Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Sci/Tech

GNU Octave 5.1.0 Release

Filed under
GNU
Sci/Tech

GNU Octave version 5.1.0 has been released and is now available for download. An official Windows binary installer is available. For macOS see the installation instructions in the wiki.

This major release improves compatibility with Matlab and contains many new and improved functions. A list of important user-visible changes is available by selecting the Release Notes item in the News menu of the GUI or by typing news at the Octave command prompt.

Read more

Also: GNU Octave 5.1 Released With HiDPI Support, Drops OSMesa Usage

Unix turns 40: The past, present and future of a revolutionary OS

Filed under
OS
Server
Sci/Tech

Forty years ago this summer, a programmer sat down and knocked out in one month what would become one of the most important pieces of software ever created.

In August 1969, Ken Thompson, a programmer at AT&T subsidiary Bell Laboratories, saw the month-long departure of his wife and young son as an opportunity to put his ideas for a new operating system into practice. He wrote the first version of Unix in assembly language for a wimpy Digital Equipment Corp. (DEC) PDP-7 minicomputer, spending one week each on the operating system, a shell, an editor and an assembler.

Read more

KStars v3.1.0 is released!

Filed under
KDE
Sci/Tech

I'm glad to announce KStars first release of 2019: v3.1.0 for MacOS, Linux, and Windows. This release focuses on improvements to stability & performance of KStars. In 3.0.0, we introduced quite a few features which resulted in a few regressions that we worked hard to iron out in this release.

Read more

UNIX: Building The Most Important OS in the World

Filed under
OS
Sci/Tech

If you’ve ever used a smartphone, lost track of time browsing through website after website, or played a video game on a Next-Gen console, you have used the Unix operating system or one of its derivatives.

Linux is the spiritual successor to the original Unix system and Mac OSX is built off of Unix. Unix-based or derived systems are used in gigantic server farms, processing nearly all of the world’s Internet traffic. The Internet of Things and other embedded systems use Unix or its successors and Unix-based Linux has even been used in the International Space Station to run essential equipment.

All of this is possible because Kenneth Thompson, Dennis Ritchie, and their colleagues couldn’t watch a beloved project fall victim to corporate cost-cutting.

Read more

9 Best Free Linux Fractal Tools

Filed under
Software
Sci/Tech

A fractal is a geometric shape or quantity which displays self-similarity and non-integer dimension. The property of self-similarity applies where a self-similar object is exactly or approximately similar to a part of itself. If you zoom in on any part of a fractal, you find the same amount of detail as before. It does not simplify.

There are many mathematical structures that are fractals including the Koch snowflake, Peano curve, Sierpinski triangle, Lorenz attractor, and the Mandelbrot set. Fractals also describe many real-world objects, such as crystals, mountain ranges, clouds, river networks, blood vessels, turbulence, and coastlines, that do not correspond to simple geometric shapes.

Fractals are rooted in chaos theory, and because of their nature they are perfect for organic looking artwork and landscapes.

Fractal-generating software is any computer program that generates images of fractals. Linux has a great selection of fractal software to choose from.

Read more

Boosting Open Science Hardware in an academic context: opportunities and challenges

Filed under
Hardware
OSS
Sci/Tech

Experimental science is typically dependent on hardware: equipment, sensors and machines. Open Science Hardware means sharing designs for this equipment that anyone can reuse, replicate, build upon or sell so long as they attribute the developers on whose shoulders they stand. Hardware can also be expanded to encompass other non-digital input to research such as chemicals, cell lines and materials and a growing number of open science initiatives are actively sharing these with few or no restrictions on use.

Read more

Also: The Entire Hardlight VR project is now Open Source

Awards for UNIX and for Security Protocols (Mozilla)

Filed under
OS
Moz/FF
OSS
Security
Sci/Tech
  • The National Inventors Hall of Fame Announces Its 2019 Inductees

    Posthumously honored inventors include Lee; UNIX co-creator Dennis Ritchie; thiazide diuretic pioneers John Baer, Karl H. Beyer Jr., Frederick Novello and James Sprague; hand-held electric drill inventors Duncan Black and Alonzo G. Decker of the popular Black & Decker power tool company; Andrew Higgins, the mastermind behind the Higgins Boats used by American troops landing at Normandy on D-Day; and Joseph Muhler and William Nebergall, creators of the cavity-preventing stannous fluoride toothpaste better known today by the brand name Crest.

  • National Inventors Hall of Fame honors creators of Unix, power drills and more
  • Eric Rescorla Wins the Levchin Prize at the 2019 Real-World Crypto Conference

    The Levchin Prize awards two entrepreneurs every year for significant contributions to solving global, real-world cryptography issues that make the internet safer at scale. This year, we’re proud to announce that our very own Firefox CTO, Eric Rescorla, was awarded one of these prizes for his involvement in spearheading the latest version of Transport Layer Security (TLS). TLS 1.3 incorporates significant improvements in both security and speed, was completed in August and already secures 10% of sites.

    Eric has contributed extensively to many of the core security protocols used in the Internet, including TLS, DTLS, WebRTC, ACME, and the in development IETF QUIC protocol.  Most recently, he was editor of TLS 1.3, which already secures 10% of websites despite having been finished for less than six months. He also co-founded Let’s Encrypt, a free and automated certificate authority that now issues more than a million certificates a day, in order to remove barriers to online encryption and helped HTTPS grow from around 30% of the web to around 75%. Previously, he served on the California Secretary of State’s Top To Bottom Review where he was part of a team that found severe vulnerabilities in multiple electronic voting devices.

  • Great, you've moved your website or app to HTTPS. How do you test it? Here's a tool to make local TLS certs painless

    A Google cyrptoboffin is close to releasing a tool that will hopefully make all of us more secure online.

    Now that most web traffic travels over HTTPS and browser features increasingly expect security, developers really should be creating and testing apps in an HTTPS environment.

    Doing so requires installing a TLS/SSL certificate locally, but the process isn't as easy as it might be. With a bit of effort, devs can generate their own certificate, self-signed or signed by the local root, and install it. Various online tutorials offers ways to do so. There are also projects like minica that aim to ease the pain.

    But it could be easier still, along the lines of Let's Encrypt, a tool that lets websites handle HTTPS traffic through automated certificate issuance and installation.

Taking machine learning to the birds

Filed under
OSS
Sci/Tech

The Cacophony Project's broad vision is to bring back New Zealand's native birds using the latest technology to monitor bird populations and humanely eliminate the introduced predators that are endangering them.

The project started in our founder's backyard to measure the effectiveness of his efforts to protect the birds on his property. From this simple beginning, the project has quickly grown into a system that includes two edge devices, a cloud server, and automatic identification of animals using machine learning. The project has been completely open source from the beginning and sees regular contributions from a wide variety of volunteers.

Read more

Cantor 18.12 – KDE way of doing mathematics

Filed under
KDE
Sci/Tech

Curious to read about Cantor on LabPlot’s homepage? This is easy to explain. Cantor has got quite a lot of development in the last couple of months, also with great contribution from LabPlot developers. There is a close collaboration between these two KDE projects which we hope to intensify even further in future and to make better use of the common code and human resources in order to provide a strong computational and visualization platform for scientific purposes.

In this blog post we want to highlight the more striking new features in Cantor 18.12 that was recently released. Since Cantor can run embedded in LabPlot (see the LabPlot 2.3 release announcement for couple of examples), all the features described below are of course also available for users using Cantor from within LabPlot.

We invested quite a lot into improving the overall usability of Cantor’s worksheet. First improvement we want to mention is the handling of long running and waiting commands. In the past, when executing multiple commands at the same time, there was no feedback for the user which command is being calculated right now and which commands are waiting. In the current release we highlight the currently calculated command entry with a small animation of the prompt. The pending (meaning, queued but not being calculated yet) command entries are also highlighted so the user has the full picture of the processing status.

Read more

How I Quit Apple, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, and Amazon

Filed under
Hardware
OSS
Sci/Tech

It was just before closing time at a Verizon store in Bushwick, New York last May when I burst through the door, sweaty and exasperated. I had just sprinted—okay I walked, but briskly—from another Verizon outlet a few blocks away in the hopes I’d make it before they closed shop for the night. I was looking for a SIM card that would fit a refurbished 2012 Samsung Galaxy S3 that I had recently purchased on eBay, but the previous three Verizon stores I visited didn’t have any chips that would fit such an old model.

When I explained my predicament to the salesperson, he laughed in my face.

“You want to switch from you current phone to an... S3?” he asked incredulously.

I explained my situation. I was about to embark on a month without intentionally using any services or products produced by the so-called “Big Five” tech companies: Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft. At that point I had found adequate, open source replacements for most of the services offered by these companies, but ditching the Android OS, which is developed by Google, was proving difficult.

Most of the tech I use on a day-to-day basis is pretty utilitarian. At the time I was using a cheap ASUS laptop at work and a homebrew PC at my apartment. My phone was a Verizon-specific version of the Samsung Galaxy J3, a 2016 model that cost a little over $100 new. They weren't fancy, but they’ve reliably met most of my needs for years.

For the past week and a half I had spent most of my evenings trying to port an independent mobile OS called Sailfish onto my phone without any luck. As it turned out, Verizon had locked the bootloader on my phone model, which is so obscure that no one in the vibrant Android hacking community had dedicated much time to figuring out a workaround. If I wanted to use Sailfish, I was going to have to get a different phone.

Read more

Syndicate content

More in Tux Machines

How to Contribute to the Fight Against COVID-19 With Your Linux System

Want to contribute to the research on coronavirus? You don’t necessarily have to be a scientist for this. You may contribute with part of your computer’s computing power thanks to Rosetta@home project. Read more

Raspberry Pi 4 as Desktop Computer: Is It Really Viable?

There’s little doubt that the Raspberry Pi 4 is significantly more powerful than its predecessors. Its based on the faster ARM Cortex-A72 microarchitecture and has four cores pegged at marginally-higher clock speeds. The graphics subsystem is significantly beefed up as well, running at twice the maximum stock clocks as the outgoing model. Everything about it makes it a viable desktop replacement. But is it really good enough to replace your trusty old desktop? I spent three weeks with the 8GB version of the Pi 4 to answer that million-dollar question. Read more

10 Linux Distributions and Their Targeted Users

As a free and open-source operating system, Linux has spawned several distributions over time, spreading its wings to encompass a large community of users. From desktop/home users to Enterprise environments, Linux has ensured that each category has something to be happy about. [...] Debian is renowned for being a mother to popular Linux distributions such as Deepin, Ubuntu, and Mint which have provided solid performance, stability, and unparalleled user experience. The latest stable release is Debian 10.5, an update of Debian 10 colloquially known as Debian Buster. Note that Debian 10.5 does not constitute a new version of Debian Buster and is only an update of Buster with the latest updates and added software applications. Also included are security fixes that address pre-existing security issues. If you have your Buster system, there’s no need to discard it. Simply perform a system upgrade using the APT package manager. The Debian project provides over 59,000 software packages and supports a wide range of PCs with each release encompassing a broader array of system architectures. It strives to strike a balance between cutting edge technology and stability. Debian provides 3 salient development branches: Stable, Testing, and Unstable. The stable version, as the name suggests is rock-solid, enjoys full security support but unfortunately, does not ship with the very latest software applications. Nevertheless, It is ideal for production servers owing to its stability and reliability and also makes the cut for relatively conservative desktop users who don’t really mind having the very latest software packages. Debian Stable is what you would usually install on your system. Debian Testing is a rolling release and provides the latest software versions that are yet to be accepted into the stable release. It is a development phase of the next stable Debian release. It’s usually fraught with instability issues and might easily break. Also, it doesn’t get its security patches in a timely fashion. The latest Debian Testing release is Bullseye. The unstable distro is the active development phase of Debian. It is an experimental distro and acts as a perfect platform for developers who are actively making contributions to the code until it transitions to the ‘Testing’ stage. Overall, Debian is used by millions of users owing to its package-rich repository and the stability it provides especially in production environments. Read more

LWN on Linux and Linux Foundation Bits

  • Modernizing the tasklet API

    Tasklets offer a deferred-execution method in the Linux kernel; they have been available since the 2.3 development series. They allow interrupt handlers to schedule further work to be executed as soon as possible after the handler itself. The tasklet API has its shortcomings, but it has stayed in place while other deferred-execution methods, including workqueues, have been introduced. Recently, Kees Cook posted a security-inspired patch set (also including work from Romain Perier) to improve the tasklet API. This change is uncontroversial, but it provoked a discussion that might lead to the removal of the tasklet API in the (not so distant) future. The need for tasklets and other deferred execution mechanisms comes from the way the kernel handles interrupts. An interrupt is (usually) caused by some hardware event; when it happens, the execution of the current task is suspended and the interrupt handler takes the CPU. Before the introduction of threaded interrupts, the interrupt handler had to perform the minimum necessary operations (like accessing the hardware registers to silence the interrupt) and then call an appropriate deferred-work mechanism to take care of just about everything else that needed to be done. Threaded interrupts, yet another import from the realtime preemption work, move the handler to a kernel thread that is scheduled in the usual way; this feature was merged for the 2.6.30 kernel, by which time tasklets were well established. An interrupt handler will schedule a tasklet when there is some work to be done at a later time. The kernel then runs the tasklet when possible, typically when the interrupt handler finishes, or the task returns to the user space. The tasklet callback runs in atomic context, inside a software interrupt, meaning that it cannot sleep or access user-space data, so not all work can be done in a tasklet handler. Also, the kernel only allows one instance of any given tasklet to be running at any given time; multiple different tasklet callbacks can run in parallel. Those limitations of tasklets are not present in more recent deferred work mechanisms like workqueues. But still, the current kernel contains more than a hundred users of tasklets. Cook's patch set changes the parameter type for the tasklet's callback. In current kernels, they take an unsigned long value that is specified when the tasklet is initialized. This is different from other kernel mechanisms with callbacks; the preferred way in current kernels is to use a pointer to a type-specific structure. The change Cook proposes goes in that direction by passing the tasklet context (struct tasklet_struct) to the callback. The goal behind this work is to avoid a number of problems, including a need to cast from the unsigned int to a different type (without proper type checking) in the callback. The change allows the removal of the (now) redundant data field from the tasklet structure. Finally, this change mitigates the possible buffer overflow attacks that could overwrite the callback pointer and the data field. This is likely one of the primary objectives, as the work was first posted (in 2019) on the kernel-hardening mailing list.

  • Android kernel notes from LPC 2020

    Todd Kjos started things off by introducing the Android Generic Kernel Image (GKI) effort, which is aimed at reducing Android's kernel-fragmentation problem in general. It is the next step for the Android Common Kernel, which is based on the mainline long-term support (LTS) releases with a number of patches added on top. These patches vary from Android-specific, out-of-tree features to fixes cherry-picked from mainline releases. The end result is that the Android Common Kernel diverges somewhat from the LTS releases on which it is based. From there, things get worse. Vendors pick up this kernel and apply their own changes — often significant, core-kernel changes — to create a vendor kernel. The original-equipment manufacturers begin with that kernel when creating a device based on the vendor's chips, but then add changes of their own to create the OEM kernel that is shipped with a device to the consumer. The end result of all this patching is that every device has its own kernel, meaning that there are thousands of different "Android" kernels in use. There are a lot of costs to this arrangement, Kjos said. Fragmentation makes it harder to ensure that all devices are running current kernels — or even that they get security updates. New platform releases require a new kernel, which raises the cost of upgrading an existing device to a new Android version. Fixes applied by vendors and OEMs often do not make it back into the mainline, making things worse for everybody. The Android developers would like to fix this fragmentation problem; the path toward that goal involves providing a single generic kernel in binary form (the GKI) that all devices would use. Any vendor-specific or device-specific code that is not in the mainline kernel will need to be shipped in the form of kernel modules to be loaded into the GKI. That means that Android is explicitly encouraging vendor modules, Kjos said; the result is a cleaner kernel without the sorts of core-kernel modifications that ship on many devices now. This policy has already resulted in more vendors actively working to upstream their code. That code often does not take the form that mainline developers would like to see; some of it is just patches exporting symbols. That has created some tension in the development community, he said.

  • Vibrant Networking, Edge Open Source Development On Full Display at Open Networking & Edge Summit

    The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, today marked significant progress in the open networking and edge spaces. In advance of the Open Networking and Edge Summit happening September 28-30, Linux Foundation umbrella projects LF Edge and LF Networking demonstrate recent achievements highlighting trends that set the stage for next-generation technology.

  • Vibrant Networking, Edge Open Source Development On Full Display at Open Networking & Edge Summit

    The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, today marked significant progress in the open networking and edge spaces. In advance of the Open Networking and Edge Summit happening September 28-30, Linux Foundation umbrella projects LF Edge and LF Networking demonstrate recent achievements highlighting trends that set the stage for next-generation technology. [...] “We are thrilled to announce a number of milestones across our networking and edge projects, which will be on virtual display at ONES next week,” said Arpit Joshipura, general manager, Networking, Edge and IOT, at the Linux Foundation. “Indicative of what’s coming next, our communities are laying the groundwork for markets like cloud native, 5G, and edge to explode in terms of open deployments.”