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January 2020

Software Releases: Kuesa 1.1.0, Apache SpamAssassin 3.4.4, Latte Dock v0.9.8.1, OCRFeeder 0.8.2

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  • New features and changes in the Kuesa 1.1.0 release

    KUESA™ is a solution that provides an integrated and unified workflow for designers and developers to create, optimize and integrate real time 3D content in a 3D or hybrid 2D/3D software user interface. Models, including geometry, materials, animations and more, can smoothly be shared between designers and developers. Kuesa relies on glTF 2.0, an open standard which is being broadly used in the industry, so it can easily and seamlessly integrate with a growing number of authoring tools.

  • Apache SpamAssassin 3.4.4 available

    One of the most significant projects from the Apache Foundation has released another version of SpamAssassin. This is primarily a security release, but also includes improvements to macro document processing with OLVBMacro and a set of smaller fixes.Apache SpamAssassin is a mature, widely-deployed open source project that serves as a mail filter to identify spam. SpamAssassin uses a variety of mechanisms including mail header and text analysis, Bayesian filtering, DNS blocklists, and collaborative filtering databases. In addition, Apache SpamAssassin has a modular architecture that allows other technologies to be quickly incorporated as an addition or as a replacement for existing methods.

  • Latte bug fix release v0.9.8.1

    Latte Dock v0.9.8.1  has been released containing important fixes and improvements! 

  • Joaquim Rocha: OCRFeeder 0.8.2 released

    Looking at this title gives me a “blast from the past” kind of feeling.
    OCRFeeder hasn’t seen a release in 6 years (!), but due to some recent efforts from members of the GNOME community, I decided to dedicate a few late nights to it and here it is the new release finally: version 0.8.2.

    I gotta give my special thanks to the community member scx who not only fixed a few important issues and added a couple of quick improvements, but also was patient enough to wait for my delayed reviews last year, and even created the flatpak for OCRFeeder.

    Here are a few paragraphs about the changes/status:

    Python 3

    Perhaps the biggest change in this version is the port to Python 3. Yes, Python 3 has not been a new thing for a while now, but it was never a priority to port the source code to it. An extra incentive for me to do the change though, is that Debian is in the process of nuking Python 2 for good.

    One of the good things that Python 3 brings is unicode support by default, so hopefully there will be no more unicode issues in OCRFeeder.

Linux Benchmarks, Present and Future (Linux 5.5, Linux 5.6, Linux 5.7-5.8)

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  • Linux 5.5 Performance Overall Is Comparable To Older Kernels For Most Workloads

    Since the stable release of Linux 5.5 this weekend I have been carrying out benchmarks for looking at how the performance of this newly-minted kernel compares to older releases. Here are benchmark results of Linux 5.3 vs. 5.4 vs. 5.5 with an AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3970X but the results are similar to other HEDT and lower-end systems we've tested thus far.

    Outside of some AMD and Intel graphics performance improvements, when it comes to overall CPU/system performance the Linux 5.5 performance is comparable to 5.4. Early on the Linux 5.5 performance was looking bleak with a sizable performance hit that turned out to be an AppArmor regression. There were some other oddities but some noise made it difficult to narrow down. But fortunately with Linux 5.5 final, the performance seems to be in good standing and I haven't noticed any big performance hits in my Linux 5.5 stable testing from desktop to server platforms.

  • Linux 5.6 Is The First Kernel For 32-Bit Systems Ready To Run Past Year 2038

    On top of all the spectacular work coming with Linux 5.6, here is another big improvement that went under my radar until today: Linux 5.6 is slated to be the first mainline kernel ready for 32-bit systems to run past the Year 2038!

    On 19 January 2038 is the "Year 2038" problem where the Unix timestamp can no longer fit within a signed 32-bit integer. For years the Linux kernel developers have been working to mitigate against this issue also commonly referred to as the "Y2038" problem, but with Linux 5.6 (and potentially back-ported to 5.4/5.5 stable branches) is the first where 32-bit kernels should be ready to go for operating past this threshold.

  • Habana Labs Aims To Upstream Gaudi AI Accelerator Code For Linux 5.7~5.8

    Habana Labs, the AI start-up being bought out by Intel, is still striving towards upstreaming their Gaudi processor support code for AI training.

    Habana Labs has been a good member of the open-source community with having mainlined their driver in the Linux kernel a year ago. That initial focus was on the Goya AI inference processor while now they have been working on bringing up Gaudi too under this open-source kernel code.

Tiniest i.MX8M Mini module yet ships with Linux BSP

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Kontron’s “SoM SL i.MX8M Mini” module combines NXP’s Mini SoC with up to 4GB LPDDR4 and 128GB eMMC. The -25 to 85°C tolerant module ships with a Linux BSP and measures only 30 x 30mm.

Kontron has announced a solderable compute module that appears to be the smallest yet based on NXP’s i.MX8M Mini. The 30 x 30mm SoM SL i.MX8M Mini joins other tiny Mini modules including Forlinx’s 56 x 36mm SoM FETMX8MM-C, InnoComm’s 50 x 45mm WB15, Varicite’s 55 x 30mm
DART-MX8M-Mini, and SolidRun’s i.MX 8M Mini SOM, as well as several larger modules.

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Games: The Pedestrian, Dwarf Fortress, and Playing With Godot Engine

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  • The Pedestrian is an imaginative and fun puzzle game about travelling through signs - out now

    You are The Pedestrian, the little person you see in various street and wall signs and you're on a mission. It's a clever idea for a game but is the gameplay worth it? I took a look to find out. Note: Key from the dev.

    Truthfully though, unless something major changed, I was fully expecting to enjoy this. The demo released previously I briefly wrote up was already very enjoyable and showcased what they wanted to do well enough. The Pedestrian can be played by pretty much anyone, as the story is without text and dialogue.

  • Huge new Dwarf Fortress release out with villains and interrogations - you can also pet animals

    Dwarf Fortress, a single-player fantasy game that's quite a complex mix of genres has a big new release now available. It's been around a long time and it's so popular it's inspired the creation of other amazing games like RimWorld, Prison Architect, Minecraft and plenty more.

    Yesterday, Bay 12 Games put out v0.47.01 with some pretty huge new features, plenty of which are spread out across the multiple game modes. For the fortress mode, you will now get petitions for guildhalls and temples when you have enough believers digging around. Slightly more concerning though, is that villains might target you and steal some artifacts. If you have a Sheriff, you will get reports on it and you will be able to interrogate people and perhaps get the name of their master eventually.

  • Ordmonster

    The first thing I’d like to point out that my fluency in Godot as a tool is starting to show of. I’m more happy with the code structure of ordmonster, and I start to feel that I don’t continuously bump into the sharp edges of Godot, but use the engine as it was meant to be used.

    I also learned a couple of things. The first one is the Control::mouse_filter property. The GameButton nodes (the ones showing a word or a picture) consists of a Button with a Label for text and a TextureRect for holding the picture. The TextureRect sits inside a MarginContainer. It turns out the MarginContainer stops all mouse events from passing through, effectively disabling the Button. This took a while to figure out.

    The second half has to do with how resource files can be traversed on Android. Resources are embedded into the executable produced by Godot. The words available in the game are stored as the filenames of the images, so that I don’t have to create a table and keep it in sync with the file names. Really smart idea – right? This smart idea cost me quite some time.

    First up, it seems like you cannot have non-ASCII characters in asset filenames when building apk files for Android devices. Really annoying. The fix was using English for the filenames and having to add the words to my translation tables, so now I have a table to keep in sync with the filenames anyway.

    The fun did not end here. Now it worked on desktop (both Linux and Windows), but my Android builds simply crashed on me. It turns out that the Directory::list_dir_begin and friends do not seem to work on Android, or the assets are not included in the apk. I’ll spend some time figuring out what is up, then I’ll probably file a bug report. In the mean time you can follow the current forum discussion.

LibreOffice 6.4 Released. This is What’s New.

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LibreOffice is the most popular free office suite at the moment with millions of downloads. This is the most active project with features are being added very frequently in each release.
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OpenSMTPD Bug in the News (CVE-2020-7247)

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  • OpenBSD OpenSMTPD Remote Code Execution Vulnerability (CVE-2020-7247)

    Qualys Research Labs discovered a vulnerability in OpenBSD’s OpenSMTPD mail server that allows an attacker to execute arbitrary shell commands with elevated privileges. OpenBSD developers have confirmed the vulnerability and also quickly provided a patch.

    Proof-of-concept exploits are published in the security advisory.

  • Unpleasant vulnerability in OpenSMTPD

    Qualys has put out an advisory regarding a vulnerability in OpenBSD's OpenSMTPD mail server. It "allows an attacker to execute arbitrary shell commands, as root: either locally, in OpenSMTPD's default configuration (which listens on the loopback interface and only accepts mail from localhost); or locally and remotely, in OpenSMTPD's 'uncommented' default configuration (which listens on all interfaces and accepts external mail)." OpenBSD users would be well advised to update quickly.

  • RCE in OpenSMTPD library impacts BSD and Linux distros

    Security researchers have discovered a vulnerability inside a core email-related library used by many BSD and Linux distributions.

    The vulnerability, tracked as CVE-2020-7247, impacts OpenSMTPD, an open-source implementation of the server-side SMTP protocol.

    The library is normally included with distros that are designed to operate on servers, allowing the server to handle SMTP-related email messages and traffic.

    The OpenSMTPD library was initially developed for the OpenBSD operating system, but the library was open-sourced, and its "portable version" has also been incorporated into other OSes, such as FreeBSD, NetBSD, and some Linux distros, such as Debian, Fedora, Alpine Linux, and more.

Flashing Builds from the Android Open Source Project

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  • Flashing Builds from the Android Open Source Project

    AOSP has been around for a while, but flashing builds onto a development device has always required a number of manual steps. A year ago we launched Android's Continuous Integration Dashboard, which gives more visibility into the continuous build status of the AOSP source tree. However, these builds were not available for phones and flashing devices still required a manual command line process.

  • Google Makes It Easier To Flash Android Open-Source Project On Phones

    Flashing the Android Open-Source Project (AOSP) onto devices is now a lot easier thanks to the Android Flash Tool.

    Deploying the open-source build of Android onto smartphones/tablets has been a chore with various manual steps involved from the command line, but now the Android Flash Tool makes it easy to flash builds produced via the Android Continuous Integration Dashboard onto supported devices. Android Flash Tool makes it much easier for those wanting to run AOSP builds on hardware.

  • Google Android Flash Tool Allows You to Flash AOSP From a Web Browser

Spring the mouse trap: don't fall for Disney+

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It's common to feel a little uneasy when it comes to Disney. Most people know that the mouse didn't get to where he is now by himself, and that behind him there are more shadowy people wearing suits than their cheerful advertising admits. Likewise, the intricate control and extensive surveillance they have over their parks can be seen as a playground for dystopia.

Over the last few decades, the company has grown tremendously, with billion dollar franchises such as Star Wars and the Marvel universe making up only a fraction of the Disney empire, in addition to the complete film catalog of 20th Century Fox. Disney's leadership in the movie world has given them immense power that they have a rich history of abusing, as we've seen with the "Mickey Mouse Protection Act," and the notorious Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

Like the witch with her cauldron, Disney executives were concocting something evil when they were brewing up Disney+. It needed just the right amount of poison to be palatable: not enough to where it would turn everyone away, but not so little that users would be able to actually take a screenshot of the film that they are watching. Maleficent is more than just a character in a Disney film; it's an apt descriptor for the behavior of Disney itself when it comes to their attack on culture through Digital Restrictions Management (DRM).

Along with the steady wave of advertising, Disney+ drew early comments from concerned free software developers like Hans de Goede, who was among the first to point out that Disney+ would be using the highest restriction level of Widevine DRM. Widevine is a scheme that's familiar to anti-DRM activists, and is one commonly embedded in Encrypted Media Extensions (EME), the World Wide Web's Consortium's initiative to create a Hollyweb out of the Internet. For a short time, this made the Disney+ "service" incompatible with all GNU/Linux systems, Chromebooks, and many older Android devices. Though public comment led them to loosen the shackles a little, that doesn't mean that your favorite films are any less imprisoned.

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"Open" Hardware and Linux-Friendly Hardware: Arduino, Bluetooth, RasPi and More

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  • 10 of the Best IoT Projects Using Arduino

    If you’re an electronics hobbyist, chances are you’ve heard of the Arduino. It’s a tiny computer that you can use to do surprisingly complex things. It also happens to be behind a fair number of Internet of Things projects.

    While some people reach for Raspberry Pi or something even more powerful, an Arduino or Arduino Uno might be all you need. We’ve put together a list of IoT projects that prove this to be true.

  • Best USB Bluetooth Adapters that are Linux-compatible

    Do you want to add Bluetooth support to your Linux desktop or laptop? If so, consider getting a USB Bluetooth adapter. They’re inexpensive and a great way to add Bluetooth connectivity with ease.

    Finding a Linux-compatible Bluetooth adapter is hard work, as not many manufacturers support Linux out of the box. Due to how difficult it is to find an adapter, we’ve made a list of the four best USB Bluetooth adapters that are Linux-compatible.

  • Our brand-new HackSpace magazine trailer

    Our brand-new trailer for HackSpace magazine is very pretty. Here, have a look for yourself.

  • Compute module and ATX board set sail on Coffee Lake

    Portwell’s “PCOM-B654GL” COM Express Basic Type 6 module and “RUBY-D811-Q370” industrial ATX board both run on 8th Gen Coffee Lake CPUs, and the RUBY-D811 also supports 9th Gen models. Features include 4x USB 3.1 Gen 2, 4x SATA, 3x 4K displays, and loads of PCIe links.

    We seem to be in the middle of the Coffee Lake boom. This could take a while since many of the products, such as Portwell’s new RUBY-D811-Q370 ATX board also support Intel’s 9th Gen Coffee Lake Refresh chips in addition to 8th Gen. Also, Intel has so far released only a few models from its 10nm, 10th Gen Ice Lake family.

  • Apollo Lake and Allwinner based panel PCs target retail, kiosk, and medical jobs, and

    Portwell’s LEAD Series panel PCs come with IP65-protected 21.5- and 23.6-inch capacitive touchscreens. Models include the Apollo Lake based LEAD-PPC with Linux, Win 10, or Android, and a LEAD-PND that runs Android 6.0 on an octa-core -A7 Allwinner A83T.

    Earlier this month at CES, Portwell launched a line of LEAD Series panel PCs and touchscreen monitors. In addition to the Apollo Lake based LEAD-PPC and Allwinner A83T powered LEAD-PND, the company announced a LEAD-PD line of independent touchscreen monitors with no computer.

The CUPS Printing System Lead Developer Has Left Apple, Begins Developing "LPrint"

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More than a decade after Apple acquired the CUPS source-code and its lead developer, that developer, Michael Sweet, recently parted ways with Apple.

Just before Christmas was an announcement by CUPS lead developer Michael Sweet that he left Apple and will be taking a break and then plans to begin forming a new business with his wife.

During his tenure at Apple, there were many CUPS improvements: much better network printing support, basic 3D printer support, IPP Everywhere, and more.

Back in 2017 though is when Apple decided CUPS would no longer be GPL licensed but they migrated to the Apache 2.0 license. Just last August came CUPS 2.3 with that licensing change and the print server's first release in three years.

Read more

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Open source mind mapping with

There's something special about maps. I remember opening the front book cover of JRR Tolkien's The Hobbit when I was younger, staring at the hand-drawn map of Middle Earth, and feeling the wealth of possibility contained in the simple drawing. Aside from their obvious purpose of actually describing where things are in relation to other things, I think maps do a great job of expressing potential. You could step outside and take the road this way or that way, and if you do, just think of all the new and exciting things you'll be able to see. Read more

19 Absolute Simple Things About Linux Terminal Every Ubuntu User Should Know

Terminal often intimidates new users. However, once you get to know it, you gradually start liking it. Well, that happens with most Linux users. Even if you are using Ubuntu as a desktop system, you may have to enter the terminal at times. New users are often clueless about many things. Some knowledge of basic Linux commands always helps in such cases but this article is not about that. This article focuses on explaining small, basic and often ignored things about using the terminal. This should help new Ubuntu desktop users to know the terminal and use it with slightly more efficiency. Read more

EndeavourOS 21.4 Review [Atlantis] - Pure Arch Linux Experience for You

We review the EndeavourOS 21.4 (Atlantis) — the best Arch Linux flavor for beginners. Read more

today's leftovers

  • Mesa's Classic Drivers Have Been Retired - Affecting ATI R100/R200 & More - Phoronix

    The day has finally come that Mesa's classic OpenGL drivers (non-Gallium3D) have been cleared out of the code-base as part of their modernization effort for mainline. After a half-year pending, the "Delete Mesa Classic" merge request was honored today in eliminating the Mesa "classic" OpenGL drivers from the code-base. The drivers will still be maintained in an "Amber" branch, but considering how little focus these drivers have been receiving by upstream Mesa developers currently, don't expect much (or, if any) real changes moving ahead.

  • Steam support for Chromebooks could surface this week

    After months and months and even more months of waiting, it appears that we may finally get our first look at native Steam gaming on Chrome OS in the very near future. Affectionately known as project ‘Borealis’, the containerized version of Steam has been in the works for nearly two years and it was initially thought that Google was targeting mid to late 2022 for a release. With Chrome OS 96 just rolling out and the next iteration of Google’s desktop operating system not due until January of 2022, it’s fairly clear that this target was missed but that’s okay. I’d rather see a fully baked product released than a buggy piece of software that sours users to Chrome OS. Anyway, in its early development, I presumed that ‘Borealis’, a.k.a. Steam on Chrome OS, would simply be an optimized version of the Steam application that would install and run inside the current Linux container. Over time, we learned that Google was actually creating an entirely new container designed specifically to house Borealis and that it should run independently from the Debian container currently available in Stable Chrome OS. This makes more sense as Google can retain control of the Borealis container and keep it neat and clean for running Steam. Presumably, users will never actually interact with the container like you can with the Linux terminal.

  • iXsystems Recognized in 11th Annual Best in Biz Awards for Most Innovative Product Line of the Year

    TrueNAS by iXsystems is the world’s most popular Open Source storage operating system and is the most efficient solution for managing and sharing data over a network. TrueNAS Open Storage provides unified storage for file, block, object, and application data – making it an exceptionally flexible storage platform for business. All TrueNAS editions -- CORE, Enterprise, and SCALE -- leverage the enterprise-grade OpenZFS file system to provide an all-inclusive data management solution that protects customer data with features like Copy-on-Write, Snapshots, Checksums, Scrubbing, and 2-Copy Metadata.