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December 2019

The End of Tux Machines' Strongest Year

Filed under
Site News

Tux Machines 2020

TODAY is the last day of the last month of this year if not decade. We're pleased to close this year with record traffic levels. In 2019 we increased our coverage of programming-centric matters, especially when the underlying frameworks/languages were Free/libre software.

Earlier this year we also celebrated our 15th anniversary. There are three of us working behind the scenes to make the site up to date and keep it up (online). We're all passionate users of GNU/Linux who want to spread the word and encourage more people to use the platform.

In 2019 not only did we see record traffic levels; we also saw an unprecedented level of success for GNU/Linux in the adoption sense. Rianne is responsible for "Android leftovers" and remember that each Android device has Linux (or "Tux") in it. Google explored alternatives, but we haven't heard of these for months. It's nowadays very difficult to run a company or start a company without Linux -- no matter if in the server or device space. Let's hope Tux Machines will be around -- and online -- for many years to come. Happy new year.

Security: Updates, Samsung, Wyze, Slackware

Filed under
Security
  • Security updates for Monday

    Security updates have been issued by Debian (debian-lan-config, freeimage, imagemagick, libxml2, mediawiki, openssl1.0, php5, and tomcat8).

  • What is Samsung Secure Wi-Fi?

    Samsung Galaxy and Note smartphones come with a pre-installed app called Samsung Secure Wi-Fi. The app can’t be uninstalled from the app manager on the device. Scroll to the bottom of the article for uninstallation instructions.

    Samsung is thin on the details and doesn’t say much about what the service does. Every time you connect to a Wi-Fi network it sends you the following promotional push-notification.

  • Wyze Data Leak Exposes Personal Information of Nearly 2.5 Million Customers

    We talk often at IoT Tech Trends about the potential of important personal information being vulnerable because of smart home Internet of Things devices. Many times, it seems the device manufacturers aren’t very upfront about the lack of security and data breaches.

    But Wyze is different. Regrettably, the company suffered a data leak that exposed the personal information of 2.4 million customers. However, they are owning up to it and taking quick action to mend the situation. It does nothing to change the leak, but it is a refreshing change.

  • New handbrake and mkvtoolnix packages for Slackware 14.2 and -current

    I was a couple of releases behind on the Handbrake video transcoding software. I am always a bit hesitant with upgrading Handbrake. It has a history of being hard to compile on the stable Slackware releases.

    Most notably it is the GTK+3 based GUI for which our Slackware libraries are often too old. And indeed, with the latest 1.3.0 release I found that this would not compile on Slackware 14.2 despite the hack I already used for the previous package (1.2..2) which I created earlier in 2019. It took me a day to come up with a second patch that allows Handbrake 1.3.0 to compile against our gtk+3 3.18.9 while in fact the program’s GUI component wants gtk+3 3.20.0 or higher.
    So, Slackware 14.2 users – please tell me if you find that some functionality of the GUI is not working… it should all work properly but you never know.
    In addition, I had to add a patch to make the new dav1d AV1 decoder compile on Slackware 14.2 but luckily I could just re-implement what I had already done for VLC.

Designing an Icon for Your App

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Software
GNOME

You’ve designed your app’s interface, and found the perfect name for it. But of course a great app also needs a great icon before you can release it to the world.

After the name, the app icon is the most important part of an app’s brand. The icon can help explain at a glance what the app does, and serves as an entry point to the rest of the experience. A high quality icon can make people want to use an app more, because it’s a stand-in for the quality of the entire app.

Think of the app icon like an album cover for your app. Yes, technically the music is the same even if you have a terrible cover, but a great cover can capture the spirit of the album and elevate the quality of the thing as a whole.

Read more

Also: Fwupd 1.3.6 Firmware Updater Released With Initial Windows Support

Python Programming

Filed under
Development
  • Python Timer Functions: Three Ways to Monitor Your Code

    While many developers recognize Python as an effective programming language, pure Python programs may run slower than their counterparts in compiled languages like C, Rust, and Java. Throughout this tutorial, you’ll see how to use a Python timer to monitor how fast your programs are running.

  • 2019 qutebrowser crowdfunding - reminder

    Just like in the 2017/2018 crowdfundings, it'll be possible to get t-shirts and stickers again. I'll also add some new swag to the mix Smile

    [...]

    Somewhen after 2020 comes around the corner (and probably after my birthday on the 2nd) I'm going to adjust the perks accordingly.

  • Training on batch: how do you split the data?

    With increasing volumes of the data, a common approach to train machine-learning models is to apply the so-called training on batch. This approach involves splitting a dataset into a series of smaller data chunks that are handed to the model one at a time.

  • Mike Driscoll: PyDev of the Week: Saul Pwanson

    This week we welcome Saul Pwanson (@saulfp) as our PyDev of the Week! Saul is the creator of VisiData, an interactive multitool for tabular data. If you’d like to see what Saul has been up to, then you should check out his website or his Github profile. You can also support Saul’s open source endeavors on Patreon. Let’s take a few moments to get to know Saul better!

    Can you tell us a little about yourself (hobbies, education, etc):

    I grew up in Chicagoland in the 80s, was on BBSes in the early 90s, and IRC in college and thereafter. I’ve been once to the Recurse Center in New York, twice to Holland, and six times to Bruno’s in Gerlach, NV. I like crossword puzzles, board games, and point-and-click adventures. One day I’d like to finish my “board simulation” of the awe-inspiring mechanics inside mitochondria.

    Why did you start using Python

    It was for a job at a startup back in 2004. It’s really great as a scripting language, and the standard library makes most common things easy by itself, with the rest of the ecosystem providing not just one but usually about 4 different ways of doing any task, often including one that works really well. I tip my hat to all the unsung deve

  • Minimizing context switching between shell and Python

RockPro64 Review

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Hardware
Reviews

Since there are so many options available for Operating System images the RockPro64 is a great board. The benchmarks show it has quite the processor to run applications without breaking the bank. It currently sells for around $60 depending on the options. For gamers this is a nice board if you use Recalbox.

Read more

Jussi Pakkanen: How about not stabbing ourselves in the leg with a rusty fork?

Filed under
Development
OSS

Corporations are funny things. Many things no reasonable person would do on their own are done every day in thousands of business conglomerates around the world. With pride even. Let us consider as an arbitrary example a corporation where every day is started by employees stabbing themselves in the leg with a rusty fork. This is (I hope) not actually done for real, but there could be a company out there where this is the daily routine.

If you think that such a thing could possibly never happen, congratulations on having never worked in a big corporation. Stick with that if you can!

When faced with this kind of pointless and harmful routine, one might suggest not doing it any more or replacing it with some other, more useful procedure. This does not succeed, of course, but that is not the point. The reasons you get back are the interesting thing, because they will tell you what kind of manager and coworkers you are dealing with. Here are some possible options, can you think of more?

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ExTiX Deepin 20.1 live based on Deepin 15.11 (latest) with Skype, Spotify, Refracta Snapshot and kernel 5.5.0-rc3 :: Build 191230

Filed under
GNU
Linux

1.You can run ExTiX from RAM. Use boot alternative 3 (load to RAM) or Advanced. A wonderful way to run Linux if you have enough RAM. Everything will be super fast. When ExTiX has booted up you can remove the DVD or USB stick.
2. You will have the opportunity to choose language before you enter the Deepin 15.11 Desktop. All main languages are supported.
3. I have replaced Deepin Installer with the Reborn version of Deepin Installer. Works better in every way.
4. I have replaced kernel 5.3.0-rc6-exton with kernel 5.5.0-rc3-exton.
5. Spotify and Skype are pre-installed.
6. You can watch Netflix while running Firefox.
7. You can install ExTiX Deepin also in VirtualBox/VMware using Deepin Installer. (In previous versions you had to “chroot” into the install partition and install Grub).
8. While installing ExTiX Deepin to a USB stick using Rufus 3.8 you can create a persistent

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Notepad++ Alternatives For Linux

Filed under
Software

This article aims to introduce you to some of the most popular Notepad++ alternatives for Linux including the installation, basic features and functions.

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More in Tux Machines

GNU Parallel 20200222 ('BrexitDay') released [stable]

GNU Parallel 20200222 ('BrexitDay') [stable] has been released. It is available for download at: http://ftpmirror.gnu.org/parallel/ No new functionality was introduced so this is a good candidate for a stable release. GNU Parallel is 10 years old next year on 2020-04-22. You are here by invited to a reception on Friday 2020-04-17. Read more

GNU/Linux in Crostini Form

  • Using 'LXPanel' as a UI for Crostini

    If you are used to a menu-driven user interface in Linux or find the Chrome OS application launcher not quite to your liking for accessing Crostini Linux applications then one option you could try is LXPanel. The panel generates a menu for installed applications automatically from '*.desktop' files and can itself be incorporated in its own '.desktop' file which if pinned to the Chrome OS shelf can also be used as a means to start the 'penguin' container after booting. Unfortunately it is not quite perfect as the panel is displayed in the middle of the screen and doesn't respond well to changing its position under geometry in its panel settings. However you can toggle its visibility by clicking the panel's icon on the shelf. Also closing the panel (by right clicking the icon) only closes the 'LXPanel' application in Chrome OS so to terminate it fully you need to use 'killall lxpanel' in a terminal session.

  • Linux apps on Chromebooks may be reason enough for external GPU support

    We’ve been tracking a device known only as ‘Mushu’ for about a month at this point, and it brings with it a very specific and interesting addition to the Chrome OS ecosystem: a discrete GPU (or dGPU for short). When we first reported on this device being in development, I suggested that I don’t see a ton of use cases for a Chromebook with a dGPU for most users. Without a proper video editor or tons of ways to play locally-stored games, its hard to make a case for dGPUs when existing Chromebooks are already so fast at what they do.

NVIDIA's Ray Tracing Approach in Vulkan

  • NVIDIA talk up bringing DirectX Ray Tracing to Vulkan

    With Ray Tracing becoming ever more popular, NVIDIA have written up a technical post on bringing DirectX Ray Tracing to Vulkan to encourage more developers to do it. The blog post, titled "Bringing HLSL Ray Tracing to Vulkan" mentions that porting content requires both the API calls (so DirectX to Vulkan) and the Shaders (HLSL to SPIR-V). Something that's not so difficult now, with the SPIR-V backend to Microsoft's open source DirectXCompiler (DXC). Since last year, NVIDIA added ray tracing support to DXC's SPIR-V back-end too using their SPV_NV_ray_tracing extension and there's already titles shipping with it like Quake II RTX and Wolfenstein: Youngblood. While this is all NVIDIA-only for now, The Khronos Group is having discussions to get a cross-vendor version of the Vulkan ray tracing extension implemented and NVIDIA expect the work already done can be used with it which does sound good.

  • NVIDIA Demonstrates Porting Of DirectX Ray-Tracing To Vulkan

    NVIDIA has written a new technical blog post on bringing HLSL ray-tracing to Vulkan with the same capabilities of DirextX Ray-Tracing. This effort is made feasible by Microsoft's existing open-source DirectXCompiler (DXC) with SPIR-V back-end for consumption by Vulkan drivers. Last year NVIDIA contributed to the open-source DXC support for SPV_NV_ray_tracing. This in turn with the open-source tooling allows converting DXR HLSL shaders into SPIR-V modules for Vulkan.

Vulkan Survey and AMDVLK, AMD Targets GNU/Linux

  • LunarG's Vulkan developer survey results out now - Vulkan also turns 4

    LunarG, the software company that Valve sponsors who work on building out the ecosystem for the Vulkan API recently conducted a Vulkan developer survey with the results out now. Before going over the results, just a reminder that Vulkan just recently turned four years old! The 1.0 specification went public on February 16, 2016. Since then, we've seen some pretty amazing things thanks to it. We've had Linux ports that perform really nicely, the mighty DXVK translation layer advanced dramatically, to the vkBasalt post-processing layer and so on—there's been a lot going on. However, as a graphics API do remember it's pretty young and has a long life ahead of it. As for the LunarG survey: there were 349 replies to it, and while not a huge amount it gives us an interesting insight into what some developers think and feel about how Vulkan is doing as a whole. Overall, it gives quite a positive picture on the health of Vulkan with over 60% feeling the overall quality of the Vulkan ecosystem as "Good" and almost 20% rating it as "Excellent".

  • AMDVLK 2020.Q1.2 Released With Vulkan 1.2 Support

    AMDVLK 2020.Q1.2 is out as the first official AMD open-source Vulkan Linux driver code drop in one month. AMDVLK has been off its wagon this quarter with their previous weekly/bi-weekly code drops of AMDVLK but that just means the v2020.Q1.2 is quite a big one. First up, AMDVLK 2020.Q1.2 now is supporting Vulkan 1.2 that debuted back in January and with Mesa's RADV Radeon Vulkan driver already having supported it for weeks.

  • Radeon Pro Software for Enterprise 20.Q1.1 for Linux Released

    AMD's Radeon Pro Software for Enterprise 20.Q1.1 Linux driver release was made available this week as their newest quarterly driver installment intended for use with Radeon Pro graphics hardware.