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December 2019

What is GNU/Linux?

Filed under
GNU
Linux

Most consumers can, with a little effort, name two desktop and laptop operating systems: Microsoft Windows and Apple's macOS. Few have ever considered any of the open-source alternatives found under the umbrella of GNU/Linux, though some may have done so without even knowing it—Google's Chrome OS uses the Linux kernel. To be honest, aside from the Chromebook platform, GNU/Linux systems are typically not best for people who rely on big-name software or don't like dabbling with a customizable, hands-on interface. However, if you're looking for a change of pace, don't want to pay for your software, and don't mind rolling up your sleeves, switching to GNU/Linux may not only be worthwhile, but make you a convert for life. This guide for nontechnical users will show you how.

Before diving headfirst into the wonky world of GNU/Linux systems, it's important to understand how they came about and some of the terms you may encounter while researching and using them. I'll start with a brief history of the big three: UNIX, Linux, and GNU.

UNIX is a proprietary, command-line-based operating system originally developed by Dennis Ritchie and Ken Thompson (among others) at AT&T's Bell Labs in the late 1960s and early 1970s. UNIX is coded almost entirely in the C programming language (also invented by Ritchie) and was originally intended to be used as a portable and convenient OS for programmers and researchers. As a result of a long and complicated legal history involving AT&T, Bell Labs, and the federal government, UNIX and UNIX-like operating systems grew in popularity, as did Thompson's influential philosophy of a modular, minimalist approach to software design.

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Making Slackware 14.1 Works with GLIM Multiboot USB

Filed under
GNU
Linux
HowTos

This tutorial explains the configuration files for Slackware 14.1 DVD 64-bit to work in LiveUSB multiboot mode with GLIM. This way you can have one flash drive containing multiple GNU/Linux OS installers including Slackware64 among them. This is my first time to ship Slackware USB ever and I am happy finally I could make it with GLIM. This is the result of my shipment to Sulawesi, Indonesia at December 2019. Happy hacking!

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Stable kernels 5.4.7, 4.19.92, and 4.14.161

  • Linux 5.4.7

    I'm announcing the release of the 5.4.7 kernel.

    All users of the 5.4 kernel series must upgrade.

    The updated 5.4.y git tree can be found at:
    git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-stable.git linux-5.4.y
    and can be browsed at the normal kernel.org git web browser:
    https://git.kernel.org/?p=linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-s...

  • Linux 4.19.92
  • Linux 4.14.161

Programming: KDE at Congress, Java, C and Python

Filed under
Development
  • 36C3 Impressions

    I was given the opportunity to present our work on KDE Itinerary on the WikipakaWG stage (part of the joint presence of Wikimedia and the Open Knowledge Foundation). A big thanks for that again!

    The slides are here. At this point there is no released video recording yet, until that’s available you should still find the relive stream.

    Besides showing overall what we are doing and have built so far, and why this matters, we managed to have a few sneak preview screenshots of the latest developments that haven’t been shown anywhere before yet. Another such preview could be spotted in a presentation of another project at the event. So stay tuned for announcements in January Smile

    Following that I got a large amount of input and positive feedback, people seem to like the idea of a privacy first digital travel assistant. This also lead to a number of interesting contacts for possible collaborations in 2020, let’s see what comes out of this.

    KDE at Congress

    There were only very few KDE people at 36C3, and only very few talks covering KDE projects. I did spot a very well attended talk about Linux-based mobile platforms covering Plasma Mobile by someone I didn’t know yet, so there definitely seems to be interest in KDE’s work there.

    I mainly focused on mobility or open transport data topics for KDE Itinerary, that left little time to cover other things highly relevant for KDE like free mobile platforms, environmental impact of software, Free Software in public administration, or let alone the enormous field of privacy related topics.

    I’d therefore suggest KDE to attend with a larger team next time, not necessarily with a stationary presence, but with more people to present our work and to connect with others with overlapping interests.

  • Java retrospective #3 – most important thing for the community in 2019

    As 2019 draws to a close, we got in touch with some prominent members of the Java community to gather their thoughts on the events of the last year. In this five part series, we will look at what they had to say. In this third part, we asked what the most important thing for the Java community was in 2019.

  • Ringing In 2020 By Clang'ing The Linux 5.5 Kernel - Benchmarks Of GCC vs. Clang Built Kernels

    The main issue encountered when Clang'ing Linux 5.3 was the AMDGPU driver running into build problems. Fortunately, that was since resolved and with Linux 5.5 tests I recently did when building the kernel with Clang 9.0, the AMDGPU driver has worked out fine. With that resolved and no new Clang kernel compatibility problems introduced, it was a pleasant experience building Linux 5.5 with Clang simply by adjusting the CC environment variable.

  • Area of sinc and jinc function lobes

    The lobes are the regions between crossings of the x-axis. For the sinc function, the lobe in the middle runs from -π to π, and for n > 0 the nth lobe runs from nπ to (n+1)π. The zeros of Bessel functions are not uniformly spaced like the zeros of the sine function, but they come up in application frequently and so it’s easy to find software to compute their locations.

  • Sorting Data With Python

    All programmers will have to write code to sort items or data at some point. Sorting can be critical to the user experience in your application, whether it’s ordering a user’s most recent activity by timestamp, or putting a list of email recipients in alphabetical order by last name. Python sorting functionality offers robust features to do basic sorting or customize ordering at a granular level.

    In this course, you’ll learn how to sort various types of data in different data structures, customize the order, and work with two different methods of sorting in Python.

Security Leftovers

Filed under
Security
  • Security updates for Tuesday

    Security updates have been issued by Debian (intel-microcode and libbsd), openSUSE (chromium, LibreOffice, and spectre-meltdown-checker), and SUSE (mozilla-nspr, mozilla-nss and python-azure-agent).

  • How AI and Cybersecurity Will Intersect in 2020

    So much of the discussion about cybersecurity's relationship with artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) revolves around how AI and ML can improve security product functionality. However, that is actually only one dimension of a much broader collision between cybersecurity and AI.

  • Best of TechBeacon 2019: Security is in the hot seat with privacy laws

    New laws such as the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and the European Union's General Data Privacy Regulation (GDPR) have put substantial pressure on organizations to bolster their security practices this year. Adding to the urgency were the near-constant reports of data breaches, an ever-evolving threat landscape, and a growing volume of attacks.

Applications: Scrapyard, NAS Software, GnuCash and Clementine

Filed under
Software
  • Scrapyard is an advanced bookmarks manager for Firefox

    Scrapyard is an open source extension for the Firefox web browser designed to improve bookmarking in Firefox in multiple ways. Firefox users may use it to bookmark pages but also content on pages, and store the data locally.

    Firefox's default bookmarks functionality is quite basic. Users may bookmark webpages or sites, add tags to bookmarks, use folders to sort bookmarks, and use Firefox's synchronization feature to sync bookmarks across devices.

    Firefox users who require more functionality need to rely on add-ons for that. Bookmarks Organizer is a handy extension to find dead or redirecting bookmarks.

  • 4 Best Open Source NAS Software for DIY server in 2020

    Before listing Linux or FreeBSD distros for creating network Attached storage OS, I would like to say there is no “best operating system” either for NAS or computer. The choice of an operating system depends heavily on what you are going to do with the NAS server. In this guide, we focus on software that understands a NAS server primarily as a system for the provision of data in your office or home. With the operating systems we mention in this article, you can copy data back and forth, perform backups, along with some advanced tasks (such as establishing a VPN connection or installing a mail server) including plugins to extend OS capabilities.

    Here we are about to list some best NAS solutions to help you if you are planning to data management using open-source software in 2020.

  • GnuCash 3.8

    GnuCash is a personal and small business finance application, freely licensed under the GNU GPL and available for GNU/Linux, BSD, Solaris, Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows. It’s designed to be easy to use, yet powerful and flexible. GnuCash allows you to track your income and expenses, reconcile bank accounts, monitor stock portfolios and manage your small business finances. It is based on professional accounting principles to ensure balanced books and accurate reports.

    GnuCash can keep track of your personal finances in as much detail as you prefer. If you are just starting out, use GnuCash to keep track of your checkbook. You may then decide to track cash as well as credit card purchases to better determine where your money is being spent. When you start investing, you can use GnuCash to help monitor your portfolio. Buying a vehicle or a home? GnuCash will help you plan the investment and track loan payments. If your financial records span the globe, GnuCash provides all the multiple-currency support you need.

  • Clementine Music Player 1.3.9 Released for Testing (How to Install)

    Clementine, an open-source audio player inspired by Amarok 1.4, released version 1.3.9 (then 1.3.92) a few days ago. Here’s how to install it in Ubuntu.

    Though the last version 1.3.1 was released more than 3 years ago, Clementine player is still in active development, and version 1.3.9 (as well as 1.3.92) was released in recent days as the test release. However, there’s no announcement, no change-log so far. They seem to be the development releases for the next major release.

My Linux Experience in 2019

Filed under
GNU
Linux

In summary, I can say that my experience with Linux during 2019 has been extremely satisfactory. I mean, my computers have been working great and the distros have been more stable than ever.

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More in Tux Machines

today's howtos

  • How To Install Ubuntu 20.10 Groovy Gorilla

    This tutorial explains Ubuntu 20.10 Groovy Gorilla computer installation. You will prepare at least two disk partitions, finishing it all in about twenty minutes, and enjoy! Let's start right now.

  • How to install Ubuntu 20.10 - YouTube

    In this video, I am going to show how to install Ubuntu 20.10.

  • How To Install Webmin on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS - idroot

    In this tutorial we will show you how to install Webmin on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, as well as some extra required packages by Webmin control panel

  • Running Ironic Standalone on RHEL | Adam Young’s Web Log

    This is only going to work if you have access to the OpenStack code. If you are not an OpenStack customer, you are going to need an evaluation entitlement. That is beyond the scope of this article.

  • Introduction to Ironic

    The sheer number of projects and problem domains covered by OpenStack was overwhelming. I never learned several of the other projects under the big tent. One project that is getting relevant to my day job is Ironic, the bare metal provisioning service. Here are my notes from spelunking the code.

  • Adding Nodes to Ironic

    TheJulia was kind enough to update the docs for Ironic to show me how to include IPMI information when creating nodes.

  • Secure NTP with NTS

    Many computers use the Network Time Protocol (NTP) to synchronize their system clocks over the internet. NTP is one of the few unsecured internet protocols still in common use. An attacker that can observe network traffic between a client and server can feed the client with bogus data and, depending on the client’s implementation and configuration, force it to set its system clock to any time and date. Some programs and services might not work if the client’s system clock is not accurate. For example, a web browser will not work correctly if the web servers’ certificates appear to be expired according to the client’s system clock. Use Network Time Security (NTS) to secure NTP. Fedora 331 is the first Fedora release to support NTS. NTS is a new authentication mechanism for NTP. It enables clients to verify that the packets they receive from the server have not been modified while in transit. The only thing an attacker can do when NTS is enabled is drop or delay packets. See RFC8915 for further details about NTS. NTP can be secured well with symmetric keys. Unfortunately, the server has to have a different key for each client and the keys have to be securely distributed. That might be practical with a private server on a local network, but it does not scale to a public server with millions of clients. NTS includes a Key Establishment (NTS-KE) protocol that automatically creates the encryption keys used between the server and its clients. It uses Transport Layer Security (TLS) on TCP port 4460. It is designed to scale to very large numbers of clients with a minimal impact on accuracy. The server does not need to keep any client-specific state. It provides clients with cookies, which are encrypted and contain the keys needed to authenticate the NTP packets. Privacy is one of the goals of NTS. The client gets a new cookie with each server response, so it doesn’t have to reuse cookies. This prevents passive observers from tracking clients migrating between networks.

  • Comfortable Motion: Absolutely Cursed Vim Scrolling - YouTube

    Have you ever felt like Vim was too useful and thought hey let's change that, well that's what this dev thought and now we have a plugin called comfortable motion that's adds physics based scrolling into vim, what's physics based scrolling you ask. Well it's scrolling that occurs based on how long you hold down the scroll key.

  • Running Cassandra on Fedora 32 | Adam Young’s Web Log

    This is not a tutorial. These are my running notes from getting Cassandra to run on Fedora 32. The debugging steps are interesting in their own right. I’ll provide a summary at the end for any sane enough not to read through the rest.

  • Recovering Audio off an Old Tape Using Audacity | Adam Young’s Web Log

    One of my fiorends wrote a bunch of music back in high school. The only remainig recordings are on a casette tape that he produced. Time has not been kind to the recordings, but they are audible…barely. He has a device that produces MP3s from the tape. My job has been to try and get them so that we can understand them well enough to recover the original songs. I have the combined recording on a single MP3. I’ve gone through and noted the times where each song starts and stops. I am going to go through the steps I’ve been using to go from that single long MP3 to an individual recording.

  • Role of Training and Certification at the Linux Foundation

    Open source allows anyone to dip their toes in the code, read up on the documentation, and learn everything on their own. That’s how most of us did it, but that’s just the first step. Those who want to have successful careers in building, maintaining, and managing IT infrastructures of companies need more structured hands-on learning with real-life experience. That’s where Linux Foundation’s Training and Certification unit enters the picture. It helps not only greenhorn developers but also members of the ecosystem who seek highly trained and certified engineers to manage their infrastructure. Swapnil Bhartiya sat down with Clyde Seepersad, SVP and GM of Training and Certification at the Linux Foundation, to learn more about the Foundation’s efforts to create a generation of qualified professionals.

  • Hetzner build machine

    This is part of a series of posts on compiling a custom version of Qt5 in order to develop for both amd64 and a Raspberry Pi. Building Qt5 takes a long time. The build server I was using had CPUs and RAM, but was very slow on I/O. I was very frustrated by that, and I started evaluating alternatives. I ended up setting up scripts to automatically provision a throwaway cloud server at Hetzner.

Leftovers: Debian, Graphics and Audiocasts

  • Integer Scaling To Come With Linux 5.11 For Intel Graphics Driver - Phoronix

    Going back more than a year there have been Intel "i915" kernel graphics driver patches implementing integer mode scaling support while finally for Linux 5.11 in early 2021 the support will have landed. Intel added integer mode scaling to their Windows graphics driver back in 2019 to provide better clarity when upscaling games (particularly pixel art type content) and other software. The Linux patches materialized in September 2019 for nearest-neighbor integer mode scaling and then seemingly forgotten about. The capability works with Gen11 / Ice Lake and newer.

  • Linux Support for Variable Refresh Rates On Gen12+ Intel GPUs Is On The Way - LinuxReviews

    Intel developer Manasi Navare has submitted a series of patches for the Linux kernel that brings support for variable refresh rates on Intel's latest graphics chips to the Linux kernels i915 driver. The feature is only enabled on Tiger Lake, Sapphire Rapids and newer Intel graphics chips. [...] You do not need a special "Freesync" monitor to use adaptive vertical synchronization, Freesync is just a marketing term used by AMD. The DisplayPort specification has included variable refresh rate (VRR) as an option feature since DP 1.4 and there are many monitors with support for it that are not marketed as "Freesync" or "gaming" monitors. Monitors that are marketed as "Freesync" support the standard DisplayPort VRR protocol so you don't need to use a AMD graphics card to get the benefits of a Freesync monitor. You will soon be able to use one of the very latest Intel CPU's with integrated graphics or one of Intel's upcoming dedicated graphics cards with Freesync monitors on Linux.

  • Salsa updated to GitLab 13.5

    Today, GitLab released the version 13.5 with several new features. Also Salsa got some changes applied to it. [...] It's been way over two years since we started to use Google Compute Engine (GCE) for Salsa. Since then, all the jobs running on the shared runners run within a n1-standard-1 instance, providing a fresh set of one vCPU and 3.75GB of RAM for each and every build. GCE supports several new instance types, featuring better and faster CPUs, including current AMD EPICs. However, as it turns out, GCE does not support any single vCPU instances for any of those types. So jobs in the future will use n2d-standard-2 for the time being, provinding two vCPUs and 8GB of RAM..

  • Social Media Regulation and Journalism

    Doc Searls, Katherine Druckman, and Petros Koutoupis talk social media regulation and its relationship to journalism and the threat to Section 230.

  • Automation Entropy Factor | Self-Hosted 30

    Chris gets left out in the cold after a Home Assistant glitch, and Alex puts a big batch of USB hard drives to the test Plus a great pick for you pack rats, feedback, and more.

  • Tribalism and Toxicity in the Linux Community - YouTube

    Gatekeeping, tribalism and toxicity in the Linux community. We're tired of it and it's time to silence it. But WHY does it happen, and HOW do we DEAL with it?

Oracle/Red Hat/Fedora Leftovers

Free Software and OSS, Security Leftovers

  • Justin W. Flory: Hacktoberfest 2020 with TeleIRC

    October is here! If you contribute to Open Source projects, you might know that October is the month of Hacktoberfest. DigitalOcean teams up with different partners each year to send a t-shirt (or plant a tree on your behalf) for anyone who makes four GitHub Pull Requests in October. And guess what? TeleIRC is a participating project for you to get your Hacktoberfest t-shirt or tree! This post identifies specific tasks the TeleIRC team identified as “good first issues” for Hacktoberfest hackers. They are in order of least difficult to most difficult. Golang developers especially are encouraged to participate!

  • Open Source Summit Europe & ELCE 2020

    Following a great virtual ELC & Open Source Summit North America last June/July, Collabora will be attending their European counterparts, Open Source Summit Europe & Embedded Linux Conference Europe, which take place next week, from October 26 to October 29. "The 4-day event is dedicated to everything open source and will showcase a program of 250+ talks (conference session, tutorials, BoFs and keynotes) across tracks covering Linux Systems, IoT, AI, Cloud & Cloud Native, OS Dependability, OS Databases, Diversity & Inclusion, OS Leadership, Open Source Program Office Management (TODO) and the Embedded Linux Conference." Collaborans will once again be actively participating in the week's activities with no less than 8 presentations on topics including fuzzing Linux drivers with syzkaller, efficient syscall emulation on Linux, demystifying Linux kernel initcalls, creating Debian-based embedded systems in the Cloud using debos, simplifying and reusing your driver's code with regmaps, the new Futux2() system call, and the state of Linux gaming. You can find the details for all of these presentations below.

  • [Old] Mozilla WebThings To Become An Independent Open Source Project

    Mozilla has announced that Mozilla WebThings is being “spun out” as an independent open source project. It means that WebThings is no longer going to be a direct project from Mozilla. The company says that it’s winding down its direct investment in WebThings. This transition will happen to stabilize the WebThings gateways around the world. Now, WebThings is getting an independent domain and will work on the web of things, independent of Mozilla.

  • Firefox on Fedora with OpenH264 – Martin Stransky's Blog

    Firefox on Fedora which sits in the updates [F32][F31] right now comes with enabled OpenH264 Cisco decoder for video playback and fdk-aac-free used for audio decoding. It’s implemented by GMP (Gecko Media Plugin) API so the OpenH264 is not used through ffmpeg library but Firefox sandboxed interface, the same as Firefox uses for Widevine CDM plugin. The OpenH264 GMP video playback is a fallback solution when system ffmpeg is missing and internal ffvpx library can’t decode the stream, so ffmpeg from RPM Fusion is always a better alternative if you can install it. The video streams are decoded by system wide OpenH264 2.1.1 which is shipped by Fedora as mozilla-openh264 rpm package. Even if Mozilla OpenH264 (1.8.1) plugin is installed in your profile and claimed at about:plugins page, the Fedora system one is used.

  • GNU Parallel - News: GNU Parallel 20201022 ('Samuel Paty') [Savannah]

    GNU Parallel 20201022 ('Samuel Paty') has been released. It is available for download at: http://ftpmirror.gnu.org/parallel/ Please help spreading GNU Parallel by making a testimonial video like Juan Sierra Pons: http://www.elsotanillo.net/wp-content/uploads/GnuParallel_JuanSierraPons.mp4 It does not have to be as detailed as Juan's. It is perfectly fine if you just say your name, and what field you are using GNU Parallel for.

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    Psychotherapy centre's database [cracked], patient info held ransom
                     
                       

    The Helsinki-based company said that the [crackers] who [copied] the data made attempts to extort money in exchange for its return.

  • EU imposes sanctions on GRU officers over ‘Fancy Bear’ cyberattacks

    The Council of the European Union has imposed sanctions on two Russian citizens and a military intelligence center due to cyberattacks targeting Germany’s parliament in 2015 and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in 2018. This was announced in the latest volume of the Official Journal of the European Union. The United Kingdom announced plans to enforce these sanctions, as well. 

  • Open Education and Artificial Scarcity in Hard Times

    The sudden move to remote education by universities this year has forced the inevitable: the move to an online education. While most universities won’t be fully remote, having course materials online was already becoming the norm before the COVID-19 pandemic, and this year it has become mandatory for millions of educators and students. As academia recovers from this crisis, and hopefully prepares for the next one, the choices we make will send us down one of two paths. We can move towards a future of online education which replicates the artificial scarcity of traditional publishing, or take a path which fosters an abundance of free materials by embracing the principles of open access and open education.

    The well-worn, hefty, out-of-date textbook you may have bought some years ago was likely obsolete the moment you had a reliable computer and an Internet connection. Traditional textbook publishers already know this, and tout that they have embraced the digital era and have ebooks and e-rentals available—sometimes even at a discount. Despite some state laws discouraging the practice, publishers try to bundle their digital textbooks into “online learning systems,” often at the expense of the student. However, the costs and time needed to copy and send thousands of the digital textbooks themselves is trivial compared to their physical equivalent. 

  • Hybrid open access risks limiting researchers’ publishing options

    In the case of the 34 Nature-branded journals, the first step is a “read and publish” deal with Germany’s Max Planck institutes, allowing affiliated researchers to both access the journals and to publish in them open access. The OA fee that Max Planck will pay is based on a cost of €9,500 (£8,600) per article. The publisher, Springer Nature, says that it is in discussions to allow authors worldwide to publish open access in Nature journals from next year.

    The UK alone spends more than £25 million on OA journal publishing annually, but the proportion that goes to large commercial publishers for OA in hybrid journals has increased year-on-year. The average cost for publishing in hybrid journals also continues to increase steadily.

    This trend has been evident since Springer Nature launched its leading OA journals, Nature Communications and Scientific Reports. In 2018 alone, these journals received more than £1.6 million from 30 UK research-intensive institutions. In 2019, Elsevier launched 100 new OA journals and the humanities publisher IEEE launched 13.

  • Cloud Foundry Is A Developer Experience For Kubernetes | Chip Childers
  • OpenStack Foundation Rebrands as Open Infrastructure Foundation

    Also announced at the Open Infrastructure Summit was the OpenStack Victoria open source cloud platform, with improved integration with Kubernetes and enhanced IPv6 support. / In a keynote at the event, Thierry Carrez, vice president of engineering at the Open Infrastructure Foundation, said his personal definition for cloud native is applications designed to run on programmable infrastructure. "Cloud native requires programmable infrastructure, and open infrastructure provides an open source solution for that," Carrez said. "So cloud native and open infrastructure really go together like bread and butter."

  • OpenStack Foundation transforms into the Open Infrastructure Foundation

    The writing was on the wall two years ago. The OpenStack Foundation was going to cover more than just the OpenStack Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) cloud. Today, that metamorphosis is complete. The Foundation now covers a wide variety of open-source cloud and container technologies as the Open Infrastructure Foundation.