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Rianne Schestowitz's blog

Tux Machines is under attack

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Site News

My husband has been spending many of his hours fighting blow by blow in the back end, saving Tux Machines from a cyber attacker who really spent his freaking time hammering the website in an attempt to cripple Tux Machines. At first I was bit astonished by how the website behaved while I was posting some articles, I thought of checking the load to make sure the server worked well and to see that every visitor's page request had been served well, only to know that slowness of the website was been masterminded by an attacker. Perhaps this person is so desperate to put the Tux Machines website down, perhaps an enemy of FOSS and Linux advocacy.

We want to reaffirm our visitors and readers and apologise for the slight inconvenience and weired behavior of the website for the previous hours. All we have done is to protect our readers and visitors from this an acceptable gesture even until now he/she has been trying to penetrate the website. My message to this attacker is, leave Tux Machines in peace and go find some games to play with.

June Traffic

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Site News

June traffic

Tux Machines is 10

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Site News

Whois

A lot has happened since Susan started the site and we are grateful for her legacy, which the Wayback Machine can show. In the coming years we will try to make more improvements in the way we pick news quickly and the way the news is presented or organised.

Wayback Machine

Tux Machines Turning 10 on June 10th

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Is Nokia Really Dying?

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Reviews

Telephone

It was almost two months ago that I wrote about Nokia's most-awaited comeback, for the new designs and innovation of their mobile phones, but it did not happen. In fact, Nokia's ordeal became worse because Nokia is dying. Yes! Nokia is dying as Microsoft once again used their power 'trick' to get a stranglehold on the most influential and trusted company when it comes to innovation and technology. No matter what changes and what Microsoft is doing, there will be no difference. Chances are, only the features and profiles have changed, but the personal interest and infrastructure most likely are the same or even worse than that. Now Nokia has become the new platform of surveillance, it will never be the same again. The trust has been tarnished, the public has become more aware of Microsoft's anomalies and all sorts of devil's advocate games. Doing business with Microsoft is a big mistake. Take Nokia's example. I hope Android and Tizen will not consider deals or any tie-ups with Microsoft, and to all the rest who support and advocate open source, rest assured that FOSS will prevail.

Nokia

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Just talk

It is now the talk of the town. Nokia will be making their own smartphone based on Android. It seems like they no longer want to be in the shadow, under Windows Phone. I would like to think this might be the comeback of Nokia phones after a decade or so. I liked Nokia as a gadget way before this so-called "smart phones" trend started. I remember when SMS became the most convenient tool for communication, like a telegraph type. Nokia phones were once a gadgets giant; only then, when Microsoft bought Nokia, the once cellphone giant was kept and never to be found. I mean, not literally, but I can hardly see Nokia out in the Market along with those cellphone giants like Mac/iOS , Blueberry and Samsung. Nokia's merging into Microsoft has never been good; their tandem strategy never created any new innovation that makes them different from the other competitors. In fact, there were no success stories for Nokia when it was based on Windows Phone.

I expect Nokia to have lots to offer in the next expo. Improvements in software using Android OS, distinct design in hardware which can compete in comparables among the others. The price might be a little less than the existing smartphones to attract potential costumers. Lastly, I wish Nokia well for bravely taking such a huge change. In this road it has many challenges, but it's worth taking.

My Valentine

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Just talk

Rianne Schestowitz

Yesterday was a rainy day. Our plans to go dining and bowling were more or less ruined by that. Manchester has had stormy weather as of late and there is not much one can do to avoid it.

Almost every couple went out to celebrate valentines. In my case, as I am working regular hours at day (and sometimes at night), I don't have much time for planning or thinking of ways to celebrate valentines day.

My dear husband, who had a day off yesterday (after he had worked at night), surprised me in many ways. He prepared a bubble bath for me with glasses of wine and candles lit. Pizza was inside the oven and table setting was quite ready, with many special beverages to mark the special day.

Everything was organised and prepared by him. While we were having our dinner we watched Tom and Jerry (a favourite from my childhood) and we were both enjoying it. Later he wanted to prepare the new mattress he bought to make sure we would have a good night's sleep.

Our own way of celebrating valentines -- so simple but passionately expressed with pure love and tenderness.

Justice

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Just talk

Justice

I was born in a quiet and beautiful town in the Far East together with my cousins. As far as I can remember, we enjoyed watching the sunrise and sunset, bathing and fishing in the river along with other children. My childhood years bring back good memories: Playing hide and seek, flying kites, throwing yo-yo, jumping on Chinese garter and so much more. Life was full of fun and so simple back then. There were times I ate meals in our neighbours' house, treated like family. Sometimes we exchanged food. This you will never experience in an highly urbanised city, as there is nothing like this in the Western world. It's a small town where you almost know every other person. Everybody is like your family. That is how I remember the place that I left 24 years ago. This year my husband and I were planning to visit my beloved town. But I have second thoughts. It's a bit scary to visit a place where people are killing other people like animals.

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Games: Top Titles, MergeGames, Best Racing Games for Android

  • Our quick-picks of the best Linux games of 2020 so far

    We're halfway through the year already? Madness. Even with all the craziness of 2020 going on, lots of games still managed to get out of the door. I know, I can't believe 2020 isn't over yet either. Thankfully there's plenty of games to take our minds off everything from murder hornets to COVID19 and more. Now we're at the halfway point, let's think about some of the top Linux releases of 2020 so far. This list is extremely subjective of course, this is just my personal pick on the top 15. Think of it as a starting point for good games to look at if you're stuck for something. In no particular order, going up to June 30 and I'm cheating just a little bit by including some Early Access titles too.

  • Action-adventure 'Sparklite' adds Linux support in a big update

    MergeGames, together with developers Red Blue Games have now released their action-adventure Sparklite on Linux along with a fresh content update. Originally released towards the end of 2019, Sparklite is an action-adventure set in the whimsical and ever-changing land of Geodia. With gorgeous pixel art and a top-down perspective, you battle foes using an arsenal of gadgets, guns, and gear. If you played and enjoyed Moonlighter, you would probably feel right at home with Sparklite too.

  • Best Racing Games for Android

    When it comes to video gaming, racing is the most popular genre, whether it is mobile gaming, pc gaming, or on any other gaming console. Racing games on Android have so much competition between them and the genre is crowded with tons of racing games. Every racing game has its own unique features and every gamer has his or her own preferences. In this genre, there is a large number of excellent free-to-play and paid games available for mobile users. This article covers the best racing games, in a variety of settings and with many different features for each unique user’s needs.

Programming Leftovers

  • GnuCOBOL 3.1rc-1 on alpha.gnu.org

    While this version is a release-randidate (with an expected full release within 3 months) it is the most stable and complete free COBOL compiler ever available.

  • 6 best practices for managing Git repos

    This is arguably Rule Zero for a secure Git repository. As a project maintainer, whether you started it yourself or you’ve adopted it from someone else, it’s your job to know the contents of your own repository. You might not have a memorized list of every file in your codebase, but you need to know the basic components of what you’re managing. Should a stray file appear after a few dozen merges, you’ll be able to spot it easily because you won’t know what it’s for, and you’ll need to inspect it to refresh your memory. When that happens, review the file and make sure you understand exactly why it’s necessary. [...] Third-party libraries are no exception to this rule. While it’s one of the many benefits of open source that you can freely re-use and re-distribute code you didn’t write, there are many good reasons not to house a third-party library in your own repository. First of all, you can’t exactly vouch for a third party, unless you’ve reviewed all of its code (and future merges) yourself. Secondly, when you copy third party libraries into your Git repo, it splinters focus away from the true upstream source. Someone confident in the library is technically only confident in the master copy of the library, not in a copy lying around in a random repo. If you need to lock into a specific version of a library, either provide developers with a reasonable URL the release your project needs or else use Git Submodule.

  • Scala contributor: Open source and diversity key to tackling dev skills shortage

    Diversity and open source can help fix the software developer skills gap, argued Scala contributor and Carnegie Mellon Assistant Professor Heather Miller in a keynote talk at the virtual Open Source Summit North America. Miller examined the IT and computer-related skills shortage from a US perspective. "The Department of Labor statistics show that in 2017 there were over 500,000 computing-related jobs open in the US that were not filled. They project that this number is going to get a lot higher. If this trend continues, it's obvious that there's no way these posts can be filled by computer science graduates." There are, however, many new people coming into the profession, not necessarily computer science graduates, and a notable point of recent StackOverflow research is the large number of respondents who consider themselves professional and have been coding for less than five years – 39.6 per cent in the latest survey. "The years of experience of professional software engineers, that is going down," said Miller.

  • Evgeni Golov: Automatically renaming the default git branch to "devel"

    It seems GitHub is planning to rename the default brach for newly created repositories from "master" to "main". It's incredible how much positive PR you can get with a one line configuration change, while still working together with the ICE. However, this post is not about bashing GitHub. Changing the default branch for newly created repositories is good. And you also should do that for the ones you create with git init locally. But what about all the repositories out there? GitHub surely won't force-rename those branches, but we can! Ian will do this as he touches the individual repositories, but I tend to forget things unless I do them immediately…

  • Web-augmented graphics overlay broadcasting with WPE and GStreamer

    To address the first point, WPE founding engineer, Žan Doberšek enabled software rasterizing support in WPE and its FDO backend. This is great because it allows WPE to run on machines without GPU (like continuous integration builders, test bots) but also “in the cloud” where machines with GPU are less affordable than bare metal! Following up, I enabled this feature in GstWPE. The source element caps template now has video/x-raw, in addition to video/x-raw(memory:GLMemory). To force swrast, you need to set the LIBGL_ALWAYS_SOFTWARE=true environment variable. The downside of swrast is that you need a good CPU. Of course it depends on the video resolution and framerate you want to target. On the latency front, I decided to switch from RTMP to WebRTC! This W3C spec isn’t only about video chat! With WebRTC, sub-second live one-to-many broadcasting can be achieved, without much efforts, given you have a good SFU. For this demo I chose Janus, because its APIs are well documented, and it’s a cool project! I’m not sure it would scale very well in large deployments, but for my modest use-case, it fits very well. Janus has a plugin called video-room which allows multiple participants to chat. But then imagine a participant only publishing its video stream and multiple “clients” connecting to that room, without sharing any video or audio stream, one-to-many broadcasting. As it turns out, GStreamer applications can already connect to this video-room plugin using GstWebRTC! A demo was developed by tobiasfriden and saket424 in Python, it recently moved to the gst-examples repository. As I kind of prefer to use Rust nowadays (whenever I can anyway) I ported this demo to Rust, it was upstreamed in gst-examples as well. This specific demo streams the video test pattern to a Janus instance. Adapting this Janus demo was then quite trivial. By relying on a similar video mixer approach I used for the first GstWPE demo, I had a GstWPE-powered WebView streaming to Janus.

  • PHP releases and support

    PHP is used extensively on the web. How new features, security fixes, and bug fixes make their way into a release is important to understand. Likewise, understanding what can be expected in community support for previous releases is even more important. Since PHP-based sites are typically exposed to the Internet, keeping up-to-date is not something a security-minded administrator can afford to ignore. PHP has not always had a formal release process and corresponding time frame for support; the official policy the project has now wasn't adopted until 2011. Before then, the decisions of when to make releases and how long to support them were both made less formally by key members of the community. Let's start with PHP versioning, where the project is more or less dependable. The versioning of PHP releases aims to follow Semantic Versioning. Major releases such as 3.0 and 4.0 always come with backward-compatibility breaks. Minor versions, such as 4.1 and 4.2, fix bugs and add new features that are backward-compatible in relation to the major release. Patch releases, such as 4.1.1, tend to be strictly for important bug fixes and should never break backward compatibility.

  • Intel AMX Support Begins Landing In LLVM

    Following Intel publishing the initial Advanced Matrix Extensions (AMX) documentation at the end of June, the open-source/Linux bring-up has continued for these new CPU instruction set extensions set to premiere with Sapphire Rapids next year.

  • Intel oneDNN 2.0 Deep Neural Network Library Working On More Performance Tuning

    Intel's open-source oneDNN library, which was formerly known as MKL-DNN and DNNL for this deep neural network library now living under the oneAPI umbrella, continues working on some big performance advancements for its 2.0 release. Intel on Thursday released oneDNN 2.0 Beta 7 and with it comes more Intel CPU performance optimizations around convolutional neural networks, binary primitive performance for the broadcast case, BFloat16 and FP32 weights gradient convolutions, INT8 convolutions with 1x1 kernel and spatial strides, and a variety of other specific areas within this deep learning library seeing optimizations.

Ubuntu: Make Ubuntu 20.4 Look Like MacOS, Shutter, Ceph and dmesg

  • Make Ubuntu 20.4 Look Like MacOS [You Won't Believe the End Result]

    A step by step, detailed video tutorial showing how to make Ubuntu look like macOS. Perfect example of the customization power of Linux desktop.

  • A blast from the past – Shutter

    The wheel of software turns, and apps come and go. But the end of development does not always mean the end of usefulness. Sometimes, programs stubbornly remain around, offering a complete experience that can withstand the test of time. Several weeks ago, we talked about how you can preserve old applications with snaps. Today, we would like to expand on this concept and talk about Shutter, a feature-rich screenshot application that was rather popular several years ago. Its development has stalled in recent years, and it has become more difficult to install and run it on newer versions of various Linux distributions. But Shutter has gained a new life as a snap.

  • Encryption at rest with Ceph

    Do you have a big data center? Do you have terabytes of confidential data stored in that data center? Are you worried that your data might be exposed to malicious attacks? One of the most prominent security features of storage solutions is encryption at rest. This blog will explain this in more detail and how it is implemented in Charmed Ceph, Canonical’s software-defined storage solution.

  • Ubuntu 20.10 Moving Ahead In Restricting Access To dmesg

    Following the discussions last month over restricting access to dmesg / kernel logs on Ubuntu in matching the behavior of other Linux distributions for better security practices, Ubuntu 20.10 indeed is moving forward with these plans where dmesg access would require root privileges. In recent times more Linux distributions have been restricting access to dmesg over the possibility of kernel addresses being leaked or other potentially sensitive bits while as it stands now on Ubuntu there is free reign on multi-user systems to have unprivileged users read dmesg output.

Python Programming

  • EuroPython 2020: Our keynotes

    Conference tickets are available on our registration page. We hope to see lots of you at the conference from July 23-26. Rest assured that we’ll make this a great event again — even within the limitations of running the conference online.

  • Full Stack Python: How to Report Errors in Flask Web Apps with Sentry

    Flask web applications are highly customizable by developers thanks to the framework's extension-based architecture, but that flexibility can sometimes lead to more errors when you run the application due to rough edges between the libraries. Reporting errors is crucial to running a well-functioning Flask web application, so this tutorial will guide you through adding a free, basic Sentry configuration to a fresh Flask project.

  • PyCharm EAP#3 is out!

    PyCharm EAP #3 is out and it’s almost releasing time!! If you are like us you are also looking forward to the end of the month! We have been talking about new features for the last month and today we will take a deeper look into two very exciting ones. For the full list, check our release notes.

  • The Home Stretch - Building SaaS #63

    In this episode, we return to the homeschool application that I’m building. I’m in the final stretch of changes that need to happen to make the product minimally viable. We worked on a template, wrote some model methods, and did a bunch of automated testing. We started by adding students to the context of the students index page. With the students in the context, we updated the index page to display the list of students. After the students were available, we had to check their enrolled status in a school year. That logic doesn’t belong in the template so we worked out the changes needed for the view.

  • py.CheckIO: Find out more about Python by searching the solutions

    As you might have noticed, for two weeks we haven’t made our usual newsletter mailouts. But we definitely weren’t wasting any time. CheckiO team was actually preparing some important updates, which we want to share with you. That’s a common knowledge that CheckiO originated from the idea of practical learning through shared solutions. This means that in our portals you can learn not only by solving the coding tasks, but also by checking out and analyzing the solutions made by other users. In view of this, our next step became a logical continuation of this ideology. Since the creation of CheckiO, we’ve gathered nearly half a million of different solutions. Now, using the Solution Search feature, which becomes available from the 2nd Level, you can easily find any solution you need. Like you can look for the usage examples of an itertools.groupby function. You just need to enter it into the search field and you’ll see multiple solutions. Or you can type ‘itertools’ and you’ll be presented with all of the solutions where this module had been used. It’s fast, efficient and quite handy. The feature is still in the beta testing mode though.

  • Data science workflows on Kubernetes with Kubeflow pipelines: Part 2

    Kubeflow Pipelines are a great way to build portable, scalable machine learning workflows. It is a part of the Kubeflow project that aims to reduce the complexity and time involved with training and deploying machine learning models at scale. For more on Kubeflow, read our Kubernetes for data science: meet Kubeflow post. In this blog series, we demystify Kubeflow pipelines and showcase this method to produce reusable and reproducible data science. In Part 1, we covered WHY Kubeflow brings the right standardization to data science workflows. Now, let’s see HOW you can accomplish that with Kubeflow Pipelines. In Part 2 of this blog series, we’ll work on building your first Kubeflow Pipeline as you gain an understanding of how it’s used to deploy reusable and reproducible ML pipelines.