balance aesthetics, ergonomics, convenience, and technical limitations."

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Also: Purism Shows Off Latest GNOME Mobile Shell Mockups For The Librem 5

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How To Install Kali Linux In Android Phone

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Zuul: Proven open-source continuous integration/continuous delivery

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Smallest RK3399 hacker board yet ships at $129 with 4GB DDR4

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today's leftovers

  • How to dual-boot Linux and Windows
    Even though Linux is a great operating system with widespread hardware and software support, the reality is that sometimes you have to use Windows, perhaps due to key apps that won't run under Linux. Thankfully, dual-booting Windows and Linux is very straightforward—and I'll show you how to set it up, with Windows 10 and Ubuntu 18.04, in this article. Before you get started, make sure you've backed up your computer. Although the dual-boot setup process is not very involved, accidents can still happen. So take the time to back up your important files in case chaos theory comes into play. In addition to backing up your files, consider taking an image backup of the disk as well, though that's not required and can be a more advanced process.
  • Weather Forecasting Gets A Big Lift In Japan
    This is a lot more compute capacity than JMA has had available to do generic weather forecasting as well as do predictions for typhoons, tsunamis, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions – the weather forecasting alone is predicted to run 10X faster, according to Cray.
  • Bitwarden Password Manager Adds Command Line Vault
    Bitwarden, the secure, open source password manager we talked about recently, added a command line tool to its list of apps you can use to access your passwords. Bitwarden CLI is currently in public beta testing, and according to its documentation, it includes all the features available in other Bitwarden client applications, like the desktop or browser extension.
  • GSoC’18 Week 1
    The first week of the coding period was great and I got to learn a lot of new things. My mentors help me on every stage and the work is going on as planne [...] Improvement in the overall UI is still in progress. Other than this, I have been working on refactoring the current code for this activity and breaking the whole code into various elements. For the next week, my main task is to complete the overall UI of this activity and add more geometries for drawing.
  • Time to Test Plasma 5.13 Beta
    The forthcoming new release of Plasma 5.13 will have some lovely new features such as rewritten System Settings pages and Plasma Browser Integration. But we need testers. Incase you missed it the Plasma 5.13 release announce has a rundown of the main features. If you are an auditory learner you can listen to the Late Night Linux Extra podcast where Jonathan “great communicator” Riddell talks about the recent sprint and the release.
  • GSoC students are already hacking!
    We always enjoy that new people join openSUSE community and help them in their first steps. Because of that, openSUSE participates again in GSoC, an international program in which stipends are awarded to students who hack on open source projects during the summer. We are really excited to announce that this year four students will learn about open source development while hacking on openSUSE projects. The coding period started last week, so our students are already busy hacking and they have written some nice articles about their projects. ;)
  • CryptoFest a openSUSE Conference již tento víkend v Praze
  • openSUSE Conference a CryptoFest 2018
  • Aaeon reveals two rugged, Linux-ready embedded PCs
    Aaeon unveiled two Linux-friendly embedded systems: an “AIOT-IP6801” gateway equipped with an Apollo Lake-based UP Squared SBC with WiFi and LoRa, and a “Boxer-8120AI” mini-PC with an Nvidia Jetson TX2 module and 4x GbE ports. Aaeon announced that three of its Linux-ready embedded systems have won Computex d&j awards, including two previously unannounced models: an Intel Apollo Lake based AIOT-IP6801 gateway based on Aaeon’s community-backed UP Squared board, as well as a Boxer-8120AI embedded computer built around an Arm-based Jetson TX2 module.
  • Last Call for Purism's Librem 5 Dev Kits, Git Protocol Version 2 Released, LXQt Version 0.13.0 Now Available and More
    Purism announces last call for its Librem 5 dev kits. If you're interested in the hardware that will be the platform for the Librem 5 privacy-focused phones, place your order by June 1, 2018. The dev kit is $399, and it includes "screen, touchscreen, development mainboard, cabling, power supply and various sensors (free worldwide shipping)".