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Monday, 17 Jan 22 - 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 GNOME 42 Desktop Environment Is Now Available for Public Testing Marius Nestor 18/01/2022 - 12:47am
Story $399 PinePhone Pro Explorer Edition Linux Smartphone will go on sale within weeks Roy Schestowitz 3 18/01/2022 - 12:23am
Story Jason Ekstrand Joins Collabora Roy Schestowitz 1 18/01/2022 - 12:21am
Story Old Firewall Reborn As Retro PC | Hackaday Roy Schestowitz 18/01/2022 - 12:13am
Story Building a Retro Linux Gaming Computer - Part 9: Ancient Archaeology Roy Schestowitz 18/01/2022 - 12:10am
Story The Beat of a Different DRM – Purism Roy Schestowitz 18/01/2022 - 12:09am
Story Programming Leftovers Roy Schestowitz 17/01/2022 - 11:58pm
Story Audiocasts/Shows: Linux in the Ham Shack and WordPress Roy Schestowitz 17/01/2022 - 11:58pm
Story Apache Weekly News Round-up: and Further Microsoft Declines in Web Servers Roy Schestowitz 17/01/2022 - 11:48pm
Story Security and Microsoft FUD Roy Schestowitz 17/01/2022 - 11:31pm

GNOME 42 Desktop Environment Is Now Available for Public Testing

Filed under
Linux
News
GNOME

GNOME 42 alpha is now ready for public testing to give the Linux and Open Source community an early taste of what they can expect from the next major release of one of the most popular desktop environments for Linux-powered operating systems, used on desktop and mobile.

The biggest changes in the GNOME 42 release around the GTK 4 and libadwaita components. Some of the default apps distributed as part of the GNOME stack have been ported to GTK 4 for a more modern look and extra functionality. Here’s a first look at some of them.

Read more

Old Firewall Reborn As Retro PC | Hackaday

Filed under
Hardware
Gaming

In two follow-up videos (here and here), he builds an enclosure (instructions on Thingiverse) and tries out several other operating systems. He was able to get the Tiny Core Linux distribution running with the NetSurf browser, but failed to get Windows 2000 or XP to work. Returning to Windows 98, he tweaks drivers and settings and eventually has a respectable retro-gaming computer for his efforts. The next time you’re cleaning out your junk bins, have a peek inside those pizza-box gadgets first — you may find a similar gem.

Read more

Building a Retro Linux Gaming Computer - Part 9: Ancient Archaeology

Filed under
Gaming

After the demise of Loki Software, one of their former employees found himself forced to work behind a cash register for a living. Desperate to get back to porting games, he found the email address of an artist working for the Croatian developer Croteam, creators of the game Serious Sam. Croteam agreed to let him attempt to create a port of the game to Linux, the first of many games to come to the platform thanks to the work of Ryan “icculus” Gordon.

The port of Serious Sam though would in the end never leave the beta stage. Croteam later released the source code to the game in 2016, with Ryan himself returning to craft his own source port, but his original effort languished for years with a number of unfortunate bugs. One of these left the game unbeatable as it prevented the player from inflicting any damage to the final boss. Unbeatable that is with the standard version of the game.

Our friends at Global Star Software released Serious Sam: Limited Edition in 2002, a bizarre budget retail variant of Serious Sam: The First Encounter that only features seven out of the fifteen levels. It also happens to be the only version of the game that I possess on CD-ROM. I initially dismissed the idea of playing Serious Sam as I thought it would be too much for the hardware, but the jewel case insists that the Rage 128 Pro is compatible.

Read more

The Beat of a Different DRM – Purism

Filed under
GNU
Linux

Canon made big news this past week when it started telling customers how to defeat the Digital Rights Management (DRM) in its toner cartridges because of supply chain issues with the chips they normally use to enforce it. That Canon explained how to bypass the DRM when it suited them, and that it didn’t negatively affect the operation of the printers or the customer, made it clear that DRM and the chips that enforce it offer little if any benefit to customers. Instead, DRM is only in place so the vendor can exert remote control over their product after the customer buys it. Computer vendors are marching to the beat of this DRM, and their ultimate goal is to exert the same sort of control printer and smartphone vendors enjoy into laptops and desktops.

Read more

Also: You Don't Own Your Movies, Music, Books, Games (DRM Is Evil!) - Invidious

Programming Leftovers

Filed under
Development
  • QuatBot released – Matrix Meeting Manager

    QuatBot is a Bot for use in text-chat. So there are no pretty screenshots of it in action, or what the UI looks like: pick your favorite Matrix client (I switch between nheko and neochat depending on which has a more recent release fixing bugs that annoy me).

  • AIfES releases exciting new version of TinyML library for Arduino

    Last July AIfES (Artificial Intelligence for Embedded Systems) from the Fraunhofer Institute for Microelectronic Circuits and Systems (IMS) was launched. This open source solution makes it possible to run, and even train, artificial neural networks (ANN) on almost any hardware, including the Arduino UNO.

    The team hasn’t stopped work on this exciting machine learning platform, and an update just landed that you’ll definitely want to check out.

  • Drew DeVault's blog: Status update, January 2022

    I also implemented an efficient path manipulation module for the standard library (something I would really have liked to have in C!), and progress continues on date/time support. We also have a new MIME module (just for Media Types, not all of MIME) and I expect a patch implementing net::uri to arrive in my inbox soon. I also finished up cmsg support (for sendmsg and recvmsg), which is necessary for the Wayland implementation I’m working on (and was a major pain in the ass). I spent some time working with another collaborator, who is developing a RISC-V kernel in our language, implementing a serial driver for the SiFive UART, plus improving the device tree loader and UEFI support.

  • Project audit experiences | Will's Blog

    Back in January 2020, I wrote How to pick up a project with an audit. I received some comments about it over the last couple of years, but I don't think I really did anything with them. Then Sumana sent an email asking whether I'd blogged about my experiences auditing projects and estimating how long it takes and things like that.

  • Hack The Web Without A Browser | Hackaday

    It is a classic problem. You want data for use in your program but it is on a webpage. Some websites have an API, of course, but usually, you are on your own. You can load the whole page via HTTP and parse it. Or you can use some tools to “scrape” the site. One interesting way to do this is woob — web outside of browsers.

  • The new Qt Quick Compiler technology

    It's been a while since we've heard about what goes on inside and around Qt QML, our engine to interpret the QML language (not counting the recent announcement, that is). The last post strictly about this topic was what Lars wrote in 2018.

    We've been so silent because we've been prototyping new ways to make your QML run faster, and some of them turned out to be dead ends. There is no tracing JIT after all. This isn't cool, so we were somewhat silent. But now there is something to say. And, mind you, it's not cool either. It's hot. But let me take a step back first.

  • Bash scripting(III)

    This is the third article of a series focused in Gnu Bash scripting. On the first article we’ve just created a simple script with commands, one after another. We also saw some variables use.
    The second article covered some bash control structures. This one will cover redirections, pipes, and command substitution.

  • TWC 147: Prime without Left, and Pent without Quad
  • 2022.03 RakuCon How? – Rakudo Weekly News

    Andrew Shitov is asking for the community’s opinion on whether or not to have an in-person Raku Conference in Riga in 2022 in The Raku Conference Update. Cancelling an in-person event now, means no financial risk, which seems safest.

Audiocasts/Shows: Linux in the Ham Shack and WordPress

Filed under
GNU
Linux
  • LHS Episode #448: Grounding and Bonding Deep Dive

    Hello and welcome to the 448th installment of Linux in the Ham Shack. In this deep dive episode, the hosts invite guest Ward Silver, N0AX, who literally wrote the book on the subject to discuss every aspect of grounding and bonding. Topics range from household electrical safety to relative voltage, earth grounding, lighting mitigation and much more. Hope you find this episode interesting and informative as well as entertaining and also have a great week.

  • WP Briefing: Episode 23: A letter from WordPress’ Executive Director

    As we greet a new year, WordPress’ Executive Director writes a letter to the project and community that speaks to the hopes of the year ahead.

Apache Weekly News Round-up: and Further Microsoft Declines in Web Servers

Filed under
Server
Web
  • The Apache Weekly News Round-up: week ending 14 January 2022
  • January 2022 Web Server Survey [Ed: In Web servers, Microsoft down from 6.15% of top million domains to just 6.04% in one month]

    In the January 2022 survey we received responses from 1,167,715,133 sites across 269,835,071 unique domains and 11,700,892 web-facing computers. This reflects a loss of 1.15 million sites, but a gain of 1.51 million domains and 31,100 computers.

    nginx lost 7.33 million sites this month (-1.91%) but continues to be the most commonly used web server with 32.3% of all sites using it. Although nginx’s share has fallen, Apache is still more than eight percentage points behind after losing 3.70 million sites (-1.31%), which has taken its own market share down to 23.9%.

    nginx also leads in the domains metric, where it has a share of 26.6% compared with Apache’s 23.9%. This reflects a small reduction in nginx’s share – despite a modest gain of 25,400 domains – while Apache suffered the largest loss of 287,000 domains.

    The largest site and domain growth was seen by Pepyaka, which is a web server that has primarily been used by the Wix web development platform since it switched from using nginx in 2018. The number of sites using Pepyaka grew by 4.02 million to 7.30 million this month, while its domain count went up by 1.80 million to 3.30 million.

Security and Microsoft FUD

Filed under
Microsoft
Security
  • Security updates for Monday [LWN.net]

    Security updates have been issued by Debian (chromium, firefox-esr, ghostscript, libreswan, prosody, sphinxsearch, thunderbird, and uriparser), Fedora (cryptsetup, flatpak, kernel, mingw-uriparser, python-celery, python-kombu, and uriparser), Mageia (htmldoc, mbedtls, openexr, perl-CPAN, systemd, thunderbird, and vim), openSUSE (chromium and prosody), Red Hat (httpd, kernel, and samba), Scientific Linux (kernel), Slackware (expat), SUSE (ghostscript), and Ubuntu (pillow).

  • Domestic CCTV and audio recording | Pen Test Partners

    Last week, we had BBC Morning Live in to film a piece on the legalities and challenges of domestic CCTV systems. You can watch it on iPlayer here, starting at 10:30.

    It was sparked by a conversation we had with Radio 4 before Xmas, where a journalist had taken an interest in CCTV systems exposed on insecam.org.

    We had helped the journalist identify the homeowner with an exposed CCTV stream & they went to speak to them about it. Unsurprisingly, the homeowner had installed the system & left it exposed with default credentials. Whilst they could review their CCTV footage remotely on a mobile app, so could anyone else…

    It ended well though, as the homeowner took the system offline and secured it. One less exposed CCTV camera! The radio piece is here.

    As a reminder, if you don’t set a good, strong password for your CCTV system that you don’t use elsewhere, you run the risk of it being exposed and/or accessed remotely by nefarious parties.

  • Data & Society — Bounty Everything: Hackers and the Making of the Global Bug Marketplace

    In Bounty Everything: Hackers and the Making of the Global Bug Marketplace, researchers Ryan Ellis and Yuan Stevens provide a window into the working lives of hackers who participate in “bug bounty” programs—programs that hire hackers to discover and report bugs or other vulnerabilities in their systems. This report illuminates the risks and insecurities for hackers as gig workers, and how bounty programs rely on vulnerable workers to fix their vulnerable systems.
    Ellis and Stevens’s research offers a historical overview of bounty programs and an analysis of contemporary bug bounty platforms​​—the new intermediaries that now structure the vast majority of bounty work. The report draws directly from interviews with hackers, who recount that bounty programs seem willing to integrate a diverse workforce in their practices, but only on terms that deny them the job security and access enjoyed by core security workforces. These inequities go far beyond the difference experienced by temporary and permanent employees at companies such as Google and Apple, contend the authors. The global bug bounty workforce is doing piecework—they are paid for each bug, and the conditions under which a bug is paid vary greatly from one company to the next.
    Bounty Everything offers to reimagine how bounty programs can better serve the interests of both computer security and the workers that protect our digital world. Ellis & Stevens argue that if bounty programs are not designed and implemented properly, “this model can ironically perpetuate a world full of bugs that uses a global pool of insecure workers to prop up a business model centered on rapid iteration and perpetual beta.”

  • An Examination of the Bug Bounty Marketplace
  • Freexian’s report about Debian Long Term Support, December 2021

    Every month we review the work funded by Freexian’s Debian LTS offering. Please find the report for December below.

  • Malware targeting Linux systems hit a new high in 2021 [Ed: Microsoft-connected Crowdstrike spreading lots of anti-Linux FUD at the moment to sell its proprietary products and to help Microsoft]
  • New year brings bad news for Linux as 2021 saw up to 10 times more malware samples
  • Linux malware is on the rise. Here are three top threats right now [Ed: Microsoft operatives inside the media use Microsoft-connected Crowdstrike to smear Linux right now; nobody bothers to check their Microsoft connections (words taken at face value)]

GNOME Boxes review: no-frills and no-thrills desktop virtualization

Filed under
Software
GNOME
Reviews

GNOME Boxes is an easy-to-use graphical virtual machine (VM) installer and launcher. It’s not a VM manager and offers practically no settings for micromanaging your VM. However, its easy-to-use design philosophy can also prevent its users from getting any use out of it.

Boxes is built on top of Linux’s excellent KVM+QEMU/libvirt virtualization stack. The app is intended for users who’re overwhelmed by such alphabet-soups and just want to run a visualized operating system.

KVM is a virtualization system from the Linux kernel project. You can expect high performance and a smoother upgrade experience compared to third-party alternatives like VirtualBox. QEMU and libvirt add management layers on top of KVM. Boxes sit on top of these tools.

You’ll likely find references to Boxes being used to manage remote desktop sessions to remote machines. This functionality has been moved into the new Connections app. I believe it was a good decision to split the two use cases into separate apps. Connections looks and behaves almost identically to Boxes.

The app is great for managing virtual machines with other recent versions of Linux. Everything works out of the box if you choose one of its presets for popular Linux distributions. You’re presumably already running Linux, so the end-users are maybe more likely to want to emulate Windows?

Read more

Open Hardware/Modding: TinyNES, FPGA, and EzCAD

Filed under
Hardware

  • TinyNES - An open-source game console features original or cloned Ricoh RP2A03 & RP2C02 chips (Crowdfunding) - CNX Software

    Tall Dog Electronics’ TinyNES (Tiny Nostalgia Evocation Square) is an open-source hardware game console compatible with NES cartridges and featuring the original MOS 6502-based Ricoh RP2A03 CPU (central processing unit) and the Ricoh RP2C02 PPU (picture processing unit) found in the Nintendo NES, although clones may be also used in the future due to the lack of availability.

    Designed to offer the same experience as the original Nintendo NES, the console comes with two NES controller ports, a cartridge slot, RCA video composite and mono audio outputs, and all electronics is housed in an FR-4 enclosure, the same material used for most PCBs.

  • Tang Nano 9K FPGA board can emulate PicoRV32 RISC-V soft-core with all peripherals - CNX Software

    Tang Nano 9K FPGA is the third board from Sipeed based on GOWIN FPGA following the original Tang Nano board with 1K LUT and Tang Nano 4K launched last year with GW1NSR-LV4C (aka GW1NSR-4C) FPGA offering 4068 logical units and 64 Mbit PSRAM, plus an Arm Cortex-M3 hard processor.

    As its name implies, the new board comes with 9K LUTs, as well as 64 Mbit PSRAM, 32 Mbit Flash, a micro SD card, and video I/O (HDMI, RGB LCD connector) that makes it suitable to run Verilog HDL code emulating a PicoRV32 RISC-V soft-core with all peripherals.

  • Open Source Replacement For EzCAD | Hackaday

    [Bryce] obtained a fiber laser engraver to use for rapid PCB prototyping last Fall. But he was soon frustrated by the limitations of the standard EzCAD software that typically comes with these and similar devices — it is proprietary, doesn’t have features aimed at PCB manufacturing, only runs on Windows, and is buggy. As one does, [Bryce] decided to ditch EzCAD and write his own tool, Balor, named after the King of the Fomorians.

today's howtos

Filed under
HowTos
  • Easily Understand Your Linux RAM Usage With Smem

    Linux memory usage can be difficult to interpret and hard to understand. With smem it’s easy to find out what memory a process is using, and which processes are using the most.

  • 5 scripts for getting started with the Nmap Scripting Engine | Enable Sysadmin

    Nmap is a popular tool for scanning and monitoring networks. There are many ways to find information using Nmap, from blogs and articles to formal training. Yet few of these learning tools discuss one of Nmap's most powerful features: The Nmap Scripting Engine (NSE).

    What is the NSE? This tool does two things. First, it allows the nmap command to accept options that specify scripted procedures as part of a scan. Second, it enables Nmap users to author and share scripts, which provides a robust and ever-evolving library of preconfigured scans.

  • Bash 02 – Variables and Such | Linux.org

    Within BASH, you can use variables. Variables are names that can represent specific information. If you remember your days in math, specifically some stage of algebra, you may recall variables. There were all the letters of the alphabet, mainly X and Y. In BASH, we can use variable names, not just letters.

    We will cover other topics to help manipulate the variables and even perform math functions. These can help you make better BASH Scripts that will calculate and manipulate data.

  • Different types of Backups

    In my previous post, I explained how I recently set up backups for my home server to be synced using Amazon's services. I received a (correct) comment on that by Iustin Pop which pointed out that while it is reasonably cheap to upload data into Amazon's offering, the reverse -- extracting data -- is not as cheap.

    He is right, in that extracting data from S3 Glacier Deep Archive costs over an order of magnitude more than it costs to store it there on a monthly basis -- in my case, I expect to have to pay somewhere in the vicinity of 300-400 USD for a full restore. However, I do not consider this to be a major problem, as these backups are only to fulfill the rarer of the two types of backups cases.

    There are two reasons why you should have backups.

    The first is the most common one: "oops, I shouldn't have deleted that file". This happens reasonably often; people will occasionally delete or edit a file that they did not mean to, and then they will want to recover their data. At my first job, a significant part of my job was to handle recovery requests from users who had accidentally deleted a file that they still needed.

  • Record your terminal session with Asciinema | Opensource.com

    Support calls are important and often satisfying in the end, but the act of clear communication can be arduous for everyone involved. If you've ever been on a support call, you've probably spent several minutes spelling out even the shortest commands and explaining in detail where the spaces and returns fall. While it's often easier to just seize control of a user's computer, that's not really the best way to educate. What you might try instead is sending a user a screen recording, but one that they can copy commands from and paste into their own terminal.

    Asciinema is an open source terminal session recorder. Similar to the script and scriptreplay commands, Asciinema records exactly what your terminal displays. It saves your "movie" recording to a text file and then replays it on demand. You can upload your movie to Asciinema.org and share them just as you would any other video on the internet, and you can even embed your movie into a webpage.

Software: Jira Alternatives, Nano Alternative, and AuthPass Instead of KeePass

Filed under
Software
  • Best Free and Open Source Alternatives to Atlassian Jira - LinuxLinks

    Atlassian Corporation Plc is a software company founded in 2002 that develops products for software developers, project managers and other software development teams. It employs over 7,000 people and is headquartered in Sydney, Australia.

    Atlassian produces a range of proprietary software including software for collaboration, development, and issue tracking software for teams. Atlassian dominates several markets where it still has intense competition.

    Broadly speaking, they offer software in three large buckets: These are software development tools; help desk software, or IT service management; and workflow management software. When you think of Atlassian, think project management and collaboration tools.

    Many of their programs use a number of open source components. And their GitHub repositories hold lots of open source code. But their main range of software is proprietary. This series looks at free and open source alternatives to Atlassian’s products.

  • Micro: Modern and Intuitive Terminal-Based Text Editor

    Nano isn’t good as it should be, while vim seems quite complex for the beginner. There are many Text Editor for Linux users, and choosing the best one is quite debatable.

  • AuthPass is a KeePass compatible free Password manager for Windows, macOS, and Linux

    AuthPass is a multi-platform, free, and open-source password manager for all types of users.

    AuthPass is fully compatible with the popular open-source KeePass password manager, which many consider the father of open-source password managers.

    The app is written with Flutter which is gaining popularity among developers building for building mobile, desktop, and web apps.

Enforcing the pyramid of Open Source

Filed under
Security

The well-known log4j security vulnerability of December 2021 triggered a lot of renewed discussions around software supply chain security, and sometimes it has also been said to be an Open Source related issue.

This was not the first software component to have a serious security flaw, and it will not be the last.

What can we do about it?

This is the 10,000 dollar question that is really hard to answer. In this post I hope to help putting some light on to why it is such a hard problem. This comes from my view as an Open Source author and contributor since almost three decades now.

In this post I’m going to talk about security as in how we make our products have less bugs in the code we write and land on purpose. There is also a lot to be said about infrastructure problems such as consumers not verifying dependencies so that when malicious actors purposely destroy a component, users of that don’t notice the problem or supply chain security issues that risk letting bad actors insert malicious code into components. But those are not covered in this blog post!

Read more

IBM/Red Hat Leftovers

Filed under
Red Hat
  • Using the no-cost Developer Subscription with the new Red Hat Enterprise Linux Image Builder hosted service

    We recently published "Introducing the hosted beta experience Red Hat Enterprise Linux Image Builder," hosted service as part of the Insights application suite. As a followup to that exciting announcement, we are pleased to share that this new service can be used with the no-cost Developer Subscription for Individuals, providing the benefits of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Insights, and simple OS image creation to everyone!

    More information about this subscription offering is on Red Hat Developer site, "No-cost Red Hat Enterprise Linux Individual Developer Subscription: FAQs."

    Access to Image Builder requires a Red Hat account and at least one subscription of Red Hat Enterprise Linux. If you do not have either of these, you can easily request them at no cost.

  • Reduce the size of container images with DockerSlim | Red Hat Developer

    Containers are a great way to package your applications. Packaging your application codebase together with its dependencies creates a container image. The smaller the container image is, the faster your application will spin up for the first time, and the faster it will scale. But many container images are quite large, in the hundreds of megabytes—just search Docker Hub and prepare to be amazed at the image sizes.

    In this article, you'll learn how to optimize Docker container images for size using a project called DockerSlim. DockerSlim, which is open sourced under the Apache 2.0 license, won't change anything in your container image, but can still reduce its size—or minify it—by up to a factor of 30. For applications written in compiled languages, the size reduction can be even more dramatic. DockerSlim also makes your packages more secure by reducing the available attack surface.

  • 5 Kubernetes trends to watch in 2022 | The Enterprisers Project

    Kubernetes is growing up – and so are the teams that have been using it since its younger years.

    Those earlier adopters are coming into their own now, able to build on their experience and the growth of the cloud-native ecosystem to extend Kubernetes core capabilities in new ways.

    “We will continue to scale and expand our use of Kubernetes to address the hybrid, multi-cloud needs of our business,” says Eric ​​Drobisewski, senior architect at Liberty Mutual. “As we look ahead, the declarative API and strong reconciliation loop that Kubernetes provides will continue to be critical to unify and bring a more consistent approach to how we define, manage, and secure our digital capabilities across public and private cloud environments.”

    The Fortune 100 company’s accelerating Kubernetes usage as a platform for its broader hybrid cloud/multi-cloud infrastructure reflects one of the macro trends fueling soaring Kubernetes adoption across industries.

  • Linux Foundation, Red Hat Join Supply Chain Security Summit

    Last week the White House convened government and private sector stakeholders to discuss initiatives to improve the security of open source software and ways new collaboration could drive improvements.

  • Restarting and Offline Updates - Fedora Magazine

    A recurring question that goes around the internet is why Fedora Linux has to restart for updates. The truth is, Linux technically doesn’t need to restart for updates. But there is more than meets the eye. In this short guide we’ll look into why Fedora Linux asks you to restart for offline updates.

The Command Line Challenge

Filed under
Just talk

Authored by Andy Farnell

Free red light

Cheapskates wonderful guide is currently running a "One Week Command Line Challenge". Some of the students I teach now are so young (to an old beard like me) they think this is some "crazy new thing". Is there new hope and a new perspective to be explored here? Something other than retro and cool. Perhaps historical baggage, the narrative of how "superior" graphical interfaces replaced "old" consoles is an obstacle to new visions for the next generation?

As a lifelong textual user interface (TUI) user this got me thinking. If you were to give me "The GUI Challenge" I'd be sunk! My world (dwm, emacs, w3m etc) feels so familiar, it's in my bones. After thirty or forty years on the command line if I were forced to use "normal computers" it would cripple my ability to do anything.

The command-line is super empowering, but particular. Put me on a Mac or Windows machine and I revert to a child-like flap, randomly clicking around on icons that look promising. I'd be twenty times less productive than my peers, yet, modesty be damned, I'm ten times more effective/productive at average computing tasks than other professionals when in my comfort zone - at the command-line. Isn't this true for us all, that we have our comfy shoes?

Of course this isn't about some innate inability to use graphical tools. I've mastered some jolly complex ones like Blender and Unreal editors (virtual world building), and ProTools or Ardour (for sound and music). One of the most complex I recall was a VLSI/CAD creator that used two four button mice (or mouse and ball).

So, is the command line challenge unfair? I am no more capable of quickly learning a new graphical paradigm than an entrenched GUI user is of adopting the keyboard and console. This probably applies at any age or ability level where you are comparing like-for-like paradigm switching.

No, the issue here is deeper and is about utility paradigms. How do people relate to computers as tools at the highest level - at the operating system level and above?

If you dig back in the Usenet and mailing-list archives, you'll find fascinating, passionate and intelligent debates on the merits of different interfaces going right back to Xerox-PARC. They are really separate computing cultures. There's a fair historical summary here.

The above history ends in 2001. GUIs did not end there, the debate has moved further, and many new things have not been well analysed. Mobile, which essentially emulates button-based handheld appliances, cannot really be compared to GUI (in its traditional sense), even though it's technically a computer running a graphical interface.

It's only since about 2010 that the GUI function of abstracting (hiding away complexity) was subverted by wicked corporations to hide away deception and to effect control. This shift from the abstract to the abstruse and obstructive is what we sometimes call "Dark Computing Patterns", but really it goes deeper than that - visual computing is it's own realm of psychology, politics, semiotics, iconography and subterfuge that in many cases thoroughly bastardises the function of computers qua "tools".

The GUI/TUI debate can be framed in many ways; preference, freedom, extensibility, cognitive overhead, portability, control (tweakability), depth of understanding (legibility), and more.

For me, tool longevity and stability are important. I still use the same applications and skills I learned in 1980. Some people, foolishly I think, imagine that to be a bad/anti-progressive stance. One of the most underrated abilities in computer programming is knowing when something is finished. As is the ability to just use something instead of worshipping it as a digital artefact (cue NFT "first editions of brand apps).

By contrast many of my colleagues must re-learn their entire productivity stack every few months at the whim of corporate developers or seemingly random events in "the market". I literally hear them anthropomorphising:

"Oh, Slack won't let me do that now"

"Oh, Google ate my email"

"Sorry, something broke, can you resend it please?"

Their "computers" are chaotic mystery machines, magic fun fairs where superstitious ritual ministrations must be performed. This sort of Scooby-Doo "clown computing" has no place in serious business, in my opinion. So, another hugely underrated quality that TUIs favour is stability.

Where did this mess come from? In the 1980s "home computers" created a culture of their own, and from there Apple and Microsoft, needed to counter a socially constructed but actually mythical "fear" of computers as nerdy and silly, but also "dangerous". Remember granny worrying that it would "blow up" if you typed the wrong thing?

Continuing a culture of sysadmins from the time-sharing Unix days, we created the "user" as a particular stereotype. To put it quite bluntly, we manufactured "users" to be idiots. Indeed, use of the word "users" instead of a more neutral term like "operators" is significant. The developer-user relationship today is a power relationship, and often an abusive one (in both directions).

In fact denigrating attitudes have their roots in the fragility of early software development. The "user" was an enemy who would always find ways to break our software and exhibit extraordinary "stupidity" by failing to understand our non-obvious interface puzzles. We used tropes like (P.E.B.K.A.C), lusers, and treated others with disrespectful and superior smugness.

Computing had its hashtag moment, and markets demanded that perceptions change. Microsoft solved the problem by erecting some soothing blue fire-hazard cladding around a crumbling DOS. Underneath, exposure to "The Registry" was like staring directly into the open core of Chernobyl.

At that point, enter Apple, who could play Good Cop, adding value by simply subtracting (or consolidating) features. For many, Steve Jobs was elevated to the man who "invented computers". For a certain generation, he did. The ancient science of HCI (human computer interaction) was beaten and disfigured into the designer denomination of UX/UI that emphasised intuition, feel, and experience, which in turn ushered in the age of performative productivity. This trajectory of form over function culminated in neurotic obsessions with $2000 disposable thin laptops and the Onion's infamous Apple Wheel parody that confused many as to whether it was a genuinely good idea.

Meanwhile the command line simply kept calm and carried on. Nothing changed in 30 years. Those who ran the servers, databases, scientific and technical applications never strayed far from the console, except where "presentation" demanded. However, through the mass media and advertising, digital technology became synonymous with these corporate veneers over actual computers, while Hollywood made the command-line a glowing green preserve of malcontents bent on destroying civilisation.

So, although the Command Line Challenge is fun - and I hope it inspires some people to go beyond their comfort zone - let's be aware that human factors, history and politics play a greater role behind the scenes. Yes, it's about mental models, rote motor skills and habits, rather than any intrinsic good or bad. But it's also about culture and popular ideas of what a computer "is".

The emphasis of Cheapskate's article is on TUI allowing the use of older computers. That's a very topical and important concern in the age of climate emergency. If readers don't know already about books like Gerry McGovern's World Wide Waste, I urge you to read more about e-waste. Making the connections between textual interfacing, more modest tech-minimalist use, and a better society and healthier planet, isn't obvious to everyone.

There are many reasons people may prefer to return to the command line. I vastly prefer TUI's for another reason. As a teacher I deal in ideas not applications, so it's a way of imparting lasting concepts instead of ephemeral glitter. Commands are connections of action concepts to words, essential for foundational digital literacy. Almost everything I can teach (train) students to use by GUI will have changed by the time they graduate.

For younger people the difference is foundational. My daughter and I sit down together and do basic shell skills. She can log in, launch an editor, play music and her favourite cartoon videos. We use Unix talk to chat. It's slow, but great fun, because character based coms is very expressive as you see the other person typing. She's already internalising the Holy Trinity - storage, processing and movement.

To make this work I obviously customised bash, creating a kind of safe sandbox for her with highly simplified syntax. This week we are learning about modifier keys - shift is for SHOUTING and control is to CANCEL (you can't get around needing to teach CTRL-C). What we are really working on is her typing skills, which are the foundation of digital literacy in my opinion. I think at the age of 5 she is already a long way ahead of her school friends who paw at tablets.

In conclusion then, the TUI/GUI saga is about much more than interchangeable and superficial ways of interacting with computers. In it's essence it is about literacy, the ability to read and write (type). Behind, and ahead of it, are matters of cultural importance relevant to education, autonomy, democracy, self-expression, and the economy. So if you're a mouser or screen smudger, why not give Cheapskate's challenge a try?

The 8 Best Linux Download Managers for Faster Downloads

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OSS

No one likes to wait for slow downloads. Install these eight download managers to get lightning-fast download speed on Linux.

But did you know that there are several open-source download managers for Linux currently in the market? As a Linux user, you must check out the following download managers that help extend the open-source ethic of Linux and rival premium alternatives in terms of efficiency and related features.

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Mini review – Annotator is a simple but powerful annotation tool for Linux - Real Linux User

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Software

Some applications just need to be big and have to offer an extensive array of functionality to be of the right value for specific use cases, like LibreOffice, Krita. darktable and GIMP. But there are many situations that only require the right amount of functionality and nothing more. There are many very powerful mini apps available for Linux that only focus on a specific task and do that perfectly well. In this article you find a mini review for the application Annotator, a simple but powerful annotation tool for Linux.

Annotator is a single task application originally developed by Trevor Williams for the elementary OS platform, but since it is available in Flatpak format it can be used on any other Linux distribution.

Annotator is, as the name already suggests, an annotation tool. So the first question you probably have is what exactly annotation is and what do you need it for. It is actually very simple: an annotation is a note, an explanation, a side note, an indication, a clarification, or caption, which should ensure that the main text, screenshots, etc. or parts thereof are extra clarified, highlighted or brought under the required attention. The application Annotator is exactly doing that for image files (like screenshots, etc) in a simple and effective way. Annotator is not created for annotations on text files and documents.

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5 Great AUR Helpers for Arch Linux

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Linux

Arch Linux is the kind of Linux distro that gives you a scalpel and says, “have at it” without much of the hand-holding that other distros like Debian/Fedora provide. Its initial toolset, including the core/extra/community repositories provided by its signature package manager, may be limited, but that is intentional.

It’s up to you to add what you want to it, and that is where the Arch User Repository (AUR) comes in useful. It is a repository that allows users to make their own PKGBUILD scripts and create packages that are not included in the official repositories. If you’ve ever wondered how you could get WhatsApp for Linux, Session, Slack, or other apps working on Arch, the AUR is where all of these are located.

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Kernel: Linux 5.17 Changes, Best of 2021, and More

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Linux
  • Linux 5.17 Picks Up A Real-Time Analysis Tool - Phoronix

    A new tool added to the kernel source tree with Linux 5.17 is rtla to serve for real-time Linux performance and tracing analysis.

    Thanks to the work of kernel developer Daniel Bristot de Oliveira who is employed by Red Hat, the Real-Time Linux Analysis (RTLA) tool has been added to the kernel source tree.

    RTLA makes use of the Linux kernel's tracing capabilities to help analyze performance and tracing data. In particular, the rtla command has sub-options for reading information from the kernel's operating system noise "osnoise" and IRQ/thread timer latency "timerlat"tracers.

  • Some Tablets/Convertibles With Linux 5.17 Will Now Have Working Pen Support - Phoronix

    In addition to Linux 5.17 introducing Universal Stylus Initiative (USI) support for that new industry standard for styluses/pens that can work cross-device, the input subsystem updates for this kernel also add active pen support for a few more tablets.

    Moving forward hopefully we will see broad adoption of USI stylus support for nice cross-device compatibility and support. But for those with current tablets relying on Goodix or Silead drivers and have an active pen, the Linux 5.17 input subsystem updates present working pen support there with their respective devices.

  • Lenovo USB-C 7-in-1 Hub On Linux Review - Phoronix

    For those considering the Lenovo USB-C 7-in-1 Hub for connecting to your Lenovo laptop for enjoying USB-C power charging, HDMI output, and additional USB ports, it does work out on Linux. While there have been some users running into seemingly firmware-related issues, at least with my testing over the past month this $50~60 (USD) USB-C hub has been working out well under Linux.

  • Best of 2021 – Torvalds’ Bug Warning is a Lesson for Linux Users

    A recent, widely publicized case illustrated this point; Linux creator himself, Linus Torvalds, warned against the use of the Linux 5.12 release. He described a “nasty bug,” and wrote that the situation is a “mess,” due to the use of swap files when adding Linux updates. This nasty bug, in fact, had the potential to destroy entire root directories.

  • Epoch-alypse now: BBC iPlayer flaunts 2038 cutoff date • The Register

    Feeling old yet? Let the Reg ruin your day for you. We are now substantially closer to the 2038 problem (5,849 days) than it has been since the Year 2000 problem (yep, 8,049 days since Y2K).

    Why do we mention it? Well, thanks to keen-eyed Reg reader Calum Morrison, we've spotted a bit of the former, and a hint of what lies beneath the Beeb's digital presence, when he sent in a snapshot that implies Old Auntie might be using a 32-bit Linux in iPlayer, and something with a kernel older than Linux 5.10, too.

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More in Tux Machines

The Beat of a Different DRM – Purism

Canon made big news this past week when it started telling customers how to defeat the Digital Rights Management (DRM) in its toner cartridges because of supply chain issues with the chips they normally use to enforce it. That Canon explained how to bypass the DRM when it suited them, and that it didn’t negatively affect the operation of the printers or the customer, made it clear that DRM and the chips that enforce it offer little if any benefit to customers. Instead, DRM is only in place so the vendor can exert remote control over their product after the customer buys it. Computer vendors are marching to the beat of this DRM, and their ultimate goal is to exert the same sort of control printer and smartphone vendors enjoy into laptops and desktops. Read more Also: You Don't Own Your Movies, Music, Books, Games (DRM Is Evil!) - Invidious

Programming Leftovers

  • QuatBot released – Matrix Meeting Manager

    QuatBot is a Bot for use in text-chat. So there are no pretty screenshots of it in action, or what the UI looks like: pick your favorite Matrix client (I switch between nheko and neochat depending on which has a more recent release fixing bugs that annoy me).

  • AIfES releases exciting new version of TinyML library for Arduino

    Last July AIfES (Artificial Intelligence for Embedded Systems) from the Fraunhofer Institute for Microelectronic Circuits and Systems (IMS) was launched. This open source solution makes it possible to run, and even train, artificial neural networks (ANN) on almost any hardware, including the Arduino UNO. The team hasn’t stopped work on this exciting machine learning platform, and an update just landed that you’ll definitely want to check out.

  • Drew DeVault's blog: Status update, January 2022

    I also implemented an efficient path manipulation module for the standard library (something I would really have liked to have in C!), and progress continues on date/time support. We also have a new MIME module (just for Media Types, not all of MIME) and I expect a patch implementing net::uri to arrive in my inbox soon. I also finished up cmsg support (for sendmsg and recvmsg), which is necessary for the Wayland implementation I’m working on (and was a major pain in the ass). I spent some time working with another collaborator, who is developing a RISC-V kernel in our language, implementing a serial driver for the SiFive UART, plus improving the device tree loader and UEFI support.

  • Project audit experiences | Will's Blog

    Back in January 2020, I wrote How to pick up a project with an audit. I received some comments about it over the last couple of years, but I don't think I really did anything with them. Then Sumana sent an email asking whether I'd blogged about my experiences auditing projects and estimating how long it takes and things like that.

  • Hack The Web Without A Browser | Hackaday

    It is a classic problem. You want data for use in your program but it is on a webpage. Some websites have an API, of course, but usually, you are on your own. You can load the whole page via HTTP and parse it. Or you can use some tools to “scrape” the site. One interesting way to do this is woob — web outside of browsers.

  • The new Qt Quick Compiler technology

    It's been a while since we've heard about what goes on inside and around Qt QML, our engine to interpret the QML language (not counting the recent announcement, that is). The last post strictly about this topic was what Lars wrote in 2018. We've been so silent because we've been prototyping new ways to make your QML run faster, and some of them turned out to be dead ends. There is no tracing JIT after all. This isn't cool, so we were somewhat silent. But now there is something to say. And, mind you, it's not cool either. It's hot. But let me take a step back first.

  • Bash scripting(III)

    This is the third article of a series focused in Gnu Bash scripting. On the first article we’ve just created a simple script with commands, one after another. We also saw some variables use. The second article covered some bash control structures. This one will cover redirections, pipes, and command substitution.

  • TWC 147: Prime without Left, and Pent without Quad
  • 2022.03 RakuCon How? – Rakudo Weekly News

    Andrew Shitov is asking for the community’s opinion on whether or not to have an in-person Raku Conference in Riga in 2022 in The Raku Conference Update. Cancelling an in-person event now, means no financial risk, which seems safest.

Audiocasts/Shows: Linux in the Ham Shack and WordPress

  • LHS Episode #448: Grounding and Bonding Deep Dive

    Hello and welcome to the 448th installment of Linux in the Ham Shack. In this deep dive episode, the hosts invite guest Ward Silver, N0AX, who literally wrote the book on the subject to discuss every aspect of grounding and bonding. Topics range from household electrical safety to relative voltage, earth grounding, lighting mitigation and much more. Hope you find this episode interesting and informative as well as entertaining and also have a great week.

  • WP Briefing: Episode 23: A letter from WordPress’ Executive Director

    As we greet a new year, WordPress’ Executive Director writes a letter to the project and community that speaks to the hopes of the year ahead.

Apache Weekly News Round-up: and Further Microsoft Declines in Web Servers

  • The Apache Weekly News Round-up: week ending 14 January 2022
  • January 2022 Web Server Survey [Ed: In Web servers, Microsoft down from 6.15% of top million domains to just 6.04% in one month]

    In the January 2022 survey we received responses from 1,167,715,133 sites across 269,835,071 unique domains and 11,700,892 web-facing computers. This reflects a loss of 1.15 million sites, but a gain of 1.51 million domains and 31,100 computers. nginx lost 7.33 million sites this month (-1.91%) but continues to be the most commonly used web server with 32.3% of all sites using it. Although nginx’s share has fallen, Apache is still more than eight percentage points behind after losing 3.70 million sites (-1.31%), which has taken its own market share down to 23.9%. nginx also leads in the domains metric, where it has a share of 26.6% compared with Apache’s 23.9%. This reflects a small reduction in nginx’s share – despite a modest gain of 25,400 domains – while Apache suffered the largest loss of 287,000 domains. The largest site and domain growth was seen by Pepyaka, which is a web server that has primarily been used by the Wix web development platform since it switched from using nginx in 2018. The number of sites using Pepyaka grew by 4.02 million to 7.30 million this month, while its domain count went up by 1.80 million to 3.30 million.