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

Top Story

  • Gbrainy Is 2.4.2 Released
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    Developer Jordi Mas has proudly released a new version of the educational brain teaser game Gbrainy. Gbrainy has logic puzzles, calculation trainers, memory trainers and "verbal analogies" for those who, like the games name implies, want to train their brain. The latest version has updated and fixed translations and that's it.

Breaking News

  • Qt Could Go Proprietary, KDE Relationship And Qt-Based Free Software In Jeopardy
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    The Qt Company, maker of the popular Qt toolkit used by a lot of free software, announced that they would be restricting LTS releases of the Qt toolkit to paying customers in a widely criticized move back in January, 2020. They are currently strongly considering taking that one step further by restricting all Qt releases to paying license holders for the first 12 months. This jeopardizes the future of the popular KDE Plasma desktop environment as well as the LXQt desktop environment and it puts the wisdom of using the Qt toolkit for free software development in question.
  • The Secret Chronicles of Dr. M 2.1.0 RC1 Is Released
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    Development of the Super-Mario like 2D jump and run sidescroller platform game The Secret Chronicles of Dr. M. (TSC) is moving forward with the first version 2.1.0 release candidate following three months of rigorous testing since the release of 2.1.0 beta 2 late January 2020. TSC has wonderful graphics, original music, original levels and it is overall a fun free software game worth trying if you have time to waste playing games. TSC is available for Windows and Linux.
  • Linux 5.6.2 Is Released With Intel Wifi Fix
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    There were some small bug fixes in Linux 5.6.1 and mostly small bug fixes in Linux 5.6.2 too except for one rather important fix for those who have wireless Intel WIFI chips. Linux 5.6 broke wifi support for everyone using the iwlwifi driver for wireless Intel cards. 5.6.2 has a small fix which restores wifi functionality for all the affected users.
  • GNOME And KDE Are Merging To KNOME - The Next Generation Linux Desktop Environment
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    Do you like the simplicity and lack of features GNOME offers yet you would also like the customization options and feature-richness KDE has? We have good news, KDE and GNOME are merging their desktop environments into KNOME! KDE+GNOME = KNOME, the future desktop environment for free software users.

Quote of the week

"yes, using the floating point calculations in the display code has been a source of numerous problems and confusion in the past.

The calls to kernel_fpu_begin() and kernel_fpu_end() are hidden behind the DC_FP_START() and DC_FP_END() macros which are supposed to hide the architecture depend handling for x86 and PPC64.

This originated from the graphics block integrated into AMD CPU (where we knew which fp unit we had), but as far as I know is now also used for dedicated AMD GPUs as well.

I'm not really a fan of this either, but so far we weren't able to convince the hardware engineers to not use floating point calculations for the display stuff."

AMD kernel developer Christian König
on the LKML April 2nd, 2020

Latest software reviews

  • Xfburn
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    Xfburn is a CD/DVD/BlueRay disc authoring program written with the Xfce desktop environment in mind. It can be used in any desktop environment. It can be used to burn ISO images, create audio discs and data discs. It supports CDs, DVDs and BlueRay discs. It does not support authoring playable video DVD or BlueRay discs. Xfburn is fine if you still have a CD/DVD/BlueRay writer and you want to demonstrate how that ancient technology works when you are giving a tour of your museum or something like that.
  • ClamAV
    clamav is a GPL licensed free software anti-virus solution for GNU/Linux and BSD systems. It has a command-line anti-virus scanner and a daemon which can update the anti-virus database automatically. clamav can and should be a standard part of e-mail and file server setups.
  • OBS Studio
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    OBS Studio is a free software screen recording and live streaming application for Linux, Windows and macOS. It can record web camera streams, single windows, single monitors or entire desktops. It supports hardware accelerated video encoding using VAAPI on Linux. It is the single best and most feature-complete application for both screen recording and live screaming.

Hot News

  • Second Mini Album "Dear My Color" From Korean Pop Sensation 보라미유 (Boramiyu) Is Released And It Is Wonderful
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    The second mini-album from Korean solo artist 보라미유 (Boramiyu) starts off with the very soothing and charming song love song "우리가 틀렸던 건 아닐 거야". The mini-albums second song, 10분 전, is a very happy and cheerful song which shines with wonderful vocal performance. It just gets better from there.
  • Wine 5.5 Brings Bux Fixes For Beat Hazard 2, iTunes, How To Survive And More
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    The latest development release of the Wine compatibility layer for running Windows software on Linux has better WebServices support, better support for debug information in Portable Executable files and 32 mostly application-specific bug-fixes.
  • Linux 5.6 Is Released
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    The latest kernel displays Vcore, Vsoc, Icore and Isoc power values on AMD chips using the k10temp hardware monitoring driver, there's multipath TCP (MPTCP) support, WireGuard network tunnel support for VPN connections, support for passing a configuration file with kernel options upon boot and much more. Intel WIFI support is broken in this kernel so you should avoid it if you are using a laptop or a notebook with a Intel WIFI chip.
  • Pale Moon v28.9.0.2 Is Released
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    The European developer "Moonchild" has released a "major development" update to the Pale Moon web browser yesterday. New features include "promise-based media playback" and 1.25x playback of HTML media elements. There were some minor problem with that release so two more minor point versions were related today.
  • Some Proprietary AMD GPU Source Code Has Leaked
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    Someone going by the e-mail nickname "palesaferns" leaked a number of Hardware Definition Language (HDL) source code files for the AMD Navi graphics cards to a GitHub repository. That repository was swiftly yet too-lately removed by GitHub-owner Microsoft at the behest of AMD. The released stolen source code tree has code for Navi10 and empty folders for other graphics chips like the "Arden" GPU in the coming XBox Series X which indicates that the leaker is also in possession of those source files as well. AMD has issued a statement saying that they "believe the stolen graphics IP is not core to the competitiveness or security of our graphics products".
  • Thunar 1.8.14 Is Released
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    The newly released Thunar 1.8.13 had several bug-fixes, improvements and a unfortunate regression which broke drag and drop when multiple files are selected. Thunar 1.8.14 is a "emergency release" which reverts the one commit that broke drag and drop. The rest of the improvements in Thunar 1.8.13 remain intact.
  • Thunar 1.8.13 Is Released With Unfortunate Bug That Makes It Useless As A File Manager
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    The latest release of the Thunar file manager for the Xfce desktop environment has several bug fixes, including crash fixes, and a new bug which breaks drag and drop of multiple files. Select 4 or 10 files in Thunar 1.8.13 and drag them and only one of the files is dragged along thanks to a very unfortunate commit for opening multiple files in a single application. It is very unfortunate that the commit which added that feature made Thunar utterly useless as a file manager and it is quite embarrassing that the Xfce team released Thunar with such a usability-breaking bug.
  • Xfce4-screensaver 0.1.9 Is Released With A Critical Security Fix
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    Xfce4-screensaver has, so far, had a really embarrassing adn very unfortunate bug which allowed anyone to unlock a machine locked with Xfce4-screensaver by connecting a docking station or a few extra monitors. Xfce developer Sean Davis has addressed this major security flaw as well as several other less embarrassing bugs in the latest Xfce4-screensaver release.
  • XScreenSaver 5.44 Is Released With 3 New Screensavers
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    Jamie Zawinski, who created XScreenSaver in 1992 and still maintains it, has released a new minor version with three new screen savers and performance tweaks for six of the existing screensavers. There are also new color options for four screensavers and "various bug fixes" in this release.
  • Get Tomb Raider For Free On Steam Until March 24th
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    Valve's Steam games store is currently having a sale on several Tomb Raider games and bundles with 70-80% rebates on games like Rise of the Tomb Raider, Tomb Raider IV: The Last Revelation and Shadow of the Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition. The 2013 game Tomb Raider and the 2014 game Lara Croft and the temple of Osiris are currently being given away at a 100% discount. There are native versions of Tomb Raider for GNU/Linux, Windows and macOS. The native GNU/Linux version works great and it is totally worth picking it up while it is being given away for free. Lara Croft and the temple of Osiris does not have a native GNU/Linux version but you can play the Windows version on GNU/Linux. The give-away ends on March 24th, 2020.
  • GNOME 3.36 "Gresik" Is Released
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    The latest version of the smart-TV/tablet GNOME "app" environment which is pushed as a default on several GNU/Linux distributions meant for desktops for some incomprehensible reason has a new "app" for managing shell extensions, performance improvements, parental controls and a redesigned clock. There is still no system tray, window manager buttons for anything beyond closing windows or anything else one would expect from a desktop environment.
  • Gbrainy Is 2.4.2 Released
    Joystick-icon.png
    Developer Jordi Mas has proudly released a new version of the educational brain teaser game Gbrainy. Gbrainy has logic puzzles, calculation trainers, memory trainers and "verbal analogies" for those who, like the games name implies, want to train their brain. The latest version has updated and fixed translations and that's it.
  • Firefox 74 Is Released With Several Vulnerability Fixes
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    The release notes for Firefox 74 are dull mostly and uninteresting. This is specially true if you use Linux. Firefox 74 can import bookmarks from the new Chromium-based Microsoft Edge browser on Windows and macOS, remove add-ons installed by applications in the add-on manager (about:addons) and there is a new "facebook container" feature for those that use Facebook regularly. The "Security Advisory" for Firefox 74 is far more interesting.
  • Xfburn 0.6.2 Is Released
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    Xfce developer Rene Kjellerup has released a new version of the Xfburn CD/DVD/BlueRay writer. The new version has code cleanups removing deprecated Glib/Gtk+ Widget definitions, a translatable user interface and translations for a wide range of languages.

Older news:

Check out the news archive for more news.

Recent software reviews

  • Spectacle
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    Spectacle is a simple and easy to use screenshot utility written with KDE in mind. It is the default application bound to the PrtSc (printscreen) key in KDE Plasma. It can also be used in any other desktop environment. It has all the features you could possible want from a screenshot application which makes it a good choice to set as a default action when the PrtSc button is pressed in any desktop environment.
  • Polari
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    Polari is a extremely simple IRC client designed specificially for GNOME. It uses the practically abandoned Telepathy communications framework to communicate with IRC servers. Polari will, by default, not run in the background so you get messages if it is minimized. There is no system tray support since GNOME 3 does not have any system tray. There are no configuration options what so ever and no useful options in the mobile-phone style hamburger menu beyond Quit which is something you will likely want to do after testing it and discovering how much of a joke of a IRC client it is compared to any other IRC client made the last two decades.
  • Nano Adblocker
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    Nano Adblocker is a web browser advertisement filter based on Ublock Origin. It is basically Ublock Origin with a few patches on top and one additional Nano-specific filter list with around 300 entries. Nano Adblocker releases trail the Ublock Origin releases and the Nano Adblocker offers shockingly little extra compared to the original it is based on. It works fine but there is no reason to use it over the original it is based on.
  • MangoHud
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    MangoHud is a modified version of the built-in Mesa heads up display for Vulkan. It is prettier and more configurable than the built-in Mesa HUD and it has handy keyboard shortcuts for turning the HUD (F12) and logging (F2) on/off. It is specially useful for games who play Windows games using Wine and DXVK.
  • NodeTube
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    NodeTube is a free software video hosting package written for Node.js. It uses MongoDB for storage, redis modules and ffmpeg for video conversion. It does not use WebTorrent or any similar technology for bandwidth reduction which means that hosting using NodeTube is quite bandwidth-expensive. NodeTube is easy to install for those who are familiar with hosting applications on Linux servers and it is mature enough to be used as a smaller personal video hosting platform. Scaling it to serve a really huge number of users may be somewhat problematic.
  • MongoDB
    MongoDB is a document-oriented database program utilizing JSON-like documents with a schema. It is licensed under a special sort-of free software Server Side Public License (SSPL). Many free software web applications requires it.
  • NAVER whale
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    NAVER whale is a Chromium-based web browser from the South Korean Internet giant Naver Corporation. It has many unique features like a toolbox with a calculator, timer, calendar and unit converter and a built-in music player. There are also a lot of not-really builtin features like stock price monitoring and exchange rate conversion which in reality access and use various NAVER web services. Most of those services are only available in Korean language. The web browser itself has English text in most menus and help texts. Some features, like the built-in music player, do not have any English translation. Whaleis overall a fine web browser but the tie-ins with South Korean web services who are only available in Korean language and the lack of translations for some of its features means that it is not the best choice for English-speaking people.
  • Alien
    alien is a command-line tool for converting Linux software packages between Debian .deb, Red Hat .rpm, Software .tgz and even Solaris .pkg file formats. The resulting converted packages it produces may or may not install and they may or may not work depending on the original package which has been converted. Converted packages who do install will, in most cases, only do so after going through some hoops.
  • Tor Browser
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    The Tor Browser is a web browser bundle distributed by the non-profit Torproject organization which includes a customized version Firefox ESR, some Firefox extensions and a Tor client for accessing the traffic analysis resistant Tor anonymity network. The Tor Browser sends your web traffic through the Tor network so the websites you visit will see a Tor exit nodes IP address instead of your actual IP address.
  • Chromium
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    Chromium is a BSD licensed web browser developed by Google. It is used as the basis for Google's commercial "Chrome" web browser product. The Linux version of Chromium is very easy to use and the fastest there is when it comes to WebGL performance. It does not come with any web garbage filtering, user script manager or style editor so you would have to install those things yourself.

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