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Updated: 45 weeks 2 days ago

GitHub Expands Free Feature Access, Slices Other Costs

Thursday 16th of April 2020 06:40:29 PM
GitHub has lowered its pricing plans drastically and made its core features free for everyone, even for private development. GitHub CEO Nat Friedman announced a plan that has been in the works for some time, noting that the changes were not related to the COVID-19 worldwide health crisis. The new structure allows access to GitHub's private repositories with unlimited collaborators for all GitHub accounts. Microsoft purchased GitHub, a software hosting and version-control platform, for $7.5 billion in June 2018.

MakuluLinux Flash 2020 Could Be an Xfce Desktop Game-Changer

Tuesday 14th of April 2020 08:10:03 PM
MakuluLinux Flash 2020 is a traditional/retro style Linux operating system that focuses on ease of use, comfort and stability. It uses a highly tweaked Xfce desktop environment with features previously not seen in standard Xfce integrations. The Xfce desktop is known for its speed and flexibility, but given the amount of eye candy and other enhancements built into Flash 2020, its performance is neither degraded nor overtaxed. MakuluLinux Flash offers 24 varieties of different-colored themes and a unique selection of in-house background images.

LMDE4: How Much Does Debian Matter?

Friday 3rd of April 2020 05:06:30 PM
Linux Mint Debian 4, or LMDE4, is now available. Does it really matter whether you run this latest Linux Mint release, based on Debian Linux, instead of Linux Mint 19.3, based on Ubuntu Linux? The answer depends on two things. One is your personal computing philosophy regarding refresh cycles and leading-edge technologies. The other is what you want in terms of a computing experience -- such as new features, reliability, performance and style. Also consider a related question: How does LMDE4 compare to running pure Debian Linux?

3D Printers Join Arsenal of COVID-19 Weapons

Thursday 26th of March 2020 06:33:30 PM
The worldwide 3D printing community is stepping up to alleviate the shortage of medical equipment needed to battle the coronavirus pandemic. Participants include entrepreneurs and hackers, companies in the 3D printing industry, automobile makers, aircraft manufacturers, universities, and even a shipbuilder. Some are offering free 3D printer files for download and use. Others are designing equipment. Still others are offering to produce medical equipment for the cost of the materials.

AryaLinux Provides the Building Blocks for a Unique Linux Experience

Thursday 26th of March 2020 11:00:00 AM
AryaLinux is something different, and when it comes to Linux operating systems, different can be very intriguing. Arya is both a distribution and a platform. That means you can use it as is or turn it into a branded computing system to meet your own specialized needs. Not all potential users want or need to turn Arya into their own Linux build. However, if you like tinkering or actually can benefit from creating your own computing platform, you can. The end result is a fine-tuned computing platform.

Zorin OS Core Makes GNOME More Comfortable

Friday 20th of March 2020 06:05:19 PM
Zorin OS 15.2, released on March 8, adds an impressive selection of upgrades and improvements to an already well-oiled Linux operating system. Since its debut in July 2009 Zorin OS cofounder Artyom Zorin has hawked his distribution as an ideal Microsoft Windows replacement. That description is a strong selling point for this easier-to-use computing platform, but anyone looking for a perfect Windows replacement will be disappointed. Of course, no Linux distro can be an actual Microsoft clone -- nor should it be.

Open Source Tech Rushes to Front Lines of COVID-19 War

Wednesday 18th of March 2020 07:50:40 PM
Open Source software, once the scorn of Microsoft and profit-seeking software developers, is playing an active role in efforts to combat COVID-19's spread. Several open source projects are assisting health providers and helping people mitigate some of the hardships associated with the pandemic. Often, open source accomplishments in the public health and government services fields go unreported. This time, however, in response to COVID-19's worldwide assault, open source technologies are ramping up to pursue potentially world-saving results.

Crowdsourcing App Takes Aim at COVID-19

Wednesday 18th of March 2020 04:58:59 PM
Researchers into the COVID-19 virus have a new source of distributed computing power: crowdsourcing. Usually crowdsourcing involves information or opinion gathering, but in this case it involves computing power. By installing the Folding@home software program, anyone with a computer, gaming console, or even some phones and compute cycles to spare can contribute to the work of coronavirus researchers around the world. Folding@home is a distributed computing project at Washington University in St. Louis.

Report: Open Source Vulnerabilities Rampant in Popular Projects

Thursday 12th of March 2020 07:31:32 PM
Open source vulnerabilities rose by nearly 50 percent in 2019 over the previous year, based on a new report. Common vulnerabilities rated as high or critical severity were found in all of the most popular open source projects, according to the WhiteSource 2020 annual report, "The State of Open Source Security Vulnerabilities." The vulnerability rate is expected to continue rising. As open source usage continues to grow, so does the number of eyes focused on open source security research.

How to Run the Linux KDE Desktop on a Chromebook

Wednesday 11th of March 2020 06:22:39 PM
Chromebooks with the right stuff inside now are able to install and run a complete Linux experience with the KDE desktop without giving up the Chrome OS on the same device. It is not yet flawless, but it does create a hybrid computing platform that lets Linux and Android apps coexist on top of the Chrome OS. I do not mean flashing the Galium OS distribution as a replacement for Chrome OS. I have done that on an end-of-life early Chromebook with usable results. However, I mean running a complete Linux graphical environment with the KDE desktop.

Elive Beta With Enlightenment Is Brilliant, but Don't Get Lost in the Maze

Friday 6th of March 2020 12:00:00 PM
Elive is one of the most unusual Linux distributions you are likely to encounter. Elive Linux is an awesome integration of the Debian Linux base and the Enlightenment desktop. The combination provides a uniquely powerful and flexible computing platform. Its name suggests part of what makes this distro unlike the few others that have the Enlightenment desktop baked in. Elive is actually a live session environment that is capable of providing persistent memory so you can save settings and data without fully installing it to a hard drive.

Netrunner Linux Still Goes Its Own Way at 'Twenty'

Friday 28th of February 2020 07:11:15 PM
Netrunner "Twenty" is a birthday release offering that makes what was good even better. Developers released Netrunner 20.01 on Feb. 23 with the latest stable Debian 10.3 "Buster" base and the KDE Plasma desktop. This release marks the distro's 20th birthday in a way. Code-named "Twenty," the 20.01 release is the 20th upgrade of the Netrunner project over its 10-year history. It is packed with the latest KDE desktop packages, new theme tweaks, and a collection of GTK and Qt/KDE programs.

Linux-Powered Azure IoT Security Platform Arrives

Tuesday 25th of February 2020 06:38:10 PM
Microsoft has announced the general availability of its Azure Sphere secure IoT service. It first introduced Azure Sphere in 2018, opting to use its own version of a Linux operating system instead of Windows 10 to drive its new Azure Sphere OS to securely connect Internet of Things devices. Azure Sphere is a platform connecting microcontroller units embedded within IoT devices. The platform operates a new MCU crossover class that combines both real-time and application processors with built-in Microsoft security technology and connectivity.

Freespire 6.0: A Return to GNOME2's Simpler Linux Days

Friday 21st of February 2020 07:36:58 PM
If you are tired of distro hopping and want a computing platform that works without drama, check out the latest Freespire Linux release. Freespire, a U.S.-based distribution built on Debian/Ubuntu, is a no-nonsense OS that is uncomplicated to install and use. Freespire is released biannually. Developers on Feb. 11 released the latest MATE edition, the first of two updated versions. KDE will come out soon. Two age-old sayings are apt when it comes to Linux distributions: "Something old is new again," and "What goes around, comes around."

Some Android Malware Can Break Your Phone When You Delete It

Friday 21st of February 2020 12:00:00 PM
Since Android's unveiling in 2007, the platform has stayed true to its commitment to provide open and free source code. The source code is freely available to developers and device manufacturers who can, at their own discretion, install the software without worrying about the hassles of licensing fees. The consequent reduction in fees allows device manufacturers to bring Android devices to the market at significantly lower prices than the competition, with the average price of an Android smartphone almost US$400 cheaper than an iPhone.

Unsigned Firmware Puts Windows, Linux Peripherals at Risk

Wednesday 19th of February 2020 08:23:07 PM
Eclypsium has released new research that identifies and confirms unsigned firmware in WiFi adapters, USB hubs, trackpads and cameras used in Windows and Linux computer and server products from Lenovo, Dell, HP and other major manufacturers. Eclypsium also demonstrated a successful attack on a server via a network interface card with unsigned firmware used by each of the big three server manufacturers. The demonstration shows the exposed attack vector once firmware on any of these components is infected using the issues the report describes.

Simplicity Does More Than Simplify Linux

Friday 14th of February 2020 07:34:37 PM
If you want a new Linux distro catering to gaming, check out the Simplicity Linux Gaming release. If you prefer a general-purpose computing platform without a gaming focus, try Simplicity's revamped release. Either way, you will experience a no-nonsense Linux OS that requires no assembly. Simplicity Linux, originating in the UK, is a Devuan-based distribution with Cinnamon as the default window manager desktop environment. Devuan is a fork of Debian Linux that replaces the systemd initialization processes.

MakuluLinux LinDoz Offers Windows Comfort Zone, but It's All Linux Under the Hood

Friday 7th of February 2020 05:00:00 PM
After a long delay, a new MakuluLinux LinDoz release is pending last-minute finishing touches and is a week -- if not days -- away, according to developer Jacque Montague Raymer. The new upgrade is designed to make using Linux easier than ever. Recently, Raymer discussed the trials and tribulations he faced in maintaining and advancing his Linux line of distros. He revealed a process that no doubt is similar to what confronts many software developers who step into the crowded and financially challenging field of Linux operating system creation.

The Two Faces of Open Source: ECT News Roundtable, Episode 5

Thursday 6th of February 2020 07:00:00 PM
The open source software movement has evolved dramatically over the past two decades. Many businesses that once considered open source a threat now recognize its value. In spite of increased enthusiasm among enterprises, consumer interest by and large has not materialized. With large companies increasingly embracing open source, what does it mean to be a part of the free and open source software, or FOSS, "community"? Why have consumers been so slow to adopt open source software? Our roundtable of industry insiders tackled those questions.

Solus Shines With Plasma Desktop Options

Friday 31st of January 2020 07:40:22 PM
Solus, an independent Linux distro based in Ireland, is built from scratch on the Linux kernel and the flagship Budgie desktop. This week's release brings the KDE Plasma desktop to the growing Solus family. Solus uses a rolling release that frequently updates system files and software packages to eliminate the need to periodically reinstall the operating system when new ISO or installation files are issued. Updated ISOs are available on a predetermined developmental cycle so new users have immediate access to the most recent content.

More in Tux Machines

Canonical Chooses Google’s Flutter UI SDK to Build Future Ubuntu Apps

For those not in the known, Flutter is an open-source UI SDK (software development kit) created by Google to helps those who want to build quick and modern applications for a wide-range of operating systems, including Android, Linux, Mac, iOS, Windows, Google Fuchsia, that work across desktop, mobile, and the Web. A year ago, Canonical teamed up with Google to make the Flutter SDK available on Linux as Snap, the universal software deployment and package management system for Ubuntu `and other GNU/Linux distributions, allowing those interested in building beautiful apps on the Linux desktop. Read more

Python: Security and NumPy 1.20 Release

  • Python Package Index nukes 3,653 malicious libraries uploaded soon after security shortcoming highlighted

    The Python Package Index, also known as PyPI, has removed 3,653 malicious packages uploaded days after a security weakness in the use of private and public registries was highlighted. Python developers use PyPI to add software libraries written by other developers in their own projects. Other programming languages implement similar package management systems, all of which demand some level of trust. Developers are often advised to review any code they import from an external library though that advice isn't always followed. Package management systems like npm, PyPI, and RubyGems have all had to remove subverted packages in recent years. Malware authors have found that if they can get their code included in popular libraries or applications, they get free distribution and trust they haven't earned. Last month, security researcher Alex Birsan demonstrated how easy it is to take advantage of these systems through a form of typosquatting that exploited the interplay between public and private package registries.

  • A pair of Python vulnerabilities [LWN.net]

    Two separate vulnerabilities led to the fast-tracked release of Python 3.9.2 and 3.8.8 on February 19, though source-only releases of 3.7.10 and 3.6.13 came a few days earlier. The vulnerabilities may be problematic for some Python users and workloads; one could potentially lead to remote code execution. The other is, arguably, not exactly a flaw in the Python standard library—it simply also follows an older standard—but it can lead to web cache poisoning attacks. [...] [Update: As pointed out in an email from Moritz Muehlenhoff, Python 2.7 actually is affected by this bug. He notes that python2 on Debian 10 ("Buster") is affected and has been updated. Also, Fedora has a fix in progress for its python2.7 package.]

  • NumPy 1.20 has been released

    NumPy is a Python library that adds an array data type to the language, along with providing operators appropriate to working on arrays and matrices. By wrapping fast Fortran and C numerical routines, NumPy allows Python programmers to write performant code in what is normally a relatively slow language. NumPy 1.20.0 was announced on January 30, in what its developers describe as the largest release in the history of the project. That makes for a good opportunity to show a little bit about what NumPy is, how to use it, and to describe what's new in the release. [...] NumPy adds a new data type to Python: the multidimensional ndarray. This a container, like a Python list, but with some crucial differences. A NumPy array is usually homogeneous; while the elements of a list can be of various types, an ndarray will, typically, only contain a single, simple type, such as integers, strings, or floats. However, these arrays can instead contain arbitrary Python objects (i.e. descendants of object). This means that the elements will, for simple data types, all occupy the same amount of space in memory. The elements of an ndarray are laid out contiguously in memory, whereas there is no such guarantee for a list. In this way, they are similar to Fortran arrays. These properties of NumPy arrays are essential for efficiency because the location of each element can be directly calculated. Beyond just adding efficient arrays, NumPy also overloads arithmetic operators to act element-wise on the arrays. This allows the Python programmer to express computations concisely, operating on arrays as units, in many cases avoiding the need to use loops. This does not turn Python into a full-blown array language such as APL, but adds to it a syntax similar to that incorporated into Fortran 90 for array operations.

4 Best Free and Open Source Graphical MPD Clients

MPD is a powerful server-side application for playing music. In a home environment, you can connect an MPD server to a Hi-Fi system, and control the server using a notebook or smartphone. You can, of course, play audio files on remote clients. MPD can be started system-wide or on a per-user basis. MPD runs in the background playing music from its playlist. Client programs communicate with MPD to manipulate playback, the playlist, and the database. The client–server model provides advantages over all-inclusive music players. Clients can communicate with the server remotely over an intranet or over the Internet. The server can be a headless computer located anywhere on a network. There’s graphical clients, console clients and web-based clients. To provide an insight into the quality of software that is available, we have compiled a list of 4 best graphical MPD clients. Hopefully, there will be something of interest here for anyone who wants to listen to their music collection via MPD. Here’s our recommendations. They are all free and open source goodness. Read more

LWN on Kernel: 5.12 Merge, Lockless Algorithms, and opy_file_range()

  • 5.12 Merge window, part 1 [LWN.net]

    The beginning of the 5.12 merge window was delayed as the result of severe weather in the US Pacific Northwest. Once Linus Torvalds got going, though, he wasted little time; as of this writing, just over 8,600 non-merge changesets have been pulled into the mainline repository for the 5.12 release — over a period of about two days. As one might imagine, that work contains a long list of significant changes.

  • An introduction to lockless algorithms [LWN.net]

    Low-level knowledge of the memory model is universally recognized as advanced material that can scare even the most seasoned kernel hackers; our editor wrote (in the July article) that "it takes a special kind of mind to really understand the memory model". It's been said that the Linux kernel memory model (and in particular Documentation/memory-barriers.txt) can be used to frighten small children, and the same is probably true of just the words "acquire" and "release". At the same time, mechanisms like RCU and seqlocks are in such widespread use in the kernel that almost every developer will sooner or later encounter fundamentally lockless programming interfaces. For this reason, it is a good idea to equip yourself with at least a basic understanding of lockless primitives. Throughout this series I will describe what acquire and release semantics are really about, and present five relatively simple patterns that alone can cover most uses of the primitives.

  • How useful should copy_file_range() be? [LWN.net]

    Its job is to copy len bytes of data from the file represented by fd_in to fd_out, observing the requested offsets at both ends. The flags argument must be zero. This call first appeared in the 4.5 release. Over time it turned out to have a number of unpleasant bugs, leading to a long series of fixes and some significant grumbling along the way. In 2019 Amir Goldstein fixed more issues and, in the process, removed a significant limitation: until then, copy_file_range() refused to copy between files that were not located on the same filesystem. After this patch was merged (for 5.3), it could copy between any two files, falling back on splice() for the cross-filesystem case. It appeared that copy_file_range() was finally settling into a solid and useful system call. Indeed, it seemed useful enough that the Go developers decided to use it for the io.Copy() function in their standard library. Then they ran into a problem: copy_file_range() will, when given a kernel-generated file as input, copy zero bytes of data and claim success. These files, which include files in /proc, tracefs, and a large range of other virtual filesystems, generally indicate a length of zero when queried with a system call like stat(). copy_file_range(), seeing that zero length, concludes that there is no data to copy and the job is already done; it then returns success. But there is actually data to be read from this kind of file, it just doesn't show in the advertised length of the file; the real length often cannot be known before the file is actually read. Before 5.3, the prohibition on cross-filesystem copies would have caused most such attempts to return an error code; afterward, they fail but appear to work. The kernel is happy, but some users can be surprisingly stubborn about actually wanting to copy the data they asked to be copied; they were rather less happy.