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July 2020

KDE Plasma 5 August 2020 release for Slackware

Filed under
KDE
Slack

New Plasma5 packages for Slackware-current are ready for download & installation. I skipped July (holiday season) and so here is KDE-5_20.08 aka my August 2020 release. Be sure to read the upgrade instructions very carefully to prevent breakage, because starting with my June batch the goal is to remove Slackware’s ConsoleKit2 and replace it with elogind!.

It would not harm if you (re-)read my previous blog article about Plasma5, “Replacing ConsoleKit2 with elogind – first steps“. It has a lot more detail about the reasons for this move as well as guidance on using the Wayland Window Manager (as a test) instead of regular X.Org. Note that Wayland sessions still need a lot of maturing and X.Org will remain Slackware’s default choice.

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IBM/Red Hat/Fedora Leftovers

Filed under
Red Hat

Debian: Ben Hutchings, Chris Lamb, and Jonathan Carter

Filed under
Debian

  • Ben Hutchings: Debian LTS work, July 2020

    I was assigned 20 hours of work by Freexian's Debian LTS initiative, but only worked 5 hours this month and returned the remainder to the pool.

    Now that Debian 9 'stretch' has entered LTS, the stretch-backports suite will be closed and no longer updated. However, some stretch users rely on the newer kernel version provided there. I prepared to add Linux 4.19 to the stretch-security suite, alongside the standard package of Linux 4.9. I also prepared to update the firmware-nonfree package so that firmware needed by drivers in Linux 4.19 will also be available in stretch's non-free section. Both these updates will be based on the packages in stretch-backports, but needed some changes to avoid conflicts or regressions for users that continue using Linux 4.9 or older non-Debian kernel versions. I will upload these after the Debian 10 'buster' point release.

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  • Chris Lamb: Free software activities in July 2020

    As part of being on the board of directors of the Open Source Initiative and Software in the Public Interest I attended their respective monthly meetings and participated in various licensing and other discussions occurring on the internet, as well as the usual internal discussions regarding logistics and policy etc. This month, it was SPI's Annual General Meeting and the OSI has been running a number of remote strategy sessions for the board.

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  • Jonathan Carter: Free Software Activities for 2020-07

    Here are my uploads for the month of July, which is just a part of my free software activities, I’ll try to catch up on the rest in upcoming posts. I haven’t indulged in online conferences much over the last few months, but this month I attended the virtual editions of Guadec 2020 and HOPE 2020. HOPE isn’t something I knew about before and I enjoyed it a lot, you can find their videos on archive.org.

The Best Authenticator Apps for Linux Desktop

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Security

If you have ever used two-factor authentication before, then you have probably heard of tools like Google Authenticator. To make use of many of these services, you’ll have to have your phone near you. Luckily, there are desktop authenticator apps that can provide you with the secret key you need to log in to your account. Below are the best authenticator apps for the Linux desktop.

[...]

Yubico works with a hardware security token known as the Yubikey. You can store your credentials on this as opposed to on your device. This hardware security token can even be further secured by choosing to unlock it with either FaceID or TouchID.

With Yubico, you will also be able to easily transition between devices, even after upgrading. The Yubico app lets you generate multiple secrets across devices, making it simple for you to switch.

I have to admit that the security offered by a physical token like the Yubikey is great. However, users must bear in mind that they must have the key with them if they wish to use two-factor authentication. I know you may argue and say this is no better than having to carry a phone with you. However, you can’t put your phone on a keychain! Additionally, it’s tough to crack a hardware token. Someone would have to steal it from you if they wanted to access your data. Even after doing that, they still won’t know any of your passwords or anything else of the sort.

With Yubico Authenticator, you first have to insert your key before you can add services to the app. After inserting your key, you can then add a security token from a service you want to enable two-factor authentication for. This is an app more for a power user due to the steps that must be taken to get it set up.

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today's leftovers

Filed under
Misc

  • oneAPI compatibility with all openSUSE

    As leader of the openSUSE Innovator initiative, openSUSE member and official oneAPI innovator, I tested the new release of the tool on openSUSE Leap 15.1, 15.2 and Tumbleweed. With the total success of the work, I made available in the SDB an article on how to install this solution on the openSUSE platform. More information here: https://en.opensuse.org/SDB:Install_oneAPI.

    oneAPI is an Unified, Standards-Based Programming Model. Modern workload diversity necessitates the need for architectural diversity; no single architecture is best for every workload. XPUs, including CPUs, GPUs, FPGAs, and other accelerators, are required to extract high performance.

    This technology have the tools needed to deploy applications and solutions across these architectures. Its set of complementary toolkits—a base kit and specialty add-ons—simplify programming and help developers improve efficiency and innovation. The core Intel oneAPI DPC++ Compiler and libraries implement the oneAPI industry specifications available at https://www.oneapi.com/open-source/.

  • openSUSE Tumbleweed – Review of the week 2020/31

    Week 31 has seen a steady flow of snapshots. The biggest snapshot was 0721, for which we had to do a full rebuild due to changes in the krb5 package, that moved some files around. In order for all packages to keep up with this change, the full rebuild was needed. The week in total has seen 7 snapshots being published (0721, 0724, 0726, 0727, 0728, 0729 and 0730)

  • Does Your Organization Need an Open Source Program Office?

    Every modern enterprise uses some open source software, or at the very least uses software that has open-source components. In an enterprise setting, the number of different open source projects an organization might use could easily be in the hundreds of thousands, and there could also easily be just as many engineers using those open source projects.

    While the reality is that enterprises use open source software, open source communities have a completely different culture — one focused on collaboration in a way that is foreign to most standard business environments.

    “As a business, it’s a culture change,” explained Jeff McAffer, who ran Microsoft’s Open Source Program Office for years and now is a director of product at GitHub focused on promoting open source in enterprises. “Many companies, they’re not used to collaboration. They’re not used to engaging with teams outside of their company.”

    What exactly are Open Source Program Offices (OSPOs)? What do they do, who needs them and why? We spoke with a couple of people who lead open source program offices to learn more.

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  • 50 Open Badges awarded for top LibreOffice translators!

    A few months ago, we announced Open Badges for LibreOffice contributors. These are custom images with embedded metadata, awarded to our most active community members to say thanks for their great work!

    The metadata describes the contributor’s work, and the badge can be verified using an external service. Open Badges are used by other free software projects, such as Fedora.

  • Ordering Browser Tabs Chronologically to Support Task Continuity

    Product teams working on Firefox at Mozilla have long been interested in helping people get things done, whether that’s completing homework for school, shopping for a pair of shoes, or doing one’s taxes. We are deeply invested in how we can support task continuity, the various steps that people take in getting things done, in our browser products. And we know that in our browsers, tabs play an important role for people carrying out tasks.

    [...]

    Fast forward to this year and the team working on Firefox for iOS was interested in how we might support task continuity involving leaving tabs open. We continued to see in user research the important role that tabs play in task continuity, and we wanted to explore how to make tab retrieval and overall tab management easier.

    In most web browsers on smartphones, tabs are ordered based on when a person first opened them, with the oldest tabs on one end of the interface (top, bottom, left, or right) and the newest tabs stacking to the opposite end of the interface. This ordering logic gets more complex if a new tab is prompted to open when someone taps on a link in an existing tab. A site may be designed to launch links in new tabs or a person may choose to open new tabs for links. The new tab, in that case, typically will open immediately next to the tab where the link was tapped, pushing all other later tabs toward the other end of the interface. All of this gets even trickier when managing more than just a few tabs. This brief demonstration illustrates tab ordering logic in Firefox for iOS before chronological tabs using the example of someone shopping for a good processor.

  • Tor’s Bug Smash Fund: Year Two!

    The Bug Smash Fund is back for its second year! In 2019, we launched Tor’s Bug Smash Fund to find and fix bugs in our software and conduct routine maintenance. Maintenance isn’t a flashy new feature, and that makes it less interesting to many traditional funders, but it’s what keeps the reliable stuff working--and with your support, we were able to close 77 tickets as a result.

    These bugs and issues ranged from maintenance on mechanisms for sending bridges via email and collecting metrics data to improving tor padding, testing, onion services, documentation, Tor Browser UX, and tooling for development. This work keeps Tor Browser, the Tor network, and the many tools that rely on Tor strong, safe, and running smoothly.

  • Say hello to the Linux Terminal 2.0 for Chrome OS

    Back in March, prior to the Chrome OS release calendar getting out of whack, the Linux terminal for Chrome OS was undergoing a major facelift that looked to be slated for the release of version 82. Since I generally live in the Canary channel, I was unaware that the update had not taken place. Instead, the refreshed Linux terminal actually arrived in the latest update to Chrome OS 84. Some of you reading this may be thinking “what the heck is a Linux terminal?” and that’s okay. Here’s a quick history lesson.

Linux Mint Monthly News and Ubuntu Leftovers

Filed under
Ubuntu

           

  • Linux Mint Monthly News – July 2020

    I’d like to thank you all for your support. Donations are usually quite high after a release and Linux Mint 20 is no exception. We received 924 donations in a single month! That’s quite an impressive number and it makes us feel really proud, both as a project and a community.

    Linux Mint 20 was well received but it introduced new challenges, both as a release and an upgrade. We’ll be focused on tackling these challenges for the next two years as well as implementing exciting refinements and new features in the upcoming point releases. Some of these are already listed on our Trello boards and roadmaps. I’d rather talk about them once they’re implemented and ready to be shipped though. Hopefully this time next month we’ll be able to give you a preview of some of them.

    In last month’s feedback we noted some users would like Linux Mint to package Chromium. We also observed confusion and lack of empowerment when it comes to dealing with foreign packages during the upgrade. These are two areas we’re looking into at the moment.

    LMDE 4 received many updates lately, including the new features from Linux Mint 20 and Cinnamon 4.6.

    A study on the popularity of Linux Mint releases showed some interested results and comforted some of the perception we had of our user base. 

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  • Charmed OSM Release EIGHT available from Canonical

    Canonical is proud to announce the general availability of OSM release EIGHT images in it’s Charmed OSM distribution. As of Release SEVEN, OSM is able to orchestrate containerised network functions (CNFs) leveraging Kubernetes as the underlying infrastructure for next-generation 5G services. Release EIGHT follows the same direction and brings new features that allow for the orchestration of a broader range of network functions and production environments.

    Open Source MANO (OSM) Release EIGHT is the result of great community work in a project that drives the most complete open source network function virtualisation (NFV) orchestrator in the market.

  • Full Circle Magazine #159

    This month:
    * Command & Conquer
    * How-To : Python, Podcast Production, and Rawtherapee
    * Graphics : Inkscape
    * Graphics : Krita for Old Photos
    * Linux Loopback
    * Everyday Ubuntu
    * Ubports Touch
    * Review : Ubuntu Unity 20.04
    * Ubuntu Games : Mable And The Wood
    plus: News, My Opinion, The Daily Waddle, Q&A, and more.

Hardware and Devices With Linux or Similar

Filed under
Hardware
  • Amazing science from the winners of Astro Pi Mission Space Lab 2019–20
  • What is an IoT-Ready PC?

    Can your PC or laptop handle IoT applications? This means it should have the ruggedness and extra connectivity support for IoT devices such as Arduino or Raspberry Pi, while supporting OS such as Windows 10 IoT Core.

  • The PongMate CyberCannon Mark III is a surefire way to never lose at beer pong

    If you participate in beer pong, and your skills aren’t up to the challenge, you might be in for a rough time. While “practice makes perfect,” if you’d rather shortcut this process then engineers Nils Opgenorth and Grant Galloway have just the solution with their Arduino-powered PongMate CyberCannon Mark III.

    This wrist-mounted launcher uses a time-of-flight sensor, along with an inertial measurement unit to calculate the vertical and horizontal distance to the red Solo cup, marked with a small laser. Bubble levels help users fix the device in the horizontal direction and five programmable RGB LEDs indicate when it’s ready to shoot.

  • BCM MX4305UE Industrial Mini-ITX Motherboard Features Intel Celeron 4305UE Processor

    The board supports both Windows 10 and Linux distributions.

  • Apollo Lake industrial mini-PC supports Linux

    Vecow’s Linux-ready, -40 to 75°C tolerant “SPC-4010C” industrial mini-PC is built around a dual-core Apollo Lake SoC with up to 8GB RAM, 2x GbE, SATA, HDMI, 4x USB, and 2x mini-PCIe with SIM card and mSATA.

    Vecow announced a minor revision to its Apollo Lake based SPC-4010 mini-PC called the SPC-4010C. If you already know about the SPC-4010, all you need to do is read the following paragraph. However, if like us, you are new to the SPC-4000 series, you may be interested in joining us for a brief tour of all six Apollo Lake based SPC-4000 models below. The fanless systems supports Linux and Win 10 for machine vision, robot control, infotainment, factory automation, intelligent control, and other compact AIoT applications.

Programming Leftovers

Filed under
Development
  • New Tax Collection Tech Replaces 50-Year-Old System

    Fried said recent updates to the old system had fallen mainly to a single employee who had worked for the office for most of the five decades the system had been in place - and finding another programmer with similar skills would have been challenging. The old system used the COBOL programming language and a traditional mainframe computer, whereas the new system is cloud-based and can be managed entirely remotely.

  • Call for Code Daily: tech for the disabled, chatbots, and the final push to submission close
  • Godot Release candidate: 3.2.3 RC 3

    Godot 3.2.2 was released on June 26 with over 3 months' worth of development, including many bugfixes and a handful of features. Some regressions were noticed after the release though, so we decided that Godot 3.2.3 would focus mainly on fixing those new bugs to ensure that all Godot users can have the most stable experience possible.

    Here's a third Release Candidate for the upcoming Godot 3.2.3 release. Please help us test it to ensure that no new regressions have slipped through code review and testing.

    Note: The previous 3.2.3 RC 2 was actually not built from the intended commit, and reflected the same changeset as RC 1. Tests made on RC 2 are still valid and useful, but did not help validate the very latest commits, hence this third release candidate. The changes new in this build are thus the ones made between RC 1 and RC 3.

  • What Is Fuzz Testing? A Guide.

    Not all software testing techniques have origin stories, but fuzz testing does: On a stormy evening in 1988, Barton Miller, a computer science professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, was using a dial-up connection to work remotely on a Unix computer from his apartment. He was attempting to feed input information into a computer program, only to see the program repeatedly crash.

    He knew that the electrical noise from the thunderstorm was distorting his inputs into the program as they traveled through the phone line. The distorted inputs were different from what the software needed from the user, resulting in errors. But as he describes in his book, Fuzzing for Software Security Testing and Quality Assurance, Miller was surprised that even programs he considered robust were crashing as a result of the unexpected input, instead of gracefully handling the error and asking for input again.

    [...]

    Miller’s concern about what he saw during his thunderstorm experience extended beyond the annoyance of having applications crash unexpectedly. Applications that are not able to handle unexpected input also pose security concerns. Errors that aren’t handled by the program are vulnerabilities that attackers can exploit to hack into systems.

    In fact, attackers often use fuzz testing tools to locate vulnerabilities in applications, according to Jared DeMott, the CEO of VDA Labs security testing company and the instructor of several Pluralsight courses on testing.

    “If you follow what we call a secure development lifecycle… fuzzing is one piece of the lifecycle that relates to the testing portion of it,” DeMott said.

  • [Old] Infinite scrolling on the web is complexity layered on top of complexity layered on top of complexity

    Does all that stuff sound hard? Sorry, but it’s worse.

Games: GNOME, Core Defense, Steam and Monster Crown

Filed under
GNOME

  • Implementing Recently Played Collection in GNOME Games

    In my previous blog post, I talked about how I added a Favorites Collection to Games. Favorites Collection lists all the games that’s marked as favorite. In this post I’ll talk about what went into adding a Recently Played Collection, which helps you get to recently played games more quickly.

    Since most of the ground work for supporting non-user collections are already done as part of introducing Favorites Collection, it required much less work to add another non-user collection. For Recently Played collection, the main differences from Favorites Collection in terms of implementation are...

  • Core Defense offers up a different kind of Tower Defense with deck-building

    Core Defense is a Tower Defense game at it's core but it's quite unusual in how it sprinkles in the content and it's out now with full Linux support. After being in Early Access on itch.io for a few months, it's looking good.

    It takes the usual wave-based approach from your typical TD game but instead of giving you set tower types and specific placements, it's a little more open-ended. As you progress through the waves, you build up your defences based on what cards you pick as rewards, a little like a deck-builder and you use these unlocks to gradually build through the blank canvas of a map you're given.

  • 4 ways to back up Steam games on Linux

    Are you a Linux gamer? Do you play a lot of Steam video games? Trying to figure out how to back up your games so you don’t have to keep re-downloading them? If so, this list is for you! Follow along as we talk about 4 ways to back up Steam games on Linux!

  • Monster Crown has a new adult take on Pokemon and it's now in Early Access

    With a darker tone, a setting aimed at adults and creatures that might give a few pixelated nightmares, Monster Crown has entered Early Access as a new breed in the genre of monster catching.

    Monster Crown definitely captures some of the spirit of early Pokemon games, with a new and unique take on it. Instead of throwing a magical ball to capture creatures and force them to your will, Monster Crown gets you to offer them a contract and see if they want to join you. It's a little odd but an interesting spin.

More in Tux Machines

GTK: At the Heart of GNOME

GTK is at the heart of the GNOME application and software development kit. GTK is used to create graphical user interfaces (GUIs) for desktop environments, applications, and window managers. Since the GTK 4 development process began in 2016, we have about 250 individual contributors, with more than 100 active this year. Thanks to the funding received by the GNOME Foundation in 2020, the GTK development team was able to run hackfests, including one we were lucky enough to have at FOSDEM. This funding also supported Emmanuele Bassi, Core GTK Developer at the GNOME Foundation, working on GTK full-time. For most of 2020, Emmanuele worked on implementing a new accessibility interface for GTK 4, to ensure that more people can use GNOME applications, including those with disabilities. We are building a diverse and sustainable free software computing ecosystem where everyone can be empowered by technology they trust. Since Emmanuele works directly for the Foundation he’s uniquely able to focus on the needs of the community, project, and users to support these goals. GTK is a project with a long history, and throughout that history, it has gone through multiple iterations. A new major release is on the horizon. After four years of development that included a complete overhaul of the internals of the toolkit, GTK 4 promises to be faster through hardware acceleration; more efficient, in terms of performance and power consumption; and more ergonomic, for both application developers, and end users. Over the past four years, the GTK team has continued work on the existing stable versions of GTK and put out multiple releases. Read more Also: GTK Planning More Improvements In 2021 From Better Accessibility To Animation Framework

Platform exclusivity, DRM, and independent authors: A cautionary tale

Imagine, for the sake of argument, that you wrote a book. You've worked on it for years, and you want to share it with the world. You want to reach as many people as possible, but it would be nice to be compensated for your hard work. How many weekends did you spend at home, polishing your manuscript instead of going out with friends? How many sleepless nights have you spent staring at a blank page, looking for inspiration? While researching the best way to publish, you hear horror stories about authors finding their books sold on counterfeit Web sites or distributed gratis without the author's consent. You read stories about authors feeling violated as their hard work is stolen in such a way. As you read about these activities, you also see mentions of companies that claim that they would protect your work against it. Should you publish your book through them, your book would only be available through their application. People could only access it through their store, and they wouldn't even be able to open the file on a device that isn't vetted by the company. The app is very popular, so most people use it anyway, and authors do not have to worry about a lack of interest. Only dealing with one store would also make things easier on your end. You won't have to manage different things. They'll even format your book for you. Sounds easy enough, so you take the deal. Weeks pass, and you make a few sales. It's by no mean a huge success, but you got a few positive reviews, mostly from family and friends. You keep mentioning your project to everyone you know, and find some limited interest. One day, a friend you hadn't talked to in a while asks about your book. They say that they don't like the app your book requires, and they don't want to buy it through the one store you signed an exclusivity deal with. They explain that Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) restricts their freedom to read the book on their device of choice, and won't even let them make backups of the file. They tell you how they once used a similar app, but were locked out of all the books they purchased after moving away from said application. After hearing your friend's story, you decide to give them a DRM-free copy of your book. After all, you wrote it so people would enjoy it first and foremost, and you want your friend to see the fruit of your labor. Read more

Open Hardware: Raspberry Pi, Arduino and RISC-V

  • Raspberry Pi 400 kit ships with 7-inch or 13.3-inch touchscreen display

    The Raspberry Pi Foundation has recently launched the Raspberry Pi 4 keyboard computer with impressive performance thanks to a well-designed cooling solution, and I think it’s a great tool for kids (and adults) who may want to carry a Raspberry Pi around. 

  • Shutdown button with Raspberry PI and Python - peppe8o

    Because of their low price, mini button switches are useful for many purposes. We have already analyzed how they work (ref. Using mini Switch Button with Raspberry PI and Python) and a funny use case (ref. Reaction Game (v2) with Raspberry PI and Mini Button Switch).

  • Arduino Blog » This remote-controlled storytelling apparatus is made up of Arduino-driven toy animatronics

    As an exhibit at the Phaneo Science Center in Wolfsburg, Germany, Niklas Roy and Felix Figus created a remotely-operated storytelling apparatus dubbed “Smart Fairy Tale.” When initiated, a little red ball rolls down the installation’s transparent tubing, triggering different interactions based on the interruption of light sensors along its path. 25 Arduino Nanos are used to control each individual animatronic part of the “story,” making the code manageable and allowing the overall machine to still work if there’s a malfunction in one section.

  • Pine64's PINECIL RISC-V soldering iron launched for $25

    We’ve previously mentioned PINECIL RISC-V soldering iron during Pine64’s release of PineCube open-source IP camera development kit, and the good news is the soldering iron is now available for $24.99 on Pine64 store together with optional sets of gross or fine soldering tips compatible with the one used with TS100 model The soldering iron is powered by GigaDevice GD32VF103TB 32-bit RISC-V general-purpose microcontroller and features a small display and two buttons for user interaction, as well as changeable tips.

Linux READFILE System Call Revived Now That It Might Have A User

Earlier this year we mentioned Greg Kroah-Hartman working on a new READFILE system call. The goal of this new syscall is for reading small and medium files more efficiently by having one call to read a file straight into a buffer without having to use the separate open/read/close system calls. It's looking like that system call is back on the table and could be mainlined now that there's a possible user. The READFILE system call is simple for reading lightweight files straight into a buffer without the overhead of multiple system calls that in turn can help performance, especially if reading many files such as on sysfs/debugfs and the like. It had been a number of months without any updates on that syscall and it wasn't mainlined in the cycles since it was proposed earlier this year. But now it looks like it's back on the table. Read more