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PCLOS

PCLinuxOS Miscellany

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PCLOS
  • Want To Get Started In Photography On A Budget?

    In the PCLinuxOS forum, hakerdefo posted a good question to our resident cook, HTML and Ebook creator, webmaster, networking guru, and photographer, The_CrankyZombie. Here it is in its entirety:

    So if someone who is permanently broke (financially) and totally new to photography and wants to buy a camera to learn photography, what would be your recommendation?

    Hakerdefo's question, coupled with The_CrankyZombie's reply, gave birth to this article. Anyone who has spent much time in the forum will recognize the hundreds of photos that The_CrankyZombie has posted and shared with the PCLinuxOS forum members.

  • Repo Review: Imagination Slideshow Maker

    Imagination is an easy to use tool designed for use in creating DVD slideshows. It provides a very simple and straightforward way for you to create slideshows of family photos, business presentations, or anything else that might require a slideshow.

    The user interface is quite well laid out and has been designed for speed and ease of use. In the upper right corner of the screen, you'll find the play button and frame seeker buttons for previewing the slideshow. Down at the bottom of the screen is the timeline, from which you can select slides and then edit their properties on the sidebar to the right. To begin making a slideshow, simply click on the Import pictures button up in the toolbar to start loading your images into Imagination.

  • Screenshot Showcase
  • Welcome From The Chief Editor

The September 2021 Issue of the PCLinuxOS Magazine

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PCLOS

The PCLinuxOS Magazine staff is pleased to announce the release of the September 2021 issue. With the exception of a brief period in 2009, The PCLinuxOS Magazine has been published on a monthly basis since September, 2006. The PCLinuxOS Magazine is a product of the PCLinuxOS community, published by volunteers from the community.

PCLinuxOS Roundup (From New Issue of the Magazine)

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PCLOS
  • Streaming From PCLinuxOS To Your Smart TV

    Watching DVDs these days has become an exercise in patience. Either the new smart TVs no longer have composite video inputs, or the DVD players are broken, and, many times, it doesn't even pay to have them repaired. But for those who have a reasonably sized DVD collection (as I do), it is not worth getting rid of them, after all, they are like books, physical pieces of artistic content that belong to you. Yes, I will still write about the war on physical media, but in the meantime I will give you a tip on how you can watch your entire DVD collection on your Smart TV with the help of PCLinuxOS.

    [...]

    With this tip, I was able to play converted DVD files without problems, and since there is no decoding involved, since Darkhttpd only sends the file over the network, the limit will be your bandwidth, to be able to run files of higher resolutions, such as Blu Rays and even other media. I have not tested with more than one TV at the same time, but in theory, it should be possible. And, with a web server, you can even stream to cell phones, tablets, and other mobile devices.

  • PCLinuxOS Short Topix Roundup

    WHO BETTER TO DESIGN NEW AI COMPUTER CHIPS THAN AI? An article at WIRED highlights just that approach. Computer chips, often smaller than a fingernail, contain billions of components. Each and every decision made on the arrangement of those components has the potential to affect the speed and efficiency of the resulting chip. So, to place a billion transistors on a small computer chip, who better to do it than AI? While attempts to have computers help design computer chips in the past have fallen short, new advances in AI have made such matters within reach.

    Remember when you were told that the data being collected from your cell phone was being anonymized? Well, you were being lied to, even if it's a lie by omission. According to an article on Vice, they are FAILING TO TELL YOU ABOUT AN ENTIRE INDUSTRY THAT OPERATES IN THE SHADOWS, and who's sole business model is to collect the unique cell phone ID and mobile advertising IDs produced by various apps (called MAIDs), and linking them to personally identifiable information. The article, to say the least, is eye opening and quite disturbing. According to an article that appeared on Reuters, THE GERMAN DATA PROTECTION OFFICER GAVE MINISTRIES UNTIL THE END OF THE YEAR TO CLOSE THEIR FACEBOOK PAGES, after discovering that Facebook had failed to comply with German and European Union privacy regulations. Commissioner Ulrich Kelber said it was impossible to run a fan page in such a way that followers' personal data was not transmitted to the United States. Under EU law, personal data can only leave the EU for a jurisdiction with equivalently strict data protection rules, something that is not the case for the United States.

    An article on Lifehacker LISTS SOME OF THE MORE NOTABLE CHANGES IN FIREFOX 90. Those include the ability to store credit card numbers, SmartBlock 2.0 working with Facebook to block the tracking Firefox users across the web, and the removal of the ability to download from FTP servers via a FTP.

    JustTheNews published an article describing how Erik Finman, the youngest Bitcoin millionaire, has CREATED THE FREEDOM PHONE, WHICH PROTECTS USERS' PRIVACY WHILE PROMOTING FREE SPEECH AND PREVENTING CENSORSHIP. Built on top of a version of Android that has been "de-Googled," it even has its own app store.

    Privacy activist Edward Snowden, in an interview with The Guardian, warned that no mobile phone is safe, considering the revelations about the clients of NSO. He has CALLED FOR A SPYWARE TRADE BAN in the wake of the NSO revelations. NSO Group manufactures and sells to governments advanced spyware, branded as Pegasus, that can secretly infect a mobile phone and harvest its information. Emails, texts, contact books, location data, photos and videos can all be extracted, and a phone's microphone and camera can be activated to covertly record the user.

    Now this one is a bit funny. A lot of attention was being paid to Amazon founder and former CEO Jeff Bezos as he made his 10 minute flight into space aboard Blue Origin's inaugural crewed flight. But the best part of the story (it was widely reported, and I saw it on Gizmodo and Reuters) may have been from Oliver Daemen, the 18 year old from the Netherlands. He not only MADE HISTORY AS THE YOUNGEST PERSON TO GO INTO SPACE, BUT HE ALSO MADE HEADLINES FOR SOME "SMALL TALK" HE MADE WITH BEZOS. He told Bezos that he had never bought anything off of Amazon. Bezos' response was as priceless as it was true: "Oh, wow, it's a long time ago I heard someone say that." Additional history was made on the flight, with 82 year old female pilot Wally Funk becoming the oldest person to fly into space.

  • [PCLinuxOS] Screenshot Showcase
  • Linuxera: A Former Forum Admin Could Use Our Help

    Back in 2006, when I registered on the forum, there were some wonderful people here! Texstar was here of course, along with some that are still here: The Heat Exhausted Cranky Zombie, davecs, JohnW_57, wayne_1932, tuxalish and many more who are no longer around. Others registered shortly after I did, including parnote. In the fifteen years since I started visiting, I have come to feel that many of these people, whether I had ever met them or not, were good friends. We've shared many ups and downs.

    A very knowledgeable lady whose handle was Linuxera was here as well. She was an admin even then, and helped to keep us all in line. She was also a tester, and experimented with creating ISO's of Enlightenment, and talked me through creating a backup ISO of my system years ago. She had lived in many places, including Florida and Oregon, but moved to Alabama a few years ago. Her first house in Alabama was really close to a river area that had some flooding, so she moved a bit north where the river wasn't in her backyard. Sometime after 2012, for reasons unknown to me, she deleted her user profile in the forum.

    We've chatted and emailed sporadically since then. I found out her name is Cindy Solis. She is an Air Force veteran, and is now eligible for Social Security. She's shared photos of her chickens and her dog and how she cleaned up the property where she lived, and I shared photos of my area and some of the activities I am involved in.

  • Welcome From The Chief Editor

    One of the things that stands out about PCLinuxOS is the sense of community that PCLinuxOS forum visitors find among its users. Time and time again, I see it mentioned in the forum.

    Even though we all come from different backgrounds, walks of life, professions, and have varied interests, one thing ties us all together: our love of Texstar's creation, PCLinuxOS. In many ways, those friends we make in the forum become lifelong friends, and perhaps even extended family members.

The August 2021 Issue of the PCLinuxOS Magazine

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PCLOS

The PCLinuxOS Magazine staff is pleased to announce the release of the August 2021 issue. With the exception of a brief period in 2009, The PCLinuxOS Magazine has been published on a monthly basis since September, 2006. The PCLinuxOS Magazine is a product of the PCLinuxOS community, published by volunteers from the community.

PCLinuxOS: Browsers, IRC Situation, Screenshots, and More

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  • Browser Update Features You Might Have Missed

    Back in the early days of the web, we'd have to wait up to months sometimes for an update -- and new features -- to our favorite web browser. These days, updates for the various browsers seem to come more frequently than I fill the gasoline tank on my pickup truck. You barely have time to get used to and try out one version before the next version is coming out.

    Back in the early days of the web, there were no more than two or three competing web browsers. Today, there is an endless stream of browsers, each offering their own special take on what the developers think a web browser should be. Names like Brave, Vivaldi, Chromium, Konqueror, Midori, Basilisk, Dillo, Epiphany, Ephemeral, Flashpeak Slimjet, Waterfox, Iridium, Min, Netsurf, Microsoft Edge, Palemoon, Otter, Seamonkey, and many others populate the browser landscape. And all of these are just the ones I located during a cursory look in the PCLinuxOS repository. I'm certain that I missed a few ... or more. There are many more that aren't in the PCLinuxOS repository.

    Most publications would say that there are four "major" browsers: Firefox, Google Chrome, Opera, and Microsoft Edge. Some might say there are five, adding in Safari for MacOS/iOS. I call them the "big boys" of the browser world. But, for our purposes, there are only three big boys on the block: Firefox, Google Chrome, and Opera. Let's exclude Safari, since it's pretty much an exclusive MacOS/iOS thing. I also exclude Microsoft Edge, not because it isn't innovative (it is), but because most Linux users distrust Microsoft so much that they refuse to install or use Microsoft products on their Linux installation. Microsoft Edge is immeasurably better than the old, recently retired hack called Internet Explorer. That part is impossible to debate. Using the Chromium code-base for the new browser, Microsoft Edge has even recently introduced very innovative and extreme-space-saving TRUE vertical tabs. But Linux users' collective distrust of anything Microsoft is going to make Microsoft Edge a tough sell to Linux users, and Linux is the "language" we speak around here.

    I'm only going to hit the highlights of the recent browser improvements and new features. This won't be an all-inclusive review of all that is new and better, so I'm sure to probably miss listing one of your favorite new features or improvements. But I'll try my best to list the most important of the "new and improved."

    Also, the list will be presented alphabetically, to avoid any "browser prejudice" or "browser bias." Those who regularly read my articles probably already know my preferences, but I'll also try to present the "new and improved" without bias or judgement. However, there is one case among the "new and improved" features that has the potential to introduce what could be a significant security vulnerability, and I won't hesitate to point that out when we come to it. In theory, the "new and improved" feature sounds like a great idea on the surface, but when looked at objectively could also become quite the security issue.

  • FreeNode Destructs. What It All Means For FOSS, PCLinuxOS

    On May 19, 2021, the FreeNode IRC (Internet Relay Chat) network exploded into controversy. Twenty to thirty FreeNode staff members resigned their positions, and created Libera Chat, a new IRC network. FreeNode is considered the IRC home to numerous FOSS projects, including PCLinuxOS.

    As a result, many FOSS projects have abandoned FreeNode. Most have gone to the newly formed Libera Chat network. These FOSS projects include Gentoo, Ubuntu, Wikimedia, CentOS, FreeBSD, and Arch Linux, just to name a few.

    The controversy over FreeNode still rages like an out of control wildfire. FOSS projects continue to flee the carnage. Libera Chat, started by former FreeNode staffers, went from startup to the sixth largest IRC network literally overnight with all the requests for new IRC channels and new registered users. As you might imagine, the Libera Chat folks have been slammed with requests, and now have a backlog of new channel requests.

    [...]

    The PCLinuxOS Magazine has maintained a chat presence on IRC ever since I became the editor 12 years ago. Had the kerfuffle at FreeNode not occurred, we'd still be there. But the sloppy way that the "transfer" was handled during the power change has necessitated a move to a new home.

    IRC is old technology that predates the World Wide Web, having started in August 1988. Tim Berners-Lee didn't even propose his idea for the WWW until March 1989, seven months later. His vision wouldn't become reality until Christmas 1990. IRC has served its purpose admirably during that ensuing time. It allowed people to interact directly with one another, across vast distances, in real time.

    But it definitely has some areas that just don't make sense in today's computing landscape. Messaging on the web has evolved to include better, more dynamic, more secure methods. IRC uses an inordinate amount of bandwidth to send plain text messages. It's insecure, and ripe for data interception.

    So, now is as good of a time as any to move on. PCLOS-Talk runs on a custom XMPP server. It's more secure, even if just for the fact that it requires users to have an account, which means that users have had some sort of vetting just to be able to connect. IRC will allow anyone to connect, with or without an account, increasing exposure to trolls, spammers, and others with malicious intent.

    When one door closes, another one opens. Thanks for the fond memories, FreeNode and IRC. You served us well.

  • More [PCLinuxOS] Screenshot Showcase
  • Welcome From The Chief Editor [of PCLinuxOS Magazine]

    While these situations can and do happen, their frequency is far less than we're made to believe or think. Never mind that you might not have been the most qualified candidate for that coveted job. Never mind that maybe someone else showed more/better leadership potential for that promotion. It's far, far easier to blame someone else for one's failings than it is to take responsibility for those failings.

    A little introspection can go a very long way in these cases. But as long as the "aggrieved" party refuses to acknowledge and accept responsibility for the "failure," there can never be any introspection. That introspection may prompt the "aggrieved" party to seek additional training or schooling to better position themselves for that next coveted job opening or promotion. Without accepting responsibility, the "blame game" continues on, ad nauseum, over and over and over again.

    Related to responsibility is accountability. In fact, "responsibility" is listed as a synonym for "accountability" in the dictionary. Even though the dictionary lists them as synonymous, I see them as separate. There's not many degrees of separation, but I still view them separately. In my mind anyway, accountability means a willingness to accept the consequences of your actions. It also means that you own up to your own mistakes, shortcomings, and faults. Just as they preach in many of the 12 step programs, admitting that you have a problem is 50% of the solution.

The July 2021 Issue of the PCLinuxOS Magazine

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PCLOS

The PCLinuxOS Magazine staff is pleased to announce the release of the July 2021 issue. With the exception of a brief period in 2009, The PCLinuxOS Magazine has been published on a monthly basis since September, 2006. The PCLinuxOS Magazine is a product of the PCLinuxOS community, published by volunteers from the community.

Chromium Ungoogled in PCLOS and Mozilla Miscellany

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PCLOS
Google
Moz/FF
  • chromium-ungoogled updated to 91.0.4472.101

    Chromium ungoogled is the Chromium Web Browser with Google hooks disabled or removed. If replacing your existing Chromium browser then please delete .config/chromium folder to start with a clean profile.

  • How WebAssembly Modules Safely Exchange Data

    The WebAssembly binary format (Wasm) has been developed to allow software written in any language to “compile once, run everywhere”, inside web browsers or stand-alone virtual machines (runtimes) available for any platform, almost as fast as code directly compiled for those platforms. Wasm modules can interact with any host environment in which they run in a really portable way, thanks to the WebAssembly System Interface (WASI).

    That is not enough, though. In order to be actually usable without surprises in as many scenarios as possible, Wasm executable files need at least two more things. One is the capability to interact directly not just with the operating system, but with any other program of the same kind. The way to do this with Wasm is called “module linking”, and will be the topic of the next article of this series. The other feature, that is a prerequisite for module linking to be useful, is the capability to exchange data structures of any kind, without misunderstandings or data loss.

  • New Firefox UI Fixed In A Few Easy Steps

    The new firefox UI is kind of controversial so how about we just go and change it back to what it used to be, turns out it's incredibly easy to do so and it's just as easy to go and make your own custom tweaks.

  • Mozilla Addons Blog: Review Articles on AMO and New Blog Name

    I’m very happy to announce a new feature that we’ve released on AMO (addons.mozilla.org). It’s a series of posts that review some of the best add-ons we have available on AMO.

    [...]

    Our goal with this new channel is to provide user-friendly guides into the add-ons world, focused on topics that are at the top of Firefox users’ minds. And, because we’re publishing directly on AMO, you can install the add-ons directly from the article pages.

PCLinuxOS: Latest Package Updates, Magazine, and Screenshots

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PCLOS
  • firefox browser updated to 89.0 » PCLinuxOS

    The Firefox browser has been updated to 89.0 and shipped to the software repository. Firefox uses the Gecko layout engine to render web pages, which implements current and anticipated web standards.

  • opera browser updated to 76.0.4017.175 » PCLinuxOS

    Opera browser has been updated to 76.0.4017.175 and shipped to the software repository. Opera browser is based on Google Chromum code with extra features that make it unique.

  • shotcut video editor updated to 21.05.18 » PCLinuxOS

    Shotcut is a free and open-source cross-platform video editing application. Shotcut supports many video, audio, and image formats via FFmpeg and screen, webcam, and audio capture. It uses a timeline for non-linear video editing of multiple tracks that may be composed of various file formats. Scrubbing and transport control are assisted by OpenGL GPU-based processing and a number of video and audio filters are available.

  • PCLinuxOS Screenshot Showcase
  • Welcome From The Chief Editor

    Recently, sam2fish started a post in the PCLinuxOS forum, asking members to post about their favorite pizza joint. There are probably as many ideas about what makes the ideal or best pizza as there are pizza lovers.

    Of course, I replied about our (mine and my wife's) favorite pizza shop in the Kansas City area. Leo's Pizza (Leo died several years ago, but the place has been kept going by his family) makes what some call St. Louis style pizza. This pizza has a thin, crispy cracker-style crust (no large rim of flavorless, bready crust around the edge), ingredients all the way to the edge, and uses a special, custom blend of Provel cheese (a processed cheese mix of white cheddar, provolone and swiss cheese) made especially for Leo's.

The June 2021 Issue of the PCLinuxOS Magazine

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PCLOS

The PCLinuxOS Magazine staff is pleased to announce the release of the June 2021 issue. With the exception of a brief period in 2009, The PCLinuxOS Magazine has been published on a monthly basis since September, 2006. The PCLinuxOS Magazine is a product of the PCLinuxOS community, published by volunteers from the community.

The May 2021 Issue of the PCLinuxOS Magazine

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PCLOS

The PCLinuxOS Magazine staff is pleased to announce the release of the May 2021 issue. With the exception of a brief period in 2009, The PCLinuxOS Magazine has been published on a monthly basis since September, 2006. The PCLinuxOS Magazine is a product of the PCLinuxOS community, published by volunteers from the community.

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Security Leftovers

  • Security updates for Wednesday

    Security updates have been issued by Debian (grilo), Fedora (curl, firefox, mingw-python-pillow, python-pillow, python2-pillow, and webkit2gtk3), openSUSE (chromium, grafana-piechart-panel, kernel, libcroco, php-composer, and xen), Oracle (curl, kernel, and nss and nspr), Red Hat (nodejs:12), Slackware (alpine), SUSE (ghostscript, grafana-piechart-panel, kernel, and xen), and Ubuntu (linux, linux-hwe, linux-hwe-5.11, linux-hwe-5.4, linux-raspi, linux-raspi-5.4, and linux-raspi2).

  • FBI held back ransomware decryption key from businesses to run operation targeting hackers [Ed: Microsoft Windows TCO]

    The FBI refrained for almost three weeks from helping to unlock the computers of hundreds of businesses and institutions hobbled by a major ransomware attack this summer, even though the bureau had secretly obtained the digital key needed to do so, according to several current and former U.S. officials.

  • FBI Had REvil's Kaseya Ransomware Decryption Key for Weeks: Report

    After the Kaseya attack, the feds somehow came into possession of a decryption key but waited nearly a month before delivering it into the hands of businesses.

  • FBI Had the REvil Decryption Key - Schneier on Security [Ed: Those "trade-offs" should include removing Windows altogether]

    Fighting ransomware is filled with security trade-offs. This is one I had not previously considered.

  • Ransomware Attacks Have Gone Stratospheric: Report [Ed: Overlooks the fact that many target Windows in particular; instead it focuses on "UNIX" and "Linux", which seems strange. What's the motivation? Meanwhile, mainstream media barely even mentions "Windows" when only Windows is impacted.]

    Positive Technologies on Wednesday released a report that indicates ransomware attacks have reached “stratospheric levels.”

  • Google Releases Security Updates for Chrome | CISA [Ed: Proprietary software]

    Google has released Chrome version 94.0.4606.54 for Windows, Mac, and Linux. This version addresses vulnerabilities that an attacker could exploit to take control of an affected system.