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How to Convert Video to GIF in Linux [Terminal and GUI Methods]

Sunday 9th of August 2020 05:52:05 AM

Animated GIFs are everywhere on the internet. From blog posts to social media, GIFs can be used in a humorous as well as explanatory way.

Even on It’s FOSS, we use GIFs to show a certain step in action. It is better than still images and shorter than loading a video.

In this tutorial, I will show you how to convert a video clip to GIF. I’ll discuss both:

  • Command line way to convert video to GIF
  • GUI tool for converting video to GIF
Method 1: Create GIF from Video using ffmpeg in command line

FFmpeg is a video and audio converter that can also grab from a live audio/video source. It can also resize video on the fly without compromising the quality.

FFmpeg is a powerful tool and can be used for various scenarios, if you are curious here is the official documentation. We also have a good collection of ffmpge usage examples.

In this example, I will use the Linux Mint 20 new feature presentation video. I downloaded the video from YouTube using youtube-dl and then I trimmed the video to get the first 5 seconds.

Make sure to install ffmpeg using your distribution’s package manager:

sudo apt install ffmpeg

Once you have selected the video that you want to convert, open your terminal and change directory where your video is saved. Below is a general principle, where input is the actual name of the video, following by the video format and the name that you want your gif to be.

The output name can be something totally different to the input name, but I tend to use something similar, as it helps to identify it when you have a folder full of files.

ffmpeg -i input_video_file output.gif

Press the enter key to execute the command and your gif will be ready shortly.

You should find the GIF file in the same folder as your video file unless you specified some other path for the output file).

Method 2: Converting video to GIF using Gifcurry GUI application

Gifcurry is an open-source, easy-to-use app GIF maker app.

It uses ffmpeg and imagemagick to process video and convert to GIF. It can be used both in command-line and the graphical user interface, although this tutorial will only cover the GUI part.

It can be installed using snap and other package managers, but I recommend using the AppImage because I found some issue with other packages.

Before you attempt to open gifcurry, you need to make sure that the required dependencies are already installed.

Open and use gifcurry

To make an Appimage executable is very straight forward and you grant the permission at the file properties as following:

When you open Gifcurry you will be prompted to navigate to the file that you want to convert and at this example I will use again the initial video. As ffmpeg, Gifcurry is not limited to purely converting videos to gif and vice versa. Some of the features are listed.

A few other Gifcurry Features
  • Add text to gif
  • Choose starting time
  • Set duration
  • Adjust gif width 
  • Adjust Quality

At the last step, you have to choose the file name, the file format and click save.

The final result is here:

Conclusion

If you are recording your screen in Linux, you may use Peek to record it a gif instead of a video instead of converting the video to gif later.

Either you choose the command line or the graphical user interface, your job will get done lightning fast both ways.

Let me know which way you prefer and feel free to request any further explanation at the comments section.

Ubuntu 20.04.1: The First Point Release of Ubuntu 20.04 LTS is Now Available To Download

Friday 7th of August 2020 11:49:24 AM

The first point release of Ubuntu 20.04 LTS is finally here. You can now download Ubuntu 20.04.1 LTS.

What is point release? Is Ubuntu 20.04 different than Ubuntu 20.04.1?

This could be confusing if you are new to Ubuntu. Ubuntu 20.04 long term support (LTS) version was released in April this year.

Since a LTS release is supported for five years, providing the same installation media (ISO) for five years won’t be a wise thing to do.

Imagine trying to install Ubuntu 20.04 in 2022. You’ll have a huge list of system updates, security updates, software updates and bug fixes to install right after you have a fresh install of Ubuntu.

Installing several GB of update data can be avoided thanks to these point release.

The Ubuntu team refreshes the ISO of Ubuntu 20.04 with all the bug fixes and important updates released since April 2020. There will be up to 5 more point releases for Ubuntu 20.04 in the future.

Anyone downloading Ubuntu 20.04 now will be downloading Ubuntu 20.04.1 ISO (until the next point release)

If I am using Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, do I need to do something to get Ubuntu 20.04.1?

If you are using Ubuntu 20.04 already, you don’t need to download ISO of 20.04.1 and install it again.

Instead, just keep your Ubuntu system updated and you’ll be using Ubuntu 20.04.1 automatically. I mean, it’s not a fresh release. It just regular system update for you.

If you check your Ubuntu version after updating your system, you should see it in the description:

abhishek@itsfoss:~$ lsb_release -a No LSB modules are available. Distributor ID: Ubuntu Description: Ubuntu 20.04.1 LTS Release: 20.04 Codename: focal

When a new Ubuntu LTS version is released, some cautious users wait for the availability of the first point release instead of upgrading right after the release.

This helps them avoid all the bugs that could be discovered right after the release.

Ubuntu 20.04.1: What’s New?

Now you know that point release of an LTS version does not include any major functional changes. So, here, you should expect important bug fixes and security updates.

Let’s take a brief look at it:

Easy Upgrade to Ubuntu 20.04 LTS from Ubuntu 18.04 LTS

Not really a “change” — but the first point release of Ubuntu 20.04 LTS also enables the prompt on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS that will let you upgrade to Ubuntu 20.04 LTS in a click.

So, for Ubuntu 18.04 users, you no longer need to manually use the terminal or update manager to upgrade, it’s easier than ever now.

Installation Bug Fixes

There were some known installation issues (or bugs). With Ubuntu 20.04.1, a lot of Installation bugs were fixed that also includes the support for new NVIDIA drivers.

So, the updated ISO file should prove to be a breeze to install if you had issues installing Ubuntu 20.04 LTS initially.

Upgrade Bug Fixes

Ubuntu’s update manager wasn’t perfectly fine with its Ubuntu 20.04 LTS release. However, with the latest point release, several upgrade bugs have been fixed which should make it easier to upgrade to later releases without issues.

Desktop Bug Fixes for Ubuntu-based Systems

For desktop systems running Ubuntu 20.04 LTS (GNOME edition) or the official flavours Kubuntu, Ubuntu MATE 20.04, and others — several bug fixes and updates are in place.

For instance, nautilus (file manager), gnome-desktop, and libreoffice were updated to its latest stable version available.

Several bugs were also fixed that revolved around the GNOME control center and GNOME shell.

Server and Cloud System Fixes

This is something that shouldn’t matter to the desktop users — but if you have a server or a cloud instance running on Ubuntu 20.04, there are a lot of fixes for it as well.

I’m not an expert here — but I can see updates/fixes to cloud-init, open-vm-tools, and a couple other important packages.

Other changes

There’s no “new” hardware support but attention has been given to improve the support for specific items of hardware.

Improved support for Wireguard, Intel Tiger Lake processor, OEM kernel, and a lot of technical fixes in general.

If you want to learn all the technical details for every fix/update in this point release, you might want to check the official release notes and security notices.

Wrapping Up

If you were one of the cautious users waiting for the first point release, the wait is finally over.

You can go ahead and upgrade Ubuntu 18.04 to 20.04 or get the latest ISO from Ubuntu’s official download page for desktop.

I’ll put the features of Ubuntu 20.04 so hat you can have a quick look in this video:

Ubuntu 20.04.1

Were you waiting for the first point release or are you already using Ubuntu 20.04?

Open Source Drawing App Pinta Sees New Release After 5 Years. Here’s How to Get it!

Friday 7th of August 2020 04:09:23 AM

Brief: Open source painting and drawing application has a new release after more than 5 years. The new release fixes numerous bugs and adds new features.

Pinta is an open source drawing application for Linux, Windows and macOS. You can use it for freehand drawing/sketching. You may also use it to add arrows, boxes, text etc on an existing image.

Pinta version 1.7 was released a few days ago after a gap of almost five years. Let’s see what do we have in the new version.

New features in Pinta 1.7

Here are the new features the latest version of Pinta brings:

  • Tab view to switch between images
  • Addition of a Smooth Erase tool
  • Drag and drop URL to download and open the image in Pinta for editing
  • The Pencil tool can switch between different blend modes
  • ‘Move Selected’ tool can be scaled by holding Ctrl
  • The Rectangle Select tool now shows different arrow cursors at each corner of the selection
  • Performance improvements when interacting with selections, particularly for large images

There are numerous bug fixes as well and this should improve the overall Pinta experience. You can learn about more changes in the official release note.

Installing Pinta 1.7 on Ubuntu and other Linux distributions

For Ubuntu and Ubuntu-based Linux distributions, there is an official PPA available. If you are using Ubuntu 18.04 or 20.04, you can use this PPA.

Open a terminal and use the following command to add the new repository. You’ll be asked to enter your password. You probably already know that when you type password in terminal, nothing is displayed. Just type the password and press enter.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:pinta-maintainers/pinta-stable

Not required on Ubuntu 18.04 and higher version anymore but some other distributions may need to update the cache:

sudo apt update

Now install the latest version of Pinta using this command.

sudo apt install pinta

Good thing here is that if you had Pinta 1.6 installed previously, it gets updated to the new version.

Removing Pinta

To remove Pinta installed via PPA, use this command:

sudo apt remove pinta

You should also delete the PPA:

sudo add-apt-repository -r ppa:pinta-maintainers/pinta-stable Installing Pinta on other distributions

When I last checked Pinta 1.7 wasn’t available for Fedora or AUR yet. You may wait for some time or download the source code and try it on your own.

Download Pinta 1.7

Pinta team has also refreshed its user guide with detailed documentation. If you are new to Pinta or if you want to use it extensively, you may refer to this user guide for reference.

Conclusion

I am happy to see a new release of Pinta. It was my go-to tool for editing images to add arrows, boxes and text for tutorials on It’s FOSS. I use Shutter for this purpose these days but with this new release, I might perhaps switch to Pinta again.

What about you? Do you use Pinta or have you used it in the past? Are you looking forward to use the new version?

Almost a Year After Richard Stallman Was ‘Cancelled’, Free Software Foundation has Elected a new President

Thursday 6th of August 2020 01:06:14 PM

Almost a year after Richard Stallman, the founding president of Free Software Foundation, was forced to resign, FSF board has finally elected a new president.

Geoffrey Knauth, a FSF veteran, is the new FSF president

The new president is Geoffrey Knauth. As per Phoronix, Geoffrey is a computer science professor at Lycoming College, Pennsylvania state in the USA. However, I did not find any proof to validate this claim.

Geoffrey’s own bio on FSF website mentions that he is an independent software contractor, has worked as a programmer, senior associate, systems engineer, and systems analyst at various companies. He has contributed to the development of GNU Objective-C project. He holds a BA in Economics from Harvard University and is also the treasurer of the FSF.

From his personal website (last updated in 2014), I learned that he also volunteers for Civil Air Petrol as a mission pilot. A person of many talents, Geoffrey is also fluent in Russian and French languages.

Knauth has been a Free Software Foundation board member for more than thirty years. In his first statement as the president of FSF, Geoffrey wrote:

“The FSF board chose me at this moment as a servant leader to help the community focus on our shared dedication to protect and grow software that respects our freedoms. It is also important to protect and grow the diverse membership of the community. It is through our diversity of backgrounds and opinions that we have creativity, perspective, intellectual strength and rigor.”

The ‘cancellation’ of Richard Stallman

Richard Stallman is a programmer and free software activist. In fact, he is the founder of the Free Software Movement. He is best known for launching GNU project, writing GNU General Public License (GPL) and founding Free Software Foundation.

Richard Stallman founded the Free Software Foundation (FSF) in 1985. He was also the founding president of FSF and remained so till September 2019 when he (forced) resigned first from MIT university and then from the board of FSF.

If you remember It’s FOSS coverage of Stallman episode from last year, you might remember some details.

Some students at MIT wanted to protest about Jeffrey Epstein’s donation (to MIT’s AI lab). Richard Stallman objected to word ‘assaulted’ in the protest proposal email thread that mentioned “deceased AI ‘pioneer’ Marvin Minsky (who is accused of assaulting one of Epstein’s victims”.

Stallman’s ‘intellectual discourse on the choice of word’ would have gone unnoticed but a robotics student started a ‘remove Stallman’ campaign. Soon it was picked up by mainstream media and sensational headlines made Stallman a defender of Jeffrey Epstein.

Within a week or so, Richard Stallman was ‘cancelled’.

The cancel culture has become so prevalent that even the leftists and liberal intellectuals are voicing against it. Only last month around 150 eminent liberals including JK Rowling, Salman Rushdie and Noam Chomsky signed a letter expressing their concern over the toxic cancel culture that leaves no room for debate and does not tolerate opposite views.

Stallman is still heading the GNU project despite efforts to remove him from the project.

Let’s welcome Geoffrey Knauth as the new FSF president and hope that he drives FSF to new heights. I have also approached him for an email interview. If FSF approves it, you should read the interview on It’s FOSS.

LibreOffice 7.0 is Finally Available Now! Here are the Key Changes in this Major Release

Wednesday 5th of August 2020 02:06:55 PM

LibreOffice 7.0 is the latest major release after version 6.4. There are plenty of additions to improve the LibreOffice experience.

In this article, I’ll share some details on the key changes on LibreOffice 7 and how to get it.

LibreOffice 7: Key Changes

As mentioned, LibreOffice 7 does not introduce major new features but several improvements contributing to a major release. Here, I’ve highlighted the features that I think are important:

Visual Changes

Don’t expect an overhaul — but you will find the addition of a new icon theme Sukapura. It looks similar to Apple’s color palette in macOS.

So, if you’re using LibreOffice in macOS or just want that look and feel, you can utilize this new theme.

You may also observe some new icons and banners when installing LibreOffice (depending on the platform you’re using it).

Changes to LibreOffice Calc

It’s good to see new spreadsheet functions “RAND.NV()” and “RANDBETWEEN.NV()” which are non-volatile random number generating functions that does not get affected by updates on other cell. Previously, RAND/RANDBETWEEN functions were being re-calculated whenever a new value was added to any other cell — which was not convenient.

Some of the spreadsheet functions like TEXT() and OFFSET() had issues with how it worked. The TEXT() function now allows the second argument to be an empty string and the OFFSET() function now has a rule of allowing value greater than 0 for width & height parameter.

Even though these are minor improvements, it fixes a lot of issues for the users who rely on these functions.

Changes in LibreOffice Writer

The added support for padded numbering, improvements to the auto-correct feature, and support for semi-transparent texts are some of the key highlights for the changes coming to LibreOffice Writer.

You will also find some minor improvements like highlighting the invisible fields with gray area for better visibility when editing.

Not to forget, the Navigator also received a couple of improvements to make it more useful and accurate.

Changes to LibreOffice Impress & Draw

You now have the support for semi-transparent texts on Draw/Impress. Also, Draw supports page sizes larger than 200″ (508 cm) when exporting a PDF, they’ve removed the limit.

There are also performance improvements here when you work with animations, table editing mode, and PPT file load speed.

Accessibility Improvements

An accessibility check tool has been introduced to make sure that the documents are more accessible before exporting it.

Vulkan Support

The switch from Cairo library for rendering to Skia graphics library now allows optional GPU-based Vulkan acceleration support which should improve the performance as well.

ODF 1.3 Support

With the latest release, you can now export to new versions of ODF that includes ODF 1.3 as well. You can also find the previous versions — but it’s recommended to use ODF 1.3

Improvements to DOCX Export

To improve compatibility for users with files from different versions of Microsoft Office, DOCX now saves in 2013/2016/2019 mode instead of the 2007 compatibility mode. Also, the support for glow effects on objects and some other minor improvements should make the experience better when working with DOCX files.

Help Page improvements

No major overhaul here — but you will find some basic syntax diagrams (more than ever) and the help pages have different colors for modules.

Help page is not something everyone cares about, but updating the accuracy of it and adding more information is always a good thing.

Other Improvements

You will find improvements to proof-reading tools, language support, scripting, configuration options, and several other stuff.

To get all the details for what has changed, you can refer to the official release notes of LibreOffice 7.0.

Download LibreOffice 7.0

Your Linux distributions may take some time to provide you the latest LibreOffice 7 version.

For Ubuntu-based distributions, there is an official PPA but version 7.0 is not available via this PPA yet. I’ll update the article with the instructions when it is available.

For now, if you really want to use it, you can download the DEB/RPM installer files from the official download page.

Download LibreOffice 7.0

I am glad that LibreOffice removed the ‘Personal Edition’ labelling it was bound to create controversy.

What do you think of the changes in LibreOffice 7.0? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

How to Install Arch Linux on a Raspberry Pi 4 [Step-by-step Tutorial for Beginners]

Wednesday 5th of August 2020 01:52:21 PM

Raspberry Pi has been undoubtedly the way to go for inexpensive single-board computing. You can create Raspberry Pi projects for powering everything from robots to smart home devices.

When the Raspberry Pi 4 launched in 2019, the performance amazed the Raspberry Pi enthusiasts. A more powerful CPU, USB 3.0 support, native Gigabit Ethernet, plus the ability to output 4K video at 60 Hz on dual monitors are the major improvements. The intent was to pitch Raspberry Pi as an entry-level desktop computer.

More recently, the Raspberry Pi 4 offers an 8 GB RAM model, which is better not only as a desktop but also for hosting databases and servers.

There are many operating systems that can be installed on a Raspberry Pi. Apart from the official Raspberry Pi OS (previously known as Raspbian), we have covered installation of Ubuntu MATE on Raspberry Pi. And in this tutorial I will cover a step by step Arch Linux installation.

Installing Arch Linux on a Raspberry Pi 4

Note

Arch Linux doesn’t support ARM architecture (used by devices like Raspberry Pi) officially. But there is a separate project called Arch Linux ARM that ports Arch Linux to ARM devices. But it is only available in 32-bit format.

I am going to use it for getting Arch on Raspberry Pi.

You’ll need the following things for this tutorial:

Since the installation procedure is purely terminal-based, you should have intermediate knowledge of the Linux command line and you should be comfortable in using terminal.

Step 1: Insert the microSD card in your card reader

When you insert you microSD card in your card reader, open the terminal, get root /sudo access and list the block devices to identify the card. The installation process needs to be done using root priviledges.

fdisk -l

My block device is the mmcblk0, your device may be different.

Step 2: Format and create the partitions

Partition the SD card using fdisk command. Keep in mind to replace the device name with your sd card’s name.

fdisk /dev/mmcblk0

At the fdisk prompt, the existing partitions have to be deleted and a new one should be created.

  1. Type o. This will purge any partitions on the drive.
  2. Type p to list partitions. To check if any partition is still present.
  3. To create the boot partition: Type n, then p for primary, 1 for the first partition on the drive, press ENTER to accept the default first sector, then type +100M for the last sector.
  4. Type t, then c to set the first partition to type W95 FAT32 (LBA).
  5. To create the root partition: Type n, then p for primary, 2 for the second partition on the drive, and then press ENTER twice to accept the default first and last sector.
  6. Write the partition table and exit by typing w.
Create and mount the FAT & ext4 filesystems

At this point, I will create the filesystem for the boot and root partition using mkfs command and then mount it. If in doubt about the partition names, list again the partitions as you did in the first step.

mkfs.vfat /dev/mmcblk0p1 mkdir boot mount /dev/sdX1 boot mkfs.ext4 /dev/mmcblk0p2 mkdir root mount /dev/sdX2 root Download and extract Arch Linux for Raspberry Pi 4

Make sure that you have root access (otherwise the process may fail), and run the following commands (with sudo, if you are not root).

wget http://os.archlinuxarm.org/os/ArchLinuxARM-rpi-4-latest.tar.gz bsdtar -xpf ArchLinuxARM-rpi-4-latest.tar.gz -C root sync

Now move the boot files to the boot partition you had created:

mv root/boot/* boot umount boot root

You might see “Failed to preserve ownership” errors. That’s normal because the boot partition isn’t owned by anyone.

Step 3: Insert the microSD card into the Raspberry Pi and, connect the power supply and to the Internet.

At this step Arch Linux is installed on the SD card, and the rest of the configurations will be done from the Raspberry pi.

You can either follow the rest of the tutorial, either directly on the Raspberry Pi by connecting a monitor and a keyboard set, or you can connect remotely to the Raspberry Pi via SSH (if you don’t have a spare monitor, you need to connect via Ethernet to your local network).

I will connect to my Raspberry Pi via SSH for this tutorial. To get the IP address of the Raspberry Pi, check the devices connected to your network and see which one is the Raspberry Pi.

Connect via WiFi

If an Ethernet connection is not an option, you can access your WiFi network after you login as root using the following command. Please note that you need a keyboard set and a monitor to initially connect on your WiFi.

Note: I am aware that wifi-menu is being discontinued in the original Arch Linux. For the moment, it works in Arch Linux ARM.

wifi-menu

Once you find the IP address of your Raspberry pi, type the following command at your computer’s terminal using your IP address:

ssh alarm@raspberry_pi_ip_address

Please note the default user name is alarm and the default user password is alarm. The default root password is root.

To complete the installation process, you need to initialize the pacman keyring and populate the Arch Linux ARM package signing keys:

pacman-key --init pacman-key --populate archlinuxarm

At this point the installation process has been completed and you can upgrade the system packages as root using the same pacman commands as you do with an x86 architecture machine.

pacman -Syu

If you want to reboot your Raspberry pi after a system upgrade, simply type reboot in the terminal and connect again via SSH.

Bonus tips after installing Arch Linux on Raspberry Pi

To make the use of Arch Linux on a Raspberry Pi 4 more convenient I will show you a few tweaks/additions that you can do.

  • Connect directly as root via SSH
  • Change the default username and password
  • Add a user to the sudoers
  • Change the default root password
  • Change your hostname
  • Install an AUR Helper
Connect directly as root via SSH

In order to change the default username you have to logoff and login as root only.

By default it is not permitted to directly login as root via SSH, but you can change that.

As a root user, edit the sshd_config file found in /etc/ssh/sshd_config:

nano /etc/ssh/sshd_config

Uncomment the PermitRootLogin and next to it type yes, or add the following line to the file. You can add it anywhere but it’s good practice to find the authentication block and add it there.

Save and exit the file, and restart the SSH server.

systemctl restart sshd

Now type exit twice, to exit root and exit the SSH remote connection.

To connect to your raspberry pi as root, use the root name instead the default username and your ip address.

ssh root@raspberry_pi_ip_address

Remember that the default root password is root.

Change the default username and password and the default root password

To change the default username and password type the following commands at your terminal

usermod -l new_username old_username passwd username usermod -d /home/new_username -m new_username

To change the default root password type the following command at your terminal

passwd Give sudo privileges for your user

To be able to give sudo privileges to a user, you need to install the sudo package as a prerequisite.

pacman -S sudo

The configuration file for sudo is /etc/sudoers. It should always be edited with the visudo command.

EDITOR=nano visudo

Once you open the configuration file, add your username in a similar way as I do, preferably under the root user. Then save the file and exit.

Change the default hostname

To change system hostname on Systemd based distributions, you need to use hostnamectl command as shown:

hostnamectl set-hostname New_Hostname

Now type exit, to terminate the SSH session and login again with your new username, and your new user password.

ssh username@raspberry_pi_ip_address Install an AUR Helper

Many users prefer Arch Linux or an Arch Linux based distribution for the large Arch User Repository. You can use the AUR packages on an ARM instruction set machine but, not all of them are compatible with this architecture.

To begin with, make sure that you have the git package and base-devel group installed.

sudo pacman -S git base-devel

You can now install whichever package from the AUR you like or via an AUR Helper in a similar manner which is a package in AUR too. My personal choice is yay, but you can install whichever you prefer.

git clone https://aur.archlinux.org/yay.git cd yay makepkg -si Conclusion

Although I’m an Arch Linux user and a rolling release distribution is my way to go, you may want to choose another distribution for the Raspberry pi 4 with 8GB RAM, as at the moment that this tutorial is written, this image is a 32bit OS (armv7).

An alternative solution but with a desktop environment could be the Manjaro ARM distribution which supports 64bit (armv8). If you want a 64bit OS, other than the official Raspberry Pi OS, without a desktop environment the Ubuntu Server is also a good choice and the installation is insanely easy.

That said, I will keep the Arch Linux on my Raspberry Pi 4, as I bought the 2 GB model, to use it for a very specific purpose.

Are you curious about what I will do with my Raspberry Pi and Arch Linux? Make sure you subscribe to our newsleter and I will reveal it in my future articles!

How to Install Itch on Ubuntu and Other Linux Distributions

Tuesday 4th of August 2020 12:56:57 PM

Itch is a platform for independent digital creators with main focus on indie games. It was actually started as website to host, sell and download indie video games but these days, Itch also provides books, comics, tools, board games, soundtracks and more digital content from indie creators.

As a user, you can download these digital content either for free or for a price set by the creator. All your downloads and purchases are synced to your account so that you can download them whenever you want.

Consider it like Steam but more focused on indie developers and creators.

You can browse Itch from its website but Itch also provides and open source desktop client that gives you some additional advantages. With the desktop client:

  • You can browse games and other content and download them on your system.
  • The desktop client is automatically updated with all the new features.
  • Your downloaded games are also automatically updated.
  • If you play browser-based game on Itch, you can play it offline using the Itch desktop client.

In this tutorial, I’ll show you the steps to install Itch on Ubuntu or any other Linux distribution.

Installing Itch on Linux desktop

Itch provides an installer file named itch-setup. You can download this file from its download page.

Download Itch for Linux

This itch-setup file should work on any Linux distribution as long as it has GTK 3 (libgtk-3-0) installed. Most recent Linux distributions should have it.

Once you download the setup file, right click on it and give it execute permission.

Right click and give the file execute permission

Now run this setup file by double-clicking on it. It will start downloading the latest version of Itch.

It will take some time depending upon your internet speed. In a few minutes, you should see the this screen asking you to log in to your Itch account.

Once you are logged in, you can browse games and other contents and download/purchase them.

The entire installation process is similar to Steam installation on Ubuntu.

You can find the Itch files in ~/.itch folder. The content you download from Itch usually resides in ~/.config/itch. If you didn’t know, ~ means your home directory.

Remove Itch desktop application from your system

For some reasons, if you do not want to use Itch anymore, you can remove it from your system. For that, unfortunately, you’ll have to use the terminal.

Open a terminal and use the following command:

~/.itch/itch-setup --uninstall

It won’t remove your content library. If you want to remove the downloaded games and stuff, you can delete the ~/.config/itch folder manually.

rm -r ~/.config/itch

Do you use Itch?

Itch is an ethical platform for indie creators and supporters of such models. Itch uses “pay what you want to pay” where the buyer can pay any amount equal or greater than the price set by the content creator.

Itch also has open revenue sharing model. The creators can share some or no part of their generated revenue with Itch.

Personally, I prefer such ethical businesses like Itch and Humble Bundle. Like Humble Bundle, Itch also runs sales and bundles from time to time. This helps you save money and support indie developers and creators.

Do you use Itch or Humble Bundle? Which other similar platform do you use?

It’s FOSS is an affiliate partner with Itch. Please read our affiliate policy for more information.

Linux Kernel 5.8 “The Biggest Release of All Time” is Finally Available Now

Monday 3rd of August 2020 02:56:13 AM

Linux 5.8 is one of the biggest releases of all time as pointed out by Linus Torvalds. However, unlike other releases, you may not see a lot of eye candy changes for an average user to understand.

Overall, the Linux kernel 5.8 release introduces a bunch of driver support, security improvements, and optimizations.

Just to put it in perspective, Linus Torvalds did mention this with Linux 5.8 RC1 release:

But again, 5.8 is up there with the best, despite not really having any single thing that stands out. Yes, there’s a couple of big driver changes (habanalabs and atomisp) that are certainly part of it, but it’s not nearly as one-sided as some of the other historical big releases have been.

In this article, let’s take a look at what’s new in Linux Kernel 5.8.

Linux Kernel 5.8: Key Changes

While considering it as one of the biggest releases, it’s obvious to see a lot of technical changes. Here, we will focus on the important highlights that mostly matter to the end-user.

Adreno 405 / 640 / 650 GPUs open source driver support

Linux 5.8 involves updates the to the open-source MSM drivers (Freedreno) which now brings support for Qualcomm’s Adreno 405, 640, and 650 GPUs.

This isn’t something significant for desktop Linux — but you can find these mobile GPUs on some of the latest SoCs like Snapdragon 855+ and Snapdragon 865 (which you can find on Galaxy S20 smartphone).

Improved Radeon Driver support

AMD has been hard at work to improve its GPU support on the latest Linux Kernel 5.8.

Along with some performance improvements, you will also find encrypted vRAMs enabled with the help of TMZ (Trusted Memory Zone) support on AMDGPU kernel driver on Linux 5.8.

Not to forget, the driver also has an improvement for dealing with critical thermal faults. In other words, if your AMD GPU goes above the safe temperature limit, the driver will shut down the GPU to prevent damage to your Graphics Card.

Spectre Mitigation Fixes

It’s evident that Intel can’t get enough of security vulnerabilities in its chipsets. However, it looks like there are some important changes made to Linux’s spectre mitigation handling.

I’m not an expert about this – but it looks like the mitigation handling that was implemented impacted AMD CPUs for no reason. Hence, it was necessary for a fix. This change is also being back ported to stable series.

Support for POWER10 Processor

POWER10 is an upcoming IBM + OpenPOWER processor to arrive in 2021.

And, it’s going to be manufacturing using a 7 nm process (Intel, come on!) and aims to offer big improvements over POWER9 micro architecture.

New Arm SoCs support

While I already mentioned the support for open-source drivers on modern mobile SoCs. But, with Linux 5.8, it looks like there are some new boards (or SoCs) like Realtek RTD1195 supported in this release.

Introduces AMD Energy Driver

If you have a Zen/Zen2 AMD CPU, you will be happy to know that with Linux 5.8 release, the AMD Energy Driver is finally in!

This will enable you to get energy reports on per-socket/per-core on Zen/Zen2 CPUs, which you weren’t able to know before. In case you’re wondering, this is useful for the users curious about their CPU power consumption.

exFAT Driver Improvements

Even though Linux 5.7 involved the addition of exFAT file-system driver, Samsung has sent some optimization improvements and fixes for it on Linux 5.8.

Improved DAX support

If you’re fond of using Intel’s Optane memory to speed things up on your system, the improved DAX code will allow the persistent memory to directly access files without needing the page cache. So, Linux 5.8 will make the best of it.

If you’re curious to learn more about it, I’ll suggest you to go through one of the documentations about Intel Optane DC persistent memory.

Improved Thunderbolt support

It looks like with Linux 5.8, we will also see Thunderbolt support for non-x86 systems as well (ARM support).

In addition to that, you will also notice Thunderbolt support for Intel Tiger Lake.

Of course, there are some other USB improvements as well such as USB Type-C driver updates among the others.

Other Changes in Linux Kernel 5.8

Linux Kernel 5.8 is indeed an important release with a lot of driver updates, security improvements, and performance optimizations.

As usual, Phoronix tracks all the detailed reports for every change involved in Linux 5.8. You may refer to their Linux 5.8 Kernel feature article to dive into more technical details for the changes involved.

How to get Kernel 5.8?

As we have explained in the past, most Linux distributions don’t provide the latest kernel. Rolling release distributions like Arch might have it available soon but stability focused distributions like Debian or Ubuntu won’t make it available for all its users.

This doesn’t mean that you cannot get kernel 5.8 in Ubuntu or Debian. If you really want and if you have intermediate knowledge of the Linux command line, you can upgrade to the latest mainline Linux kernel in Ubuntu manually. But do that only if you need it and only if you are comfortable doing it. I don’t recommend it for everyone.

Wrapping Up

What do you think about Linux Kernel 5.8? Do you think it’s an exciting release given that it is the biggest release of all time?

Feel free to let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Manjaro vs Arch Linux: What’s the Difference? Which one is Better?

Saturday 1st of August 2020 12:35:45 PM

Manjaro or Arch Linux? If Manjaro is based on Arch, how come is it different from Arch? Read how Arch and Manjaro are different in this comparison article.

Most of the beginner-friendly Linux distributions are based on Ubuntu. As Linux users gains more experience, some try their hands on the more ‘advanced distributions’, mostly in the ‘Arch domain’.

This Arch domain dominated by two distributions: Arch Linux itself and Manjaro. There are other Arch-based Linux distributions but none are as popular as these two.

If you are confused between Arch and Manjaro then this comparison should help you out.

Manjaro and Arch Linux: How different or similar are they?

I have tried to compare these two distributions on various points. Please keep in mind that I have not exclusively focused on the differences. I have also pointed out where they are similar.

Both are rolling release distributions but not of the same kind

There are no “releases” every few months or years in Arch and Manjaro like Ubuntu or Fedora. Just keep your Arch or Manjaro system updated and you’ll always have the latest version of the operating system and the software packages. You don’t need to worry about upgrading your installed version like ever.

If you are planning to do a fresh install at some point, keep in mind that both Manjaro and Arch update the installation ISO regularly. It is called ISO refresh and it ensures that newly installed systems don’t have to install all the new system updates made available in last few months.

But there is a difference between the rolling release model of Arch and Manjaro.

Manjaro maintains its own independent repositories except for the community-maintained Arch User Repository (AUR). These repositories also contain software packages not provided by Arch. Popular software packages initially provided by the official Arch repositories will first be thoroughly tested (and if necessary, patched), prior to being released, usually about two weeks behind Arch, to Manjaro’s own Stable Repositories for public use.

A consequence of accommodating this testing process is that Manjaro will never be quite as bleeding-edge as Arch. But then, it makes Manjaro slightly more stable than Arch and less susceptible to breaking your system.

Package Management – Pacman and Pamac

Both Arch and Manjaro ship with command-line based package management tool called Pacman which was coded in C and uses tar to package applications. In other words, you can use the same pacman commands for managing packages in both distributions.

In addition to the Pacman, Manjaro has also developed a GUI application called Pamac for easily installing software on Manjaro. This makes using Manjaro easier than Arch.

Pamac GUI Package Manager by Manjaro

Do note that you may also install Pamac from AUR in Arch Linux but the tool is integral part of Manjaro.

Manjaro Hardware Detection Tool (MHWD)

Pamac is not the only GUI tool developed by Manjaro team to help its users. Manjaro also has a dedicated tool for detecting hardware and suggest drivers for them.

Manjaro hardware configuration GUI tool

This hardware detection tool is so useful that it can be one of the main reasons why Manjaro is loved by the community. It is insanely easy to detect/install/use or switch from one driver to another and makes the hardware compatibility an issue from the past.

Drivers support

Manjaro offers great support for GPU drivers. As we all know for many years Linux has issues installing drivers (Specially Nvidia).

While installing Manjaro it gives options to start with open source (free) or non-open source (non-free) graphics driver installation. When you choose “non-free” it automatically detects your graphics card and install the most appropriate driver for it and hence GPU works out of the box.

Installing graphics driver is easier even after installing Manjaro thanks to the hardware detection tool you saw in the previous section.

And if you have a system with Nvidia Optimus card (Hybrid GPU) it works fine with Manjaro. You will get plenty of options of get it working.

In Arch Linux, you have to install (if you could find) the appropriate drivers for your machine.

Access to the Arch User Repository (AUR)

Arch User Repository (AUR) is a community-driven repository for Arch-based Linux distributions users. The AUR was created to organize and share new packages from the community and to help accelerate popular packages’ inclusion into the community repository.

A good number of new packages that enter the official repositories start in the AUR. In the AUR, users are able to contribute their own package builds (PKGBUILD and related files).

You can use AUR in both Arch and Manjaro.

Desktop environments

Alright! You can use virtually any desktop environments on any Linux distribution. Arch and Manjaro are no exceptions.

However, a dedicated desktop flavor or version makes it easier for users to have a seamless experience of the said desktop environments.

The default Arch ISO doesn’t include any desktop environment. For example, you want to install KDE on Arch Linux, you will have to either download and install it while installing Arch Linux or after that.

Manjaro, on the other hand, provides different ISO for desktop environments like Xfce, KDE and GNOME. Manjaro community also maintains ISO for MATE, Cinnamon, LXDE, LXQt, OpenBox and more.

Installation procedure Arch Live Boot

Manjaro is based on Arch Linux and it is Arch compatible, but it is not Arch. It’s not even a pre-configured version of Arch with just a graphical installer. Arch doesn’t come with the usual comfort out of the box, which is why most people prefer something easier. Manjaro offers you the easy entry, but supports you on your way to becoming an experienced user or power user.

Documentation and support

Both Arch and Manjaro have their own wiki pages and support forums to help their respective users.

While Manjaro has a decent wiki for documentation, the Arch wiki is in a different league altogether. You can find detailed information on every aspect of Arch Linux in the Arch wiki.

Targeted audience

The key difference is that Arch is aimed to users with a do-it-yourself attitude who are willing to read the documentation, and solve their own problems.

On the other hand Manjaro is targeted at Linux users who are not that experienced or who don’t want to spend time assembling the operating system.

Conclusion

Some people often say that Manjaro is for those who can’t install Arch. But I think that’s not true. Not everyone wants to configure Arch from scratch or doesn’t have much time.

Manjaro is definitely a beast, but a very different kind of beast than Arch. Fast, powerful, and always up to date, Manjaro provides all the benefits of an Arch operating system, but with an especial emphasis on stability, user-friendliness and accessibility for newcomers and experienced users.

Manjaro doesn’t take its minimalism as far as Arch Linux does. With Arch, you start with a blank canvas and adjust each setting manually. When the default Arch installation completes, you have a running Linux instance at the command line. Want a graphical desktop environment? Go right ahead—there’s plenty to choose from. Pick one, install, and configure it. You learn so much doing that especially if you are new to Linux. You get a superb understanding of how the system goes together and why things are installed they way are.

I hope you have a better understanding of Arch and Manjaro now. You understand how they are similar and yet different.

I have voiced my opinion. Don’t hesitate to share yours in the comment section. Between Arch and Manjaro, which one do you prefer and why.

With additional inputs from Abhishek Prakash.

How to Install the Latest Version of Handbrake on Ubuntu-based Linux Distributions [Quick Tip]

Friday 31st of July 2020 04:11:53 AM

This quick tutorial shows how to install the latest version of HandBrake on Ubuntu-based distributions using its official PPA.

HandBrake is one of the most popular open source video converter for Linux, Windows and macOS.

This GUI application enables you to convert videos from one format to another in just a few clicks. You can also customize the output video as per your requirement.

HandBrake is available in the universe repository of Ubuntu but it might not always provide the latest version. Let me show you how you can get the latest HandBrake on Ubuntu and other Ubuntu-based distributions like Linux Mint, Linux Lite, elementray OS etc.

Installing the latest HandBrake on Ubuntu based Linux distributions

The developers of HandBrake maintain an official PPA. Using this PPA, you can easily install the latest version of HandBrake on your Ubuntu based distribution.

Open a terminal and use the following command to add the PPA repository. Press enter when asked for it:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:stebbins/handbrake-releases

You may have to update the local package cache (not required in Ubuntu 18.04 and higher version):

sudo apt update

Now install the latest version of the HandBrake using this command:

sudo apt-get install handbrake-gtk

The best thing is that this method removes the older handbrake package on your system and thus avoiding installing two different instances of handbrake.

Enjoy the latest and greatest HandBrake and convert videos on your Linux system.

Uninstall HandBrake from your system

For some reasons, if you don’t like HandBrake and want to remove it, here’s what you need to do.

Open a terminal and use the following command to uninstall HandBrake:

sudo apt remove handbrake-gtk

Now that you have removed the application, it will be a good idea to remove the PPA that you added as you don’t need it anymore.

sudo add-apt-repository -r ppa:stebbins/handbrake-releases

Confirm when asked for it.

In this quick Ubuntu tutorial, you learned the steps for installing the latest HandBrake using PPA. You also learned the steps for removing it properly.

I hope you find this quick tip useful. If you have questions or suggestions, please leave a comment below.

Beginner-friendly Terminal-based Text Editor GNU Nano Version 5.0 Released

Thursday 30th of July 2020 05:11:35 AM

Open source text editor GNU nano has reached the milestone of version 5.0. Take a look at what features this new release brings.

There are plenty terminal-based text editors available for Linux. While editors like Emacs and Vim require a steep learning curve with bunch of unusual keyboard shortcuts, GNU nano is considered easier to use.

Perhaps that’s the reason why Nano is the default terminal-based text editor in Ubuntu and many other distributions. Upcoming Fedora 33 release is also going to set Nano as the default text editor in terminal.

GNU nano 5.0 has just been released. Here are the new features it brings.

New features in GNU nano 5.0

Some of the main highlights of GNU nano 5.0 as mentioned in its changelog are:

  • The –indicator option will show a kind of scroll bar on the right-hand side of the screen to indicate where in the buffer the viewport is located and how much it covers.
  • Lines can be tagged with Alt+Insert keys and you can jump to these tags with Alt+PageUp and Alt+PageDown keys.
  • The Execute Command prompt is now directly accessible from the main menu.
  • On terminals supporting at least 256 colors, there are new colors available.
  • New –bookstyle mode in which any line that begins with whitespace is considered as the start of a paragraph.
  • Refreshing the screen with ^L now works in every menu. It also centers the line with the cursor.
  • Bindable function ‘curpos’ has been renamed to ‘location’, long option –tempfile has been renamed to –saveonexit and short option -S is now a synonym of –softwrap.
  • Backup files will retain their group ownership (when possible).
  • Data is synced to disk before “… lines written” is shown.
  • Syntaxes for Markdown, Haskell, and Ada were added.
Getting GNU nano 5.0

The current version of nano in Ubuntu 20.04 is 4.8 and it’s less likely that you’ll be getting the new version anytime soon in this LTS release. When and if it is available from Ubuntu, you should get it via the system updates.

Arch users should be getting it before everyone else, as always. Other distributions should also provide the new version, sooner or later.

If you are one of the few who likes installing software from its source code, you can get it from its download page.

If you are new to it, I highly recommend this beginner’s guide to Nano editor.

How do you like the new release? Are you looking forward to using Nano 5?

How to Install Discord Application in Ubuntu and Other Linux Distributions [3 Methods]

Tuesday 28th of July 2020 07:15:28 AM

Discord is a popular messaging application. It was originally intended for gamers but these days, it is considered a Slack alternative even for team and community communication. You can use it for text, voice and video messaging.

Several open source project use it for communicating with project members and users.

Discord is available on various platforms including desktop Linux. In this tutorial, I’ll show you various ways of installing Discord on Ubuntu, Debian and other Linux distributions.

Non-FOSS alert!

Discord application is not open source. But since they provide a Linux client and many Linux users rely on it, it’s been covered here.

Method 1: Installing Discord in Ubuntu and Debian-based Linux Distributions

Go to the download page of Discord and download the deb file. Keep in mind that, Discord is only available for 64-bit systems.

Download Discord for Linux

Installing deb file is easy. Just double click on it to open it in the software manager and install it from there. You may also install and use Gdebi tool for this purpose.

It will take a few seconds for installing and you should see a log in screen like this:

The problem with this approach is that though you’ll have the latest Discord version, it won’t be updated to a newer version automatically in the future.

You can either uninstall it from the software center or use this command in the terminal:

sudo apt remove discord Method 2: Installing Discord on Ubuntu and other Linux distributions using Snap package

You can easily install Discord using Snap package in Ubuntu and various other Linux distributions with snap package support.

The advantage is that you’ll always have the latest version of Discord and your installed version gets automatically updated. The downside is that Snap packages take longer to start.

Ubuntu user can find Discord snap package in the Software Center and install from there:

Discord snap package is available in Ubuntu Software Center

If you have enabled Snap support on your Linux distribution, you can use the following command to install it:

sudo snap install discord

If you want to remove it, you can use the snap command to uninstall it:

sudo snap remove discord

Please note that Discord is also available in Flatpak package format. You can use Flatpak to install it in Fedora and other Linux distributions.

Method 3: Installing Discord in other Linux Distributions (intermediate to advanced level)

Discord also provides a generic isntaller for using Discord on Linux. It comes in the traditional tar gz file.

If you go for this way of installing Discord on Linux, then you should have at least a moderate understanding of Linux directory structure and Linux commands. You must also be comfortable using the terminal because this method involves using the terminal all the way.

Step 1: Download Discord for Linux

First download the tar.gz file from Discord’s website.

I am using Discord version 0.0.10 in the tutorial. Your file name may or may not be different. Pay attention to it.

Step 2: Extract the downloaded file to opt directory

Go to directory where you have downloaded the file. Use the tar command to extract the .tar.gz file in the /opt directory.

sudo tar -xvzf discord-0.0.10.tar.gz -C /opt

Traditionally, the /opt directory is used for installing/keeping files of optional or additional Linux software. Since you opted for the traditional way, it only makes sense to use the traditional convention.

Step 3: Create Discord command in bin directory

Now you should have /opt/Discord directory with files related to Discord. You should have two important files to tackle here. A binary file named Discord and a desktop file named discord.desktop.

Now, you should create a symbolic link to this binary file in /usr/bin directory.

sudo ln -sf /opt/Discord/Discord /usr/bin/Discord

The /usr/bin directory contains the binary executables for commands in your system. This way, any user can run the commands from anywhere in the system.

Step 4: Create desktop icon and menu entry

You have Discord available as a command for all users on the system. But you cannot find it in the system menu to launch it graphically.

For that, you’ll have to use the discord.desktop file located in the extracted folder in the opt directory.

You should pay attention to two lines here: Exec and Icon.

The exec is for executable file and you can set it to /usr/bin/Discord . The Icon is for the image of Discord that will be displayed when you search for Discord in the menu. You can set it to the /opt/Discord/discord.png. This image is present in the extracted folder.

You can use nano editor with sudo for editing this file or whichever terminal-based text editor you prefer. Your discord.desktop may look something like this:

Your discord.desktop file is still in the /opt/Discord directory. You need to move it to /usr/share/applications directory so that your system can access this desktop entry.

sudo cp -r /opt/Discord/discord.desktop /usr/share/applications

Normally, you should see Discord added in the list of available applications in the menu immediately. If not, log out and log in again.

Step 5: Run Discord

You are done. Now if you search for Discord, you will find it in the menu and when you run it for the first time, it will do some configuration.

Running Discord for the first time

After that, it will bring you to the login screen. It automatically tried to log you in from your default browser.

Enjoy Discord on Linux. If there is a new version of Discord in the future, you’ll have to remove the already installed version and then repeat the procedure with the new version.

Removing Discord installed in the traditional way

It would be unfair to just discuss how to install Discord. Let me give you some pointers about removing it as well.

When you install Discord on Linux, it saves config file in .config/discord folder in your home directory. Delete these files:

rm -r ~/.config/discord

Next, remove the Discord directory from the /opt directory:

sudo rm -rf /usr/bin/Discord

Also delete the symbolic link you had created:

sudo rm /usr/bin/Discord

As the last step, remove the desktop file:

sudo rm /usr/share/applications/discord.desktop

Did you manage to install Discord on Linux? Which method did you use?

I gave you various ways of installing Discord application on Linux. The traditional Linux way is somewhat complicated but at least this way you can install it on any Linux distribution.

Did you manage to install it? Which method did you use and prefer?

BigBlueButton: Open Source Software for Online Teaching

Monday 27th of July 2020 10:59:40 AM

Brief: BigBlueButton is an open-source tool for video conferencing tailored for online teaching. Let’s take a look at what it offers.

In the year 2020, remote working from home is kind of the new normal. Of course, you cannot do everything remotely — but online teaching is something that’s possible.

Even though a lot of teachers and school organizations aren’t familiar with all the amazing tools available out there, some of the best open-source video conferencing tools are filling in the requirements to some extent.

Among the ones I mentioned for video calls, BigBlueButton caught my attention. Here, I’ll give you an overview of what it offers.

BigBlueButton: An Open Source Web Conferencing System for Online Teaching

BigBlueButton is an open-source web conferencing solution that aims to make online learning easy.

It is completely free to use but it requires you to set it up on your own server to use it as a full-fledged online learning solution.

BigBlueButton offers a really good set of features. You can easily try the demo instance and set it up on your server for your school.

Before you get started, take a look at the features:

Features of BigBlueButton

BigBlueButton provides a bunch of useful features tailored for teachers and schools for online classes, here’s what you get:

  • Live whiteboard
  • Public and private messaging options
  • Webcam support
  • Session recording support
  • Emojis support
  • Ability to group users for team collaboration
  • Polling options available
  • Screen sharing
  • Multi-user support for whiteboard
  • Ability to self-host it
  • Provides an API for easy integration on web applications

In addition to the features offered, you will find an easy-to-use UI i.e. Greenlight (the front-end interface for BigBlueButton) to set up when you configure it on your server.

You can try using the demo instance for casual usage to teach your students for free. However, considering the limitations (60 minutes limit) of using the demo instance to try BigBlueButton, I’d suggest you to host it on your server to explore all the functionality that it offers.

To get more clarity on how the features work, you might want to take a look at one of their official tutorials:

Installing BigBlueButton On Your Server

They offer a detailed documentation which should come in handy for every developer. The easiest and quickest way of setting it up is by using the bbb-install script but you can also explore other options if that does not work out for you.

For starters, you need a server running Ubuntu 16.04 LTS at least. You should take a look at the minimum requirements before deploying a server for BigBlueButton.

You can explore more about the project in their GitHub page.

Try BigBlueButton

If you’re someone who’s looking to set up a solution for online teaching, BigBlueButton is a great choice to explore.

It may not offer native smartphone apps — but you can surely access it using the web browser on your mobile. Of course, it’s better to find a laptop/computer to access an online teaching platform — but it works with mobile too.

What do you think about BigBlueButton for online teaching? Is there a better open-source project as an alternative to this? Let me know in the comments below!

How to Install Google Chrome in Arch-based Linux Distributions

Monday 27th of July 2020 04:41:40 AM

Brief: A step-by-step beginner’s tutorial showing how to install Google chrome in Arch, Manjaro and other Arch-based Linux distributions.

Google Chrome is undeniably the most popular web browser. It is not open source software and this is why you won’t see it preinstalled in Linux distributions you use. You won’t even find Chrome in the software center.

Installing Google Chrome is easy in Ubuntu and Fedora based distribution. You can go to Chrome’s website and download the DEB or RPM installer files and install it easily.

Arch Linux users may notice that there is no package for them on the official Google Chrome website.

Fortunately, Google Chrome is available on Arch User Repository (AUR) for Arch, Manjaro and other Arch-based Linux distributions. You can install Google Chrome using an AUR Helper easily or use Git to install it without AUR helper.

I will cover both options in this tutorial.

Method 1: Installing Google Chrome with an AUR Helper

I hope that you are familiar with the concept of AUR (Arch User Repository) and AUR helpers. If not, please read our articles on what is AUR and what are AUR helpers and how to install them.

Step 1: Install an AUR helper (if you haven’t got one already)

There are quite a few AUR Helpers to choose but in this tutorial, I will use yay which I have installed on my machine. You should install it if you haven’t got it already:

sudo pacman -S --needed base-devel git sudo git clone https://aur.archlinux.org/yay-git.git cd yay makepkg -si Step 2: Install Google Chrome using AUR helper

Now, to install Google Chrome in Arch Linux using yay:

yay -S google-chrome

As you see, yay found all the available packages related to Google Chrome. I will choose the stable package to install, the same as I chose for the other installation method.

Step 3: Upgrading Chrome version with yay

You successfully installed Chrome on your Arch-based distribution. However, you should also know what to do if there is a new version of Google Chrome available.

You cannot upgrade AUR packages with pacman command unfortunately. But the good thing is that Yay and pacman share common flags for performing similar actions.

Keep in mind that unlike pacman, yay shouldn’t be run with “sudo” privilege.

The following command will upgrade all the packages – both AUR and official.

yay -Syu Method 2: Install Google Chrome without an AUR Helper

You’ll still be getting the package from Arch User Repository. However, instead of AUR helper, you’ll be doing it manually.

Step 1: Install base-devel package

To install a package from AUR you must have Git and base-devel group installed. Base-devel group contains all the essential tools for compiling from source.

sudo pacman -S --needed base-devel git Step 2: Install Chrome from AUR

Clone Google Chrome from the AUR and install it like this:

git clone https://aur.archlinux.org/google-chrome.git cd google-chrome makepkg -si Step 3: Upgrading Google Chrome afterward

When a new version of Google Chrome is released and it is available in the AUR, you can upgrade it manually like this:

git pull makepkg -si Conclusion

As you can see, it is slightly complicated to install Google Chrome in the Arch domain. But that’s the beauty of it. Many people use Arch because it gets you doing more things in the terminal.

If you encountered any difficulty when you try to install Google Chrome, let us know at the comment section or share your thoughts.

Make sure to subscribe on our social media to get first the latest Linux news!

Dreamweaver Alternatives: 5 Open Source HTML and CSS Editors for Web Developers and Designers

Saturday 25th of July 2020 06:33:46 AM

Adobe Dreamweaver is a popular tool for professionals to design websites. Even though it enjoyed all its glory in the past decade, it’s no longer the most popular tool out there (at least, as far as I’m aware of).

Its expensive subscription plans and the availability of free and open-source alternatives has left an impact to its popularity.

Moreover, with the growth of popular open source CMS options and drag-drop website builders, it’s really easy to build a website when compared to the previous decade.

Unless you’re a professional with a specific set of requirements, there’s no reason to use Dreamweaver. So, here, in this article, I’m going to list some of the best free open-source Dreamweaver alternatives that lets you edit HTML/CSS.

Open source HTML and CSS editors for web developers

I understand that some web developers and designers prefer WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) feature. Not all the editors mentioned here offer this feature but when they do, I have highlighted it explicitly.

I have used this website template for testing out the HTML editors. This list is in no particular order of ranking.

1. Bluefish Editor

Key Highlights:

  • Auto-completion
  • Preview in browser
  • Site upload/download options
  • Code block folding
  • Support for several programming languages
  • Supports WordPress language definition files
  • Cross-platform support

Bluefish is a feature-rich editor that’s perfectly suitable for both beginners and experienced web designers.

Even though it does NOT offer WYSIWYG, the browser preview feature lets you make changes to the coding and see it in action quickly without any special configuration. It’s also a lightweight application – so it isn’t heavy on resources.

Try it out to explore more about it.

How to install it?

You may find it listed in your software center. If you don’t, you can follow the official installation instructions to add the repository and install it on your Linux distribution.

Also, there’s a Flatpak package available in case you prefer using it. I’d suggest you to refer our Flatpak guide if you don’t know about it.

Bluefish 2. BlueGriffon

Key Highlights:

  • WYSIWYG editor
  • Black and light theme
  • Responsive Design support
  • EPUB 3.1 support
  • Cross-platform support

BlueGriffon is an impressive WYSIWYG HTML/CSS editor. You can choose to edit the codes and check the design or simply edit it visually without needing to fiddle with the codes.

This is especially helpful for folks who aren’t comfortable with HTML/CSS and just starting out. It makes it easy to edit while offering all the necessary features for a web designer.

How to install it?

You can download the deb package from its official website or opt for other installers and source code depending on the Linux distribution you’re using.

You may want to read the different ways to install a DEB file if you’re on an Ubuntu-based distro.

BlueGriffon 3. SeaMonkey

Key Highlights:

  • WYSIWYG Editor
  • Separate browser
  • HTML editing
  • Cross-platform support

SeaMonkey isn’t your typical code editor — but it’s a collection of Internet applications like a browser, email, IRC chat, and HTML editor.

It does support editing the source code of a web page and the ability to edit visually without needing to know HTML.

You can explore more about it when you get it installed.

How to install it?

You can simply download the package for Linux available on their official site and run the executable SeaMonkey application file to get started.

SeaMonkey 4. Brackets

Key Highlights:

  • Live preview option
  • Tailored for web design
  • Auto-completion
  • Cross-platform

Brackets is already one of the best modern text editors for coding in Linux. It was primarily built for web developers while also supporting other programming languages.

Surprisingly, it’s an open-source project by Adobe, which isn’t super actively maintained — but it’s there.

How to install it?

You can simply grab the deb file from its official website for Ubuntu 19.10 or lower. For Ubuntu 20.04 or any other Linux distro, you will be better off using the Flatpak package or the Snap.

You may also explore their GitHub releases section for other downloads.

Brackets 5. NetBeans

Key Highlights:

  • HTML Editor
  • Cross-platform

NetBean isn’t technically an out-of-the-box HTML-CSS editor. But, you can use it as an HTML editor when building an HTML5 application.

It isn’t the go-to solution for HTML editing, but it’s an option out there for a specific group of programmers. You can give it a try to see if it does what you expect it to.

How to install it?

You can find it listed in your software center. In either case, you can just head to the official download page to get it installed.

NetBeans

Which HTML editor do you use?

There are a few more editors that you can use for editing HTML and CSS. There is Aloha Editor Community Edition preferred by some web developers.

You can surely use other modern code editors like Atom and VS Code or the good-old Geany text editor to edit HTML and CSS files.

If you regularly work on web design and development, which open source HTML editor do you use and recommend? We might add your recommendation to our list here. You may also mention non-open source WYSIWYG editors but that won’t be added in the list for obvious reasons.

7 New Feature Changes Coming to Fedora 33 Release

Friday 24th of July 2020 06:30:39 AM

Development for Fedora 33 is in progress and looking at the proposed changes, it looks to be one of the biggest release ever.

Fedora 33 should be releasing in mid to late October 2020. But there is no specific release date or schedule like Ubuntu here.

Let’s see what are these changes that make Fedora 33 a release worth following.

New features in Fedora 33

Most of the features listed here are confirmed changes. I’ll update the article with more feature changes in the future.

Btrfs is the new default filesystem

In a surprising move, Fedora announced that it will be using Btrfs as the default filesystem for the new installations starting with Fedora 33.

This is a big move and not everyone agrees with. You should still be able to use Ext4 filesystem while installing Fedora 33 but you have to do a bit of effort for that.

Nano is the default terminal-based text editor

Starting with Fedora 33, Nano will be the default text editor in the terminal. If you are not familiar with it, try the Nano beginner’s guide I have written earlier.

Keep in mind that you can still change the default text editor in terminal if you don’t like Nano.

Swap on zRAM by default

Fedora 33 will utilize zram instead of swap partition by default. zram is RAM drive that uses compression. Due to compression, it uses half as much memory as its size.

So when the RAM is full and the system needs more memory, instead of using swap partition, Fedora will use the zram device (usually under /dev/zram0). Here’s the explanation on the change:

The system will use RAM normally up until it’s full, and then start paging out to swap-on-zram, same as a conventional swap-on-drive. The zram driver starts to allocate memory at roughly 1/2 the rate of page outs, due to compression. But, there is no free lunch. This means swap-on-zram is not as effective at page eviction as swap-on-drive, the eviction rate is ~50% instead of 100%. But it is at least an order of magnitude faster than drive based swap.

zram has about 0.1% overhead or ~1MiB/1GiB. If the workload never touches swap, this overhead is the sole cost. In practice when not used at all, feature owner has experienced ~0.04% overhead.

systemd-resolved enabled by default

Fedora is trying to standardize on upstream systemd service. Standardizing reduces behavior differences between different Linux distributions.

In that effort, Fedora 33 is going to use systemd-resolved by default. This systemd service provides network name resolution.

Improved hardening for 64-bit ARM devices

Fedora 33 changes enables support for newer ARMv8.3~8.5-level code hardening features in order to enhance the security. This should serve to make Fedora more resistant to a couple further classes of runtime attacks.

GNOME 3.38 and all the visual changes it brings Default wallpaper in GNOME 3.38

GNOME version 3.38 should be released by mid-September. This means that Fedora 33 will have this new release.

There will be some performance improvements and visual changes to it. They even plan to add touchpad gesture for switching workspaces.

Animated background based on time of day

This is not a serious change but a little eye candy is not a bad deal. Fedora 33 will use animated background that will change the color shades based on the time of the day.

This feature is getting quite popular and if I remember correctly, Manjaro Linux 20 also uses it.

Dropping legacy BIOS support (under discussion)

Fedora developers are also discussing dropping legacy BIOS support and go with UEFI-only approach. Before you get outraged, do keep in mind that Intel is ending legacy BIOS support in 2020.

This change is not confirmed yet and it is still under discussion.

Other changes

Fedora is also updating the system-wide crypto policy to further disable legacy cryptographic protocols (TLS 1.0 and TLS 1.1), weak Diffie-Hellman key exchange sizes (1024 bit), and use of the SHA-1 hash in signatures.

Apart from that, there are some software changes that you might find interesting:

  • Latest MinGW
  • GNU Make 4.3
  • Ruby on Rails 6.0
  • Boost 1.73
  • Golang 1.15
  • glibc 2.32
  • Java 11
  • LLVM 11
  • Node.js 14.x series
  • Perl 5.32
  • Include Python 3.9, drop Python 2.6 and 3.4
  • RPM 4.16
Do you agree with the changes?

As I mentioned earlier, Fedora 33 should be released in late October this year. Existing Fedora 32 users should be able to upgrade to the new release when the stable version is available.

Which Fedora 33 feature you like the most? Do you agree with changing the default filesystem and the editor? Do share your views in the comment section.

Linux Foundation Announces Advanced Cloud Engineer Bootcamp to Turn Sysadmins into Cloud Administrators

Wednesday 22nd of July 2020 07:17:43 AM

Brief: Linux Foundation, the official organization behind Linux project, has launched a 6 months online training program to turn system administrators into cloud administrators as the demand for cloud-skilled people grows in the IT industry.

Last month, Linux Foundation launched the Cloud Engineer Bootcamp program. This one was focused on preparing candidates for entry level jobs as a cloud engineer.

Based on the feedback received, Linux Foundation has now launched Advanced Cloud Engineer Bootcamp focusing on helping seasoned sysadmin to move into devops world with cloud related technologies.

Advanced Cloud Engineer Bootcamp: Go from system admin to cloud admin

The course is designed for sysadmins who are already familiar with Linux, of course. Since the traditional sysadmin is not sufficient anymore and the IT infrastructure is relying more on cloud technologies, it is time that seasoned sysadmins should also learn the new in-demand skills.

The bootcamp starts with containers and Kubernetes fundamentals, moving to system monitoring, cloud native logging, and Kubernetes application management, providing all the knowledge needed to work as a cloud administrator.

Here’s what you’ll get if you join the bootcamp:

  • Self-paced online video classes
  • Hand-on labs and assignments
  • 12 months access to the online courses
  • Dedicated discussion forums to ask for help with option to live chat with the instructor (within office hours on weekdays)
  • Retake for the certification exam within a period of a year
  • Advanced Certified Cloud Engineer badge for completing the bootcamp
  • 3-day money-back guarantee

The course is self-paced and you should cover it in 6 months with an effort of 15-20 hours a week.

Advanced Cloud Engineer Bootcamp is priced at $2300 but if you join before July 31, you can get it for $599.

Advanced Cloud Engineer Bootcamp

If you compare it with the Cloud Engineer Bootcamp, the Advanced bootcamp doesn’t have the sysadmin related courses and certifications. Instead, it adds the advanced topics like Prometheus, Fluentd and Helm.

Obviously, the advanced bootcamp presumes that you already have knowledge of how Linux functions.

$600 may not seem like a small amount but when you are looking to keep your job or seeking a promotion or salary raise, you’ll have to invest into skill improvement.

As I have said it before, Linux Foundation hardly makes any effort for “desktop Linux” but it does focus on promoting Linux in the IT industry. These training programs are part of that effort.

It’s FOSS is an affiliate partner with Linux Foundation. Please read our affiliate policy.

Tiny Yet Useful: 13 Raspberry Pi Zero Alternatives That Cost Less Than $20

Tuesday 21st of July 2020 02:34:35 AM

The Raspberry Pi Zero and the Raspberry Pi Zero W were added to the line up of Raspberry Pi’s in the last few years. These ultra-small form-factor SBC’s have been a big hit and continue to be a part of Raspberry Pi projects from the maker and DIY communities.

Due to the smaller form factor and the prices these boards are targeting, they have had to cut down on many features like a dedicated Ethernet port, slower processor (compared to their full-fledged cousins).

In an earlier article, we listed the best alternatives to Raspberry Pi. In this one, I’ll list some alternatives to Raspberry Pi Zero and Zero W.

Preview Product Price CanaKit Raspberry Pi Zero W (Wireless) Complete Starter Kit - 16 GB Edition $32.99 Buy on Amazon Alternative to Raspberry Pi Zero: Tiny single board computers for IoT and Embedded Projects

We have great alternatives with variety of feature sets for different projects, thanks to open source designs and open source software stacks. All the boards in this round up run embedded Linux in various flavors.

Even though the Raspberry Pi Zero was released at $5 and the Zero W at $10, it’s often very hard to find them at those prices even in US. Outside US they usually cost around $12 – $20 .

Keeping that in mind let’s take a look at some of the alternatives for the Raspberry Pi Zero boards for under $20.

1. Banana Pi BPI M2 Zero

The Banana Pi M2 Zero at $18 is has the same layout as a Raspberry Pi Zero W. It looks like a clone of the Pi Zero W but other than the form factor it is anything but a clone. It has a faster Allwinner H2+ SOC at its heart and Ethernet can be added externally . It can also run a variety of Linux based operating systems.

Key Specifications

  • Allwinner H2+ Quad-core Cortex-A7 H265/HEVC 1080P with Mali400MP2 for the GPU
  • 512M DDR3(shared with GPU)
  • 40 Pins Header,compatible with Raspberry Pi 3
  • WiFi (AP6212) & Bluetooth onboard. Extra antenna connector
  • A CSI input connector Camera
  • Power and Reset Button
  • Mini HDMI Output

You can get more information from the Banana Pi Wiki and pick one up from here.

2. Banana Pi BPI-M2 Magic (BPi-M2M)

There are two variants of this board the one without the eMMC flash onboard costs $20. It is another tiny SBC with quite a lot of processing power for its size. Off the top of my head this board is a good fit for a touch control panel and dashboard for IoT and home automation. The on-board battery management system is quite attractive.

Key Specifications

  • Allwinner A33/R16 Quad Core ARM Cortex-A7, MALI 400 MP2 GPU
  • WiFi 802.11 b/g/n 2.4GHz (AP6212) & BT v4.0 with BLE
  • 512MB DDR3 (shared with GPU)
  • MIPI Display Serial Interface (DSI) interface(4 data lanes)
  • A CSI input connector Camera, video capture up-to 1080p at 30fps
  • Onboard microphone and battery management
  • No HDMI output

You can get more information from the Banana Pi Wiki and pick one up from here.

3. Banana Pi BPI-P2 Maker

This board at $13 ($19 with POE module) is one of the smallest SBC’s with on board Ethernet and support for POE(power over ethernet). With the same Allwinner H2+ SOC as the M2 zero, this is quite an interesting board.It has an onboard eMMC storage of 8Gb and a camera interface, with POE you can convert this into a DIY security camera and also use the powerful processor for basic ML.

Key Specifications

  • CPU: Allwinner H2+, Quad-core Cortex-A7
  • 512MB DDR 3 SDRAM.
  • WiFi (AP6212) & Bluetooth onboard.
  • 8G eMMC flash onboard
  • 100M LAN
  • Mini HDMI
  • CSI Camera Interface
  • IEEE 802.3af PoE standard PoE module support

You can get more information from the Banana Pi Wiki and pick one up from here.

4. Orange Pi Zero LTS

At $11.49 ($9.49 for the 256 MB version) this is the cheapest and the smallest board with onboard Ethernet and POE functionality. It has the ever common Alwinner H2+ at its heart and a solid expansion options via the GPIO and the 13 pin functional header.

Key Specifications

  • Allwinner H2+ Quad-core Cortex-A7 H.265/HEVC 1080P
  • Mali400MP2 GPU @600MHz
  • 256MB/512MB DDR3 SDRAM(Share with GPU)(256MB version is Standard version)
  • 10/100M Ethernet RJ45 POE is default off
  • WiFi with XR819, IEEE 802.11 b/g/n
  • 26 Pin GPIO Header
  • 13 Pins Header, with 2x USB, IR pin, AUDIO(MIC, AV)

You can get more information from their official page and pick one up from Amazon.

Preview Product Price Orange Pi Zero Single Board Computer Quad Core Open-Source Development Board 512MB with WiFi Antenna $11.99 Buy on Amazon 5. Orange Pi i96

At $8.8 this board is smallest one yet at 6cm x 3cm. It uses the RDA8810PL SOC meant for a fairly advanced feature phone. The board is suited for camera applications(according to the manufacturer) can capture upto 1080p at 30fps. It has a fairy good IO for the price.

Key Specifications

  • RDA8810PL ARM Cortex-A5 32bit single core processor
  • Vivante’s GC860 GPU
  • Integrated 256MB LPDDR2 SDRAM
  • WiFi + BT using the RDA5991
  • CSI Camera Input
  • 40 pin GPIO header

You can get more information from their official page and pick one up from here.

6. Orange Pi PC

This board packs in a lot of goodies for $15. It’s one of the very few boards which offer 1GB of RAM at such a price point. It uses the Allwinner H3 SOC and can decode 4K HEVC/H.265 video. It has an HDMI port with support for HDCP , CEC as well. This SBC can make a good media box with the right software. It even has onboard IR Receiver and a Microphone.

Key Specifications

  • Allwinner H3 Quad-core Cortex-A7 , 1.6GHz
  • 1GB DDR3 (shared with GPU)
  • HDMI with support for 4K video
  • CSI Camera interface and onboard microphone
  • SD Card slot
  • IR Receiver
  • 3.5mm Audio Jack
  • Ethernet
  • No WiFi/Bluetooth onboard

There is also a cut down version of the Orange Pi PC powered by the same SOC but with less RAM.

You can get more information from their official page and pick one up from here.

7. Orange Pi One & Orange Pi Lite

These two boards are also powered by the Alwinner H3 SoC used in the Orange Pi PC. But these come with 512MB of RAM instead of the 1GB offered by the Orange Pi PC.

Key Specifications

  • Allwinner H3 Quad Core
  • HDMI with 4K support
  • SD Card slot
  • 512 MB of DDR3 RAM
  • CSI Camera Interface

The Orange Pi Lite comes in at $12, it does not feature an on-board Ethernet and offers WiFi instead. It also has onboard microphone and IR receiver. You can get more info from their official page and buy one from here.

The Orange Pi One on comes in at $11 and features on-board Ethernet for wired networking and does not offer any WiFi support. You can get more info from their official page and buy one from here.

Before we finish up with the Orange Pi boards, I do want to quickly mention a couple more boards they offer for custom applications.

  • Orange Pi R1 – This is a tiny board with dual Ethernet ports, you can use it to build a network device.
  • Orange Pi 2G IOT & Orange Pi 3G IOT- These boards feature 2G & 3G cellular connectivity for IoT Applications.

These boards also cost less than $20 and you can check them out on their official website.

8. NanoPi Neo LTS

Starting at $9.99, this board is very simple and tiny(4cm x 4cm), a similar form factor as the Orange Pi Zero. Unlike the Orange Pi Zero it is powered by the more powerful Allwinner H3 SoC and upto 512MB of RAM. It does not feature any onboard WiFi/BT chipset but you can add one via the USB port. This is a really good board to run headless Linux servers, DNS filters like Pi-Hole and it’ll make a really good edge device for any IoT Applications. Using the GPIO you can expand the functionality to match your needs.

Key Specifications

  • Allwinner H3 Quad Core Cortex A7 upto 1.2GHz
  • Upto 512 MB of RAM
  • Micro SD slot (upto 128GB)
  • 10/100 Ethernet
  • Additional interfaces via the abundant GPIO

You can get more information and also purchase them from their official page .

There is a bare bones version of the NanoPi NEO called the NanoPi NEO Core LTS which adds eMMC for industrial applications and lets go of the onboard USB and Ethernet ports. All features are available via the GPIO expansion. You can check it out here .

There is also a WiFi/BT version of the NanoPi NEO called the NanoPi NEO Air which also adds eMMC and camera input and lets go of the onboard USB and Ethernet ports. You can check it out here.

9. Zero Pi

This is one of my favorite boards from this round up, it costs $9.99 and has a fast 1Gbps Ethernet onboard. With the Allwinner H3 at its heart, this can be a very powerful and tiny machine on your network. It supports OpenWRT which is great considering the 1Gbps Ethernet. You can easily run multiple instances of Pi-Hole along with a DNS Server.

Key Specifications

  • Allwinner H3 Quad Core Cortex A7 at upto 1.2GHz
  • 512MB of RAM
  • USB 2.0 Port
  • Support for OpenWRT

You can get more information and also purchase them from their official page .

10. NanoPi NEO 2

At $19.99 , the NanoPi NEO 2 costs twice the NEO. It retains the same form factor and brings in the Allwinner H5 SoC and 1Gbps Ethernet. This makes the board a tiny power house.

Key Specifications

  • Allwinner H5, Quad-core 64-bit high-performance Cortex A53
  • Hexacore Mali450 GPU
  • 512MB RAM
  • 1Gbps onboard Ethernet
  • 24 pin GPIO
  • Functional headers for Audio and other interfaces like IR

You can get more information and also purchase them from their official page .

That’s about all the boards in the NanoPi series, they also have a few more interesting boards with dual 1Gbps ports and a couple focused around camera.

11. La Frite

From the makers of the Le Potato , this board at $20 is mainly geared towards applications involving media consumption or media streaming. It supports 1080p video playback with HDR metadata via the HDMI 2.0 port. It supports the latest Android 9/TV, upstream Linux, u-boot, Kodi, and more.

Key Specifications

  • Amlogic S805X SoC, Quad Core Cortex-A53 @ 1.2GHz
  • Upto 1GB DDR4 SDRAM
  • Amlogic Video Engine 10, support for H.264,H.265 and VP9 decoding upto 1080p 60fps
  • 100Mbps Ethernet
  • IR Receiver
  • 40 pin GPIO

You can get more information from their official page .

12. Onion Omega2+

If you’re looking for an IoT application the Onion Omega 2+ can be a good alternative to the Raspberry Pi Zero. It is an IoT centric development platfrom and runs on LEDE (Linux Embedded Development Environment) Linux OS – a distribution based on OpenWRT.

Key Specifications

  • MT7688 SoC
  • 2.4 GHz IEEE 802.11 b/g/n WiFi
  • 128 MB DDR2 RAM
  • 32 MB on-board flash storage
  • MicroSD slot
  • USB 2.0
  • 12 GPIO pins

You can pick one up as bare bones module for $13 or various kits from their website.

13. VoCore2

The VoCore2 is definitely the smallest of the bunch, the bare-bones module is only 1″x1″ in size and costs $17.99. The tiny size makes it easy to embed in different applications and allows selective expansion of features based on the need. It is powered by the MediaTek MT7628 which was specially designed for low to mid-range routers. The manufacturer claims that they’ll keep up the production till 2025 which is really good.

Key Specifications

  • MediaTek MT7628, 580 MHz, MIPS 24K
  • 128MB RAM, DDR2 166MHz
  • Ethernet – 1 port/5 ports, up to 100Mbps
  • Wireless – 802.11n, 2T2R, speed up to 300Mbps
  • Storage – 16M NOR on board, support SDXC up to 2TB
  • One on board U.FL slot (Antenna Connector)

You can get more information about the board from here and pick one up from their official website.

Wrapping up

It’s undeniable that there are all kinds of SBC’s available in various form factors and feature sets for a wide variety of use cases. On top of that most of these are open source designs and run on open source software. An absolute wonderland for a hardcore tinkerer.

With COVID-19 hanging around it might be a little tough to get your hands on these boards. Let’s hope things get better soon!

If you guys know of any other interesting alternatives for the Raspberry Pi Zero and Zero W put them in the comments below and we’ll check them out.

Video Trimmer: A No-nonsense, Simple Video Trimming Application for Linux Desktop

Monday 20th of July 2020 09:29:34 AM

Brief: A dead simple tool to trim videos quickly without re-encoding it. Here, we take a look at what it offers.

You probably are already aware of some of the best free video editors for Linux but not everyone needs all the features offered.

Sometimes you just want to perform a single operation quickly, for instance — trimming a video.

Would you rather choose to explore a full-fledged video editor just to perform a simple trim operation or prefer a quick tool to help you trim the video?

Of course, it would depend on your personal preferences and what you’d want to do with the video. But, for the majority of the users, a tool that makes it super easy to trim a video will be the preference.

Hence, I’d like to highlight a dead simple open-source tool to trim videos quickly – “Video Trimmer“.

Video Trimmer: A simple application to trim videos quickly

Video Trimmer is an open-source application that helps in trimming video clips without re-encoding them.

So, basically, you’ll be able to trim videos without losing the original quality.

All you have to do is – just open the video file using Video Trimmer and then select the region to trim using the mouse.

You can manually set the time range to trim or just drag the region to trim using the mouse. Of course, it could take a while to manually set the timestamp if it’s a long video file and you don’t know where to look at.

To give you an idea, take a look at the screenshot below to see the options available when using Video Trimmer:

Installing Video Trimmer on Linux

Video Trimmer is only available as a Flatpak package on Flathub. So, you should be able to install it on any Linux distribution with Flatpak support without any issues.

In case you didn’t know about Flatpak, you might want to refer our guide on using and installing Flatpak.

If you’re using Arch or Manjaro, you can find it listed on AUR (Arch User Repository) as well.

Video Trimmer (Flathub) Wrapping Up

Video Trimmer uses ffmpeg underneath it. What it does can be done easily using ffmpeg commands in the terminal. But then not everyone wants to use terminal for cutting part of a video. Tools like Video Trimmer help such people (like me).

For some reason, if you want to look for an alternative to this, you may try VidCutter as well. Of course, you can always rely on top video editors available for Linux (like OpenShot) to trim videos along with the ability to perform some advanced operations.

What do you think about using “Video Trimmer” on Linux? Do you already have another favorite video trimming tool? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

Why People Are Crazy About Arch Linux? What’s so Special About it?

Sunday 19th of July 2020 06:13:20 AM

BTW, I use Arch!

You may have come across this term in Linux forums, discussion or in memes.

You might wonder why Arch Linux is so popular? Why people like it so much when there are easier to use, if not better, Arch-based distributions available.

In this article, I’ll list some of the reasons why Linux users like to use Arch Linux.

6 reasons why people love to use Arch Linux

Now, this is my perception. There is no set rule, of course, why you should be using Arch Linux. It’s what I have observed in my over a decade of experience with Linux users and communities.

Let’s see why Arch Linux is so popular.

1. The DIY approach gives you the control over every aspect of your operating system

I have always found Arch Linux as a DIY (Do It Yourself) operating system. From installing to managing, Arch Linux lets you handle everything.

You decide which desktop environment to use, which components and services to install. This granular control gives you a minimal operating system to build upon with elements of your choice.

If you are a DIY enthusiast, you’ll love Arch Linux.

2. With Arch Linux, you get a better understanding of how Linux works Installing Arch Linux by creating partition and making filesystem via command line

If you ever tried to install Arch Linux, you know the complexity that comes with it.

But that complexity also means that you’ll be forced to learn things that you probably never bother to in other distributions.

For example, configuring network itself while installing Arch Linux is a good learning lesson.

If you start to get overwhelmed, Arch Wiki is there for you. It is the most extensive and awesome community-managed documentation on the internet. Just browsing through Arch Wiki will teach you plenty of things.

3. Latest kernel and software with rolling release model System update in Arch Linux

Arch Linux is a rolling release distribution. That means new kernel and application versions are rolled out to you as soon as they are released.

While most other Linux distributions serve you old Linux kernel versions, Arch is quick to provide you the latest kernel.

The same goes for software. If a new version of software in the Arch repositories is released, Arch users get the new versions before other users most of the time.

Everything is fresh and cutting edge in the rolling release model. You don’t have to upgrade operating system from one version to another. Just use the pacman command and you always have the latest version.

4. Arch User Repository aka AUR

Arch Linux has plenty of software in its repository. The AUR extends the software offering of Arch Linux. You get a huge number of software with AUR in Arch Linux.

AUR is the community driven approach to provide newer applications. You can search and install applications with the help of an AUR helper tool.

5. Sense of accomplishment

As James Clear mentions in his book Atomic Habits, human brain loves a challenge, but only if it is within an optimal zone of difficulty.

Remember the feeling when you first installed any Linux distribution even if it was installing Linux Mint? That gave you a sense of achievement. You successfully installed Linux!

If you have been using Ubuntu or Fedora or other distribution for some time and you start to get comfortable (or bored), try installing Arch Linux.

For a moderately experienced Linux user, successfully installing Arch Linux itself gives a sense of accomplishment.

It is a challenge but an achievable one. If you suggest a new Linux user to try Arch Linux or even more complicated one like Linux From Scratch, the challenge would be too difficult to achieve.

This sense of successfully completing a challenge is also one of the reasons why people use Arch Linux.

6. No corporate involvement! Arch is created, supported and owned by community

Ubuntu is backed by Canonical, Fedora is from Red Hat (part of IBM now) and openSUSE is from SUSE. All these major distributions are corporate backed.

This is not bad or crime in itself. But a few people do not like corporate involvement in open source projects.

Like Debian, Arch Linux is one of the rare few community-only Linux distribution projects.

You may point out that many other distributions like Linux Mint etc are also not sponsored by corporate. Well, that might be true but Linux Mint itself is based on Ubuntu and uses Ubuntu’s repositories. Arch Linux is not derivative of another distribution.

In that sense, Debian and Arch Linux are more pure community-driven projects. It may not matter to many people but a few people do care about such things.

According to you, why Arch Linux is so popular?

Now, you may not agree with all the points I made and that’s okay. I would like your views on why Arch Linux is so popular and has cult status among Linux users?

While you write the comments, let me share a BTW, I use Arch meme :)

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    n this release of my utility library for my other packages, I finally decided to drop support for platforms without a working snprintf. This dates back to the early 2000s and a very early iteration of this package. At the time, there were still some older versions of UNIX without snprintf at all. More commonly, it was buggy. The most common problem was that it would return -1 if the buffer wasn't large enough rather than returning the necessary size of the buffer. Or, in some cases, it wouldn't support a buffer size of 0 and a NULL buffer to get the necessary size.

  • Embedded Programming and Beyond: An Interview with Warren Gay

    Interested in embedded programming? Warren Gay, an Ontario, Canada-based senior programmer, is an excellent resource for professional programmers, students, and makers alike. Here he talks about his new book, FreeRTOS for ESP32-Arduino (Elektor, 2020), and shares insights about FreeRTOS, ESP32, Arduino, embedded technologies, and more. You are sure to find his input informative and inspiring, especially if you plan to work with ESP32 or Arduino in the near future.

  • PHP 7.1 - 8 new features

    In the PHP 7.0 version function declaration accepts a return type, with the release of 7.1 version functions and parameters can return/accept null by prefixing the data type with a question mark(?). if the data type passed as parameter or returned by a function is different from the type specified a TypeError exception will be thrown.

  • Senior Developers don’t know Everything

    For about 20 years, I’ve been doing C++ and Qt and KDE development. I suppose that makes me a “senior software engineer”, also in the sense that I’ve hacked, programmed, futzed, designed, architected, tested, proved-correct, and cursed at a lot of software. But don’t let the label fool you: I look up just as much in the documentation as I ever did; senior developers don’t know everything.

Software and Games: Cloud Hypervisor, Joplin, Kodi, MuseScore, Bashtop, Grounded

  • Intel Cloud-Hypervisor 0.9 Brings io_uring Block Device Support For Faster Performance

    Intel's Cloud Hypervisor focused on being a Rustlang-based hypervisor focused for cloud workloads is closing in on the 1.0 milestone. With this week's release of Cloud-Hypervisor 0.9 there is one very exciting feature in particular but also a lot of other interesting changes. 

  • Joplin

    Joplin is a free, open source note taking and to-do application, which can handle a large number of notes organised into notebooks. The notes are searchable, can be copied, tagged and modified either from the applications directly or from your own text editor. The notes are in Markdown format. Notes exported from Evernote via .enex files can be imported into Joplin, including the formatted content (which is converted to Markdown), resources (images, attachments, etc.) and complete metadata (geolocation, updated time, created time, etc.). Plain Markdown files can also be imported. The notes can be synchronized with various cloud services including Nextcloud, Dropbox, OneDrive, WebDAV or the file system (for example with a network directory). When synchronizing the notes, notebooks, tags and other metadata are saved to plain text files which can be easily inspected, backed up and moved around.

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  • Kodi 19 Alpha 1 Released With AV1 Decoding, Many Other HTPC Improvements

    Kodi 19 "Matrix" Alpha 1 has been released for this very popular, cross-platform open-source HTPC software.  Kodi 19 is bringing many exciting improvements as a major update to this open-source home theater software. 

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  • Scorewriter MuseScore 3.5 Released with Chord Symbol Playback

    MuseScore, free music composition and notation software, released version 3.5 with long list of new features, bug fixes, and other improvements. MuseScore 3.5 contains one of the most requested features: Chord Symbol Playback. The feature is disabled by default so far. You can enable it by going to Edit > Preferences > Note Input.

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  • Bashtop: An Htop Like System Monitor But Much More Useful

    As cool as Htop there is one thing that it's seriously lacking in and that is system monitoring tools, this may not be a problem for you but if you want a system monitor than bashtop is a much better option to choose, it let's you do most of the process management stuff that you want from htop but it comes with things like hard drive usage, network usage and cpu usage statistics. 

  • An Early Look at Grounded

    You’re in control of a child, who looks like he/she hasn’t entered the teenager years just yet. Among four different children — two boys and two girls — they’ve got a big problem: they’ve been shrunk to the size of an insect. Join them in their adventure — either by yourself or with a group of online friends — as they fight to survive in someone’s backyard, trying to build shelters whilst defending against bugs, and figure out why they’ve shrunk in the first place. Enter Grounded, developed by Obsidian Entertainment — the studio that brought us such titles as Pillars of Eternity, The Outer Worlds, and Star Wars: KOTOR2.

Fedora: LTO, Nest and More

  • Fedora 33 Moving Closer To LTO-Optimizing Packages

    Going back to last year Fedora has been working to enable link-time optimizations by default for their packages. That goal wasn't achieved for Fedora 32 but for Fedora 33 this autumn they still have chances of marking that feature off their TODO list.  LTO'ing the Fedora package set can offer not only performance advantages but in some cases smaller binaries as well. This is all about applying the compiler optimizations at link-time on the binary as a whole for yielding often sizable performance benefits and other optimizations not otherwise possible. LTO is great as we often show in benchmarks, especially in the latest GCC and LLVM Clang compilers. 

  • Zamir SUN: Report for session 1 of FZUG @ Nest with Fedora

    Last month, Alick suggested the Fedora Zhongwen User Group (FZUG) can do a online meetup during Nest with Fedora. And based on the survey, people registered for two time slots, the first one is 9:00 PM Saturday evening UTC+8 which is not a good time for Alick, so I take up the coordinating role for this session. As for the tool, we decided to use Jitsi, as it should work fine for most of us and do not have any limitations. What’s more, it’s totally open source. During the meeting, I firstly introduced Nest with Fedora and it’s previous offline version, Flock to Fedora, to the attendees. It’s interesting to see that during the past years, we not only have new users in China, but also new contributors. One attendee shares that his motivation of being a packager is that deploying packages for their research in the lab is cumbersome before. So he decided to package all into Fedora and then he can just simply install them on every machine. It is good to know that people contribute back because they want to solve their own problems. Maybe this can be a talking point to attract more contributors in the future. After the self introduction, we continue by sharing our interesting stores with Linux. That is a lot of fun.

  • Jon Chiappetta: Last piece of relay software needed for my home bridged network

    If you are running a bridged/relayd network with macs on it you may need to also forward the multicast broadcasts (mDNS related) that allow the devices to automatically discover each other. On the WRT wifi client side, there is a pkg called avahi-daemon and you can configure to operate in “reflector” mode to forward these broadcasts across the specified interfaces. Running this service along with the dhcprb C program which takes care of layer 2 arp requests & dhcp gateway forwarding has been pretty smooth so far!

Perl Programming: Exercises and DocKnot Release

  • The [Perl] Weekly Challenge #072

    I am glad, this week focus was more Array/List related. Technical speaking Array and List aren’t the same in Perl. I must admit until I read the article by brian d foy, I thought they were the same. As the famous saying, you learn something new every day.

  • Perl Weekly Challenge 72: One-Liners for Trailing Zeros and Line Ranges

    These are some answers to the Week 72 of the Perl Weekly Challenge organized by Mohammad S. Anwar. Spoiler Alert: This weekly challenge deadline is due in a few hours. This blog post offers some solutions to this challenge, please don’t read on if you intend to complete the challenge on your own.

  • Russ Allbery: DocKnot 3.05

    I keep telling myself that the next release of DocKnot will be the one where I convert everything to YAML and then feel confident about uploading it to Debian, and then I keep finding one more thing to fix to release another package I'm working on. Anyway, this is the package I use to generate software documentation and, in the long run, will subsume my static web site generator and software release workflow. This release tweaks a heuristic for wrapping paragraphs in text documents, fixes the status badge for software with Debian packages to do what I had intended, and updates dependencies based on the advice of Perl::Critic::Freenode.