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Friday, 13 Dec 19 - Tux Machines is a community-driven public service/news site which has been around for over a decade and a half and primarily focuses on GNU/LinuxSubscribe now Syndicate content

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Quick Roundup

Type Title Author Replies Last Postsort icon
Story Trying Out The Skia+Vulkan Powered LibreOffice 6.5 Development Build Roy Schestowitz 13/12/2019 - 10:14am
Story Why FOSS is still not on activist agendas Rianne Schestowitz 13/12/2019 - 9:54am
Story today's leftovers Roy Schestowitz 13/12/2019 - 9:41am
Story Screencasts and Shows: ArcoLinux 19.12 Run Through, TechSNAP and Python Bytes Roy Schestowitz 13/12/2019 - 9:40am
Story today's howtos Roy Schestowitz 13/12/2019 - 9:38am
Story Security Leftovers Roy Schestowitz 13/12/2019 - 9:34am
Story Programming Leftovers Roy Schestowitz 13/12/2019 - 9:31am
Story Google Now Bans Some Linux Web Browsers From Their Services Roy Schestowitz 13/12/2019 - 9:06am
Story What GNOME 2 fans love about the Mate Linux desktop Rianne Schestowitz 13/12/2019 - 8:53am
Story Today in Techrights Roy Schestowitz 13/12/2019 - 8:35am

Trying Out The Skia+Vulkan Powered LibreOffice 6.5 Development Build

Filed under
LibO

Skia is more modern and much better maintained than Cairo so that alone is a huge win, but the Vulkan support makes it even more interesting with not being aware of any other open or proprietary office programs with Vulkan drawing support.

I tried out a new development build of LibreOffice and it's indeed working when activating the Skia code path. The Skia usage can be done either on a CPU or Vulkan if a Vulkan-supported GPU/driver is detected and needing Vulkan 1.1.

At least from some basic testing, the LibreOffice Skia+Vulkan configuration does appear to be a bit faster when dealing with scrolling / presentation of large documents/spreadsheets. Unfortunately I am not aware of any LibreOffice UI-representative benchmarks, but just from my experience so far in testing the latest LO 6.5 development build. I didn't try the CPU-based Skia support to know whether any changes "feel" like they are from the transition to Skia as opposed to the Vulkan-based drawing, but when this follow-on release to LibreOffice 6.4 approaches later on in 2020 I will be around with more testing. It would be great if LibreOffice has a representative UI benchmark (there is this LibreOffice test profile albeit limited to document conversion/handling operations and not encompassing the UI).

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Why FOSS is still not on activist agendas

Filed under
GNU

On December 13th, 2006, author Bruce Byfield reflected on why he thought Free and Open Source Software (F.O.S.S.) was not on activist agendas. My interpretation of his views are that a knowledge barrier about technology makes FOSS less accessible, the insular nature of activism makes collaboration difficult, and FOSS activists reaching out to other activists with shared values should be encouraged. On December 13th, 2019, is FOSS on activist agendas? The answer is not black or white, but a gray somewhere in the middle. This is my response to Byfield’s article, thirteen years later, on what he got right but also what he left out.

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today's leftovers

Filed under
Misc
  • Sysadmins: How many spare cords do you have sitting around?

    I was recently reading a thread over on r/sysadmin on Reddit called "Every single one of you has a big box of cords" and it got me thinking: is that true? Are we all cord hoarders? Or do some of us manage to keep our unused computer accessories in check?

    So I thought I'd ask our own readers: How many extra cords do you have sitting around? I went through a few iterations of how to phrase the responses: How many kilograms? How many meters? What's the exact count? How many kinds? But if you're anything like me, giving an answer that's anything more than a ballpark is undoable.

    The Raleigh, NC-based Enable Sysadmin staff recently shifted workspaces, and aside from lots of other interesting finds from the years of collected detritus at our desks were an awful lot of cords. Fortunately, it was a good opportunity to clear some of these out.

    Sadly, though, my personal collection far exceeds those that I rehomed in my move here at work. And that's after I made significant inroads in clearing out my cable clutter in the past year. It's just a never-ending battle.

  • AMD Pushes Updated AMDVLK Vulkan Code Following Adrenalin 2020 Unveil

    Earlier this week AMD unveiled the Radeon Software Adrenalin 2020 Edition driver and we await a Radeon Software for Linux / AMDGPU-PRO driver update for Linux users on supported distributions. But AMD has begun pushing some updated AMDVLK open-source Vulkan driver code ahead of a possible tagged release in the next few days.

  • Really, really awesome Raspberry Pi NeoPixel LED mirror

    Check out Super Make Something’s awesome NeoPixel LED mirror: a 576 RGB LED display that converts images via the Raspberry Pi Camera Module and Raspberry Pi 3B+ into a pixelated light show.

  • HackEEG Arduino Shield Reads Signals from Your Brain (EEG), Muscles (EMG), and Heart (EKG)
  • Golly – exploring cellular automata like the Game of Life

    Golly is a free and open source cross-platform application for exploring Conway’s Game of Life and many other types of cellular automata. A cellular automaton is a model studied in computer science, mathematics, physics, complexity science, theoretical biology, and microstructure modeling.

    The Game of Life is an example of a set of rules often known as a “cellular automation”. Life takes place on an arbitrary-sized grid of square cells. Each cell has two states “dead” or “alive”. The state of each cells changes from one “generation” to the next only on the state of its eight immediate neighbors.

    The British mathematician John Conway invented the Game of Life in the late 1960s. He chose rules that produced the most unpredictable behaviour.

  • Top tech conferences to attend in 2020

    Understanding the expanding technology universe takes diligence and patience, as chief information officers and other IT decision makers are tasked with setting technology priorities to serve the long-term needs of a business. It's easier said than done.

    To help navigate the changing world, research firms, vendors, collectives and communities put on conferences dedicated to enterprise technology covering the breadth of top concerns including data management, cloud strategy and security concerns.

  • Twitter wants to fund an open source social media standard

    Centralised solutions, he says, can't meet the challenges ahead. "For instance, centralised enforcement of global policy to address abuse and misleading information is unlikely to scale over the long-term without placing far too much burden on people," he tweeted.

    There's also the fact that social media is moving from content hosting and removal to algorithms directing people towards content. "Unfortunately, these algorithms are typically proprietary, and one can't choose or build alternatives. Yet."

  • End of term report for healthcare IT

    The research at Imperial that was widely reported in the past week was pointing at the fact that a high proportion of patients are seen without a full record available to the treating clinician. This is highlighted where care takes place in more than one organisation and information is not shared. The press articles written about this, that I have seen, were woefully wide of the mark, talking about the fact that as many as 21 different systems are used in a health provider (it can be many more), but that the answer was once again to move to one system.

    Ironically, large monoliths might not be as good at interoperability at those that need to do it for a living. This may be changing, but systems that are built to do everything typically find it easier to just build more functionality than to message or share platforms. The real problem forms at the edge though, and in a world where patients move around between organisations we need systems where their information flows with them.

  • Report: Over half of people working with APIs are not developers

    API development firm Postman has released some interesting findings about the various types of people who are engaging with APIs.

    Most people would probably assume developers are the core group of people who are using APIs. However, 53 percent of the 10,000 respondents do not have the title of "developer".

    That's a significant increase over last year when 59 percent of respondents said they were either front-end or back-end developers.

  • SAP users in the UK struggling to meet 2025 ECC6 maintenance deadline

    The UK&I SAP User Group's chairman said the complexity of the migration means customers are struggling to make the business case within their organisation

  • The New bluesabre.org

    It's faster. Ghost is fast without any help, providing all the publishing tools I need and (from what I can tell) none that I don't. To further speed things up, I've optimized all of the images on my site for small download sizes and super-fast loading.

Screencasts and Shows: ArcoLinux 19.12 Run Through, TechSNAP and Python Bytes

Filed under
Development
GNU
Linux

Security Leftovers

Filed under
Security
  • WordPress 5.3.1 Security and Maintenance Release

    This security and maintenance release features 46 fixes and enhancements. Plus, it adds a number of security fixes—see the list below.

    WordPress 5.3.1 is a short-cycle maintenance release. The next major release will be version 5.4.

    You can download WordPress 5.3.1 by clicking the button at the top of this page, or visit your Dashboard → Updates and click Update Now.

  • 49% of workers, when forced to update their password, reuse the same one with just a minor change

    For instance, not only did 72% of users admit that they reused the same passwords in their personal life, but also 49% admitted that when forced to update their passwords in the workplace they reused the same one with a minor change.

  • The FSB’s personal hackers How Evil Corp, the world’s most powerful hacking collective, takes advantage of its deep family ties in the Russian intelligence community

    On December 5, the U.S. government formally indicted members of the Russian hacker group “Evil Corp.” Washington says these men are behind “the world’s most egregious cyberattacks,” causing hundreds of millions of dollars in damages to banks. The Justice Department believes Evil Corp’s leader is Maxim Yakubets, who remains at large and was still actively involved in hacking activities as recently as March 2019. Meduza investigative journalist Liliya Yapparova discovered that Evil Corp’s hackers belong to the families of high-ranking Russian state bureaucrats and security officials. She also learned more about the Russian intelligence community’s close ties to Maxim Yakubets, whose arrest is now worth $5 million to the United States.

Programming Leftovers

Filed under
Development
  • Fedora 32 Will Feature Bleeding-Edge Compilers Again With LLVM 10 + GCC 10

    Fedora Linux is on track to deliver another bleeding-edge compiler toolchain stack with Fedora 32 due out this spring. 

    Fedora's spring releases have tended to always introduce new GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) releases that are generally out a few weeks before the April~May Fedora releases. Thanks to Red Hat employing several GCC developers that collaborate with Fedora, they tend to stick to ensuring Fedora ships new GCC releases quite quickly while managing minimal bugs -- in part due to tracking GCC development snapshots well before launch to begin the package rebuilds. 

  • What makes Python a great language?

    I know I’m far from the only person who has opined about this topic, but figured I’d take my turn.

    A while ago I hinted on Twitter that I have Thoughts(tm) about the future of Python, and while this is not going to be that post, this is going to be important background for when I do share those thoughts.

    If you came expecting a well researched article full of citations to peer-reviewed literature, you came to the wrong place. Similarly if you were hoping for unbiased and objective analysis. I’m not even going to link to external sources for definitions. This is literally just me on a soap box, and you can take it or leave it.

    I’m also deliberately not talking about CPython the runtime, pip the package manager, venv the %PATH% manipulator, or PyPI the ecosystem. This post is about the Python language.

    My hope is that you will get some ideas for thinking about why some programming languages feel better than others, even if you don’t agree that Python feels better than most.

  • Python String Replace

    In this article, we will talk about how to replace a substring inside a string in Python, using the replace() method. .replace() Method In Python, strings are represented as immutable str objects. The str class comes with many methods that allow you to manipulate strings. The .replace() method takes the following syntax: str.replace(old, new[, maxreplace]) str - The string you are working with. old – The substring you want to replace.

Google Now Bans Some Linux Web Browsers From Their Services

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Google

Google is now banning the popular Linux browsers named Konqueror, Falkon, and Qutebrowser from logging into Google services because they may not be secure.

It is not known when Google started blocking these browsers, but a user discovered this ban yesterday and posted about it on Reddit.

In tests conducted by BleepingComputer, we can confirm that we were unable to log in with Konqueror or Falkon on multiple machines. When attempting to do so, we were told to try a different browser as Konqueror or Falkon may not be secure.

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What GNOME 2 fans love about the Mate Linux desktop

Filed under
Linux
GNOME

Stop me if you've heard this one before: When GNOME 3 was first released, many GNOME users were not ready to give up GNOME 2. The Mate (named after the yerba mate plant) project began as an effort to continue the GNOME 2 desktop, at first using GTK 2 (the toolkit GNOME 2 was based upon) and later incorporating GTK 3. The desktop became wildly popular, due in no small part to Linux Mint's prompt adoption of it, and since then, it has become commonly available on Fedora, Ubuntu, Slackware, Arch, and many other Linux distributions. Today, Mate continues to deliver a traditional desktop environment that looks and feels exactly like GNOME 2 did, using the GTK 3 toolkit.

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AndesCore 27-Series Linux RISC-V SoC Features a Vector Processing Unit

Andes has developed a Linux capable RISC-V based SoC which runs on the first Vector Processing Unit (VPU) that is reported to be groundbreaking in its application ability, especially in the AI sector. The Andes 27 Series CPU has debuted in the RISC-V Summit in San Jose, to a great deal of talk in many quarters.

The company reports that the AndesCore 27 offers a user-configurable vector-processing unit that has a scalable data size, flexible microarchitecture implementations and subsystem memory decisions open to system-level optimization. The use of the RISC-V Vector (RVV) instruction extension allows the CPU cores to deliver higher performance and versatility.

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Best Linux Distribution for Windows Users in 2019

Filed under
Linux

It wasn’t too long ago that we published an article on the best Linux distros that looks like MacOS. Today, our focus is not necessarily on distributions that have a similar UI to that of Windows, but ones that are, firstly, convenient for Windows users to use due to familiarity, and secondly, without technical hurdles during installation or application set up.

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Top 5 reasons to switch from Windows to Linux right now

Filed under
Linux

When my editor approached me to write an article on reasons to switch from Windows to Linux, I could not help but to chuckle to myself. Earlier in the week, a photographer friend of mine posted on my Facebook page thanking me for turning him on to Linux. I was hardly surprised to see his post.

I always preach the “gospel of Linux” to my friends, family, acquaintances, and, well, pretty much whoever I talk to. What is surprising is I’ve not seen my friend in over five years. I barely even remember the conversation. However, I don’t doubt it happened. I’ve been trying to turn Windows users into Linux users for well over 15 years.

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Benchmark results on mdds multi_type_vector

Filed under
Graphics/Benchmarks
LibO

One of the data structures included in mdds, called multi_type_vector, stores values of different types in a single logical vector. LibreOffice Calc is one primary user of this. Calc uses this structure as its cell value store, and each instance of this value store represents a single column instance.

Internally, multi_type_vector creates multiple element blocks which are in turn stored in its parent array (primary array). This primary array maps a logical position of a value to the actual block instance that stores it. Up to version 1.5.0, this mapping process involved a linear search that always starts from the first block of the primary array. This was because each element block, though it stores the size of the block, does not store its logical position. So the only way to find the right element block that intersects the logical position of a value is to scan from the first block then keep accumulating the sizes of the encountered blocks.

The reason for not storing the logical positions of the blocks was to avoid having to update them after shifting the blocks after value insertion, which is quite common when editing spreadsheet documents.

Of course, sometimes one has to perform repeated searches to access a number of element values across a number of element blocks, in which case, always starting the search from the first block, or block 0, in every single search can be prohibitively expensive, especially when the vector is heavily fragmented.

To alleviate this, multi_type_vector provides the concept of position hints, which allows the caller to start the search from block N where N > 0. Most of multi_type_vector’s methods return a position hint which can be used for the next search operation. This allows the caller to chain all necessary search operations in such a way to only scan the primary array once for the entire sequence of search operations. The only prerequisite is that access to the elements occur in perfect ascending order. For the most part, this approach worked quite well.

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Also: Phoronix Test Suite 9.2.1 Released

BSD: BGP and OpenBGPD, FreeBSD and OpenBSD

Filed under
BSD
  • Meet Radiant Award Recipient Claudio Jeker

    When we at ISRG think about the greatest threats to Web security today, the lack of Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) security might top our list. Claudio's passion for networking, his focus on security, and his talent as a software developer are enabling him to make great contributions to fixing this and other Web security problems. In particular, he is making great contributions to OpenBSD and OpenBGPD.

  • 2019 in Review: Advocacy

    2019 began with a big announcement regarding the FreeBSD Journal. You can now access every issue for Free! We’re very excited to be able to bring all of the informative articles to the community at no cost. If you haven’t read it yet, please take a look and share with your friends and colleagues.

  • Why computers suck and how learning from OpenBSD can make them marginally less horrible

    Next I will compare this enterprise development model approach with non-enterprise development - projects such as OpenBSD, which do not hesitate to introduce binary interface and API breaking changes to improve the code.

    One of the most commonly referred to pillars of the project's philosophy has long been it's emphasis on clean functional code. Any code which makes it into OpenBSD is subject to ongoing aggressive audits for deprecated, or otherwise unmaintained code in order to reduce cruft and attack surface. Additionally the project creator, Theo de Raadt, and his team of core developers engage in ongoing development for proactive mitigations for various attack classes many of which are directly adopted by various multi-platform userland applications as well as the operating systems themselves (Windows, Linux, and the other BSDs). Frequently it is the case that introducing new features (not just deprecating old ones) introduces new incompatibilities against previously functional binaries compiled for OpenBSD.

AndesCore 27-Series Linux RISC-V SoC Features a Vector Processing Unit

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Hardware

Andes has developed a Linux capable RISC-V based SoC which runs on the first Vector Processing Unit (VPU) that is reported to be groundbreaking in its application ability, especially in the AI sector. The Andes 27 Series CPU has debuted in the RISC-V Summit in San Jose, to a great deal of talk in many quarters.

Read more

China's Kylin forks are about to join up for new 'domestic os'

Filed under
GNU
Linux

China Standard Software (CS2C) and Tianjin Kylin Information (TKC) are both tied up with the powers that be in Bejing but are, nevertheless, software titans in the land of the rising CO2 emission.

If this all sounds a bit familiar, that's because we've been down this road before - several times.

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Security Leftovers

Filed under
Security
  • Security updates for Thursday

    Security updates have been issued by CentOS (firefox and nss-softokn), Fedora (samba), Oracle (nss, nss-softokn, nss-util, nss-softokn, and thunderbird), Scientific Linux (thunderbird), SUSE (firefox), and Ubuntu (librabbitmq and samba).

  • Reproducible Builds in November 2019

    As a summary of our project, whilst anyone can inspect the source code of free software for malicious flaws almost all software is distributed to end users as pre-compiled binaries. The motivation behind the reproducible builds effort is therefore to ensure no flaws have been introduced during this compilation process by promising identical results are always generated from a given source, thus allowing multiple third-parties to come to a consensus on whether a build was compromised.

  • Hex Five Announces General Availability of MultiZone Security for Linux - Commercial Enclave for RISC-V processors

    Hex Five Security Inc., provider of policy-based hardware-enforced separation for a number of security domains, announces the general availability of MultiZone Security for Linux, designed to bring security through separation to embedded systems. MultiZone Security is available for the Microchip PolarFire system-on-chip, the hardened real-time, Linux capable, RISC-V-based microprocessor subsystem. Support for additional RISC-V processors to be announced later in 2020.

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