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GNU/Linux in the 'Mainstream'

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​Linux comes to Chromebooks

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At Google I/O, Google announced it was bringing Linux to Chrome OS. Wait? What's that you say? Chrome OS is Linux? Why, yes.

Chrome OS started as a spin off of Ubuntu Linux. It then migrated to Gentoo Linux and evolved into Google's own take on the vanilla Linux kernel. But it's interface remained the Chrome web browser UI to this day.

True, you could run Debian, Ubuntu, and Kali Linux with Chrome OS -- with the open-source Crouton program in a chroot container. Or, you could run Gallium OS, a third-party, Xubuntu Chromebook-specific Linux variant. But, neither were for the faint of heart or the weak in technical skills.

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The Road Less Traveled: Certifications Can Chart a Great Career in Linux and Open Source

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The year is now 2018, and the world has changed tremendously in so many ways. One thing that's changed significantly is the way we learn and the way we demonstrate that knowledge. No longer is a college degree enough, particularly in the area of Information Technology (IT). Speak to two technologists about how they paved their way in the field, and you will get, oftentimes, completely different stories.

It's one of the things I like most about IT. You often can work with many different people with varying experiences, backgrounds and stories about how they came to enter the field, and one of the most common paths to IT is through certifications.

My path to IT could and would not have happened without certifications. First, my college degree was not in any tech or computer science concentration or track. I did not begin my career in IT, and therefore, gaining the knowledge I needed to enter the field began and continues with certifications. Now, this is not to say that I did not need to gain practical experience in order to be able to do the job, but had I only had practical experience and no certifications, I likely wouldn't have attracted the recruiters that I did.

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Download Kali Linux 2018.2 with new security features

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On April 30th, 2018, Offensive Security announced releasing the new version of Kali Linux which in fact is the first ever version that includes Linux 4.15 kernel. It also includes x64 and x86 patches for the much-hyped Spectre and Meltdown security vulnerabilities.

Kali Linux is a popular Debian-derived Linux distribution developed for penetration testing and digital forensics. The platform is home to hundreds of penetration testing tools making it one of the best and advanced penetration testing distribution ever.

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Ubuntu MATE 18.04 Bionic Beaver - Medium-well

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Ubuntu MATE 18.04 Bionic Beaver is a reasonable distro. But it's nowhere near LTS good. On the bright side, MATE has undergone a phenomenal face lift, Boutique is dog's bollocks, and the media-phone stack is really awesome. Lots of nice things all around.

On the other hand, we have application crashes, less-than-average battery usage, tons of visual niggles, Samba problems, and quality that works fine for an amateur project, not for a serious distro that people might need to rely on for the next five years of their life and work. I know I can't. The underlying issues need all be fixed out before this can be a candidate for my production setup. Shame, because there's so much cool and funky stuff, marred by almost nonexistent QA and life-sapping bugs.

Overall, the MATE edition of the 18.04 LTS family is better than Kubuntu. Something like 7.5/10. But when we remember what's out there, and how Trusty fared, and how Zesty fared, well, this is hardly an achievement. I will do the whole long-term follow up, and of course, the whole bucket of useless bugs that were arbitrarily released sometime in late April will surely be fixed in the coming months. I might even end up using this a year from now. But it won't be love or enthusiasm, more of a lesser evil if it comes to that. And that's not how I roll. Aiming for mediocrity is the worst kind of ambition. Let's hope Linux - and Ubuntu MATE - can do better.

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LLVM and GNU Compilers: Glow and GCC 9

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  • Thank you from the Glow Developers

    Hello LLVM community,

    We have been working hard on a new domain specific optimizing compiler, and we are pleased to announce that we have recently open sourced the project!  We would like to introduce you to Glow, an optimizing compiler for neural networks!

  • Glow: An LLVM Optimizing Compiler For Neural Networks

    The latest interesting use of the LLVM compiler infrastructure stack is for Glow, a machine learning / neural network optimizing compiler.

    Glow is intended to be used by high-level machine learning frameworks and it in turn -- via leveraging LLVM -- will generate optimized code for different hardware targets.

  • GCC 9.0 Sees A Number Of BRIG Improvements For HSA

    Being very early in the GCC 9.0 development cycle following the GCC 8 stable release earlier this week, a number of BRIG front-end improvements have landed. BRIG as a reminder is the binary form for HSA IL.

    In January of 2017 is when the GCC BRIG support landed in time for GCC 7. With the GCC 8 release there are some BRIG improvements for this compiler's HSA support, but nothing really too notable. Sadly, since this code has been merged, I haven't heard of any major users of this code intended for supporting HSA accelerators with AMD seemingly divesting in HSA.

Laptops With GNU/Linux: Librem and ChromeOS With Its 'Canary' Channel

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  • Librem 15 sale? Librem 13 sale? Why not both?

    Yesterday we’ve been pleasantly surprised to hear from Publisher of the legendary Linux Journal that we have been featured in their latest May issue focused on privacy. Shawn Powers, associate editor at Linux Journal, purchased a Librem 13 for his own use and decided to review it in depth. The result is a glowing review that warms our hearts after this particularly long winter (remember, our team is international, so most of us are not surfing the beaches of San Francisco). To break the ice, Shawn begins his review with this humorous fact: Purism’s laptops, with their modern and power-efficient chipsets and CPUs, are cool-enough to use on your lap, and so we can rightfully call them “laptops” instead of “notebooks”. Well, that’s a great way to start the barbecue season!

  • Linux App Support is Coming to Chrome OS

    This is born out by the description of this feature which, as many Android/Chrome-related blogs are starting to discover, is now available in Beta form in the Chrome OS Dev channel. “Run Linux tools, editors, and IDEs on your Chromebook,” the description notes.

  • Chrome OS Linux Apps Support Spotted in Beta

    Just a week ahead of Google I/O 2018, the Chrome OS Canary channel has been updated to support a new exciting feature. A new settings option for Linux apps has appeared hinting that the native support for Linux apps on Chrome OS may be announced next week at the annual developers' conference.

  • Chrome OS Developer Channel gets access to Linux apps ahead of Google I/O

    ChromeOS was rumoured to get Linux app support a while ago now, and while we saw hints of it coming fairly recently, it was always believed that this feature would launch at Google I/O 2018.

GNU: GNU Octave 4.4 and More on GCC 8.1

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  • GNU Octave 4.4 Brings A GUI Variable Editor, Other Changes

    While the debut of GCC 8.1 was the GNU Project's biggest software release of the week, GNU Octave 4.4 also crept out as the latest feature release.

    Octave, the high-level programming language for numerical computations akin to -- and largely compatible with -- MATLAB, is out with its newest stable feature release.

  • GCC 8 Gnu compiler arrives: Here’s what’s new

    The new Version 8.1 of the Gnu Compiler Collection (GCC) improves diagnostics and C++ support. GCC provides front ends and libraries for the Ada, C, C++, Fortran, and Google Go languages.

    Despite what the version number indicates, GCC 8.1 is actually the first production release in the new GCC line.

  • Facebook Open-Sources Its PyTorch AI Framework, Kitty Malware Targets Drupal, GCC 8.1 Released and More

    GCC 8.1 was released yesterday. This is a major release and contains "substantial new functionality not available in GCC 7.x or previous GCC releases". See this page for a summary of the "huge number of improvements", including improvements to inter-procedural, profile-driven and link-time optimizations.

Q4OS – A Fast & Powerful Open-Source Windows-Like OS

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Q4OS is an open source Debian-based distro that boasts a UI similar to that of Windows XP and Windows 7 straight out of the box. It focuses on long-term stability, security, speed, and reliability.

Q4OS was created not too long before Microsoft ended support for Windows XP on April 8, 2014. After this period many Windows users who had not completely transitioned from XP were forced to use workstations that were vulnerable to security threats, app bugs, and general unreliability.

The dev team tagged it “the right desktop for your business” and they have their commercial support feature to back it up – they are ready to provide client support by helping users with system modifications, UI customization, and core level API programming. The OS also does a good job of working with virtual cloud environments and that’s thanks to its low hardware requirements.

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GNU/Linux on Laptops

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  • Chrome OS Canary begins testing Linux app support ahead of Google I/O

    First uncovered by ChromeUnboxed a few months ago, the Chrome OS team seems to be working towards Linux app compatibility. Yesterday, the settings menu was found to be updated in Chrome OS Canary with a new option that confirms the exciting change.

    The option says “Run Linux tools, editors, and IDEs on your Chromebook,” and indicates targeting a market that has been so far mostly untapped on Chromebooks: developers.

    Humorously, the codename for this feature — Crostini — is basically a big fancy crouton. Google seems to be willing to admit that the OS truly needs the features that Crouton brings to the table, but without the instability that currently comes with it.

  • Linux app support going live on Chrome OS Dev channel

    The first evidence of Linux application support on Chrome OS appeared in February, and more details have continued to trickle out since. Earlier this month, a Terminal app began appearing on Chrome OS Dev, confirming that "your favorite native apps and command-line tools" would be supported. Google has also been working on its own GTK theme, so Linux apps feel right at home on Chrome OS.

  • System76 have announced a new Oryx Pro laptop model and it's a bit of a beast

    Linux hardware vendor System76 [Official Site] (and now a Linux distribution maker too) have just announced their new Oryx Pro laptop and it's a beast.

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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