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July 2020

today's howtos

Filed under
HowTos

Top 10 Cheap Linux Laptops [2020 Edition]

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Hardware

One of the most beautiful things about Linux is that it can deliver fluid performance even on low-tier hardware. You don’t need 16GB of RAM or a quad-core processor just to browse the web. In fact, Ubuntu – one of the most popular Linux Distro can run perfectly well with a simple 2GHz dual-core system racking no more than 4GB of RAM and just needs a minimum of 25GB storage space.

This opens up a whole new world for budget computing. By using Linux, you can get way more performance out on a low-spec system giving you a better bang-for-buck performance. With this in mind, we have put together a list of going over the best cheap laptops for Linux.

Top 10 Budget Linux Laptops

To keep the list diverse and useful for everybody, we have included laptops that fall between the $200 to $1000 price bracket. This makes sure there is something for everybody.

Also, only some of the systems discussed here come with Linux pre-installed. Since most manufacturers prefer to ship with Windows, you might need to install Linux manually or set up a dual-boot configuration. We will tell you which laptops come with Linux out of the box and which don’t.

So with that being said, here is our list of the ten best cheap Linux laptops.

Read more

LWN on Kernel: Stability, Windows APIs and Protection Domains

Filed under
Linux

  • Maintaining stable stability

    The goals of the stable tree are somewhat in competition with each other, Levin said. The maintainers do not want to introduce regressions into the tree, but they also want to try to ensure that they do not miss any fixes that should be in the tree. It is "very tricky" to balance those two goals. The talk would follow the path of patches that fix bugs, from the time they are written until they get released in a stable tree, showing the mechanisms in place to try to ensure that only real, non-regressing fixes make it all the way to the end.

    The first stage is the rules for the kinds of patches that get accepted into the stable tree. They have to be small, straightforward fixes that are already upstream in Linus Torvalds's tree. No complex new mechanisms or new features are welcome in the stable tree. The patches have "passed the minimal bar" to get accepted into the mainline, but it is sometimes necessary for the maintainers (or patch submitters) to backport the patch. That is something the maintainers try hard to avoid, so that the testing of the mainline is effectively also testing everything in stable, but backports cannot be avoided at all times. If there are large, intrusive patches that must be backported—for, say, mitigations for speculative-execution processor flaws—the stable maintainers require a lot more testing, subsystem maintainer signoffs, and more to try to ensure that the backport is reasonable.

  • Emulating Windows system calls, take 2

    Back in June, LWN covered a patch set adding a mechanism intended to help systems like Wine emulate Windows system calls on a Linux system. That patch set got a lot of attention and comments, with the result that its form has changed considerably. Gabriel Krisman Bertazi has now posted a new patch set that takes a different approach to solving the same problem.
    As a reminder, the intent of this work is to enable the running of Windows binaries that call directly into the Windows kernel without going through the Windows API. Those system calls must somehow be trapped and emulated for the program to run correctly; this must be done without modifying the Windows program itself, lest Wine run afoul of the cheat-detection mechanisms built into many of those programs. The previous attempt added a new mmap() flag that would mark regions of the program's address space as unable to make direct system calls. That was coupled with a new seccomp() mode that would trap system calls made from the marked range(s). There were a number of concerns raised about this approach, starting with the fact that using seccomp() might cause some developers to think that it could be used as a security mechanism, which is not the case.

  •          

  • Memory protection keys for the kernel

    The memory protection keys feature was added to the 4.6 kernel in 2016; it allows user space to group pages into "protection domains" that can have their access restricted independently of the normal page protections. There is no equivalent feature for kernel space; access to memory in the kernel's portion of the address space is controlled exclusively by the page protections. That situation may be about to change, though, as a result of the protection keys supervisor (PKS) patch set posted by Ira Weiny (with many patches written by Fenghua Yu).
    Virtual-memory systems maintain a set of protection bits in their page tables; those bits specify the types of accesses (read, write, or execute) that are allowed for a given processor mode. These protections are implemented by the hardware, and even the kernel cannot get around them without changing them first. On the face of it, the normal page protections would appear to be sufficient for the task of keeping the kernel away from pages that, for whatever reason, it should not be accessing. Those protections do indeed do the job in a number of places; for example, page protections prevent the kernel from writing to its own code.

    Page protections work less well, though, in situations where the kernel should be kept away from some memory most of the time, but where occasional access must be allowed. Changing page protections is a relatively expensive operation involving tasks like translation lookaside buffer invalidations; doing so frequently would hurt the performance of the kernel. Given that protecting memory from the kernel is usually done as a way of protecting against kernel bugs that, one hopes, do not normally exist anyway, that performance hit is one that few users are willing to pay.

Linux Kernel RNG and Linux Foundation Spying, CNCF, Certification

Filed under
Linux

  • Linux Quietly Makes It Harder To Guess Network RNG's Internal State

    Merged today to mainline for Linux 5.8 Git and also marked for back-porting is a change to make it more difficult to guess the network random number generator's internal state. It looks like it could be for a yet-to-be-published vulnerability. 

    Hitting the Linux kernel Git tree today was random32: update the net random state on interrupt and activity. With that change the first 32 bits out of the 128 bits of a random CPU's "net_rand_state" is now being modified on interrupt or CPU activity. This is being done "to complicate remote observations that could lead to guessing the network RNG's internal state." 

  • Linux Foundation Launches Open Source COVID Group [Ed: They are tactlessly associating "Linux" with mass surveillance]

    The Linux Foundation has set up a group to bring together a number of open source projects that are working to fight COVID-19. The Linux Foundation Public Health (LFPH) builds, secures, and sustains open source software to help public health authorities (PHAs) combat COVID-19 and future epidemics.

    [...]

    The Linux Foundation says LFPH will initially focus on exposure notification applications like COVID Green and COVID Shield that use the GAEN system, after which it will expand to support all aspects of PHA’s testing, tracing, and isolation activities.

    COVID Shield was developed by a volunteer team of more than 40 developers from Shopify along with members of the Ontario and Canadian Digital Services. and is in the process of being deployed in Canada. While not an official Shopify project, the efforts were supported by Shopify CEO Tobi Lütke.

  • VMware Hands Control of Kubernetes Ingress Project Contour Over to CNCF

    Joe Beda, one of its creators, said one reason for the move was reassuring non-VMware developers that Contour's development wouldn't be steered by a single company.

  • Success Story: Linux System Administration Training and Certification Leads to New Career

    Fabian Pichardo has worked with multiple hardware platforms such as Nvidia, Xilinx, Microchip, and National Instruments, and is skilled in languages such as C++, Python, Matlab and Julia. During university, Fabian created the Mechatronic Student Society to offer programming training for newbies and demonstrate new technology trends.

Programming: GCC, Perl, Python and Rust

Filed under
Development

  • GCC Sees More Progress On Ability To Parallelize The Compilation Of Large Source Files

    While GCC with GNU Make and other build systems can scale nicely in compiling many files concurrently, there has been an ongoing GCC effort to be able to parallelize more of the GNU Compiler Collection work when compiling large source files. 

    Back in the summer of 2019 the work got underway for trying to address the parallelization bottleneck in letting more of the compiler work be parallelized in larger source files. 

  • What's new on CPAN - June 2020

    Welcome to “What’s new on CPAN”, a curated look at last month’s new CPAN uploads for your reading and programming pleasure. Enjoy!

  • Face Mask Detection using Yolo V3

    Face Mask Detection Using Yolo_v3 on Google Colab

    Great you are ready to implement a hands on project " Face Mask Detection "

    Requirements
    Windows or Linux
    CMake >= 3.12
    CUDA 10.0
    OpenCV >= 2.4
    GPU with CC >= 3.0

  • Namespaces and Scope in Python

    This tutorial covers Python namespaces, the structures used to organize the symbolic names assigned to objects in a Python program.

    The previous tutorials in this series have emphasized the importance of objects in Python. Objects are everywhere! Virtually everything that your Python program creates or acts on is an object.

    An assignment statement creates a symbolic name that you can use to reference an object. The statement x = 'foo' creates a symbolic name x that refers to the string object 'foo'.

    In a program of any complexity, you’ll create hundreds or thousands of such names, each pointing to a specific object. How does Python keep track of all these names so that they don’t interfere with one another?

  • Django Developers Community Survey 2020

    We're conducting a seventeen question survey to assess how the community feels about the current Django development process. This was last done in 2015.

    Please take a few minutes to complete the 2020 survey. Your feedback will help guide future efforts.

  • How much fun was EuroPython 2020

    This year I’ve finally got enough courage and will, and I had 2 submissions for #pyconil. COVID-19 had other plans, and #pyconil was canceled

    I’ve told @ultrabug about this (Numberly CTO, Alexys Jacob), after a few weeks he surprised me with telling me he’s gonna present scylla-driver in europython2020, the shard-aware driver we were working on in the last 6 months.

    At the time it wasn’t yet ready nor publish. (Also found out that Numberly were sponsoring europython for years now) Took me a few seconds to figure that he just set me deadline without my consent…

  • This Week in Rust 349

Hardware/Modding: Arduino Nano, Raspberry Pi CM3 and Linux-ready UP Xtreme Lite

Filed under
Linux
Hardware

  • Dave Darko designs a 16-button keep-alive switch with a Nano Every

    It’s generally not advisable to leave equipment running when unattended. As a safeguard against this possibility at hackerspaces and elsewhere, element14 Presents’ Dave Darko built a custom switch that requires users to intermittently push a button in order to produce additional ‘on’ time.

    The trick here is that instead of having one keep-alive button, the unit has a matrix of 16 buttons that light up randomly to be pressed. The idea is to prevent someone from setting up a second device to simply poke the same key over and over.

    The ‘unhackable’ switch, which resembles a MIDI sequencer input, runs on an Arduino Nano Every and uses a relay to directly control the power state. It’s demonstrated toward the end of the video below, where Darko plays a sort of simple button-based game to keep an LED fixture on.

  • 15-inch touch panel PC builds on Raspberry Pi CM3

    Comfile’s 15-inch “ComfilePi CPi-A150WR” touch-panel computer is built around a Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3 and offers an IP65 protected, 1024 x 768 resistive touchscreen pus USB, LAN, serial, and 22x GPIO.

    Comfile Technology has added to its line of ComfilePi touch panel computers built around the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3 (CM3). The new 15-inch ComfilePi CPi-A150WR follows its earlier, 7-inch ComfilePi CPi-A070WR and 10.2-inch CPi-A102WR.

  • UP Xtreme Lite SBC offers more affordable Whiskey Lake option

    Aaeon announced a slightly scaled down “UP Xtreme Lite” variant of its 8th Gen U-series based UP Xtreme SBC that provides up to 16GB DDR4, 2x GbE, 4x USB 3.2, and 3x M.2 plus SATA, HDMI, DP, and 40-pin GPIO.

    Aaeon announced a Linux-ready UP Xtreme Lite version of its Kickstarter-backed UP Xtreme SBC, which has also been featured as the mainboard for Aaeon’s UPX Edge embedded system. Aaeon claims the UP Xtreme Lite will be more affordable than the original. Yet, this is the first UP board announced without individual pricing or any promises of community support from its UP project. It is possible that both will be forthcoming.

Audiocasts/Shows: FLOSS Weekly, Linux Headlines and Destination Linux

Filed under
GNU
Linux
  • FLOSS Weekly 589: LifeScope - Using Open Source to Organize and Play VR

    The open-source software that allows you to organize your life with VR! Doc Searls and Jonathan Bennet talk with Liam Broza, the CEO and Co-founder of LifeScope. The discuss the LifeScope platform, which is built to organizes your existing data and allows you to manage it better. It is a consultancy that helps you find and remove unwanted data. They also create virtual spaces for events, businesses, and brands that allow people to meet in the time of social distancing. They talk about the future of VR, and what is that going to look like for business and consumers and why it is essential to keep the future of VR open source.

  • 2020-07-29 | Linux Headlines

    The first standard-conformant implementations for OpenXR are finally shipping, LineageOS 17.1 has an unsupported build for the Raspberry Pi, Nextcloud gains a Forms feature, nano version 5 brings new features to the venerable text editor, Facebook releases PyTorch version 1.6, and Microsoft backs the Blender Foundation.

  • Destination Linux 184: Let's Squash Some Bugs (plus Manjaro ARM Interview)

    Coming up on this week’s episode of Destination Linux, we have an interview with Dan Johansen of Manjaro ARM to talk all things ARM. The big topic of the week is about Bug Reports and how they can get better for both Users and Developers so Let’s Squash Some Bugs. In the News, we talk about the new AMD Ryzen Linux Laptops are finally hitting the market. Thanks to Tuxedo & Slimbook we’ve got 2 new Linux Laptops with the Tuxedo Pulse 15 & the KDE Slimbook. In Linux Gaming section we talk about SuperTuxKart which an awesome Open Source game for Linux! We’ve also got some great Community Feedback to talk about. In addition to our Software Spotlight we are going to start explaining the Linux Filesystem in the Tip of the Week for a Filesystem Breakdown Series. All of this and so much more on Episode 184 of the #1 video-centric Linux podcast, Destination Linux!

Self-Hosted and Open-Source Alternatives to Popular Services

Filed under
Server
OSS

The internet is a prominent place. And while it may feel like a few huge names like Netflix, Dropbox, and Facebook run the show, they are far from the only option you have available. It’s now easier than ever to find a self-hosted alternative to just about any online platform.

What does self-hosted mean? Self-hosted platforms are apps that function through their web hosting instead of a major option like Amazon Web Services. Generally, they’re not only open-source (a.k.a. free) but full of different content, features, and other things worth checking out.

And here’s the best part—they’re often cheaper! Here are some of the best self-hosted alternatives to popular services.

Read more

Also: Ideal Linux webhosting services of 2020

Record Live Audio as Ogg Vorbis in GNOME Gingerblue 0.2.0

Filed under
Software
GNOME

Today I released GNOME Gingerblue version 0.2.0 with the basic new features...

[...]

The GNOME release team complained at the early release cycle in July and call the project empty, but I estimate it will take at least 4 years to complete 4.0.0 in reasonable time for GNOME 4 to be released between 2020 and 2026.

Read more

More in Tux Machines

You Can Use Raspberry Pi 400 As a PC Keyboard and Mouse Combo

If you’re a fan of Pimoroni, you’re probably familiar with its software lead Phil Howard (aka Gadgetoid) and his developments in the Raspberry Pi community. Today we’re sharing an awesome project he put together using our favorite keyboard PC, the Raspberry Pi 400. Using the right cable and a bit of code, the Raspberry Pi 400 can function as a regular, USB HID keyboard. The best Raspberry Pi projects are easy to recreate and the only accessory you need to pull this project off is a USB Type-C to USB Type-A cable. Read more

today's leftovers

  • DearPyGui 1.0.0 user interface Toolkit Released - itsfoss.net

    Published edition Dear PyGui 1.0.0 (the DPG), a cross-platform toolkit for GUI development in Python. The most important feature of the project is the use of multithreading and outsourcing of operations to the GPU to speed up rendering. The key goal of shaping the 1.0.0 release is to stabilize the API. Compatibility-breaking changes will now be proposed in a separate “experimental” module. To ensure high performance, the bulk of the DearPyGui code is written in C ++ using the Dear ImGui library , designed for creating graphical applications in C ++ and offering a fundamentally different operating model. The Dear PyGui source code is licensed under the MIT license. Declared support for Linux, Windows 10 and macOS platforms.

  • Software testing - a 32-year-old message

    And then, after having tested hundreds of Linux distributions, thousands of applications, every release of Windows since 3.11, and then some, I can definitely say that the slow, steady erosion of professional testing in the software world is noticeable. And by that mean, in those scenarios it actually existed, because in some domains, it's never been there, and it shows. If anything, the longer I keep my hands on this or that application or program, the more I'm convinced that the new, casual approach to quality is simply not working. There will be a moment of reckoning.

  • Issue #373 - Robotic tickles

    We thought we’d lead with the weirdest Raspberry Pi-powered thing, purely because we couldn’t resist the bizarre visual. These robotic hands move according to actions taken on social media. And they’re creepy. We like creepy. Another robot from the blog this week can solve your Sudoku in seconds, and a hackathon-winning student project can photograph any object and automatically turn it into an NFT.

  • ODROID-H2+ SBC discontinued due to supply shortage - CNX Software

    Hardkernel has just discontinued ODROID-H2+ single board computer based on the Intel Celeron J4115 Gemini Lake Refresh processor, which followed ODROID-H2 SBC itself being discontinued shortly after Intel decided to phase out Intel J4105 and other Gemini Lake processors. The reason given is the “uncertain situation of main component supply”, which could mean Celeron J4115 processor is hard to get (or expensive), or the Realtek RTL8125B chipset provides 2.5GbE networking. That means Hardkernel does not offer any x86 SBC at this time. That’s a shame before ODROID-H2+ was a well-supported SBC running Linux or Windows, and great value for money at $119, especially for people interested in the two 2.5 Gbps Ethernet ports found on the board (and upgradeable to six), not to mention support for SO-DIMM memory and M.2 NVMe SSD.

  • Debian blocks VPN and Tor users from reading its Wiki. – BaronHK's Rants

    I understand that they don’t want VPN and Tor users messing up their Wiki anonymously, where it would be difficult to ban any one vandal, but to block people from even _reading it_ unless they unmask themselves is a bit heavy-handed. On Wikipedia, they block Tor and VPN users from editing, but you can read it all you want, and you can view the page’s source code if you are on a VPN. This is the right thing to do. I’m not sure why Debian is requiring us to de-anonymize ourselves just to read their Wiki. I wish that they would stop doing this.

  • Red Hat Announces Updates To Red Hat OpenShift And Red Hat Advanced Cluster Management For Kubernetes
  • How bare metal cloud is powering the telecommunications industry

    Bare metal clouds are gaining a lot of momentum in the telecommunications industry—but why? What is a bare metal cloud, and what are the benefits of using it? In this post, we answer these questions and more.

  • digiKam - digiKam Recipes 21.10.15 released

    It has been a while since the last update of digiKam Recipes. But that doesn’t mean I neglected the book. In the past few months, I’ve been doing a complete language review and adding new material. The new revision of digiKam Recipes features detailed information on how to move digiKam library and databases from one machine to another, how to access digiKam remotely from any machine, and how to import photos from an iOS device. The book now uses the Barlow font for better legibility along with a slightly improved layout.

  • October 2021 Web Server Survey [Ed: Microsoft became so irrelevant in Web servers that it is not even mentioned anymore and most tables don't even list Microsoft (it's miniscule, outside view)]

    In the October 2021 survey we received responses from 1,179,448,021 sites across 265,426,928 unique domains and 11,388,826 web-facing computers. This reflects a loss of 8.59 million sites, but a gain of 1.07 million domains and 20,800 computers. The number of unique domains powered by the nginx web server grew by 789,000 this month, which has increased its total to 79.5 million domains and its leading market share to 29.9%. Conversely, Apache lost 753,000 domains and saw its second-place share fall to 24.7%. Meanwhile, Cloudflare gained 746,000 domains – almost as many as nginx – but it stays in fourth place with an 8.15% share while OpenResty's shrank slightly to 14.5%. Cloudflare also made strong progress amongst the top million websites, where it increased its share by 0.24 percentage points to 18.2%. nginx is in second place with a 22.5% (+0.12pp) share but has closed the gap on Apache which still leads with 24.0% after losing 0.21pp. Apache also continues to lead in terms of active sites, where it has a total of 48.0 million. However, it was the only major vendor to suffer a drop in this metric, with a loss of 277,000 active sites reducing its share down to 23.9% (-0.29pp). In terms of all sites, nginx lost the most (-9.99 million) but remains far in the lead with a total of 412 million.

  • Chrome OS 94 Released - itsfoss.net

    The release of the operating system Chrome OS 94 has been published , based on the Linux kernel, the upstart system manager, the ebuild / portage build toolkit, open components and the Chrome 94 web browser . The user environment of Chrome OS is limited to a web browser, and instead of standard programs, web applications are used, however, Chrome OS includes a full-fledged multi-window interface, desktop and taskbar. Chrome OS 94 is available for most current Chromebooks. Enthusiasts have formed unofficial assemblies for ordinary computers with x86, x86_64 and ARM processors. Source texts are distributed under the free Apache 2.0 license.

Security Leftovers

  • Security updates for Friday

    Security updates have been issued by Debian (squashfs-tools, tomcat9, and wordpress), Fedora (openssh), openSUSE (kernel, mbedtls, and rpm), Oracle (httpd, kernel, and kernel-container), SUSE (firefox, kernel, and rpm), and Ubuntu (linux-azure, linux-azure-5.4).

  • Apache Releases Security Advisory for Tomcat   | CISA

    The Apache Software Foundation has released a security advisory to address a vulnerability in multiple versions of Tomcat. An attacker could exploit this vulnerability to cause a denial of service condition.

  • Security Risks of Client-Side Scanning

    Even before Apple made their announcement, law enforcement shifted their battle for back doors to client-side scanning. The idea is that they wouldn’t touch the cryptography, but instead eavesdrop on communications and systems before encryption or after decryption. It’s not a cryptographic back door, but it still a back door — and brings with it all the insecurities of a back door. I’m part of a group of cryptographers that has just published a paper discussing the security risks of such a system. (It’s substantially the same group that wrote a similar paper about key escrow in 1997, and other “exceptional access” proposals in 2015. We seem to have to do this every decade or so.) In our paper, we examine both the efficacy of such a system and its potential security failures, and conclude that it’s a really bad idea.

  • The Open Source Security Foundation receives $ 10 million in funding - itsfoss.net

    The Linux Foundation has announced a $ 10 million commitment to the OpenSSF (Open Source Security Foundation), an effort to improve the security of open source software. Funds raised through royalties from parent companies of OpenSSF, including Amazon, Cisco, Dell Technologies, Ericsson, Facebook, Fidelity, GitHub, Google, IBM, Intel, JPMorgan Chase, Microsoft, Morgan Stanley, Oracle, Red Hat, Snyk, and VMware …

Videos/Shows: Ubuntu 21.10, LHS, and Chris Titus

  • Ubuntu 21.10 - Full Review - Invidious

    Ubuntu 21.10 finally features the GNOME 40 desktop, better Wayland support, and more. In this video, I'll give you my thoughts on "Impish Idri" and we'll go over some of the new features. I'll talk about the installation process, Wayland changes,

  • LHS Episode #435: The Weekender LXXX

    It's time once again for The Weekender. This is our bi-weekly departure into the world of amateur radio contests, open source conventions, special events, listener challenges, hedonism and just plain fun. Thanks for listening and, if you happen to get a chance, feel free to call us or e-mail and send us some feedback. Tell us how we're doing. We'd love to hear from you.

  • Time to Rice and Make the Best Looking Desktop - Invidious

    We have our script that sets up the system... now we make our script to automatically make our desktop the best looking one out there!