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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

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.