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- Mesa 19.1.1 and 19.0.7 are now available19.0.7 is the last bug-fix release of the Mesa 19.0 series. It's over, 19.0 is done. It has several fixes for RADV back-ported from the 19.1 series. The new point release for the 19.1 series has smaller fixes for most of the graphics drivers (RADV, ANV, Nouveau, Virgl, V3D, R300g).
- Personal finances manager Skrooge 2.20.0 releasedA new version of the popular personal finance manager Skrooge is now available with some bugs fixes and the ability to import accounts from German AqBanking that don't have IBAN numbers.
- Google Insider Blows Whistle and Exec Reveals Google Plan to Prevent "Trump situation" in 2020 on Hidden CamA new video by Project Veritas sheds some light on why Google's search engine is showing less and less relevant results and more irrelevant propaganda which they prefer you see. It has a revealing undercover video of a high-level Google Executive, an interview with a Google Insider and some documents showing how Google's in reality a publisher and not a provider of a neutral search-engine or a neutral platform in the case of YouTube.
Quote of the week
"I am not sure what that means, concretely. So all I can say is that China is a tyranny that is a harmful influence in the world."
Latest software reviews
- XfmpcXfmpc is a really simple music player client for the music player daemon made with Xfce in mind. It is really basic and it lacks most and close to all the features you would expect from a modern music player. It's simply not anywhere near good enough compared to the alternatives.
- KDE NeonKDE Neon is a GNU/Linux operating system made by the free software project KDE which showcases the latest KDE Plasma desktop technology. It is fundamentally the latest Ubuntu Long-Term Support release with rapidly updated Qt and KDE repositories on top. The OS is available in 4 different variant: The "User" edition, the "Testing" edition and the "Unstable" edition and the "Developer Edition" which is the "Unstable" edition with development libraries pre-installed. It can be used directly from a live-USB or installed using a friendly installer.
- KStars 3.3.1 releasedThe minor version maintenance release of the under-rated astronomy program KStars has a new Observatory Module for those who happen to have their own astronomy observatory. There's also a change to the stream window where Frames Per Second has been replaced with Frame Duration.
- Happy 17th birthday BitlBeeThe IRC gateway program BitlBee which allows you to talk to people on a wide range of instant messaging services from your favorite IRC client is now 17 years old. Many of the protocols it originally supported are dead but the program lives on with support for modern networks.
- Intel Ice Lake Desktop and Workstation CPU support added to the Linux KernelIntel may be closer to launching 10nm Ice Lake CPUs for desktops and servers than one might think. A close-up inspection of intel-family.h reveals that definitions for three new Intel CPU families were added to Linux 5.2 rc5: Xeon D, Desktop and "X". There is still no actual code depending on these chips being present or not.
- Xfce Cpugraph Plugin 1.0.91 released!The most popular Linux desktop environment Xfce is making great progress towards a long-awaited stable 4.14 release. An updated version of the xfmpc front-end for the music player daemon and an updated CPU graph panel plugin were released this week. Both were the hard work of Xfce developer Andre Miranda.
- New Kernels: 5.2-rc6 and stable branch kernels 5.1.14 and 4.19.55 are now available with patch fixing Steam5.1.14 and 4.19.55 were released just hours after 5.1.13 and 4.19.54. These kernels have a patch fixing the side-effect of the SACK vulnerability patches which broke Steam. 5.2-rc6 is a new release-candidate for the upcoming Linux 5.2 kernel. It is the release-candidate with the most updates of all 5.2 release candidates so far.
- KDE Plasma's goals RevealedThe KDE community have secretly had and worked according to a short document outlaying their total plan for their fancy eye-candy filled desktop environment for several years. KDE insider Jonathan Riddell managed to put an end to the conspiracy at a KDE Plasma meeting in Valencia and the document is now revealed on KDEs website for all to see.
- Valve is dropping support for Steam on UbuntuUbuntu's decision to drop support for 32-bit programs and platforms is a non-issue for free software since all properly written free software can easily be compiled on a variety of platforms. Proprietary games and game launchers lack the same flexibility. Ubuntu's decision to drop the legacy 32-bit multi-lib cruft is therefore a huge problem for Steam.
- The Linux Kernel fix for SACK vulnerabilities broke SteamSteam users who upgraded to the latest kernels have found themselves unable to connect to the Steam network. It's already fixed in git master and a patch will be included in the next round of stable kernel releases. A temporary workaround for Steam users is to add the
-tcpcommand-line option to Steam which will by-pass it's default WebSocket connection method and use TCP directly.
- Thunderbird 60.7.2 Security Release Available, Upgrade if you use ThunderbirdUsers of the e-mail client Thunderbird from the Mozilla
foundationcorporation should absolutely upgrade to this latest versions of Thunderbird which fixes two security issues, one of which is really bad: the right special e-mail gets to run arbitrary code on your computer.
- Linux Kernel 3.16.69 releasedYou didn't read the version number wrong, it's 3.16.69 like it's 1999. This new version of an ancient kernel fixes the TCP networking vulnerabilities that were made public this week. Those were considered to be serious enough to prompt a rare update for this very old kernel version.
- Linus Still Based and Caches Are Faster than Direct IOLinux Torvalds has been known to be a tad harsh when it has been required to stop gross incompetence from ruining the Linux Kernel. Many feared that the introduction of a CoC in Kernel 4.19 and the forced re-education camp he was subjected to had changed Linus' ability to firmly reject undesirable pieces of code. It would appear that his ability to clearly explain fundamental computing concepts when it is needed is very much intact.
- Support for new Power-Saving CPU Instructions in a future Low-Power Mobile 10mm CPU Architecture from Intel code-named "Tremont" is being added to the Linux KernelA series of patches sent by Intel to the kernel mailing list with code adding support for new umonitor, umwait, and tpause user wait instructions got our attention since there are no such instructions on any x86-64 CPU we've heard of. They will be available on Skyhawk Lake and Elkhart Lake CPUs based on Intel's new Tremont micro-architecture sometime next year.
- KDE Plasma 5.16.1 releasedThe KDE software project has released the first minor bug-fix update for the 16th iteration of the fifth generation KDE desktop. Sleep and Suspend were broken in an earlier release and these fairly essential features now work again. The power management module will also ignore applications requesting power management inhibition when the battery's critical.
- The GNU Guix distribution is moving from gzip to lzipThe free as in freedom GNU/Linux distribution is changing their compression algorithm for pre-built binaries from the horribly inefficient but standardized gzip format to a little-known compression format called lzip. This will make updating using pre-built binaries a lot faster since the download-stage is the most time-consuming part of the update process and lzip archives are, on average, two thirds the size of gzip archives.
- Richard Stallman to Visit Germany in JulyThe Free Software Foundation has today announced that the father of the free software movement, honorary doctor Richard Stallman, will be doing a speech on surveillance in Frankfurt, Germany on July 15th. The topic will be "Are we facing surveillance like in China?".
- New Stable Kernel Series Releases 4.4.182, 4.9.182, 4.14.127, 4.19.52 and 5.1.11 Fixes Serious TCP Networking Vulnerabilities
- New Kernels: 5.2-rc5, 5.1.10, 4.19.51 and 4.14.126 released
- KDEs GSOC students are making Good Progress towards Many Exciting Improvements
- The Linux Kernel can Kill Your PC-Speaker
- Xfce Screensaver 0.1.5 Now Available
- Snek version 1.0 Announced for Python-Like programming on Tiny Embedded Systems
- GIMP 2.10.12 now available
- VLC 3.0.7 released with a long list of Security Issues Fixed
- Mesa 19.1.0 is now available
- New Kernels: 4.4.181, 4.9.181, 4.14.125, 4.19.50, 5.1.9 - just two days after the last kernels releases. And as always, You Must Upgrade NOW
- Linux Kernel 5.0.15 broke Support for all Older Bluetooth Devices and there's no fix in sight
- Xfce4 Panel Stopwatch Plugin v0.3.1 released
- New Kernels: 4.14.124, 4.19.49, 5.1.8 and 5.2-RC4. And as always, You Must Upgrade NOW
- Ice Window Manager 1.5.5 released
- Kdenlive video editor version 19.04.2 released
Check out the news archive for more news.
Recent software reviews
- TORCSTORCS is an old racing car game with acceptable graphics for a game originally developed in 1997. The controls and gameplay isn't ideal and it's not very fun at all. The name TORCS stands for "The Open Racing Car Simulator" and it's website describes it as an "AI racing game and as research platform". Perhaps the developers simply didn't focus on making it a fun game for human entertainment.
- GLtronGLtron is a 3D light cycle version of the snake games who were popular in the early 1980s. Is is named after OpenGL and the movie Tron which inspired the game. It was originally released in 1999 and it has not changed all that much over the years. The graphics is simple and the gameplay is not at all exciting.
- Plasma DiscoverPlasma Discover is a all-in-one software manager and "app store" built around KDE Plasma which works in any desktop environment. It is user-friendly and it has an attractive look. It supports multiple package management systems as well as snap and flatpak which means it is usable as an alternative to the default software manager on most Linux distributions.
- KnightsKnights is a really nice chess game with support for playing against multiple computer chess engine opponents as well as online play against human opponents. It supports board themes, a few are included and numerous others are available as downloadable addons.
- XBoardXBoard is a chess game for Linux computers. It has been around for a very long time. It's graphical interface is not very fancy and it does not have a trendy look. It's great for playing chess against a computer opponent but it's not that great if you prefer online play. XBoard supports connecting to online servers but it's only possible to do so using command-line parameters.
- Naval BattleNaval Battle (KBattleShip) is a fun battleship game built on the KDE libraries. It can be played single player or multi-player over the network as long as you've got a friend willing to play (there is no central game server).
- The secret battle of encryption algorithms - In this video from LibrePlanet 2019 Amanda Sopkin explains some cryptography basics and dilemmas.
- Overtaking Proprietary Software Without Writing Code - "a few rough insights on sharpening free software". This lecture was given by Olivier Cleynen at the CCC in December 2007. The points in it were very good and remain relevant more than a decade later.
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