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Linux Kernel Space and Graphics: Linux Memory Management, Dbus-Broker 26, Vulkan Wayland Compositors

  • The Maple Tree, A Modern Data Structure for a Complex Problem

    The Linux Memory Management layer supports the very common technique of virtual memory. Linux splits blocks of virtual memory into areas specified by the c structure vm_area_struct. Each vm_area_struct contain information associated with mapped memory and are used to find the associated pages of memory which contain the actual information. Virtual memory areas (VMAs) could be the contents of a file on disk, the memory that contains the program, or even the memory the program uses during execution. Literally everything that is run on Linux uses vm_area_struct for memory mapping. This vital area of the kernel needs to be quick and avoid contention whenever possible.

  • Dbus-Broker 26 Released For High Performance D-Bus

    With the BUS1 in-kernel IPC not panning out and not seeing any major code work in nearly two years, the user-space based, D-Bus compatible DBus-Broker remains the performant and current option for those looking at something faster and more reliable than D-Bus itself.

  • Vulkan Wayland Compositors Are Nearing Reality - Phoronix

    One of the last pieces of the puzzle for supporting an entirely Vulkan-based Wayland compositor is coming together with a new extension that looks like it will be merged soon and there already being work pending against Sway/WLROOTS to make use of the Vulkan path. The VK_EXT_physical_device_drm extension to Vulkan has been in the works for a number of months and is for allowing the mapping of Vulkan physical devices and DRM nodes. VK_EXT_physical_device_drm allows for querying DRM properties for physical devices and in turn matching the with DRM nodes on Linux systems.

  • Mesa's R600 Driver Nears Feature Complete NIR Support For Radeon HD 5000/6000 Series - Phoronix

    For those still making use of pre-GCN AMD graphics cards supported by the R600 Gallium3D driver (namely the Radeon HD 5000/6000 series), the open-source "R600g" Gallium3D driver now has nearly feature complete NIR support. Gert Wollny has been near single handedly working on NIR support for the R600g driver to make use of this modern graphics driver intermediate representation as an alternative to the long-standing Gallium3D TGSI IR.

GNOME: outreachy, flexbox and restrictions

  • Nasah Kuma: My Journey to GJS’ Backtrace “full” Option

    My outreachy internship has definitely taught me a lot of things including writing blog posts, reporting tasks, expressing myself and of course improving as a developer. When we developed a project timeline before submitting the final application weeks back, my mentor and I underestimated some of the issues because there were some hidden difficulties we only found out later. Initially, my timeline was set to using the first week to understand the inner workings of the debugger, using week 2-4 on the backtrace full command, using week 5-7 to display the current line of the source code when displaying the current frame in the debugger and the task for week 8-13 were still to be decided upon by my mentor and I within the course of the internship.

  • Sergio Villar Senin: Flexbox Cats (a.k.a fixing images in flexbox)

    In my previous post I discussed my most recent contributions to flexbox code in WebKit mainly targeted at reducing the number of interoperability issues among the most popular browsers. The ultimate goal was of course to make the life of web developers easier. It got quite some attention (I loved Alan Stearns’ description of the post) so I decided to write another one, this time focused in the changes I recently landed in WebKit (Safari’s engine) to improve the handling of elements with aspect ratio inside flexbox, a.k.a make images work inside flexbox. Some of them have been already released in the Safari 118 Tech Preview so it’s now possible to help test them and provide early feedback.

  • GNOME Software Jailbreak

    As many users have noticed, you cannot install all the software you want on your computer via gnome-software. This restriction has been imposed by the developers...

Free Software Leftovers

  • Open Sesame: How Open Source technologies turbocharge enterprises

    Open source, a revolutionary idea for ICT innovations, also makes sense for business. The key is its adoption to an organisation’s culture and budget If one were to make an internet search for the very active Information Technology and Communication (ICT) areas of innovation, the usual suspects likely to show up are intelligent machines like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), and Deep Learning (DL); human-machine interactions like bots, augmented realities, voice and gesture-enabled interfaces; ubiquitous computing like resilient cloud and quantum computing; and autonomous machines that include the like of drones and self-driving vehicles. Compared to the pace of development a couple of decades ago, today all these areas continue to develop at extremely high velocities. A deep dive into any of the technical areas will show up a common thread: open source.

  • Valetudo is a cloud-free web interface for robot vacuum cleaners

    Once you’ve done the update the Xiaomi app will not work anymore, and you’d only access the robot vacuum cleaner via its web interface which, in most cases, comes with the same features as the mobile app minus cloud connectivity. However, if you change your mind, you can simply factory reset the device to remove Valetudo and continue with the Xiaomi app, at least on Roborock models.

  • Well you look different: Apache CloudStack 4.15 lands with new UI, improved access control • DEVCLASS

    Apache CloudStack (CS), the Apache Software Foundation’s cloud infrastructure project, has pushed out new long term support version 4.15, providing users with a new UI, various VMware-related improvements and a way to define role based users in projects. The software was originally developed in 2008 at what soon became Cloud.com, a start-up that was bought by Citrix in 2011. The infrastructure as a service platform was accepted into the Apache Incubator in 2012 and graduated its process in 2013. Customers include Verizon, TomTom, SAP, Huawei, Disney, Cloudera, BT, Autodesk, and Apple.

  • Daniel Stenberg: bye bye svn.haxx.se

    When the Subversion project started in the early year 2000, I was there. I joined the project and participated in the early days of its development as I really believed in creating an “improved CVS” and I thought I could contribute to it. While I was involved with the project, I noticed the lack of a decent mailing list archive for the discussions and set one up under the name svn.haxx.se as a service for myself and for the entire community. I had the server and the means to do it, so why not? After some years I drifted away from the project. It was doing excellently and I was never any significant contributor. Then git and some of the other distributed version control systems came along and in my mind they truly showed the world how version control should be done… The mailing list archive however I left, and I had even added more subversion related lists to it over time. It kept chugging along without me having to do much. Mails flew in, got archived and were made available for the world to search for and link to. Today it has over 390,000 emails archived from over twenty years of rather active open source development on multiple mailing lists. It is fascinating that no less than 46 persons have written more than a thousand emails each on those lists during these two decades.

  • Daniel Stenberg: everything.curl.dev

    The online version of the curl book “everything curl” has been moved to the address shown in the title: everything.curl.dev This, after I did a very unscientific and highly self-selective poll on twitter on January 18 2020...

  • 17 Free Design Tools for 2021

    GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is a cross-platform tool for quality image creation and manipulation and advanced photo retouching. GIMP provides features to produce icons, graphical design elements, and art for user interface components and mockups. Price: Free.

  • Adding translations to Guix’ website

    As part of GNU, Guix aims to bring freedom to computer users all over the world, no matter the languages they (prefer to) speak. For example, Guix users asking for help can expect an answer even if they do so in languages other than English. We also offer translated software for people more comfortable with a language other than English. Thanks to many people who contribute translations, GNU Guix and the packages it distributes can be used in various languages, which we value greatly. We are happy to announce that Guix’ website can now be translated in the same manner. If you want to get a glimpse on how the translation process works, first from a translator’s, then from a programmer’s perspective, read on. The process for translators is kept simple. Like lots of other free software packages, Guix uses GNU Gettext for its translations, with which translatable strings are extracted from the source code to so-called PO files. If this is new to you, the magic behind the translation process is best understood by taking a look at one of them. Download a PO file for your language at the Fedora Weblate instance. Even though PO files are text files, changes should not be made with a text editor but with PO editing software. Weblate integrates PO editing functionality. Alternatively, translators can use any of various free-software tools for filling in translations, of which Poedit is one example, and (after logging in) upload the changed file. There also is a special PO editing mode for users of GNU Emacs. Over time translators find out what software they are happy with and what features they need. Help with translations is much appreciated. Since Guix integrates with the wider free software ecosystem, if you intend to become a translator, it is worth taking a look at the styleguides and the work of other translators. You will find some at your language’s team at the Translation Project (TP).

  • Marcin 'hrw' Juszkiewicz: Standards are boring

    Standards are boring. Satisfied users may not want to migrate to other boards the market tries to sell them. So Arm market is flooded with piles of small board computers (SBC). Often they are compliant to standards only when it comes to connectors. But our hardware is not standard It is not a matter of ‘let produce UEFI ready hardware’ but rather ‘let write EDK2 firmware for boards we already have’. Look at Raspberry/Pi then. It is shitty hardware but got popular. And group of people wrote UEFI firmware for it. Probably without vendor support even. [...] At the end you will have SBSA compliant hardware running SBBR compliant firmware. Congratulations, your board is SystemReady SR compliant. Your marketing team may write that you are on same list as Ampere with their Altra server. Users buy your hardware and can install whatever BSD, Linux distribution they want. Some will experiment with Microsoft Windows. Others may work on porting Haiku or other exotic operating system. But none of them will have to think “how to get this shit running”. And they will tell friends that your device is as boring as it should be when it comes to running OS on it == more sales.

Google and Mozilla Embrace More Restrictions

  • Extensions in Firefox for Android Update | Mozilla Add-ons Blog

    Starting with Firefox 85, which will be released January 25, 2021, Firefox for Android users will be able to install supported Recommended Extensions directly from addons.mozilla.org (AMO). Previously, extensions for mobile devices could only be installed from the Add-ons Manager, which caused some confusion for people accustomed to the desktop installation flow. We hope this update provides a smoother installation experience for mobile users. As a quick note, we plan to enable the installation buttons on AMO during our regularly scheduled site update on Thursday, January 21. These buttons will only work if you are using a pre-release version of Firefox for Android until version 85 is released on Tuesday, January 25.

  • Porting Firefox to Apple Silicon

    The release of Apple Silicon-based Macs at the end of last year generated a flurry of news coverage and some surprises at the machine’s performance. This post details some background information on the experience of porting Firefox to run natively on these CPUs. We’ll start with some background on the Mac transition and give an overview of Firefox internals that needed to know about the new architecture, before moving on to the concept of Universal Binaries. We’ll then explain how DRM/EME works on the new platform, talk about our experience with macOS Big Sur, and discuss various updater problems we had to deal with. We’ll conclude with the release and an overview of various other improvements that are in the pipeline.

  • Google muzzles all Chromium browsers on 15 March 2021

    What is the relevance I hear you ask. Well, I provide Chromium packages for Slackware, both 32bit and 64bit versions. These chromium packages are built on our native Slackware platform, as opposed to the official Google Chrome binaries which are compiled on an older Ubuntu probably, for maximum compatibility across Linux distros where these binaries are used. One unique quality of my Chromium packages for Slackware is that I provide them for 32bit Slackware. Google ceased providing official 32bit binaries long ago. In my Slackware Chromium builds, I disable some of the more intrusive Google features. An example: listening all the time to someone saying “OK Google” and sending the follow-up voice clip to Google Search. And I create a Chromium package which is actually usable enough that people prefer it over Google’s own Chrome binaries, The reason for this usefulness is the fact that I enable access to Google’s cloud sync platform through my personal so-called “Google API key“. In Chromium for Slackware, you can logon to your Google account, sync your preferences, bookmarks, history, passwords etc to and from your cloud storage on Google’s platform. Your Chromium browser on Slackware is able to use Google’s location services and offer localized content; it uses Google’s translation engine, etcetera. All that is possible because I formally requested and was granted access to these Google services through their APIs within the context of providing them through a Chromium package for Slackware. The API key, combined with my ID and passphrase that allow your Chromium browser to access all these Google services are embedded in the binary – they are added during compilation. They are my key, and they are distributed and used with written permission from the Chromium team. These API keys are usually meant to be used by software developers when testing their programs which they base on Chromium code. Every time a Chromium browser I compiled talks to Google through their Cloud Service APIs, a counter increases on my API key. Usage of the API keys for developers is rate-limited, which means if an API key is used too frequently, you hit a limit and you’ll get an error response instead of a search result. So I made a deal with the Google Chromium team to be recognized as a real product with real users and an increased API usage frequency. Because I get billed for every access to the APIs which exceeds my allotted quota and I am generous but not crazy. I know that several derivative distributions re-use my Chromium binary packages (without giving credit) and hence tax the usage quota on my Google Cloud account, but I cover this through donations, thank you my friends, and no thanks to the leeches of those distros.