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In the face of an Orangutan

Filed under
Just talk

Orangutan

Mother of two species.

The camels' outcry

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Just talk

Camel

When a human doesn't know what to do and people don't know how to tackle the real issue, the animals are becoming the sacrifice. Billion of animals were lost to bushfires alone and millions are slaughtered every day, yet the audacity to kill the camels is astonishing. I wonder what would be the humans' reaction if the animals called for human culling. Think about it.

Why Tux Machines Occasionally Adds Editorial Comments

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Just talk

Editorials

Summary: Editorial remarks (or Editor's comments, "Ed" for short) play a role in highlighting potential inaccuracies -- and manipulations of the mind -- when those aren't so shallow and aren't abundantly obvious

Recently, and as lately as a few hours ago, Richard Stallman exchanged some messages and we might meet again in a few months (he is traveling to the UK). Stallman and I share a concern about neglect of truth and history; for instance, many GNU programs are nowadays dubbed "LINUX COMMANDS" (I saw one example of that just 2 hours ago) and people sometimes lose sight of the important goals, focusing on brands instead of philosophy, political aspects and so on.

"Sometimes we link to something which isn't entirely accurate or can be misleading."

I would like to take this moment, on the last day of this year, to explain where we stand on issues pertaining to software freedom. A few times in the past one reader bemoaned my editorial comments (marked "Ed"), which typically bemoan something about the cited article/s. Sometimes we link to something which isn't entirely accurate or can be misleading. One example of that is openwashing. Another rather common and increasingly ubiquitous example concerns Microsoft "loving" Linux (it actually loves Windows).

We live in a world with Public Relations and marketing agencies. They exist to mislead; they shape perceptions -- that's their business model! To blindly link to just anything online without commentary or curation would likely lead us astray. Truth does matter. Facts need to be checked. This is what Tux Machines strives to achieve; throwing the word "LINUX" into something like Google News would expose one to loads of cruft, irrelevant stuff, plagiarism, pure spam and sometimes intentional lies. With no human operator or editor just about anything can be dunked into search results, owing to SEO manipulation and mishandling of indexes. I've seen that for well over a decade. Automation just doesn't work; someone who understands the problem domain needs to assess things for quality and accuracy.

"To be fair, comments are open, so readers can respond."

My adult life (since age 18 or so when I became a GNU/Linux user) involved very hard work and lifelong activism for software freedom. Not everyone agrees with me and if sometimes I may say something readers disagree with (e.g. in editorial comments), then it's likely because I try to be realistic, not jingoistic. Moreover, no two individuals will agree on everything 100% of the time. That's inevitable. So some readers might dislike these editorial comments. To be fair, comments are open, so readers can respond.

At the moment, the way I personally see it, Free software is under a number of attacks. There are different types of attacks. I think Free software will endure regardless. On a more positive note, Free software is nowadays used everywhere, it's just not being called that ("Open Source" is the term corporate media prefers) and it has been leveraged as a low-cost 'cushion' for DRM, surveillance, militarism etc. Think of companies like Facebook and Netflix (GNU and Linux at their back ends). Is this what we strive for? Closed systems that are merely built upon Freedom-respecting stacks?

"At the moment, the way I personally see it, Free software is under a number of attacks."

Software freedom is a huge objective in a world where almost everything becomes digital (only more so over time). I think it's up to us to somehow guide the world's software towards ethical uses, without necessarily imposing how it's used, and that is perhaps a future challenge for the Free Software Movement. It's a monumental challenge because politics can be a massive terrain to navigate. Over at Techrights I mostly focus on issues such as patents (laws), with emphasis on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the European Patent Office (EPO) granting software patents in Europe and so on. Patents on algorithms are one kind of barrier (among many) impeding Free software adoption.

The End of Tux Machines' Strongest Year

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Site News

Tux Machines 2020

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

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

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

Moving Into 'Christmas Mode'

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Site News

Slow news day

Summary: Fewer news items in days to come and potentially some planned downtime as well

AS ONE can expect, we won't be able to find much news over the next few days, and perhaps be 'low volume' for as long as a week or more to come (a problem to news addicts or neophiles). We'll try to also upgrade/migrate the site if all goes according to plan. In that case, there might be limited downtime (scheduled, altogether expected, no need to panic).

Merry Christmas to those who celebrate it.

Keep the Bees Going

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Site News

Bee

MANCHESTER is known as the city of "working bees" because of the work ethics or its hard-working people. Working bees are the symbol of Manchester, where my wife and I are based and spend each day -- morning, afternoon, evening and sometimes night -- posting updates here in Tux Machines.

The end of the year is fast approaching. Literally 22 days left, i.e. 3 weeks and a day. We wish to thank those who tipped up yesterday to keep us going. We accept donations through PayPal and we're grateful for any contribution readers can make, even if as meager as a cup of coffee's worth. It gives my wife and I motivation to continue and circulate updates as soon as we find them. Thank you! Smile

Using Menus For Command Line Programs and Scripts

Filed under
Howtos

THE holidays are coming (Christmas approaching), so I've taken advantage of some spare time to menu-ise commands that I use frequently. Those commands aren't the mere opening of an application and they often require dealing with input and output (in the command line). So I've created menu.sh and used dialog to craft the following menu, e.g. for operations associated with Techrights. I invoke this menu with the click of one button (of the mouse).

Rianne has a similar menu for commands she often runs (which are long and would otherwise need pasting or typing in length). Her menu looks something like this:

Rianne's menu

Here's the code (bash file) that renders the menu above (it's really that simple!):


#!/bin/bash

HEIGHT=15
WIDTH=40
CHOICE_HEIGHT=4
BACKTITLE="Aloha, Rianne"
TITLE="Rianne @ Ted"
MENU="Choose one of the following options:"

OPTIONS=(1 "Start VPN"
         2 "REDACTED"
         3 "REDACTED"
	4 "REDACTED"
	5 "REDACTED"
	6 "REDACTED"
	7 "REDACTED"
)

CHOICE=$(dialog --clear \
                --backtitle "$BACKTITLE" \
                --title "$TITLE" \
                --menu "$MENU" \
                $HEIGHT $WIDTH $CHOICE_HEIGHT \
                "${OPTIONS[@]}" \
                2>&1 >/dev/tty)

clear
case $CHOICE in
        1)
            echo "You chose Option 1"
sh ~/vpn.sh ;;

        2)
            echo "You chose Option 2"
REDACTED COMMAND ;;
        3)
            echo "You chose Option 3"
REDACTED COMMAND ;;
        4)
            echo "You chose Option 4"
REDACTED COMMAND ;;
        5)
            echo "You chose Option 5"
REDACTED COMMAND ;;
        6)
            echo "You chose Option 6"
REDACTED COMMAND ;;
        7)
            echo "You chose Option 7"
REDACTED COMMAND ;;

esac

Hopefully this inspires other people out there to do the same. It takes a while to set up, but it's a big time saver over the long run.

Tux Machines Entering a Third Decade Soon

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Site News

Put your tuxedo on

Tux Machines 2020
Getting better over time?

SUSAN created this site a very long time ago, more than a decade and a half in the past. Susan did a spectacular job. With regular news updates she managed to grow the site in terms of pages, screenshots, reviews, readers, and contributors. We are eternally thankful to her.

Rianne and I have run the site since 2013. 2020 is around the corner (just over 3 weeks left!) and that makes another new decade. In terms of site traffic we continue to grow. Other than Rianne and I posting news updates 'around the clock' there's already a systems administrator who volunteered to help keep the site chugging along. We are very thankful to him. He prefers to remain unnamed. So Tux Machines is basically not a one-person operation. It is basically a team of three people now (in addition to various people who add posts/links). Rianne (based in the UK) usually takes the lead with breaking stories, I tend to post summaries or clusters of related links and system integrity/uptime is assured from Scandinavia. The hypervisor is physically in the United States. We're a sort of international team with no income source (other than our jobs).

If you enjoy the site and find it handy, maybe you wish to drop us a tip for Christmas as a token of gratitude. Anything helps, even a cup of coffee's worth. Coffee helps keep us awake to post more links. Wink

Kali Linux for android without rooting your device

Filed under
Linux

Kali Linux for android devices under ten minutes in just few steps.
Kali Linux for android

Koalas Need Our Help

Filed under
Just talk

Koalas Need Our Help

Watching videos/photos of Koalas being rescued from a charred/burning forests in Australia is heart-breaking and devastating. More than 350 Koalas are reported being dead and these numbers are growing. Those who live far from Australia (just like me) can't help physically rescue them, but a small amount of money/donation to sustain the hospital/facilities, volunteers and rescuers is of great help. Koala is just one of the many species that perish from the bushfire and they need our help, so please donate through the GoFundMe page and through other legitimate websites. Help those who support animal welfare.

130,000!

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Site News

LOC number

YAY! It's Tux Machines' 130 thousandth post! (node)

Keeping a Web Site Safe and Available With or Without a CDN

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Site News

PostgreSQL

THE site Tux Machines is and has been online for over 15 years. It has not suffered security-related incidents. The same is true for Techrights, which soon turns 13. Tux Machines uses Gallery and Drupal, whereas Techrights uses MediaWiki, WordPress and Drupal. WordPress is its most important component as it contains over 26,000 posts. Tux Machines has about 130,000 nodes in Drupal. We don't use a CDN as we have a reasonably powerful server that can cope with the load on its own. For security we use best practices and keep critical issues plugged. I was recently asked for advice on these matters and explained things as follows.

There are mainly two types of attacks (maybe three if one includes social engineering, e.g. tricking a citizen journalist/blogger/administrator into a trap):

1) capacity-based, e.g. DDOS attack

2) exploiting vulnerabilities to degrade/compromise site's quality of service (similar to (1) above but not the same), access site data (confidential), spy on people (writers/staff/visitors) without them being aware.

WordPress runs lots of stuff and powers a lot of the Web, maybe 20% (or more) of today's Web sites. It's regularly checked for security issues and bugs are regularly fixed. Updates can be set to automatic, which means they happen in the background without user intervention. I check the site for updates several times per day, e.g. this one from yesterday.

I've used WordPress for 15 years as an early adopter and developer.

What's known as the "core" of WordPress is generally secure if kept up to date, manually or automatically (for large sites it might make sense to apply patches manually to reduce risk of unnoticed incidents and enable quality control, patch assessment etc). It's also important to keep the underlying operating system and pertinent packages like PHP (programming language), mysql/psql (WordPress and Drupal typically use MariaDB or MySQL as the database, but PostgreSQL should be possible too) and Apache (there are simpler alternatives e.g. NGINX for Web server) up to date.

If we get to keep everything up to date, and moreover we don't install WordPress extensions that cannot be trusted or are no longer maintained (or scarcely maintained), we should be OK. The social engineering part involves stuff such as phishing, e.g. someone sending out an E-mail in an attempt to obtain passwords of privileged users.

If you use a CDN for content distribution, e.g. CloudFlare, then availability will be mostly down to the CDN company. WordPress generates pages on the fly (dynamic), but it has caching mechanisms that can be further improved with extensions. The CDN likely obviates the need for those. So, if the site is receiving 'too many' requests, the CDN can probably scale to deal with that (maybe a more expensive protection plan).

I peronsally would never use CloudFlare (for a lot of reasons), but to many people it's the only CDN that 'counts' or exists. Brand recognition perhaps.

Twins for Meng Meng and Jiao Qing

Filed under
Just talk

Meng Meng

About 8 months ago we had the chance to meet Meng Meng (above) and Jiao Qing, the female and male pandas on loan to Berlin Zoo in Germany. I took lots of photos with them and we stayed in their Pagoda sanctuary a little longer. Seeing them eating, napping and wandering inside their secured place brings joy to my heart. I don't really like seeing animals in the zoo, but if this is the only way to keep and protect them from any harm or from becoming extinct, then so be it. Today, in the news (video) the two adorable pandas became parents as they were having twins; this is good news and I'm so happy for them both. To Meng Meng and Jiao Qing (and also to Berlin Zoo), congratulations!

Daylight Linux Version 4

Filed under
Linux

Daylight Linux (Web site) version 4 has just been released.

The Linux kernel is now upgraded to the 5.3 version for the AMD64 live version and Kernel 4.19.68 for the Raspberry Pi version.

All packages are upgraded to the Debian 10 version or to the cutting-edge version (experimental) for all current software packages.

Added compatibility for the Raspberry Pi 4.

By Hamdy Abou El Anein
Founder / Linux system engineer

Daylight Linux V4

Daylight Linux V4

Daylight Linux V4

Daylight Linux V4

Daylight Linux V4

Microsoft's Deadly Touch

Filed under
Linux

Mask of death

Everything Microsoft touched has died. Remember Nokia, Yahoo and Novell? What happened to these companies and where are they now? This is exactly what Microsoft wants to do to Linux because they don't innovate and they can't compete; so they infiltrate. Sooner or later Linux will be part of those latter companies. Something to watch out for.

Contact Private Internet Access (PIA) Managers to Help Save Linux Journal From Shutdown

Filed under
Site News

Private Internet Access

TUX MACHINES turned 15 almost exactly two months ago. The site has operational costs, as one can expect, mostly the hardware and bandwidth. We've thankfully had these resources very kindly donated to us last year, basically saving us the massive burden of bills somewhere around $10,000. Running a site with a lot of traffic isn't cheap and it isn't getting cheaper, either. As an overhead or addition to server maintenance (uptime requires habitual work on repairing databases, managing backups, patching of software and agonising system upgrades once in a few years) it takes a lot of time to compose new material and moderate to keep spam out.

A lot of the mainstream media is bashing Linux Journal right now. It makes it seem like its demise is a problem with GNU/Linux itself. These are villainous lies from self-serving foes of Linux, sometimes people who are aligned with Microsoft or salaried by Microsoft (we don't want to link to their provocative clickbait). But anyway, the bottom line is that keeping Linux Journal online may be costly and people should prepare for the possibility of Linux Journal becoming unavailable (offline) some time soon. I try very hard to prevent this (today and yesterday). "There is a real (and ever-growing) danger that a massive trove of GNU/Linux and Free software history will vanish unless urgent action is taken right now," I said. There are ways to avoid this (writers of that site need to unite in a union-like sense). I also secure my own sites from such a fate, having reached almost 13 years in Techrights. This week the site is experiencing all-time traffic records.

I've decided to contact Rick Falkvinge (Dick Greger Augustsson), founder of the Swedish Pirate Party and head of privacy at Private Internet Access, which owns Linux Journal. Bear in mind he used to work for Microsoft. We're still friendly online (we've exchanged some messages over the years) and he probably has sufficient clout at Private Internet Access to sway their decisions. In case they plan to shut down the site, we must act fast. Please contact him; as per his Web site, his E-mail address is x1bpsas66na001@sneakemail.com and any message he receives he can relay to other high-level people at the company. I don't personally know anyone else at that company, so that's the only contact I'm able to provide.

Microsoft loves Microsoft Linux

Filed under
Humor

Microsoft loves Microsoft

Summary: A very old cartoon/column (half a century old) rewritten to explain where Microsoft stands when it comes to "loving" Linux

Photos: 15-Year Anniversary Party

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Site News

Tux Machines Over the Past 15 Years

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Site News

2005

Tux Machines site in 2005

2010

Tux Machines site in 2010

2012

Tux Machines site in 2012

2013

Tux Machines site in 2013

Late 2013

Tux Machines site in late 2013

2014

Tux Machines site in 2014

2015

Tux Machines site in 2015

2019

Tux Machines site in 2019

Happy 15th Anniversary to Tux Machines

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Site News

Anniversary of Tux Machines

Summary: Anniversary of Tux Machines is today, a special anniversary too

Today Tux Machines is celebrating its 15th year of existing. When we bought the website it was about 10 years old, so kudos to Susan Linton who devoted time to make and keep the site on pace. We promise to keep the website up to date with lots of insightful OSS/FOSS/Linux/Android-related articles. We hope to continue the job well into the distant future.

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More in Tux Machines

Meet CSI Linux: A Linux Distribution For Cyber Investigation And OSINT

With the steady rise of cybercrimes, companies and government agencies are involving themselves more in setting up cyber investigation labs to tackle the crime happening over the Internet. Software tools are like arms that play a significant role in the investigation process. Hence, Computer Forensics, Incident Response, and Competitive Intelligence professionals have developed a Cyber forensics focussed operating system called CSI Linux. Read more

Today in Techrights

today's leftovers

  • Word Embeddings Simplified

    Recently I have been dwelling with a lot of NLP problems and jargons. The more I read about it the more I find it intriguing and beautiful of how we humans try to transfer this knowledge of a language to machines. How much ever we try because of our laid back nature we try to use already existing knowledge or existing materials to be used to make machines understand a given language. But machines as we know it can only understand digits or lets be more precise binary(0s and 1s). When I first laid my hands on NLP this was my first question, how does a machine understand that something is a word or sentence or a character.

  • Coronavirus wreaking havoc in the tech industry, including FOSS

    At FOSS Linux, you may wonder why we are covering the coronavirus and how it relates to Linux and open-source software? Aside from the apparent effect of the slowdown in components required for Linux to run on,  the coronavirus outbreak directly impacts several products featured in FOSS Linux over the past year. Purism – the brains behind the Librem 5 phones powered by PureOS are the most directly affected by the outbreak, suffering production delays. Dell – the titanic computer manufacturer, has hinted at a possibility of interruption of supplies, which could affect the availability of the Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition preloaded with Ubuntu 18.04. System76 – these creators of Pop_OS! 19.10 recently announced their foray into the world of laptop design and manufacturing.  The coronavirus could adversely affect this endeavor. Pine64 – maker of the Pinebook Pro, the affordable laptop which supports most, if not all, Linux distros featured on FOSS Linux also is under threat of production delays.

  • Announcing the release of Samza 1.3.1

    We have identified some issues with the previous release of Apache Samza 1.3.0.

  • Scientists develop open-source software to analyze economics of biofuels, bioproducts

    BioSTEAM is available online through the Python Package Index, at Pypi.org. A life cycle assessment (LCA) add-on to BioSTEAM to quantify the environmental impacts of biorefineries -- developed by CABBI Postdoctoral Researcher Rui Shi and the Guest Research Group -- is also set to be released in March 2020. To further increase availability of these tools, Guest's team is also designing a website with a graphical user interface where researchers can plug new parameters for a biorefinery simulation into existing configurations, and download results within minutes.

    BioSTEAM's creators drew on open-source software developed by other researchers, including a data bank with 20,000 chemicals and their thermodynamic properties.

  • Mirantis Joins Linux Foundation's LF Networking Community

    Mirantis, the open cloud company, today announced it has joined the Linux Foundation's LF Networking (LFN) community, which facilitates collaboration and operational excellence across open networking projects. LFN software and projects provide platforms and building blocks for Network Infrastructure and Services across Service Providers, Cloud Providers, Enterprises, Vendors, and System Integrators that enable rapid interoperability, deployment, and adoption. LF Networking supports the largest set of networking projects with the broadest community in the industry that collaborate on this opportunity.

  • Google Announces The 200 Open-Source Projects For GSoC 2020

    Google's Summer of Code initiative for getting students involved with open-source development during the summer months is now into its sixteenth year. This week Google announced the 200 open-source projects participating in GSoC 2020.  Among the 200 projects catching our eye this year are GraphicsFuzz, Blender, Debian, FFmpeg, Fedora, FreeBSD, Gentoo, GNOME, Godot Engine, KDE, Mozilla, Pitivi, The GNU Project, VideoLAN, and X.Org. The complete list of GSoC 2020 organizations can be found here. 

  • Myst (or, The Drawbacks to Success)

    After listening to the cultural dialog — or shouting match! — which has so long surrounded Myst, one’s first encounter with the actual artifact that spurred it all can be more than a little anticlimactic. Seen strictly as a computer game, Myst is… okay. Maybe even pretty good. It strikes this critic at least as far from the best or worst game of its year, much less of its decade, still less of all gaming history. Its imagery is well-composited and occasionally striking, its sound and music design equally apt. The sense of desolate, immersive beauty it all conveys can be strangely affecting, and it’s married to puzzle-design instincts that are reasonable and fair. Myst‘s reputation in some quarters as impossible, illogical, or essentially unplayable is unearned; apart from some pixel hunts and perhaps the one extended maze, there’s little to really complain about on that front. On the contrary: there’s a definite logic to its mechanical puzzles, and figuring out how its machinery works through trial and error and careful note-taking, then putting your deductions into practice, is genuinely rewarding, assuming you enjoy that sort of thing.

    At same time, though, there’s just not a whole lot of there there. Certainly there’s no deeper meaning to be found; Myst never tries to be about more than exploring a striking environment and solving intricate puzzles. “When we started, we wanted to make a [thematic] statement, but the project was so big and took so much effort that we didn’t have the energy or time to put much into that part of it,” admits Robyn Miller. “So, we decided to just make a neat world, a neat adventure, and say important things another time.” And indeed, a “neat world” and “neat adventure” are fine ways of describing Myst.

GNU/Linux on Laptops/Desktops

  • DStv Now working on Linux streaming problems

    MyBroadband readers have complained of problems when trying to stream DStv Now on Linux devices. Previously, users running Linux operating systems were able to watch DStv Now through a web browser such as Chrome or Firefox. However, since the beginning of 2020, these users have been unable to watch shows on the platform, likely due to a change in the Widevine DRM system. Similar problems with international streaming platforms have been reported this year, indicating that the issue could be a common DRM issue rather than individual platform changes.

  • A Tale of Four Laptops, or, How Lenovo’s Digital River Customer Support Sucks

    In September, I made a mistake… We needed new laptops for Dmitry and Agata, and after much deliberation, we decided upon Lenovo Yoga C940’s. These are very cool devices, with HDR screens, nice keyboard, built-in pen, two-in-one convertible — everything in short for the discerning Krita hacker. I accidentally ordered the S940 instead — two of them. These are very awful devices, without a pen, no touch-screen, don’t fold, don’t have HDR, don’t even have normal USB ports. Overpriced, under-powered — why the heck does Lenovo call these Ideapads yoga’s? I have no idea. Well, no problem, I thought. I’ll just return them and ordered the C940 instead. The C940’s arrived in time for our BlenderCon sprintlet, and were all what one expected them to be. And I filled in Lenovo’s web form to return the S940’s. [...] I’ve bought Yoga’s, Thinkpads and even Ideapads in great numbers in the past twenty years… But I think it’s time to make a change.

  • Mesa's RADV Vulkan Driver Adding Compatibility For Use With The AMD Radeon GPU Profiler

    To date the Mesa "RADV" Radeon Vulkan driver hasn't supported AMD's GPUOpen Radeon GPU Profiler but that is changing. With RADV being developed by the community -- principally by the likes of Valve, Red Hat, and Google -- this Mesa Vulkan driver hasn't supported all of the tooling AMD makes available under the GPUOpen umbrella and is tailored for their official AMD Linux/Windows Vulkan drivers. While AMDVLK and the Radeon Software for Linux driver have supported the company's Radeon GPU Profiler, RADV is now adding compatibility for this profiler.

  • Intel Compute Runtime Adds OCLOC Multi-Device Compilation

    Version 20.07.15711 of the Intel Compute Runtime was released this morning. The Intel Compute Runtime 20.07.15711 is what principally provides their modern OpenCL implementation for Broadwell graphics hardware and newer with current at OpenCL 2.1 for all generations from Broadwell through the yet-to-be-released Gen12 Tiger Lake.

  • openSUSE Tumbleweed – Review of the week 2020/08

    After a week of hacking on different stuff and being in the background for Tumbleweed while Oliver took on the role of Release Manager, I am back with you. And we have released three snapshots this week (0214, 0218 and 0219). The gap between 0214 and 0218 was the integration of glibc 2.31. But of course, there was more happening this week. So here comes the list:

  • Fedora program update: 2020-08

    I have weekly office hours in #fedora-meeting-1. Drop by if you have any questions or comments about the schedule, Changes, elections, or anything else.