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August 2020

Firefox 79 on Android - One step back, one step forward

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If you ask me, do I have a magic bullet solution to the Firefox market share? No, of course not. You can't solve that by logic, because most people are illogical, and most people can barely count to ten. Mozilla seems to be trying to bring some of the vast pool of idiots to its side, but so far, its experiments have not yielded any satisfactory results. The whole Firefox 57 saga and whatnot, didn't work out. I told you so.

But what Mozilla did do is alienate its hardcore users, the loyal veterans, the 1% who do not count. Only recently, I gave the company cautious praise for going back to its roots - Web designed around freedom and privacy (sort of). And now, they have undermined their own fragile platform once more. It's exhausting. Even depressing. This strategy is not winning anyone really, neither the plebes nor the geeks. That said, I intend to use Firefox as long as it exists, a decade or a century - if I exist that long. And I strongly recommend you do so, too. Because the alternative, a universe without a rival browser to the whole Chrome thingie, is a horrible one for people with triple-digit IQ. If you need convincing, just look at the "native sockets" API proposal or whatever.

So, mobile, Android, Firefox 79. It's okay. It has some nice attributes, and overall, it's a decent enough browser. Given what's happened with Firefox Quantum onwards, at some point in time, we will get extra functionality (that we already had in old Firefox, but hey, modern ftw). So if you're willing to suffer a little for the time being, then it will be sort of okay in the end. You will have to contend with a more simplified and less efficient interface, plus fewer addons, side by side with reasonable privacy and speed. But don't fight it. There's no point. The old net is dead, and it's not coming back. Just be rich, move to a secluded island, and problem solved! There.

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Android Leftovers

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Q4OS 3.12 Centaurus, stable

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An update to Q4OS 3 Centaurus LTS has been released. The new 3.12 Series receives the recent Debian Buster 10.5 update, critical security and bug fixes, and several specific Q4OS enhancements. We've been working on visual Plasma themes, the Debonaire theme is now available directly in Plasma based live media, and other new themes are available for installation from repositories. Automatic detection of NVidia hardware and dedicated installer has been upgraded and fixed. In addition to the above, Q4OS 3.12 brings other enhancements, such as the Firefox 80 installer, supplemented desktop profiles and a cumulative upgrade covering all changes from the previous stable Q4OS 3 Centaurus release.

Current users only need to perform a regular update to get all the new features. Anyone can download installation media images from the Downloads section of the Q4OS website.

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Element | Matrix Chat Client on openSUSE

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All the kids have been talking about the wonders of Matrix as the future of decentralized, secure communication. I have known about it, seen bridges being used in the openSUSE discord and Telegram rooms. Most of my experience has not been great, generally there were significant delays. I have used a few clients, on a web client, which I didn’t care for and I also used Quaternion a Qt based client but I have had issues with the encrypted messages bit. I found the user experience to be rather… lack-luster at best. Mostly, I found the whole thing quite confusing. Accessing new rooms wasn’t self-evident, understanding what Matrix is and isn’t was confusing and I therefore found it frustrating to use. My experience, has been that I really preferred Telegram for communication.

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Manjaro-Powered PinePhone Linux Phone Is Coming in September from $149

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PINE64 and the Manjaro Community announced today that next Community Edition of the PinePhone Linux phone will be powered by the Arch Linux-based Manjaro operating system.

Starting at only $149 USD the Manjaro-powered PinePhone Linux phone will be available for pre-order in mid-September. An exact date has not yet been announced, but as soon as it is you’ll be the first to know.

Just like the PinePhone postmarketOS Community Edition announced two months ago, the Manjaro Community Edition of the PinePhone will also be available $199 USD hardware variant, called Convergence Package, which ships with 3GB RAM instead of 2GB RAM like the $149 variant and double the storage, 32GB eMM.

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Q4OS 3.12 Linux Distro Released, Based on Debian GNU/Linux 10.5 “Buster”

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Q4OS, the Debian-based GNU/Linux distribution that keeps the spirit of the old-school KDE3.5 desktop environment alive has been updated to version 3.12.

Based on the recently released Debian GNU/Linux 10.5 “Buster” update, Q4OS 3.12 is here to 3 and a half months after version 3.11 to update the long-term supported (LTS) Q4OS 3 “Centaurus” series with all the latest security and software updates from the Debian Stable repositories.

This release ships with two editions featuring the Trinity Desktop Environment R14.0.8 and the more modern KDE Plasma 5.14.5 desktop environment. For the latter, there’s a new theme for you to try called Debonaire, which offers a dark panel and Kickoff applications menu.

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Announcing the SUSE Linux for Raspberry Pi LinkedIn group

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We have supported SUSE Linux on various models of Raspberry Pi systems since 2018. Although we have seen a variety of use cases for SUSE Linux on Raspberry Pi devices, we really did not have a good forum for people to share technical information for using SUSE Linux on the Raspberry Pi.

To address this limitation, I have created a LinkedIn group to foster sharing of technical information about using SUSE Linux on Raspberry Pi and other Single Board Computers (SBC) based on Arm processors. This new group can be found at

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LibreOffice Seven Finally Available as Snap

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I am happy to see LibreOffice 7.0 shipping as Snap in late August. This means now millions of computer users using Ubuntu and other distros can install LibreOffice Seven from Snap Store in one standard way. If you have installed it before, you can upgrade it right now. For you didn't know, Snap Store is like Play Store in Android and App Store in iOS that is one central way for users to get apps.

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Games: Last Epoch, Skul: The Hero Slayer, Songs of Syx and More

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  • Awesome action-RPG 'Last Epoch' will not leave Early Access in 2020

    Last Epoch has been through a few small evolutions since being in Early Access, and it's starting to really be impressive. It does appear to need some more time to cook though.

    Game Director, Judd Cobler of Eleventh Hour Games has written up a post to talk about the final release, which they've decided not to put out in 2020. As the first game they've worked on as a team, they had seemingly low hopes and were aiming for a niche but it seems they've done well enough to grow and improve even more. So they've been able to put more time and effort into all the various features so it's led to the need for more time to finish it all.

    Fair enough. Sounds like the reasonable thing to do, why rush what's clearly working so far? It looks good, it's continuing to get bigger and better with a really good user rating on Steam. They're not giving a release date now, other than "when the game is ready".

  • Check out the dev walkthrough of Skul: The Hero Slayer and some 1.0 footage

    Skul: The Hero Slayer, an impressive Early Access action-platformer rogue-lite is due to hit the big 1.0 soon so come check out the latest footage and developer chat.

    They have a great idea, with you playing as a little Skeleton against the 'Heroes' in the Human race that teamed up with an Imperial Army to attempt to wipe out the Demon race. You have a few tricks, like the ability to completely change by swapping around skulls. You can have two ready at a time which changes attack range, speed, abilities and more.

  • Fantasy city-builder Songs of Syx comes to Steam on September 21 - try the demo

    Gamatron AB are calling Songs of Syx an epic city-state simulator, blending elements of a city-builder with real-time strategy gameplay and much more. Featured a few times here on GOL now, as it looks ridiculously promising. It's coming with full Linux support, after a successful crowdfunding campaign back in May.

    It's something of a grand strategy game, that gradually increases the scale. There's multiple races to deal with, city-building that lets you grow into the tends of thousands, trade with other kingdoms across the lands, massive real-time tactical battles with thousands of units in play and the list of what they have planned for it stretches far.

  • Free-moving roguelite platformer 'ScourgeBringer' leaves Early Access in October

    One of my current favourites to keep going back to, ScourgeBringer is set for a big upgrade and a full release on October 21 along with a new trailer out now.

    Set in a post-apocalyptic world where a mysterious entity wreaked havoc on all humanity, ScourgeBringer puts you in the shoes of the deadliest warrior of her clan: Kyhra. Help her to explore the unknown and slash her way through ancient machines guarding the seal of her past, and maybe the redemption of humanity.

  • Get ready for another low-res PSX-styled horror, Harmful The Second Tape is out

    If you enjoy a good, short horror experience that's intended for you to play through in one sitting - check out the new release of Harmful The Second Tape.

    "After the investigation ran cold following the recovery of the first tape, Authorities received a Second Tape by mail. Its contents were even more disturbing than before. The case had now been handed over to Agent Willis of the FBI."

    Following on from the idea the developer came up with for the first game, Harmful, which is free and was made during a Game Jam this is a second more-polished helping of retro horror that acts as a sort of standalone sequel. Play from the perspective of the Agent and the Killer as a disturbing story unravels.

  • Shing! brings unique controls to beat 'em up fun - out now for Linux PC

    Shing! from developer Mass Creation is what they're calling a "beat 'em up 2.0", as it does away with button-bashing and replaces it with a new weapon control system.

    "Experience the most exciting and immersive beat-em-up combat system ever – become a kickass ninja and slice some demons in style! Join a band of wisecracking warriors in a bloody adventure through the land of mythical monsters and mysterious machines."

  • Ludo is a new sleek front-end for Libretro, as an alternative to RetroArch

    If you find the RetroArch a little overwhelming and want something different as a front-end for Libretro, have a look at the newly announced Ludo.

    For those not aware, RetroArch is just a front-end application to the Libretro API. This means anyone can write their own entire UI for it and use all the same 'Cores' as RetroArch does to run classic games through emulation. Which is what's happening with Ludo.

  • The Steam client had a new stable release, some great Linux improvements

    Valve continue progress on ensuring the Steam client is both stable and overflowing with features, with a stable update rolling out now.

    This new release adds: support for EA Play (the new EA subscription service), fixes numerous bugs, improved updates handling with low disk space, improved handling of game launches which fixes several issues with the Big Picture Overlay, better sorting of games with non-English titles, you can now dismiss a Play Next suggestion, a Steam Points Shop link was added to supported games and more.

More in Tux Machines

Trump's Social Media Platform and the Affero General Public License (of Mastodon)

Trump's Group has 30 days to remedy the violation, or their rights in the software are permanently terminated In 2002, we used phrases like “Web 2.0” and “AJAX” to describe the revolution that was happening in web technology for average consumers. This was just before names like Twitter and Facebook became famous worldwide. Web 2.0 was the groundwork infrastructure of the “social media” to come. As software policy folks, my colleagues and I knew that these technologies were catalysts for change. Software applications, traditionally purchased on media and installed explicitly, were now implicitly installed through web browsers — delivered automatically, or even sometimes run on the user's behalf on someone else's computer. As copyleft activists specifically, we knew that copyleft licensing would have to adjust, too. Read more

Videos: Getting Rid of Microsoft and Linux from Scratch

Kontron takes Raspberry Pi into Industry 4.0 with Codesys

“The integrated development environment Codesys for programmable logic controllers according to the IEC 61131-3 standards is hardware-independent software for application development in industrial automation,” according to Kontron. “Thanks to its open interfaces and security features, Codesys has distinguished itself as an industry 4.0 platform and facilitates data exchange between IIoT networks.” Prior to this, Codesys has been available for Kontron’s PiXtend – a similar product that takes a standard Pi rather than a Compute Module. Of this, the company said: Codesys V3 lets you memory-program controls. An integrated web visualisation tool is available for displaying your control elements, diagrams and graphics on your smartphone, tablet or PC.” Read more

Security: Windows, Microsoft Malware, GPS Bug, and Some Exaggeration/FUD

  • Sophisticated Spearphishing Campaign Targets Government Organizations, IGOs, and NGOs - blackMORE Ops

    The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) are engaged in addressing a spearphishing campaign targeting government organizations, intergovernmental organizations (IGOs), and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). A sophisticated cyber threat actor leveraged a compromised end-user account from Constant Contact, a legitimate email marketing software company, to spoof a U.S.-based government organization and distribute links to malicious URLs.[1] CISA and FBI have not determined that any individual accounts have been specifically targeted by this campaign.

  • Malicious NPM Packages Caught Running Cryptominer On Windows, Linux, macOS Devices [Ed: Lousy anti-journalist sites try to blame the victims for having received malware from Microsoft itself]

    Three JavaScript libraries uploaded to the official NPM package repository have been unmasked as crypto-mining malware, once again demonstrating how open-source software package repositories are becoming a lucrative target for executing an array of attacks on Windows, macOS, and Linux systems.

  • GPS Daemon (GPSD) Rollover Bug

    Critical Infrastructure (CI) owners and operators, and other users who obtain Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) from Global Positioning System (GPS) devices, should be aware of a GPS Daemon (GPSD) bug in GPSD versions 3.20 (released December 31, 2019) through 3.22 (released January 8, 2021).

  • New Linux kernel memory corruption bug causes full system compromise [Ed: This is "local privilege escalation", i.e. vastly less severe than all those back doors in Windows, but so-called 'security' firms aren't meant to talk about state-mandated holes]

    Researchers dubbed it a “straightforward Linux kernel locking bug” that they exploited against Debian Buster’s kernel.