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Google Releases Chrome 79 for Linux, Windows, and Mac with 51 Security Fixes

Filed under
Google
Security

Chrome 79 has been in development since earlier this fall and entered beta testing at the end of October, when Google gave us a glimpse of the new features and improvements to come. And now, users can now enjoy all of them if they update their Chrome web browser to version 79.0.3945.79, which is rolling out now to Linux, Windows, and Mac desktop platforms.

With Chrome 79, Google brings VR (Virtual Reality) support to the Web with a new API called WebXR Device API, which allows developers to create immersive experiences for smartphones, as well as head-mounted displays. This also paves the way for the development of many other similar emerging technologies, among which we can mention AR (Augmented Reality).

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Direct:Stable Channel Update for Desktop

The latest Linux kernel is headed to Chromebooks in the very near future and that’s a big deal

Filed under
Linux
Google

For those of you who may not be familiar with the subject, Google’s Chrome OS that powers millions of Chromebooks is built on the Linux kernel. I’ll save you the long-winded explanation of what the Linux kernel is and how it works for two reasons. One, it would take all day. Two, I’m not a developer and I would likely confuse myself and you in the process. Apart from numerous Linux distributions and Chrome OS, the Linux kernel is at the heart of the Android operating system as well as various embedded devices and products such as smart TVs and webcams.

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Kubernetes 1.17

Filed under
Server
Google
Software
  • Kubernetes 1.17: Stability

    We’re pleased to announce the delivery of Kubernetes 1.17, our fourth and final release of 2019! Kubernetes v1.17 consists of 22 enhancements: 14 enhancements have graduated to stable, 4 enhancements are moving to beta, and 4 enhancements are entering alpha.

  • Kubernetes 1.17 Feature: Kubernetes Volume Snapshot Moves to Beta

    The Kubernetes Volume Snapshot feature is now beta in Kubernetes v1.17. It was introduced as alpha in Kubernetes v1.12, with a second alpha with breaking changes in Kubernetes v1.13. This post summarizes the changes in the beta release.

  • Kubernetes 1.17 Feature: Kubernetes In-Tree to CSI Volume Migration Moves to Beta

    The Kubernetes in-tree storage plugin to Container Storage Interface (CSI) migration infrastructure is now beta in Kubernetes v1.17. CSI migration was introduced as alpha in Kubernetes v1.14.

    Kubernetes features are generally introduced as alpha and moved to beta (and eventually to stable/GA) over subsequent Kubernetes releases. This process allows Kubernetes developers to get feedback, discover and fix issues, iterate on the designs, and deliver high quality, production grade features.

Google is bringing a Tab Strip to Chrome for Windows and Linux

Filed under
Google
Web

If you have used the Microsoft Edge web browser, classic or new, you may have stumbled upon the browser's Tab Strip feature. Just click on the arrow icon on the tab bar to display thumbnail images of the sites and resources open in the browser.

It appears that Google is attempting to bring a similar feature to the company's Chrome web browser. Already in Chrome OS, Google engineers are working on introducing Tab Strip functionality in the Chrome browser.

The feature introduces an option in the Chrome browser to display a strip of tabs. While it is unclear yet how it would be activated by the user, it is likely that Google is adding an icon to the browser's tab bar to activate and deactivate the Tab Strip view in the browser.

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Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox

Filed under
Google
Moz/FF
Web
  • If you want an example of how user concerns do not drive software development, check out this Google-backed API

    A nascent web API called getInstalledRelatedApps offers a glimpse of why online privacy remains such an uncertain proposition.

    In development since 2015, Google has been experimenting with the API since the release of Chrome 59 in 2017. As its name suggests, it is designed to let web apps and sites determine whether a corresponding native app is installed on a user's device.

    The purpose of the API, as described in the proposed specification, sounds laudable. More and more, the docs state, users will have web apps and natives apps from the same source installed on the same device and as the apps' feature sets converge and overlap, it will become important to be able to distinguish between the two, so users don't receive two sets of notifications, for example.

  • Mozilla Releases DeepSpeech 0.6 With Better Performance, Leaner Speech-To-Text Engine

    DeepSpeech 0.6 currently achieved a 7.5% word error rate for this open-source speech-to-text engine. The new release has various API changes, better training performance with TensorFlow 1.14 cuDNN RNN support for their training graph, trimmed down their language model to be using the top 500k words, adding various data augmentation techniques, a tool for bulk transcribing large audio files, and various other changes.

  • [Older] Give Firefox a chance for a faster, calmer and distraction-free internet

    Using Firefox gives you peace of mind and keeps you away from the advertising companies constantly following you around, profiling you and tempting you to purchase their products.

Best YouTube Apps for Linux

Filed under
Google
Software
Movies

If you don’t like to use the official YouTube website and looking for some alternative ways to stream Youtube videos, this article has a list for you.

In this guide I will list all major desktop YouTube players available today for Linux users. While many popular apps like youtube-dl are available for downloading YouTube videos on Linux, this article will mainly focus on those apps that allows you to search and stream videos on a Desktop Linux PC without having to open a browser. In many cases, these apps will provide advanced functionality than official YouTube website where most of the options are hidden behind a login.

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Google Unveils Mendel Linux 4.0 for Its Coral SBC, Based on Debian GNU/Linux 10

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Google
Hardware

Google announced over the weekend the general availability of Mendel Linux 4.0 "Day," the company's in-house built, Debian-based GNU/Linux distribution for its Coral Dev Board and System-on-Module (SoM).

Revealed earlier this year as a Raspberry Pi rival, Google's Coral Dev Board single-board computer (SBC) and System-on-Module (SoM) just received a much-improved, more stable and up-to-date Mendel Linux OS, which is based on the latest Debian GNU/Linux 10 "Buster" operating system series and ships with Linux kernel 4.14 LTS, Python 3.7, and U-Boot 2017.03.3, as well as upgraded GStreamer, OpenCV, and OpenCL components.

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Also: Google's Raspberry Pi-like Coral board gets new Debian Linux-based OS

Chromium and Mozilla: ARM, TenFourFox and Firefox Engineers

Filed under
Google
Moz/FF
Web
  • Arm Has Been Working To Boost The Chrome/Chromium Browser Performance

    Arm engineers have been working to speed-up the open-source Chromium web browser on 64-bit ARM (AArch64) and ultimately to flow back into Google's Chrome releases. Their focus has been around Windows-on-Arm with the growing number of Windows Arm laptops coming to market, but the Chromium optimizations also benefit the browser on Linux too.

    Arm has been focusing on Chromium optimizations not only for the Chromium/Chrome browsers itself but also for software leveraging the likes of CEF and Electron that rely upon Chromium code for rendering.

  • TenFourFox FPR17b1 available

    TenFourFox Feature Parity Release 17 beta 1 is now available (downloads, hashes, release notes). SourceForge seems to have fixed whatever was making TenFourFox barf on its end which now might actually be an issue over key exchange. For a variety of reasons, but most importantly backwards compatibility, my preference has been to patch up the NSS security library in TenFourFox to support new crypto and ciphers rather than just drop in a later version. We will see if the issue recurs.

    This release fixes the "infinite loop" issue on Github with a trivial "hack" mitigation. This mitigation makes JavaScript slightly faster as a side-effect but it's because it relaxes some syntax constraints in the runtime, so I don't consider this a win really. It also gets rid of some debug-specific functions that are web-observable and clashed on a few pages, an error Firefox corrected some time ago but missed my notice. Additionally, since 68ESR newly adds the ability to generate and click on links without embedding them in the DOM, I backported that patch so that we can do that now too (a 4-year-old bug only recently addressed in Firefox 70). Apparently this functionality is required for certain sites' download features and evidently this was important enough to merit putting in an extended support release, so we will follow suit.

    I also did an update to cookie security, with more to come, and cleared my backlog of some old performance patches I had been meaning to backport. The most important of these substantially reduces the amount of junk strings JavaScript has hanging around, which in turn reduces memory pressure (important on our 32-bit systems) and garbage collection frequency. Another enables a fast path for layout frames with no properties so we don't have to check the hash tables as frequently.

  • Week notes - 2019 w47 - worklog

    Week Notes. I'm not sure I will be able to commit to this. But they have a bit of revival around my blogging reading echo chamber. Per revival, I mean I see them again.

    The Open Data Institute just started one with a round about them. I subscribed again to the feed of Brian Suda and his own week notes. Alice Bartlett has also a very cool personal, down to earth and simple summary of her week. I love that she calls them weaknotes She's on week 63 by now.

  • Marco Zehe: My extended advent calendar

    This year, I have a special treat for my readers. On Monday, November 25, at 12 PM UTC, I will start a 30 day series about everything and anything. Could be an accessibility tip, an how-to about using a feature in an app I use frequently, some personal opinion on something, a link to something great I came across on the web… I am totally not certain yet. I have ideas about some things I want to blog about, but by far not 30 of them yet.

Games: VR, ASYLUM, Dota Underlords, Hypnospace Outlaw, Monster Sanctuary and Stadia

Filed under
Google
Gaming
  • Valve are making the Index VR kit available in more countries

    If Valve want the new Half-Life: Alyx to be a success, they need to push VR into every possible country they can and they're working a bit more towards that.

    Announced early this morning (around 1AM UTC), the Valve Index is now being made available in Canada and Japan in addition to the availability in Europe and the USA. Half-Life: Alyx doesn't require the Index though, Valve did say it will work with any PC VR kit but this will probably give the best experience.

  • Supernatural horror adventure ASYLUM looks creepy as hell in the latest footage

    ASYLUM is an upcoming supernatural horror adventure from developer Senscape, it's high up on our list to check out when it releases and the latest footage is looking great.

    Released a few days ago is a new short video, with what Senscape say is entirely "100% in-game without any processing".

  • Dota Underlords adds Duos team creation and ranked play, next major update coming soon

    Dota Underlords is steadily getting better and another update is now out with some interesting new features for playing with a friend in the Duos mode.

    You can now get a persistent team for people you regularly team up with. Once you've played three matches with another, it will also unlock the ability for you to actually name your team. You'll be able to change your team name every three matches. Making it more interesting, it tracks some stats too like number of matches played and your record.

  • Completely bizarre 90's internet simulator Hypnospace Outlaw adds mod support

    Hypnospace Outlaw could easily win the award for the strangest game of the year, giving you a retro-futuristic look at the internet and now it's getting bigger.

    No More Robots and Tendershoot just recently gave it modding support, so now you can create pretty much anything in it. Webpages, images, wallpapers, soundscapes, entire zones, fonts, characters, file downloads and a huge amount more. They said it's now possible for someone to create their own full Hypnospace story.

  • Try out some monster catching in Monster Sanctuary, now with an updated demo

    Currently in Early Access, Monster Sanctuary might not be finished by so far it's turned out a lot of fun. They're giving more people a chance to now try it, with an updated demo.

    This demo update comes shortly after a big update to the full game, which included a whole new area to explore with Horizon Beach. A new story arc based around a treasure hunt, eight new monsters to collect (most of which water themed) along with new items and rare equipment. All sounds pretty great. You can also find the Monster Farm, a place to let all your creatures go out into the open and see them, which does look pretty sweet.

  • Some early first impressions of Google Stadia played on Linux

    Stadia has launched if you have the Founder Edition, our unit and code came a little late but it's here and surprisingly it all seems to be working well.

    This new game streaming service from Google is powered by Debian Linux and the Vulkan API, so I've been rather keen to what it has to offer. Keep in mind you will need a good internet connection for it and you do always need to be online, although it's supposed to keep your place for 15 minutes to help with drop-outs and changing devices.

    Quite a rough start, as they were clearly sending out codes slowly in batches. Something which wasn't explained properly. However, every Founder should now have access with them moving onto sending codes for those with the Premier Edition next week. I do hope Google learn to communicate better in future.

Google outlines plans for mainline Linux kernel support in Android

Filed under
Android
Linux
Google

This is an extremely long journey that results in every device shipping millions of lines of out-of-tree kernel code. Every shipping device kernel is different and device specific—basically no device kernel from one phone will work on another phone. The mainline kernel version for a device is locked in at the beginning of an SoC's initial development, so it's typical for a brand-new device to ship with a Linux kernel that is two years old. Even Google's latest and, uh, greatest device, the Pixel 4, shipped in October 2019 with Linux kernel 4.14, an LTS release from November 2017. It will be stuck on kernel 4.14 forever, too. Android devices do not get kernel updates, probably thanks to the incredible amount of work needed to produce just a single device kernel, and the chain of companies that would need to cooperate to do it. Thanks to kernel updates never happening, this means every new release of Android usually has to support the last three years of LTS kernel releases (the minimum for Android 10 is 4.9, a 2016 release). Google's commitments to support older versions of Android with security patches means the company is still supporting kernel 3.18, which is five years old now. Google's band-aid solution for this so far has been to team up with the Linux community and support mainline Linux LTS releases for longer, and they're now up to six years of support.

Last year, at Linux Plumbers Conference 2018, Google announced its initial investigation into bringing the Android kernel closer to mainline Linux. This year it shared a bit more detail on its progress so far, but it's definitely still a work in progress. "Today, we don't know what it takes to be added to the kernel to run on a [specific] Android device," Android Kernel Team lead Sandeep Patil told the group at LPC 2019. "We know what it takes to run Android but not necessarily on any given hardware. So our goal is to basically find all of that out, then upstream it and try to be as close to mainline as possible."

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