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Software

Software: HandBrake, Plex Media Player, zchunk, Qalculate! and Cherrytree

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Software
  • HandBrake FFmpeg, no more Nvidia 32 bit drivers

    HandBrake has been updated again to track the master branch, as it now uses FFMpeg 4 and no longer libAV 12. This could probably lead to other improvements, like NVENC/CUDA support, more formats, etc.

    Starting with the Nvidia drivers version 396.24 there will be no more 32 bit support, the driver will be 64 bit only. The 32 bit libraries are still included, so Steam and other applications will keep on being supported.

  • Plex Media Player is back!

    Just a small post to notify that Plex Media Player package is back. Now it does not require Conan or Python anymore for building, and you can just build it using standard tools, the dependency issues between the Plex binary packages have been resolved.

  • What is zchunk?

    Over the past few months, I’ve been working on zchunk, a compression format that is designed to allow for good compression, but, more importantly, the ability to download only the differences between an old version of the file and a new version.

    The concept is similar to both zsync and casync, but it has some important differences. Let’s first look at how downloading a zchunk file works.

  • Qalculate! – The Best Calculator Application in The Entire Universe

    I have been a GNU-Linux user and a Debian user for more than a decade. As I started using the desktop more and more, it seemed to me that apart from few web-based services most of my needs were being met with desktop applications within Debian itself.

    One of such applications was the need for me to calculate between different measurements of units. While there are and were many web-services which can do the same, I wanted something which could do all this and more on my desktop for both privacy reasons as well as not having to hunt for a web service for doing one thing or the other. My search ended when I found Qalculate!.

  • Cherrytree – A Feature-Rich Wiki-Style Note-Taking App

    I recently wrote on Thetapad and Zim – both are excellent note-taking applications with their specialty geared towards different users. Today, thanks to suggestions from FossMint readers, I introduce to you Cherrytree.

    Cherrytree is a free and open source note-taking application with wiki-style text formatting, syntax highlighting, and advanced customizability settings.

    Its advanced search function allows you to locate files across the file tree irrespective of their location. It supports keyboard shortcuts, importing and exporting notes, syncing with cloud services like Dropbox, rich text formatting, and password protection to keep your notes secure.

Software: Qikipedia, Code Editors, Cutelyst, Tor, Cockpit, Chrome

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Software
  • Qikipedia – A Browser Extension To Display Wikipedia Summary

    A while ago, we have written a guide that described how to display the summary of any Wikipedia article in Terminal using a command line utility named “Wikit”. Using this utility, we can get the wikipedia summary of the given text right from the terminal window. Today, we are going to discuss about a similar utility named “Qikipedia”. It is a google browser extension that allows you to highlight text from any website, and shows you a summary of the corresponding Wikipedia article, if one exists.

  • 6 Best Vi/Vim-Inspired Code Editors for Linux

    Vim (short for Vi Improved) is a free, open source, powerful, highly configurable and extensible text editor. It has a large and dedicated community of users that are constantly creating useful new scripts and updates to the text editor. Vim supports hundreds of programming languages and file formats making it one of the best cross-platform code editor.

  • Cutelyst 2.4.0 released

    Cutelyst, the C++/Qt web framework got another up.

  • Tor Browser and Selenium

    Many of us use Python Selenium to do functional testing of our websites or web applications. We generally test against Firefox and Google Chrome browser on the desktop. But, there is also a lot of people who uses Tor Browser (from Tor Project) to browse the internet and access the web applications.

    In this post we will see how can we use the Tor Browser along with Selenium for our testing.

  • Cockpit 169

    Cockpit is the modern Linux admin interface. We release regularly. Here are the release notes from version 169.

  • Chrome 67 Now Available For Linux Users
  • Google Chrome 67 Rolls Out to Linux, Mac, and Windows with 34 Security Fixes

    Google has promoted today the Chrome 67 web browser for Linux, Mac, and Windows platforms to the stable channel, a release that will be available to users in coming days or weeks.

  • Chrome 67 Released, New Version of RaspAnd, SEGA Mega Drive and Genesis Classics Now Available for Linux and More

    Chrome 67 has been released, and it includes several security fixes as well as default support for WebAuthn, which provides "a way to sign up to websites using biometrics like fingerprints or facial images stored in a smartphone, or USB hardware like Yubikey's authentication device", ZDNet reports. Chrome 67 also features new APIs for augmented and virtual reality.

Semi-Automatic LaTeX: KDE’s Kile

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KDE
Software

One reason that I appreciate KDE is that I am always discovering new applications. In fact, I make a point of regularly searching for them. My most recent discovery is Kile, a graphic editor for LaTeX. Kile is not the first of its kind, but, unlike the better known LyX, whose interface resembles a word processor, it makes no attempt to hide the structure that shapes the output. Instead, like the Bluefish editor, it is what I think of as a semi-automatic editor. Instead, users add markup from a list of options in a display in which tags are visible. With this approach, Kile eliminates the drudgery of typing markup while making both troubleshooting and the learning of LaTeX easier.

LaTeX, of course, is one of free software’s legendary applications, with a history that predates Linux. Before the code for OpenOffice.org was released, it was the most sophisticated tool on Linux for complex formatting of text. It remains popular today in academia, largely because of its ability to layout formulas. Despite the fact that the principle behind it is similar to any markup language like XML or HTML,X has a reputation for being difficult to learn. The main difficulty, though, is not so much in the basic concept, or even the fact that tags are not in pairs so much as finding the right markup or extension libraries among the dozens that are available. One advantage of Kile is that it displays a thorough (although possibly not exhaustive) list of tags that are always available in the interface, so that users do not have to remember all the available choices.

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Also: Last Month in AtCore / Atelier

Software: LAN Share, MIXXX, and Chrome 67

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Software

Software Boutique - Linux stuff, 100% discount

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Software

If we judge the Linux GUI package management saga from a purely energy state perspective, we have come a full circle. There was a great GUI tool, it got axed, half a dozen efforts came and went, and we now once again have a program that does what USC did (well almost) five or six years ago. Everything in between was a complete waste of time and effort. But the important thing, from the user perspective, is that we DO have a GUI software manager that actually works. And it's called Software Boutique.

As I've noted in the MATE Beaver review, this is by far the best program of its kind currently on the market, hands down. The list of superlatives is long. But it's elegant, aesthetically pleasing, accurate, fast, robust, simple, and it does a wonderful job of making package management a fun and interesting exercise. And if the little print can be trusted, it should be easy to deploy and use on other distros, too. Of course, this ties into the bigger battle of egos and sandbox development that is Linux. But if we put the Sisyphean politics and bickering aside, then Software Boutique is a superb program, and it should become the standard across the distrospace. Well worth testing, and one of the strong selling points for Ubuntu MATE. Take care, and happy shopping.

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Software: CLI Browsers, Weblate, Shutter, Firefox and GNU

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Software
  • 4 Tools to Browse Internet from Linux Terminal

    In this article, we'll focus on how you can browse the internet from Linux command line using text-based browsers. Text browsers are browsers that only render the text contents of a web page, leaving out all the graphical content including CSS and Javascript. This makes these browsers faster and consume less bandwidth. On the downside, however, the browsing experience is quite dull as no images & videos are displayed unlike conventional web browsers like Firefox and Google Chrome. We'll take a look at 4 text-based browsers on Ubuntu 18.04 terminal.

  • New projects on Hosted Weblate

    Hosted Weblate provides also free hosting for free software projects. The hosting requests queue has grown too long and waited for more than month, so it's time to process it and include new projects. I hope that gives you have good motivation to spend Christmas break by translating free software.

  • Shutter, a nice Perl application, may be removed from Debian

    Debian is moving away from Gnome2::VFS. This obsolete module will be removed from next release of Debian.

  • Additions to Firefox’s health dashboard

    At the beginning of the month I came back from my last few weeks of parental leave (thanks Mozilla!). While I was away Sarah Clements took over some Firefox Quantum release criteria work and I’m pleased to see that she managed to tackle everything well by herself.

    Some of the major changes she made was to separate the Quantum criteria page into 32-bit and 64-bit. This simplifies the graphs and allows release stakeholders to see more clearly how one specific architecture is doing.

  • Firefox Developers Still Hesitant About Using EGL Over GLX On X11 Linux

    While Wayland support depends upon EGL and there has been EGL support within Mesa and the other graphics drivers on Linux for a number of years now, Firefox developers are still hesitant about shipping EGL support by default for Firefox on X11.

    A Phoronix reader pointed out a bug report to us where Firefox developers are still apprehensive over using EGL by default for Firefox on Linux/X11, even though Mesa's EGL support has been relatively solid for years. There's a belief that the EGL performance is worse off than GLX, but at least some upstream Mesa developers don't believe that to be the case plus the fact most modern drivers relying upon GLAMOR with EGL/OpenGL for 2D acceleration.

  • bison-3.0.5 released

    We are happy to announce the release of GNU Bison 3.0.5, a bug fix release.

  • GCC 9 Has Been Landing Many Ada Improvements This Week

    For those still making use of the venerable Ada programming language, the latest development code for GCC 9 of the GNU Compiler Collection has been seeing a number of Ada front-end improvements this week.

    This strongly-typed, object-oriented programming language, that's quite proven compared to Rust and other attention-getting languages these days, has seen a surprising number of fixes and improvements landing this week into mainline GCC 9. The Ada work in GCC 9 besides various fixes have included some performance improvements, addressing some spurious errors, support for C99/C++ standard boolean types, minor documentation updates, Windows updates, and moe.

Software and Games: KStars, Opera, OpenStack, MariaDB and More

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Software
Gaming
  • KStars 2.9.6 is Released!

    I'm glad to announce the release of KStars 2.9.6 for Windows, MacOS, and Linux. This is a minor bugfix release.

  • Opera 54 Browser Enters Beta with News on the Speed Dial, Update & Recovery Menu

    Opera has promoted its upcoming Opera 54 web browser to the beta channel, giving us a glimpse of what to expect from the final version, due for release sometime next month.

    Based on the open-source Chromium 67.0.3396.18 web browser, Opera 54 recently entered beta stages of development with a plethora of new features and improvements, among which we can mention a new Update & Recovery Opera menu page that makes it easier for users to update the web browser and reset it to its default state, including the ability to clear temporary data, such as cookies.

  • OpenStack at a Crossroads

    The OpenStack of a few years ago is dead, however. What has emerged from the hype cycle is a materially different foundation, mission and software stack, with a great deal of change still ahead of it.

  • The OpenStack Foundation grows beyond OpenStack

    The OpenStack Foundation has made a considerable change to its development process and governance structure by introducing two open source projects that are not part of the OpenStack cloud platform.

    This week, the organization launched version 1.0 of Kata Containers - a runtime system with an emphasis on speed and security, enabling users to boot a VM in as little as five seconds - and introduced a brand new project called Zuul, spinning out the software development and integration platform that has been used by the OpenStack community internally since 2012.

  • Oracle nemesis MariaDB tries to lure enterprise folk with TX 3.0

    Open-source database biz MariaDB has upped the ante in its war against Oracle, promising enterprise customers better compatibility with – and easier migration from – Big Red.

    The Finnish firm's latest offering, MariaDB TX 3.0, released for GA today, extends the number of use cases to include temporal processing and advanced data protection for sensitive and personally identifiable information, as well as Oracle compatibility.

    The broad aim is to tap into customers' grumbles over legacy vendor lock-in, while convincing the bigger customers that they can move to an open-source database without compromising performance.

  • The Humble Monthly Bundle just added two great Linux games

    For those that are interested, you can secure a copy of two great Linux games in the current Humble Monthly Bundle.

    Just added today are:

    Get Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!!
    Ken Follett's The Pillars of the Earth

  • SC-Controller 0.4.3 Released, Support Steam Controller & Sony DS4 Over Bluetooth

    For those looking to manage your Steam Controller and other supported Linux gaming peripheral input devices outside of Steam, there is a new release of the independently-developed SC-Controller Linux user-space software.

    While Linux 4.18 is bringing the Steam Controller kernel driver, for those looking for a Steam Controller solution right now to enjoy this excellent gaming controller for now outside of Steam, SC-Controller fills that void.

Wine 3.9 Released

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Software

Software: Electronic Books, Zammad, BTFS and Containers

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Software
  • Best Free Linux e-book Tools – Updated (2018)

    An electronic book (commonly abbreviated e-book) is a text and image-based publication which can be read on a computer or other digital devices such as an e-book reader.

    The rise of multimedia digital downloads in recent years has been truly extraordinary. The impact has been so great in respect of digital music downloads. Digital music accounted for half of the all the revenue generated by the music industry in 2016 and amounted to a total of 7.8 billion U.S. dollars that year. Over the years, many music labels stopped releasing singles on a physical format. We do not foresee that major book publishing companies will abandon paperbacks. However, the expansion of digital downloads equally applies to books. The biggest booksellers have reported that they sell more digital books than paperbacks.

  • Zammad – An Open Source Help Desk and Support Ticket System

    Zammad is a free open source, fully featured web based ticketing system for helpdesk or customer support. It ships in with a multitude of features for handling customer communication through various channels such as social networks (Facebook and Twitter), live chat, e-mails as well as telephone. It has an API for integrating your telephone system into in and outgoing calls.

  • BTFS – A Bittorrent Filesystem Based On FUSE

    The torrents have been around for a long time to share and download data from the Internet. There are plethora of GUI and CLI torrent clients available on the market. Sometimes, you just can not sit and wait for your download to complete. You might want to watch the content immediately. This is where BTFS, the bittorent filesystem, comes in handy. Using BTFS, you can mount the torrent file or magnet link as a directory and then use it as any read-only directory in your file tree. The contents of the files will be downloaded on-demand as they are read by applications. Since BTFS runs on top of FUSE, it does not require intervention into the Linux Kernel.

  • Living in a Docker world

    Once upon a time, I worked at a startup that was looking to “Dockerize” its backend infrastructure. This developed into a running joke where the programmers on the team would ask me if I knew what Docker was, and I would say:

    “Yes, it’s like a boat.”

    This would frustrate the programmers, which was my intention. They would howl about how wrong I was, and they could never quite calm down enough to clarify how Docker wasn’t like a boat.

  • Systemd Introduces "Portable Services" Functionality, Similar To Containers

    The past several months Lennart Poettering has been working on a "portable services" concept and that big ticket new feature has now landed in Systemd. Portable services are akin to containers but different.

    Portable Services is a big addition to systemd at around six thousand new lines of code for this init system and also brings the new portablectl utility.

A free e-learning tool for creating digital content

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Software

It's common to see a software app stand still—no new versions, no updates. Eventually, it gets overtaken by advancing technology and its user base drifts away. Open source software is not immune to this fate, but it is easier to revive than commercial software, where optimistic accountants cling to the hope that it still holds financial value.

eXeLearning (also called eXeLearn, or eXe), an open source XHTML editor that was created with support from Auckland University of Technology, University of Auckland, and Tairawhiti Polytechnic, achieved a measure of popularity among its target audience. The introduction to the version 1 manual described it as "an authoring environment to assist teachers and academics in the design, development, and publishing of web-based learning and teaching materials without the need to become proficient in HTML or complicated web-publishing applications." Despite a few annoying glitches, I liked and recommended that program. However, development stalled around 2010 and eXeLearning fell off my recommended list. eXeLearning is back on my list now.

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Pinguy OS Puts On a Happier GNOME 3 Face

Pinguy OS 18.04 is an Ubuntu-based distribution that offers a non-standard GNOME desktop environment intended to be friendlier for new Linux users. This distro is a solid Linux OS with a focus on simple and straightforward usability for the non-geek desktop user. If you do not like tinkering with settings or having numerous power-grabbing fancy screen animations, Pinguy OS could be a good choice. The GNOME desktop is the only user interface option, but Pinguy OS' developer, Antoni Norman, tweaked the desktop environment with some different software options not usually packaged with GNOME. Read more

You Can Now Install Android 8.1 Oreo on Your Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ Computer

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Linux Foundation and Linux Development

  • Linux Foundation launches LF Energy open source platform
    Launched with support from Europe’s biggest transmission power systems provider and other organizations, LF Energy aims to streamline everything from system operator smart assistants to smart grid control software. It will serve as an umbrella organization that supports collaboration among vendors in the energy sector to advance information and communication technologies (ICT) that impact the energy balance and brings about economic value.
  • FPGA Device Feature List Framework Coming For Linux 4.19
    There's already a new framework coming to Linux 4.19 in the form of Google's Gasket while queued this week is now another new framework: the FPGA Device Feature List.
  • AMDGPU Firmware Updated From 18.20, Vega M Blobs Added
    The latest AMDGPU firmware/microcode binary images for Radeon GPUs have landed in the Linux-Firmware Git tree. Hitting linux-firmware.git minutes ago was the latest batch of AMDGPU firmware files from Bonaire and Hawaii up through Vega 10, Polaris, and Raven hardware. The updated firmware images are the same as what AMD recently shipped with the Radeon Software 18.20 hybrid driver package. No change-logs of what is different about these updated firmware images are currently available, but most of the time it's mostly routine and mundane fixes/updates.
  • Nvidia 390.77 Linux Graphics Driver Improves Compatibility with Latest Kernels
    Nvidia released a new version of its long-lived proprietary display driver for GNU/Linux, FreeBSD, and Solaris systems to add compatibility with recent Linux kernels and fix various bugs. While not a major release, the Nvidia 390.77 proprietary graphics driver brings better compatibility with the latest Linux kernels. However, Nvidia didn't mention if it's now possible to compile its proprietary display drivers with the upcoming Linux 4.18 kernel series or just with the recent Linux 4.17 point releases. In addition to improving compatibility with recent Linux kernels, the Nvidia 390.77 proprietary display driver for Linux-based operating systems addresses a random hang issue that could occur for some users when running Vulkan apps in full-screen mode and flipping was allowed.

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