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August 2020

Leftovers: Absolute Linux Release, IBM Emeritus, Hacking With Raspberry Pi

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  • Absolute64-20200827 released

    Based on Slackware64-current. Plus interace tweaks, installer auto-partition fixes.

  • The AI Factory: A New Kind of Digital Operating Model [Ed: IBM Emeritus who brought Linux to IBM (with GNU) promotes "Hey Hi" hype]

    “Whether you’re leading a digital start-up or working to revamp a traditional enterprise, it’s essential to understand the revolutionary impact AI has on operations, strategy, and competition,” wrote Harvard professors Marco Iansiti and Karim Lakhani in “Competing in the Age of AI”, a recently published article in the Harvard Business Review (HBR). Earlier this year, they also published a book of the same title, which expands on the ideas in the article and illustrates them with a number of concrete use cases.

    The age of AI is being ushered by the emergence of a new kind of digital firm. Rather than just relying on traditional business processes operated by its workers, these firms are leveraging software and data-driven algorithms to eliminate traditional constraints and transform the rules of competition. Managers and engineers are responsible for the design of the new AI-based operational systems, but the system then runs the operations pretty much on its own.

    “At the core of the new firm is a decision factory - what we call the AI factory,” note the authors. “[T]he AI factory treats decision-making as a science. Analytics systematically convert internal and external data into predictions, insights, and choices, which in turn guide and automate operational workflows… As digital networks and algorithms are woven into the fabric of firms, industries begin to function differently and the lines between them blur.”


  • Beginners’ coding for kids with Digital Making at Home


Security Leftovers

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  • Resist the urge to argue about app store security

    Recently Miguel de Icaza wrote a blog post arguing that closed computing platforms where a major US corporation decides what software users are allowed to install are a good thing. This has, naturally, caused people to become either confused, disappointed or angry. Presumably many people are writing responses and angry comments. I almost started one writing one pointing out all the issues I found in the post.

    Doing that would probably create a fairly popular blog post with followups. It might even get to the reddits and hackernewses and generate tons of comments where people would duke it out on issues on user choice vs the safety provided by a curated walled garden. There would be hundreds, if not thousands, of snarky tweets that make their poster feel superior for a while but are ultimately not productive.

  • Steve Greenland (stevegr) & Debian: a Dead Man Uploading?

    We went looking for details. Was he expelled, was it political? Was it based on falsified evidence, the way Debian Account Manager Enrico Zini falsified harassment claims against Jacob Appelbaum?

    In fact, Steve Greenland died of cancer in July 2009. He was still on the Debian keyring up to 2020 because the Debian Account Managers (DAMs) were too busy playing politics. They were making up false evidence to remove political opponents but it never occurred to them that Greenland's computers, with his PGP keys, would have been acquired by relatives or even sold on eBay.

Google: Android, Linux, GSoC, Chromebook, Spying and Kubernetes

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  • Winmate IQ30 Snapdragon 660 SBC Runs Android 9.0 for HMI Touch Panels

    Winmate, a company specializing in rugged computing technology headquartered in Taiwan, has recently launched Winmate IQ30 SBC powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 octa-core coupled with up to 4GB LPDDR4, and 32GB flash storage.

    The single board computer also comes with a Fast Ethernet port with optional PoE, WiFI 5, and optional cellular connectivity thanks to an an M.2 card socket and SIM card slot, as two video interfaces for Android-powered touch screen displays.

  • [Coreboot] [GSoC] Address Sanitizer, Part 3

    Hello again! The third and final phase of GSoC is coming to an end and I’m glad that I made it this far. In this blog post, I’d like to outline the work done in the last two weeks.

  • GSoC 2020: Report-2: Fuzzing the NetBSD Network Stack in a Rumpkernel Environment

    This report was written by Nisarg S. Joshi as part of Google Summer of Code 2020.

    The objective of this project is to fuzz the various protocols and layers of the network stack of NetBSD using rumpkernel. This project is being carried out as a part of GSoC 2020. This blog post is regarding the project, the concepts and tools involved, the objectives and the current progress and next steps.

  • GSoC'20 final report & Project Documentation

    OverviewThe idea was about The UI testing framework in LibreOffice. The UITesting Framework is based on introspection code in c++ interacting with a testing framework in python through a simple UNO interface. To identify objects we use the ids that we introduced for loading dialogs from UI files. We were having unsupported items list in LibreOffice UITesting Framework. So The project mainly goals is to Extend the ability of the existing UI testing framework to support the unsupported items that exist now. So the work done on this list to decrease number of items in it.

  • [KDE] GSoC'20 progress : Phase III

    And just like that, the third evaluations for Google Summer of Code are upon us. It seems just like yesterday when I began my work on this project and now the final phase is about to be over. Sort of unbelievable.

  • GSoC 2020 @ Pitivi: Work Product

    My GSoC 2020 internship project was improving the usability of Pitivi’s Render dialog. Below is a detailed summary of the work done during the last three months.

  • Google Is Still Striving To Upstream Incremental FS In Linux

    After originally publishing the Incremental FS patches back in May of 2019, Google's Android kernel team is still working to upstream this virtual file-system into the mainline Linux kernel and at this week's Linux Plumbers Conference was working to drum up support for it.

    The Incremental File-System back when it was first proposed was advertised as a special-purpose virtual file-system to allow the execution of a program while its binary and resource files are still being lazily downloaded from the Internet or other medium.

  • Android AOSP Can Boot Off Mainline Linux 5.9 With Just One Patch
  • Backup and restore your Chromebook’s Linux setup

    If you’ve been exploring Linux apps on Chrome OS with us, it’s high time we covered how to save your current setup so you can restore it in a pinch. Full Linux distros have various tools available to run backups and store them locally or off site depending on your personal preference. Chrome OS, however, has a built in tool for this task and you can keep you backup right on you Chromebook or better yet, put it on Google Drive so it’s safe. This is very handy if you run into a situation where you need to power wash your device or heaven forbid have a system crash that requires a full recovery.

  • Brave takes brave stand against Google's plan to turn websites into ad-blocker-thwarting Web Bundles

    A proposed Google web specification threatens to turn websites into inscrutable digital blobs that resist content blocking and code scrutiny, according to Peter Snyder, senior privacy researcher at Brave Software.

    On Tuesday, Snyder published a memo warning that Web Bundles threaten user agency and web code observability. He raised this issue back in February, noting that Web Bundles would prevent ad blockers from blocking unwanted subresources. He said at the time he was trying to work with the spec's authors to address concerns but evidently not much progress has been made.

    His company makes the Brave web browser, which is based on Google's open-source Chromium project though implements privacy protections, by addition or omission, not available in Google's commercial incarnation of Chromium, known as Chrome.

  • Kubernetes moves to end ‘permanent beta’ for some APIs

    The Kubernetes project has decided the time has come to stop existing in a state of permanent beta.

    The decision, included in the Changelog for version 1.19 of the container-wrangling code and explained in a blog post, reflects the fact that Kubernetes offers plenty of REST APIs and they can evolve … or not.

    The project’s new rules mean that when a new feature's API reaches beta, a nine-month countdown commences. Within that timeframe, the beta must either reach general availability (which deprecates the beta) or start anew (which deprecates the previous beta).

    “The motivation here seems pretty clear: get features stable,” wrote Kubernetes contributor Tim Bannister of The Scale Factory. “Guaranteeing that beta features will be deprecated adds a pretty big incentive so that people who want the feature continue their effort until the code, documentation and tests are ready for this feature to graduate to stable, backed by several Kubernetes' releases of evidence in real-world use.”

Programming: LLVM and Perl

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  • Registration Opens For 2020 Virtual LLVM Developers' Meeting

    Like most conferences this year, the annual LLVM Developers' Meeting has become an online-only affair.

    The annual LLVM conference normally hosted in Silicon Valley is now taking place entirely online. This virtual event is taking place from 6 to 8 October.

  • Russ Allbery: PGP::Sign 1.02

    This is another test-only release of my module for manipulating PGP signatures in Perl. I'm trying to get the CPAN testing failures down to a dull roar. This iteration fixes some testing issues with systems that have only GnuPG v1 and tries to handle systems whose gpg is GnuPG v2 but is older than 2.1.12 and therefore doesn't have the --pinentry-mode flag that GnuPG uses to suppress password prompting.

    I handled the latter by skipping the tests if the gpg on the user's PATH was too old. I'm not certain this is the best approach, although it makes the CPAN automated testing more useful for me, since the module will not work without special configuration on those systems. On the other hand, if someone is installing it to point to some other GnuPG binary on the system at runtime, failing the installation because their system gpg is too old seems wrong, and the test failure doesn't indicate a bug in the module.

    Essentially, I'm missing richer test metadata in the Perl ecosystem. I want to be able to declare a dependency on a non-Perl system binary, but of course Perl has no mechanism to do that.

  • How and What to do in Programming (CY's Take on PWC#075 Task 2)
  • Week #075: Coins Sum & Largest Rectangle Histogram

KDE Plasma 5.20 Now Warns About Hard Disk, SSD Failure

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The development looks promising as KDE Plasma 5.20 adds more super cool features such as warning about your hard disk or SSD failure, etc as the team prepares for the upcoming KDE Plasma 5.20 release.
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Python Programming

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  • First steps with neural networks and NumPy

    At school in my 11th grade, I worked on speaker dependent single word speech recognition as my scientific project. This “just” used non-linear time adaption, aka. dynamic programming, to match speech patterns to previously recorded patterns.

    23 years later, both the science and the computing power have advanced by leaps and bounds – these days, the go-to solution for such problems are artificial neural networks (called “NN” henceforth), and the “hello world” of that is to recognize handwritten digits. Doing that was my goal.

    All the code and notes are in a git repository, and the commits correspond to the various steps that I did.

    Admittedly I didn’t manage all of it just on Friday, but it stretched over much of the (fortunately rainy) weekend as well – but it was really worth it!

  • Traitlets - an introduction & use in Jupyter configuration management

    You have probably seen Traitlets in applications, you likely even use it. The package has nearly 5 million downloads on conda-forge alone.

  • Python Requests Package
  • Python Numpy Array To List
  • PSF GSoC students blogs: Weekly Check In - 12

    Last week I was working on finishing up the HTTPNegotiateDownloadHandler. Presently the download handler uses ALPN or NPN (whichever is available) to negotiate a protocol (presently one of HTTP/1.1 or HTTP/2) from the remote server and issues the requests on the respective download handler. Presently, all requests made via proxy are directly issued using the HTTP11DownloadHandler.

Write with your colleagues using this amazing open-source collaborative writing tool: Etherpad

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Etherpad is a free open-source web-based real-time collaborative document editor. It's a combination of a text editor with a real-time interactive editing option.

Some may say, it's an open-source alternative for Google Docs, Zoho Docs, or Microsoft Office (Web). However, it's not. It adds a real-time video and voice chat as well as a live comment section.

It's also self-hosted which means it can be installed for servers to work as a collaborative editing platform for teams.

Etherpad also supports importing and exporting to many popular document formats: ODF (Open Document Format), Microsoft Word ".doc" format, text file, PDF and HTML. It also provides its own format "Etherpad".

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Games: Spacebase Startopia, Space Crew, GONNER2, Techium Eclipse, Hyper Team Recon

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  • Check out the latest Spacebase Startopia footage, coming to Linux PC in October

    Spacebase Startopia is getting closer and during Gamescom 2020, some new footage surfaced giving us a better look at what to expect from it.

    The what - Spacebase Startopia is a fresh take on the classic and much loved Startopia from Mucky Foot Productions, which originally released in 2001. They say it will offer up a mixture of a building sim with city-building and base-management mixed in with some RTS-styled skirmishes. It's due for release on October 23 from Realmforge Studios (Dungeons 3) and Kalypso Media.

  • Space Crew has new footage and it's releasing on October 15

    Space Crew takes the idea of the popular Bomber Crew from developer Runner Duck and sends everyone into space. During Gamescom 2020, it gained not only a new trailer but a release date too.

    Acting as a sequel to Bomber Crew, it will be your responsibility to help stop all of humankind being wiped off the intergalactic stage by the mysterious extraterrestrial threat known as the Phasmids. If you missed it, we at GOL spoke to the developer earlier this month who confirmed Linux support.

  • GONNER2 looks brilliantly weird - check out 9 minutes of new footage

    GONNER2, the sequel to IGF winning game GoNNER will bring some messy, colourful and weird platformer action to Linux PC later this year. If you missed it, we already have it confirmed for Linux support back in June.

    An action-platformer with roguelike elements that will keep you on your toes, with the sequel bringing in a lot more of everything it possibly can. A game they say is "for the curious, the brave and the tad bit whimsical" as you will "awaken your inner kid as you get into a sweet flow, flying through levels, shooting everything that moves and pulling off ludicrous, acrobatic destruction".

  • Techium Eclipse is a sweet free game about defending a tiny planet

    Meteors! Meteors are coming! Thankfully, you have the powers of a god in Techium Eclipse, so you can just grab the planet and swing it around to ensure they don't hit any cities.

    It's a surprising bit of fun, as it becomes quite challenging when you get through a couple waves. Having to keep an eye on multiple meteors coming down, as you're trying desperately to spin this little planet and protect everyone. Lovely simple controls too, allowing you to either spin the planet or move the camera around with mouse or gamepad. Games need not be complicated. The idea is to eventually build a space port for people to leave this planet that's under siege.

  • Hyper Team Recon is an adorable upcoming 3D platformer with shapeshifters

    Coming to Linux PC sometime in 2022, Hyper Team Recon from Nathan Burton and Top Hat Studios is a seriously charming upcoming 3D platformer that follows a bunch of shapeshifting aliens.

    "Three energetic aliens, Ember, Penny and Lite, are tasked by their commander to travel to Earth in order to learn more about the lifeforms inhabiting the planet, using their species unique morphing abilities to disguise themselves as girls in order to keep a low profile, but after the trio get split up and stranded on Earth after their ship crashes, they will each have to traverse through a variety of levels and locations full of platforming, puzzles and combat!"

Thunderbird Email Client Now Ships with OpenPGP Support Enabled by Default

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It took a few releases, but the free, open-source and cross-platform Thunderbird email client, news and chat client is now shipping with OpenPGP support enabled by default in the latest release.

Just a few days after releasing the Thunderbird 78.2.0 update, which brought lots of improvements to the OpenPGP implementation that lets users send encrypted emails, here’s come another small, yet important update.

Thunderbird 78.2.1 has been released today and it finally enables the OpenPGP feature by default. That’s amazing news for privacy and security fans enthusiasts using the open-source email client as they won’t have to go to all the trouble of enabling OpenPGP in the latest Thunderbird 78 series.

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More in Tux Machines

Games: Valve, Timberborn, and More

  • Valve launches Deck Verified, to show off what games will work well on the Steam Deck | GamingOnLinux

    We've been wondering what Valve had planned to show off Steam Deck compatibility for games and now they've launched Deck Verified as their answer. Valve say they are reviewing the entire Steam catalogue on the Steam Deck, with each of them gaining a category that it falls under that will show up across Steam from the store to your own Steam Library. The ratings will be split across Verified, Playable, Unsupported and Unknown. This is good because there's a lot of reasons why games will mix between perfect and unplayable on Steam Deck and the Arch Linux-based SteamOS it ships with.

  • Valve Launches "Steam Deck Verified" Program For Games That Run Well On The Steam Deck - Phoronix

    Valve is introducing a Steam Deck Verified system for helping gamers find out what games have been verified to work well on their forthcoming AMD+Linux-powered handheld game console.

  • VKD3D-Proton 2.5 Released With Experimental DXR 1.1, More Games Working - Phoronix

    VKD3D-Proton as Valve's Direct3D 12 over Vulkan implementation for Steam Play's Proton is out with a big feature update. VKD3D-Proton 2.5 brings experimental, opt-in support for DXR 1.1 ray-tracing. DXR 1.1 isn't yet fully implemented but does add inline ray-tracing support and other features. DXR 1.0 ray-tracing meanwhile is now considered effectively feature complete with VKD3D-Proton 2.5.

  • VKD3D-Proton v2.5 is out for Direct3D 12 on top of Vulkan, improving DirectX Raytracing | GamingOnLinux

    VKD3D-Proton is the project that translates Microsoft's Direct3D 12 to Vulkan, another big part of Steam Play Proton and there's a new release out. If you wish to know more about Steam Play and Proton do check out our dedicated section. A continued focus of VKD3D-Proton is bringing up support for DirectX Raytracing (DXR). As of this version 2.5 the developer notes that DXR 1.0 "is more or less feature complete". A few weird issues are left and eventually the config variable to enable it will be removed when it's stable enough. Further work went into improving DXR 1.1 and it's now experimentally exposed, with it being enabled by setting VKD3D_CONFIG=dxr11. They say that DXR 1.1 cannot be "fully implemented" just yet, although the feature support missing doesn't seem to currently be used by games. As of now DXR 1.1 inline raytracing is also fully implemented.

  • Timberborn: a cute beaver colony sim with an unrewarding late game

    The game only supports Windows. However, it runs excellently on Linux in Steam Proton compatibility mode.

  • Swarming RTS Age of Darkness: Final Stand is in Early Access and works great on Linux | GamingOnLinux

    Age of Darkness: Final Stand is like a fantasy version of They Are Billions, and compared with the latter it runs great on Linux thanks to Steam Play Proton. No native Linux version here but honestly it runs so well you can't tell the difference, it's click and play thanks to Proton and as such a massive fan of real-time strategy games I couldn't resist playing this one myself. Note: key provided by Team17. The world in Age of Darkness is one of constant fear. Darkness brings out Nightmares, strange hellish creatures with a taste for flesh and destruction. It's a constant battle of preparation. Right now it only has a survival mode, which sees you build up a village as you attempt to survive each night. All the traditional elements of a base-building RTS are here with population management, resource gathering, army building and more. A game very much for those of you who like "turtling", where you focus on building up a heavy defence.

  • Playing Deltarune: Chapter 2 natively on Linux | GamingOnLinux

    So, some time ago Toby Fox released the second chapter of the Deltarune series. Sadly, as was the case with the previous chapter, this one too comes without official Linux support. However, if the [HeartShapedObject] is willing, there is a way to play the game natively on Linux, albeit without official support. The trick is essentially the same as I described back in 2018 when the first chapter of Deltarune was released. Essentially, Deltarune is made with the GameMaker engine, and you can do a "port" of games like that as long as you can find a compatible GameMaker runner binary to pair up with the game data.

  • War Thunder is getting more terrain deformation in the upcoming 'Ground Breaking' upgrade | GamingOnLinux

    Ground Breaking is the name of the next major update for War Thunder and it sounds quite exciting, with some game engine upgrades to allow for more terrain interactions and deformation. Not only will you see huge craters left over from some of the more explosive ordinance, you will also be able to push around the ground. Soil, sand and snow will be movable with your tanks, allowing you with a little patience to create your own little protective barriers. That's right, self-entrenching is going to be a thing. In the Ground Breaking update the developers will add in a new animation for vehicles digging in.

  • Hugely popular mobile roguelike Shattered Pixel Dungeon is coming to Steam | GamingOnLinux

    For the PC release the developer now has a Steam page live and they've confirmed it will have a native Linux version.

Security Leftovers

Devices: Arduino Nano, HarmonyOS,and Pi

  • Arduino Nano Floppy Emulator For When Your Disk Is Not Accessible | Hackaday

    Among the plethora of obsolete removable media there are some which are lamented, but it can be difficult to find those who regret the passing of the floppy disk. These flexible magnetic disks in hard plastic covers were a staple of computing until some time in the early 2000s, and their drives could be found by the crateload in any spares box. But what about today, when there’s a need for a real floppy drive and none is to be found? Enter [Acemi Elektronikci], with an Arduino Nano based floppy emulator, that plugs into the floppy port of a PC old enough to have one, and allows the easy use of virtual floppy disks.

  • HarmonyOS development board shows up for $11

    Last year, we noted the Hisilicon Hi3861 based HiSpark WiFi IoT development board with supports LiteOS and HarmonyOS that was available in China for just under $10, or as part of a devkit with baseboard and modules for around $60. Although not very practical, buying from Taobao was possible, but there’s now what appears to be a new revision of the Hi3861V100 based HarmonyOS development board in a wider form factor on Banggood for $10.99.

  • Raspberry Pi CM4 handheld console looks like a Nintendo Switch Lite - CNX Software

    StonedEge and Dmcke5 have come up with an incredibly well-designed Raspberry Pi CM4 handheld console that looks like a Nintendo Switch Lite “clone”, and that can run Dreamcast and PSP emulators at full speed using RetroPie. The RetroLite CM4 The design includes a 5-inch display, speakers, all buttons, joysticks, and D-PAD controlled via a custom Arduino board, a micro HDMI port to connect an external display, and a 4000 mAh LiPo battery charged over the USB Type-C port, and it seems to work, albeit we are told there’s still some more work to do.

  • Lilbits: TCL’s concept smart glasses, PineNote E Ink tablet, and using the Raspberry Pi 400 as a keyboard
  • “Industrial Pi” Use Cases with Ubuntu and AMD

    DFI’s GHF51 mini industrial-grade motherboard, and the EC90A-GH mini fanless industrial computer, are the world’s first industrial computer products that have passed the Ubuntu IoT hardware certification and are equipped with high-performance AMD processors. The 1.8-inch motherboard of the Ryzen R1000 processor has the same small size as the Raspberry Pi but brings unprecedented powerful computing performance, powerful expansion capabilities, and durability tailored for industrial applications. Combining the online update mechanism of the Ubuntu Certified Hardware and the online application store, the breakthrough development of “Industrial Pi” will redefine the future of the Industrial Internet of Things. 

Audiocasts/Shows: WordPress, Linux Action News, Scams, and Fake Security

  • WP Briefing: Episode 18: The Economics of WordPress

    In episode 18 of WP Briefing, Josepha Haden Chomphosy reflects on a recent lecture that she gave to students at Hendrix College in which she explored the economics of WordPress and the principles that sustain the project’s ecosystem.

  • Linux Action News 211

    We cover what's special about Plasma's 25th-anniversary edition, chat with CloudLinux's CEO, and detail why Apple supporting Blender is good for all of us.

  • These Open Source SCAMMERS are getting out of control! - Invidious

    No, Inkscape isn't a scam. In fact, it's the best vector illustration tool on the planet. But, much like Krita just a few weeks ago, scammers have registered official-looking domains that are meant to trick people into downloading and installing ransomware. It's sad to see and I can't think of many ways we can combat this besides raising awareness.

  • Josh Bressers: Episode 293 – Scoring OpenSSF Security Scoring

    Josh and Kurt talk about the release of OpenSSF Security Scorecards version 3. This is a great project that will probably make a huge difference. Most of the things the scorecards are measuring are no brainier activities. We go through the list of metrics being measured. There are only a few that we don’t think are fantastic.