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August 2019

Xfce 4.14 review - Holding out for a hero

Filed under
Reviews

People often ask me (joking, no one asks me anything, I ain't got no friends) what my favorite Linux desktop is. And my answer is, well, long and complicated. But I guess, in the past fifteen years, I've mostly used and loved Plasma and Unity, with some brief moments of joy with Gnome 2. Then, inevitably, the question of Xfce comes up, and my answer is even longer and more complicated.

The release of Xfce 4.14 might provide a part of the answer you're looking for. And you should definitely look at my reviews of various distros running Xfce, like say Xubuntu or MX Linux, to get a sense of what this desktop environment does, and how it does it. But then, it's never been really my default go-to setup, although I did use it quite successfully and effectively - and still do - on my feisty, 10-year-old Asus eeePC netbook. On the desktop proper, I like it, and I liked what it did approximately three years or so. Since, it's kind of kept a quiet profile, not quite here nor there. Well, I want to see if the new version has the kick to make my proverbial colt buck and gallop. Testing time it is then!

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The Librem 5 Application Compatibility Chart

Filed under
OS
GNU
Linux

All of the applications below are confirmed to run on the Librem 5 Smartphone running PureOS.

Each application is grouped into one of three categories based on how optimized it is for the mobile screen.

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Games: Hellblade Senua's Sacrifice, Dota Underlords, Wine/NetBSD

Filed under
Gaming
  • Hellblade Senuas Sacrifice | Linux Gaming | Ubuntu 18.04 | Steam Play

    Hellblade Senua's Sacrifice running through Steam play.

  • Valve just turned the gameplay of Dota Underlords on its head with Contraptions

    Valve seem to be using Early Access to really mix things up for Dota Underlords, with a new update out adding in Contraptions you can put on the board.

    While I like Underlords a lot, I was pretty keen to see them do a little more with it. So the idea of Contraptions is pretty fun and it does mix the gameplay up quite a bit. You can place them on the board, move them around and they will affect the combat making placement even more crucial than ever. They also don't count against the normal unit cap.

  • Wine Is Now In Better Shape On NetBSD Thanks To GSoC 2019

    In addition to NetBSD seeing better DRM ioctl support for its Linux compatibility layer (as part of an effort towards possible Steam support) thanks to Google Summer of Code 2019, there were also Wine improvements as a result of this Google programming initiative.

    Student developer Naveen Narayanan worked the summer on improving NetBSD's Wine support, particularly when it comes to AMD64 (x86_64) support.

Need A Good Linux Hex Editor? 20 Linux Hex Viewers & Editors Reviewed

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GNU
Linux
Software

A hex editor is a computer program used for editing a binary file that contains machine-readable data. It paves the way of manipulating raw binary data for a particular application. “Hex” is the short form of hexadecimal, a numerical standard format that represents the binary program. A regular hex editor has three specific areas such as ‘character area’ on the right, ‘hexadecimal area’ in the middle and the ‘address area’ on the left. Additionally, some hex editors are designed to edit and parse sector data from the hard disk and floppy disk which are frequently called disk editor or sector editor. There are far ranges of Linux hex editor available in the market; that to a greater extent make a user squarely beneficial, and allow them to edit binary program.

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Also: Announcing lymworkbook project

What To Expect From The Ubuntu 19.10 'Eoan Ermine' Beta On September 26

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Ubuntu

The release of Ubuntu Linux 19.10 edges ever closer, with an expected Beta release landing on September 26 ahead of the planned October 17 launch. Here's a brief rundown of what to expect, and a few features that might make it worth the upgrade from versions 18.10 or 19.04.

As always Ubuntu 19.10 will introduce the usual minor interface and software tweaks, but there are some highlights I'm seriously looking forward to, such as flicker-free boot for Intel users, similar to what you see today in Fedora 30.

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Linux Lite 4.6 Final Released

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GNU
Linux

Linux Lite 4.6 Final is now available for download and install.

This release has a number of changes.

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Linux driver patches hint at AMD Renoir to support LPDDR4X memory

Filed under
Graphics/Benchmarks
Linux

Great news this weekend for APU fans out there – while the AMD Navi GPUs and Ryzen 3rd generation chips are currently taking over the computing world, it doesn’t mean that the company has forgotten about its integrated graphics users.

In a recent report by Tom’s Hardware, it looks like AMD’s next generation APU (Accelerated Processing Unit) might come with LPDDR4X-4266 memory support. If true, this means that AMD Renoir will have a higher maximum data rate than AMD Picasso.

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Also: AMD Has A Number Of Graphics Driver Fixes To Add For Linux 5.4

More in Tux Machines

Apache Rya matures open source triple store database

The open source Apache Rya database effort is continuing to move forward as it reaches a new level of project maturity and acceptance. Rya (pronounced "ree-uh") is an RDF (resource description framework) triple store database. The project started at the U.S. government's Laboratory for Telecommunication Sciences with an initial research paper published in 2012. The project joined the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) in 2015 as an incubated project, and in September 2019 achieved what is known as Top-Level Project status. The Top-Level status is an indication and validation of the project's maturity, code quality and community. The ASF is home to Hadoop, Spark and other widely used database and data management programs. Read more Also: Yahoo Groups is being prepared for shutdown, with all stored archives to be deleted on Dec 14

The Spectre Mitigation Impact For Intel Ice Lake With Core i7-1065G7

For those wondering if -- or how much -- of a performance impact mitigations still make regarding Spectre for Intel's long-awaited 10nm+ Ice Lake processors, here is the rundown on the mitigation state and the performance impact. One of the areas that Phoronix readers have requested testing on with the recent purchase of the Dell XPS 7390 with Core i7 1065G7 is regarding the mitigation state and performance. Ice Lake with its Sunny Cove microarchitecture -- similar to Cascade Lake -- is no longer affected by Meltdown, MDS, or L1TF / Foreshadow. Read more

Networking SBCs run Linux on quad -A53 and -A72 NXP LS chips

Forlinx’s sandwich-style OK1043A-C and OK1046A SBCs run Linux on NXP’s quad -A53 LS1043A and quad -A72 LS1046A SoCs, respectively, and offer a 10GbE port and up to 6x GbE ports with optional SFP. Forlinx has posted product pages for two similar COM Express modules and carrier boards that run Linux on NXP’s networking focused LS series processors. The FET1043A-C module taps the up to 1.6GHz, quad-core, Cortex-A53 LS1043A while the FET1046A-C uses the up to 1.8GHz, quad-core, Cortex-A72 LS1046A. All the processors are headless — without GPUs. Read more

Security: WireGuard, Birds and Updates

  • WireGuard Restored In Android's Google Play Store After Brief But Controversial Removal

    After Google dropped the open-source WireGuard app from their Play Store since it contained a donation link, the app has now been restored within Google's software store for Android users but without the donation option. The WireGuard app for Android makes it easy to setup the secure VPN tunnel software on mobile devices, similar to its port to iOS and other platforms. The WireGuard apps are free but have included a donation link to the WireGuard website should anyone wish to optionally make a donation to support the development of this very promising network tech.

  • Letting Birds scooters fly free

    At that point I had everything I need to write a simple app to unlock the scooters, and it worked! For about 2 minutes, at which point the network would notice that the scooter was unlocked when it should be locked and sent a lock command to force disable the scooter again. Ah well. So, what else could I do? The next thing I tried was just modifying some STM firmware and flashing it onto a board. It still booted, indicating that there was no sort of verified boot process. Remember what I mentioned about the throttle being hooked through the STM32's analogue to digital converters[3]? A bit of hacking later and I had a board that would appear to work normally, but about a minute after starting the ride would cut the throttle. Alternative options are left as an exercise for the reader. Finally, there was the component I hadn't really looked at yet. The Quectel modem actually contains its own application processor that runs Linux, making it significantly more powerful than any of the chips actually running the scooter application[4]. The STM communicates with the modem over serial, sending it an AT command asking it to make an SSL connection to a remote endpoint. It then uses further AT commands to send data over this SSL connection, allowing it to talk to the internet without having any sort of IP stack. Figuring out just what was going over this connection was made slightly difficult by virtue of all the debug functionality having been ripped out of the STM's firmware, so in the end I took a more brute force approach - I identified the address of the function that sends data to the modem, hooked up OpenOCD to the SWD pins on the STM, ran OpenOCD's gdb stub, attached gdb, set a breakpoint for that function and then dumped the arguments being passed to that function. A couple of minutes later and I had a full transaction between the scooter and the remote. The scooter authenticates against the remote endpoint by sending its serial number and IMEI. You need to send both, but the IMEI didn't seem to need to be associated with the serial number at all. New connections seemed to take precedence over existing connections, so it would be simple to just pretend to be every scooter and hijack all the connections, resulting in scooter unlock commands being sent to you rather than to the scooter or allowing someone to send fake GPS data and make it impossible for users to find scooters.

  • Security updates for Friday

    Security updates have been issued by Debian (poppler, sudo, and wordpress), Oracle (java-1.8.0-openjdk), Red Hat (java-1.8.0-openjdk), Scientific Linux (java-1.8.0-openjdk, java-11-openjdk, and kernel), and SUSE (kernel and postgresql10).