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Type Title Author Replies Last Postsort icon
Story Qmmp – Qt-based Multimedia Player – the sound with no limits Roy Schestowitz 24/09/2018 - 6:55pm
Story Programming: "User", Choice of Language, SpiceyPy and Firefox Development Roy Schestowitz 24/09/2018 - 6:50pm
Story Games: Steam Play, Valve, PlayOnLinux and Lots of Native Ports Roy Schestowitz 24/09/2018 - 6:36pm
Story Android Leftovers Rianne Schestowitz 1 24/09/2018 - 6:25pm
Story Zynq UltraScale+ module runs Linux at industrial temperatures Rianne Schestowitz 24/09/2018 - 5:58pm
Story Desktops You Don't Control Anymore Roy Schestowitz 24/09/2018 - 5:58pm
Story Sabri Haddouche Finds Crashy Bugs Roy Schestowitz 1 24/09/2018 - 5:54pm
Story Mir Release 1.0 Roy Schestowitz 1 24/09/2018 - 5:48pm
Story Ubuntu 18.10 Performance Is Looking Up, But Clear Linux Still Leads In Many Tests Roy Schestowitz 24/09/2018 - 5:46pm
Story LAS 2018 Roy Schestowitz 2 24/09/2018 - 5:38pm

Qmmp – Qt-based Multimedia Player – the sound with no limits

Filed under
Software

Do you remember Winamp? In the late nineties, Winamp version 2 was one of the most downloaded Windows applications. The software’s later releases witnessed a terminal decline in its popularity.

If you hanker for the good ol’ days, Qmmp might be of interest.

Qmmp is a cross-platform, open source, Qt-based multimedia player. The default user interface is similar to Winamp or xmms. But there’s also an alternative user interface.

Read more

Programming: "User", Choice of Language, SpiceyPy and Firefox Development

Filed under
Development
  • Never use the word “User” in your code

    To begin with, no software system actually has “users”. At first glance “user” is a fine description, but once you look a little closer you realize that your business logic actually has more complexity than that.

  • How many programming languages have you used?

    In the 1940s, Grace Hopper was in the Navy Reserves doing programming at the machine level, bit by bit. She realized how limiting it was for humans to use a language meant for machines and wanted to radically change the process by which we program. Without a change, she knew that computing would never reach its potential.

    "Once humans could learn to speak programming languages and once compilers began translating our intentions into machine language, it was like opening the floodgates," says the host of the Command Line Heroes podcast, Saren Yetbarek.

    Learn more about Grace Hopper and why there are so many programming languages, plus history on the first open source compiler, by listening to Episode 2 of Command Line Heroes Season 2.

  • Writing Solar System Simulations with NAIF SPICE and SpiceyPy

    Someone asked me about my Javascript Jupiter code, and whether it used PyEphem. It doesn't, of course, because it's Javascript, not Python (I wish there was something as easy as PyEphem for Javascript!); instead it uses code from the book Astronomical Formulae for Calculators by Jean Meeus. (His better known Astronomical Algorithms, intended for computers rather than calculators, is actually harder to use for programming because Astronomical Algorithms is written for BASIC and the algorithms are relatively hard to translate into other languages, whereas Astronomical Formulae for Calculators concentrates on explaining the algorithms clearly, so you can punch them into a calculator by hand, and this ends up making it fairly easy to implement them in a modern computer language as well.)

    Anyway, the person asking also mentioned JPL's page HORIZONS Ephemerides page, which I've certainly found useful at times. Years ago, I tried emailing the site maintainer asking if they might consider releasing the code as open source; it seemed like a reasonable request, given that it came from a government agency and didn't involve anything secret. But I never got an answer.

  • These Weeks in Firefox: Issue 45

Games: Steam Play, Valve, PlayOnLinux and Lots of Native Ports

Filed under
Gaming
  • Linus Tech Tips: "Linux Gaming Finally Doesn't Suck"

    Like him or hate him, Linus (not that one) has his audience, many of whom are now being swayed to try out gaming on Linux. Last month, Valve introduced a new version of Steam Play allowing Linux users to run Windows games thanks to Proton, a modified distribution of Wine. While framerates are obviously no match for the intended OS, Linus shows that at least a handful of popular games, which include DOOM and Skyrim, run well enough to play through.

  • Valve Has Been Working On A HUD For The RADV Vulkan Driver

    It hasn't been merged to Mesa 18.3-devel yet nor even published on the Mesa-dev list for review, but it turns out Valve's Samuel Pitoiset has begun working on a heads-up display (HUD) for the driver.

    Many have requested having a RADV HUD similar in nature to the Gallium3D HUD while it seems as one of many projects being worked on by the Valve Linux driver team is indeed this option.

  • PlayOnLinux has a new alpha release out with an overhaul of the interface

    PlayOnLinux 5.0 alpha 1 code-named "Phoencis" includes a completely redesigned user interface, along with moving their scripting system from bash to JavaScript. They're also now storing the scripts POL uses to install and setup games and applications on GitHub, so that if there's problems with their own infrastructure you can still use POL.

  • Space sim 'Helium Rain' to leave Early Access next month, along with a major update now available

    They recently released one of their final updates, which includes a few notable new features including: a new Artifact system, which has you scan planets for some research points and lore, a new economy model, AI improvements, some updated graphics, new sectors and so on.

  • Turn-based rogue-like RPG 'Depth of Extinction' confirmed to release on September 27th

    We knew that the rather good rogue-like RPG Depth of Extinction was releasing soon and now we know how soon, this week on Thursday it will be available across a number of stores.

    Inspired by the greats like XCOM: Enemy Unknown and FTL: Faster Than Light, it follows you trying to save humanity from some sort of vicious AI. You will have to build up a mighty squad of soldiers, level them up and get some decent equipment as you travel through a future set around 500 years after rising water caused humanity to edge on the brink of extinction.

  • The rather good 2D action RPG 'Chronicon' just had a major upgrade

    Being completely honest here, I absolutely love this game! The 2D action RPG Chronicon has a new update with some major improvements. As a reminder, the game is still currently in Early Access.

    The latest update, released a few days ago moves the game from GMS 1.4 to GMS 2.1.5 which is pretty huge by itself considering how old that version of GameMaker Studio was. This should hopefully improve compatibility with other Linux distributions. In addition, the game has been through a lot of performance-focused work to make as much of the game as smooth as possible. For me, it already performed well and now it's excellent.

  • What even more developers think of Valve's Steam Play

    You think we were done writing about Steam Play? Wrong. Here's what Godot Engine's Rémi Verschelde and Marc Di Luzio (previously Feral Interactive, now at Unity) think about it.

    First up, a few reminders on things we've already covered: our interview with the creator of DXVK, one of the projects that makes up Steam Play; our little chat with Linux game porter Ethan Lee; what Subset Games thought about it and my own personal thoughts can be found here.

  • The beautifully weird hidden object adventure game My Brother Rabbit is out, it's really sweet

    My Brother Rabbit from Artifex Mundi is an absolutely beautiful adventure game that has shocked me with how good it is.

  • Sunless Skies to leave Early Access on January 31st, 2019 also now out is a free pen and paper RPG system

    Failbetter Games have announced that Sunless Skies is set to leave Early Access on January 31st, 2019. They've also released a free pen and paper RPG system.

    “We’ve used the time in Early Access to fill the world with the most glorious stories, and to refine the play experience: improving combat, tweaking the skyfaring experience, and closing in on a dark and dread-soaked atmosphere.” says CEO Paul Arendt. “The next update, due on 10th October, will include a complete overhaul of the Reach region and extended mechanics for Terror, fuel, hunger and crew.”

Zynq UltraScale+ module runs Linux at industrial temperatures

Filed under
Linux

iWave’s “iW-RainboW-G30M” compute module runs Linux on a quad -A53 Zynq UltraScale+ SoC with 192K to 504K FPGA logic cells. The module ships with 6GB DDR4 and 8GB eMMC and supports -40 to 85°C temperatures.

iWave has posted details on a computer-on-module built around Xilinx’s 64-bit, hybrid Arm/FPGA based Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoC. Unlike the SODIMM-style iW-RainboW-G28M that iWave shipped earlier this year based on the dual Cortex-A9 Zynq-7000 FPGA SoC, the new iW-RainboW-G30M is a larger, 95 x 75mm module with dual 240-pin board-to-board interfaces. There’s an optional Zynq Ultrascale+ Development Kit, but no details were available.

Read more

Desktops You Don't Control Anymore

Filed under
Microsoft
  • We’re inching closer to DaaS Windows

    Today’s Windows isn’t your dad’s Windows. Microsoft is finally acknowledging that IT professionals are fed up with Windows 10’s binannual major release cadence. So, to address this, it has come up with several new ideas, one of which comes straight out of the Ubuntu Linux desktop playbook.

  • Windows update problems: Microsoft reveals why recent patches broke some PCs

    Microsoft is preparing to rerelease a two-year old update for Windows 7 that's necessary to avoid 'error 0x8000FFFF' when installing its latest security updates.

    If your organization's Windows 7 PCs failed to install Microsoft's two most recent monthly rollup updates or the September security-only update, it's because the affected systems were missing a servicing stack update (SSU) that Microsoft released in October 2016.

Ubuntu 18.10 Performance Is Looking Up, But Clear Linux Still Leads In Many Tests

Filed under
Graphics/Benchmarks
Ubuntu

With less than one month until Ubuntu 18.10 "Cosmic Cuttlefish" releases, I have begun my usual benchmarking dance in checking out how the Ubuntu performance is looking to its current release, in this case the Ubuntu 18.04 LTS "Bionic Beaver". Our first performance look at Ubuntu 18.10 is with a mix of seven Intel and AMD desktop systems while using Ubuntu 18.04 LTS with all updates, Ubuntu 18.10 in its current near-final form, and using Intel's Clear Linux as a gold standard reference with it generally offering the leading out-of-the-box Linux x86_64 performance of major distributions.

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Also: Ethereum Crypto Mining Performance Benchmarks On The GeForce RTX 2080 Ti

An open source resistance takes shape as tech giants race to map the world

Filed under
OSS

Gowda and a few other contributors from India are part of a tiny yet growing resistance movement which doesn’t want giant corporations to own all the mapping data. For the average consumer, this may not seem like a big deal. But mapping is big business.

The market opportunity for suppliers of mapping to the autonomous car industry is going to be worth over $24 billion by 2050, according to one estimate (pdf). And that’s just one industry. A study commissioned by Google in 2015 estimated that industries that run on top of the Global Positioning Satellite Systems and mapping generate nearly $73 billion in annual revenue. Worldwide, that industry is was estimated to generate $150- $270 billion in revenues. Although new research isn’t available, with growing smartphone usage and the birth of companies such as Uber and many others it is safe to assume that the industry has only grown bigger. All the more reason why map data can’t be held by only a few companies.

Read more

Sabri Haddouche Finds Crashy Bugs

Filed under
Moz/FF
Security
  • New Firefox browser bug causes crashes on Windows, Mac and Linux

    Only a week after disclosing a new web code exploit that can cause an iPhone to crash, security researcher Sabri Haddouche, has uncovered another browser bug that can force Firefox to crash on all three popular desktop operating systems – Mac, Linux and Windows – reports ZDNet.

  • Firefox bug crashes your browser and sometimes your PC

    A security researcher who two weeks ago found a bug that could crash all WebKit-based apps on iPhones, iPads, and Macs, has now discovered another browser bug that can crash Firefox browsers, and sometimes the entire operating system underneath it.

  • This Firefox Bug Can Crash Your Browser On Windows, Mac, And Linux

    Security researcher Sabri Haddouche has found a bug in the Firefox web browser that can crash the browser and also the entire operating system running underneath.

    As reported by ZDNet, this Firefox bug can force the browser to crash on all the three popular desktop platforms — Mac, Linux, and Windows.

Vista 10: Embrace, Now Extend

Filed under
Microsoft
Debian
  • WLinux: Windows 10 Gets Its Own Exclusive Linux Distro

    Ubuntu, Debian, and Kali are some of the popular Linux distros available out there for Windows Subsystem for Linux. But, most of these distros contain packages that are irrelevant to WSL and lack development tools. How about a distro that is optimized specially for Windows 10?

  • New Linux Distro Created Specifically for Windows 10

    The Windows Subsystem for Linux allows users to run Linux distributions on top of Windows 10, and at this point, there are already several choices for users who want to try out this feature.

    In addition to Ubuntu, Debian, and Kali, beginning today, Windows 10 adopters are provided with a new Linux distro that’s specifically optimized for the WSL.

    Called WLinux, this new Linux distro is focused on the packages that are relevant to WSL, as well as the customizations to take full advantage of this Windows 10 feature.

Review: Bodhi Linux 5.0.0

Filed under
Reviews

Sometimes when reviewing an operating system it is difficult to separate the question "Is this a good distribution?" from "Is this a good distribution for me?" Bodhi is one of those projects where the answers to these questions are quite different, mostly over matters of style rather than functionality. On a personal level, I don't think I would ever be inclined to use Bodhi myself because I don't like the Moksha/Enlightenment style of desktop. It does a lot of little things differently (not badly, just differently) from other open source desktops and its style is not one I ever seem to find comfortable. This, combined with the streamlined, web-based AppCenter and unusual settings panel, makes Bodhi a distribution which always feels a bit alien to me.

Let's put aside my personal style preferences though and try to look at the distribution objectively. Bodhi is trying to provide a lightweight, visually attractive distribution with a wide range of hardware support. It manages to do all of these things and do them well. The distribution is paying special attention to lower-end hardware, including 32-bit systems, and maintains a remarkably small memory footprint given the amount of functionality and eye candy included. Most lightweight distributions sacrifice quite a bit visually in order to provide the lightest interface possible, but Bodhi does a nice job of balancing low resource requirements with an attractive desktop environment.

Bodhi is pleasantly easy to install, thanks to the Ubiquity installer, has a minimal collection of software (in the main edition) that allows us to craft our own experience and, for people who need more applications out of the box, there is the AppPack edition.

All of this is to say that, for me personally, I spent more time that I would have liked this week searching through settings, trying to get used to how Moksha's panel works, tracking down less popular applications and re-learning when to use right-click versus left-click on the desktop. But, objectively, I would be hard pressed to name another distribution that more elegantly offers a lightweight desktop with visual effects, or that offers such easy access to both legacy and modern hardware support. In short, I think Bodhi Linux is a good distribution for those who want to get the most performance out of their operating system without sacrificing hardware support or the appearance of the interface. There are a few little glitches here and there, but sothing show-stopping and, overall, Bodhi is a well put together distribution.

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5 ways to play old-school games on a Raspberry Pi

Filed under
Linux
Gaming

They don't make 'em like they used to, do they? Video games, I mean.

Sure, there's a bit more grunt in the gear now. Princess Zelda used to be 16 pixels in each direction; there's now enough graphics power for every hair on her head. Today's processors could beat up 1988's processors in a cage-fight deathmatch without breaking a sweat.

But you know what's missing? The fun.

You've got a squillion and one buttons to learn just to get past the tutorial mission. There's probably a storyline, too. You shouldn't need a backstory to kill bad guys. All you need is jump and shoot. So, it's little wonder that one of the most enduring popular uses for a Raspberry Pi is to relive the 8- and 16-bit golden age of gaming in the '80s and early '90s. But where to start?

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Microsoft Flaws and Windows Back Doors (Coordinated with NSA) Show Their Cost/Toll

Filed under
Microsoft
Security

LAS 2018

Filed under
GNOME
  • LAS 2018

    This month I was at my second Libre Application Summit in Denver. A smaller event than GUADEC but personally was my favorite conference so far.

    One of the main goals of LAS has been to be a place for multiple platforms to discuss the desktop space and not just be a GNOME event. This year two KDE members, @aleixpol and Albert Astals Cid, who spoke about release cycle of KDE Applications, Plasma, and the history of Qt. It is always interesting to see how another project solves the same problems and where there is overlap.

    The elementary folks were there since this is @cassidyjames home turf who had a great “It’s Not Always Techincal” talk as well as a talk with @danrabbit about AppCenter which are both very important areas the GNOME Project needs to improve in. I also enjoyed meeting a few other community members such as @Philip-Scott and talk about their use of elementary’s platform.

  • Developer Center Initiative – Meeting Summary 21st September

    Since last blog post there’s been two Developer Center meetings held in coordination with LAS GNOME Sunday the 9th September and again Friday the 21st September. Unfortunately I couldn’t attend the LAS GNOME meeting, but I’ll cover the general progress made here.

The "Chinese EPYC" Hygon Dhyana CPU Support Still Getting Squared Away For Linux

Filed under
Linux
Hardware

Back in June is when the Linux kernel patches appeared for the Hygon Dhyana, the new x86 processors based on AMD Zen/EPYC technology licensed by Chengdu Haiguang IC Design Co for use in Chinese data-centers. While the patches have been out for months, they haven't reached the mainline kernel quite yet but that might change next cycle.

The Hygon Dyhana Linux kernel patches have gone through several revisions and the code is mostly adapting existing AMD Linux kernel code paths for Zen/EPYC to do the same on these new processors. While these initial Hygon CPUs appear to basically be re-branded EPYC CPUs, the identifiers are different as rather than AMD Family 17h, it's now Family 18h and the CPU Vendor ID is "HygonGenuine" and carries a new PCI Express device vendor ID, etc. So the different areas of the kernel from CPUFreq to KVM/Xen virtualization to Spectre V2 mitigations had to be updated for the correct behavior.

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Good Support For Wayland Remote Desktop Handling On Track For KDE Plasma 5.15

Filed under
KDE

The KDE Plasma 5.15 release due out next year will likely be in good shape for Wayland remote desktop handling.

The KDE Plasma/KWin developers have been pursuing Wayland remote desktop support along a similar route to the GNOME Shell camp by making use of PipeWire and the XDG-Desktop-Portal. Bits are already in place for KDE Plasma 5.13 and the upcoming 5.14 release, but for the 5.15 release is now where it sounds like the support may be in good shape for end-users.

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