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Oracle demands $12K from network biz that doesn't use its software

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Merula Limited, a UK-based network service provider, recently received a bill from Oracle for $12,200 for using the company's proprietary VirtualBox Extension Pack, which provides extra capabilities for the free GPL-licensed VirtualBox hypervisor.

For Richard Palmer, director of the company, this was a perplexing demand. As he explained to The Register, "Merula does not operate or manage any computer using VirtualBox or any Oracle software."

Oracle provided the company with a range of IP addresses, more than 100, that it claimed had been using its proprietary VirtualBox Extension Pack in conjunction with VirtualBox installations.

It's claimed that Oracle's software phones home to report where it's being used, though the company may be repurposing VirtualBox telemetry for its audits. Or it may simply be checking the IP addresses associated with downloads of the software and contacting address registrants to seek payment.

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Excellent Utilities: Ananicy – auto nice daemon

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This is a new series highlighting best-of-breed utilities. We’ll be covering a wide range of utilities including tools that boost your productivity, help you manage your workflow, and lots more besides. There’s a complete list of the tools in this series in the Summary section.

It’s possible to grant more importance to a process, giving it more time on the CPU. This property of a process is called niceness. A process with high priority is said to be less nice because it’s taking more of the CPU’s time, which leaves less for everything else. Alternatively, a process with low priority (a “nice” process) gets processor time only after other processes with higher priority have been serviced.

Prioritize applications’ CPU and IO scheduling is a good way to improve performance on what really matters. This can be actioned per command with nice and ionice commands, but there’s a better way. Ananicy is a shell daemon created to manage processes’ IO and CPU priorities, with community-driven set of rules for popular applications.

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Krita 4.2.7 Released

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Today, we’re releasing the sixth bug fix release of Krita 4.2. As discussed in our development update, we intend to release a few more monthly 4.2 bug fix releases before releasing Krita 4.3. There are a lot of bug fixes!

And to celebrate the release, we have a new video by Ramon Miranda which comes with a very nice present: a free new bundle of six sketching brush presets!

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Also: Fall Season

Software: Samba and GnuTLS, Cockpit Release

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  • Samba and GnuTLS

    More or less since the beginning of Samba, it implemented the cryptography it needed to talk to Windows on its own. One reason is that Windows didn’t follow the standards or used ciphers nobody else really used. This is changing right now!

    GnuTLS already was a used by Samba if available and it is a requirement if you build the Samba AD with MIT Kerberos already. So to get out of the crypto business we decided to use GnuTLS as our crypto library.

    With Samba 4.11 we did the first step using GnuTLS and required GnuTLS 3.2. With Samba 4.12 the requirement will be at least GnuTLS 3.4.7. The reason is that we require AEAD for AES-CCM and AES-GCM and 3.4.7 is already the requirement if building Samba AD with MIT Kerberos. This allowed us also to delete a lot of code!

  • Samba 4.12 Bringing Much Faster Encryption Performance With GnuTLS

    Samba 4.11 was just released a few weeks back with big scalability improvements, but looking ahead to Samba 4.12 will be some big performance improvements for those leveraging encryption.

    Samba 4.12 for SMB3 file transfers with encryption will be an order of 4~6 times faster than current performance levels! This is coming as Samba is beginning to properly leverage GnuTLS rather than historically implementing its own crypto methods.

  • Cockpit Project: Cockpit 204

    Cockpit is the modern Linux admin interface. We release regularly. Here are the release notes from version 204.

Cawbird is a GTK Twitter Client for Linux (That Should Look Very Familiar)

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The Corebird Twitter client for Linux was one of my favourite desktop apps so I was pretty bummed when Twitter API changes effectively put the app out of action last year.

But nothing is ever really “gone” in open source, is it?

And lo, the soul of Corebird (its code) lives on in the regenerated form of Cawbird, a Corebird fork with big ambitions for the future.

In this post we take a look at Cawbird, how it differs from Corebird, and how you can install it in Ubuntu to try it out for yourself.

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Cairo Dock review - The dock is in the detail

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Cairo Dock is feature-rich, no scratch that, feature-ultra-rich dock software that allows you to adorn your desktop with any number of docks, however custom and fancy you like, replete with their own individual behavior, animations, themes, icons, and applets. Not for the weak or the impatient. But it surely does more than pretty much any other dock program out there. Very cool.

And yet, therein lies its weakness. Most people, if they need a dock, only want something simple and elegant. They want consistent behavior and pleasant, integrated theming. When it comes to using an Xfce desktop that has a dock-like behavior, Cairo provides the best (and only viable results), but it's also super-complicated and there are some outstanding visual issues that you just can't work around easily. In general, Cairo does wonders, it's a really mighty dock tool, but it's perhaps too powerful for its own good. Still, I think it's definitely worth using and testing, and I hope it will remain around, and maybe even get some fresh, modern themes. We're done.

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Top 20 Best Linux Mail Server Software and Solutions in 2019

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The E-mail has proved to be the fastest and reliable communication medium of our time. From businesses to individuals, we all rely on e-mails due to the convenience they offer. If you ever wondered how computers send these seemingly simple messages over the network, then follow us through this guide. At the heart of e-mail communication, there are mainly two software components, namely the mail server and mail client. The mail server is responsible for transmitting e-mails from node to node on a network, typically the Internet. And the client allows users in retrieving these mails. In this guide, we’ll solely focus on Linux mail server. Check out our another guide to learn more about various Linux mail clients.

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The monumental impact of C

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C is the original general-purpose programming language. The Season 3 finale of the Command Line Heroes podcast explores C's origin story in a way that showcases the longevity and power of its design. It's a perfect synthesis of all the languages discussed throughout the podcast's third season and this series of articles.

C is such a fundamental language that many of us forget how much it has changed. Technically a "high-level language," in the sense that it requires a compiler to be runnable, it's as close to assembly language as people like to get these days (outside of specialized, low-memory environments). It's also considered to be the language that made nearly all languages that came after it possible.

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[Krita] September Development Update

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We also managed make 538 changes to the code in September with 23 developers — and that excludes translations, since those aren’t in our code repository.

We also went back to the Coverity Static Code analyzer and started analyzing Krita again. That was good for at least a hundred potential bug fixes, and it’s something that’s ongoing. We hadn’t done that for quite some time! There is still plenty to do, but the average defect density for projects the size of Krita is 0.7, so we’re not that bad.

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Also: [Krita] Interview with Samantha Skoros

Server Leftovers

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  • 16 experts on Kubernetes, choosing the right container platform, and more industry trends

    As part of my role as a senior product marketing manager at an enterprise software company with an open source development model, I publish a regular update about open source community, market, and industry trends for product marketers, managers, and other influencers. Here are five of my and their favorite articles from that update.

  • Upgrading OpenStack

    Whether your name’s Kenneth or not (and mine’s not, just to be clear but I do quite like the REM song), you’ll know how important it is to keep your systems up to date – with security vulnerabilities being found with alarming regularity, this should be a key task within every IT department. If you’re familiar with the OpenStack release cycle, you’ll know that a new version is released every six months. How many enterprises are in the habit of upgrading their business-critical infrastructure twice a year though? Also, what about keeping updated with patches outside of the upgrade cycle – for vulnerabilities, bug fixes and general updates?

    When you look at all the different components of OpenStack, each of them will need to be upgraded during the process. This represents a number of issues waiting to happen – what if one fails the upgrade process after you’ve already upgraded a number of other components? How will you actually carry out the upgrade – will you deploy a parallel cloud and then migrate all of your resources from the production cloud to the upgraded one when it’s ready? Will you do an in-place upgrade and migrate each component individually? If so, be careful as upgrading the services in the wrong order could cause problems. How much downtime are you willing to risk? Have you built out an HA environment and are hoping for a non-disruptive upgrade? What about your databases? Lots of questions, not all of them with ready answers…

  • What is YAML?

    The increasing popularity of Kubernetes means you’ve probably heard of YAML because it’s the format for Kubernetes configuration files, so almost every developer may need to get some familiarity with it.

    But while it’s not as ubiquitous as JSON, YAML goes far beyond Kubernetes; first released in 2001, it’s used in tools from OpenStack to Ansible playbooks.

  • Docker is in deep trouble

    Docker, the technology, is the poster child for containers. But it appears Docker, the business, is in trouble. In a leaked memo, Docker CEO Rob Bearden praised workers -- despite the "uncertainty [which] brings with it significant challenges" and "persevering in spite of the lack of clarity we've had these past few weeks."

    Lack of clarity about what? Sources close to the company say it's simple: Docker needs more money.

    Indeed, Bearden opened by saying: "We have been engaging with investors to secure more financing to continue to execute on our strategy. I wanted to share a quick update on where we stand. We are currently in active negotiations with two investors and are working through final terms. We should be able to provide you a more complete update within the next couple of weeks."

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Android Leftovers

Python Programming Leftovers

  • How to Read SAS Files in Python with Pandas

    In this post, we are going to learn how to read SAS (.sas7dbat) files in Python. As previously described (in the read .sav files in Python post) Python is a general-purpose language that also can be used for doing data analysis and data visualization.

  • Daudin – a Python shell

    A few nights ago I wrote daudin, a command-line shell based on Python. It allows you to easily mix UNIX and Python on the command line.

  • How to Convert Python String to Int and Back to String

    This tutorial describes various ways to convert Python string to int and from an integer to string. You may often need to perform such operations in day to day programming. Hence, you should know them to write better programs. Also, an integer can be represented in different bases, so we’ll explain that too in this post. And there happen to be scenarios where conversion fails. Hence, you should consider such cases as well and can find a full reference given here with examples.

  • Thousands of Scientific Papers May be Invalid Due to Misunderstanding Python

    It was recently discovered that several thousand scientific articles could be invalid in their conclusions because scientists did not understand that Python’s glob.glob() does not return sorted results. This is being reported on by Vice, Slashdot and there’s an interesting discussion going on over on Reddit as well.

Audiocasts/Shows/Screencasts: Open Source Security Podcast, Linux Action News and Manjaro 19.09.28 KDE-DEV Run Through

  • Open Source Security Podcast: Episode 165 - Grab Bag of Microsoft Security News

    Josh and Kurt about a number of Microsoft security news items. They've changed how they are handling encrypted disks and are now forcing cloud logins on Windows users.

  • Linux Action News 127

    Richard Stallman's GNU leadership is challenged by an influential group of maintainers, SUSE drops OpenStack "for the customer," and Google claims Stadia will be faster than a gaming PC. Plus OpenLibra aims to save us from Facebook but already has a miss, lousy news for Telegram, and enormous changes for AMP.

  • GNU World Order 13x42

    On the road during the **All Things Open** conference, Klaatu talks about how to make ebooks from various sources, with custom CSS, using the Pandoc command.

  • Manjaro 19.09.28 KDE-DEV Run Through

    In this video, we are looking at Manjaro 19.09.28 KDE-DEV.