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Sci/Tech

GNU Octave 5.1.0 Release

Filed under
GNU
Sci/Tech

GNU Octave version 5.1.0 has been released and is now available for download. An official Windows binary installer is available. For macOS see the installation instructions in the wiki.

This major release improves compatibility with Matlab and contains many new and improved functions. A list of important user-visible changes is available by selecting the Release Notes item in the News menu of the GUI or by typing news at the Octave command prompt.

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Also: GNU Octave 5.1 Released With HiDPI Support, Drops OSMesa Usage

Unix turns 40: The past, present and future of a revolutionary OS

Filed under
OS
Server
Sci/Tech

Forty years ago this summer, a programmer sat down and knocked out in one month what would become one of the most important pieces of software ever created.

In August 1969, Ken Thompson, a programmer at AT&T subsidiary Bell Laboratories, saw the month-long departure of his wife and young son as an opportunity to put his ideas for a new operating system into practice. He wrote the first version of Unix in assembly language for a wimpy Digital Equipment Corp. (DEC) PDP-7 minicomputer, spending one week each on the operating system, a shell, an editor and an assembler.

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KStars v3.1.0 is released!

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KDE
Sci/Tech

I'm glad to announce KStars first release of 2019: v3.1.0 for MacOS, Linux, and Windows. This release focuses on improvements to stability & performance of KStars. In 3.0.0, we introduced quite a few features which resulted in a few regressions that we worked hard to iron out in this release.

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UNIX: Building The Most Important OS in the World

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OS
Sci/Tech

If you’ve ever used a smartphone, lost track of time browsing through website after website, or played a video game on a Next-Gen console, you have used the Unix operating system or one of its derivatives.

Linux is the spiritual successor to the original Unix system and Mac OSX is built off of Unix. Unix-based or derived systems are used in gigantic server farms, processing nearly all of the world’s Internet traffic. The Internet of Things and other embedded systems use Unix or its successors and Unix-based Linux has even been used in the International Space Station to run essential equipment.

All of this is possible because Kenneth Thompson, Dennis Ritchie, and their colleagues couldn’t watch a beloved project fall victim to corporate cost-cutting.

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9 Best Free Linux Fractal Tools

Filed under
Software
Sci/Tech

A fractal is a geometric shape or quantity which displays self-similarity and non-integer dimension. The property of self-similarity applies where a self-similar object is exactly or approximately similar to a part of itself. If you zoom in on any part of a fractal, you find the same amount of detail as before. It does not simplify.

There are many mathematical structures that are fractals including the Koch snowflake, Peano curve, Sierpinski triangle, Lorenz attractor, and the Mandelbrot set. Fractals also describe many real-world objects, such as crystals, mountain ranges, clouds, river networks, blood vessels, turbulence, and coastlines, that do not correspond to simple geometric shapes.

Fractals are rooted in chaos theory, and because of their nature they are perfect for organic looking artwork and landscapes.

Fractal-generating software is any computer program that generates images of fractals. Linux has a great selection of fractal software to choose from.

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Boosting Open Science Hardware in an academic context: opportunities and challenges

Filed under
Hardware
OSS
Sci/Tech

Experimental science is typically dependent on hardware: equipment, sensors and machines. Open Science Hardware means sharing designs for this equipment that anyone can reuse, replicate, build upon or sell so long as they attribute the developers on whose shoulders they stand. Hardware can also be expanded to encompass other non-digital input to research such as chemicals, cell lines and materials and a growing number of open science initiatives are actively sharing these with few or no restrictions on use.

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Also: The Entire Hardlight VR project is now Open Source

Awards for UNIX and for Security Protocols (Mozilla)

Filed under
OS
Moz/FF
OSS
Security
Sci/Tech
  • The National Inventors Hall of Fame Announces Its 2019 Inductees

    Posthumously honored inventors include Lee; UNIX co-creator Dennis Ritchie; thiazide diuretic pioneers John Baer, Karl H. Beyer Jr., Frederick Novello and James Sprague; hand-held electric drill inventors Duncan Black and Alonzo G. Decker of the popular Black & Decker power tool company; Andrew Higgins, the mastermind behind the Higgins Boats used by American troops landing at Normandy on D-Day; and Joseph Muhler and William Nebergall, creators of the cavity-preventing stannous fluoride toothpaste better known today by the brand name Crest.

  • National Inventors Hall of Fame honors creators of Unix, power drills and more
  • Eric Rescorla Wins the Levchin Prize at the 2019 Real-World Crypto Conference

    The Levchin Prize awards two entrepreneurs every year for significant contributions to solving global, real-world cryptography issues that make the internet safer at scale. This year, we’re proud to announce that our very own Firefox CTO, Eric Rescorla, was awarded one of these prizes for his involvement in spearheading the latest version of Transport Layer Security (TLS). TLS 1.3 incorporates significant improvements in both security and speed, was completed in August and already secures 10% of sites.

    Eric has contributed extensively to many of the core security protocols used in the Internet, including TLS, DTLS, WebRTC, ACME, and the in development IETF QUIC protocol.  Most recently, he was editor of TLS 1.3, which already secures 10% of websites despite having been finished for less than six months. He also co-founded Let’s Encrypt, a free and automated certificate authority that now issues more than a million certificates a day, in order to remove barriers to online encryption and helped HTTPS grow from around 30% of the web to around 75%. Previously, he served on the California Secretary of State’s Top To Bottom Review where he was part of a team that found severe vulnerabilities in multiple electronic voting devices.

  • Great, you've moved your website or app to HTTPS. How do you test it? Here's a tool to make local TLS certs painless

    A Google cyrptoboffin is close to releasing a tool that will hopefully make all of us more secure online.

    Now that most web traffic travels over HTTPS and browser features increasingly expect security, developers really should be creating and testing apps in an HTTPS environment.

    Doing so requires installing a TLS/SSL certificate locally, but the process isn't as easy as it might be. With a bit of effort, devs can generate their own certificate, self-signed or signed by the local root, and install it. Various online tutorials offers ways to do so. There are also projects like minica that aim to ease the pain.

    But it could be easier still, along the lines of Let's Encrypt, a tool that lets websites handle HTTPS traffic through automated certificate issuance and installation.

Taking machine learning to the birds

Filed under
OSS
Sci/Tech

The Cacophony Project's broad vision is to bring back New Zealand's native birds using the latest technology to monitor bird populations and humanely eliminate the introduced predators that are endangering them.

The project started in our founder's backyard to measure the effectiveness of his efforts to protect the birds on his property. From this simple beginning, the project has quickly grown into a system that includes two edge devices, a cloud server, and automatic identification of animals using machine learning. The project has been completely open source from the beginning and sees regular contributions from a wide variety of volunteers.

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Cantor 18.12 – KDE way of doing mathematics

Filed under
KDE
Sci/Tech

Curious to read about Cantor on LabPlot’s homepage? This is easy to explain. Cantor has got quite a lot of development in the last couple of months, also with great contribution from LabPlot developers. There is a close collaboration between these two KDE projects which we hope to intensify even further in future and to make better use of the common code and human resources in order to provide a strong computational and visualization platform for scientific purposes.

In this blog post we want to highlight the more striking new features in Cantor 18.12 that was recently released. Since Cantor can run embedded in LabPlot (see the LabPlot 2.3 release announcement for couple of examples), all the features described below are of course also available for users using Cantor from within LabPlot.

We invested quite a lot into improving the overall usability of Cantor’s worksheet. First improvement we want to mention is the handling of long running and waiting commands. In the past, when executing multiple commands at the same time, there was no feedback for the user which command is being calculated right now and which commands are waiting. In the current release we highlight the currently calculated command entry with a small animation of the prompt. The pending (meaning, queued but not being calculated yet) command entries are also highlighted so the user has the full picture of the processing status.

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How I Quit Apple, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, and Amazon

Filed under
Hardware
OSS
Sci/Tech

It was just before closing time at a Verizon store in Bushwick, New York last May when I burst through the door, sweaty and exasperated. I had just sprinted—okay I walked, but briskly—from another Verizon outlet a few blocks away in the hopes I’d make it before they closed shop for the night. I was looking for a SIM card that would fit a refurbished 2012 Samsung Galaxy S3 that I had recently purchased on eBay, but the previous three Verizon stores I visited didn’t have any chips that would fit such an old model.

When I explained my predicament to the salesperson, he laughed in my face.

“You want to switch from you current phone to an... S3?” he asked incredulously.

I explained my situation. I was about to embark on a month without intentionally using any services or products produced by the so-called “Big Five” tech companies: Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft. At that point I had found adequate, open source replacements for most of the services offered by these companies, but ditching the Android OS, which is developed by Google, was proving difficult.

Most of the tech I use on a day-to-day basis is pretty utilitarian. At the time I was using a cheap ASUS laptop at work and a homebrew PC at my apartment. My phone was a Verizon-specific version of the Samsung Galaxy J3, a 2016 model that cost a little over $100 new. They weren't fancy, but they’ve reliably met most of my needs for years.

For the past week and a half I had spent most of my evenings trying to port an independent mobile OS called Sailfish onto my phone without any luck. As it turned out, Verizon had locked the bootloader on my phone model, which is so obscure that no one in the vibrant Android hacking community had dedicated much time to figuring out a workaround. If I wanted to use Sailfish, I was going to have to get a different phone.

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More in Tux Machines

10 Things To Do After Installing Ubuntu 19.10

For the record, we’ve written a list of ‘things to do after installing Ubuntu’ for the past 20 Ubuntu releases. That’s two lists a year, every year, for a decade — and each list is specifically tailored to each version of Ubuntu. Our rundown for Ubuntu 19.10? Well, it’s no exception! As always: we never suggest you do anything that would damage or harm your install. So for tips on how to butcher Eoan with beta software, unstable drivers, and deep-level config meddling, you’ll need to look elsewhere! Otherwise read on for plenty of useful pointers and pertinent advice on how to get the most from your spangly new Linux system. Let’s go! Read more

today's leftovers

  • Google Ejects Open-Source WireGuard From Android Play Store Over Donation Link In App

    Apparently Google doesn't appreciate donation links/buttons within programs found on the Google Play Store even when it's one of the main sources of revenue for open-source programs. WireGuard has been reportedly dropped over this according to WireGuard lead developer Jason Donenfeld. After waiting days for Google to review the latest version of their secure VPN tunnel application, it was approved and then removed and delisted -- including older versions of WireGuard. The reversal comes on the basis of violating their "payments policy". Of course, Google would much prefer payments be routed through them so they can take their cut...

  • [Older] Sourcehut makes BSD software better

    Every day, Sourcehut runs continuous integration for FreeBSD and OpenBSD for dozens of projects, and believe it or not, some of them don’t even use Sourcehut for distribution! Improving the BSD software ecosystem is important to us, and as such our platform is designed to embrace the environment around it, rather than building a new walled garden. This makes it easy for existing software projects to plug into our CI infastructure, and many BSD projects take advantage of this to improve their software.

    Some of this software is foundational stuff, and their improvements trickle down to the entire BSD ecosystem. Let’s highlight a few great projects that take advantage of our BSD offerings.

  • Security updates for Thursday

    Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (sudo), Debian (libsdl1.2 and libsdl2), Mageia (e2fsprogs, kernel, libpcap and tcpdump, nmap, and sudo), openSUSE (GraphicsMagick and sudo), Oracle (java-1.8.0-openjdk, java-11-openjdk, jss, and kernel), Red Hat (java-1.8.0-openjdk and java-11-openjdk), Scientific Linux (jss), SUSE (gcc7 and libreoffice), and Ubuntu (leading to a double-free, libsdl1.2, and tiff).

  • Grasp Docker networking basics with these commands and tips

    Docker communicates over network addresses and ports. Within Docker hosts, this occurs with host or bridge networking. With host networking, the Docker host sends all communications via named pipes. This method, however, can pose a security risk, as all traffic flows across the same set of containers with no segregation. The other approach from Docker, bridge networking, provides an internal network that connects to the external one. Use the docker network ls command to see a list of available networks. This command should return results that look similar to the output in Figure 1.

OSS: Events, WordPress and Licensing

  • Director Digital Business Solutions to kick off ApacheCon Europe in Berlin

    The European Commission, a long-time user of open source software, is strengthening its relationship with the Apache Foundation. At the Hackathon in May, the Commission brought together more than 30 developers involved in six different Apache projects. Attendees came from Croatia, Ireland, Poland and Romania, and even from Russia and the United States. At the meeting, many developers met in person for the first time. The hackathon helped the project members build connections and strengthen bonds.

  • FOSSCOMM 2019 aftermath

    FOSSCOMM (Free and Open Source Software Communities Meeting) is a Greek conference aiming at free-software and open-source enthusiasts, developers, and communities. This year was held at Lamia from October 11 to October 13. It is a tradition for me to attend to this conference. Usually I have presentations and of course booths to inform the attendees about the projects I represent. This year the structure of the conference was kind of different. Usually the conference starts on Friday with "beer event". Now it started with registration and a presentation. Personally I made my plan to leave from Thessaloniki by bus. It took me about 4 hours on the road. So when I arrived, I went to my hotel and then waited for Pantelis to go to the University and setup our booths.

  • Automattic Announces Mark Davies as Chief Financial Officer

    Automattic Inc., the parent company of WordPress.com, WooCommerce, and Tumblr, among other products, has announced that Mark Davies has joined the company as Chief Financial Officer. Davies comes to Automattic from Vivint, a $1B+ annual revenue smart home technology company, where he served as chief financial officer since 2013. The news follows Automattic's recent $300 million Series D investment round from Salesforce Ventures, and its acquisition in September of the social blogging platform Tumblr.

  • Empowering Generations of Digital Natives

    Technology is changing faster each year. Digital literacy can vary between ages but there are lots of ways different generations can work together and empower each as digital citizens. No matter whether you’re a parent or caregiver, teacher or mentor, it’s hard to know the best way to teach younger generations the skills needed to be an excellent digital citizen. If you’re not confident about your own tech skills, you may wonder how you can help younger generations become savvy digital citizens. But using technology responsibly is about more than just technical skills. By collaborating across generations, you can also strengthen all your family members’ skills, and offer a shared understanding of what the internet can provide and how to use it to help your neighborhoods and wider society.

  • How to Verify Smart Contracts on Etherscan

    You have your smart contract written, tested, and deployed. However, customers aren’t willing to do business with you unless they know the contract’s source code. After all, it could be set up in a way that’s not in their interest. Thankfully, Etherscan offers a neat tool that allows you to verify smart contracts so interested parties can see the source code and verify for themselves that everything is as it should be. While the process is simple, there are intricacies that might cause problems, especially to people not very familiar with Ethereum and the Solidity programming language.

  • Ethical Open Source: Is the world ready?

    Given its incredible popularity in the marketplace, there is no question that many software developers (and their respective companies) today see great value in using software that is subject to open source licenses. Users focus on the advantages to be had by gaining access, usually at no or minimal charge, to the software’s source code and to the thriving open source community supporting such projects. Powered by a worldwide community supporting the code base, open source code is generally perceived to be more reliable, robust and flexible than so-called proprietary software, with increased transparency leading to better code stability, faster bug fixes, and more frequent updates and enhancements. Historically the question of ethics and open source software (OSS) has mainly focussed on the goal of obtaining and guaranteeing certain “software freedoms,” namely the freedom to use, study, share and modify the software (as exemplified by the Free Software Definition and copyleft licenses such as the GPL family), and to ensure that derivative works were distributed under the same license terms to end “predatory vendor lock-in.”

Programming: SystemView, JDK, VimL and Bazel

  • New SystemView Verification Tool from SEGGER is Compatible with Windows, Linux, and macOS
  • 5 steps for an easy JDK 13 install on Ubuntu
  • Basic Data Types in Python 3: Strings
  • Excellent Free Books to Learn VimL

    VimL is a powerful scripting language of the Vim editor. You can use this dynamic, imperative language to design new tools, automate tasks, and redefine existing features of Vim. At an entry level, writing VimL consists of editing the vimrc file. Users can mould Vim to their personal preferences. But the language offers so much more; writing complete plugins that transform the editor. Learning VimL also helps improve your efficiency in every day editing. VimL supports many common language features: variables, control structures, built-in functions, user-defined functions, expressions first-class strings, high-level data structures (lists and dictionaries), terminal and file I/O, regex pattern matching, exceptions, as well as an integrated debugger. Vim’s runtime features are written in VimL.

  • Google Releases Bazel 1.0 Build System With Faster Build Performance

    Bazel is Google's preferred build system used by many of their own software projects. Bazel is focused on providing automated testing and release processes while supporting "language and platform diversity" and other features catered towards their workflow. Bazel 1.0 comes at a time when many open-source projects have recently been switching to Meson+Ninja as the popular build system these days for its fast build times and great multi-platform build support. Bazel also still has to compete with the likes of CMake and many others.

  • Bazel Reaches 1.0 Milestone!

    Bazel was born of Google's own needs for highly scalable builds. When we open sourced Bazel back in 2015, we hoped that Bazel could fulfill similar needs in the software development industry. A growing list of Bazel users attests to the widespread demand for scalable, reproducible, and multi-lingual builds. Bazel helps Google be more open too: several large Google open source projects, such as Angular and TensorFlow, use Bazel. Users have reported 3x test time reductions and 10x faster build speeds after switching to Bazel.