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February 2021

Videos: Tuxedo Laptop, "Most Important Linux Programs On My System", and More

Filed under
GNU
Linux

Void Linux Has Been Working To Deliver Great POWER Support

Filed under
GNU
Linux

Void Linux, a rolling-release distribution we have covered before that is known for its XBPS package manager and interesting design decisions like using the Runit init system and supporting the Musl C library, has recently been working on enhancing its POWER CPU architecture support.

Daniel Kolesa who serves as the primary maintainer for the POWER port of Void Linux spoke at FOSDEM 2021 earlier this month on their improvements to benefit IBM POWER / OpenPOWER hardware.

Void Linux for POWER has been working on 32-bit little endian support to complement the existing POWER 64-bit little endian support as well as already supporting POWER 32-bit and 64-bit in big endian mode. Void Linux has also been carrying patches for LibreSSL to offer faster crypto performance on POWER, getting the likes of Google Chromium running on POWER in their archive, supporting Electron applications on POWER, and also getting good AMD Radeon graphics driver support working on POWER.

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Nitrux 1.3.8 Is Here with KDE Plasma 5.21, Support for Linux Kernel 5.11 and Mesa-Git

Filed under
Linux

The biggest change in Nitrux 1.3.8 is the upgrade to the latest and greatest KDE Plasma 5.21 desktop environment, which brings numerous new features and improvements. In fact, the first point release, KDE Plasma 5.21.1, is used in this new Nitrux version.

The KDE Plasma 5.21 desktop environment in Nitrux 1.3.8 is accompanied by the latest KDE Frameworks 5.79 and KDE Applications 20.12.2 open-source software suites, and features a new default window decoration forked from SierraBreezeEnchanced.

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today's leftovers

Filed under
Misc
  • Broadcom VK Accelerator Driver, More Intel ACRN Code Arrives For Linux 5.12 - Phoronix

    Greg Kroah-Hartman this week sent in "the large set of char/misc/whatever driver subsystem updates", which as usual -- given it's a catch-all area of kernel drivers not fitting well into other subsystems -- there is an interesting mix of additions.

    Linux 5.12 still isn't moving forward with any "accelerator" subsystem for the likes of the Habana Labs driver and other accelerators / offload cards, even with Linux 5.12 bringing the Broadcom VK accelerator driver, so for now the char/misc area of the kernel continues to expand.

  • Mesa Flips On OpenGL Threading For Valheim To Deliver Better Performance - Phoronix

    For those enjoying the Valheim, the new survival/sandbox game that has been an incredible success and sold more than four millions of copies so far while being a low-budget indie game, Mesa should be providing better performance when using its OpenGL renderer.

    Valheim is powered by the Unity game engine and is natively supported on Linux. Initially the focus was on the OpenGL rendering support while the game is now running out Vulkan support. But for those sticking to OpenGL usage, Mesa Git is performing better thanks to enabling OpenGL threading.

  • Library management system with global Open Source community

    It is difficult to choose a single benefit in Koha, says Jessica Andersson from Alingsås Library, who is also in the board of Koha’s Sweden Network. Koha is build to be modular and features can easily be controlled by activation or de-sctivation. This is a flexibility, which Jessica Andersson points out to be unique in Koha.

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  • What is the GNOME Editor in Linux?

    If you are operating a Linux operating system through the GNOME editor, you will see a graphical text editor that you can use easily and well. It is a basic text editor that has a couple of advanced features for the fun of editing. When you start gedit with multiple files, it will load the files into individual buffers and display each of them as a tabbed window inside the editor’s main window. The left frame inside the gedit editor will show the documents that you have been editing.

today's howtos

Filed under
HowTos
  • 【VimTutor】Vim Speedrun Any % WR Glitchless - YouTube

    You've probably noticed that I'm really awful with vim and don't do anything in an efficient way. Part of that is due to me never having finished vim tutor so what better way to do that than do it on stream.

  • Copy File Contents Into Clipboard Without Displaying Them - OSTechNix

    This guide explains what is Clipboard, and how to copy file contents into Clipboard without displaying the contents of the file using any text viewer applications in Linux.

    What is Clipboard?

    You will definitely cut or copy and paste texts on your system multiple times a day. You may not have remembered how many times you copied something or haven't ever thought about where the copied texts are actually stored. But, you should have copied/cut texts so many times. For those wondering, there is temporary place called "Clipboard" in an operating system. Clipboard is the place where the copied/cut data are kept temporarily.

    Clipboard is a buffer used for short-term data storage. It is mainly used to transfer data within and between applications, via cut, copy and paste operations. Clipboard is usually temporary and unnamed place that resides in your Computer's RAM.

    The clipboards are called "Selections" and there are three types of clipboards available in X11 window system in Linux.

  • How to install TeamViewer in Linux

    TeamViewer is a cross-platform application that enables an user to control remote computers over the internet or network.

    It is used for remote access, remote control, remote support, web conferencing, desktop sharing and file transfer between computers.

    TeamViewer is a proprietary computer application, which is free for Private and Non-Commercial use.

    It supports multiple Linux distributions and this article shows how to install TeamViewer on Ubuntu, Fedora, and Red Hat systems.

  • Thunderbolt bridge connection in Fedora 33

    My home network is extremely slow, because I have CAT5e cables everywhere. I was wondering if I can use Thunderbolt ports which I have both on the new Mac M1 and Intel NUC with Fedora. So without my breath, since some Thunderbolt docks are known to brick the new Macs, I connected the two guys. And it worked automatically!

  • Petter Reinholdtsen: Updated Valutakrambod, now also with information from NBX

    I have neglected the Valutakrambod library for a while, but decided this weekend to give it a face lift. I fixed a few minor glitches in several of the service drivers, where the API had changed since I last looked at the code. I also added support for fetching the order book from the newcomer Norwegian Bitcoin Exchange.

    I alsod decided to migrate the project from github to gitlab in the process. If you want a python library for talking to various currency exchanges, check out code for valutakrambod.

  • Simos Xenitellis: How to run a Windows virtual machine on LXD on Linux

    LXD is a hypervisor to run both system containers (a la LXC) and virtual machines (a la QEMU) on Linux distributions. System containers are lightweight because they are based solely on the Linux kernel for their virtualization features, and support Linux guests only. However, virtual machines can run other operating systems. In this post, we see how to run Windows in a LXD virtual machine.

    The benefit with running Windows through LXD is that you are using the familiar LXD workflow and takes away some of the the complexity from the other ways of running a VM (like virt-manager).

    The content of this tutorial came from https://discuss.linuxcontainers.org/t/running-virtual-machines-with-lxd-4-0/7519 Look towards the end of the thread where Stéphane Graber describes how to simplify the process compared to the instructions at the top of that thread.

    The prerequisite is that you have LXD configured and running.

  • Debian: uninstall package [Guide]

    From Apt-get to Synaptic Package Manager, there are many ways to uninstall packages in Debian Linux. In this guide, we’ll show you all the ways you can uninstall packages from your Debian Linux system.

  • How to Install Wine 6.3 in Ubuntu 18.04 / 20.04 / 20.10 | UbuntuHandbook

    The Wine team announced the new development release Wine 6.3 with new features and various bug-fixes.

  • Nginx: 413 - Request Entity Too Large Error and Solution - nixCraft

    I‘m running nginx as a frond end to php based Apache+mod_fastcgi server. My app lets user upload images upto 2MB in size. When users trying to upload 1.5MB+ size image file using nginx reverse proxy, they are getting the following error on screen:

    Nginx 413 Request Entity Too Large

    How do I fix this problem and allow image upload upto 2MB in size using nginx web-server working in reverse proxy or stand-alone mode on Unix like operating systems?

  • How to check if file does not exist in Bash - nixCraft

    How can I check if a file does not exist in a Bash script?

    We can quickly tell if a standard file does not exist in Bash using the test command or [ builtin. This page explains how to find a regular file under the Linux or Unix-like system using Bash.

  • Open source database migration guide: How to transition

    Open source database migration typically involves more than just a database. It is more accurately described as a database ecosystem transition, which can include multiple independent projects for management, monitoring, tuning, connection pooling, high availability and third-party support. Beyond the database ecosystem, application integration with the database may be impacted as well.

    The appeal of open source databases, particularly for smaller non-mission-critical systems, has led to increased adoption and market popularity.

  • Set up your own Slack-like chat system on Linux

    Zulip’s 3.0 release back in July saw over 100 people contribute from all over the world. It also brought support for Ubuntu 20.04, so we fired up our server to see just how easy it is to install and if it could restore our faith in chat. We’re pleased to say it’s super easy and we strongly recommend adding it to your server, too.

    [...]

    The two key bits of terminology to grasp are streams and topics. Streams are a broader hierarchy and can be thought of as separate chatrooms. 

    Different members of your team can be members of different streams, and streams can be made private so that only certain people can see them. Within a stream every message has its own topic and conversations will appear threaded thusly, rather like email subject lines.

    However, unlike email subject lines you can’t be lazy and have a blank thread. This tiny bit of extra effort is what enables everything to be so nicely organised, so that you can enjoy hassle-free open source messaging whether in real time or asynchronously, perhaps catching up on messages from your colleagues in other time zones.

Google for Slow Connections and Mozilla on Accessibility

Filed under
Google
Moz/FF
Web
  • Lyra: A New Very Low-Bitrate Codec for Speech Compression

    Connecting to others online via voice and video calls is something that is increasingly a part of everyday life. The real-time communication frameworks, like WebRTC, that make this possible depend on efficient compression techniques, codecs, to encode (or decode) signals for transmission or storage. A vital part of media applications for decades, codecs allow bandwidth-hungry applications to efficiently transmit data, and have led to an expectation of high-quality communication anywhere at any time.

    [...]

    To solve this problem, we have created Lyra, a high-quality, very low-bitrate speech codec that makes voice communication available even on the slowest networks. To do this, we’ve applied traditional codec techniques while leveraging advances in machine learning (ML) with models trained on thousands of hours of data to create a novel method for compressing and transmitting voice signals.

  • Google's New Lyra Voice Codec + AV1 Aim For Video Chats Over 56kbps Modems In 2021

    Google's AI team has announced "Lyra" as a very low bit-rate codec for speech compression designed for use-cases like WebRTC and other video chats... With a bit rate so low that when combined with the likes of the AV1 video codec could potentially allow video chats over 56kbps Internet connections.

    Google engineers formally announced Lyra on Thursday as this new codec to challenge the likes of Opus. Lyra leverages machine learning to make it suitable for delivering extremely low bit-rate speech compression.

    Google's Lyra announcement noted, "Lyra is currently designed to operate at 3kbps and listening tests show that Lyra outperforms any other codec at that bitrate and is compared favorably to Opus at 8kbps, thus achieving more than a 60% reduction in bandwidth. Lyra can be used wherever the bandwidth conditions are insufficient for higher-bitrates and existing low-bitrate codecs do not provide adequate quality."

  • Mozilla Accessibility: 2021 Firefox Accessibility Roadmap Update [Ed: Mozilla is not consistent. It speaks of people with disabilities, but was eager to go on with DRM (EME) inside Firefox despite is being an attack on disabled people]

    People with disabilities can experience huge benefits from technology but can also find it frustrating or worse, downright unusable. Mozilla’s Firefox accessibility team is committed to delivering products and services that are not just usable for people with disabilities, but a delight to use.

    The Firefox accessibility (a11y) team will be spending much of 2021 re-building major pieces of our accessibility engine, the part of Firefox that powers screen readers and other assistive technologies.

    While the current Firefox a11y engine has served us well for many years, new directions in browser architectures and operating systems coupled with the increasing complexity of the modern web means that some of Firefox’s venerable a11y engine needs a rebuild.

    Browsers, including Firefox, once simple single process applications, have become complex multi-process systems that have to move lots of data between processes, which can cause performance slowdowns. In order to ensure the best performance and stability and to enable support for a growing, wider variety of accessibility tools in the future (such as Windows Narrator, Speech Recognition and Text Cursor Indicator), Firefox’s accessibility engine needs to be more robust and versatile. And where ATs used to spend significant resources ensuring a great experience across browsers, the dominance of one particular browser means less resources being committed to ensuring the ATs work well with Firefox. This changing landscape means that Firefox too must evolve significantly and that’s what we’re going to be doing in 2021.

Programming Leftovers

Filed under
Development
  • Testing 4x4 matrix inversion precision

    It is extremely rare that a hobby software project of mine gets completed, but now it has happened. Behold! Fourbyfour!

    Have you ever had to implement a mathematical algorithm, say, matrix inversion? You want it to be fast and measuring the speed is fairly simple, right. But what about correctness? Or precision? Behavior around inputs that are on the edge? You can hand-pick a few example inputs, put those into your test suite, and verify the result is what you expect. If you do not pick only trivial inputs, this is usually enough to guarantee your algorithm does not have fundamental mistakes. But what about those almost invalid inputs, can you trust your algorithm to not go haywire on them? How close to invalid can your inputs be before things break down? Does your algorithm know when it stops working and tell you?

    Inverting a square matrix requires that the inverse matrix exists to begin with. Matrices that do not mathematically have an inverse matrix are called singular. Can your matrix inversion algorithm tell you when you are trying to invert a matrix that cannot be inverted, or does it just give you a bad result pretending it is ok?

    Working with computers often means working with floating-point numbers. With floating-point, the usual mathematics is not enough, it can actually break down. You calculate something and the result a computer gives you is total nonsense, like 1+2=2 in spirit. In the case of matrix inversion, it's not enough that the input matrix is not singular mathematically, it needs to be "nice enough" numerically as well. How do you test your matrix inversion algorithm with this in mind?

    These questions I tried to answer with Fourbyfour. The README has the links to the sub-pages discussing how I solved this, so I will not repeat it here. However, as the TL;DR, if there is one thing you should remember, it is this:

  • Getting started with COBOL development on Fedora Linux 33

    Though its popularity has waned, COBOL is still powering business critical operations within many major organizations. As the need to update, upgrade and troubleshoot these applications grows, so may the demand for anyone with COBOL development knowledge.

    Fedora 33 represents an excellent platform for COBOL development.
    This article will detail how to install and configure tools, as well as compile and run a COBOL program.

  • 3 Excellent Free Books to Learn about ClojureScript

    ClojureScript is a compiler for Clojure that targets JavaScript. It emits JavaScript code which is compatible with the advanced compilation mode of the Google Closure optimizing compiler.

    Clojure is a dialect of the Lisp programming language. It’s a well-rounded language. It offers broad library support and runs on multiple operating systems. Clojure is a dynamic functional general purpose programming language that runs on the Java platform, combining the approachability and interactive development of a scripting language with an efficient and robust infrastructure for multi-threaded programming. Clojure features a rich set of immutable, persistent data structures, first-class functions and dynamic typing. Clojure programs are composed of expressions and written in terms of abstractions.

  • ISO 8601: the better date format

    If you haven’t been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard that there are different date formats in the world such as the American one (mm/dd/yyyy) and the European one (dd.mm.yyyy). If you’re smart enough, you’ve probably also noticed that the American one makes no sense and is just awful. A simple conclusion that many people draw out of this is that the European format is the best one, however I don’t think this is true. If you’re one of these people who think so, I’m here to (hopefully) change your mind by introducing you to a lesser-known date format called ISO 8601.

Proprietary Software Pains and Security

Filed under
Security
  • Microsoft to cut perpetual Office support by 50%, raise price by 10%

    Reducing support for Office LTSC and 2021 to five years makes the software less attractive in any comparison with Office 365/Microsoft 365. Perpetual licensing's biggest advantage over subscriptions is cost, but that advantage relies on the customer upgrading relatively infrequently. By offering an upgrade every three years and limiting support to five years, Microsoft has forced customers who want or need perpetual licensing to deploy every version. There's no way to skip an upgrade because there's no overlap in support for versions n and n+2.

  • SolarWinds’s Security Practices Questioned by Lawmakers

    The cyber-attack was revealed in December after FireEye Inc. discovered it while investigating a breach of its own. The [attackers] implanted malicious code into SolarWinds’s popular Orion software, and as many as 18,000 customers received it while updating the software. Far fewer were actually targeted for secondary attacks -- about 100 companies and nine U.S. agencies, according to the White House.

    A persistent question has been how the [attackers] originally breached SolarWinds. At the hearing, SolarWinds CEO Sudhakar Ramakrishna said the company was still investigating but had narrowed it to three possible methods. The [attackers] may have used a technique called “password spraying,” where the attackers “spray” passwords at a large volume of usernames. A second possibility was that the [attackers] stole credentials, he said, while the third was a breach of a third-party application used by SolarWinds.

  • Reproducible Builds (diffoscope): diffoscope 168 released

    The diffoscope maintainers are pleased to announce the release of diffoscope version 168. This version includes the following changes:

    * Don't call difflib.Differ.compare with very large inputs; it is at least
      O(n^2) and makes diffoscope appear to hang.
      (Closes: reproducible-builds/diffoscope#240)
    * Don't use "Inheriting PATH of X" in debug log message; use "PATH is X".
    * Correct the capitalisation of jQuery.
    

  • Your old home router is probably vulnerable to hackers [Ed: 'New' Linux FUD from 'old' Microsoft partners]

    Linux is the most-used operating system on Internet routers, but a recent study from Fraunhofer FKIE has shown that these devices are running extremely old and potentially insecure versions of the Linux kernel.

    While the Fraunhofer report is more than six months old, information security expert Bruce Schneier shared it recently, noting that it has not been widely reported.

    According to the report, Linux powers more than 90% of broadband routers. However, these devices which act as our gateways to the Internet often run on Linux kernels that are more than ten years old.

Open Source phone news roundup: FreeBSD, Google-free Android, and Ubuntu Touch

Filed under
Gadgets

The next version of Ubuntu Touch is scheduled to launch on March 10, and the folks at UBPorts are looing for testers willing to check out the latest features, bug fixes, and more. The developers of the ExpidusOS smartphone Linux distribution that uses the Xfce desktop environment have outlined a roadmap for the next six months. And not all of the free and open source operating systems designed for smartphones are based on Linux.

One developer has announced plans to build a FreeBSD-based operating system for the PinePhone. And the folks at the /e/ Foundation have been de-Googling Android software for years. Now you can buy a phone with /e/ OS pre-installed and have it shipped to the US or Canada. Previously their phones were only available in Europe.

Read more

More in Tux Machines

More about those zero-dot users

Yesterday’s article about KDE’s target users generated some interesting discussions about the zero-dot users. One of the most insightful comments I read was that nobody can really target zero-dot users because they operate based on memorization and habit, learning a series of cause-effect relationships: “I click/touch this picture/button, then something useful happens”–even with their smartphones! So even if GNOME and ElementaryOS might be simpler, that doesn’t really matter because it’s not much harder to memorize a random-seeming sequence of clicks or taps in a poor user interface than it is in a good one. I think there’s a lot of truth to this perspective. We have all known zero-dot users who became quite proficient at specific tasks; maybe they learned how to to everything they needed in MS Office, Outlook, or even Photoshop. The key detail is that these folks rely on the visual appearance and structure of the software remaining the same. When the software’s user interface changes–even for the better–they lose critical visual cues and reference points and they can’t find anything anymore. Read more

Distros Without Systemd (New List) and Trolling Against GNU/Linux

Videos/Shows: Deepin, Free Software, GTK, KDE, and More

Ubuntu: Internet of Things (IoT), CyberDog, ZeroDown, and OVS (Open vSwitch)

  • Ubuntu Blog: Embedded systems: the advent of the Internet of Things – Part II

    This is the second part of the two-part blog series covering embedded Linux systems and the challenges brought about by the proliferation of Internet of Things (IoT) devices. In Part I, we surveyed the embedded ecosystem and the role Linux plays within that space. This blog takes you on the next step in the journey, where we explore the most demanding challenges facing manufacturers of tightly embedded IoT devices.

  • CyberDog: a four legged robot revolution with Ubuntu

    Late this year, Chinese tech giant Xiaomi unveiled CyberDog: a quadrupedal, experimental, open-source robot that the firm claims will improve the robot development environment and promote the development of the robot industry. Today, Canonical dives into the specifications of this four legged robot and discover how Ubuntu is helping the device become an open source technological platform. Xiaomi has a clear vision for its product. As Huang Changjiang, PM at Xiaomi, explains, “CyberDog is developers’ technological partner from the future. It equips inhouse-made high-performance servo motors, high computing ability, with built-in AI for visual detection system and voice interaction system, supporting a variety of bionic motion gestures.”

  • ZeroDown® Software Targets Open Source with New Canonical Partnership

    As businesses around the world and in every major industry define and accelerate their cloud strategies, the lack of open, flexible and complete high availability has become a major concern. The ZeroDown platform, built upon Canonical’s industry-leading operating system, Ubuntu, aims at integrating into Canonical’s broader Charmed OpenStack platform with its ZeroDown Ultra High-Availability TM Software, eliminating downtime and data loss for its customers, running seamlessly through planned or unplanned downtime events.

  • Data centre networking: what is OVS? | Ubuntu

    In one of our preceding blogs, we spoke about Software-Defined Networking (SDN) and the key drivers behind it. Virtualisation is one of the fundamental aspects that characterises SDN, and has influenced the architecture of network switching in the data centre. OVS (Open vSwitch) is a fundamental component of modern and open data centre SDNs, where it aggregates all the virtual machines at the server hypervisor layer. It represents the ingress point for all the traffic exiting VMs, and can be used to forward traffic between multiple virtual network functions in the form of service chains. Let’s take a closer look in order to understand what OVS is.