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Sci/Tech

Stellarium 0.20.3 Released with Tons of Changes [Ubuntu PPA]

Filed under
Software
Sci/Tech
SciFi

Free-software planetarium Stellarium 0.20.3 was released a day ago with numerous changes. Here’s how to install it in Ubuntu 18.04, Ubuntu 20.04 via PPA.

Stellarium 0.20.3 fixed nutation and, with it, season beginning times, included many changes in AstroCalc tool, Oculars and Satellites plugins, and updated DSO catalog.

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LabPlot 2.8 Released

Filed under
KDE
Software
Sci/Tech

In 2.8 we made it easier to access many online resources that provide data sets for educational purposes. These data sets cover a variety of different areas, such as physics, statistics, medicine, etc., and are usually organized in collections.

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“It Just Works”: An Interview with Dexai Robotics

Filed under
Linux
Interviews
Sci/Tech

The simulators wind up using a lot of computational power, which is one of the reasons why we use System76. Portability is another. I really like the fact that I can run the full software stack on a laptop that I can always have with me. Previously, we had desktops sitting around in a lab environment, and people were often having to sign into them and borrow them. We needed a solution for new hires to have a computer they can rely on at all times.

A co-worker mentioned that she bought a machine from you guys back in 2019. After she recommended it, I did a little bit of digging online for the best Linux laptops available, and you all were named a fair amount in those searches—so I ordered one. I was pleasantly surprised with how it just worked right out of the box. I wasn’t fiddling with drivers, I wasn’t dealing with bootloader problems and figuring out how to get a working desktop environment up; I just opened it up and installed a bunch of software and I was ready to go.

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CAELinux 2020: Linux for engineering

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Sci/Tech

CAELinux is a distribution focused on computer-aided engineering (CAE) maintained by Joël Cugnoni. Designed with students and academics in mind, the distribution is loaded with open-source software that can be used to model everything from pig livers to airfoils. Cugnoni's latest release, CAELinux 2020, was made on August 11; readers with engineering interests may want to take a look.

CAELinux's first stable version was released in 2007 and was based on PCLinuxOS 2007. The distribution was created to make the GPL-licensed finite element analysis tool Salome-Meca easier to obtain. CAELinux 2020 is now the eighth release of the distribution, which is based on Xubuntu 18.04 LTS, and has expanded its focus over the years into an impressive array of open-source CAE-related tools.

The minimum requirements for CAELinux 2020 are a x86-64 platform with 4GB of RAM for "simple analysis." For professional use, the project recommends 8GB of RAM or more with a "modern AMD/NVidia graphic card." The entire distribution can be run from an 8GB USB memory drive, with the option to install it to disk (35GB minimum). For those users (like me) who wanted to run the distribution as a virtual machine, the project recommends the commercial VMware Player over the open-source VirtualBox project due to "some graphical limitations" of VirtualBox.

There are too many different software packages unique to the CAELinux distribution to cover them all in a single article. Since the distribution is built on top of Xubuntu, CAELinux comes with all of the standard tools available in the base distribution. In addition to the standard packages, however, CAELinux bundles CAE pre/post processors, CAD and CAM software, finite element solvers, computational fluid dynamics applications, circuit board design tools, biomedical image processing software, and a large array of programming language packages. A review of the release announcement provides a full list of the specific open-source projects available, including a few web-based tools that merely launch the included browser to the appropriate URL.

It would be impossible for me to claim familiarity with the full range of tools provided, but I was familiar with many. For example, FreeCAD has been written about at LWN, and CAMLab was used in our article on open-source CNC manufacturing. I have personally used other bundled packages like FlatCAM for isolation routing of homemade circuit boards and Cura to slice 3D models for printing. What was particularly neat about exploring the distribution was getting introduced to new open-source software that matched my interests. I discovered KiCad EDA's PCB Calculator utility (simple, but handy), and I am looking forward to checking out CAMotics as another CAM alternative for my CNC router.

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Cantor 20.08

Filed under
KDE
Sci/Tech

Our developers are adding some usability improvements to Cantor and some initial results from GSoC projects are now available with the 20.08 release.

For example, now you can collapse, uncollapse, and remove all results from the worksheet; exclude entries from the worksheet commands processing; add actions for selected texts; zoom widgets; get tooltips for almost all settings options; use the new horizontal rule entry; and more.

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Cantor - File Browser Panel

Filed under
KDE
Sci/Tech

this is the fourth post about the progress in my GSoC project and I want to present some user experience improvements related to the handling of panels in Cantor and to present a new panel "File Browser" that I implemented recently.

The status of Cantor's panels was not saved when the user closed the application. Potential rearangements and size changes done on panels were gone and the user had to do the changes again upon the next start. Very bad UX, of course. Now, the state is saved and even more, the state is saved for every backend in Cantor. So, if you have a Python session in Cantor, open some panels and arrange them at your will, close and reopen Cantor with a Python session again - the previous state of the panels appears on start.

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Also: GSoC ’ 20 Progress: Week 5 and 6

scikit-survival 0.13 Released

Filed under
Software
GNOME
Sci/Tech

Today, I released version 0.13.0 of scikit-survival. Most notably, this release adds sksurv.metrics.brier_score and sksurv.metrics.integrated_brier_score, an updated PEP 517/518 compatible build system, and support for scikit-learn 0.23.

For a full list of changes in scikit-survival 0.13.0, please see the release notes.

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What Operating System Is the Best Choice for Software Engineers?

Filed under
OS
Development
GNU
Linux
Sci/Tech

GNU/Linux is, hands down, the most highly acclaimed operating system for software engineering. It comes with an absolute ton of development tools and has unprecedented performance with regard to software development.

Linux, in case you are not aware, is a free, open-licensed operating system. This means that it is very developer-friendly and can be, to a certain extent, customized to your own desires.

But, it is not for everyone.

Linux comes with a large selection of distributions (called distros in the trade). Each one, unsurprisingly, has the Linux Kernel at its core, with other components built on top. Many Linux users will tend to switch between these distros until they find the perfect 'recipe' for their needs and tastes.

We will highlight a few of these towards the end of the article.

What are some of the pros of using Linux for software development?

1. One of the main benefits of Linux, not to mention the Linux ecosystem, according to software engineers, is the amount of choice and flexibility it provides. This really does make it the jewel in the crown of operating systems.

2. Linux is free and open-sourced. This means you don't have to fork out tons of cash on licenses for the OS and other apps used on it.

3. It is easy to install directly on your computer, or you can boot Linux from an external drive like a USB flash drive or CD. You can also install it with or inside Windows if you need both.

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Stellarium 0.20.2 Released as 20 Year Anniversary Celebration

Filed under
Software
Sci/Tech

Free open-source astronomy software Stellarium 0.20.2 was released a few days ago as the 20 year anniversary celebration.

Stellarium 0.20.2 contains many changes in AstroCalc tool and core of Stellarium, changes in scripting engline and Script Console, Oculars and Satellites plugins, updated DSO catalog, see release note for details.

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Qualcomm’s Linux-driven robotics kit taps Snapdragon 865

Filed under
Linux
Sci/Tech

The 96Boards-compatible “Qualcomm Robotics RB5 Platform” runs Linux and ROS 2 on a Qualcomm QRB5165 based on the 15-TOPS Snapdragon 865 with optional 5G and cameras including RealSense and ToF.

Qualcomm and Thundercomm have followed up on last year’s Qualcomm Robotics RB3 Platform with a similarly 96Boards form-factor Qualcomm Robotics RB5 Platform that supports 5G communications and input from up to 7x concurrent cameras. The Linux and ROS 2 driven development kit advances from a Snapdragon 845 to new custom robotics SoC called the Qualcomm QRB5165 based on the Snapdragon 865. (In other news, Qualcomm announced a 5G-ready Snapdragon 690 SoC for mid-range phones.)

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More in Tux Machines

Android Leftovers

Games: Godot Engine, Lutris, XCOM, KeeperRL, Ampersat, Europa Universalis and More

  • X11 display server progress report

    I'm Camille, aka PouleyKetchoupp. I use Godot as an indie game developer (Nekomatata) and I've been a Godot contributor for a while (Github). Recently I was hired to work as a contractor on fixes and improvements for the Linux port of Godot 4. Most of the work was dedicated to fixing regressions due to the new Display Server used for window management, which allows support for multiple windows. I've also spent some extra time fixing old issues we had with X11 which required some refactoring in how the engine communicates with the X server. Some of them will be available in a later Godot 3.2 release as well. In this post I'm summarizing all the changes I've made in the X11 Display Server, in order to (hopefully) clarify how the X server works and how Godot communicates with it.

  • Godot Engine to get improved Linux support in the upcoming Godot 4 release | GamingOnLinux

    While the free and open source game engine Godot Engine already has Linux support, for both exported games and the full editor, it's set to get even better in Godot 4.0. In a blog post written by Camille Mohr-Daurat, they mentioned how they've been hired by the Godot team to work as a contractor on fixes and improvements for the Linux port of Godot. Camille Mohr-Daurat is an indie developer who actually uses Godot too at Nekomatata, where they created the unique ping-pong battler Punch Pong. So this is a real fun example of open source in action. Godot 4.0 will be coming with a new windowing system, so that you can separate parts of the Godot Engine editor from the main window. A lot of their work is focused on ensuring that works great on Linux with X11, which seems like there's a lot of work involved, because there's places where X11 doesn't have APIs to handle things where it does on other platforms like Windows and macOS - with drag and drop between windows being one mentioned example they've had to solve directly.

  • Lutris game launcher has a huge new Beta update out for testing | GamingOnLinux

    Lutris is the impressive all-in-one solution for managing games on Linux, bundling tons of sources of Linux releases from different stores under one roof as well as emulators, compatibility layers and more. Just recently on October 19 they put up the Beta of the new 0.5.8 release, and it includes some pretty huge changes and improvements all across the application. The way it actually works under the hood has been completely changed in many ways, along with the way you add games to it. Instead of manually importing games, it now attempts to sync up with your library across other stores like GOG, Humble and Steam. Adding games from the Lutris website using their scripts to set things up is also now in its own section, just called Lutris and it no longer depends on having install scripts for 3rd party services as Lutris will now run stuff with an "auto-generated" script but scripts on the Lutris database will take precedence if available

  • XCOM-ish combat and HOMM-styled world exploration Fort Triumph has a major update and sale | GamingOnLinux

    Possibly one of my favourite strategy game releases of 2020, Fort Triumph blends together XCOM styled combat with HOMM (Heroes of Might and Magic) exploration into quite a gem that doesn't take itself too seriously. What makes it fun is the environment interactions during battles, as you push rocks and drop trees onto enemies - it never gets old. It appears the team at CookieByte Entertainment have been busy too, with a huge free first post-release content upgrade out now. They've added in 27 new locations/events to the world map, and with some of these encounters you can add/remove traits from your heroes. Some of these encounters mix up the combat too, with some being unique Physics-only battles where you can only move around parts of the environment and not use normal abilities which sounds pretty hilarious.

  • KeeperRL, the open source dungeon building sim is getting a price bump in November | GamingOnLinux

    Fancy becoming a dungeon master? Well, if you're watching the pennies you might want to go and pick up KeeperRL before they price gets bumped up. This excellent open source building sim that mixes in RPG and roguelike elements has a lot to like about it, and it's been continually improved over 7 years now. Since it's had a lot added to it, and the developer has been working almost full time on it, they're going to be increasing the price from $14.99 to $20 on November 15. Plenty of notice if you were thinking about picking it up. Keep in mind they also said there will be no discounts planned until the big 1.0 release, so it's not going to be cheaper again any time soon.

  • Ampersat is an upcoming hack and slash shooter where everyone is ASCII | GamingOnLinux

    Mixing together ASCII characters and enemies, along with a full colour world, the hack and slash shooter Ampersat seems like a rather unique blend. A little weird too, with styles that usually clash and don't make sense together. You're the "at sign", the ampersat, and enemies are also these flat characters yet the world is 3D and full of colour. It looks bizarre but it works. Solo developer Gaterooze, Ink mentioned it was inspired by elements of Gauntlet and Smash TV to Zelda and a dash of Angband that "distils some favourite childhood gaming experiences into a fresh, fun hybrid that sees you killing a lot of monsters, finding a lot of loot, freeing captured letters and growing from a world-weary warrior mage into a powerful smashing/blasting machine".

  • Free copy of Europa Universalis II on GOG, with a huge Paradox Interactive sale going on | GamingOnLinux

    Paradox Interactive are celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Europa Universalis series so they're giving away Europa Universalis II and putting a bunch of other games on sale. For the free game, simply head to GOG.com and find the big banner. It doesn't support Linux like Paradox's later games, since it's a proper classic from way back in 2001 but you can try your luck with the Wine compatibility layer if you really want it.

  • Try the demo for Pyramid Plunge, a lighthearted platformer with a really odd couple | GamingOnLinux

    Ah yes, dangerous ancient pyramids with traps and deadly creatures, why not let a totally unprepared couple explore it? That's what you're doing in Pyramid Plunge as you run, carry your partner, fart to get airtime are more. The result is actually quite hilarious, mixing together challenging random generation with a sprinkle of comedy from the two wildly different characters that have a bit of banter between them like a true couple would. You don't see many platformers come along like this, what joy.

  • Proton: The Native Port Killer?

    The thrill surrounding the announcement of Street Fighter V coming to Linux was real. It was a few years after SteamOS was announced. After years of silence, fans started to doubt that this was becoming a reality. It wasn’t until two years after the initial release of Proton that Valve started to work with Capcom to try and make the Windows version compatible with Linux. Some people are still salty that it took this long to get here, and even more upset that this isn’t a native port. On the other hand, fans like myself are pleased that Valve/Capcom held to their word, even though they may have compromised a bit by making it Proton-compatible. The same goes for Rocket League. End-users like myself naturally get upset when delays happen, even though we don’t understand what it’s like to be on the developer’s side. Several months came and went after the original announcement, and finally the Mac and Linux versions of the game went live on Steam. Fast forward a few years later, and Psyonix decides to drop the ball for said versions, leaving it up to Proton to pick up the slack on Linux and bootcamp for Mac OS. Don’t even get me started on the fact that they basically abandoned support on Steam altogether in favor of the Epic Crap Store.

today's howtos

System76 Thelio Mega is a quad-GPU Linux desktop powered by Ryzen Threadripper

System76 began its life as a Linux computer seller only. Essentially, the company would sell re-branded laptops with Ubuntu pre-installed. To provide a class-leading experience, however, System76 also provided top-notch customer service, helping Linux beginners get started with a little hand-holding when needed. This focus on service continues today, and it is largely responsible for the company's success and longevity. Seeking to better control its own destiny, the company branched out from only being a computer-seller and transformed into a maker too. It's handcrafted Thelio desktops are powerful works of art, comprised of wood, metal, and good ol' fashioned American elbow grease. Yes, these Thelio machines are made in the USA -- Colorado, specifically. System76 has even created its own operating system -- the Ubuntu-based Pop!_OS, which has been very well received by the Linux community. This Linux distro will work on most computers -- not just Sytem76 machines. If you want vanilla Ubuntu, don't worry -- the company continues to offer that OS as an option when buying one of its computers. Read more