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December 2019

What is GNU/Linux?

Filed under
GNU
Linux

Most consumers can, with a little effort, name two desktop and laptop operating systems: Microsoft Windows and Apple's macOS. Few have ever considered any of the open-source alternatives found under the umbrella of GNU/Linux, though some may have done so without even knowing it—Google's Chrome OS uses the Linux kernel. To be honest, aside from the Chromebook platform, GNU/Linux systems are typically not best for people who rely on big-name software or don't like dabbling with a customizable, hands-on interface. However, if you're looking for a change of pace, don't want to pay for your software, and don't mind rolling up your sleeves, switching to GNU/Linux may not only be worthwhile, but make you a convert for life. This guide for nontechnical users will show you how.

Before diving headfirst into the wonky world of GNU/Linux systems, it's important to understand how they came about and some of the terms you may encounter while researching and using them. I'll start with a brief history of the big three: UNIX, Linux, and GNU.

UNIX is a proprietary, command-line-based operating system originally developed by Dennis Ritchie and Ken Thompson (among others) at AT&T's Bell Labs in the late 1960s and early 1970s. UNIX is coded almost entirely in the C programming language (also invented by Ritchie) and was originally intended to be used as a portable and convenient OS for programmers and researchers. As a result of a long and complicated legal history involving AT&T, Bell Labs, and the federal government, UNIX and UNIX-like operating systems grew in popularity, as did Thompson's influential philosophy of a modular, minimalist approach to software design.

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Making Slackware 14.1 Works with GLIM Multiboot USB

Filed under
GNU
Linux
HowTos

This tutorial explains the configuration files for Slackware 14.1 DVD 64-bit to work in LiveUSB multiboot mode with GLIM. This way you can have one flash drive containing multiple GNU/Linux OS installers including Slackware64 among them. This is my first time to ship Slackware USB ever and I am happy finally I could make it with GLIM. This is the result of my shipment to Sulawesi, Indonesia at December 2019. Happy hacking!

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Stable kernels 5.4.7, 4.19.92, and 4.14.161

  • Linux 5.4.7

    I'm announcing the release of the 5.4.7 kernel.

    All users of the 5.4 kernel series must upgrade.

    The updated 5.4.y git tree can be found at:
    git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-stable.git linux-5.4.y
    and can be browsed at the normal kernel.org git web browser:
    https://git.kernel.org/?p=linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-s...

  • Linux 4.19.92
  • Linux 4.14.161

Programming: KDE at Congress, Java, C and Python

Filed under
Development
  • 36C3 Impressions

    I was given the opportunity to present our work on KDE Itinerary on the WikipakaWG stage (part of the joint presence of Wikimedia and the Open Knowledge Foundation). A big thanks for that again!

    The slides are here. At this point there is no released video recording yet, until that’s available you should still find the relive stream.

    Besides showing overall what we are doing and have built so far, and why this matters, we managed to have a few sneak preview screenshots of the latest developments that haven’t been shown anywhere before yet. Another such preview could be spotted in a presentation of another project at the event. So stay tuned for announcements in January Smile

    Following that I got a large amount of input and positive feedback, people seem to like the idea of a privacy first digital travel assistant. This also lead to a number of interesting contacts for possible collaborations in 2020, let’s see what comes out of this.

    KDE at Congress

    There were only very few KDE people at 36C3, and only very few talks covering KDE projects. I did spot a very well attended talk about Linux-based mobile platforms covering Plasma Mobile by someone I didn’t know yet, so there definitely seems to be interest in KDE’s work there.

    I mainly focused on mobility or open transport data topics for KDE Itinerary, that left little time to cover other things highly relevant for KDE like free mobile platforms, environmental impact of software, Free Software in public administration, or let alone the enormous field of privacy related topics.

    I’d therefore suggest KDE to attend with a larger team next time, not necessarily with a stationary presence, but with more people to present our work and to connect with others with overlapping interests.

  • Java retrospective #3 – most important thing for the community in 2019

    As 2019 draws to a close, we got in touch with some prominent members of the Java community to gather their thoughts on the events of the last year. In this five part series, we will look at what they had to say. In this third part, we asked what the most important thing for the Java community was in 2019.

  • Ringing In 2020 By Clang'ing The Linux 5.5 Kernel - Benchmarks Of GCC vs. Clang Built Kernels

    The main issue encountered when Clang'ing Linux 5.3 was the AMDGPU driver running into build problems. Fortunately, that was since resolved and with Linux 5.5 tests I recently did when building the kernel with Clang 9.0, the AMDGPU driver has worked out fine. With that resolved and no new Clang kernel compatibility problems introduced, it was a pleasant experience building Linux 5.5 with Clang simply by adjusting the CC environment variable.

  • Area of sinc and jinc function lobes

    The lobes are the regions between crossings of the x-axis. For the sinc function, the lobe in the middle runs from -π to π, and for n > 0 the nth lobe runs from nπ to (n+1)π. The zeros of Bessel functions are not uniformly spaced like the zeros of the sine function, but they come up in application frequently and so it’s easy to find software to compute their locations.

  • Sorting Data With Python

    All programmers will have to write code to sort items or data at some point. Sorting can be critical to the user experience in your application, whether it’s ordering a user’s most recent activity by timestamp, or putting a list of email recipients in alphabetical order by last name. Python sorting functionality offers robust features to do basic sorting or customize ordering at a granular level.

    In this course, you’ll learn how to sort various types of data in different data structures, customize the order, and work with two different methods of sorting in Python.

Security Leftovers

Filed under
Security
  • Security updates for Tuesday

    Security updates have been issued by Debian (intel-microcode and libbsd), openSUSE (chromium, LibreOffice, and spectre-meltdown-checker), and SUSE (mozilla-nspr, mozilla-nss and python-azure-agent).

  • How AI and Cybersecurity Will Intersect in 2020

    So much of the discussion about cybersecurity's relationship with artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) revolves around how AI and ML can improve security product functionality. However, that is actually only one dimension of a much broader collision between cybersecurity and AI.

  • Best of TechBeacon 2019: Security is in the hot seat with privacy laws

    New laws such as the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and the European Union's General Data Privacy Regulation (GDPR) have put substantial pressure on organizations to bolster their security practices this year. Adding to the urgency were the near-constant reports of data breaches, an ever-evolving threat landscape, and a growing volume of attacks.

Applications: Scrapyard, NAS Software, GnuCash and Clementine

Filed under
Software
  • Scrapyard is an advanced bookmarks manager for Firefox

    Scrapyard is an open source extension for the Firefox web browser designed to improve bookmarking in Firefox in multiple ways. Firefox users may use it to bookmark pages but also content on pages, and store the data locally.

    Firefox's default bookmarks functionality is quite basic. Users may bookmark webpages or sites, add tags to bookmarks, use folders to sort bookmarks, and use Firefox's synchronization feature to sync bookmarks across devices.

    Firefox users who require more functionality need to rely on add-ons for that. Bookmarks Organizer is a handy extension to find dead or redirecting bookmarks.

  • 4 Best Open Source NAS Software for DIY server in 2020

    Before listing Linux or FreeBSD distros for creating network Attached storage OS, I would like to say there is no “best operating system” either for NAS or computer. The choice of an operating system depends heavily on what you are going to do with the NAS server. In this guide, we focus on software that understands a NAS server primarily as a system for the provision of data in your office or home. With the operating systems we mention in this article, you can copy data back and forth, perform backups, along with some advanced tasks (such as establishing a VPN connection or installing a mail server) including plugins to extend OS capabilities.

    Here we are about to list some best NAS solutions to help you if you are planning to data management using open-source software in 2020.

  • GnuCash 3.8

    GnuCash is a personal and small business finance application, freely licensed under the GNU GPL and available for GNU/Linux, BSD, Solaris, Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows. It’s designed to be easy to use, yet powerful and flexible. GnuCash allows you to track your income and expenses, reconcile bank accounts, monitor stock portfolios and manage your small business finances. It is based on professional accounting principles to ensure balanced books and accurate reports.

    GnuCash can keep track of your personal finances in as much detail as you prefer. If you are just starting out, use GnuCash to keep track of your checkbook. You may then decide to track cash as well as credit card purchases to better determine where your money is being spent. When you start investing, you can use GnuCash to help monitor your portfolio. Buying a vehicle or a home? GnuCash will help you plan the investment and track loan payments. If your financial records span the globe, GnuCash provides all the multiple-currency support you need.

  • Clementine Music Player 1.3.9 Released for Testing (How to Install)

    Clementine, an open-source audio player inspired by Amarok 1.4, released version 1.3.9 (then 1.3.92) a few days ago. Here’s how to install it in Ubuntu.

    Though the last version 1.3.1 was released more than 3 years ago, Clementine player is still in active development, and version 1.3.9 (as well as 1.3.92) was released in recent days as the test release. However, there’s no announcement, no change-log so far. They seem to be the development releases for the next major release.

My Linux Experience in 2019

Filed under
GNU
Linux

In summary, I can say that my experience with Linux during 2019 has been extremely satisfactory. I mean, my computers have been working great and the distros have been more stable than ever.

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More in Tux Machines

today's leftovers

  • Meetup Will Discuss Survey Results, Project Improvements

    The openSUSE Project welcomes our followers to participate in two planned meetups to discuss results from the End of the Year Community Survey on Jan. 23 and Jan. 30. Both sessions will start at 13:00 UTC on openSUSE’s Jitsi instance and go for 1:30 hours. Members of the “let’s improve the openSUSE learning experience” initiative will share results and analysis from the survey.

  • LF‌ ‌Edge‌ ‌Adds‌ ‌New‌ ‌Members‌

    LF Edge has announced the addition of four new general members (FII, HCL, OpenNebula, and Robin.io) and one new Associate member (Shanghai Open Source Information Technology Association). Additionally, Home Edge has released its third platform update with new Data Storage and Mult-NAT Edge Device Communications (MNDEC) features.

  • Text Encoding Menu in 2021

    In mid-January 2021, the Text Encoding menu in Firefox looks like this: Automatic Unicode Western Arabic (Windows) Arabic (ISO) Baltic (Windows) Baltic (ISO) Central European (Windows) Central European (ISO) Chinese, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Cyrillic (Windows) Cyrillic (KOI8-U) Cyrillic (KOI8-R) Cyrillic (ISO) Cyrillic (DOS) Greek (Windows) Greek (ISO) Hebrew, Visual Hebrew Japanese Korean Thai Turkish Vietnamese [...] For users who have telemetry enabled, we collect data about whether the item “Automatic” was used at least once in given Firefox subsession, whether an item other than “Automatic” was used at least once in a given Firefox subsession, and a characterization of how the encoding that is being overridden was determined (from HTTP, from meta, from chardetng running without the user triggering it, from chardetng as triggered by the user by having chosen “Automatic” previously, etc.). If things go well, the telemetry can be analyzed when Firefox 87 is released (i.e. when 86 has spent its time on the release channel). The current expectation for this is 2021-03-23.

  • Wikipedia is twenty. It’s time to start covering it better. - Columbia Journalism Review
  • Jimmy Wales: “Wikipedia is from a different era”

    As the online encyclopedia turns 20-years-old, its founder reflects on the internet’s halcyon days.

  • Fact check: As Wikipedia turns 20, how credible is it?

    Wikipedia, which has been referred to as a world treasure, turns 20 on Friday. According to research conducted over the years — including a scientific study published by the journal Nature in 2005 and a report commissioned by the site's Wikimedia Foundation in 2012 — Wikipedia's entries are comparable in quality to those in prestigious encyclopedias such as Britannica. However, it is difficult to measure the consistency of information that can be altered at any time.

  • Odin is finally pleased so the open-world survival game Valheim releases on February 2 | GamingOnLinux

    Odin has finally had enough sacrifices and shall be releasing Valheim from Iron Gate AB will enter Early Access with Linux and Windows support on February 2. What is it? A brutal multiplayer exploration and survival game set in a procedurally-generated purgatory inspired by viking culture. Battle, build, and conquer your way to a saga worthy of Odin’s patronage! With low-poly artwork and a very flexible building system it looks absolutely brilliant. The early builds they had available were seriously promising back in 2018 so I'm personally excited to see how far they've progress with it in that time.

Programming Leftovers

  • Ravgeet Dhillon: Offline Toast notification in Nuxt/Vue app

    We have often seen apps telling us that “You are offline. Check your network status.”. It is not only convenient to do so but adds to a great UX. In this blog, we will look at how can we display a toast notification in a Nuxt/Vue app whenever the user goes offline or online. This will also help us to understand how to use computed and watch properties together. [...] Hurray! Our toast notifications are working perfectly fine. So using the combined magic of computed and watch properties, we can create outstanding workflows and take our Nuxt/Vue app to next level. If you any doubts or appreciation for our team, let us know in the comments below. We would be happy to assist you.

  • Stephen Michael Kellat: Leveraging LaTeX In This Time

    From time to time I like to bring up fun adventures in LaTeX. In these stranges times in the United States it is important to look at somewhat practical applications beyond the normal reports and formal papers most people think of. With a Minimum Working Example we can mostly look at an idea. The Comprehensive TeX Archive Network has a package known as newspaper which is effectively subject to nominative determinism. You can make things with it that look like newspapers out of the 1940s-1960s in terms of layout. The page on CTAN shows nice examples of its use and provides a nice story as to why the package was created. The example source file on CTAN has a bug in it, though. We're going to make a new one based on it. I am also going to add but not yet utilize the markdown package to the example.

  • 2021.03 Course Topped – Rakudo Weekly News

    The course of the Raku Programming Language by Andrew Shitov made it to the top 20 of Hacker News and spurred quite a few comments. The first associated Grant Report was also published.

  • GCC 11 Is On The Final Stage Of Development With 60+ High Priority Regressions - Phoronix

    GCC 11 entered its final stage of development today as it works towards releasing around the end of Q1 / early Q2 if their past cadence holds up. Before GCC 11.1 can debut as the first stable version, there are some 60+ "P1" high priority regressions that need to be resolved or otherwise demoted to lesser priority regressions. GCC 11 release manager Richard Biener this morning announced GCC 11 is now in stage four development meaning only regression fixes and documentation fixes are allowed. As of this morning the code-base is at 62 P1 regressions, another 334 P2 regressions, 35 P3 regressions, and more than 200 regressions of the lower P4/P5 status.

Devices: Xtra-PC, Arduino and Inventor Coding Kit

  • Xtra-PC Reviews – Best Linux USB-Stick? - Product Review by Rick Finn

    The Xtra-PC Linux USB-Stick might be your solution if you have problems with your old and slow PC. It's a small flash drive stick and it's using Linux OS to boost you PC's operations. Check out now.

  • Arduino Blog » Old keyboard turned into a new children’s learning toy

    Peter Turczak’s toddler son loves “technical stuff,” especially things like keyboards and computers that adults use. After discussing this with other likeminded technical parents, the idea of giving new life to an old (PS/2 or AT) keyboard as a teaching tool was hatched.

  • SiFive Helping To Teach Kids Programming With RISC-V HiFive Inventor Coding Kit

    SiFive in cooperation with Tynker and BBC Learning have launched a Doctor Who themed HiFive Inventor Coding Kit. This Initial HiFive Inventor Coding Kit is intended to help kids as young as seven years of age get involved with computer programming through a variety of fun exercises and challenges involving the RISC-V powered mini computer and related peripherals like LED lighting and speaker control. [...] So for those looking to get their kids involved with computer programming and looking for an IoT-type device with some fun sensors and various themed exercises to get them experimenting, the HiFive Inventor Coding Kit is worth looking into further. More details on the programming platform can be found via Tynker.com and on the hardware at HiFiveInventor.com. The HiFive Inventor Kit is available from Amazon.com and other Internet retailers for $75 USD.

Security Leftovers

  • Security updates for Monday

    Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (atftp, coturn, gitlab, mdbook, mediawiki, nodejs, nodejs-lts-dubnium, nodejs-lts-erbium, nodejs-lts-fermium, nvidia-utils, opensmtpd, php, python-cairosvg, python-pillow, thunderbird, vivaldi, and wavpack), CentOS (firefox and thunderbird), Debian (chromium and snapd), Fedora (chromium, flatpak, glibc, kernel, kernel-headers, nodejs, php, and python-cairosvg), Mageia (bind, caribou, chromium-browser-stable, dom4j, edk2, opensc, p11-kit, policycoreutils, python-lxml, resteasy, sudo, synergy, and unzip), openSUSE (ceph, crmsh, dovecot23, hawk2, kernel, nodejs10, open-iscsi, openldap2, php7, python-jupyter_notebook, slurm_18_08, tcmu-runner, thunderbird, tomcat, viewvc, and vlc), Oracle (dotnet3.1 and thunderbird), Red Hat (postgresql:10, postgresql:12, postgresql:9.6, and xstream), SUSE (ImageMagick, openldap2, slurm, and tcmu-runner), and Ubuntu (icoutils).

  • About CVE-2020-27348

    Well this is a doozey. Made public a while back was a security vulnerability in many Snap Packages and the Snapcraft tool used to create them. Specifically, this is the vulnerability identified as CVE-2020-27348. It unfortunately affects many many snap packages… [...] The problem arises when the LD_LIBRARY_PATH includes an empty element in its list. When the Dynamic Linker sees an empty element it will look in the current working directory of the process. So if we construct our search paths with an accidental empty element the application inside our Snap Package could be caused to load a shared library from outside the Snap Package’s shipped files. This can lead to an arbitrary code execution. It has been common to put a definition of the LD_LIBRARY_PATH variable into a Snap Package’s snapcraft.yaml that references a predefined $LD_LIBRARY_PATH as if to extend it. Unfortunately, despite this being common, it was poorly understood that SnapD ensures that the $LD_LIBRARY_PATH is unset when starting a Snap Package’s applications. What that means is that where the author tried to extend the variable they have inadvertantly inserted the bad empty element. The empty element appears because $LD_LIBRARY_PATH is unset so the shell will expand it to an empty string.

  • Wait, What? Kids Found A Security Flaw in Linux Mint By Mashing Keys!

    Security flaws can be incredibly stupid and dangerous. Of course, I’m not judging anyone, we are humans after all. But this little incident is quite funny.