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Softpedia News / Linux
Updated: 3 hours 11 min ago

This Linux OS Looks Exactly Like Windows 10, Is Bad News for Microsoft

Monday 13th of July 2020 11:35:00 AM
If you’re currently running Windows 10 but recently started thinking about a potential switch to Linux, there’s a chance that you’re still undecided on what distro to install on your device.

While Ubuntu, Linux Mint, or elementary OS work just fine, there’s one Linux distro that makes former Windows 10 users feel like home.

It’s called Linuxfx and its purpose is to make the transition from Windows to Linux as smooth as possible.

As you can see in the screenshot here and in the video embedded at the end of the article, Linuxfx looks and feels exactly like Windows 10. You also get a Start menu with a Windows Start button – this one, however, could actually be an issue, as Microsoft might not like seeing its Windows logo in another OS.

Built-in Cortana-like assistant

Needless to say, this is just a skin on top of a Linux operating system, and the Linuxfx developing team explains that they... (read more)

Debian 8 "Jessie" LTS Is Now Dead for Good

Thursday 9th of July 2020 09:16:00 PM
If you’re still running Debian 8 on your device, you’d better update the system as soon as possible, as this particular release has officially reached the end of support.

Debian 8, also codenamed Jessie, is no longer supported as of June 30, 2020, which means that any computers still running it would no longer be provided with any security updates.

And it goes without saying that security updates are critical for the entire experience on Linux, so you should update to Debian 9 as soon as it goes live.

Debian 8 was released on April 26, 2015, and like all the other Debian LTS releases, it came with a total of five years of support. The deadline has now been reached, and the Debian team emphasizes it’s critical for everyone to update the operating system as soon as possible.

Next LTS release

Debian 9, also called Stretch, is projected to go live on July 18 for LTS devices.

“The LTS Team will prepare the transition to Debian 9 “Stretch,” which is ... (read more)

Linus Torvalds Says He’s No Longer a Programmer: My Job Is to Say No

Sunday 5th of July 2020 06:51:00 AM
Linus Torvalds, often called the father of Linux, discussed his role as a kernel maintainer in a conversation with Dirk Hohndel, VMware's vice president and chief open source officer, at the Open Source Summit and Embedded Linux Conference: Europe.

And while many people believe that Torvalds spends most of the time coding because, you know, this is what kernel updates are all about, this isn’t necessarily what he’s doing.

In fact, Torvalds reveals that he’s no longer coding at all, and he spends most of the time in the email app. This is also where he typically writes some code, but it’s not exactly what you think.

“I read email, I write email, I do no coding at all anymore,” he says.

“Most of the code I write, I actually write inside my mail reader. So somebody sends me a patch, or more commonly they send me a pull request or there's a discussion about the next pull request, and there's something I react to and say, 'No, this is fine, but...' And I send out pseu... (read more)

Librem Mini Linux Computer Now Available with Active Cooling

Sunday 5th of July 2020 06:01:00 AM
Purism has just announced that its mini PC, which is intuitively called Librem Mini, will now ship with active cooling enabled by default.

Last week, the company confirmed that the Librem Mini was ready to ship, only that it came across a problem that forced them to stick with passive cooling.

“As with any newly brought to market product, the Librem Mini running PureOS will have software updates to apply as we continue to refine the firmware. One forthcoming software update that we want to bring to your attention concerns the fan speed control, as currently the CPU is passively cooled and may throttle down under heavy load,” the company said.

Active cooling now available for everyone

Librem confirmed at that point that a firmware update would be released to enable active cooling on all Librem Mini computers, but the company decided to reach out to customers who ordered the device and let them choose between getting the system with passive cooling... (read more)

New LibreOffice 7.0 Bug Hunting Ready to Begin

Friday 3rd of July 2020 05:11:00 PM
The Document Foundation is hard at work on preparing its next major update for LibreOffice, and as the release date approaches, the organization is getting ready for another bug hunting session.

More specifically, TDF announced that it’s about to kick off a new bug testing, this time on version RC1, with official builds to go live on July 6, the same day when the session starts.

The new testing builds will be available on the main platforms where LibreOffice is supported, namely Windows, Linux, and macOS.

“In order to find, report and triage bugs, the LibreOffice QA team is organizing the second Bug Hunting Session for LibreOffice 7.0 on Monday July 6, 2020. Tests will be performed on the first Release Candidate version, which will be available on the pre-releases server the day of the event. Builds will be available for Linux (DEB and RPM), macOS and Windows,” TDF announced.

Version 7.0 due next month

LibreOffice is often considered the best al... (read more)

Purism’s Librem 14 Linux Laptop: Design, Specs, and Pricing Info

Friday 3rd of July 2020 05:04:00 AM
Purism has recently announced a Linux laptop that obviously comes with a series of improvements, and this time the upgrades happen exactly in those places where you need them the most.

The Librem 14 is described by Purism as “the first 14-inch laptop designed to protect your digital life,” and it’s all because the device was built with security in mind.

And just like the other Librem laptops, this new model comes packed with a series of security features supposed to help it achieve this goal, including PureOS, which is offered pre-installed.

But let’s have a closer look at this new laptop and see what it’s all about.


Just like its name suggests, Librem 14 is a 14-inch laptop, so it’s bigger than the Librem 13 thanks to a larger display.

This is clearly good news for a wide variety of reasons, but the main one is that it offers increased... (read more)

Purism Announces the Librem 14 Linux Laptop

Thursday 2nd of July 2020 04:31:00 PM
Purism has just announced a new Linux laptop that’s built with security in mind and supposed to excel in terms of hardware specifications.

The Librem 14, a successor to the Librem 13, comes with an all-new 14-inch 1080 IPS matte display that features a pretty small bezel, so it boasts a rather modern look. Furthermore, shrinking the bezels allowed Purism to make the Librem 14 as big as the Librem 13 despite coming with a larger screen.

“The Librem 14 was designed based on Purism’s experience with four generations of Librem 13 laptops along with customer feedback. It retains popular security features such as hardware kill switches to disable the webcam/microphone and WiFi and supports PureBoot, Purism’s high security boot firmware,” Purism explains in a press release today.

Tech specs

Needless to say, there are massive upgrades in terms of hardware too.

The device is powered by the Intel Core i7-10710U CPU with 6 cores and 12 threads and it can b... (read more)

LibreOffice 6.4.5 Now Available for Download

Thursday 2nd of July 2020 04:19:00 PM
The Document Foundation has just released a new version of LibreOffice, the open-source productivity suite that’s often considered the best alternative to the more expensive Microsoft Office.

LibreOffice 6.4.5 is actually the fifth minor release of version 6.4, so it’s not necessarily an update that brings new features, but actually one that’s focused on bug fixes.

There are over 100 bug fixes and improvements in this update, according to TDF, and just like before, the focus is on document compatibility and interoperability with other productivity suites, including Microsoft Office itself.

Major update next month

What you need to know, however, is that this is one of the last updates released before LibreOffice 7.0 is supposed to get the go-ahead. This is a major update, and the dev team says the go-ahead should be given in some 30 days.

“LibreOffice 6.4.5 is optimized for use in production environments, even by more conservative users, as it no... (read more)

What’s New in elementary OS 5.1.6

Thursday 2nd of July 2020 04:03:00 PM
elementary OS 5.1.6 is now available for users, and naturally, it comes with a series of improvements that everyone is going to love.

First and foremost, there are updates for Code, including under the hood optimizations that make the app use less resources when running.

“We now show a placeholder in the Outline/Symbols plugin when no symbols are found to prevent the sidebar jumping around when switching through different types of code files. We also addressed an issue where the folder sidebar layout could become squished and empty, ensuring that the “Open project folder…” button remains visible,” elementary explains.

The AppCenter has also received some love this month, including a fix for Flatpak runtime updates that were hidden in the previous update. No new features are available here this month, but all the improvements should make the AppCenter overall more reliable.

Bug fixes are available in Files as well, including for glitches encountered when trying to... (read more)

Major Firefox Updates Every Four Weeks May Not Be Such a Good Idea After All

Thursday 2nd of July 2020 04:49:00 AM
Back in September 2019, Mozilla released an announcement that so many people, especially users of Firefox, received with much excitement: the browser was supposed to move from a six-week release schedule to a four-week cycle.

In other words, major Firefox updates were no longer supposed to land every six weeks, but every four weeks. For users, this means they’re getting their hands on a new Firefox version faster without the need for running testing builds of the browser.

Mozilla promised in an announcement that the same rigorous testing would be performed for the final builds just like before.

“Shorter release cycles provide greater flexibility to support product planning and priority changes due to business or market requirements. With four-week cycles, we can be more agile and ship features faster, while applying the same rigor and due diligence needed for a high-quality and stable release,” the company said at that point.

Firefox 74, which landed in early Mar... (read more)

Releax OS Is an Independent Linux OS That Looks Cool, Could Have a Bright Future

Wednesday 1st of July 2020 04:53:00 AM
There are plenty of Linux distributions out there, but there’s always room for another one that comes with something that sets it apart from the rest of the crowd.

And one developer claims that his very own independent Linux distro called releax OS is something that you won’t find elsewhere, as it comes with a compelling feature package and an eye-candy user interface.

releax OS, whose name was born out of a typing mistake, introduces a different way of managing user applications installed on the system, as the developer themselves explain on reddit.

“Instead of installing the applications in /usr where critical system files [are] present, releax OS uses an /apps [folder] where only user-installed apps [are available] with their own hierarchy,” the developer explains.

Lightweight OS

This new Linux distro uses the Xfce desktop environment, and... (read more)

KDE Moves to GitLab, Phase One of the Migration Now Complete

Wednesday 1st of July 2020 04:27:00 AM
Back in November, KDE announced that it would be moving to GitLab as part of a massive migration, and today the company confirmed that the first phase of the process is finally complete.

In other words, the KDE community can now use GitLab on a normal basis to contribute to the project and help improve the project overall.

The migration to GitLab wasn’t by any means something that can just happen overnight, as more than 1,000 repositories have been migrated.

And this is the reason KDE wanted to do the whole thing in stages, using custom tools for bulk updates that were supposed to help during the process.

“The migration started by moving some smaller and more agile KDE teams that were very interested in testing and providing feedback,” Nuritzi Sanchez of GitLab explains in a detailed post about KDE’s migration.

“After this cycle was completed successful... (read more)

Tails Linux OS Version 4.8 Released with Major Security Updates

Wednesday 1st of July 2020 03:52:00 AM
A new version of Tails is now available for download, and this time the highlight is a set of security improvements that are supposed to protect users when running this Linux distro.

The most notable change concerns Unsafe Browser, which has been disabled by default in Tails version 4.8.

The dev team emphasizes that Unsafe Browser is not an app that can protect your identity online, adding that the app can be used to deanonymize you and, with the help of other security flaws in the apps running on the OS, could eventually reveal your IP address.

The Tails team says that while this is an unlikely exploit, governments or other authorities out there could actually turn to such an attack if they need to find your identity.

Unsafe Browser disabled by default

“An attacker could exploit a security vulnerability in Thunderbird by sending you a phishing email that could start an invisible Unsafe Browser and reveal them your IP address. Such an attack is ... (read more)

Mozilla Firefox 78 Is Now Available for Download on Linux, Windows, macOS

Tuesday 30th of June 2020 03:33:00 AM
Mozilla has officially released a new version of Firefox browser on all supported desktop platforms, and users running Windows, Linux, and macOS can download it right now.

Firefox 78 comes with rather small improvements, albeit it obviously adds a series of refinements that most users are going to like.

For example, the uninstaller now comes with a refresh button, as Mozilla says that in some cases, uninstalling and reinstalling the app helps fix some specific issues. So instead of letting users do the whole thing, the refresh button is now there to care of this task and bring Firefox to the original configuration.

“Because we know people try to fix problems by reinstalling Firefox when a simple refresh is more likely to solve the issue, we’ve added a Refresh button to the Uninstaller,” Mozilla says.

macOS changes

In addition, Firefox 78 also comes with a built-in PDF viewer, so beginning with this version, whenever you download a PDF document, ... (read more)

Linux Mint 20 “Ulyana” Officially Released

Sunday 28th of June 2020 08:11:00 AM
The stable version of Linux Mint 20 is now available for download, and as expected, the rollout includes the typical Xfce, MATE, and Cinnamon ISO images.

Linux Mint 20, which is codenamed Ulyana, is a long-term support version, so it’ll receive support until 2025. And needless to say, it comes with massive improvements that include linux-firmware 1.187 and the Linux kernel 5.4.

But what’s being described as “the star of the show” in this release is Warpinator, an application that allows sharing files across a network and which is described as a modern successor to Giver.

Originally implemented in Linux Mint 6, Giver was an app that made file sharing between computers fairly simple as it allowed users to send and receive files with just a drag and drop and without the need for additional software or configurations.

Snapd disabled by default

“Warpinator is a reimplementation of Giver. Server con... (read more)

The Latest Linux Laptop Features Open-Source Firmware, NVIDIA GeForce 2080 Super

Friday 26th of June 2020 06:11:00 AM
If you’re in the market looking for a new Linux laptop and the new Dell XPS 13 that ships with Ubuntu pre-loaded isn’t necessarily your cup of tea, here’s a new model that comes with so many cool things.

It’s the System76 Oryx Pro, a new laptop that ships in two different sizes, 15.6 inches and 17.3 inches.

The laptop runs on the 10th Gen Intel Core i7-10875H processor and can be paired with up to 64 GB of RAM and 4 TB of maximum storage.

There are several GPU options, including NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060, 2070, and 2080 Super, but the NVIDIA graphics aren’t available when dual-booting Windows.

However, one of the highlights is the open-source firmware that the laptop ships with.

“For the first time ever, action-packed NVIDIA graphics team up with lightweight System76 Open Firmware. Go zero to full speed ahead with minuscule boot times ... (read more)

Canonical Under Fire for Putting Ads in the Ubuntu MOTD

Friday 26th of June 2020 04:58:00 AM
Ubuntu is often considered one of the best Linux distros for Windows users who are planning to make the switch, more or less because it offers a straightforward experience out of the box.

But as it turns out, users moving from Windows to Ubuntu might have another thing to deal with (and which they’re already familiar with): ads in the operating system.

A reddit thread that has already received more than a thousand of votes condemns Canonical for putting what are described as “ads” in the motd. A screenshot confirms that Ubuntu indeed tries to send users to a link, which is displayed alongside the following message:

“If you’ve been waiting for the perfect Kubernetes dev solution for macOS, the wait is over. Learn how to install Microk8s on macOS. [link].”

And while users getting ads in the motd is something many didn’t see coming from a company like Canonical and ... (read more)

PhotoGIMP Brings the Photoshop Look and Feel to Linux

Thursday 25th of June 2020 07:37:00 AM
GIMP has long been the preferred app for advanced photo editing, not only on Linux, but also on Windows and Mac, with many considering it pretty much the best alternative for Adobe Photoshop.

But on the other hand, it’s not a secret that those making the switch from Photoshop sometime feel lost in GIMP, mostly because the UI doesn’t necessarily offer the familiar experience they expected.

And while there are some other ways to make GIMP feel more like Photoshop, a new patch called PhotoGIMP and available now for Linux users too comes with a pretty compelling package.

As mentioned on reddit, PhotoGIMP can be used on pretty much any platform where GIMP is installed, including on Windows.

The familiar interface Adobe users need on Windows, Linux, and Mac

So what PhotoGIMP does is tweak GIMP to mimic the interface of Adobe Photoshop, while also adding a bunch of extra... (read more)

Microsoft, Harvard Announce Differential Privacy Open-Source Platform

Thursday 25th of June 2020 07:17:00 AM
Microsoft has just announced the world’s first open source platform for differential privacy, which is powered by the OpenDP Initiative developed by a team of researchers from Harvard.

The new platform, which is supposed to enable researchers to preserve privacy when analyzing datasets, the company explains in an announcement this week.

Microsoft says that beginning today, a royalty-free license under its differential privacy patents is available for anyone who wants to use the platform for data analysis.

Already available on GitHub

More specifically, the open-source platform for differential privacy makes it possible to look into data from customers without actually exposing the privacy of an individual. The accuracy of the analysis isn’t affected in any way, Microsoft says.

“Through these mechanisms, differential privacy protects personally identifiable information by preventing it from appearing in data analysis altogether. It further masks t... (read more)

Purism’s Librem Mini Linux PC Now on Its Way to Customers

Wednesday 24th of June 2020 05:51:00 AM
Librem Mini, the mini-Linux PC developed by Purism, is now ready to begin shipping to customers worldwide, as the company has completed the pre-order program and finalized the testing of hardware and coreboot porting.

Purism says all customers who preordered the device should now receive an email that requires a confirmation of the order and the shipping information before the Librem Mini is actually sent to them.

So if you already preordered the Librem Mini, make sure you keep an eye on your inbox for any mail in this regard.

Major firmware update on its way

At the same time, there’s something that you need to know about the cooling system available on the Linux computer.

Purism says it’s working on a software update for the device that would enable active cooling, and while users can deploy the new firmw... (read more)

More in Tux Machines

Linuxizing the Office: An Interview with The Mad Botter

Honestly, it was macOS Catalina. We were having too many problems with people updating OS X and breaking Homebrew packages, to the point where we had to reinstall our custom toolchain every time we updated. The last guy on Mac updated to Catalina recently, and he had to struggle with Excel libraries because Apple moves things between OS versions. It just wasn’t worth it. I’ve been talking about it for about a year with my CTO. All of our back-end service runs Ubuntu. Most of the client-side work we’re doing is for IOT devices, and that’s all Linux. We ended up basically having an expensive machine so that we could emulate Linux on anything. It didn’t make a lot of sense to keep using Mac, so we switched. How was the transition from macOS to Linux? Actually super easy! Once we wrote a few setup scripts and packages we needed for different jobs in our pipeline, we were up and running. We already had a bunch of scripting and automations for the servers we had, and they’re all on Ubuntu, so it’s not a big jump in terms of the command line. How did you find the overall experience on Pop!_OS 20.04? I found it pretty intuitive. Learning the keyboard shortcuts took about a week. I really don’t have any issues. I like the tiling, I use that every day. It definitely makes it easier to multitask on a laptop screen. Read more Also: Reader’s Choice: Here’s Pop!_OS running on a Chromebook

Android Leftovers

Security: Patches, L1TF/Foreshadow, PE Tree, IPFire and BootHole

  • Security updates for Thursday

    Security updates have been issued by Debian (clamav and json-c), Fedora (python2, python36, and python37), Red Hat (thunderbird), Scientific Linux (thunderbird), SUSE (java-11-openjdk, kernel, rubygem-actionview-4_2, wireshark, xen, and xrdp), and Ubuntu (openjdk-8 and ppp). 

  • Researchers Make More Discoveries Around L1TF/Foreshadow - It's Not Good

    Security researchers from Graz University of Technology and CISPA Helmholtz are out with their latest findings on CPU speculative execution vulnerabilities, namely taking another look at L1TF/Foreshadow. Their findings are bad news not only for Intel but potentially other CPU vendors as well. [...] The new vulnerability outlined in the paper is "Dereference Trap" for leaking registers from an SGX enclave in the presence of only a speculative register dereference.  The discovery of speculative dereferencing of a user-space register in the kernel as opposed to the prefetcher not only means that some mitigations may be inadequate, but they can improve the performance of the original attack and reportedly produce similar behavior on non-Intel CPUs. 

  • PE Tree: Free open source tool for reverse-engineering PE files

    PE Tree allows malware analysts to view Portable Executable (PE) files in a tree-view using pefile – a multi-platform Python module that parses and works with PE files – and PyQt5, a module that can be used to create graphical user interfaces. “PE Tree is developed in Python and supports the Windows, Linux and Mac operating systems. It can be installed and run as either a standalone application or an IDAPython plugin,” Tom Bonner, a threat researcher at BlackBerry, explained.

  • IPFire: A new location database for the Internet

    In the last couple of months, we, the IPFire development team, have launched a small side project: A new location database for the Internet. In this article, I would like to give you a brief background story on why and how it come to this... [...] Other applications would be threat prevention like we use it in IPFire. Connection attempts from certain countries can simply be blocked, or port forwardings can be limited to certain countries only. That is, however, not an exact science. The Internet changes constantly. IP address ranges are re-assigned from one party to another one, and often it can take some time until those location databases are all updated. Up to that point, you will see wrong information like the Google front page being shown in a wrong language. This might only be a bit of an inconvenience, but for a firewall, we need more recent and reliable data.

  • What to do about the BootHole vulnerability

    Late last month, security researchers discovered a major vulnerability in the software that controls how PCs boot their operating systems. This is one of those issues that sounds scarier than it is. Fixing it will be a major process, especially for Linux system administrators and corporate IT organizations with a mixture of different PC vintages and manufacturers. The problem has been named BootHole, and it could affect up to a billion computers.

Text Editing with GIMP

This is tutorial to edit photos with text using computer program GIMP. This explains the basics of writing and editing text you can apply over all your photos you they can accompany your text documents you are working on. This is the eighth aka the final part of GIMP for Authors the series. I am happy to publish this one. Enjoy editing! Read more