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Updated: 1 hour 6 min ago

Quad -A72 Raspberry Pi 4 finally gets its RAM

Tuesday 25th of June 2019 06:14:37 PM
The Raspberry Pi 4 has launched with a 1.5GHz quad-core, Cortex-A72 Broadcom SoC, up to 4GB RAM, native GbE, USB 3.0 and Type-C ports, and a second micro-HDMI for dual 4K displays. Eben Upton announced the Raspberry Pi 4 Model B as a “surprise,” which is generally true of any new Pi launch, but in […]

GNOME Desktop/GTK: GNOME Shell 3.33.3, GStreamer Rust Bindings 0.14.0 and Sysprof

Tuesday 25th of June 2019 06:05:01 PM
  • GNOME Shell 3.33.3

    GNOME Shell provides core user interface functions for the GNOME 3 desktop, like switching to windows and launching applications. GNOME Shell takes advantage of the capabilities of modern graphics hardware and introduces innovative user interface concepts to provide a visually attractive and easy to use experience.

  • GNOME Shell & Mutter See Their 3.33.3 Releases With Notable X11/Wayland Changes

    Arriving late, a few days after the GNOME 3.33.3 development snapshot, the Mutter and GNOME Shell updates are now available.

    The Mutter 3.33.3 window manager / compositor update is notable with preparations for running XWayland on-demand -- a.k.a. just when needed for X11 client usage and not constantly. The Mutter update also now honors the startup sequence workspace on Wayland, fixes around fractional scaling, adds the new Sysprof-based profiling support, adds mouse and locate-pointer accessibility, consolidates the frame throttling code, improves screencasting support on multi-monitor systems, fixes running X11 applications with sudo under Wayland, adds initial KMS transactional support, and there are many bug fixes.

  • GStreamer Rust bindings 0.14.0 release

    Apart from updating to GStreamer 1.16, this release is mostly focussed on adding more bindings for various APIs and general API cleanup and bugfixes.

    The most notable API additions in this release are bindings for gst::Memory and gst::Allocator as well as bindings for gst_base::BaseParse and gst_video::VideoDecoder and VideoEncoder. The latter also come with support for implementing subclasses and the gst-plugins-rs module contains an video decoder and parser (for CDG), and a video encoder (for AV1) based on this.

  • Sysprof design work

    Since my last post, I’ve been working on a redesign of Sysprof (among other things) to make it a bit more useful and friendly to newcomers.

    Many years ago, I worked on a small profiler project called “Perfkit” that never really went anywhere. I had already done most of my UI research for this years ago, so it was pretty much just a matter of applying that design to the Sysprof code-base.

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GitLab 12.0

Tuesday 25th of June 2019 06:04:26 PM
GitLab 12.0 has been released. "GitLab gives users the ability to automatically create review apps for each merge request. This allows anyone to see how the design or UX has been changed. In GitLab 12.0, we are expanding the ability to discuss those changes by bringing the ability to insert visual review tools directly into the Review App itself. With a small code snippet, users can enable designers, product managers, and other stakeholders to quickly provide feedback on a merge request without leaving the app." Other features include the ability to easily access a project's Dependency List, restrict access by IP address, and much more.

Intel UMWAIT Support Queued For Linux 5.3 – New Feature For Tremont Cores

Tuesday 25th of June 2019 06:01:29 PM

Adding to the growing list of features for the upcoming Linux 5.3 kernel is now Intel UMWAIT support for better power-savings.

UMWAIT is a new feature for Intel Tremont CPUs cores. UMWAIT can help enhance power savings during idle periods with "user mode wait" functionality. UMWAIT allows for monitoring a range of addresses in a lightweight power/performance state or an enhanced mode that can still help with conserving power but less so in order to offer lower latencies. UMWAIT is intended to be used as an alternative to kernel spinloops when needing to wait/sleep for short periods of time when the system is idle.

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Five Linux Server Administration Mistakes And How To Avoid Them

Tuesday 25th of June 2019 05:54:05 PM

In 2017, an employee at GitLab, the version control hosting platform, was asked to replicate a database of production data. Because of a configuration error, the replication did not work as expected, so the employee decided to remove the data that had been transferred and try again. He ran a command to delete the unwanted data, only to realize with mounting horror that he had entered the command into an SSH session connected to a production server, deleting hundreds of gigabytes of user data. Every seasoned system administrator can tell you a similar story.

The Linux command line gives server admins control of their servers and the data stored on them, but it does little to stop them running destructive commands with consequences that can’t be undone. Accidental data deletion is just one type of mistake that new server administrators make.

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Run Kodi on Raspberry Pi 4 with Linux-based LibreELEC (Leia) 9.2 ALPHA1

Tuesday 25th of June 2019 05:50:53 PM
While some folks use Raspberry Pi devices for tinkering, creating, and other geeky projects, many others simply use it for media playback. You see, thanks to the Linux-based LibreELEC operating system, you can easily run the Kodi media center on the tiny computer. Believe it or not, LibreELEC runs very well on Pi computers too -- it is a solid media consumption experience. Yesterday, the Raspberry Pi 4 was announced with better specs and new ports, such as dual micro-HDMI which are capable of 4K video! You can even opt for up to 4GB of RAM -- quadruple what was… [Continue Reading]

189 lives changed – By Linux

Tuesday 25th of June 2019 05:44:45 PM
In May of this year, I received a call from a teacher from the high school here in Taylor. She asked me if we could accommodate 189 new students. Could we provide these 189 kids their first-time computers. I did a quick inventory in my head of what we had and what was parojected and told her yes. I then began calling my Directors, telling them of the upcoming project.

Once Again: It’s Not Clear The Internet Needs Creepy Targeted Ads

Tuesday 25th of June 2019 05:44:00 PM

There seems to be a general argument, perhaps believed by folks at Google and Facebook in particular, that they need to suck up all this data about us to provide more and more targeted advertising. I'm still not at all convinced that's true. Earlier this year, I suggested that Google and Facebook might be better off if they just admitted that targeted advertising didn't work as well as people like to pretend it works. The fact is that it doesn't work all that well, and comes with massive costs in terms of everyone thinking that all these companies want to do is suck up more and more data. And the "advantage" over other forms of advertising (contextual, brand, etc.) are really not that great. Earlier this month we highlighted a study that showed that, for publishers, targeted advertising didn't show any real benefit, and that it was mainly being used to prop up the fees middlemen got, in being able to claim some magic sauce to better target ads.

Now, the NY Times has published an op-ed by DuckDuckGo CEO, Gabriel Weinberg making the exact same point: the internet doesn't need creepy advertising to have a workable business model. Indeed, what made Google a success in the first place was the fact that its non-creepy, non-privacy instrusive contextual advertising was so freaking profitable because it worked amazingly well:

There is no reason to fear that sites cannot still make money with advertising. That’s because there are already two kinds of highly profitable online ads: contextual ads, based on the content being shown on screen, and behavioral ads , based on personal data collected about the person viewing the ad. Behavioral ads work by tracking your online behavior and compiling a profile about you using your internet activities (and even your offline activities in some cases) to send you targeted ads.

Contextual advertising doesn’t need to know anything about you: Search for “car” and you get a car ad. Over the past decade, contextual ads have been displaced by behavioral ads, aided by the rise of real-time bidding technology that auctions off each ad on a site based on user profiling. These behavioral ads are the ones that leave a bad taste in your mouth. They follow you around from website to mobile app based on your private information and, intentionally or not, enable online discrimination, manipulation and the creation of filter bubbles.

I'd argue that Weinberg leaves out general brand advertising as well, which can work well. Part of the problem, though, is that behavioral and programmatic advertising gives the illusion of being "scientific" because you can show data (even if that data is meaningless or misleading). As soon as you can insist that you'll be able to show data, then people get wowed by it, and think that they've magically solved the "I know that half of my ad spending is wasted, I just don't know which half" problem. But the real problem is that even with all this behavioral targeting, most advertisers are still wasting way more than half their ad spend. It's just that they can show pretty charts and spreadsheets to pretend they have data to back up that they're doing the right thing.

This is a point we've raised before. We've been talking to companies for a few years now, trying to convince them to advertise on Techdirt in a non-creepy way with no tracking. And what has happened, multiple times, is that a marketing person gets excited and talks about how "this is great" and how they know that they can get a lot of people interested in what they're offering if they were to support Techdirt just knowing that our audience would appreciate them being cool enough not to track them. And then it gets handed off to an ad team or a digital agency or an ad firm that they outsource this stuff to, and eventually someone has a spreadsheet. And doing a branding campaign without creepy tracking doesn't fit into a spreadsheet. So they pass. And waste a bunch of money on someone who will give them data, no matter how meaningless.

Weinberg is right that there's no reason it needs to be this way. It's just that some people have become so enamored with "data" that they don't bother to understand what actually works.

On top of that, he points out that focusing on creepy ads has lots of other costs as well -- including pissing off your users who are much more open to alternatives.

What about compliance costs? Companies are quickly realizing that good privacy practices are a boon for business. People increasingly want to reduce their digital footprint and so choose companies that help them do so. Companies with good privacy practices in their DNA do not face significant compliance costs.

Much of Weinberg's op-ed is in support of stronger privacy laws, and I'm less in agreement with him there. I'm not against all privacy rules -- but I do worry about the unintended consequences of many of the approaches proposed. Not on the revenue prospects for Google or Facebook. As noted above, they don't need to be so creepy. But, on how it might impact other aspects of the internet. We've already seen this with the GDPR and how it's being used to stifle speech and actually entrench the power of Google and Facebook. I honestly just wish that companies -- both the internet ones and the advertisers who buy the ads -- would just start to realize that sucking up all this data may have sounded like a good idea, but has actually been a complete failure, and start to move away from that model. It's not necessary.

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Fedora 31 Looking At No Longer Building i686 Linux Kernel Packages

Tuesday 25th of June 2019 05:43:02 PM

Not to be confused with Ubuntu's varying stance on dropping 32-bit packages beginning with their next release later this year, Fedora 31 now has a proposal pending to discontinue their i686 kernel builds but they will still be keeping with their 32-bit packaging.

This Fedora 31 change proposal by Justin Forbes, one of Fedora's kernel hackers, is just about ending i686 kernel builds beginning with this Fedora release due out in October. The i686 kernel-headers package would still be offered in order to satisfy necessary dependencies for 32-bit programs needing those headers. Of course, users will have to be running off a 64-bit kernel. All 32-bit programs should continue to work on Fedora 31.

Also: Fedora Workstation 31 Is Looking Great With Many Original Features Being Worked On

Fedora booth at Red Hat Summit

Fedora Update Week 23–24

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Daily Deal: CrowPi Raspberry Pi Accessory Kit

Tuesday 25th of June 2019 05:39:00 PM

Immerse yourself in the inventive world of Raspberry Pi with a kit you can take anywhere! Containing a motor, receiver, buttons, and more DIY components, CrowPi makes it easy to dabble in Raspberry Pi and get your feet wet with programming and electronics. Connect your Raspberry Pi, and you can get started with tutorials and components for building a range of different projects. Plus, with the built-in touchscreen and camera, you can even use your kit as a full-on mini computer for enhanced functionality. Get one without a Raspberry Pi board for $199.99 or get one with a board included for $299.99.

Note: The Techdirt Deals Store is powered and curated by StackCommerce. A portion of all sales from Techdirt Deals helps support Techdirt. The products featured do not reflect endorsements by our editorial team.

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Deprecating a.out Binaries

Tuesday 25th of June 2019 05:34:29 PM

Remember a.out binaries? They were the file format of the Linux kernel till around 1995 when ELF took over. ELF is better. It allows you to load shared libraries anywhere in memory, while a.out binaries need you to register shared library locations. That's fine at small scales, but it gets to be more and more of a headache as you have more and more shared libraries to deal with. But a.out is still supported in the Linux source tree, 25 years after ELF became the standard default format.

Recently, Borislav Petkov recommended deprecating it in the source tree, with the idea of removing it if it turned out there were no remaining users. He posted a patch to implement the deprecation. Alan Cox also remarked that "in the unlikely event that someone actually has an a.out binary they can't live with, they can also just write an a.out loader as an ELF program entirely in userspace."

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Dealmaster: Take 30% off a variety of Switch, PS4, and Xbox One games

Tuesday 25th of June 2019 05:33:10 PM

Enlarge (credit: Ars Technica)

Greetings, Arsians! The Dealmaster is back with another round of deals to share. Today's list is headlined by an expansive 30%-off sale on video games for the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One currently going on at Target.

The catch here is that the discount doesn't apply to typical shipping; instead, you have to select "free order pickup" upon checking out and physically get the games yourself at a nearby store. That's a little annoying, but Target isn't exactly a mom-and-pop shop, and many of the deals available as part of the deal are good enough for the Dealmaster to think it's worth a quick drive. For instance, the sale brings first-party Switch games like Super Mario PartyMario Tennis Aces, and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe down to $35, beating their prices in Nintendo's own E3 sale from a couple of weeks back. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, the latest from Dark Souls maker From Software, is down to $34 from its usual $48, while the recent Resident Evil 2 remake is down to $28 from its usual $40.

The 30% discount applies to literally hundreds more games beyond those, but note that not everything in the sale is at or near an all-time price low. The Dealmaster has curated a list of games he finds to be good bargains below, but as always, price tracking tools like Keepa and CamelCamelCamel can help verify whether other games are really a good bargain. (Particularly now that Amazon Prime Day is right around the corner.) Exactly how available these games are will depend on where you live, too, as will how much tax you'll have to pay on top of the prices listed below, though the latter should only add a couple extra bucks. In any event, Target says this sale will last until June 29.

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An easier way to test Plasma

Tuesday 25th of June 2019 05:25:07 PM

Having the Plasma and Usability & Productivity sprints held at the same time and place had an unexpected benefit: we were able to come up with a way to make it easier to test a custom-compiled version of Plasma!

Previously, we had some documentation that asked people to create a shell script on their computers, copy files to various locations, and perform a few other steps. Unfortunately, many of the details were out of date, and the whole process was quite error-prone. It turned out that almost none of the Plasma developers at the sprint were actually using this method, and each had cobbled together something for themselves. Some (including myself) had given up on it and were doing Plasma development in a virtual machine.

So we put some time into easing this pain by making Plasma itself produce all the right pieces automatically when compiled from source. Then, we created a simple script to install everything properly.

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Benchmarking The Experimental Bcachefs File-System Against Btrfs, EXT4, F2FS, XFS & ZFS

Tuesday 25th of June 2019 05:22:42 PM

Bcachefs is the file-system born out of the Linux kernel's block cache code and has been worked on the past several years by developer Kent Overstreet. Our most recent benchmarking of Bcachefs was last year, so with the prospects of Bcachefs potentially being staged soon in the mainline Linux kernel, I ran some benchmarks using the latest kernel code for this next-generation file-system.
Those unfamiliar with this copy-on-write file-system can learn more at The design features of this file-system are similar to ZFS/Btrfs and include native encryption, snapshots, compression, caching, multi-device/RAID support, and more. But even with all of its features, it aims to offer XFS/EXT4-like performance, which is something that can't generally be said for Btrfs.

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Tesla will soon downgrade software on the entry-level Model 3

Tuesday 25th of June 2019 05:14:35 PM
An example of why open source is necessary.

How to Cool Your Raspberry Pi

Tuesday 25th of June 2019 05:00:00 PM

MakeTechEasier: If you're overclocking your Raspberry Pi, you might run into overheating problems.

Steam and Ubuntu clash over 32-bit libs

Tuesday 25th of June 2019 04:54:11 PM

Enlarge / The new icon theme in Ubuntu 19.04. (credit: Scott Gilbertson)

It has been a tumultuous week for gaming on Linux. Last Tuesday afternoon, Canonical's Steve Langasek announced that 32-bit libs would be frozen (kept as-is, with no new builds or updates) as of this October's interim 19.10 release, codenamed "Eoan Ermine." Langasek was pretty clear that this did not mean abandoning support for running 32-bit applications, however.

Unfortunately, that part of the announcement may not have been entirely clear to all who read it. This group may include Steam lead Pierre-Loup Griffais, who responded by breaking up with Ubuntu in a tweet.

Ubuntu 19.10 and future releases will not be officially supported by Steam or recommended to our users. We will evaluate ways to minimize breakage for existing users, but will also switch our focus to a different distribution, currently TBD.

— Pierre-Loup Griffais (@Plagman2) June 22, 2019

Two days later, Canonical issued another public statement making it very explicit that support for commonly used 32-bit libs would be continued. That statement has been widely reported as an "about-face" from Canonical, but it appears to be more of a clarification of the original statement. The heart of the issue is that 32-bit computing represents an incredibly wide attack surface, with lessening amounts of active maintenance to discover, analyze, and patch flaws and exploits. Canonical, like any company, needs to apply its developer resources intelligently, so it looks for ways to remove unnecessary cruft where possible. The vast majority of 32-bit code is cruft.

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2 Simple Steps to Set up Passwordless SSH Authentication In Linux

Tuesday 25th of June 2019 04:44:23 PM
If you would like to automate many things in Linux based systems, the first requirement is to set up a passwordless SSH authentication between the Linux systems. It can be done easily by two simple steps. In this tutorial we will explain how to set up passwordless SSH login on Linux system.

SUSE Linux Enterprise 15 Service Pack 1 Officially Released, Here’s What’s New

Tuesday 25th of June 2019 04:42:00 PM
SUSE has announced the general availability of the first Service Pack (SP1) release for their latest and most advanced SUSE Linux Enterprise 15 operating system series.

Released a year ago, the SUSE Linux Enterprise 15 operating system brought numerous new features and enhancements, along with an updated application delivery solution and software-defined infrastructure to help enterprises better adapt and transform their IT departments for their business models. Now, the first Service Pack release is here to further refine the world's first multimodal operating system.

"SUSE Linux Enterprise is a modern and modular OS that helps simplify multimodal IT, making traditional IT infrastructure efficient and providing an engaging platform for developers," said Thomas Di Giacomo, SUSE president of Engineering, Product ... (read more)

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