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March 2019

LLVM Clang 9.0 Adds "-ftime-trace" To Produce Useful Time Trace Profiling Data

Filed under
Development
BSD

LLVM has merged a very useful feature for the Clang 9.0 release this autumn: the -ftime-trace feature allows producing time trace profiling data in a friendly format that is useful for developers to better understand where the compiler is spending most of its time and other areas for improvement.

Clang has already supported -ftime-report for printing time summaries for each stage of the compilation process while -ftime-trace yields much more useful data. The output of -ftime-trace is JSON-based profiling outputs that can be loaded into Chrome's chrome://tracing visualizer. This data shows how much time LLVM/Clang is spending on compiling each file, down to the function granularity.

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SDDM v0.18.1

Filed under
KDE

We are happy to release a new SDDM version.

SDDM is a Qt based graphical login manager developed in a collaborative fashion by people from Liri, KDE and LXQt.

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Linux Lite 4.4 is ready to replace Microsoft Windows on your aging PC

Filed under
Linux

One of the best things about operating systems based on the Linux kernel is they can sometimes be very lightweight. Why is this important? Well, when an OS uses very few resources, it can breathe new life into an aging PC. In other words, just because Windows 7 or Windows 10 run like molasses on your old computer, that doesn't mean you have to buy a new one. The right Linux distribution can make your older PC feel fast and new.

One of the most popular lightweight Linux-based operating systems is Linux Lite. Heck, the name of the distribution tells you that it is designed to use few resources! Version 4.4 is now available, and as per usual, it is based on the latest Ubuntu LTS -- 18.04. The Xfce desktop environment will feel familiar to those switching from Windows. Those new to Linux will also appreciate the easy access to many popular programs, such as Skype, Steam, and Spotify. Even the excellent Microsoft Office alternative, LibreOffice, is included.

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Openness, Open Data and Open Hardware

Filed under
OSS
  • Open-source seeds: protecting new crops from privitisation

    From the green grass of England to the tropical forests of the Amazon basin and the semi-arid plains of North Africa, when it comes to food, no one crop can suit every soil type, or withstand the challenges of climate change. It is therefore vitally important that humans seek to preserve and increase the biological diversity of crops.

    In pursuit of this goal, Dr Johannes Kotschi from the Association for AgriCulture and Ecology, along with researchers from the University of Göttingen, has developed an open-source seed (OSS) licence that can be applied to new crop varieties. The OSS licence prevents seeds and their derivatives from being privatised, patented or otherwise protected in a way that would limit their sale or further modification. In doing so, it ensures that new varieties are available to everyone. Alongside the licence, the organisation OpenSourceSeeds supports breeders and seed producers who use it.

  • Aptiv Releases Comprehensive Open-Source Automated Vehicle Data Set

    Aptiv has released a comprehensive set of automated driving training data including camera, radar and lidar signals that has been fully annotated and labeled.

  • Aptiv Releases Comprehensive Open-Source Dataset for Autonomous Driving

    Global auto parts supplier Aptiv, formally known as Delphi Automotive, announced today the full release of nuScenes, an open-source autonomous vehicle (AV) dataset. The dataset will help developers improve the safety of autonomous vehicles.

  • MIPS R6 Architecture Now Available for Open Use

    Asked if any other MIPS cores – beyond R6 – will be available in the future, Swift said additional announcements are in the offing, indicating that Thursday’s offering is only the first set of MIPS Open’s release.  

    “Remember, this is a journey, not a destination,” Swift reminded.

    Other pending announcements include MIPS Open’s certification partners and MIPS Open Advisory Board. Names of individuals or companies for those initiatives are not yet public.

  • Wave Computing launches MIPS Open, provides royalty-free access to chip design data

    A few months after announcing plans to “open source its MIPS instruction set architecture,” the folks at Wave Computing are following through. Mostly.

    The company has launched the MIPS Open program and released the first components, offering developers royalty and license fee-free access to the latest versions of its 32-bit and 64-bit MIPS architecture.

    But it’s questionable whether this is truly an “open source” initiative, so much as an “open use” project designed encourage developers to work with the company’s chips.

DragonFlyBSD Receives Initial FUSE Port For File-Systems In User-Space

Filed under
BSD

Tomohiro Kusumi has contributed an initial FUSE implementation to DragonFlyBSD for implementing file-systems in user-space support.

The design is based roughly on FreeBSD code but is a cleanly written implementation for allowing user-space file-systems to work on this BSD. This initial FUSE support isn't designed to be API/ABI compatible with the FreeBSD code due to different sysctls and other factors.

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Nate Graham's KDE Usability & Productivity Weekly Report

Filed under
KDE
  • KDE Usability & Productivity: Week 64

    Week 64 in KDE’s Usability & Productivity initiative has arrived, and I think you’ll see why this week needed two posts.

  • KDE's Konsole Now Supports Splitting, Plasma Vault Integration In Dolphin

    KDE contributor Nate Graham has continued his weekly blog posts outlining some of the notable improvements made in the world of KDE. One of the notable changes this week is the Konsole terminal emulator allowing arbitrary grid-like splits of a single window. That honors a ten year old bug report about wanting to restore support for "Quadkonsole" for allowing several consoles to render within a single window. That support is finally in place for the KDE Applications 19.08 release due out this summer.

Software: Python IDEs, Kodi, Best alternatives to Skype

Filed under
Software
  • 9 Best Free Python Integrated Development Environments (Updated 2019)

    Python is a widely used general-purpose, high level programming language. It’s easy to read and learn. It’s frequently used for science, data analysis, and engineering. With a burgeoning scientific community and ecosystem, Python is an excellent environment for students, scientists and organizations that develop technology software.

    One of the essential tools for a budding Python developer is a good Integrated Development Environment (IDE). An IDE is a software application that provides comprehensive facilities to programmers for software development.

    Many coders learn to code using a text editor. And many professional Python developers prefer to stay with their favourite text editor, in part because a lot of text editors can be used as a development environment by making use of plugins. But many Python developers migrate to an IDE as this type of software application offers, above all else, practicality. They make coding easier, can offer significant time savings with features like autocompletion, and built-in refactoring code, and also reduces context switching. For example, IDEs have semantic knowledge of the programming language which highlights coding problems while typing. Compiling is ‘on the fly’ and debugging is integrated.

  • Are free VPNs any good for Kodi?

    Before we get to the VPNs, let's start with Kodi, which is a free and open source media player.

  • What Is Kodi and How Does It Work?

    What is Kodi? Imagine your own version of Netflix or Amazon Prime Video, but one that is completely free? Sounds too good to be true, right?

  • Best alternatives to Skype 2019: paid and free

    If you're looking for the best Skype alternatives, then you've come to the right place. For many years, Skype has been one of the most popular VoIP (Voice over IP) services, with home and business users alike using it to video and voice call friends and family over the world.

    However, in 2011 Microsoft acquired Skype, and since then it has been tweaking the interface and adding (and removing features) which has not been too popular.

    So, if you're looking to move from Skype to another VoIP service, then this guide to the best Skype alternatives will help you make the leap. We look at both free alternatives to Skype, as well as packages you need to pay for, which is good for large companies with employees around the world.

Linux laptops alive in South Africa

Filed under
Linux

While it may serve a small niche in South Africa, Dell has been offering laptops that run Ubuntu Linux for years.

This is according to Chris Buchanan, client solutions director at Dell EMC in South Africa.

Dell and Canonical recently announced the new version of the Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition laptop, offering up to 16GB RAM and a 1TB SSB. Since then, a 2TB version has become available.

Like other Developer Edition variants of the Dell XPS 13, the 2018 model comes with Ubuntu Linux rather than Windows. At the time, the latest long-term support release: Ubuntu 18.04 “Bionic Beaver”.

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More in Tux Machines

Kali Linux 2021.1 Release (Command-Not-Found)

How you choose to interact with Kali is completely up to you. You may want to access Kali locally or remotely, either graphically or on the command line. Even when you pick a method, there are still options you can choose from, such as a desktop environment. By default, Kali uses Xfce, but during the setup process, allows for GNOME, KDE, or no GUI to be selected. After the setup is complete, you can install even more. We have pre-configurations for Enlightenment, i3, LXDE, and MATE as well. [...] When we use Kali, we spend a significant amount of time using the command line. A lot of the time, we do it using a local terminal (rather than in a console or remote SSH). With the options of desktop environments, there are also choices when it comes to the terminals (same with what shell to use). Read more Also: Kali Linux 2021.1 released: Tweaked DEs and terminals, new tools, Kali ARM for Apple Silicon Macs

Kernel: Millennium Prize, Compute Express Link 2.0, HP Platform Profile Support

  • Millennium prize problems but for Linux

    There is a longstanding tradition in mathematics to create a list of hard unsolved problems to drive people to work on solving them. Examples include Hilbert's problems and the Millennium Prize problems. Wouldn't it be nice if we had the same for Linux? A bunch of hard problems with sexy names that would drive development forward? Sadly there is no easy source for tens of millions of euros in prize money, not to mention it would be very hard to distribute as this work would, by necessity, be spread over a large group of people. Thus it seems is unlikely for this to work in practice, but that does not prevent us from stealing a different trick from mathematicians' toolbox and ponder how it would work in theory. In this case the list of problems will probably never exist, but let's assume that it does. What would it contain if it did exist? Here's one example I came up with. it is left as an exercise to the reader to work out what prompted me to write this post. [...] A knee-jerk reaction many people have is something along the lines of "you can solve this by limiting the number of linker processes by doing X". That is not the answer. It solves the symptoms but not the underlying cause, which is that bad input causes the scheduler to do the wrong thing. There are many other ways of triggering the same issue, for example by copying large files around. A proper solution would fix all of those in one go.

  • Compute Express Link 2.0 Support Sent In For Linux 5.12, Enabling CXL 2.0 Memory Devices - Phoronix

    Immediately following the publishing of the Linux enablement patches for CXL 2.0 and that continued in the months since over several rounds of patches. That initial CXL 2.0 code is now slated for mainlining with the Linux 5.12 kernel. The initial Compute Express Link 2.0 focus for the Linux kernel has been on supporting Type-3 Memory Devices. The CXL 2.0 type-3 memory device support being fleshed out first is for serving as a memory expander for RAM or persistent memory and can optionally be interleaved with other CXL devices. For the lack of any CXL 2.0 hardware yet even within the confines of Intel, Widawsky worked out this initial enablement code thanks to writing up support around the specification within QEMU for emulation.

  • Linux 5.13 Should See HP Platform Profile Support - Phoronix

    Linux 5.12 is bringing the initial infrastructure around ACPI Platform Profile support and with this kernel it's implemented for newer Lenovo ThinkPad and IdeaPad laptops. The support allow for altering the system's power/performance characteristics depending upon your desire for a speedy, quiet, or cool experience. With Linux 5.13 it looks like HP laptops with this capability will begin to see working Platform Profile support too. Lenovo is the initial Linux user/supporter of this Platform Profile support while Dell has also expressed interest in supporting it on Linux for letting users manipulate their desire desired balance of performance vs. cool/quiet operation. There has been an HP patch implementing the support and it's looking like that is now ready to be queued into the x86 platform driver tree once the current Linux 5.12 merge window is over, which would mark it as material for 5.13.

Open Source Community Critical Of Chessbase, Fat Fritz 2

The development teams behind the two most successful and influential open-source chess programs, Stockfish and Leela Chess Zero, have issued statements denouncing the commercial program Fat Fritz 2 and the company Chessbase that is selling the program for 99,90 euros. The statements (Stockfish blog, lichess announcement) assert that the engine in Fat Fritz 2 is Stockfish with minimal changes, that Fat Fritz 2 has violated the GNU General Public License under which Stockfish is released, and that Chessbase's marketing has made false claims about Fat Fritz 2's playing strength. Read more

Videos/Audiocasts/Shows: Password Managers, Rust, and Laptops as Servers

  • Password Managers: A Tool Everybody Deserves - YouTube

    Lastpass was in the news recently and it made me realize how few people use a password manager, regardless of whether you prefer an offline or online solution not using a password manager leads to bad habits and much weaker passwords.

  • FLOSS Weekly 618: Rust - Steve Klabnik & Rust

    Steve Klabnik joins Doc Searls and Shawn Powers to talk about Rust. Rust, which was started at Mozilla, has grown to become one of the world's most relied-upon and fastest growing programming languages. Klabnik literally wrote the book on Rust. In the show, he visits how it differs from C++ and other alternatives, some of the many ways it is used, the large and familiar names (e.g. DropBox) that depend on it, the community culture around it, how open source and free software work are changing as we move toward a post-COVID world.

  • How to Homelab - Laptops as Servers?!

    In the latest episode of "How to Homelab", we take a look at the concept of using laptops as servers, and I give you my thoughts. It might just be a crazy enough idea to work!