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GNU

Linspire Server 2018 Released

Filed under
GNU
Linux

Today we are pleased to announce the release of Linspire Server 2018 to the public. Linspire Server 2018 is based on Ubuntu Server 16.04. Linspire Server 2018 is a solution for medium to small businesses as well as education facilities. Linspire Server 2018 is available today and will be free to download and use under a self support license. Commercial support is available for customers who want that piece of mind.

Linspire Server 2018 boots by default into a customized XFCE environment for a GUI environment to ease the complexity for customers coming from Windows Server or macOS Server. We use DWM as a secondary window manager and users can use the server as a command line only environment as well.

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AsteroidOS, an open-source Wear OS alternative, now available as a stable release

Filed under
GNU
Linux

A few years ago, a French computer science student named Florent Revest undertook a project to keep Android Wear smartwatches from dying of obsolescence. That project is called AsteroidOS, built entirely on GNU/Linux libraries and technologies, and in its current state, it's fairly basic. Even so, for all fans of open source software out there, this is pretty damn great.

This is the stable release of v1.0 and it works on a few select watches: Asus ZenWatch, Asus ZenWatch 2, Asus ZenWatch 3, LG G Watch, LG Watch Urbane, LG G Watch R, and Sony Smartwatch 3. Each has a different level of support – e.g. the Urbane's sensors aren't working at time of writing – but AsteroidOS is a mostly fully-functioning smartwatch operating system.

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Open source vs free software: what's the difference?

Filed under
GNU
OSS

February 2018 marked the 20th anniversary of the official recognition of open source software. However, the debate regarding the differences, if any, between 'open source' and 'free' software continues unabated.

Richard Stallman, who is credited with developing the concept of 'free software' in the 1980s, says the term 'free software' has nothing to do with cost. For him, free software is a social movement, a philosophy, while open source is a development methodology.

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IWD 0.2 Released for Linux, Microsoft Desperate to Stop GNU/Linux

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Microsoft
  • IWD 0.2 Released For Advancing Intel's Linux WiFi Daemon

    Last week marked the release of IWD 0.2, the second public release of this WiFi daemon for Linux systems destined as a replacement for WPA Supplicant.

    It was back at the end of 2016 that the code was made public while now there is finally the second version release. IWD 0.2 brings support for several new features as well as several bug fixes.

  • Microsoft's Linux Adoption: How Things Change [Ed: Surely Matt Hartley understands how Embrace, Extend, Extinguish works, no? Seems so...]

    When Microsoft began promoting themselves as the company that "Loves Linux," some Linux community members were skeptical. Some even believed that Microsoft's move to embrace Linux was based on the once tried and true “embrace, extend, extinguish” approach to technology we've seen in the past. And this concern is based on a hisory of the past use of this strategy.

    While it's a valid to worry about Microsoft's motivation behind their self-claimed embrace of Linux, I think Microsoft's motivation is more selfish than a desire to extinguish Linux would suggest. Based on their activity with cloud computing and more recently, the Internet of Things (IoT), I believe Microsoft is looking to utilize technology that has proven itself in those fields - Linux is that technology.

    Linux is a means to an end for Microsoft. It allows the software giant to participate with greater efficiency by utilizing existing toolsets. The official reasoning that Microsoft offers is Linux and open source in general provides a great ecosystem. An ecosystem Microsoft is now (apparently) motivated to give back code to. My own concern, however, is how much of this code being given back upstream is good for the community.

     

    The concern that I have is I believe the code being sent upstream must always benefit Microsoft directly or indirectly in some way. I haven't seen any examples of Microsoft providing code that benefits projects that are unrelated to their own efforts. Perhaps I missed something along the way, but due to their anti-FoSS history, it's unreasonable to expect Microsoft to give back to projects that might not benefit them directly or indirectly. And yes, Microsoft's sponsorship of various Linux conventions is an example of indirect benefit to Microsoft.

GNU/Linux on Laptops/Desktops

Filed under
GNU
Linux
  • Chrome OS to get neat new tricks alongside support for Linux apps
  • What's new in Chrome OS and Chromebooks at Google I/O 2018
  • Google Chrome OS now has a built-in Linux virtual machine and aims to be a better tool for coders
  • The Eric Lundgren Story: When Free isn’t Free

    If you told me that one day I might be writing an article defending Microsoft’s draconian ideas on software licenses, I’d never have believed it. Yet here we are. I don’t like the way Microsoft licenses their software, and I imagine many Hackaday readers feel the same way. But at the same time I recognize they have the right, as the creator of said software, to license it however they see fit. If we celebrate legal victories over those who would violate the terms of the GNU GPL license, we cannot in the next breath condone the violation of proprietary licenses simply because they run counter to the hacker ethos.

    As a community we fought back against people selling prints of Creative Commons Non-Commercial models downloaded from Thingiverse, a scenario nearly identical to the one Eric has found himself in. Ignorance to the fine print doesn’t absolve you from being held accountable; just because you found it for free online doesn’t mean you can put it into mass production and pocket a profit.

    When he chose to use proprietary software for his computer refurbishment plans, he took on the burden of following the restrictive licenses such software is bound by. Had he decided instead to put into production install discs for Ubuntu or any other GNU/Linux distribution, things would have gone very differently. His goals of putting old computers back into service would have been met, and he would have not been in violation of the software’s license. But that’s not the choice he made.

  • Open Source Software: What Is It and Which is the Best?

    Linux is probably the most well known of the open source projects, which first came into being in 1991. Due to the source code being freely available and viewable, it is easy to make and distribute your own version. You obviously have to have the programming chops for that though.

    The most well-known version of Linux is arguably Ubuntu. But there are others which are just as popular including Debian, Puppy Linux (a very lightweight 200MB version ideal for older computers), Linux Mint, and Fedora. My personal favorite is a security-focused version called Tails which deserves an article all of its very own.

    Linux can be installed on a computer or it can be run as a Live CD or portable app. If you partition your computer, it can be dual-booted alongside Windows.

GNU/Linux Releases: CRUX 3.4, Antergos 18.5, SparkyLinux 4.8

Filed under
GNU
Linux

Best Linux applications (2018)

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Software

Over the years, I have compiled several articles detailing the best-of software for Linux and Windows, starting as early as 2008, and then making the last bundle in 2012. Six years is a very long time in the software sphere, so I thought about making another compilation.

My criteria for the inclusion and nomination are relatively simple: Applications need to be robust and stable, they need to accessible, the installation process should be relatively straightforward, and ideally, these will be cross-platform tools that run on other operating systems, too. There's a certain degree of personal taste, too, but I believe my choices are pragmatic, useful and fun. With the necessary expectation for a certain amount of hype, let us proceed. And do note, in some cases, you will see older and/or official screenshots, but that's mostly for aesthetic purposes.

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Also: Testing out Sumatra: a tool for managing iterations of simulations/analyses

System76 vs. The LVFS Firmware Updating Service

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Ubuntu

This week the latest open-source drama was a differing of opinions between Richard Hughes of Red Hat who maintains Fwupd and LVFS for Linux firmware updating from the desktop and that of Linux PC vendor System76.

Richard Hughes volleyed a blog post that recommend not buying System76 hardware for those wanting firmware updates via LVFS (the Linux Vendor Firmware Service). He wrote that post based upon System76 not currently using UEFI UpdateCapsule for BIOS updates, System76 developing a Rust tool to flash the embedded controller, and them rolling out their own firmware update handler that officially targets Ubuntu and Pop!_OS. Richard then encouraged Linux users to buy Dell XPS laptops instead.

Richard's post in full can be read here.

On Friday, System76 responded to those accusations. According to System76, Richard expressed via email that the approach System76 is using for firmware updating likely wouldn't work with LVFS and also their distributing of a proprietary firmware flashing tool likely wouldn't be approved by Red Hat legal and they also found flashing the embedded controler from user-space to be sub-optimal.

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Get Privacy Tools on Ubuntu 18.04

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Security

If you are already aware about 2013 global privacy case, I believe you care about your internet privacy by now. If you just switched to Ubuntu, here's a list of user-friendly programs (free software only) and search engine to protect your privacy. You will find my recommendation of a web search engine, a specific web browser, add-ons, email client enhancements, and password storage. This list accompanies the previous list of 20 useful programs for 18.04.

[...]

Free software is not gratis software but software that the user is free. Free software is about the user's right, either individually or collectively, to control over the software. If you run your activities with nonfree software (also called proprietary), you don't control the whole things software does within your computer, which only means there is somebody else controlling you and the computers. To protect your privacy, you should make sure you run only free software and relies only on privacy-respecting internet services.

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GNU: LibreJS 7.14, Hiring, and GNU Guix

Filed under
Development
GNU
  • LibreJS 7.14 released

    GNU LibreJS aims to address the JavaScript problem described in Richard Stallman's article The JavaScript Trap. LibreJS is a free add-on for GNU IceCat and other Mozilla-based browsers. It blocks nonfree nontrivial JavaScript while allowing JavaScript that is free and/or trivial.

  • Contract opportunity: JavaScript Developer for GNU LibreJS

    The Free Software Foundation (FSF), a Massachusetts 501(c)(3) charity with a worldwide mission to protect computer user freedom, seeks a contract JavaScript Developer to work on GNU LibreJS, a free browser add-on that addresses the problem of nonfree JavaScript described in Richard Stallman's article The JavaScript Trap. This is a temporary, paid contract opportunity, with specific deliverables, hours, term, and payment to be determined with the selected candidate. We anticipate the contract being approximately 80 hours of full-time work, with the possibility of extension depending on results and project status.

  • Paper on reproducible bioinformatics pipelines with Guix

    I’m happy to announce that the bioinformatics group at the Max Delbrück Center that I’m working with has released a preprint of a paper on reproducibility with the title Reproducible genomics analysis pipelines with GNU Guix.

    We built a collection of bioinformatics pipelines called "PiGx" ("Pipelines in Genomix") and packaged them as first-class packages with GNU Guix. Then we looked at the degree to which the software achieves bit-reproducibility, analysed sources of non-determinism (e.g. time stamps), discussed experimental reproducibility at runtime (e.g. random number generators, the interface provided by the kernel and the GNU C library, etc) and commented on the practice of using “containers” (or application bundles) instead.

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More in Tux Machines

GNU/Linux on the Desktop Versus Proprietary Forms

  • Why I use a Mac computer, but an Android phone
    Yes, you could use a flavour of Linux on cheaper hardware, but then you trade the great Mac graphical interface with the ones available to Linux. You can fight me in the comments, but deep down you know I’m right. MacOS comes with Bash, and many of the tools those familiar with Linux would expect to have by default in their favourite distribution, including basics like “whois”, which aren’t installed in Windows by default.
  • Everything you knew about Chromebooks is wrong
    The original assumed vision of the Chromebook platform was a laptop and operating system capable of running only the Chrome web browser. You could do anything you wanted, as long as you wanted to stay on the web at all times. Today, the best new Chromebooks can runs apps from three additional operating systems. Not only do Chromebooks run apps, but they run more apps without dual- or multi-booting than any other computing platform. Chromebooks can run apps from Android, Linux and Windows concurrently in the same session.
  • Games, Tests and GitLab CI
    We are getting midterm of the GNOME 3.30 development cycle and many things already happened in the Games world. I will spare the user facing news for later as today I want to tell you about development features we desperatly needed as maintainers: tests and continuous integration. TL;DR: GLib, Meson, Flatpak and GitLab CI make writing and running tests super easy!

Graphics: Vulkan and Vega M

  • Vulkan Virgl Has Kicked Off For Supporting This Graphics/Compute API Within VMs
    Of the hundreds of projects for this year's Google Summer of Code, there are many interesting GSoC 2018 projects but one of those that I am most excited for is Vulkan-Virgl for getting this modern API supported with hardware acceleration by guest virtual machines. As implied by the name, this effort is based upon the Virgl project started by David Airlie and originally tasked with getting OpenGL acceleration to guest VMs using a fully open-source Linux driver stack. Virgl has been in good shape for a while now with OpenGL, while this summer the hope is to get the Vulkan API support going for opening up VMs to using this high-performance graphics and compute API.
  • AMDVLK Driver Lands Half-Float Additions, Many Other Improvements
    There's been another weekly-ish public code push to the AMDVLK open-source AMD Vulkan Linux driver stack and this time around it's heavy on feature work. There has been a fair amount of changes pertaining to half-float (FP16) support including support for the AMD_gpu_shader_half_float extension, prepping for VK_AMD_gpu_shader_half_float_fetch, FP16 interpolation intrinsics and register settings, and more.
  • Vega M Graphics On Intel Kabylake G CPUs Are Beginning To Work Under Linux
    We have been covering the Linux driver upbringing of "Vega M" for the Vega/Polaris graphics found in select newer Intel "Kabylake G" processors. The code is still in flight before it will work in all released versions of the Linux driver components, but for those willing to build the code or rely upon third party repositories, Vega M is now working on Linux. As I have covered in various past articles, the open-source driver support for Radeon Vega M is queued into DRM-Next for the upcoming Linux 4.18 kernel cycle, Mesa 18.1 albeit with new hardware I always recommend using the latest Git (current Mesa 18.2), and there are also binary GPU microcode files needed too.

Plasma 5.13 – Amazing Tux, How Sweet Plasma

Plasma 5.13 is (going to be) a very nice release. It builds on the solid foundation that is the LTS edition, and adds cool, smart touches. The emphasis is on seamless integration of elements, which is what separates professionals from amateurs. It’s all around how the WHOLE desktop behaves, and not individual programs in isolation. And Plasma is making great strides, offering a polished version of an already mature and handsome product, with extra focus on fonts, media and browser connectivity and good performance. There are some rough patches. Apart from the obvious beta issues, those goes without saying, KDE Connect ought to be a true multi-phone product, the network stack really needs to be spotless, and that means full Microsoft Windows inter-operability, Spectacle should allow for configurable shadows and alpha channel, and I want to see if the decorative backend has been cleaned up, i.e. can you search and install new themes and icons without encountering useless errors and inconsistencies. But all in all, I’m quite impressed. The changes are big and noticeable, and above all, meaningful. You don’t just get features for the sake of it, you get things that improve the quality and consistency of the desktop, that maximize fun and productivity, and there’s deep thought in orchestrating it all together. It ain’t just a random bunch of options that happen to work. I like seeing patterns in things, and I’m happy when there’s functional harmony. This spring season of distro testing hasn’t been fun, and Plasma 5.13 is balm for my weary wrists, so hurting from all that angry typing. More than worth a spin, and highly recommended. Full steam on, Tuxers. Read more Also: This week in Usability & Productivity, part 20

Sad News! Development Stopped for Korora and BackSlash Linux

It seems more and more small distributions are facing a had time. Recently we saw the crisis at Void Linux. Now we have two more small Linux distributions calling it quit, albeit temporarily. Read more