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August 2014

today's leftovers

Filed under
Software
Gaming
HowTos

Ubuntu 14.10's Lack Of X.Org Server 1.16 Gets Blamed On AMD

Filed under
Graphics/Benchmarks

Yesterday I wrote about Ubuntu 14.10 not yet having X.Org Server 1.16 even though the first beta was issued this week and there's been a testing package repository for more than one month. This lack of X.Org Server 1.16 thus far is apparently due to AMD with not yet having a supportive Catalyst driver.

In the comments to yesterday's story, Timo Aaltonen of Canonical and part of their X/graphics team responded. "no fglrx, can't force people to switch to radeon and likely regress, on newer hw at least."

So Canonical is keeping away from using the latest X.Org code since the Catalyst (fglrx) driver doesn't yet support it and they don't want to regress users by forcing them to use the improving but still less than perfect open-source driver. Canonical's effectively bowing down to a binary blob.

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The state of Android updates: Who’s fast, who’s slow, and why

Filed under
Android
Linux

Android 4.4, KitKat was released on October 31, 2013, or at least, that's what you can say about one device: the Nexus 5. For the rest of the ecosystem, the date you got KitKat—if you got KitKat—varied wildly depending on your device, OEM, and carrier.

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Akademy 2014: Navigating the tracks

Filed under
KDE

I meant to write a post about the upcoming Akademy for a while now. Since I submitted quite a few sessions (obviously requiring preparation) and I had to prepare for the KDE Frameworks BoF, I never quite found the time... until now! I'm all done! Actually I just have to pack my bags and hit the road at that point. It's probably the first Akademy where I'm ready four days before the first flight of my journey.

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Low-Spec Hardware? Try these Desktop Environments

Filed under
GNU
Linux

Popular Linux distributions for beginners typically default to one of two desktop environments, KDE or GNOME. Both of these environments provide users with an intuitive and attractive desktop, as well as offering all the applications users love, ranging from multimedia software, games, administration programs, network tools, educational applications, utilities, artwork, web development tools and more. However, these two desktops focus more on providing users with a modern computing environment with all the bells and whistles, rather than minimising the amount of system resources they use.

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OpenELEC 4.2 Beta 5 Is Now Out with New Linux Kernel and NVIDIA Drivers

Filed under
OS
OSS

The OpenELEC devs have released yet another Beta version of their embedded operating systems and they are getting really close to get a new stable version out the door. Some of the major components have been updated as well and the Raspberry Pi users should be really thrilled about this latest upgrade, as it includes some interesting changes for them as well.

"This release includes some bugfixes, security fixes and improvements since OpenELEC-4.1.4. Besides the usual bugfixes and package updates we updated XBMC to XBMC Gotham 13.2 final, FFmpeg to ffmpeg-2.3.3, Mesa to Mesa-10.3-rc1and systemd to systemd-216. We fixed crashes while playing FLAC files with ID3v2 tags, optimized some software packages and updated the RaspberryPi firmware to include the last fixes and features," said the devs in the official announcement.

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MSI Motherboard BIOS Updating Remains A Pain For Linux Users

Filed under
Hardware

In recent years with more motherboard vendors enabling the updating of the BIOS/UEFI from within the setup utility itself and support loading the BIOS file off a USB thumb drive or other storage, it's generally easier for Linux users and all around a smoother process than the days of having to make a MS-DOS start-up floppy disk or similar. For most of these BIOS updates, Windows is generally not required as you can just head on over to the vendor's web-site, download a zipped up copy of the BIOS, transfer it to a USB drive, and reboot into the UEFI setup utility and flash away.

Some vendors will package their BIOS file inside an EXE that has to be executed that will then extract the file right away, but fortunately there's many programs capable of straightaway extracting the files from the EXE or the worst case scenario is generally just running the EXE under Wine. As a Linux user, with MSI motherboards their BIOS packaging takes it to an additional level of annoying and for some Linux users could be show-stopping.

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Linux Kernel 3.12.27 LTS Now Available for Download

Filed under
Linux

This branch of the Linux kernel is LTS (long term support) and it doesn't usually gathers too many changes, but this latest update is a little bit different and it's quite consistent.

“I'm announcing the release of the 3.12.27 kernel. All users of the 3.12 kernel series must upgrade.”

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Chromebook Pixel revisited: 18 months with Google's luxury laptop

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Google

When you stop and think about it, it's kind of astonishing how far Chromebooks have come.

It was only last February, after all, that Google's Chromebook Pixel came crashing into our lives and made us realize how good of an experience Chrome OS could provide.

At the time, the Pixel was light-years ahead of any other Chromebook in almost every possible way: From build quality to display and performance, the system was just in a league of its own. And its price reflected that status: The Pixel sold for a cool $1300, or $1450 if you wanted a higher-storage model with built-in LTE support.

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Why I Hate Non-Free Software

Filed under
OSS

I know why authours of software include such restrictions, to make sure they get paid per whatever. On the other hand, we should not have to enslave ourselves and our families in order to use a smooth, convenient application on our PCs. That’s like selling our children or self-flagellation before having any fun at all to nullify evil. It’s just evil to accept such restrictions. The licence began with “PLEASE READ THIS LICENCE AGREEMENT CAREFULLY BEFORE USING THIS SOFTWARE. IF YOU USE THIS SOFTWARE THEN YOU AGREE TO BE BOUND BY THE TERMS OF THIS LICENCE AGREEMENT.” Sweet, eh? I did not agree and purged the .deb from my system. I am not a slave. I do not agree to be bound in slavery to the authours of software. To add insult to injury, the authours presume to enslave us while we perform them the free service of testing their beta-software.

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More in Tux Machines

Programming: WebAssembly, Mozilla GFX, Qt and Python

  • WebAssembly for speed and code reuse

    Imagine translating a non-web application, written in a high-level language, into a binary module ready for the web. This translation could be done without any change whatsoever to the non-web application's source code. A browser can download the newly translated module efficiently and execute the module in the sandbox. The executing web module can interact seamlessly with other web technologies—with JavaScript (JS) in particular. Welcome to WebAssembly. As befits a language with assembly in the name, WebAssembly is low-level. But this low-level character encourages optimization: the just-in-time (JIT) compiler of the browser's virtual machine can translate portable WebAssembly code into fast, platform-specific machine code. A WebAssembly module thereby becomes an executable suited for compute-bound tasks such as number crunching. Which high-level languages compile into WebAssembly? The list is growing, but the original candidates were C, C++, and Rust. Let's call these three the systems languages, as they are meant for systems programming and high-performance applications programming. The systems languages share two features that suit them for compilation into WebAssembly. The next section gets into the details, which sets up full code examples (in C and TypeScript) together with samples from WebAssembly's own text format language.

  • Mozilla GFX: moz://gfx newsletter #47

    Hi there! Time for another mozilla graphics newsletter. In the comments section of the previous newsletter, Michael asked about the relation between WebRender and WebGL, I’ll try give a short answer here. Both WebRender and WebGL need access to the GPU to do their work. At the moment both of them use the OpenGL API, either directly or through ANGLE which emulates OpenGL on top of D3D11. They, however, each work with their own OpenGL context. Frames produced with WebGL are sent to WebRender as texture handles. WebRender, at the API level, has a single entry point for images, video frames, canvases, in short for every grid of pixels in some flavor of RGB format, be them CPU-side buffers or already in GPU memory as is normally the case for WebGL. In order to share textures between separate OpenGL contexts we rely on platform-specific APIs such as EGLImage and DXGI. Beyond that there isn’t any fancy interaction between WebGL and WebRender. The latter sees the former as a image producer just like 2D canvases, video decoders and plain static images.

  • The Titler Revamp: QML Producer in the making

    At the beginning of this month, I started testing out the new producer as I had a good, rough structure for the producer code, and was only facing a few minor problems. Initially, I was unclear about how exactly the producer is going to be used by the titler so I took a small step back and spent some time figuring out how kdenlivetitle worked, which is the producer in use. Initially, I faced integration problems (which are the ones you’d normally expect) when I tried to make use of the QmlRenderer library for rendering and loading QML templates – and most of them were resolved by a simple refactoring of the QmlRenderer library source code. To give an example, the producer traditionally stores the QML template in global variables which is taken as a character pointer argument (which is, again, traditional C) The QmlRenderer lib takes a QUrl as its parameters for loading the Qml file, so to solve this problem all I had to do was to overload the loadQml() method with one which could accommodate the producer’s needs – which worked perfectly fine. As a consequence, I also had to compartmentalise (further) the rendering process so now we have 3 methods which go sequentially when we want to render something using the library ( initialiseRenderParams( ) -> prepareRenderer( ) -> renderQml( ) ) [...] The problem was resolved (thank you JB) finally and it was not due to OpenGL but it was simply because I hadn’t created an QApplication for the producer (which is necessary for qt producers). The whole month’s been a steep curve, definitely not easy, but, I enjoyed it! Right now, I have a producer which is, now, almost complete and with a little more tweaking, will be put to use, hopefully. I’m still facing a few minor issues which I hope to resolve soon and get a working producer. Once we get that, I can start work on the Kdenlive side. Let’s hope for the best!

  • How to Make a Discord Bot in Python

    In a world where video games are so important to so many people, communication and community around games are vital. Discord offers both of those and more in one well-designed package. In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to make a Discord bot in Python so that you can make the most of this fantastic platform.

  • Qt Visual Studio Tools 2.4 RC Released

    The Visual Studio Project System is widely used as the build system of choice for C++ projects in VS. Under the hood, MSBuild provides the project file format and build framework. The Qt VS Tools make use of the extensibility of MSBuild to provide design-time and build-time integration of Qt in VS projects — toward the end of the post we have a closer look at how that integration works and what changed in the new release. Up to this point, the Qt VS Tools extension managed its own project settings in an isolated manner. This approach prevented the integration of Qt in Visual Studio to fully benefit from the features of VS projects and MSBuild. Significantly, it was not possible to have Qt settings vary according to the build configuration (e.g. having a different list of selected Qt modules for different configurations), including Qt itself: only one version/build of Qt could be selected and would apply to all configurations, a significant drawback in the case of multi-platform projects. Another important limitation that users of the Qt VS Tools have reported is the lack of support for importing Qt-related settings from shared property sheet files. This feature allows settings in VS projects to be shared within a team or organization, thus providing a single source for that information. Up to now, this was not possible to do with settings managed by the Qt VS Tools.

Screenshots/Screencasts: 10 GNU/Linux Distros (Screenshots) and New Screencast/Video of Endeavour OS 2019.08.17

  • 10 Linux distros: From different to dangerous

    One of the great benefits of Linux is the ability to roll your own. Throughout the years, individuals, organizations, and even nation states have done just that. In this gallery, we're going to showcase some of those distros. Be careful, though. You may not want to load these, or if you do, put them in isolated VMs. We're not kidding when we say they could be dangerous.

  • Endeavour OS 2019.08.17 Run Through

    In this video, we are looking at Endeavour OS 2019.08.17.

A Cycle of Renewal, Broken: How Big Tech and Big Media Abuse Copyright Law to Slay Competition

In 1950, a television salesman named Robert Tarlton put together a consortium of TV merchants in the town of Lansford, Pennsylvania to erect an antenna tall enough to pull down signals from Philadelphia, about 90 miles to the southeast. The antenna connected to a web of cables that the consortium strung up and down the streets of Lansford, bringing big-city TV to their customers — and making TV ownership for Lansfordites far more attractive. Though hobbyists had been jury-rigging their own "community antenna television" networks since 1948, no one had ever tried to go into business with such an operation. The first commercial cable TV company was born. The rise of cable over the following years kicked off decades of political controversy over whether the cable operators should be allowed to stay in business, seeing as they were retransmitting broadcast signals without payment or permission and collecting money for the service. Broadcasters took a dim view of people using their signals without permission, which is a little rich, given that the broadcasting industry itself owed its existence to the ability to play sound recordings over the air without permission or payment. The FCC brokered a series of compromises in the years that followed, coming up with complex rules governing which signals a cable operator could retransmit, which ones they must retransmit, and how much all this would cost. The end result was a second way to get TV, one that made peace with—and grew alongside—broadcasters, eventually coming to dominate how we get cable TV in our homes. By 1976, cable and broadcasters joined forces to fight a new technology: home video recorders, starting with Sony's Betamax recorders. In the eyes of the cable operators, broadcasters, and movie studios, these were as illegitimate as the playing of records over the air had been, or as retransmitting those broadcasts over cable had been. Lawsuits over the VCR continued for the next eight years. In 1984, the Supreme Court finally weighed in, legalizing the VCR, and finding that new technologies were not illegal under copyright law if they were "capable of substantial noninfringing uses." Read more

Software, HowTos and Storage

  • Pause Music When Locking The Screen And Resume On Unlock For Spotify, Rhythmbox, Others

    When you lock your computer screen (without suspending the system), most desktop audio players continue playback in the background, sometimes not emitting any sound ¹. Due to this you may unintentionally skip parts of podcasts or songs in a playlist, etc. Enter pause-on-lock, a Bash script that pauses your music player when you lock the screen and resumes playback once the screen is unlocked. pause-on-lock works on Unity, GNOME, Cinnamon and MATE desktop environments, and by default it supports Spotify and Rhythmbox. With the help of playerctl (a command line controller for controlling media players that support the MPRIS D-Bus interface), this script can extend its supported music players to many others, including Audacious, VLC, Cmus, and others.

  • Easy Way to Screen Mirroring Android on Ubuntu!

    Screen Mirroring is one of the features found on smartphones, one of which is on Android. This feature serves to display the smartphone to a computer. This is very useful for example when used for demo applications that you make, or maybe for other things related to smartphones. In Ubuntu, we can do screen mirroring with applications available on Android, for example is AirDroid which can be used for screen mirroring through a browser. But I feel less optimal when using this instant method. Because there is a lag between activity on the smartphone and on the monitor screen on the computer, and the results are less than optimal. What might be the cause because it is opened through a browser and uses wi-fi? (Personal question). I am looking for another application for screen mirroring on Ubuntu, and one of the very good applications is Scrcpy. This application can be used for screen mirroring without a root device.

  • Command line quick tips: Searching with grep
  • How to Install Cezerin on Debian 9
  • How to Create a Bootable USB Stick from the Ubuntu Terminal
  • How to Install Git on Debian 10
  • How to Copy/Move a Docker Container to Another Host
  • Six practical use cases for Nmap
  • The Next Stage of Flash Storage: Computational Storage
  • NAS upgrade

    At some point in the future I hope to spend a little bit of time on the software side of things, as some of the features of my set up are no longer working as they should: I can't remote-decrypt the main disk via SSH on boot, and the first run of any backup fails due to some kind of race condition in the systemd unit dependencies. (The first attempt does not correctly mount the backup partition; the second attempt always succeeds).

  • Storage Concepts And Technologies Explained In Detail