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Your source for GNU/Linux news, reviews and HOWTO guides. And some K-pop news too.

Top Stories

  • Teeworlds
    Beach tee no sky.png
    Teeworlds is an active, multiplayer FOSS game. You control a Tee character, and usually work with others to solve different missions. Teeworlds supports both English and Korean, with 500+ players online most days.
  • Vulnerabilities In The Linux Kernels BPF Virtual Machine Lets Any Local User Run Kernel-Level Code
    Tux.png
    A new Linux kernel vulnerability identified as CVE-2021-29154 allows regular unprivileged system users on any modern GNU/Linux users to run code in kernel-mode. Proof of concept exploit code exists. The vulnerability is present up to and including Linux 5.11.12, the Linux kernel developers have yet to release a safe version. A patch and workarounds do exist.
  • Firefox Is Making WebRender The Default Rendering Engine On Linux This Month And There Is A Facelift Coming In May
    Firefox-space-icon.png
    The Firefox web browser is finally making the long-anticipated WebRender rendering engine the default on GNU/Linux when Firefox 88 is released later this month. WebRender, developed as apart of the "Quantum" project, has been optionally available since Firefox 67. It's not at all impressive performance-wise unless you manually flip the new secret performance-boosting switch. That new switch happens to also make enabling VAAPI hardware video decoding easier. More is planned, a improved, or perhaps just slightly different, interface will arrive when Firefox 89 is released towards the end of May.
  • Here's how you can get all your day-to-day computing done with free software
    Emblem-videos.svg
    "Alice, 11, has given multiple talks at technical conferences and will go over more than 10 programs that will replace proprietary with free software." This great 40 minute talk from LibrePlanet 2021 is absolutely worth watching and sharing.

Breaking News

  • GnuPG 2.3.0 Is Released With New Default Public Key Algorithms, A New Key Daemon And More
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    GnuPG is the standard for e-mail encryption and package signing within the FOSS world. Version 2.3.0 has a few notable improvements over previous versions. It has a new key database daemon for faster key look-ups, the default algorithms for new public keys is changed to ed25519/cv25519 and several of the tools, including gpg and the scdaemon smart card daemon, have quite a few new command-line options.
  • Xwayland Has Gained Support For Hardware Acceleration On Machines With Nvidia graphics Cards
    Nvidia-settings.png
    Xwayland, a component that allows X programs to run on the Wayland display server, has finally gained support for running X programs under Wayland with hardware acceleration on Nvidia hardware. This has been a sour-spot for Wayland since its inception, not having backwards compatibility with the most widely used display server is kind of a bummer. Support is finally there in the git master branch thanks to what looks to be a joint Nvidia/RedHat effort.
  • Mesa 21 Broke VAAPI Hardware Encoding On Machines With AMD Graphics Cards. A Fix Is Coming.
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    Those of you who have tried to hardware encode video using AMD hardware after upgrading to Mesa 21 may have noticed that the encoded video is, in fact, not a video - it's some kind of odd slide-show with one new frame every 5 seconds or so. Mesa 20.3 didn't have that problem, Mesa 21 and the newly released 21.0.2 bug-fix do. The Mesa developers are aware of the problem we are referring to and a patch has been merged into the upcoming 21.0.3 version scheduled to be released around two weeks from now.
  • ClamAV 0.103.2 Is Released With Security Fixes For Four Vulnerabilities
    Clamav-icon.png
    The free software anti-virus package ClamAV has, ironically, made a security release fixing four vulnerabilities in the ClamAV scanner. Two of them could cause it to crash, one could cause it to enter a endless loop and a Windows-specific vulnerability could lead to privilege escalation. You should update if you use ClamAV as a part of a production mail server setup. ClamAV has 8,532,858 virus signatures it can scan for in its database.
  • Wine 6.6 Is Released
    Exec wine.svg
    Wine 6.6 comes with Mono 6.1.1, DWrite and DnsApi libraries ported to portable executables, some plug and play driver improvements and 56 game and application-specific bug-fixes. The DirectX 11 support remains somewhat unimpressive compared to what DXVK offers in certain specific demo scene demos.
  • Vulnerabilities In The Linux Kernels BPF Virtual Machine Lets Any Local User Run Kernel-Level Code
    Tux.png
    A new Linux kernel vulnerability identified as CVE-2021-29154 allows regular unprivileged system users on any modern GNU/Linux users to run code in kernel-mode. Proof of concept exploit code exists. The vulnerability is present up to and including Linux 5.11.12, the Linux kernel developers have yet to release a safe version. A patch and workarounds do exist.
  • GNUnet 0.14.1 Is Released
    Network-wired.png
    The latest version of the technically interesting GNUnet overlay network is so buggy that you are lucky if it stays up for five minutes before gnunet-service crashes and you're disconnected from the network. The sparse graphical GTK applications for it are still practically useless jokes that look like they were coded by a drunk highschool student during a lunch-break.
  • Mesa 21.0.2 Is Released With Minor Bug-Fixes Mostly For AMD Graphics Hardware
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    Mesa 21.0.2 is a bug-fix release with small fixes for EGL, the Panfrost driver, the RADV Vulkan driver for AMD and the ACO shader compiler that goes along with it, and a LLVM related fix those of you with older AMD graphics cards will want.
  • FFmpeg 4.4 Is Released With Support For Even More Encoders, Decoders, Muxers and Filters
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    FFmpeg, the all in one Swiss army knife for audio and video encoding and deciding, has made a fine new and rather a big new release. It adds support for AV1 video encoding using SVT-AV1, support for hardware accelerated decoding AV1 video decoding using VAAPI and Intel QSV, support for the Cineform HD encoder and longs lists of other video encoders and decoders, filters and muxers.
  • The Google Vs Oracle Saga Is Finally Over. The US Supreme Court Ruled In Favor Of Google.
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    The American Oracle-corporation filed a lawsuit against the American Google-corporation of over Google's use of Java API headers on the Android platform in August 2010. That saga is finally over after it had dragged for more than a decade. The supreme court rules that Google's use of the API headers in questions does not violate Oracle's imaginary property rights.
  • IBM Set To Release COBOL Compiler For Linux
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    IBM has announced that they will release a proprietary GNU/Linux version of their IBM COBOL compiler on April 16th. The Linux version will be fully compatible with IBM's existing COBOL compiler products for z/OS and AIX. Pricing is unknown. It will probably cost you a pretty penny.
  • Xfdashboard 0.9.2 Is Released
    Xfce4-whiskermenu.svg
    xfdashboard is a nice switcher and launcher primarily for the Xfce desktop environment. It looks a bit similar to the GNOME and macOS launchers. The latest release adds support for linear gradients, the algorithm for detecting what programs are running in open windows is improved and a bug that would cause xfdashboard to immediately crash in some cases, introduced in xfdashboard 0.9.1, is fixed.

Quote of the week

"The middle rings were always completely and entirely useless.

There is basically absolutely no difference between rings 1-3: the paging model doesn't make a difference, and the only support for it is in some truly esoteric segment and call gate usage that no sane person should ever do, and that just means that your OS will never be relevant on anything else than x86, and will perform badly even there.

You don't need them. Not even for microkernels. If you think you do, you've done something truly horrendously wrong to begin with."

Latest software reviews

  • GnuPG
    Mystery unlock.png
    GnuPG (GNU Privacy Guard) is a command-line utility with many front-ends available that lets you encrypt and/or sign instant messages, e-mails, and files using a public/private key-pair. It is very widely used within the free software world where it is used to encrypt e-mails, sign ISO image releases and packages in distribution repositories and much more. Nobody outside of the free software community knows about it, and most won't care about securely encrypting their e-mails if they are made aware of its existence.
  • Teeworlds
    Beach tee no sky.png
    Teeworlds is an active, multiplayer FOSS game. You control a Tee character, and usually work with others to solve different missions. Teeworlds supports both English and Korean, with 500+ players online most days.
  • Crystal Dream 2
    Pc-demo.jpg
    Crystal Dream 2 is a classic DOS PC demo released at The Computer Crossroads demo party led in Gothenburg, Sweden, in June 1993. It won 1st place in the demo competition. It is one of the two most noteworthy PC demos released in the early 1990s. Crystal Dream 2 runs fine in DOSBox as long as you select Gravis Ultrasound as the (emulated) soundcard.
  • Unreal II - The 2nd Reality
    Pc-demo.jpg
    Unreal II - The 2nd Reality is a classic DOS PC demo from 1993 created by the Finnish demo scene group The Future Crew. It won first place at the Assembly 1993 demo party. It was ground-breaking at the time. The graphics may not be all that impressive after nearly 30 years since its debut, yet it is quite cool to see what could be done with early IBM PC compatible hardware without any 3D graphics hardware. The soundtrack is pretty good. It's worth a watch if you haven't seen it.
  • 100 0 11 111
    Pc-demo.jpg
    100 0 11 111 is a PC demo released by the PC demo group United Force at the Function 2007 demo party in Budapest, Hungary. Function 2007 went on from September 21st to September 23rd that year. 100 0 11 111 won first place in the PC demo competition.
  • Asahi
    Pc-demo.jpg
    Asahi is a pretty neat Windows PC scene demo using Direct 11. It was released by the Polish demo group Futuris at the Revision Revision 2020 demo party. It won fourth place in the PC demo competition. It works fine in Wine if you use DXVK with it.

Hot News

  • KDE Is Now Offering A Qt 5.15 LTS Branch Patch-set For The Free Software Community
    KDE Katie.png
    The Qt Company, the corporation behind the Qt toolkit used by the KDE desktop environment and numerous other free software projects, has been restricting updates to Qt Long Term Support (LTS) releases to paying customers since January 2020. KDE e.V. has announced that they will be maintaining their own Qt 5 "patch collection" for free software users and projects using the Qt 5.15 LTS release.
  • Warzone2100 4.0 Is Released With Vulkan Support, Built-In JavaScript Engine And Other Major Improvements
    Joystick-icon.png
    Version 4.0 is a major upgrade to the Warzone 2100 strategy game originally released by Pumpkin Studios in 1999. The latest version can render graphics using Vulkan, DirectX (for Windows), Metal (for macOS) and OpenGL. The Qt dependencies have been dropped thanks to a new built-in JavaScript engine, there's new soundtracks, higher resolution textures and a lot more.
  • DevilutionX 1.2 Is Released For The Enjoyment Of Diablo Fans
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    DevilutionX is a source port of the classic Diablo game with support for the Diablo: Hellfire extension pack that lets you play Diablo on a vast array of modern hardware, including hardware running GNU/Linux. Fans of this game from the late 1990s can enjoy a long list of game-play related improvements, performance improvements and other improvements in the latest DevilutionX release. The original game, or a shareware version, is required to use DevilutionX. Going with the shareware version will likely result in a huge disappointment.
  • XScreenSaver 6.0 Is Released With User-Configurable Color Schemes For The Unlock-Box
    XScreenSaver.png
    XScreenSaver, initially released by Jamie Zawinski in 1992, is one of the oldest pieces of free software still around. The Linux kernel is just one year older. The latest version has better scaling for higher screen resolutions, even better security, user-configurable color schemes for the unlock dialog box and a special fix for the Rasperry Pi and other systems without gamma control.
  • Signal Just Made One Years Worth Of Server-Side Source Code Available In One Huge Dump
    Chat.png
    Signal Messenger LLC forgot to update the GitHub repository for the server-side part of their Signal messaging application for almost one year. Their last git commit to the Signal server was done on April 22nd, 2020 - until someone there remembered that they had promised to be a "open source" company a few hours ago. Signal just pushed a massive source code dump with all the code commits for Signal Server v3.21 to v5.48 to their public GitHub repository.
  • Firefox Is Making WebRender The Default Rendering Engine On Linux This Month And There Is A Facelift Coming In May
    Firefox-space-icon.png
    The Firefox web browser is finally making the long-anticipated WebRender rendering engine the default on GNU/Linux when Firefox 88 is released later this month. WebRender, developed as apart of the "Quantum" project, has been optionally available since Firefox 67. It's not at all impressive performance-wise unless you manually flip the new secret performance-boosting switch. That new switch happens to also make enabling VAAPI hardware video decoding easier. More is planned, a improved, or perhaps just slightly different, interface will arrive when Firefox 89 is released towards the end of May.
  • The complete guide for open sourcing video games
    Joystick-icon.png
    Games are a special class of software with high development costs. Giving them away for free by making the source code and game assets available under permissive licenses may not sound like a good business decision, but there are several good reasons to make games available under open source licenses and it is not that difficult to do.
  • The Latest Arch Linux ISO Has A Fresh New Guided Installer
    Archlogo.jpg
    The community distribution Arch Linux has up to now required you to manually install it by entering a whole lot of scary commands in a terminal. Arch version 2021.04.01 features a new guided installer for users who want to install Arch Linux can use.. by typing python -m archinstall guided into the console you get when you boot the Arch Linux installation ISO. It is not very novice-friendly, or user-friendly, but it gets the job done and it will work fine for those with some basic GNU/Linux knowledge.
  • A Quick Look At Manjaro 21.0 Ornara With Xfce
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    "Manjaro just had big release so I thought I should take a look at one of their main editions (xfce). Manjaro has always been one of my favorite Linux distributions. In fact, long-time viewers of the channel will remember that I ran Manjaro on my production machine for over a year at one point." -Distrotube
  • Digital Currencies $2 Trillion Market Cap As Bitcoin And Ethereum Surge Above Key Levels
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    The free software based digital currency Ethereum (ETH) is currently hoovering above $2000 after surging above it for the first time ever on April 2nd. The move, coupled with a surge in Bitcoin (BTC) and other smaller free software based digital currencies, has put the total market cap of alternative digital currencies right below the $2 trillion mark.
  • GNOME Board Members Must Resign In Disgrace
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    The current leadership of the GNOME Foundation has shown itself to be a dangerous and divisive force in the free and open source software communities. I urge the GNOME community and the greater free software and open source communities to call for the immediate removal of the entire Board of the GNOME Foundation, who have flagrantly violated their own Code of Conduct and enabled others within the GNOME community to do so.
  • AMD Admits Their Zen 3 CPUs Are Vulnerable To Spectre-STL Attacks
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    The American chip-designer AMD has published a long report where they admit that the Predictive Store Forwarding (PSF) technology in their Zen 3 processors make them vulnerable to Spectre-STL attacks. The Linux kernel does not, as of today's git tree, provide any protection against those kinds of attacks.
  • Web Browser Performance Round-Up April 2021
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    We benchmarked Brave, Chromium, Firefox, MS Edge, Midori, Naver, Otter, Opera and SeaMonkey to see which web browser provides the best performance on modern machines running GNU/Linux distributions. The numbers reveal that there is little difference since most modern browsers are merely Chromium-skins using the same rendering engine. Firefox and SeaMonkey are different, yet they are in the same performance-ballpark in everything except graphics-intensive applications. They are really bad in that particular area.
  • SuperTuxKart Has Polished And Revamped Karts Ready For The Next Big Release
    Supertuxkart-icon.png
    The fun free kart racing game SuperTuxkart has gotten four kart re-vamped during the last few months. A new release is not imminent, and we do not know when it will be. What we do know is that there are some nice improvements happening in the SuperTuxKart graphics repository. None of the latest source code changes deal with the OpenGL rendering pipes, so the games graphics performance remains the same as it was in the last release.
  • Liberty or Death!
    Scales.png
    March 23, 2021 - a day which will live in infamy - the Free and Open Source community was suddenly and deliberately attacked by Silicon Valley. The tyrants of Big Tech, under the disguise of non-profit organizations, called for a hostile occupation of our community by issuing a blockade against Richard Stallman, the Free Software Foundation, and any other user who stands in opposition to their ideology of personal profit.
  • SeaMonkey 2.53.7 Is Released
    Seamonkey.png
    SeaMonkey is a cross-platform web browser with a mail client, IRC chat client and a HTML editor built-in. The latest release is based on the web browser backend from Firefox 60.8 and the e-mail backend from Thunderbird 60.0. This release drops support for the in other browsers long-deprecated NPAPI plugins used by things like the Adobe Flash Plugin. The graphical interface is now rendered using GTK3 on Linux. SeaMonkey 2.53.7 is otherwise mostly the same product as it was 10+ years ago. Its performance is pretty decent and it is even faster than Firefox rendering WebGL content.
  • PeerTube 3.1 Is Released With Advanced Transcoding Options And A More Polished User-Interface
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    PeerTube is a free video hosting platform you can use to create your own YouTube-like video hosting platform. The latest version has better and much more configurable video encoding capabilities and a slightly more polished user-interface with new trending features and a new subscribe button that makes it easier to remotely subscribe to users on your local PeerTube instance.
  • Linux Market Share On Steam Remained Below 1% In March 2021
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    The GNU/Linux operating system, including all variants of it such as Ubuntu, Manjaro and Arch Linux, is still struggling to gain more than one percent of the total market share on the proprietary Steam game store/launcher. The overall GNU/Linux market share is, according to data from NetMarketShare, slightly below two percent as of March 2021.
  • Is Mozilla Still Needed Nowadays?
    Firefox-cartoon.jpg
    tl;dr: Happy 23rd birthday, Mozilla! (it was founded March 31st, 1998) And for the question: yes. Here's a bit more rambling on this topic...

See our news archive for older news stories.

Recent software reviews

  • Unreal II - The 2nd Reality
    Pc-demo.jpg
    Unreal II - The 2nd Reality is a classic DOS PC demo from 1993 created by the Finnish demo scene group The Future Crew. It won first place at the Assembly 1993 demo party. It was ground-breaking at the time. The graphics may not be all that impressive after nearly 30 years since its debut, yet it is quite cool to see what could be done with early IBM PC compatible hardware without any 3D graphics hardware. The soundtrack is pretty good. It's worth a watch if you haven't seen it.
  • 100 0 11 111
    Pc-demo.jpg
    100 0 11 111 is a PC demo released by the PC demo group United Force at the Function 2007 demo party in Budapest, Hungary. Function 2007 went on from September 21st to September 23rd that year. 100 0 11 111 won first place in the PC demo competition.
  • Asahi
    Pc-demo.jpg
    Asahi is a pretty neat Windows PC scene demo using Direct 11. It was released by the Polish demo group Futuris at the Revision Revision 2020 demo party. It won fourth place in the PC demo competition. It works fine in Wine if you use DXVK with it.
  • Notcurses
    Konsole.svg
    notcurses, as in not ncurses, is a thread-safe library for building complex user interfaces for modern terminal emulators. It is written in C with C++ safe headers. It can be used to create games, image viewers and a lot more. The library comes bundled with a tetris game, a image viewer and a "demo" application that shows of its capabilities.
  • MAME
    Mameexecutor.png
    MAME (Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator) is a complete computer emulator for so many ancient computer systems it is hard to count. Most of those systems were used in something called "arcade machines". The "arcade machines" were special computers designed to play just one video game. MAME lets you play those kinds of games on a variety of modern hardware like computers and smartphones.
  • QEMU
    Cpu-icon2.png
    QEMU is a very versatile and powerful multi-platform computer emulator capable of both full emulation and hardware virtualization. It can be used to run operating systems for a variety of hardware and CPU architectures without hardware acceleration or Linux operating systems for x86-64 on x86-64 hardware at near-native speeds using virtualization hardware extensions on Intel and AMD processor hardware.
  • G'MIC
    Gmic qt.svg
    G'MIC (GREYC's Magic for Image Computing) is a free software framework for image processing. It comes with a really long list of filters you can apply to images in order to add effects, turn them into cartoon-like drawings, manipulate colors and so much more. There very little it can't do, if you need a image processing filter then you'll likely find that G'MIC has it. G'MIC can be used stand-alone with a basic Qt interface or as a plug-in in image editing software such as Krita and the GNU Image Manipulation Program. There is also a command-line tool for wizards and advanced users.

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