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December 2019

Devices With Linux and Modding Ability

Filed under
Linux
Hardware

Programming Leftovers

Filed under
Development

                       

  • Perl Weekly Issue #440 - 2019-12-30 - Happy New Year
  •                    

  • Moshe Zadka: Meditations on the Zen of Python

    Python contributor Tim Peters introduced us to the Zen of Python in 1999. Twenty years later, its 19 guiding principles continue to be relevant within the community.

    The Zen of Python is not "the rules of Python" or "guidelines of Python". It is full of contradiction and allusion. It is not intended to be followed: it is intended to be meditated upon.

    In this spirit, I offer this series of meditations on the Zen of Python.

  • LearnPyQt — One year in, and more to come.

    Back in May I was looking through my collection of PyQt tutorials and videos and trying to decide what to do with them. They were pretty popular, but being hosted on multiple sites meant they lacked structure between them and were less useful than they could be. I needed somewhere to put them.

    Having looked the options available for hosting tutorials and courses I couldn't find something that fit my requirements. So I committed the #1 programmer mistake of building my own.

    LearnPyQt.com was born, and it turned out pretty great.

    The site uses a freemium model — long detailed text tutorials, with an upgrade to buy video courses and books for those that want them. Built on the Django-based Wagtail CMS it has been extended with some custom apps into a fully-fledged learning management system. But it's far from complete. Plans include adding progress tracking, certificates and some lightweight gamification. The goal here is to provide little hooks and challenges, to keep you inspired and experimenting with PyQt (and Python).

  • 10 Front-end Web Development Tools for 2020

    Web development is evolving very quickly, with many libraries and frameworks appearing and replacing other, less efficient, tools. If you want to keep up-to-date with all the latest news and find out what best suits your web application project, keep up with the tools listed below.

  • MLIR Lands In LLVM - Boosting LLVM For Heterogeneous Hardware, Machine Learning

    Landing as a great Christmas present for LLVM developers interested in heterogeneous hardware compilation, TensorFlow and other machine learning use-cases was MLIR within the LLVM source tree. 

    MLIR is the Multi-Level Intermediate Representation open-sourced by Google earlier this year. MLIR aims to be a common IR/format between machine learning models and frameworks. 

    [...]

    With the recently covered Google IREE project they are also experimenting with MLIR for the likes of accelerating machine learning on Vulkan. 

Signal: A Secure, Open Source Messaging App

Filed under
OSS

Signal is an open source application with a keen focus on privacy. It is recommended by privacy advocates like Edward Snowden.

It may not have as many features as Telegram or WhatsApp – but if you want to enhance your privacy while having a conversation, this is a solid open-source solution.

You can install it on your smartphone (iOS/Android) and it is also available for Linux, Windows, and macOS.

Read more

What is FOSS, and how does it differ from Freeware

Filed under
GNU

The rise of the Linux operating system, in all its various distributions, over the past few decades has catapulted the popularity of Free and Open Source Software.

Unfortunately, many new Linux users are often confused about what exactly FOSS is, and all that it entails. There’s no shame in that, and it can be confusing.

In simple terms, FOSS is software that all allows users to not only freely run the program for any purpose, but also provides users access to the code. Moreover, it also allows them to modify as they wish, as well as freely distribute copies of the original version or their altered version.

Read more

Graphics: VGA Signal In A Browser Window, Mesa's Radeon R600 Gallium3D Driver, EGL+OpenGL Off-screen Multi-Card

Filed under
Graphics/Benchmarks
  • VGA Signal In A Browser Window, Thanks To Reverse Engineering

    [Ben Cox] found some interesting USB devices on eBay. The Epiphan VGA2USB LR accepts VGA video on one end and presents it as a USB webcam-like video signal on the other. Never have to haul a VGA monitor out again? Sounds good to us! The devices are old and abandoned hardware, but they do claim Linux support, so one BUY button mash later and [Ben] was waiting patiently for them in the mail.

    But when they did arrive, the devices didn’t enumerate as a USB UVC video device as expected. The vendor has a custom driver, support for which ended in Linux 4.9 — meaning none of [Ben]’s machines would run it. By now [Ben] was curious about how all this worked and began digging, aiming to create a userspace driver for the device. He was successful, and with his usual detail [Ben] explains not only the process he followed to troubleshoot the problem but also how these devices (and his driver) work. Skip to the end of the project page for the summary, but the whole thing is worth a read.

  • Mesa's Radeon R600 Gallium3D Driver Now Has NIR Support Under Review

    Similar to the trend with other Mesa drivers, the Radeon R600g driver for supporting Radeon HD 2000 through Radeon HD 6000 series graphics cards has been seeing experimental work to introduce a NIR back-end for this modern intermediate representation. That R600 NIR support now has a merge request open meaning it could possibly land still for Mesa 20.0.

    The R600g NIR support has been worked on by Gert Wollny and currently targets Radeon HD 5000 "Evergreen" graphics cards with support for other AMD GPU generations handled by this Gallium3D driver not yet supported. Additionally, this NIR back-end only supports vertex / fragment / geometry shaders for now and other features missing.

  • Playing with EGL+OpenGL Off-screen Multi-Card

    So I've now spent the last day and a half playing with getting EGL offscreen rendering working on Linux. There are two major ways to do off-screen rendering with EGL and OpenGL. In the first, you use a pbuffer surface, that surface is basically a purpose-defined surface-type for off-screen backing of a renderer. When I use the EGL enumeration API we always seem to get pbuffer compatible visuals (and *not* window compatible ones).

    On Ubuntu 18.04 the enumeration API seems to be... problematic, lots of segfaults, particularly with the VirtualBox driver that shows up in the enumerations. On Ubuntu 19.10 the behaviour is much more reliable, with all 3 GPUs in my prime-based nVidia/Intel laptop (including the VirtualBox GPU) completing the OpenGL query for version, extensions, etc. The missing bit is being able to specify which GPU to use, as the EGL query API doesn't seem to have a way to get a "name" that a user would recognise to describe the card.

Why Tux Machines Occasionally Adds Editorial Comments

Filed under
Just talk

Editorials

Summary: Editorial remarks (or Editor's comments, "Ed" for short) play a role in highlighting potential inaccuracies -- and manipulations of the mind -- when those aren't so shallow and aren't abundantly obvious

Recently, and as lately as a few hours ago, Richard Stallman exchanged some messages and we might meet again in a few months (he is traveling to the UK). Stallman and I share a concern about neglect of truth and history; for instance, many GNU programs are nowadays dubbed "LINUX COMMANDS" (I saw one example of that just 2 hours ago) and people sometimes lose sight of the important goals, focusing on brands instead of philosophy, political aspects and so on.

"Sometimes we link to something which isn't entirely accurate or can be misleading."

I would like to take this moment, on the last day of this year, to explain where we stand on issues pertaining to software freedom. A few times in the past one reader bemoaned my editorial comments (marked "Ed"), which typically bemoan something about the cited article/s. Sometimes we link to something which isn't entirely accurate or can be misleading. One example of that is openwashing. Another rather common and increasingly ubiquitous example concerns Microsoft "loving" Linux (it actually loves Windows).

We live in a world with Public Relations and marketing agencies. They exist to mislead; they shape perceptions -- that's their business model! To blindly link to just anything online without commentary or curation would likely lead us astray. Truth does matter. Facts need to be checked. This is what Tux Machines strives to achieve; throwing the word "LINUX" into something like Google News would expose one to loads of cruft, irrelevant stuff, plagiarism, pure spam and sometimes intentional lies. With no human operator or editor just about anything can be dunked into search results, owing to SEO manipulation and mishandling of indexes. I've seen that for well over a decade. Automation just doesn't work; someone who understands the problem domain needs to assess things for quality and accuracy.

"To be fair, comments are open, so readers can respond."

My adult life (since age 18 or so when I became a GNU/Linux user) involved very hard work and lifelong activism for software freedom. Not everyone agrees with me and if sometimes I may say something readers disagree with (e.g. in editorial comments), then it's likely because I try to be realistic, not jingoistic. Moreover, no two individuals will agree on everything 100% of the time. That's inevitable. So some readers might dislike these editorial comments. To be fair, comments are open, so readers can respond.

At the moment, the way I personally see it, Free software is under a number of attacks. There are different types of attacks. I think Free software will endure regardless. On a more positive note, Free software is nowadays used everywhere, it's just not being called that ("Open Source" is the term corporate media prefers) and it has been leveraged as a low-cost 'cushion' for DRM, surveillance, militarism etc. Think of companies like Facebook and Netflix (GNU and Linux at their back ends). Is this what we strive for? Closed systems that are merely built upon Freedom-respecting stacks?

"At the moment, the way I personally see it, Free software is under a number of attacks."

Software freedom is a huge objective in a world where almost everything becomes digital (only more so over time). I think it's up to us to somehow guide the world's software towards ethical uses, without necessarily imposing how it's used, and that is perhaps a future challenge for the Free Software Movement. It's a monumental challenge because politics can be a massive terrain to navigate. Over at Techrights I mostly focus on issues such as patents (laws), with emphasis on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the European Patent Office (EPO) granting software patents in Europe and so on. Patents on algorithms are one kind of barrier (among many) impeding Free software adoption.

FSF Raising Funds and Trisquel 9.0 Reaching Alpha

Filed under
GNU
  • Last chance to help us reach our membership goal in 2019!

    The pace and demands of modern life pressure us to carry computers in our pockets laden with nonfree software (our cell phones), and new threats to our privacy are popping up on every street corner, via proprietary Amazon Ring cameras, and on many kitchen counters, via “smart” home devices. Back when our movement was born, software freedom was only of great concern to people who were actively involved in development. Today, nobody in the world can afford to ignore the crucial importance of knowing what our software is doing, and keeping it from doing us harm.

    As the battles and triumphs of 2019 fade into the past and the new challenges of 2020 emerge, the Free Software Foundation (FSF) continues our commitment to the goal we’ve had from our earliest days: a future in which all software is free, and can be trusted to serve the needs and best interests of every user. Our strength depends on your support: we need you to boldly carry the message and goal of software freedom to everyone you know, bring them into the fold, and help us mobilize them to use and talk about free software.

    [...]

    We’re spending the end of this year making plans to make 2020 the best year for the FSF ever: you can read about some of these plans in the reports from our tech team, licensing and compliance team, and campaigns team. Will this be the year that we make user freedom a kitchen table issue? We’ll never stop trying – and we hope you’ll be by our side all the way.

  • Trisquel 9 Graphical ISO available for testing

    Note that the text installer is expected to be for the wrong Trisquel version at this time. Please only test the "Try Trisquel without installing" options and the graphical installer for now.

More in Tux Machines

Malicious Proprietary Software From Microsoft and Google

  • Microsoft rolls out a new update for Surface Duo SDK Preview

    The new update is available for Mac, Windows and Ubuntu....

  • Microsoft Brings Its Windows 10 Antivirus Arsenal to Linux [Ed: Wow. Softpedia's "LINUX" section (Popa) is now an arm of Microsoft proprietary software marketing. Sure missing Marius Nester there. Whose arsenal is this? NSA's?]
  • Microsoft: Linux Defender antivirus now in public preview, iOS and Android are next [Ed: Of course Microsoft's sponsored propaganda network also promotes Microsoft proprietary software in the “LINUX” section. It does this all the time. The site has also just put "GitHub: We won't take down any of your content unless we really have to" under the "LINUX" section because proprietary software (GitHub) is somehow "LINUX"?!]
  • Chrome deploys deep-linking tech in latest browser build despite privacy concerns

    Google has implemented a browser capability in Chrome called ScrollToTextFragment that enables deep links to web documents, but it has done so despite unresolved privacy concerns and lack of support from other browser makers. Via Twitter on Tuesday, Peter Snyder, privacy researcher at privacy-focused browser maker Brave Software, observed that ScrollToTextFragment shipped earlier this month in Chrome 80 unflagged, meaning it's active, despite privacy issues that have been raised. "Imposing privacy and security leaks to existing sites (many of which will never be updated) REALLY should be a 'don't break the web,' never-cross redline," he wrote. "This spec does that." The debate over the feature percolated last year on mailing lists and in GitHub issues posts and picked up in October when the team working on Chrome's Blink engine declared their intent to implement the specification. The feature rollout serves to illustrate that the consensus-based web standards process doesn't do much to constrain the technology Google deploys.

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  • New Mexico Sues Google Over Collection of Children's Data
           
             

    New Mexico’s attorney general sued Google Thursday over allegations the tech company is illegally collecting personal data generated by children in violation of federal and state laws.

Security: Debian LTS Work, Various Patches, Honeypots/Honeynets and FUD (Marketing)

  • Freexian’s report about Debian Long Term Support, January 2020

    January started calm until at the end of the month some LTS contributors met, some for the first time ever, at the Mini-DebCamp preceeding FOSDEM in Brussels. While there were no formal events about LTS at both events, such face2face meetings have proven to be very useful for future collaborations! We currently have 59 LTS sponsors sponsoring 219h each month. Still, as always we are welcoming new LTS sponsors!

  • Security updates for Friday

    Security updates have been issued by CentOS (openjpeg2), Debian (cloud-init, jackson-databind, and python-reportlab), Red Hat (ksh, python-pillow, systemd, and thunderbird), Slackware (proftpd), SUSE (java-1_7_0-ibm, nodejs10, and nodejs12), and Ubuntu (ppp and squid, squid3). 

  • Honeypots and Honeynets
  • Up close and personal with Linux malware [Ed: ESET trying to sell its useless proprietary software for a platform that does not need it]

    Chances are that the very word ‘Linux’ conjures up images of near-impenetrable security. However, Linux-based computer systems and applications running on them increasingly end up in the crosshairs of bad actors, and recent years have seen discoveries of a number of malicious campaigns that hit Linux systems, including botnets that were made up of thousands of Linux servers. These mounting threats have challenged the conventional thinking that Linux is more or less spared the problems that affect other operating systems, particularly Windows.

Events: ONES, SUSECON and FOSDEM

  • Linux Foundation, LF Networking, and LF Edge Announce Keynote Speakers for Open Networking & Edge Summit North America 2020

    The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, along with co-hosts LF Networking, the umbrella organization fostering collaboration and innovation across the entire open networking stack, and LF Edge, the umbrella organization building an open source framework for the edge, today announced initial keynote speakers for Open Networking & Edge Summit (ONES) North America 2020. The event takes place April 20-21 in Los Angeles, California. Open Networking & Edge Summit (formerly Open Networking Summit) is the industry’s premier open networking event now expanded to comprehensively cover Edge Computing, Edge Cloud and IoT. The event enables collaborative development and innovation across enterprises, service providers/telcos and cloud providers to shape the future of networking and edge computing with a deep focus on technical, architectural and business discussions in the areas of Open Networking & AI/ML-enabled use cases for 5G, IoT, Edge and Enterprise deployment, as well as targeted discussions on Edge/IoT frameworks and blueprints across Manufacturing, Retail, Oil and Gas, Transportation and Telco Edge cloud, among other key areas.

  • SUSE welcomes Dublin City University students at SUSECON 2020

    DCU relies on SUSE to support their IT infrastructure. DCU also utilize our academic program for teaching and training Open Source technologies in the classroom, so when the idea came to invite a university to SUSECON, they were a perfect fit. Nearly 50 master’s students and a handful of teaching staff from the Faculty of Engineering and Computing are looking forward to attending this year’s SUSECON. MSc and M.Eng students from the School of Computing and the School of Electronic Engineering will be in attendance throughout the week. The event will provide numerous opportunities for the students to learn from and engage with industry experts from companies like SUSE, Microsoft and SAP.

  • Follow-up on the train journey to FOSDEM

    Here’s a recap of my train journey based on the Twitter thread I kept posting as I travelled.

Videos/Audiocasts/Shows: Clear Linux, Canonical's Ubuntu Desktop Team, MX Linux 19.1

  • Clear Linux | The Fastest Linux Distro?

    Clear Linux | The Fastest Linux Distro? Let's do a deep dive into Clear Linux and go through the installation, configuration, and overall setup for it on your System.

  • Brunch with Brent: Heather Ellsworth | Jupiter Extras 57

    Brent sits down with Heather Ellsworth, Software Engineer on Canonical's Ubuntu Desktop Team, a GNOME Foundation Member, and former Purism Librem 5 Documentation Engineer. We discuss her deep history in experimental high energy physics at CERN, the similarities and synergies between the sciences and software engineering, her love of documentation, her newly established maintainership of LibreOffice, and how empathy factors into good bug reporting.

  • MX Linux 19.1 overview | simple configuration, high stability, solid performance

    In this video, I am going to show an overview of MX Linux 19.1 and some of the applications pre-installed.