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Contributing to KDE is easier than you think – Porting websites to Markdown

This will be a new series of blog posts explaining different ways to contribute to KDE in an easy-to-digest manner. I plan for this series to be parallel to my keyboard shortcuts analysis so that there can be content being published (hopefully) every week. I was also feeling a bit bad about the fact that this blog is available over planet.kde.org (a feed for blog posts made by KDE contributors that also shows a bit of their personal lives and projects), but my other series was focusing more on other DEs, despite also being a project to improve KDE. The purpose of this series originated from how I feel about asking users to contribute back to KDE. I firmly believe that showing users how contributing is easier than they think is more effective than simply calling them out and directing them to the correct resources; especially if, like me, said user suffers from anxiety or does not believe they are up to the task, in spite of their desire to help back. It is true that I had the initiative to contact Nate Graham and Carl Schwan through Reddit, but it is also true that, had they not shown me how contributing back can be done in several small, feasible ways too, I would likely not have started contributing back. Out of respect and due to the current need for help with updating the KDE websites, my first post on this subject will document how to help Carl Schwan port older websites to Markdown, despite there being easier tasks than that. Currently, and as to my knowledge, Carl Schwan and Adrián Chaves Fernandez are the only two main KDE websites contributors, with help and mentorship from other KDE contributors such as Jonathan Riddell and, of course, the whole Promo team, who handles websites as well. This is quite the low number of contributors for such a huge amount of websites to be updated, you see; that’s why your help would be much appreciated! Read more

today's howtos

KDE Plasma 5.18 Makes It Easier to Enter Emoji

A brand new emoji picker tool is currently in development for KDE Plasma 5.18. This smorgasbord of smilies will be accessible through a meta + . key binding (one assumes ‘meta’ is KDE speak for the super key, but you may want to check). And below is a currently glimpse at what the glyph selection palette currently looks like... Read more

Leftovers: Fedora, SUSE and Programming

  • Updated NeuroFedora Computational Neuroscience ISO image available

    We've been working on making more software available in NeuroFedora. Neuron is now built with IV support, so models from ModelDB that use these should now be runnable using NeuroFedora. The Computational Neuroscience ISO image has been updated to include these improvements. After receiving some feedback, we've also added Julia and R to the image. The new version, 20191201, is available for download here. The checksum file is also provided. So please test your download for correctness before you proceed to use it.

  • Time needed to dist-upgrade Fedora

    Every couple of months I upgrade my main home computer to the latest Fedora. As this process is not instantaneous, this means some time without internet, wifi, smart home controls etc. This time I decided to measure how long it takes exactly. Hardware is mid-range home server: Core i5 CPU, 16GiB of RAM, storage is 2x HDD in btrfs raid1, over LUKS, bcached on NVMe drive.

  • SUSE Revives Patches For Exposing /proc/cpuinfo Data Over Sysf

    Back in 2017 were patches for exposing /proc/cpuinfo data via sysfs for more easily parsing selected bits of information from the CPU information output. That work never made it into the mainline kernel but now SUSE's Thomas Renninger is taking over and trying to get revised patches into the kernel. Renninger sent out revised versions of the "sysfs-based cpuinfo" on Friday that within /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpuX/info/ would expose nodes to easily parse pieces of cpuinfo like bogomips, cpu_family, flags, model, model_name, stepping, vendor_id, and more. Reading the information via sysfs with a single-value-per-file makes it much easier for parsing compared to having to parse the entire /proc/cpuinfo output and complements other CPU information already accessible via the very convenient sysfs.

  • Do's and Don'ts of implementing a hamburger menu

    The infamous hamburger menu is one of the examples where I see bad practice very often. Surf the web one day using a screen reader or using only your keyboard and you will most likely experience some of the problems as well. Let's have a look at the most common errors and how to avoid them.

  • The GCC Git Conversion Heats Up With Hopes Of Converting Over The Holidays

    Decided back at the GNU Tools Cauldron was a timeline to aim converting from Subversion as their default revision control system to Git over the New Year's holiday. For that to happen, by the middle of December they wanted to decide what conversion system to use for bringing all their SVN commits to Git. As such, now it's heating up ahead of that decision. Eric S Raymond announced the conversion work in progress. Right now he's been working on addressing the remaining problems with Reposurgeon in being able to convert the GCC SVN repository to Git. Following those lingering issues being resolved, he's seeking broader review of the Reposurgeon "recipe" and then "the conversion progress starts to become desirable."

  • PyGotham 2019 Speaker Coaching Recap

    I’m one of the organizers for PyGotham, the yearly Python programming conference in New York City. This year thirteen PyGotham speakers received training from opera singer and speaking coach Melissa Collom, paid for by the conference and free for the speakers. Eight of the speakers were new to the conference scene; Melissa helped them focus on delivering value to their audience, structuring their talks clearly, and speaking with conviction. All the speakers who responded to a survey said they felt more confident and they were more likely to propose conference talks again. Here’s what some of our speakers said: “Melissa helped me pick out the areas I needed to improve, that I could work on for maximum impact in the limited time that I had before the conference. More importantly, she told me what she thought were my strengths and it helped me immensely to know what I had working for me.” “It was fun and Melissa made me feel comfortable to be myself! She brought out the best in me. The positive and constructive feedback was helpful and provided in a supportive way.”

  • Marco Zehe: The myth of getting rich through ads

    In addition, the web hosting was expensive, but not really performant. And they often let essential software get out of date. My WordPress at some point had started complaining because my PHP version was too old. Turned out that the defaults for shared hosts were not upgraded to a newer version by default by the hoster, and one had to go into an obnoxious backend to fiddle with some setting somewhere to use a newer version of PHP. I then decided to try something completely new. I exported the contents of my three blogs and set up blogs at WordPress.com, the hosted WordPress offering from the makers themselves: Automattic. I looked at their plans, and the Premium plan, which cost me 8€ per month, per blog felt suitable. I also took the opportunity to pull both German language blogs together into one. I just added two categories that those who just want to see my tecnical stuff, or the private stuff, could still do so. With that move, I got a good set of features that I would normally use on a self-hosted blog as well, so I set up some widgets, some theme that comes with the plan, and imported all my content including comments and such. I lost my statistics from the custom plugins, but hey, I had lost years of statistics from before that when I decided to no longer use JetPack on my self-hosted blogs, too, so what. And I did two more things. I added a “Buy me a coffee” button so people could show their appreciation for my content if they wanted to. And I opted into the Word Ads program, that would display some advertisement on the blog’s main page and below each individual post. I simply wanted to see if my content would be viable enough to generate any significant enough income. [...] When I compare my experience to that of my wife, who runs both a guide and a forum for the popular Sims FreePlay game in Germany, it is clear that even she with her thousands of visitors to both the guide and forum does not always generate enough traffic to get the minimum Google Adsense payout threshold per month. And that is just enough to cover her monthly domain and server costs, because the traffic is so heavy that shared hosting cannot cope. So she has to run a dedicated v server for those, which are way more expensive than shared hosting. So, ads on the web are really not a sustainable model for many. Yes, there may be some very popular and widespread 8content-wise) blogs or publication sites that do generate enough revenue through ads. But the more niche your topic gets, if you don’t generate thousands of visitors per month, ads sometimes may cover the costs of a service like WordPress to run your blog, but only if you are on one of the lower plans with less control over what your blog can do or the ads that are being displayed. I believe that a more engaged interaction with the actual audience is a better way to generate revenue, although that, of course, also depends on readers loyalty and your own dedication. I think that initiatives like Grant For The Web are the future of monetisation of content on the web, and I may start supporting that once my move back to self-hosting is complete. I’ll keep you posted.