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August 2020

5 open source activities for kids to try this weekend

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During the last six months or so, my family and I have enjoyed a slower pace of life. With few museums and parks open, we’ve stayed safer at home together or going on outdoor excursions. My young children are pretty good at creating their imaginary worlds where they could play for hours. I think they are adapting to this new normal better than I am to tell you the truth. However, there will be weekends when we have all run out of ideas. Luckily, is chock full of boredom-busters for kids of all ages. In this article, I rounded up a few of our more recent open source activities for kids.

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Linux Jargon Buster: What is a Display Server in Linux? What is it Used for?

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A display server is a program which is responsible for the input and output coordination of its clients, to and from the rest of the operating system, and among the hardware and the operating system. Basically, thanks to a display server, you can use your computer graphically (GUI). Without the display server, you would only be restricted to a command line interface (TTY).

The display server provides the framework for a graphical environment so that you can use mouse and keyboard to interact with applications.

The display server communicates with its clients over the display server protocol, like X11. The display server is a key component in any graphical user interface, specifically the windowing system.

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This week in KDE: Tons and tons and tons of Plasma 5.20 features, bugfixes, and UI improvements

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Plasma 5.20 is going to be one absolutely massive release! It already was but this week we added even more to it: more features, more fixes for longstanding bugs, more improvements to the user interface!

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5 open source software applications for virtualization

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Open source tools can provide various benefits that proprietary products sometimes lack, such as improvements in flexibility and agility, speed, costs and security. Admins can find open source options to meet almost any of these needs, such Cockpit for administering servers; Proxmox Virtual Environment for improving Linux container and system management; KubeVirt for combining container and virtualization technologies; Open vSwitch for managing multiple physical servers; and AWS Firecracker for micro VM management.

When choosing an open source software application, admins must understand the features and use cases of each tool prior to use. This helps ensure that each tool meets workload and business needs.

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Programming: GCC, LLVM Clang, Anytime and Perl Weekly Challenge

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  • AMD Radeon GPU Offloading For GCC Still Maturing In 2020

    When it comes to Radeon GPU offloading for compute, most of the emphasis placed by AMD has been on Radeon Open Compute (ROCm) and now as part of that as well is the AOMP compiler for OpenMP targeting the AMD GPUs. Both ROCm and AOMP along with their other graphics driver components like RadeonSI and AMDVLK target an LLVM-based compiler stack as their principal focus, but they do continue engaging with Mentor Graphics who leads the development work on a Radeon GPU back-end for GCC.

  • LLVM Clang Will Finally Honor "-mtune=" On x86/x86_64 CPUs

    Starting with LLVM Clang 12.0 next year, the Clang compiler on x86/x86_64 CPUs will finally honor -mtune= in a similar manner to GCC.

    GCC has long allowed the -mtune= option on Intel/AMD processors for supporting microarchitectural tuning optimizations (scheduler model) to be applied independent of the CPU being targeted for instructions to enable that is set via the -march=. LLVM Clang is now supporting -mtune= as well in its x86 code for allowing this finer-grained tuning separate from -march=. Like GCC, if -mtune is not set it will follow the value specified via -march otherwise the defaults (generic).

  • Dirk Eddelbuettel: anytime 0.3.9: More Minor Maintenance

    A new minor release of the anytime package arrived on CRAN yesterday. This is the twentieth release, but sadly we seem to be spinning our wheels just accomodating CRAN (which the two or three last releases focused on). Code and functionality remain mature and stable, of course.

    anytime is a very focused package aiming to do just one thing really well: to convert anything in integer, numeric, character, factor, ordered, … format to either POSIXct or Date objects – and to do so without requiring a format string as well as accomodating different formats in one input vector. See the anytime page, or the GitHub for a few examples.

  • Perl Weekly Challenge 75: Coin Sums and Largest Rectangle Histogram

    These are some answers to the Week 75 of the Perl Weekly Challenge organized by Mohammad S. Anwar.

Security and FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt) Leftovers

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  • Security updates for Friday

    Security updates have been issued by Debian (bind9 and squid), Fedora (libX11 and wireshark), Gentoo (libX11 and redis), Mageia (firefox, libx11, qt4 and qt5base, and x11-server), openSUSE (gettext-runtime, inn, and webkit2gtk3), Oracle (firefox), SUSE (libqt5-qtbase, openvpn, openvpn-openssl1, postgresql10, and targetcli-fb), and Ubuntu (chrony, nss, and squid).

  • Reproducible Builds (diffoscope): diffoscope 158 released

    The diffoscope maintainers are pleased to announce the release of diffoscope version 158. This version includes the following changes:

    * Improve PGP support:
      - Support extracting of files within PGP signed data.
        (Closes: reproducible-builds/diffoscope#214)
      - pgpdump(1) can successfully parse some unrelated, non-PGP binary files,
        so check that the parsed output contains something remotely sensible
        before identifying it as a PGP file.
    * Don't use Python's repr(...)-style output in "Calling external command"
      logging output.
    * Correct a typo of "output" in an internal comment.

  • Google Engineer Calls For Greater Collaboration On Speculative Execution Mitigations

    Case in point to all the work going on in this area were talks by Google, Oracle, and DigitalOcean this week at Linux Plumbers Conference. DigitalOcean has been pursuing Core Scheduling to make Hyper Threading safer by ensuring only trusted applications share a core. Oracle meanwhile presented on their Address Space Isolation work for Linux. Google also had a talk on Linux Address Space Isolation at this week's virtual event. ASI aims to deal with Hyper Threading data leakage by isolating the address space between the different areas of the kernel with a particular emphasis on KVM/virtualization to avoid the possibility of data leakage between guest VMs or the host.

  • Protecting Linux-based Systems from Russion Cyber-Espionage Malware, Drovorub [Ed: Wind River is perpetuating media FUD]
  • Vulnerability Volume Poised to Overwhelm Infosec Teams [Ed: That's not even counting the deliberate back doors, as the goal seems to be remote access for spies rather than real security (and they've become shameless about this)]
  • 'Lemon Duck' Cryptominer Aims for Linux Systems [Ed: "Aims for" means looking for compromised machines and that has nothing to do with "Linux", which they merely try to stigmatise while ignoring back doors in proprietary counterparts]

    The operators behind the "Lemon Duck" cryptominer have developed new techniques to better target enterprise-grade Linux systems, according to the security firm Sophos.

  • Lemon_Duck cryptominer malware now targets Linux devices

today's howtos

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Mozilla: VR, SpiderMonkey and RustConf 2020

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  • Mozilla VR Blog: Why Researchers Should Conduct User Testing Sessions in Virtual Reality (VR): On Using Hubs by Mozilla for Immersive, Embodied User Feedback

    Amidst the pandemic, our research team from Mozilla and The Extended Mind performed user testing research entirely in a remote 3D virtual space where participants had to BYOD (Bring Your Own Device). This research aimed to test security concepts that could help users feel safe traversing links in the immersive web, the results of which are forthcoming in 2021. By utilizing a virtual space, we were able to get more intimate knowledge of how users would interact with these security concepts because they were immersed in a 3D environment.

    The purpose of this article is to persuade you that Hubs, and other VR platforms offer unique affordances for qualitative research. In this blog post, I’ll discuss the three key benefits of using VR platforms for research, namely the ability to perform immersive and embodied research across distances, with global participants, and the ability to test out concepts prior to implementation. Additionally, I will discuss the unique accessibility of Hubs as a VR platform and the benefits it provided us in our research.

  • SpiderMonkey Newsletter 6 (Firefox 80-81)

    SpiderMonkey is the JavaScript engine used in Mozilla Firefox. This newsletter gives an overview of the JavaScript and WebAssembly work we’ve done as part of the Firefox 80 and 81 Nightly release cycles. If you like these newsletters, you may also enjoy Yulia’s Compiler Compiler live stream.

    With the recent changes at Mozilla, some may be worried about what this means for SpiderMonkey. The team continues to remain strong, supported and is excited to show off a lot of cool things this year and into the future.


  • Will Kahn-Greene: RustConf 2020 thoughts

    Last year, I went to RustConf 2019 in Portland. It was a lovely conference. Everyone I saw was so exuberantly happy to be there--it was just remarkable. It was my first RustConf. Plus while I've been sort-of learning Rust for a while and cursorily related to Rust things (I work on crash ingestion and debug symbols things), I haven't really done any Rust work. Still, it was a remarkable and very exciting conference.

    RustConf 2020 was entirely online. I'm in UTC-4, so it occurred during my afternoon and evening. I spent the entire time watching the RustConf 2020 stream and skimming the channels on Discord. Everyone I saw on the channels were so exuberantly happy to be there and supportive of one another--it was just remarkable. Again! Even virtually!

    I missed the in-person aspect of a conference a bit. I've still got this thing about conferences that I'm getting over, so I liked that it was virtual because of that and also it meant I didn't have to travel to go.

Python Programming

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  • Do You Post Too Much? Analyze Your Personal Facebook Data with Python

    That looks great! We've got our post counts broken down by month, and if we check the original data set, we can quickly see the counts are correct.

    Note that months with no posts have been correctly counted as 0 rather than simply skipped. That's one of the reasons why using resample(), which is designed to work with time series, is better for this kind of task than using something like groupby(), where it's easy to skip months with no data if we're not careful.

  • “From The Docs: PyCharm Skills, Beginner to Advanced” with Alla Redko

    PyCharm is a comprehensive IDE that also comes with comprehensive help. What’s available and what is it like working on the help? PyCharm’s Alla Redko joins us to discuss how the help gets made. As a bonus, we show 3 help topics — one for beginners, intermediate, and advanced — then demonstrate all the ways to that feature in PyCharm.

  • Python with Pandas: DataFrame Tutorial with Examples

    Pandas is an open-source Python library for data analysis. It is designed for efficient and intuitive handling and processing of structured data.

    The two main data structures in Pandas are Series and DataFrame. Series are essentially one-dimensional labeled arrays of any type of data, while DataFrames are two-dimensional, with potentially heterogenous data types, labeled arrays of any type of data. Heterogenous means that not all "rows" need to be of equal size.

    In this article we will go through the most common ways of creating a DataFrame and methods to change their structure.

    We'll be using the Jupyter Notebook since it offers a nice visual representation of DataFrames. Though, any IDE will also do the job, just by calling a print() statement on the DataFrame object.

  • Test and Code: 128: pytest-randomly - Adam Johnson

    Software tests should be order independent. That means you should be able to run them in any order or run them in isolation and get the same result.

    However, system state often gets in the way and order dependence can creep into a test suite.
    One way to fight against order dependence is to randomize test order, and with pytest, we recommend the plugin pytest-randomly to do that for you.

    The developer that started pytest-randomly and continues to support it is Adam Johnson, who joins us today to discuss pytest-randomly and another plugin he also wrote, called pytest-reverse.

  • Hands-On: BornHack 2020 Badge Has 9×32 Of Bling Fed By CircuitPython

    Despite widespread pandemic cancellations, BornHack still happened this year and they even managed to once again bring an electronic badge to all attendees. If you missed it, I’ve already published an overview of the hacker camp itself. Today let’s dig into the 2020 BornHack badge!

    Designed by Thomas Flummer and manufactured in Denmark, it takes the form of a PCB in the shape of a roughly 60 degree circular arc with most of its top side taken up by a 9 by 32 array of SMD LEDs. There is the usual 4-way button array and space for an SAO connector on the rest of the front face, while on the rear are a set of GPIO pads and a pair of AA battery holders for power. Connectivity is via USB-C and infra-red, and usefully there is also a power on/off switch.

  • Unravelling augmented arithmetic assignment

    This post is part of a series on Python's syntactic sugar. The latest source code can be found as part of the desugar project.

  • PSF GSoC students blogs: Final Blog Post
  • PSF GSoC students blogs: udiff: Project Summary

Wine 5.16

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  • Wine Announcement
    The Wine development release 5.16 is now available.
    What's new in this release (see below for details):
      - Support for x86 AVX registers.
      - Some ARM64 fixes for macOS.
      - Still more restructuration of the console support.
      - Various bug fixes.
  • Wine 5.16 Released With Support For AVX Registers

    Wine 5.16 is out as the latest bi-weekly development release leading up to next year's Wine 6.0.

    Wine 5.16 brings support for x86 AVX registers, ARM64 fixes for macOS, more restructuring of the console support, and around 21 known bug fixes. The bug fixes range from fixes for Quake Champions to Tomb Raider to various application bugs.

More in Tux Machines

Kernel and Graphics: Intel, AMD, and NVIDIA

  • Intel teases 'software-defined silicon' with Linux kernel contribution – and won't say why

    Intel has teased a new tech it calls "Software Defined Silicon" (SDSi) but is saying almost nothing about it – and has told The Register it could amount to nothing. SDSi popped up around three weeks ago in a post to the Linux Kernel mailing list, in which an Intel Linux software engineer named David Box described it as "a post-manufacturing mechanism for activating additional silicon features".

  • RadeonSI Lands Another "Very Large" Optimization To Further Boost SPECViewPerf - Phoronix

    In recent months we have seen a lot of RadeonSI optimizations focused on SPECViewPerf with AMD seemingly trying to get this open-source OpenGL driver into very capable shape moving forward for workstation GL workloads. Hitting Mesa 22.0-devel today is yet another round of patches for tuning SPECViewPerf.

  • Vendors Including NVIDIA Talk Up New OpenCL Extensions For Vulkan Interop, NN Inference - Phoronix

    Last Friday night we spotted OpenCL 3.0.9 with several new extensions included. Today The Khronos Group is formally announcing these latest OpenCL additions focused on Vulkan interoperability as well as neural network inferencing. These new extensions for OpenCL 3.0 include an integer dot product extension for neural network inferencing (cl_khr_integer_dot_product) with a focus on 8-bit integer support.

  • RadeonSI Enables NGG Shader Culling For Navi 1x Consumer GPUs - Phoronix

    As another possible performance win for RadeonSI Gallium3D as AMD's open-source Radeon OpenGL driver on Linux systems is enabling of NGG culling for Navi 1x consumer graphics processors rather than limiting it only to newer Navi 2x (RDNA2) GPUs. Merged on Monday was a patch to enable shader culling for Navi 1x consumer SKUs with no longer limiting it to Navi 2x / GFX10.3 or when using various debug options. This culling was also enabled for Navi 1x GPUs but only for the "Pro" graphics SKUs.

Databases: Managing Database Migrations, PostgreSQL-Related Releases

KDE Plasma 5.18.8, Bugfix Release for October

Plasma 5.18 was released in February 2020 with many feature refinements and new modules to complete the desktop experience. Read more

today's howtos

  • Speak to me! – Purism

    My trusty laptop’s speakers gave up the ghost. I don’t like to sit around in headphones all the time, I don’t have any other speakers, and the replacements are still being manhandled by the postman. I’d get used to the austerity if I hadn’t started missing calls from a friend. That’s unacceptable! But what am I supposed to do? Buy extra gadgets just to throw them away after a week? Nope, I’m not that kind of a person. But hey – I have a Librem 5! It has a speaker. It’s open. I have control over it, and I’m a hacker too. So I should be able to come up with a hack to turn it into a speaker for my laptop, right? Pulseaudio to the rescue. I look through the guide. There it is: forwarding audio over a network.

  • How To Install CSF Firewall on Debian 11 - idroot

    In this tutorial, we will show you how to install CSF Firewall on Debian 11. For those of you who didn’t know, CSF is also known as “Config Server Firewall” is a free and advanced firewall for Linux systems. We should use ConfigServer Security & Firewall (CSF) since this CSF have more advanced and comprehensive features than other firewall application such as UFW, Firewalld, or Iptables. Compared to the other Linux firewall application, CSF is more user-friendly and effective which is mostly used by web hosting providers. This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you through the step-by-step installation of the ConfigServer Security & Firewall (CSF) on a Debian 11 (Bullseye).

  • What are the differences between SQL and MySQL | FOSS Linux

    Due to many organizations, businesses, companies, and firms making an online presence, databases have become the core requirement for their daily operations. A database in a layman’s language is defined as a collection of data stored and organized electronically to ensure easy retrieval, access, management, and manipulation of business data. Most business successes depend on databases since they aid in storing essential and relevant data in a central position. Besides, databases also help facilitate communication of crucial business info such as employee profiles, sales transactions, customer profiles, marketing campaigns, product inventory, etc. Furthermore, databases have ensured that the company’s data is secure through various authentication mechanisms like access specifiers, user logins, and sign-ups. This article will talk about the difference between the two popular relational databases SQL and MySQL.

  • How to install Funkin' Psych Engine on a Chromebook

    Today we are looking at how to install Friday Night Funkin' Psych Engine on a Chromebook. Please follow the video/audio guide as a tutorial where we explain the process step by step and use the commands below.

  • How to Use an SSH Key with Non-root Users - Unixcop

    You can SSH to your Linux instance as root with the key. However, the key doesn’t work for non-root users. So we will illustrate two methods to use SSH keys with non-root users.

  • Allow Port Through Firewall in Ubuntu 20.04 - Linux Nightly

    Ubuntu comes with ufw (uncomplicated firewall) installed by default. This is a frontend for iptables/nftables, the built-in Linux firewall, and is meant to make firewall management a bit easier. In this guide, you’ll see how to add rules to the firewall to open ports and allow certain services to have access through the firewall on Ubuntu.

  • Some regex tests with grep, sed and AWK

    In my data work I regularly do searching and filtering with GNU grep (version 3.3), GNU sed (4.7) and GNU AWK (4.2.1). I don't know if they all use the same regex engine, but I've noticed differences in regex speed between these three programs. This post documents some of the differences.

  • Upgrade to Fedora 35 from Fedora 34 using DNF – If Not True Then False

    This is guide, howto upgrade Fedora 34 to Fedora 35 using DNF. This method works on desktop and server machines. You can also upgrade older Fedora installations (example Fedora 33/32/31/30) directly to Fedora 35. I have tested this method on several machines, but if you have problems, please let me know. Always remember backup, before upgrade!

  • Jenkins: Basic security settings - Anto ./ Online

    Jenkins contains sensitive information. Thus it must be secured, like any other sensitive platform. Thankfully Jenkins provides you with many security options. This guide will show you all the essential bits that you need to know. You access these features on the Configure Global Security page under manage Jenkins.

  • LDAP query from Python · Pablo Iranzo Gómez's blog

    Recently, some colleagues commented about validating if users in a Telegram group were or not employees anymore, so that the process could be automated without having to chase down the users that left the company. One of the fields that can be configured by each user, is the link to other platforms (Github, LinkedIn, Twitter, Telegram, etc), so querying an LDAP server could suffice to get the list of users. First, we need to get some data required, in our case, we do anonymous binding to our LDAP server and the field to search for containing the ‘other platform’ links.