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LibreOffice 6.3 - Waiting for a miracle

LibreOffice 6.3 is a powerful, rich office suite, and the fact it comes with no strings attached, the string to your purse included, is a commendable thing. But it is not enough. Simply isn't. Functionality is what matters, and if the program cannot satisfy the necessary needs, it's not really useful. Maybe on the scale of un-value, it's less un-valuable than something that costs a lot of money, but you still don't get what you require. And in this regard, LibreOffice 6.3 doesn't quite cut it. I mean, you can still use it happily - I know I will, it does an okay job, and you can create files and export to PDF and all that. But then, working with Office files is pretty much a no-go, the style management is inefficient, and the UI layouts are somewhat clunky. I also feel the momentum has slowed, and the great, amazing hope that was there when LibreOffice was born is just a thing of mildly apathetic momentum now. True, this ailment grips the entire open-source world, and Linux in particular, but it doesn't change the fact that the hope is slowly dwindling. All in all, worth testing, but a solution to all office problems, LibreOffice 6.3 ain't. Read more

AMD Ryzen 5 3400G Is Working Well On Linux

AMD Raven Ridge APUs were a rough launch particularly on Linux where even with the latest motherboard BIOS updates and Linux kernel I am still hitting occasional stability issues, so when the opportunity arose recently to try out the Ryzen 5 3400G as the successor in the Picasso family, I was interested. Fortunately, AMD Picasso APUs have proven to be in better shape on Linux so here is the initial round of performance tests for those interested in the AMD Linux performance on Ubuntu. The Ryzen 5 3400G is a $150 USD APU and while launched alongside the new Zen 2 CPUs, the Ryzen 3000 series APUs are in fact based on Zen+ and using Vega graphics. The Ryzen 5 3400G features four cores / eight threads with a 3.7GHz base frequency and 4.2GHz turbo frequency. On the graphics side are Radeon RX Vega 11 graphics that clock up to 1.4GHz as a nice boost over the Ryzen 5 2400G. This AM4 APU has a 65 Watt TDP for this highest-performing Picasso socketed APU. Read more

Linux on your laptop: A closer look at EFI boot options

For some time now I have gotten a slow but steady volume of requests that I write about UEFI firmware and EFI boot relative to installing and maintaining Linux. As a result of a casual comment I made in a recent post about installing Linux on a new laptop, the volume has gone up considerably. So in this post I will review and explain some of what I consider to be the most important points about UEFI firmware and Linux systems. I intend for this to be a relatively short post, but once I get started you never know... so you might want to get a cup of coffee before starting to read. First, the specific aspect of UEFI firmware that I am concerned with here is the boot sequence, and how to use it with Linux. There is a lot more to UEFI (EFI) than that, but I will not be addressing any of that here. Read more

Programming: PyCharm, PyCon, GitLab and Parallelised Execution

  • PyCharm 2019.2.1

    PyCharm 2019.2.1 is available now!

  • Proud to be sponsoring PyCon 2020

    I’m delighted to announce that Weekly Python Exercise is a gold sponsor of PyCon 2020, to be held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. PyCon is the largest Python conference in the world, and is both fun and interesting for Python developers of all experience levels and backgrounds.

  • GitLab 12.2 arrives with faster pipelines & design management strategy

    The monthly GitLab update has arrived, right on time and with new features and capabilities. Take a look inside and see some of the newest highlights for version 12.2. This month introduces faster, more efficient pipelines, cross project merge request dependencies, performance upgrades, a new Design Management, and a few more goodies. The latest version of GitLab is right on time, with new updates, new features for members, and more. Welcome to version 12.2. New to GitLab and unsure of how it stacks up against other commonly used tools? Check out the comparison between GitLab and the rest of the DevOps tools landscape to see how it has grown and how it compares to similar tools. Potentially, it could replace certain tool functionalities included in Jenkins, Docker Hub, GitHub, and more.

  • Parallel CPU Microcode Updates Being Restored To Help Large Core Count Servers

    Following Spectre/Meltdown, the Linux CPU microcode updating was made serial while now a new patch pending for the Linux kernel would restore the behavior to be parallelized in order to speed-up the process for large core count servers. Handling parallel CPU microcode updates can make a meaningful difference on today's large core count systems. An Oracle engineer has volleyed a patch from an Intel developer in trying to get the code into the mainline kernel.